Vacation West: Tourism Spending Up In New Iberia
Can’t be too far away from the office?
No summer vacation fund?
Head west on US-90 for about two hours and twenty minutes and you’ll find accessible overnight and day-tripping vacation opportunities in one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in Louisiana.
Iberia Parish, that includes Avery Island, Delcambre, Jeanerette, Jefferson Island, Loreauville and New Iberia, has been enjoying one of the highest growth rates in direct tourism spending, earning and employment of all Louisiana parishes – 14 percent from 2016 to 2018.
The Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism’s May 2019 report on tourism spending in Louisiana parishes for 2018 also found the Lafayette Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), that includes New Iberia, had the second-highest growth rate in both tourism earning and employment, nine percent from 2016 to 2018, second only to the New Orleans and Metairie MSA’s 11 percent growth rate.
To celebrate, the Iberia Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau created the Summer Daze social media photo and video contest for locals and visitors to show the world their summer fun in Iberia Parish.
The contest runs through Saturday, Aug. 31, and, to enter, participants who vacation in Iberia Parish are asked to use the hashtag #OnlyIberia when posting their captured moments on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Photos can be tagged, emailed to the Bureau or posted directly to its Facebook page.
The public will vote for the winner who will receive a summer vacation prize and two VIP passes to all of Iberia Parish’s attractions including the Bayou Teche Museum, the Conrad Rice Mill, the Jeanerette Museum, Jefferson Island Rip Van Winkle Gardens, Shadows-on-the-Teche and the Tabasco Factory and its Jungle Gardens.
When in New Iberia, snap some pics of your steak shish kebab and strawberry spinach feta salad at two of its newest eateries.
At Shashlik Grill, 241 W. Main St., (shashlik, pronounced shash-lick, is a Russian word for the specific style of barbeque prepared there), summer patrons can order barbeque meats including brisket, chicken, pork ribs and pulled pork served in sandwiches or lunch plates with three sides. The menu also offers daily soups including chicken spinach tasso, chicken tortilla, corn and crab bisque and gumbos. Don’t skip desserts like Bavarian cream fruit parfaits, chocolate toffee, lava cake with ice cream, pecan pralines and white chocolate bread pudding.
At A Spot for Tea, an Acadian Tea Room, at 108 E. Main St., this full-service tea room serves up soups, salads, sandwiches, beer and wine along with a selection of locally made cheeses. Desserts include Belgian chocolate mousse cake, hot fudge chocolate explosion cake, Limoncello mascarpone cake, pineapple upside-down cake, sticky toffee cake and seven variations of both cheesecake and macarons.
There’s also live entertainment and special events on select nights.
On Tuesdays and Saturdays, treat yourself to a trip to the Teche Area Farmers Market, at Bouligny Plaza, 102 W. Main St., where you can sample locally grown produce and homemade products by area artists, crafters and farmers. Expect to find bread and fresh baked goods, candies, herbs, honey, jams and jellies, and birdhouses, ceramics, garden benches, handcrafted cypress yard objects, wooden bowls and utensils and more.
Every Wednesday, at the GLC Farmers Market, 6110 Loreauville Rd., local farmers sell honey, homemade pies, plants, produce and other items grown locally at the Gonsoulin Land & Cattle Farm from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Grass-fed beef, lamb and pork and are also available at the meat market during this time.
On Saturday, Aug. 10, 24 and 31, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Beats on the Bayou will present Side Show (70s swamp pop to 80s funk), 5th Avenue (golden oldies and 70s, 80s and 90s) and Nola Rouge (variety) respectively.
Tickets are $10 and admission is open to the public, but if you are vacationing at the Isle of Iberia RV Resort, 911 NW Bypass, Hwy. 3212, entertainment is included.
From Wednesday, August 14 to Sunday, Aug. 18, the Delcambre Shrimp Festival, at the Delcambre Shrimp Festival Grounds, 411 S. Richard St., will honor the shrimping industry, that accounts for 15,000 jobs and an annual impact of $1.3 billion for Louisiana, with a boat parade, carnival rides, fais-do-dos, a food court that will serve up boiled shrimp, fried shrimp, shrimp salad, shrimp sauce piquante, queens’ pageants, a shrimp cook-off and more.
On Friday, Aug. 16, the National Barrel Horse Association Show, at SugArena at the Acadiana Fairgrounds, 713 NW Bypass, Hwy. 3212, in New Iberia, will host barrel races for members and non-members. Exhibitions start at 6:00 p.m., and the show starts at 7:45 p.m.
On Friday, Aug. 23, Jefferson Island Rip Van Winkle Gardens is opening its doors for two special dinner seatings from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Patrons are invited to stroll through the semi-tropical gardens nestled in a grove of 350-year-old live oaks and then feast on entrees including crabmeat au gratin, crawfish etouffeé, and eggplant Michelle at Café Jefferson’s glassed-in porch scenically positioned by Lake Peigneur.
When exploring New Iberia, get ready for your close-up. The Lifetime Channel, in conjunction with COTR FILM, LLC, will be filming a Christmas movie around town. Pre-production and actual filming take place through Saturday, September 7.
Business owners and New Iberia citizens who want to gain exposure on a global level by being a part of the project are encouraged to e-mail COTRFILM19@gmail.com.
And you can take some of Iberia Parish home with you.
Vermilion Bay Sweet, a premium-quality seafood brand owned and operated by the Port of Delcambre, is selling three new blue crab products: Vermilion Bay Sweet Blue Crab Lump ($28/ pound); Vermilion Bay Sweet Blue Crab Backfin Lump ($18/ pound); and Vermilion Bay Sweet Blue Crab Claw Meat ($15/ pound).
Vermilion Bay Sweet brand specializes in small batches of high-quality seafood that’s locally caught, packaged and sold directly to consumers.