New Iberia is an interesting place to visit when touring the state of Louisiana. The town dates back to 1779, when it was settled by a group of Malagueños in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun Country. Today, New Iberia is a town that blends Creole, French, Spanish and Native American influences. Visit museums, sample Cajun and Creole cuisine, explore gardens and be part of colorful community celebrations.
Start in the downtown neighborhood, set on the west banks of the Teche River (Bayou Teche). Find a collection of peaceful, oak-shaded streets lined with boutiques, cafés and galleries. Downtown’s Main Street Historic District was awarded the Great American Main Street Award in 2005. Its trilingual — English, French and Spanish — street signs give an idea of the town’s cultural diversity.
Retrace the town’s history at Shadows-on-the-Teche. Learn about the importance of the Teche River at the Bayou Teche Museum. Visit the former home of author James Lee Burke. Browse work by the town’s artisans at galleries such as A&E Gallery.
Hang out with locals at Bouligny Plaza, where musicians give impromptu performances. Shop for homegrown produce and handcrafted art at the plaza’s year-round Tech Area Farmers’ Market. Take a tour of Conrad Rice Mill, one of the oldest-operating rice mills in the U.S.
A short drive from the town center are opportunities for outdoor entertainment. Discover botanical treasures at Rip Van Winkle Gardens and Jungle Gardens. Close to the latter you can uncover the secrets of Louisiana’s famous pepper sauce at Avery Island where the Tabasco® Visitor Center is based. Spot myriad bird life at Spanish Lake, where the town’s first settlers lived.
Watch the flamboyant Mardi Gras parades held in either February or March. Celebrate the town’s agricultural heritage at September’s Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival and Fair. Feast on gumbo, a meat or shellfish stew, at October’s World Championship Gumbo Cook-Off.
New Iberia is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south from Lafayette and 135 miles (215 kilometers) west from New Orleans. Amtrak trains connect the town with various destinations across Louisiana. Come and see why locals call their town the Queen City of the Teche.