Friday, January 29, 2010. New Iberia, Louisiana
Figured it was time for a progress map, so here are the long and the close-up views, in addition to some images from recent walks.
Today was rainy. Went down to Avery Island, a few miles south of New Iberia, to visit the Tabasco plant. Avery Island originally was the site of a salt mine. The Indians got salt through an evaporation process before the Europeans came. In 1830 a guy named Marsh took it over and started a sugar plantation in addition to the salt operation. His daughter married Daniel Avery, and their daughter married Edmund McIlhenny, who started making Tabasco Sauce in 1868. His son, Edward, started a bird sanctuary and nature preserve on Avery Island in the 1890s. Edward, also known as "Mister Ned," was quite a guy--adventurer, explorer, nature lover, hot pepper baron.
The factory wasn't making hot sauce today. Some people were busy cleaning and maintaining the equipment, but no little bottles were scooting along the conveyor belts. So I took a drive around the place, through the village where, I assume, many of the workers live. Modest houses, but not shacks. It's way too early in the season for peppers to be growing outside, so I didn't get a chance to see any happy peons stooping in the fields, picking the peppers by hand, which they still do.
Then I drove through the 170-acre nature area, called Jungle Gardens, which used to be Mister Ned's personal estate. Lots of very nice old live oaks and camellia bushes in full bloom. And birds--egrets, mostly. One particularly old oak--called the Cleveland Oak because Mister Ned knew President Grover Cleveland--looked to me to be about 300 years old.
After tomorrow's walk I'll be spending some time visiting John and Joyce Carbaugh, old friends who live in Kaplan, about 30 miles west of here. So if I don't post for a few days, that's why.