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Ta Bass Co and Remembrance of Things Past

Avery Island, Jeanerette and the New Iberia airport

sunny 10 °C
View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & Bermuda & 2004 Migrating by Mercedes on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Friday 17 December continued
We got back on the road, and went on the New Iberia, and checked into the motel - the BW Inn & Suites. Best Westerns tend to be somewhat uneven in quality because they are individual motels and not really a chain. This one is a cheap motel - it was the least expensive thing I could find in the AAA book. After taxes etc, the $59 a night room was $66.39/night. It also has a pool which I think it's a bit cold for that right now. There is a restaurant on site but we didn't go to it. There is parking for the big rigs and it is right off the highway with a number of fast food places around it. There is no frig. no elevator (2 story hotel) and our room smelled of stale smoke each time we entered. I think maybe the cleaning people smoke. In its favor, I didn't hear a lot of noise from other people through the walls. it has free local calls and an expanded continental breakfast (although not VERY expanded).
BW Inn office

BW Inn office


We didn't check with the visitor's center which was across the street, and it didn't appear to be open the next day - Saturday.

We had dinner at Duffy's Diner.
Duffys

Duffys


Table 'furniture

Table 'furniture

Ceiling Decorations

Ceiling Decorations


This is something like Bert's in Mechanicsville except with Tabasco sauce and red beans and rice. Very cheap and good. They said that they had a new soup - a corn shrimp chowder. So I ordered that. Unfortunately, it only came as a bowl - I could not get it as a cup.
Corn shrimp chowder

Corn shrimp chowder


And because it was good, I ate almost all of it, so then I had no room for the two piece chicken dinner and red beans and rice I ordered, and could not eat it all. I also had a brown cow (a float).
Brown Cow

Brown Cow


I specified root beer, but they also make it with coke. Bob had a shrimp basket and a hot fudge sundae. The whole meal was $22.73.

Then we went a filled up with gas at the Raceway station near the motel. Gas was $1.689/gal
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We first came to New Iberia in June of 1960 because Bob was stationed here to do the last part of his pilot training with the US Navy for the S2F anti-submarine airplane. When Bob finished pilot training in Pensacola, he had such a high rating that he was allowed to chose whatever aircraft type he wanted. His instructor there was devastated that he did not choose jets (because that's what he -the instructor- had wanted, and he ended up as a flight instructor instead. That was not nearly as cool.). The base was closed soon after we left. We wanted to see whether the airport (such as it is) in New Iberia was the old NAS field. Apparently it was a pork-barrel project for New Iberia. Neither the Navy, nor the sugarcane farmers who were displaced really wanted to have a base there.

Saturday 18 December 2004

We ate our breakfast at the hotel. They have toaster waffles and french toast, microwave sausage biscuits, two types of juice (apple and orange), milk, coffee, cold cereal, plain bagels and some pastries. Not as good as the Hampton Inn or the Sleep Inn or even the Super 8. Then we started off for Avery Island. On the agenda for today (after we visit the Tabasco factory and Jungle Gardens) is to go to Jeanerette and try to find the house we lived in, and then visit Shadows on the Teche.

Getting to Avery Island was easy - the road was paved and well signed. The road has deep ditches filled with water on each side.
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They are harvesting cane this time of year, and we see bits of it on the highway, and the plumes of steam from the factories stand out on the skyline. They are also burning over the cane fields.
Cane harvesting

Cane harvesting


There is a body of water near Avery Island (which isn't really an island) with boats in it and a boat ramp, and there is a toll booth to the island,
Looking back at the toll booth

Looking back at the toll booth


Bob remembers going halfway there and then turning around and coming home. We have been unable to figure out why. Maybe we just didn't want to pay the toll. Bob was surprised to have to pay 50 cents toll although I had told him about that. It's called an environmental fee.
Toll explanation

