I got off the plane in New Orleans, sweltering in jeans. Why did I wear a long sweater and jeans together? You see, it is mid October, and I am from the East Coast, our weather is only 40° F, not 88° and muggy. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally appreciative of this sudden warmth, but I should have thought about my clothing a bit more! I never thought to anticipate heat of the deep South!
As soon as I got off of the plane, I kind of got giddy because it was my first time in Louisiana! I’m ready for all the adventures about to come my way in this southern journey. A speckling of good eats, adventure and uncovering where to stay were about to unfold! Full disclosure here: I just left and I am going back, because it’s that perfect! Lookout Louisiana!
You all know I am an upscale gal, and super finicky about where I lay my head down at night. Further, I am about feeling like I am welcome! Allow me to share my find of true Southern hospitality at this Cajun Country Bed and Breakfast. Houma, Louisiana is where you want to be!
True Southern Hospitality At This Cajun Country Bed and Breakfast
Just about 45 minutes away from the New Orleans airport, on Bayou Black Drive, sits a lovely southern mansion. Flourishing in bright white, with brightly colored gardenias blooming and other greens lush and thick, the ambiance is welcoming. It’s a gardener’s dream and a home that boasts timeless elegance. Cave and crave to a retreat from the modern world, yet filled with amenities (like WiFi and Direct TV! Woot) !
Welcome To Grand Noir Bayou
Meeting Judge Ellender
The Grand Bayou Noir is as stunning in person as its classic phonetic pronunciation sounds. Large trees with leaves that sway in those southerly breezes stand amidst the property, sealed tight with history and parties unlike any others in the area. For just one moment, I am stunned by the property, mesmerized by its beauty.
Our vehicle is met by a ‘u’ driveway, dressed up by lovely shrubs, awaits our arrival.I see a smaller building on the property, a detached garage, stairs, a breezeway, a courtyard and another home. There’s just to much to revel in for that one moment.
Joni, my girl friend getaway pal for the week tells me who I am about to meet. He is a judge, his dad was a judge and by goodness, they (he and Mrs. Ellender) are like royalty of Houma. Let me gain a bit of composure here. Did I mention that we arrived early because the sea level elevation kicked my bottom for a few hours and I needed to rest? Well it did and I could not wait to just kick up in my digs for a few hours before we would head out to eat!
That moment when I met Judge… (no photos needed, you conjure your own image her, some things best be left to the imagination right?
As we enter the driveway an older gentleman approaches us. His accent thick in Southern Cajun French (that’s the only way I know how to describe it) greets me with a solid handshake. It’s Judge Ellender, one half of the owner of this grand destination known as the Grand Bayou Noir.
Jokingly, Judge starts with me, “your name ends in ‘o’, not like any French person I have met!” — He’s a witty one to say the least. Welcoming and friendly, Judge extends me the offer of the famed Coca-Cola cooler through the breezeway. Inside the cooler is beer and soft drinks. To conquer the sweltering heat I may have to take him up on that offer! Trust me, its balmy and about 88° F, so bottoms up baby!
What Judge really wants me to know is that I am welcome to drink all the beer I want, up to ’24 bottles in a day’ he says! LOL, me, beer? Not a chance!! But he does tell me again that is there for the taking and open 24 hours a day and to enjoy!
The Garçonnière Suite
Southern hospitality to some might be a simple glass of sweet tea, but to others it might be a lovely, “Hello Mam’ kind of thing. Here, true Cajun Country hospitality is where a former Louisiana renowned Judge opens his home to you as a Bed and Breakfast. Where Mrs. Debbie Ellender meets with you for a glass of wine, or a walk through the breezeway. Just wait, there’s more!
Walking up the steps with luggage in my hand was not a real treat (especially in the heat) but it is very manageable. I knew that I was unpacking for a few days and that I only ad to defeat the weights of my luggage one last time on the descent! Once up the steps, I placed my luggage in the room and just stepped back to really take this all in. (Pack light, you will need summer clothing no matter when you go!)
My walk to the top has arrived me to a wrap-around balcony like no other. Adorned with lush and blooming Gardenias and other assorted hanging baskets. Unmistakably Southern vegetation and floral that blooms from the warmth, and my dear gals, it is warm here!
