See Rock City

See Rock City

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Houma, LA

Houma (pronounced /ˈhoʊmə/ and /ˈhuːmə/ is the parish seat of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, United States, and the largest principal city of the Houma–Bayou Cane–Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's powers of government have been absorbed by the parish, which is now run by the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government. The population was 32,393 at the 2000 census. There are many unincorporated areas adjacent to the city of Houma; the largest, Bayou Cane, is an urbanized area commonly referred to by locals as Houma but is not included in the 2000 census count, and is in fact a separate census-designated place. The name Houma derives from the Houmas Indian tribe, not recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Herman Albert Cook House


Houma was founded in 1810 and incorporated in 1848, and again in 1898.

Herman Albert Cook House


Houma and the surrounding communities are steeped in Cajun tradition and culture. The area is famous for its food, fishing, swamps, music, and hospitality. Houma is also known, although not as well as New Orleans, for its Mardi Gras festivities. Although Houma is quickly changing and developing, many of the residents in the surrounding small communities continue to make their living as their ancestors did. They are shrimpers, oystermen, crabbers, fishermen, and trappers. Despite the rapidly changing face of the area, many long-standing traditions and lifestyles remain to remind one of the area's rich cultural history.

Clifford Percival Smith House

Clifford Percival Smith House (Rear View

Houma is also the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, and home to Louisiana's second-oldest high school, Terrebonne High School.
Houma and the surrounding area are the setting for the fictional Swamp Thing comic books, the 1994 V. C. Andrews book Ruby, and the 2005 film The Skeleton Key (which was not filmed in Houma or Terrebonne Parish).
The 1999 films Crazy in Alabama and Fight Club (film) were partially filmed in Houma.



The HBO documentary The Recruiter, followed the life of an Army recruiter and several of his recruits from Houma.


The local newspaper is The Courier. It was founded in 1878 as Le Courrier de Houma by French-born Lafayette Bernard Filhucan Bazet. It first published in four-page, half-French half-English editions. It was sold to The New York Times Company in 1980 and is now part of the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group.

Ardoyne Plantation House

The Courier is a newspaper published daily in Houma, Louisiana, United States, covering Terrebonne Parish. It is a part of the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group. The paper is published by Miles Forrest and the paper's Executive Editor is Keith Magill. The paper was founded in 1878 as Le Courrier de Houma by French-born Lafayette Bernard Filhucan Bazet. It first published in four-page, half-French half-English editions.

Houma Historic District

Houma Historic District

Houma Historic District

Houma Historic District

Houma Historic District

The Courier has a daily circulation of 19,700 and a Sunday circulation of 22,100. Its online edition, Houma Today was launched in May 1999.

The Courier won the Louisiana Press Association's Newspaper of the Year award four times in the 2000s.

Notable natives and residents

Allen J. Ellender (1890-1972), former president pro tempore and Democratic U.S. Senator was from Houma.

Brandon Jacobs, professional athlete.

Martin Folse, who also owns the local News station HTV, filmed the movie Nutria Man: Terror in the Swamp in the swamps in and around Houma in 1983.

Clarence Verdin, professional athlete.

Dax Riggs has lived much of his life in Houma.

Frank Lewis, professional athlete.

Jay Pennison, professional athlete.

Melvin Johnson, professional athlete.

Richie Cunningham, professional athlete.

Steven LeBoeuf, humorist, politician, gambler, scientist, entrepreneur.

Tab Benoit, Blues musician and co-star of the IMAX movie feature Hurricane on the Bayou, grew up in Houma and attended Vandebilt Catholic High School.

Troy Johnson, professional athlete.

Wally Whitehurst, professional athlete.

Kim Willoughby, USA volleyball member, 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Blake Cole, Computer Scientist.

Cyril and Libbye Hellier, operatic sopranos.

Welcome to Houma, Louisiana: The Heart of America's WETLAND and home of Cajun culture and adventures all located less than an hour's travel from New Orleans in Terrebonne Parish. With exciting swamp tours, spicy Cajun cuisine, unlimited charter fishing, lively Cajun dancehalls, birding trails, an exotic wildlife park, Mardi Gras celebrations and much more, you'll soon see why there's always something for everyone right here in Houma, Louisiana.

Southdown Plantation House is a 19th-century sugar manor house and home to the Terrebonne Museum of history and culture. It was built in 1859 as a one-story Greek Revival house by sugar planter William J. Minor. His son, Henry C. Minor, added the second floor and Victorian-style architectural features in 1893. The Southdown sugar plantation remained in the Minor family until 1932, and during the 1920's the owners helped to save the sugar industry in Louisiana by propagating a sugarcane variety resistant to mosaic disease.

Southdown Plantation House

In 1975, Valhi, Inc., a subsidiary of Southdown Sugar, Inc., donated the Southdown Plantation House and Servant's Quarters to the non-profit Terrebonne Historical and Cultural Society, who turned the property into a museum. Exhibits include original bedroom furniture of the Minor family and other antique furnishings; a history and culture room; a Mardi Gras room; a Native Peoples room; changing works by local artists; a sugar industry room; Boehm and Doughty porcelain birds; Charles Gilbert art collection; Thad St. Martin literature collection; a re-creation of the Washington, D.C office of U.S. Senator Allen J. Ellender; and a restored 1880's plantation worker's cabin.

The House That Sugar Built

For more than nearly a century and a half, sugar was king in South Louisiana, enticing pioneers to the region and rewarding them with prosperity and progress. Southdown is located in the city of Houma in Terrebonne Parish, where some 86 sugar mills operated during the industry's boom years. The last operational mill in the Parish was the Southdown Mill, located adjacent to Southdown Plantation House. It closed in 1979 and was dismantled and shipped to Guatemala where it was reassembled for continued operation.

Southdown Plantation House is a lasting tribute to the sugar industry which helped to nurture Terrebonne Parish from its infancy to its present population of over 100,000 residents. Four generations of the Minor Family, along with hundreds of mill workers, fieldworkers, and their families, lived and labored at Southdown Plantation. The Minor Family occupied Southdown House until 1936. Over the years, the plantation owners, managers, and workers helped launch the local sugar industry, sustained it through difficult years, witnessed the cultural enrichment and progress of its boom times, and revitalized the industry from near-fatal crop disease.

Plantation life and the sugar industry are just two of the many topics explored by the exhibits of Southdown Plantation House/The Terrebonned Museum. In the addition to the museum displays, the House itself, through its architecture and design, reveals information about life in South Louisiana. The house is 85 ft. wide by 65 ft. deep by 50 ft. high, with 12- and 14-foot ceilings and porches on all sides to cope with the hot weather. The walls are 12-inches thick, made of bricks hand-fired on the property. The floors are a mixture of locally available red cypress and pine. The Favrile stained glass panels, added in 1893, depict the plantation surroundings with motifs of palmetto leaves, magnolia branches, and sugar cane stalks. The current pink and green color scheme was selected by THACS to reproduce the paint colors of 1893, as discovered by expert paint analysis during the restoration.

Brief History of the Southdown Property: 1790 - Present

1790 & 1798: First owners receive Spanish landgrants.

1821-1828: Jim and Rezin Bowie buy the property and establish an indigo plantation.

1828: William J. Minor and James Dinsmore purchase the 1200 arpents (approx. 1020 acres) to establish Southdown Plantation.

1831: Principle crop changes to sugarcane. First sugar mill built in 1846.

1847: W. Minor becomes the sole owner of Southdown Plantation. His descendents continue to own and manage Southdown until 1932.

1859: W. Minor builds Southdown Plantation House as a one-story Greek Revival house.

1893: William's son, Henry, adds the second floor and details of Victorian architecture.

1920's: The plantation administration is instrumental in helping the sugar industry by propagating a sugarcane variety resistant to mosaic disease.

1932-1975: Ownership shifts from the Minor Family and the plantation becomes the property of a large sugar corporation. The Minor Family descendents move out of Southdown House in 1936. In connection with mill operations, the House continues to be occupied by corporate employees.

1972: The Terrebonne Historical & Cultural Society is formed.

1974: Southdown Plantation House is added to the National Register of Historic Places.

1975: Valhi, Inc. donates 4.46 acres of land, Southdown Plantation House, and the Servants' Quarter Building to the Terrebonne Historical & Cultural Society.

1982: The Terrebonne Historical & Cultural Society opens the site as Southdown Plantation House/The Terrebonne Museum.

1993: The Servants' Quarter Building is restored and opened as the gift shop and office.

1999: A circa 1885 cabin from Hollywood Plantation is donated and moved to the grounds of Southdown.


Creole Pralines

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup dark or light brown sugar
1 stick (1/4 pound) butter
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons Karo syrup
4 cups pecan halves (If large halves, crush in small pieces.)
Put all ingredients except the pecans in a 3 quart sauce pan and cook for about 20 minutes, after boiling starts, stirring occasionally. Add the pecans and cook the mixture until the liquid forms a soft ball when a little is dropped into cold water. Stir well and then drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper. Place a few sheets of newspaper beneath the waxed paper. I find it convenient to place a small table near the stove, over which I put a few sheets of newspaper, and then put the waxed paper over that.


Basic Sauce

1/2 can tomato sauce (Not paste or whole tomatoes)
3 pints oysters
3 cups rice
Onion tops and parsley, chopped fine (about a handful, mixed together)
Add tomato sauce to basic sauce and cook thoroughly. Add oysters and cook for about 10 minutes after boiling starts. Now add rice, chopped onion tops and parsley. Add enough water to make sure you have 2 cups liquid in the pot for each cup of rice. Stir and mix thoroughly until mixture comes to a boil. Cover tightly and lower flame to simmer. Cook for about 25 minutes. Do not remove the lid. Test rice to be sure it is done thoroughly at the end of the 25 minute cooking period.


Basic Sauce

2 1/2 pounds okra
3 pounds peeled shrimp tails
1 pound crab meat
1 pint oysters
Parsley and onion tops
After cutting in small pieces, cook the okra slowly in a small pot in about 2 tablespoons of fat until no longer ropy, stirring often to prevent scorching or browning. Add to basic sauce and continue to cook for not less than 20 minutes. Add shrimp and crab meat, and about 10 minutes later, the oysters. Add water to make the sauce of a soupy consistency. Cook for about 20 minutes after the mixture has started boiling. About 10 minutes before serving, add a handful of chopped onions and parsley. Serve over rice in soup plates.

Terrebonne Fine Arts Guild was organized in 1963 to promote art and art culture in Terrebonne Parish. Downtown Art Gallery 630 was established in 1979 to promote knowledge of and participation in the visual arts through exhibitions, art instructions for children and adults and to involve and encourage art in the schools by exhibiting students' work in a parish-wide competition.

Exhibition space is provided for Guild members who serve as hostesses to keep the Gallery open daily except Sundays from 10 AM to 4 PM. Downtown Art Gallery 630 features paintings of various subjects; from South Louisiana scenes to florals, still life and abstracts in all media, including oil, watercolor, pastel and mixed media.

The Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum

preserves and promotes the area's long, colorful and historically important connection with the seafood and water transportation industries, as well as other wetlands and water based hunting, gathering and mining occupations.
The Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum ranks as one of the area's most unique venues for private receptions, meetings and celebrations of every variety. The museum and its exhibits, charming back porch overlooking the bayou and serene bayou-side park offer unlimited options for those interested in a first-rate facility.

The site where the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum now stands has undergone many incarnations over the years. Originally developed in the 1880's to serve as a ware house for Daigle Barge Line, the building served as a focal point for Houma's growing freight industry. towards the turn of the century, the existing warehouse was purchased by the Cenac family and used in their oyster packing business. It was during this period that Houma assumed the unofficial title of "oyster capital of the world." Later (circa 1917) , the building was transformed by Armand St. Martin, who made it into a labeling and transshipment facility for the Indian ridge canning Company, as shrimp began to overtake oysters in economic importance.