Toll explanation


When we lived here before, only the US highways were paved. We had at least 3 flat tires because the oyster shells that were mixed in with the mud on the roads cut our tires up. But the toll taker said the road has always been paved as long as he's been there so that wasn't the reason we didn't go before.
On Avery Island - Tanks

On Avery Island - Tanks


There were a lot of green tanks and piping all around the island. They no longer give tours of the salt mine. It is now leased to Cargill. Apparently the salt dome also has natural gas and oil, and Bob said that's probably what the tanks were for.
Green Natural Gas tanks

Green Natural Gas tanks

large_100_4349.jpgOil well sign

Oil well sign

Historic marker about the salt mine

Historic marker about the salt mine

Salt mine sign

Salt mine sign

Sign pointing to the store

Sign pointing to the store

Sign about the Pepper fields

Sign about the Pepper fields


Tabasco Factory

Tabasco Factory

Sign about the factory

Sign about the factory


Photo of old lab

Photo of old lab


We went to the factory first, which was free. They have a tour every 20 minutes, and show a video tape about the McIllheny family
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and the production of Tabasco sauce.
Diorama of harvest of chili peppers

Diorama of harvest of chili peppers

Bob "Feeling the Heat"

Bob "Feeling the Heat"


Model of the grounds in the museum

Model of the grounds in the museum


Then we get to go through the factory (which wasn't in operation because it was Saturday). .Beginning of the production line

Beginning of the production line

Factory production line

Factory production line

End of the production line

End of the production line

Exhibit at the factory

Exhibit at the factory


At the end they gave each of us a tiny bottle of Tabasco

Factory

Factory


Then we walked up to the store. I picked up a catalog so I could order stuff and not have to carry it. They had a fish sculpture outside painted in flames swallowing a hot pepper bait. His name was Ta Bass Co. Apparently the local sculpture here is a fish (like the pandas in DC and cows in London).
Ta-BASS-co

Ta-BASS-co

Ta BASS Co information sign

Ta BASS Co information sign


Inside the store

Inside the store


They had some old photos of the old factory.
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Old trees and Spanish moss

Old trees and Spanish moss

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Then we drove over to the "Jungle Gardens"
Jungle Gardens information sign

Jungle Gardens information sign


and Bird Island part.
Bird City information sign

Bird City information sign


Shop and ticket sales

Shop and ticket sales


This is supposed to be a fantastic garden with all kinds of wildlife and an very old Buddha. When we asked the girls in the store/visitor's center what it would cost, they said, "It's $6.50 per person, and there are no birds or alligators" in a very dismissive tone. They obviously thought it was not worth the money, although it is given a "Must See" kind of recommendation in the AAA book.
In the Jungle Garden ticket building

In the Jungle Garden ticket building


So we took their word for it (I knew it had been too cold for the alligators to be out, and I figured I'd see them in the Everglades), and left without going. I took a picture of a white egret that was standing by the road on the way out.
Egret

Egret


It was only 10:45, so we drove back to the New Iberia crossroads. I thought we might start where the old NAS was and from there try to find our old house in Jeanerette. So we drove out Admiral Doyle Drive in the direction of the airport.
We find the old airfield

We find the old airfield


NAS New Iberia 44 Years Later

NAS New Iberia 44 Years Later


Bob did not remember anything of what was around, but we eventually found the hangers,
Hanger

Hanger

Tower

Tower


and then the tower which looked to him like the original tower building.
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He said that on the map, the runways of the current airport were crossways to the ones he remembered. He said they put down parallel runways, but three out of the four of them sank out of sight into the swamp. We also found the operations building (#92) next to the tower,
Old Operations Building

Old Operations Building


and the building that he remembered as the instructional building, which is still a school of some kind,
Classroom Building

Classroom Building


and a building labeled "Administration #23".
Administration Building

Administration Building


From there, we drove back through New Iberia on Admiral Doyle Drive (it was now about 11:15) towards Jeanerette.

