Iberia

Louisiana’s leading sugar-producing parish—home to three of the state’s eleven operational sugar mills—Iberia is named for the Iberian Peninsula and the Spanish people that settled the area. Located on the Bayou Teche, the parish seat of New Iberia is one of Acadiana’s leading economic and cultural outposts. It is the birthplace of artist George Rodrigue and the home of James Lee Burke’s fictional detective Dave Robicheaux. A top local travel destination, New Iberia hosts a variety of annual celebrations, including the Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival, the World Championship Gumbo Cook-Off, the Delcambre Shrimp Festival, Books Along the Teche Literary Festival, and El Festival Español de Nueva Iberia. Nearby, the salt dome of Avery Island has been the home of the McIlhenny family’s Tabasco brand hot sauce since 1868. Avery Island also houses a botanical preserve and bird sanctuary known as Jungle Gardens. History and architecture lovers can visit Shadows-on-the-Teche (a National Trust plantation home and garden), Bayou Teche Museum, and the Conrad Rice Mill and Konriko Company Store (the oldest operating rice mill in America); or take self-guided tours of the New Iberia National Register Historic District and James Lee Burke’s Iberia. Jefferson Island Rip Van Winkle Gardens provides a peaceful garden escape with Asian statues on the banks of Lake Peigneur, tasty Cajun and Creole specialties at Café Jefferson, bird watching at Rip’s Rookery, and well-appointed bed and breakfast cottages. The town of Jeanerette, a sugar capital, once known as “Sugar City,” is home to LeJeune's Bakery, one of the nation’s oldest surviving bakeries (since 1884), and popular purveyor of French bread and ginger cakes. The parish’s southernmost boundary stretches into the Gulf of Mexico, incorporating Marsh Island, a wild bird refuge and offshore fishing destination.  

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