By: Brittany Racca
Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Happy New Year! As cliché as it seems, a new year does bring with it new friends, new adventures and new memories, and Iberia Parish is already working on its resolution of bringing all of these to our visitors and locals in 2016.
This new year is going to be an exciting one for Iberia Parish. There will be an all new festival celebrating a character that has shaped our town just as much as the TABASCO® brand that we are known for, which is also unveiling its new experience. Here are a few exciting things to look forward to in 2016.
New places to eat are always exciting, especially in the South where we are known for our delicious entrees. Try the new restaurant, Fratelli's Italian Grill. The authentic Italian restaurant serves pizza, sandwiches, seafood, steak, vegetarian dishes and more. It also has an extensive fine wine selection. Visit their website for more information.
Shop till you drop at Taunt Na Na’s Flea Market. With 33 booth spaces available, Taunt Na Na's Flea Market is the place to shop for a wide range of products offered from several different vendors, such as arts, crafts, antiques, new and used items and much more. The Old Bicycle Store is another new flea market in town offering antiques, collectibles and more.
Another big opening of 2016 is one that has been an anticipated update for the past year…the Avery Island Experience. The TABASCO® restaurant 1868 has been open since August 2015, and Jungle Gardens is already offering bird tours and new signage, but the rest of the island will finish its expansion this month. The centerpiece of the new addition will be a museum featuring rare family artifacts and video installations illustrating the origins and generations of the McIlhenny family and the brand's heritage, dating back to the 1800's.
These installations will also highlight Avery Island's history as well as the company's stewardship of the Island and surrounding environment. The newly revamped and expanded tours will include the greenhouse, mash warehouse and processing, guiding visitors from planting tabasco peppers to aging pepper mash in oak barrels for up to three years, and finally the processing and bottling of TABASCO®. Check back on our blog for a complete walk-through of the tour, after its completion.
The world-famous literary Detective Dave Robicheaux comes home April 8-10 for the Dave Robicheaux Literary Festival. The festival will predominately be in New Iberia's historic district, but will also include events around Iberia Parish. Various venues will celebrate literature and its impact on our parish's culture with storytelling, workshops, academic symposium, theatrical vignettes, music, local cuisine, bourré lessons and a tournament, Dave Robicheaux tours and a 5K run. Visit the James Lee Burke page and click on the festival logo for all your festival needs.
Although these projects are currently in the works and may not be completed by 2016, we are just too excited to not share! A George Rodrigue Park in New Iberia is in the beginning stages, but plans are already underway to honor the New Iberia native and blue dog artist. This pocket park will celebrate Rodrigue's long career as a gifted artist, community leader, arts advocate and philanthropist.
Renovations are also planned for the historic Chuch Alley to turn it into a pocket park reminiscent of Parisian sidestreets, which are famous for their variety and beauty. Some have glass roofs and art instillations, and some are more simple with fountains and benches but no less breathtaking. It is intended to be a mini park, which can host small events or provide additional space for large Main Street activities and connect the New Iberia bike trail. Read more here.
Delcambre recently broke ground on "Shawn's Delcambre Market." After the only grocery store in Delcambre was destroyed by Hurricane Rita 10 years ago, residents had to leave their community to buy groceries. Shawn Sigur, who owns Shawn's Cajun Meats Too in Delcambre, decided to expand and open a second location as a full service grocer. He hopes to have a grand opening sometime before Thanksgiving 2016.