The Houmas house is significant in the area of architecture
as an excellent example of a plantation house designed in the
peripteral mode of the Greek Revival. It represents an important
regional variation of the Greek Revival, which typified many
of the grandest residences in the deep South.
Houmas house is
also historically important because under owner John Burnside
in the 1850s and 60s it was the center of the largest slave
holding in Louisiana. With over 800 slaves, it represented the
largest economic unit in the prevailing slave economy of the
state's pre-Civil War period.
The plantation house began in
the late 18th or early 19th century as a two-story, pitched
roof brick building with end wall chimneys and a stuccoed exterior.
The house had two rooms on each floor with a central staircase,
six over six windows, and exposed beams, some of which were
Although it presents a historic appearance, this old
portion of the house has been much reworked. Changes made by
Dr. Crozat include the removal of the stairs, the addition of
an upstairs hall with a Palladian window, the replacement of
the fireplaces and mantels, and the installation of closets
In 1840 a square plan, two and a half-story, peripteral style
mansion of stuccoed brick was built in front of the original
The normal rear gallery was omitted because of the
close proximity of the old house.
The 1840 portion is three
rooms deep with a wide central hall plan. It has a graceful
helix staircase set in a rear vestibule opposite a corresponding
The dining room and front parlor connect by
means of wide doors. Significant exterior features include
the handsome colossal Doric galleries, the Federal arched
dormers, the cupola, and the movable louvered shutters.
axial formal garden, which extends to the sides and rear of
the house, is largely the result of work done by former owner
Dr. George Crozat in the 1940s.
In the 1940s Dr. Crozat demolished
a pair of rooms which had connected the older portion with
the 1840 portion, and built a glazed breezeway with an arch
at each end. He also installed a modern kitchen and bathrooms
in the 1840s portion.
The Houmas is located at 40136 Hwy. 942 in Darrow. The Houmas
is open for guided tours by costumed interpreters daily 10:00am
to 5:00 February- October; and 10:00am to 4:00pm November-January,
except on major holidays. Call 225-473-7841 or visit www.houmashouse.com
for further information