Houma rests about an hour southwest of New Orleans, ensconced in Louisiana bayou country, where there are more than 2,500 square miles of swamps and bayous. Houma event venues range between genteel plantation house and a rough, 18th-century trapper’s cabin. An exuberant excursion into the area’s abundance of top-notch, off-shore fishing locations can flow into a foray into the dense, fascinating corners of the swamp, where there are entire farms devoted to alligators. And woven through it all is the rich Cajun culture and cuisine, which can be absorbed in every small town any time and with great energy for two weeks each February/March when Houma stages an authentic Cajun Mardi Gras.
While Houma-Terrebonne Airport services chartered flights and private jets, the nearest major airport is Louis Armstrong International in New Orleans, which is 44 miles from Houma and served by most major airlines.
Chief among meeting venues, Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center offers a main arena with fixed retractable seating that can accommodate 3,200 people, with additional floor chairs expanding that number to 4,500. The arena is divisible by two or can provide 37,000 square feet of open floor space for exhibits. In the facility’s meeting wing, there is 10,000 square feet of space in five rooms.
Augmenting the civic center are meeting hotels that include the 152-room Ramada Inn and the 144-room Courtyard by Marriott, both of which offer around 5,000 square feet of function space. In addition, the 158-room Quality Hotel has 3,300 square feet of meeting space, and the 104-room Plantation Inn and 97-room Holiday Inn can each accommodate a meeting for up to 300 people.
Two venues in Houma showcase important sides of the area’s character, offering a distinctive setting for a special event. Southdown Plantation is a 19th-century sugar plantation manor house and home to the Terrebonne Museum of history, culture, and art. A reception or dinner can be held in the Buquet Pavilion, a 10,000-square-foot, open-air venue with views of the house and grounds. Alternatively, the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum showcases the relationship between the water and the local people who make their living from the water. The 7,000-square-foot museum can accommodate up to 300 people for a party, but small groups can also use certain charming elements of the building, such as a back porch overlooking the bayou.
The Houma area features a variety of restaurants, from Mexican, to Asian and Italian, but it is hard to pass up the abundance of establishments serving nothing but the best of local cuisine. For authentic Cajun cuisine at its best, go to Big Rock’s Catfish House, Bayou Delight, A-Bear's Cafe, or Boudreau and Thibodeau’s Cajun Cookin’, where not only are gumbo and etouffee on the menu, but also turtle and alligator. For seafood, from crawfish and oysters to crab and shrimp, try Big Al’s, Bogwalk, and 1921 Seafood.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user: Frank Kovalchek