Southdown Plantation and Museum is located in Houma approximately 60 miles southwest of New Orleans and 100 miles southeast of Lafayette via US Hwy 90. Take US Hwy 90 to the exit for LA Hwy 311. Turn right off the exit onto 311 South toward Houma. Continue on Hwy 311 to the traffic light at St. Charles Street (LA 664). Turn right on St. Charles Street, then turn left on Museum Drive (across from shopping plaza). The entrance to Southdown (1208 Museum Dr.) will be on the left. Park and enter at the Gift Shop & Admission building.
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 Terrebonne Museum. In 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.