On our final day of the cruise, the American Queen tied up in front of Houmas House; a beautiful mansion that is open for tours.
At one time, the land was a huge sugar plantation that dates back to the Houmas Native Americans. The current mansion got its start when Revolutionary War Hero General Wade Hampton bought the property in 1810. The mansion was finished in 1828 and eventually became the hub for a sugar empire of more than 300,000 acres.
In 1857, the property was purchased for $1 million by Irishman John Burnside who grew the plantation to become the country’s biggest sugar producer. Fortunately for him and his property, Burnside was British and claimed immunity as a British citizen, so the mansion was spared from being burnt down during the Civil War.
A century later, in 1963, the Bette Davis film “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte” was filmed on site after the building was fully restored.
Currently, Houmas House is the home of Kevin Kelly and open to the public for tours. During the tour, we were even taken through his personal bedroom, as well as the neighboring bedroom/office. It was quite a non sequitur to walk into another room with beautiful period furniture, but also see a laptop computer on the antique desk next to piles of paperwork!
Here are a few photos of the house, beginning with the front hall wall mural:
The gardens were beautifully maintained: