The Great River Road

The most familiar (and easiest to reach) of Louisiana’s plantation homes, Houmas House (40136 Hwy-942, 225/473-9380, daily, $24), stands on the east bank of the Mississippi amid 38 acres of manicured grounds. Another of Louisiana’s grandes dames, Houmas House is a dignified complex of buildings constructed over many generations, mainly between the 1780s and 1840s. The main building is composed of white columns and rich red-ocher walls supporting a central belvedere (like a cupola) from which the antebellum owners could survey their domain. Today, the endless seas of sugarcane have been replaced in part by the monstrous sprawl of the neighboring DuPont plant. Once the seat of a massive 475,000-acre sugarcane plantation, Houmas House may well look strangely familiar: The stately home was used as the setting for Robert Aldrich’s 1964 Gothic Southern horror film, Hush . . . Hush, Sweet Charlotte, starring Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, and Bruce Dern. B&B rooms and a restaurant are also available.

Located on Hwy-942 near the hamlet of Darrow, Houmas House is just five miles southwest of the I-10 freeway via Hwy-22 or Hwy-44, and it is about five miles north of the Sunshine Bridge (Hwy-70) over the Mississippi.