There was a lack of rental housing in New Iberia particularly for student pilots whose training was only for six months. We also found out that we had to buy a stove and refrigerator because in Louisiana at that time an unfurnished rental house didn't have appliances included. We stopped looking for a house to rent and went to buy a stove and refrigerator. While we were talking to the appliance salesman, he mentioned that the local grocer (Joe Grisieffi - an Italian in a French Cajan town) had decided that rental houses would be a good investment so he had built two identical ones, one of which was available. This house was in Jeanerette about 12 miles from the base on an unpaved un-named road, and I got my mail General Delivery at the Post Office. It was $50 a month and had two bedrooms. It was in an old sugar cane field. The road was slippery mud after rains and there was a problem with fire ants. Since the "lawn" was an old cane field (full of fire ants) it took Bob a half day of really hard work in the hot Louisiana sun to mow it with a push mower
Bob painting a trunk lid - the power mower that we had to buy behind him on the left

Bob painting a trunk lid - the power mower that we had to buy behind him on the left


There has been so much change in 44 years since we lived there, that we did not really expect to be able to find the place we lived.

In those days, my directions to people wanting to get to our house (which I DID remember - mostly) were to drive out of the base and take that road all the way past where it was paved to where it ended in a cane field. Then to turn left, and go about a quarter mile until they saw a yellow brick school on the left.
Yellow brick school

Yellow brick school


Just before they got to the school to turn right and go until they passed a sheet metal welding shop on the left. Turn right and we were the first house on that road, but not on the corner.

These are the photos from 1960 after we moved into the house
Dining room table

Dining room table


Our new stove in the kitchen

Our new stove in the kitchen

The refrigerator

The refrigerator

Our driveway after a rain

Our driveway after a rain


Of course the road is now paved and does not end in a cane field, but keeps going. We did find the yellow brick school which is now the Jeanerette Middle School about 11:40, but I did not remember that we were to turn before we got there, so we drove around in circles for about 10 minutes
Historic black church

Historic black church

PostOffice where I got my mail

PostOffice where I got my mail

Catholic church

Catholic church

Jeanerette Middle School

Jeanerette Middle School


Welding shop 2004

Welding shop 2004


until I recognized the sheet metal building, and then - eureka - we found the two little houses right where they should be.
The house we rented in 1960 as it was in 2004

The house we rented in 1960 as it was in 2004


It had been remodeled somewhat - Shutters had been added and it had a metal roof instead of a shingle roof. The utility shed had been removed.
Rainbow over our house in 1960

Rainbow over our house in 1960


But the house next door
House next door

House next door


was exactly the same configuration as ours had been, so I figured that the owner had repaired or remodeled. The streets also have names. Our old house is on Wattigny,
Street sign

Street sign


and the road the sheet metal shop is on is Martin Luther King Drive. We tried to find the grocery store of the guy we rented from, but could not.
large_100_4416a.jpgCity Pharmacy and Iberia Bank

City Pharmacy and Iberia Bank

City Pharmacy

City Pharmacy

Old building

Old building


Abandoned building

Abandoned building


We did find
Robie's Grocery

Robie's Grocery


which I thought was where I remembered that I had done my shopping, as the base didn't have a commissary yet.
House

House


We decided to have lunch, and after passing up small local seafood chain place, and Sonic (Bob doesn't like drive-in places), we went to Lil's Kitchen
Lil's Kitchen <br />Open 7 days a week <br />Plate lunches daily <br />Best homemade hamburgers in town

Lil's Kitchen
Open 7 days a week
Plate lunches daily
Best homemade hamburgers in town


opposite Moresi's Foundry. Neither of us remembered this foundry, and Bob cannot understand why, as it was certainly there as it was established in 1865. The 19th century building is a National Historic Landmark.
Moresi's Foundery

Moresi's Foundery


They make items such as cast-iron kettles and custom castings for machinery, and repair the huge grinders that crush sugar cane into juice.

