The House on Bayou Road--Best of Two Romantic Worlds
By Kathie Farnell
Photos by Jack Purser


Brides planning a New Orleans wedding may find themselves in a quandary--the city’s elegant plantations lie outside town, miles away from the irresistible delights of the French Quarter. The bride may feel forced to choose between stately opulence and access to rip-roaring nightlife. Enter The House on Bayou Road.

Hardly a newcomer--it was built in 1798--this little Creole plantation inn, just eleven blocks from the French Quarter, can accommodate up to 400 guests at receptions in its landscaped grounds. The adjoining restaurant, Indigo, provides another reception venue with elegant décor and sophisticated food.

Owner Cynthia Reeves, who lives on the property, purchased The House on Bayou Road in 1977, a time when the former indigo plantation was in a state of disarray. Now lovingly restored, it offers eight luxury rooms/suites with private bath. We reveled in the ambiance of the main house’s Bayou Barataria suite, with its high ceilings, canopy bed, gas fireplace, and separate sitting room. Amenities including full plantation breakfast, off-street parking, and complimentary sherry (very important), as well as a swimming pool and hot tub give guests a relaxing oasis from the big city. A variety of services, including massage, can be arranged to defrazzle the bride and party.


In addition to the main house, The House on Bayou Road offers rooms in its Kumquat Cottage, and a private Creole cottage, Bayou Self, which features a fireplace, private porch, four-poster bed, and Jacuzzi. The two-acre grounds are replete with camellias, banana trees, and ferns and include a courtyard with fountain and a lily pond.

Literally next door, Restaurant Indigo nestles under the oaks. Its elegant décor highlights an extensive art collection. The main dining room seats up to 100 guests, while the veranda--surrounded by lush tropical foliage--accommodates up to 55.

The restaurant is open to the public for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, and is available for receptions and private parties. Executive Chef Jared Katz offers a Louisiana-inspired menu, with fresh Gulf seafood and local produce presented in nontraditional combinations. Entrees include pork tenderloin with crawfish and andouille sausage cornbread dressing, and a blackened redfish with shrimp meuniere sauce atop black-eyed peas. The desserts include traditional New Orleans bread pudding as well as creme brulee and a luscious molten chocolate cake.

Weddings at The House on Bayou Road proceed under the auspices of Director of Catering Michelle Adams, who says that the inn has hosted everything from a tented 400-person bash for the food-empire Swanson family, to a Mardi Gras-themed affair complete with costumes. Unlike many venues which only offer package deals, The House on Bayou Road customizes each wedding. “People love the venue,” she says, “because it provides a plantation feel without the headaches.”

The House on Bayou Road caters and runs the bar for receptions; Michelle provides a vendor list from which the bridal party books other services, such as the officiant.

Most of the inn’s wedding business comes by word of mouth. During our stay, a couple from Texas were in the throes of last-minute preparations for their weekend wedding, while another prospective bride and groom were inspecting the site.

Manager Karon Hale is happy to assist guests with planning activities. From the list of nearby restaurants she provided, we checked out Gabrielle’s, a small, informal French-style café. In the French Quarter, a short cab ride away, we wound up at The Napoleon House bar and restaurant, where an air of genteel decay adds to the charm of a building originally planned as a refuge for Napoleon himself. The eccentric watering hole is known for its courtyard, its jambalaya and red beans, and its local beers.

After wandering the French Quarter streets, we were ready to return to the little Creole oasis on Bayou Road and watch the world go by.

For more information on The House on Bayou Road, check the website at www.houseonbayouroad.com, or call 1-800-882-2968.

Kathie Farnell and Jack Purser are based in Alabama and have been doing travel writing and photography since the early 90s. Their favorite topics include nature travel, romantic destinations, weekend getaways and offbeat topics. They both come from a legal background; Jack was an attorney for the US Department of Agriculture, and Kathie founded Farnell Legal Research. Kathie also produces programming for public television and radio. kfarnel@gulftel.com, www.artemismedia.org

 

 

 


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