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Spotlight: New Iberia

Spice up your travels by visiting the home of Tabasco

The small city of New Iberia on the Bayou Teche traces its history back to 1779, when Andalusian settlers moved into the area. French Acadians from Nova Scotia (later known as Cajuns) settled in the area not long after, and today the city and its surrounding region are best known for Cajun and Creole food and culture, particularly its biggest export: Tabasco Sauce, which has been produced and bottled on the nearby Avery Island for almost a century and a half.

Today, visitors can take walking tours along the city’s East Main Street residential district. Main Street is home to the Bayou Teche Museum, which features cultural artifacts from the Bayou Teche region and is open Thursday through Saturday throughout the year. New Iberia also has the oldest rice mill in the U.S. that still uses a belt-driven power to this day. Other attractions include the antebellum Shadows-on-the-Teche, a National Historic Landmark mansion flanked by tall old oak trees coated in drooping Spanish moss.

Courtesy of Iberia Parish CVB

Courtesy of Iberia Parish CVB

Gardens and Birds

Gardens are another big attraction in the city, from the 25-acre Rip Van Winkle Gardens that wrap around the Joseph Jefferson Mansion to the gardens surrounding Antique Roseville, also known as the Renoudet Cottage, which now houses a restaurant and tea room. The grounds provide a habitat to over 100 types of antique roses as well as native plants ranging from cypress trees to Louisiana irises. The city also has a replica of the Grotto of Lourdes in France, which has beautifully landscaped grounds that include a gigantic oak tree that’s more than 150 years old.

One of the most spectacular natural sites in the area is the 200-acre Jungle Gardens, featuring plants from around the world. This includes varietals developed on the island by the garden’s founder, Edward Avery McIlhenny, an accomplished botonist and founder of Tabasco.

Tabasco Sauce

Just outside of New Iberia, Avery Island is home to Louisiana’s famous Tabasco brand of pepper sauce, developed by the McIlhenny Company in 1868 and now sold around the world. Visitors to the factory can learn about the aging process of Tabasco Sauce and try samples of the company’s lesser-known sauces and related products (including jelly beans made in conjunction with Jelly Belly) at the on-site Tabasco Country Store. Tours take place every day (except on major holidays), and visitors can watch pepper sauce being bottled from Monday through Thursday.

The new Avery Island experience gives visitors a chance to sample great Cajun dishes on a Tabasco Food Tour. Expanded offerings,a new visitor center and a Creole-cottage cafeteria-style restaurant will add to the experience.

Courtesy of Iberia Parish CVB

Courtesy of Iberia Parish CVB


There’s no shortage of festivals in New Iberia. In March, the Great Gator Race, a fundraiser for a local organization that supports rural Louisiana communities, features a race of some 5,000 plastic alligators along the Bayou Teche. In the same month, the Acadiana Dragon Boat Festival brings out teams of dedicated rowers and plenty of local spectators.

Other festivities include the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff—held in the second weekend in October—and the Cajun Hot Sauce Festival. The city’s best-known event is arguably the Annual Sugar Cane Festival, now in its 74th year, which honors the sugar industry with parades and live music performances.

For More Information

Iberia Travel
Louisiana Office of Tourism