Lil's Kitchen had a limited menu (hamburgers, cheeseburgers, a couple of po'boys, chicken nuggets and 5 or 6 lunch plates) but it was extremely inexpensive.
Menu board

Menu board


While you could carry the food out, there were also four tables. The food was cooked fresh. There were bottled drinks, and our lunch was served in a cardboard "basket". The Saturday Dinners included Smothered Pork Chop, Smothered Meatballs, Spaghetti and Meatballs, BBQ Chicken, BBQ Pork Chop, Fried Shrimp and Fried Crawfish (in season). Choices of sides are rice with gravy, red beans, sweet potatoes, rice dressing and baked spaghetti. And you get a roll with each dinner. I had a
Shrimp po'boy $4.95

Shrimp po'boy $4.95


and Bob had a hamburger, and lunch was less than $10.
Bob's burger $2.75

Bob's burger $2.75


I talked to Lil, and she remembered the name of our landlord. Bob thought it began with a W and that's why the street was named Wattigny, but I remembered a G sound, like Joe or Giovanni. But my memory for names is definitely quirky, so I wasn't really sure. The actual guy's name was Grisieffi. His son is still in town she said.

After lunch we saw the Jeanerette Bicentennial Park and Museum and Chamber of Commerce was right across the street, so we drove over there.
According to Baldwin's "Guide to the Museums of Louisiana" 'Le Beau Petit Musee'
Tracing 200 years of the sugarcane industry...also features a Swamp Room, cypress industry displays, and a Victorian bedroom. There are works by local artists and crafters, and an annex includes black history and Mardi Gras Rooms... (every place in Louisiana seems to have a Mardi Gras section) Pictures and artifacts from cypress boom days include the 19th century cypress patterns used in the manufacture of gears for sugar mills, sawmills, salt mines, rice mills, and steamboats..In the Victorian bedroom, examples of turn-of-the-century lace, tatting, crochet and French embroidery, all handmade, vie for your attention.
Entrance to Museum

Entrance to Museum


Side of the museum yard

Side of the museum yard

Museum grounds

Museum grounds


Museum yard

Museum yard

Sign on the museum grounds

Sign on the museum grounds

Front door of the main museum building

Front door of the main museum building


There was a little old lady there (probably about our age) and she let us in (admission $3 each) and we talked a long time. I remembered the names of the children that lived in the other identical house were Kevin, Margot and the baby Reed, but I didn't remember the first names of the parents other than that they were both Herberts (pronounced A bear) but were unrelated. It turned out that Kevin (who was about 5 when we lived there) was her son's best friend, and she knew them well. They were Ann and RL (Roy). She said they had both died of cancer (they both smoked).

I asked if there had been a Presbyterian church in town, because that was the church we had gone to and we hadn't been able to find it. When I went to the ladies circle meetings, at which I was the youngest person there by at least 40 years, it was pretty common for them to be talking about someone, and when I inquired, they would think a minute and then tell me that the person they were talking about had been dead for some number of years. But there was no longer a Presbyterian church. She confirmed that there had indeed been such a church, but it had also been torn down and those who attended had to go to a neighboring town. She had a picture of it.
Photo of the Presbyterian Church at the museum

Photo of the Presbyterian Church at the museum


She also knew that the grocery store of our landlord had been torn down, which was why we couldn't find it.
7.5 foot Canebrake rattler in the Swamp Exhibit

7.5 foot Canebrake rattler in the Swamp Exhibit


Bobbin holder

Bobbin holder


Tools

Tools

Exhibit

Exhibit

Mardi Gras Exhibit

Mardi Gras Exhibit

Jeanerette Sugar Company diorama

Jeanerette Sugar Company diorama

Models of buildings of Jeanerette

Models of buildings of Jeanerette


She took us back into a little building which was a former bridge tender's house
Bridge tender's house

Bridge tender's house


Sign on the side of the museum

Sign on the side of the museum


and showed us a video on the sugar cane industry which actually answered a lot of the questions we didn't know we had.
Sugar exhibit in the museum

