By: Brittany Racca
When the holidays are over, or you just need a vacation from your vacation, discover some world renowned attractions right in your own backyard. A New Iberia staycation is the fun you need to explore our hometown and with so much to look forward to in the new year we've gathered a few options for you to enjoy today, or plan for tomorrow.
Avery Island, Louisiana, the birthplace of TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce, has been owned for over 180 years by the interrelated Marsh, Avery and McIlhenny families. Lush subtropical flora and venerable live oaks cover this geological oddity, which is one of five "islands" rising in atypical and mystical fashion well above south Louisiana’s flat coastal marshes. The island offers the Tabasco factory tour, Restaurant 1868, a museum and a three-mile drive through nature reserve adventure with Jungle Gardens.
Founded by E. A. McIlhenny, the son of Tabasco’s founder, the gardens are home to "Bird City" and 170 acres of extraordinary, beautiful, strange, and useful plants. Customized bird tours for individuals and groups are available.
Historic District Pass:
Experience over 300 years of Iberia Parish history with the New Iberia Historic District Pass! It offers entrance to three attractions for a discounted price, including Shadows-on-the-Teche plantation home, Bayou Teche Museum and Conrad Rice Mill.
The story begins at the Bayou Teche Museum, where you'll 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, 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. 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. Read more about the pass in our detailed blog.
Main Street Festivals:
Attractions aren't the only fun things to do in the National Register Historic District. Events such as the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival, offer literary lovers a unique opportunity to be immersed in stories and local culture with food focused panels or Cajun dance lessons in addition to writer workshops, author discussions and more. Year to year the Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival honors the sugar industry and brings together sugar producing parishes in an all-out 5-day soiree like only Louisianans can throw. It has entertainment, food, fairs, tractors, parades, royalty and more.
The arts take center stage at Shadows Plein Air Art Competition, an outdoor painting event that draws artists from around the nation to compete. Celebrate the Spanish heritage of the region with El Festival Espanol de Nueva Iberia. Every Spring, dragons roam the earth once more at the Acadiana Dragon Boat Races, where paddlers compete and observers eat! March through April, follow the Azalea trail where the flowers frame moss draped oak trees, stately homes and quaint cottages along Bayou Teche. Cruisin Cajun Country Cruise In drives in every May where car enthusiasts gather for food, music and fun, while spectators enjoy free car shows and entertainment. Discover more downtown events on our monthly calendar.
If you've never experienced a Louisiana Mardi Gras, then you haven't been to one of the best parties in the world. New Iberia's downtown Bayou Mardi Gras parade rolls the earliest in the season to make sure you get to attend as many events as possible. Loreauville's Family Affair Mardi Gras parade keeps things family-oriented for those who are worried about the more risque side of the season. Grand Marais Mardi Gras goes all out with floats, bands, dance groups, Mardi Gras royalty, a Grand Marshal, and elaboratly colorful costumes, as well as tons of beads and throws. They also hold contests for most "original" and "ugly" costumes. So, read a few FAQ's about the season, pick up a king cake and get ready to do Mardi Gras like a local.
Book Your Stay:
After all those activies you'll need someplace to rest each night so why not stay in one of our downtown B&B's! There are tons of great options such as St. Peter House right across from St. Peter's Catholic Church, Tensas Tower with its great location on the bank of the Bayou Teche, Estorge-Norton House with its elegant halls, Maison le Rosier which has recently reopened or Chateau Royale and Bayou Chateau with their proximity to local restaurants. Maison le Rosier is also offering a special promo for buy 2 nights get the 3rd night 50% off. Be sure to check out all of the coupons and specials on offer before your visit.
If all of the above wasn't enough, be sure to visit our other attractions Jefferson Island Rip Van Winkle Gardens and Jeanerette Museum.
A mysterious place, Jefferson Island is haunted by the legend that Jean Lafitte, the pirate, buried his treasures under the giant live oaks that would later shelter the Joseph Jefferson home and Rip Van Winkle Gardens. Take a tour of both before visiting Cafe Jefferson for lunch. Visitors can see birds at Rip’s Rookery, located at the corner of Rip Van Winkle and Jefferson Island Roads. The nesting and rearing period is from March through June or July, depending on the weather.
The Jeanerette Museum offers not only tours, but history talks, traveling exhibits and a variety of programs. A video on the planting and harvesting of sugar cane tells the industry's history along with exhibits and antique harvest equipment. There are also exhibits on local history, a swamp room, military room, Mardi Gras room and large collection of pictures of the past in Jeanerette.
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