Renovations continue at Houmas House

Houmas House Plantation has drawn people from around the world for decades.  There are big renovations underway, and the owner has done it his way.

Houmas House, which dates back to the 1700's, has been called a jewel of the Mississippi River.  It has been the jewel of owner Kevin Kelly for 10 years.

Kelly has dramatically upgraded the facility, which boasts thousands of visitors each month.  The latest addition: cabins.

"From the beginning my view was that this would be a full service facility to do many things," said Kelly. "But when I went to get permits, we found out other things. So we had to go through a whole process of hearings and then it was finally determined - yes we can do anything of tourist nature."

Kelly's cabins are all unique.  Original paintings dot the walls, and the bed frames are all authentic.  All designed to keep the old world charm of the property.

But the road to the cabins was a journey with many road blocks.  Man-made road blocks, according to Kelly.

"It took about seven years to get permits to do this," explained Kelly. "We had some opposition where some people, it was some peoples' belief that a historic plantation, though it is a tourist place, that it shouldn't have places to stay.  It shouldn't be a hotel or bed and breakfast or inn."

One of the issues the naysayers pointed to was the lack of sewer treatment capacity to handle the additional cabins.  So Kelly decided if he couldn't go with them, he would go around them.  He constructed his own sewer treatment plant on the property - out of the guests' way of course.

"There was more here, so we had to build one to handle what we're doing here," said Kelly. "It's quite a large system and it took a while to put it in and get it permitted."

Kelly picks his words carefully when describing the ordeal he went through to get Houmas House to this point.  He paid $2.9 million for the plantation.  He's silent on the cost of renovations, and optimistic about the future.

"So the idea is to live here in a very luxurious manner, be able to sit on the porch sit under the alley of trees we have here and just have a great time," said Kelly.

And of course, stroll over the levee to enjoy Old Man River.

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