Sugar exhibit in the museum


She gave us a package of raw sugar and two Louisiana oranges.
Machinery in the back of the museum grounds

Machinery in the back of the museum grounds

Machinery in the museum yard

Machinery in the museum yard


On the way out of town we passed on of Jeanereatte's sugar mills
One of the sugar mills that Moresi serviced

One of the sugar mills that Moresi serviced

Another part of a sugar mill

Another part of a sugar mill

Sugar factory

Sugar factory


Jeanerette Sugar

Jeanerette Sugar


Houses

Houses


And we headed for the last thing on our list for today - Shadows on the Teche

Posted by greatgrandmaR 18:49 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Shadows on the Teche and Historic New Iberia

Elegantly Evoking Past Plantation Culture

sunny 12 °C
View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & Bermuda & 2004 Migrating by Mercedes on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

The Louisiana Byways map includes this section - Morgan City, Franklin, Jeanerette, New Iberia and St Martinville, There are little signs with red antique cars on them all over Louisiana marking Scenic Byways. The New Iberia website says:
"The Bayou Teche Scenic Byway follows a meandering moss-draped, oak tree-lined course through lush vegetation into the geographical heart of Acadiana. Following closely along the banks of the region’s most popular waterway, this picturesque route provides a firsthand glimpse of Cajun culture. Thousands of years ago, the present course of the Bayou Teche was the main channel of the Mississippi River, so you’ll also get a unique geological perspective of how the rich agricultural lands on this route were formed."
Bayou Teche section of the Louisiana Byways map

Bayou Teche section of the Louisiana Byways map


I had been very VERY disappointed in the tour we took to Oak Alley from New Orleans. It did not live up to expectations. When we lived in Jeanerette, we had made a trip to Oak Lawn in Franklin At the time we visited, Oaklawn was in DIRE need of paint. I do not remember whether we went inside or just visited the gardens.
Front of Oaklawn Manor 1960 needing paint

Front of Oaklawn Manor 1960 needing paint

Back of Oaklawn needing paint

Back of Oaklawn needing paint


The manor house (c 1837) was originally the home of an Irishman Alexander Porter who was successful politically and as a sugar planter, but not successful in leaving behind family members to inherit his plantation.
Back view of Oak Lawn

Back view of Oak Lawn


His wife and all his children died before he did. After he died in 1844, the plantation was inherited by his brother who also died. After the Civil War, his brother's wife had to sell the house to a wealthy New Yorker. In the early 1920s the estate was bought by the Barbour family, restored and opened to the public. Unfortunately, Captain Barbour passed away in 1930; but his widow continued to live there for nearly thirty years. The Barbours' daughter, Lucile married Thomas J. Holms II, a man from Chicago, Illinois, and they returned to live there permanently in the 1950's. When we visited in 1960, it was when the Holms' were in charge.
Outbuilding with a false front

Outbuilding with a false front

Ferns and other plants in the garden

Ferns and other plants in the garden


In 1963 (after our visit), Tom and Lucie sold Oaklawn to George B. Thomson, a young man form Crowley, Louisiana. He and his wife painted the exterior which required 500 gallons of paint. Just one year after the Thomsons moved in, hurricane Hilda cost the lives of 44 cedars along the property's Cedar Walk.
Cedar Walk before Hurricane Hilda

Cedar Walk before Hurricane Hilda


Bob took my picture here but it is blurred because he did not realize that he had to hold the camera really still because of the shade on the Cedar Walk.

So I was anxious to see whether Shadows on the Teche would be a more authentic experience. We drove out main street towards New Iberia, and along the Old Spanish Road with all the mansions on the bayou side.
Main Street from the car window

Main Street from the car window


East Main Street between Phillip and Center Streets which is a three-quarter-mile long district that more or less follows the course of Bayou Teche as it meanders downstream from the center of town. There are 71 buildings within the district that date between c. 1890 and c.1930. It is on the walking tour of the city. Eventually we got to Shadows on the Teche and all the signs said to go to the visitor's center across the street first. But there didn't seem to be anything that looked like a visitor's center there - it looked like a bank.

