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Travel Hack: Downtown Historic Pass

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By: Brittany Racca

Experience over 300 years of Iberia Parish history with the New Iberia Historic District Pass!

The story begins at the Bayou Teche Museum, where you'll explore the Attakapas and Chitimacha tribes that settled along the banks of the Bayou Teche, learn how the sugar and salt industries transformed the area, and view the late George Rodrigue’s studio just as he left it—including the painting he was working on and the paint-splattered floor.

At Shadows-on-the-Teche, you'll meet the Weeks family, wealthy sugar planters along the Bayou Teche who owned almost 300 enslaved people on the eve of the Civil War. Four generations of the family lived in the home from 1834, when construction on the house was completed, to 1958, when William Weeks Hall donated the house, gardens, original furniture, and over 17,000 documents to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Engage your senses on a visit to Conrad Rice Mill, the oldest operating rice mill in the county. Hear the sounds of the machines as the rice is processed, feel the bran removed in processing, and taste one of the mill's many products at the Konriko Company Store.

The pass is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (62 and over), and $9.50 for children (ages 6-17) for a savings of at least 20% on admission to the three attractions. Tickets can be purchased online. The pass can only be used Thursday through Saturday of any given week. Please note the operating times of each historic site and plan accordingly. Due to special events and pre-scheduled tour groups, operating times at each site may vary. Holiday hours may apply. Please call ahead to confirm tour availability.

Bayou Teche Museum:
Step into the Bayou Teche Museum to explore one of the country’s most colorful, bountiful and historically significant areas. Fun for the whole family, interactive exhibits showcase the spicy blend of cultures, artists, industries and lore that sprang from the land surrounding the snakelike curves of the peaceful South Louisiana bayou. New Iberia is the hometown of the late Blue Dog artist, George Rodrigue and the museum houses his studio, which includes many pieces from his student life as well as his final, unfinished painting. And be sure not to miss the beautiful Bayou Teche, just steps from the museum’s doors. For more information, visit BayouTecheMuseum.org.

Konriko Rice Mill:
Experience the charm of a bygone era and genuine Cajun Hospitality at the historic Conrad Rice Mill. Built from cypress and tin in 1912 by local rice farmer Philip Conrad, the mill is America’s oldest operating rice mill. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981, Conrad Rice Mill is a rare surviving example of a factory using turn-of-the-century belt-driven power transmission. A substantial portion of the mill’s original equipment is still in use today. The mill is well known for its rice and seasoning products under the KONRIKO, HOL*GRAIN, and R.M. QUIGGS labels. Tours of the facility begin next door at the KONRIKO Company Store, a replica of an early plantation company store. The store is stocked with these products, as well as other local food and craft items. For more information, visit ConradRice.com.

Shadows-on-the-Teche:
The Shadows-on-the-Teche, National Trust for Historic Preservation site, opened to the public in 1961 with the mission to preserve the buildings, landscape, collections, and historical integrity of the site; to research and interpret through education programs a 19th century southern Louisiana plantation economy and community and their evolution; and to encourage an appreciation of and interest in historic preservation. The Shadows and the National Trust are not-for-profit organizations that are responsible for their own operating budgets and receive no federal funding. In addition, the Shadows does not receive funding from state, parish, or city government. The site supports itself through admissions, special programs and events, and donations to the Friends of the Shadows. For more information, visit ShadowsOnTheTeche.org.