Oh My For The Love Of Southern Hospitality and Architecture!!!
Really, are you ready for this. I opened the door and there was a smell. Not a bad smell, just wood and good clean smells. As Joni told me, “that’s the smell of older plantation homes, the true Southern smell of wood floors and pine ceilings!” I just stood there for a moment and kept on smelling, it was ah-hhhhhaaa-some!
I had arrived. The Garçonnière Suite is everything everyone has been saying and more. Tall windows, with white panes, built-in bookcases, a chandelier for lighting, a window amidst bookcases, a poster bed with a large and fluffy mattress. The floors are truly old wood floors, real oak wood, not the faux stuff people have been putting down. Looking up I gazed at pine ceilings.
Here’s where you can say, ‘If walls could talk!” Large dressers, a television, a couch, a bathroom (with a shower), lace curtains, and then I saw more. A door opens to the side of the bed, and in here I discover, a closet, a refrigerator, and another room.
The Daybed Room
Judge Ellender is so cute as he describes the room to me, “this room is where the brides traditionally gather to polish their nails and such or whatever it is you gals do!” I was cracking up at that! In this room, there are tall cabinets with glass and inside the cabinets are drinking glasses, coffee, teas, mugs, etc.
Inside this room is a daybed, a table, and an additional door. The coffee pot was in here and outside this door, is the shortcut to the hot tub. Yes, a hot tub sits in this secluded wing of the Grand Bayou Noir home. In fact, it overlooks the gardens.
From the back, where the hot tub is located, I see the outdoor bathroom that Judge crafted. It almost looks like a shed, but when you enter, it is so much more. I reference that it looks like a shed because you might be tempted to walk past it, but walk into it, because it is lovely!
Inside The Room
I’m sure you are curious about the room, so let me detail it just a bit more for you. From my suite, I could see the back gardens, the front driveway, the side driveway and the breezeway and gardens. You get it, I had a great view. At night, I would draw the long curtain panels, which easily over-lapped. During the day, I would draw them open.
Grateful to have my own personal bathroom in my suite. The bathroom had a shower, and a shelf. The shelf held 4 gray soft towels, all large and soft. Further, the towel rack offered 2 washcloths, and 2 hand towels. Inside the bathroom cabinet there was additional toilet paper and a hairdryer.
Simple and perfect for what I needed, is how I would describe the bathroom inside the room.
Since I spent very little time on the property (after all y’all I was there to see Houma), I will share with you my walk through the courtyard, so you can see it through my eyes. It’s green, lush, tropical and very welcoming. Grand Bayou Noir does weddings and Judge is the master of ceremony, performing the service.
At night, when this lights up, all I can tell you is it is party perfection. The tents you see were being set up for a double wedding weekend. What you need to know is Mrs. Debbie Ellender never stops nor does her staff. She was out there brooming and cleaning just as hard as the staff to make it all perfect. You could not want more from a host.
I spoke with Mrs. Debbie a bit, and she said, a while ago, she used to host parties all the time, then the parties started to fade. She missed those parties and that is when she started hosting weddings. There is just no detail left undone is what I can tell you. There’s an outdoor kitchen, and an industrial kitchen, it’s all just set up right.
Sauntering throughout the property gives you a true feel for the setting. It’s large, yet you can find a place to capture that moment with someone. It’s local to everything but separate from it all. While the Bed and Breakfast is where the Judge resides, they don’t bother you.
HOUMA Away From Home (lol)
Your home away from home is their home, and you are welcome with open arms. It’s crazy to me, that in today’s times, with how quirky the world and people are, that there are such trusting, and considerate humans willing to open their home and take that chance on strangers.
I guess what you can gather from that is that it is True Southern Hospitality found in Cajun Country, more specifically Houma, Louisiana. There is some great left in our world, you just have to know where to find it!
I was a guest of Houma, Louisiana and a hosted guest of Grand Bayou Noir. I thank them all for their hospitality. Opinions and content are my own, based on my time in Cajun Country! ~ DANA XO .