Eventually after going around the block about 3 times (because the street was one way),
Main Street

Main Street


we turned into the bank parking lot (it was Saturday afternoon so we didn't think we'd get into trouble) and saw the sign on the side of the building that said it was the visitor's center. It was on the side away from the traffic, so you'd have to look back at to see it.
Main Street in front of Shadows-traffic is one way towards you

Main Street in front of Shadows-traffic is one way towards you


Visitor's Center sign

Visitor's Center sign

Bob going in the visitor's center

Bob going in the visitor's center


We paid our money ($6.25 each for over 62) and took the tour.
large_100_4468.JPGexhibit in the visitors center

exhibit in the visitors center


At the visitor's center, I found out that the reason that I did not tour Shadows when we were here before because it did not open to the public until 1961 which was the year after we left. It had been in the original family that built it until the last member died in 1958, one day after signing a contract to give it to the United States as a National Historic Landmark. It has almost all of the original furnishings (unlike Oak Alley) and extensive documentation.
Books for sale at the visitor's center

Books for sale at the visitor's center


There is a gift shop at the Shadows visitor's center.

This was another place that wouldn't let me take pictures inside because of 'security'. Personally if I were going to steal something, I wouldn't need a camera for that - I could use my Mark I eyeball. But at least they told us up front. If the British Museum with far more valuable stuff will allow photographs, I don't see any excuse for these other places not to allow them.
Le Rosier Country Inn sign - Photographed while walking to Shadows

Le Rosier Country Inn sign - Photographed while walking to Shadows


The docent who was walking with us gave us to understand that it had formerly been the home of one of the Shadows supervisory employees. It isn't mentioned on the Inn website, although I know that the Shadows land once extended from the river out to the Burger King near US 90, so it would seem entirely probable that this home was inside that zone. The main house dates from 1870.
Guide

Guide


Shadows - Front view

Shadows - Front view

Previous owners preferred approach

Previous owners preferred approach

More usual photo of the street side

More usual photo of the street side

Plaque

Plaque


Gable end from the front

Gable end from the front


River side

River side


The side facing the river

The side facing the river

Porch with outside stairs

Porch with outside stairs

looking up the stairs

looking up the stairs


Me reflected taking a picture of the window

Me reflected taking a picture of the window

Kitchen from the window

Kitchen from the window

large_6d857fe0-c1bf-11e8-928a-c565d4435049.jpgDining room sideboard from outside the window

Dining room sideboard from outside the window


large_100_4489.jpg
large_100_4480.jpglarge_eceecc60-c1be-11e8-928a-c565d4435049.jpgPond on the grounds

Pond on the grounds

Graves at Shadows on the Teche in New Iberia

Graves at Shadows on the Teche in New Iberia

Bayou Teche from Shadows on the Teche

Bayou Teche from Shadows on the Teche


One of the gates

One of the gates

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large_8c2b4380-c1bf-11e8-b1e7-ef2b9ef91f50.jpg
After we finished the house tour, we wandered around the gardens and then took the bayou-front boardwalk.
large_100_4513.jpg
The boardwalk runs along Bayou Teche beginning at the end of Weeks Street, behind Shadows-on-the-Teche, and continuing to Duperier Street Bridge. This short boardwalk has informational signs along its length that talk about the use of the Teche to float logs to market,
Sketch of the Teche per 1779

Sketch of the Teche per 1779


and about the steamship history of New Iberia
Steamship History poster

Steamship History poster


The Lafayette paper had and article which said:"...the mallards swimming along the bank of the Bayou Teche. The ducks followed the bank along the wooden boardwalk without an audience. "An alligator painted onto a sign identifying the “Bayou Teche Boardwalk” appears to walk along the planked path that edges the bayou just a block off Main Street, next door to the historic antebellum home, Shadows-on-the-Teche. The boardwalk is lined with old-fashioned street lamps. "The walk follows the bayou to Duperier Street where the signals flash and the arms go down to warn the traffic that the bridge is about to open at Duperier Street. The bridge splits in half, raising on each side. "But the ducks are the only traffic in the water..." Notice: 4 hours advance notice required for bridge opening

