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PF: Houmas House

Photo Friday is my day to share my photographs of the moment and my thoughts associated with them.  I hope you enjoy my photographs as much as I enjoy sharing them.

Ten years ago when I moved to a parish just south of Baton Rouge, I didn’t know anything about it.  My family didn’t live in this parish, nor did we ever visit it.  Luckily, I worked with a friendly bunch of people who helped me navigate my way.  And since food is a big thing in Louisiana culture, one day I was taken for a meal at Cafe Burnside located on the grounds of the historic Houmas House plantation.  Houmas House sits (not quite so crookedly) on the River Road.  Across from it sits the levee and the Mississippi River.  The estate is owned by a businessman who opened it back up to the public and brought an interesting mix of old, new, fun, and slightly unusual to the grounds.  It’s a place I go whenever I want to relax.  Ten dollars gets me on the grounds, or if I eat at the Cafe, site seeing (excluding inside the house) is free.  It is long past time that I share a favorite hangout with my readers on Photo Friday.

As soon as you step on the grounds of the estate, you are beckoned in many directions by enticing pathways surrounded by lush greenery.  Located in the Deep South, much of the grounds retain their beauty during the winter months due to the subtropical climate…and the great work of the groundskeepers.

I normally take my camera along for the ride, and sit down on one of the many benches that call my name.  No matter where you sit, you’re guaranteed a good view and a heaping dose of that slow Southern way.

While I have been to Houmas House many times, it wasn’t until I started this blog and purchased my Nikon that I came to love this place as much as I do now.  As soon as I started using this camera, I realized my favorite shot is up-close with deep saturated colors.  The abundance of color and texture at Houmas House is just what an amateur photography with my predilections craves.  Flowers are my favorites to photograph, and Houmas House is bursting with gardens (both flower and vegetable) at every turn.

But there are more than just the flowers that catch  my attention at Houmas House.  Pick any spot on the grounds and do a slow 360 degree turn.  You’ll find yourself surrounded by statuary everywhere you look.  All of it is charming, some of it is quite definitely old, and nearly all is covered in some sort of rust, green stuff, or other colorful bits due to the Louisiana humidity.  They are unique.  They are delightful.  And they make for some great photography.

It is the statuary that first caught my eye and made me use my macro lens more fully while on the grounds.  Looking closely, one can find some amazing textures in the grooves of the sculptures or the unique shapes and curls of plant life.  One trip, I shot just textures and have experimented with using them as overlays on other pictures.  It has been a great learning tool.

After a full afternoon, or day, of shooting, I normally sit for a bit in a nicely tucked away spot and listen to the water.  Waterfalls, little streams, and water features are abundant at Houmas House.  As soon as you exit the gift shop and step foot on the grounds, you can hear water running.  One of my favorite water features is the sugar kettle fountain (the utmost picture in this collage).

Keep your eyes open around Houmas House because it is more than just the scenery.  There are bits of interesting delight tucked away everywhere.  Squirrels will let you get close enough to photograph.  There is a tree that seems to be out of a children’s novel ready to talk if you just listen closely enough.  Artwork graces the grounds in the open air, gazebos, and other tucked away spots.  And when I turned a corner, I found the waxed plants that my great grandmother used to love so dearly.

I’ve only taken the tour of the house once.  It was interesting, and we had a lovely tour guide who sang like an angel.  She had amazing facts about the home and its history.  The home was, of course, filled with the bits of history, antiques, collectibles, and the modern day bits of a home that is lived in.  While I enjoyed the tour, I may never enter the home again, as it is the grounds that fascinate me.

I can’t wait for spring to get here as I’m ready to visit again when the plant life is ready to burst open, a signal that the hot summers of Louisiana aren’t far away.  Maybe I’ll see you there.

I am not affiliated with Houmas House nor do the owners know I am posting about the grounds.  To them, I am just another visitor when I show up, pay my $10, and enjoy the grounds.  (If they ever offer a season pass, I’m buying it and bringing my camping tent…but I’d have to purchase one first.)

Comments

  1. Jenn,
    You do an amazing job of describing a Houmas House experience! Thank you for sharing with such eloquence and passion. I hope every visitor that walks these grounds leaves with the same feelings and memories that you have captured and described. We strive to create a place for people to come and find peace and calmness. I’m happy to hear our mission has been accomplished! We look forward to your future visits.
    Jesse Lambert
    Houmas House Plantation

  2. Kevin Kelly says:

    Your pictures, and the presentation of the pictures is wonderful. Next time you are at Houmas House, please ask for me. I would love to chit chat with you. You have obviously gotten, what we are trying to create. Thanks for your wonderful thoughts of Houmas House Gardens.

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