1. New Orleans: Houmas House Plantation Tour
Visiting the Houmas House Estate is more than just a house tour. It's a fully immersive experience educating guests on the architecture, the culture, and the agriculture of this Louisiana Plantation and how the Mississippi River shaped the southern United States. Here you will get a glimpse into the life on a sugarcane plantation in the 1800s. Located on the lower Mississippi River, just an hour drive from New Orleans, the mansion has been beautifully restored to the antebellum era, reflecting the wealth this sugarcane farm boasted in the 1880s. A guided mansion tour, led by costumed guides, walks you through the 250-year history, showing the architectural evolution of this manor house and how it became a grand estate. Rare and period artwork and artifacts are displayed and used to explain plantation life. You can also take a self-guided tour of the expansive gardens, which is an adventure in itself. Water features, secret gardens, sculptures, and magnificent Live Oak trees are a photographer's dream. Plenty of sitting nooks and shaded area are available to rest and enjoy the scenery. For movie lovers, Houmas House was the location for the 1964 psychological thriller “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte” starring Betty Davis and Olivia de Havilland. It was deemed the scariest movie of its time and was also famous for the fact that Joan Crawford was originally cast opposite Betty Davis, but left the movie, much to the delight of her costar. Also, most recently, it was the setting for a few scenes in the 2019 award-winning movie “The Green Book”. Those are just a few of the many movies and TV shows filmed at Houmas House. For those interested in ghosts, Houmas House and Gardens is the site of two very serious, inexplicable events: one precipitated by nature, the other by the very unnatural.