Notice: 4 hours advance notice required for bridge opening


Time line on the wall opposite Shadows side gate

Time line on the wall opposite Shadows side gate


The time line pictured shows the nomadic Paleo Indians crossing the Bering straits in 15,000 BC, LaSalle claiming the land for France in 1682, the Indians along the Teche in 1735, the first Africans 1750, and the Arcadians in 1765.

The regular history of European occupation started in 1779 when a group of Spaniards from Malaga founded the town of "Nueva Iberia" on the third great bend of the river. The French referred to the town as "Nouvelle Ibérie" and the English called it "New Town". The legislature resolved the situation in 1847 with the compromise name of New Iberia.

It is the only town in present day Louisiana to be founded by Spaniards during the colonial era. But the site was too small for the number of settlers, and many moved into the area which became called Spanish Lake where they became planters and ranchers. The town area was still confined because most of the land along the river belonged to large plantations such as "Shadows on the Teche". All that remains of what used to extend out to the present day highway I-49/US 90 along Louisiana route 14 is the house, which is now a property of the National Historic Trust.

The time line continues after the founding of New Iberia by the Spanish in 1779 with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and Louisiana becoming a state (the first one from the Louisiana Purchase) in 1812.

Progress in New Iberia has not been smooth sailing. In 1839 there was a yellow fever epidemic. Then the Civil War laid waste to the agricultural progress of the region. In 1865 and 1866, Mississippi River floods destroyed much of the cotton, corn, and sugarcane of the region, followed by freezing temperatures and infestation of insects. Again in July 1867 there was another yellow fever epidemic which resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.

According to "The History of New Iberia" by Glenn Conrad ".. in June 1870, fire broke out in a store on New Iberia's Main Street, resulting in the destruction of approximately one-half of the town's commercial district."

The recovery of the town from these disasters began in late 1879, when the railroad (planned before the Civil War) was built and the first passenger train pulled into New Iberia from New Orleans. Later lines were established to Avery Island and to Houston. A new industry was introduced in the 1880s—lumbering of the great virgin cypress forests

Mr. Conrad continues: "It is said that New Iberia produced trainload after trainload of cypress shingles to roof homes in Kansas and Nebraska and supplied homeowners of the Midwest with cypress cisterns."

During the 1880 and 1890s were also established brick manufactuing, founderies, food processing plants, a wagon works (for transporting the cane, and for sale to Hollywood for western movies) and sugar mills. Although Main Street was still unpaved, an interurban trolley line was built to Jeanerette.

On the night of October 10, 1899 at 6 pm, during a great drought, a fire laid waste to nearly one half of the central business district of the town which had been built of wood. Heroic bucket brigades kept the destruction confined to one square block

A last excerpt from The History of New Iberia "The rebuilt stores were constructed of brick with metal roofs and decorative metal facades. Today many of the buildings built in 1900 still stand, albeit with updated facades. One building, which served as a firebreak because it was constructed of brick and had a metal roof, the Gouguenheim Building, has been recently restored to its original turn-of-the-century appearance."
End of timeline

End of timeline


We walked down to the bascule bridge.
Houses across the Bayou from Shadows

Houses across the Bayou from Shadows

large_1832465-Bayou_Teche_Saint_Martinville.jpg
Down the Teche from the boardwalk

Down the Teche from the boardwalk

Bridge on Bridge Street

Bridge on Bridge Street

Another view of the bridge

Another view of the bridge

large_100_4521.jpg
Bayou Teche from Bridge Street on the bridge

Bayou Teche from Bridge Street on the bridge

Standing on the bridge with the tender's house

Standing on the bridge with the tender's house


It is interesting to note that there are no traffic arms to go down over the road if the bridge is opened.
Water from the bridge

