We got a chance to take the boys back to Avery Island, Louisiana and really enjoyed ourselves; it’s best-known as the home to Tabasco, and there’s a factory tour. It’s thought that the island is atop “solid rock salt thought to be deeper than Mount Everest is high” and we come here for the natural surroundings
*So* much to see here, especially including a bird sanctuary — the number of egrets here is beyond.
This Buddha statue was a gift to E.A. McIlhenny family back in the 1930s. Apparently it was found in a Manhattan warehouse and is 900+ years old
Leaving Avery Island, we were off to another beautiful landscape — Rip Van Winkle Gardens.
Originally hoping this wouldn’t be some sort of kitschy Rip Van Winkle send-up, it wasn’t at all. Named in honor of the character by the actor/owner of the grounds who played RVW 4500+ times (he acted 71 of his 76 years), it’s an amazing 15 acres of semi-tropical gardens. On Jefferson Island, it’s one of the famous “Five Islands” of Louisiana and just like Avery, rock salt. The land was originally owned by Jean Lafitte’s brother-in-law. It’s also famous for a oil drilling accident that caused draining of Lake Peigneur in 1980, and it sounds absolutely horrifying.
The 1870 home there, built by Joseph Jefferson, is “Moorish, Gothic, and French” and on the Register. “The house is a rambling, hospitable structure one and one-half stories high, with a belvedere on the roof and verandas on three sides. A central hall 12 feet wide traverses the house and leads into the dining room at the rear, where there is an immense fireplace capable of accommodating five foot logs. An outstanding feature of the dining room is the beautiful beamed ceiling.”
President Cleveland, a friend of Joseph Jefferson, visited the island a few times. Also, from the Register paperwork: it’s thought that Lafitte sought refuge on the island since his pirate boats could navigate through the shallow waters to access through Bayou Carlin to the lake. “…it is rumored that Lafitte, at various times, buried his booty and treasure here on the Island. Actually, this was partially substantiated in 1923, when a treasure consisting of three pots of Spanish, Mexican, French, and American gold and silver coins was uncovered by an old Voodoo Doctor called Daynite.”
We had lunch at Cafe Jefferson there:
It was just a simple salad-or-sandwich kind of lunch but really terrific for what it was. We’d definitely come back for supper.