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Friday, February 25, 2011

New Iberia

I needed a day off badly. And although the pressure of running a business certainly takes its toll, one of the positives is that I make my own schedule. Not wanting to think about work at all today, I decided I would set out to explore and take some photos. I consulted the list of potential topics for the blog and decided today would be a good day to drive out to New Iberia – a cute little Cajun town I had been through a couple years ago. As an added bonus, my wife was off work today, so she joined me on the expedition. So I guess this one wasn't “solo,” but I figure you'll forgive me.

New Iberia traces its history all the way back to 1779, when it was settled by a group of Malaguenian colonists. As I think we've touched on before in this blog, South Louisiana Cajun/Creole culture is largely a mix of French and Spanish influence. Malaguenian refers to the town of Malaga in Spain. New “Iberia” of course refers to the Iberian penninsula. My wife and I primarily just explored the downtown area. Let's take a look.

schwing insurance agency building

main street, new iberia

The home pictured below is Shadows on the Teche. The Malaguenians arrived in the area via Bayou Teche, which runs alongside Main Street. Shadows on the Teche was built in the 1830s for sugarcane planter David Weeks. It is a National Historic Landmark.

shadows on the teche

Shadows on the Teche has a number of very handsome homes as neighbors.

main street home, new iberia

main street home, new iberia

Some were decorated for Mardi Gras.

main street mardi gras decorations

main street home, new iberia

main street law firm office

The St. Peter's College Grotto is a replica of the Our Lady of Lourdes grotto in France.

st. peters college groto

posts and porches apartments

main street building

ford, jewelry, ford

main street building

The Evangeline Theater was originally a wholesale grocery, but converted to a movie house in 1929. It is listed in the National Register of Historical Places.

sliman theater for the performing arts

main street view

pair of main street buildings

main street opulence

new iberia side street

The Essanee Theater dates to 1937.

essanee theater

I wouldn't recommend stepping out to the balcony.

don't step on the balcony

new iberia side street

Best I can tell, they really do race alligators.

the great gator race

main street view

new iberia graffiti

la petite mall

This monument highlights the Spanish heritage of the area.

bouligny monument

tuxedo rentals

The Gouguenheim dates to 1894. This is apparently one of only a few buildings that survived a large fire that destroyed much of downtown New Iberia in 1899.


I bet this is the only sushi bar in the world named “Bojangles.”

bojangles sushi


ticket taker

st. peters catholic church

Finally, we were hoping to find some good home cookin' while we were in New Iberia, but it didn't work out. Instead, we stopped at the famous Mulate's in Breaux Bridge (a.k.a. “the Crawfish Capitol of the World”). Suffice it to say we experienced it but probably won't go back.

mulates entrance

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