Water from the bridge

Upstream from the bridge

Upstream from the bridge


There is an interesting town walking tour listed on the New Iberia website. I found some photos (but not all) to match up with the tour. It includes:
1-The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany (303 West Main Street) constructed in 1858,and used as a field hospital during the Civil War
Picture of the church in the Jeanerette museum

Picture of the church in the Jeanerette museum


2- First United Methodist Church (108 Jefferson Street) erected in 189l in Gothic Revival style.
# 2 First United Methodist Church (108 Jefferson)

# 2 First United Methodist Church (108 Jefferson)


3- Old Mt. Carmel Academy (109 Bridge Street) built around 1826 as the home of Henry F. Duperier, it later became a girls’ school operated by the Sisters of Mt. Carmel and today is known as Place Eugenie.
4- The Railroad Depot (Railroad Avenue) built as a passenger depot for the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1912.
5- (300 East Main St) The pictured old post office builting, constructed in 1903 and used as a post office until 1965.
Walking Tour #5 - Schwing Insurance Building

Walking Tour #5 - Schwing Insurance Building

Old Post Office building

Old Post Office building


6- Shadows on the Teche (317 East Main Street) Built in 1834 by David Weeks, sugarcane planter
7- The Evangeline Theatre (29 East Main Street) First opened as a movie theatre in 1930 now is known as "The Sliman Theatre for the Performing Arts."
# 7 The Evangeline Theatre (29 East Main Street)

# 7 The Evangeline Theatre (29 East Main Street)


The walking tour website says: "First opened as a movie theatre in 1930 by the Sliman family, the theatre closed in 1960 and stayed dormant and unoccupied until 1994, when a total restoration began following its donation to the City by the Sliman family.": "State Representative Bo Ackal initiated efforts to acquire funding to preserve this "Art Deco" gem and restore it to its useful purpose for the community.
8- Statue of Hadrian (Weeks and St. Peters Streets) Hadrian, Roman Emporer 117 A.D. - 138 A. D. was noted as a builder and financier. This one-ton antiquity sculpted from life in 127 A.D. came to New Iberia in 1961 from Rome via London and New Orleans.
9- The Gebert Oak (541 East Main Street) planted in 1834 was large enough for a child to climb in to watch the Yankee troops march into New Iberia during the Civil War.
10- East Main Residental District (East Main Street between Phillip and Center Streets) with 71 buildings that date between c. 1890 and c.1930.
#10 East Main Residental District from Shadows

#10 East Main Residental District from Shadows

Historic Downtown of New Iberia

Historic Downtown of New Iberia


Then we walked back to the car
Main business district

Main business district

Store or mini mall

Store or mini mall


Bob walking past display windows

Bob walking past display windows

Cafe from across the street

Cafe from across the street


Main Street in New Iberia from corner of Weeks

Main Street in New Iberia from corner of Weeks

When it came time to go out for dinner, we went to Ryan's Steakhouse, Seafood and Bakery.
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I was unaware of this chain (I thought it was a local place) until after we ate at this one in New Iberia. It is apparently like the Golden Coral, the difference being that you can get the meat on the buffet in addition to at the counter. The restaurants are from PA to GA and from Iowa to the eastern part of TX but the only one in MD is in Hagerstown (which I don't get to very often), although there is one in Summerville where my son lives. They have different menus for the different days of the week, and this is about what they had when we were there on Saturday - Carved Turkey w/ Gravy, Cornbread Dressing, Baked Chicken (seasoning may vary), Mahvelous Meatloaf, Baked Salmon or Whitefish, Sliced Ham, Grilled Chicken Breasts, Homestyle Chuck Roast w/ Vegetables, Fried Chicken, Chicken Pot Pie, Pizza, Smoked Rope Sausage
Part of the dessert buffet area

Part of the dessert buffet area

Deserts

Deserts


Dinner was $25.01 including the tip.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 11:46 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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