Louisiana's Garden of Eden: Iberia Parish
Iberia Parish characterizes Southern Living with grand homes and gardens, swamps lined with ancient oaks draped in moss, and lazy bayous winding their way alongside historic downtowns.
Rising above the bayous, grassy marshlands, and prairies upon ancient domes of salt, lies the Eden of Iberia Parish. Jefferson Island is a mysterious place shrouded in legends of pirates, buried treasure, and Indian lore. It is now home to Rip Van Winkle Gardens and Joseph Jefferson Mansion. Joseph Jefferson’s love for fishing, nature, and painting led to the establishing of this lush garden paradise and mansion on the shore of Lake Peigneur. Café Jefferson--nestled in a grove of a dozen ancient live oaks with its glassed-in porch--offers a breath-taking view of the gardens and Lake Peigneur. In the lush garden paradise, you will see gorgeous plants and Japanese tea houses! Peacocks, a wishing well, lotus garden, birds, and butterflies all combine for an enjoyable afternoon!
On the Hot Side of Iberia Parish is Avery Island, the birth place of TABASCO brand Pepper Sauce. The island is a natural paradise, inhabited by exotic plant and animal species from around the world. Avery’s Island most spectacular feature, the Jungle Gardens, was developed by the late Edward Avery McIlhenny. The camellias, azaleas, and tropical plants make a beautiful landscape when in season.
There are rookeries--called “Bird City”--where you can sit and observe nesting birds or relax in a Chinese Garden that contains a Buddha sculpture dating back to 1000 A.D.
Called the “Queen of the Teche”, New Iberia’s Main Street features The Shadows-on-the-Teche Plantation Home and Gardens, which was built between 1831 and 1834 for sugar planter David Weeks. The home is filled with period antiques, and the grounds contain centuries-old live oak trees and formal gardens. It is listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
For more information about Iberia Parish and its many attractions, visit www.iberiatravel.com.