Friday, February 6, 2015

Mardi Gras begins for us.

Our first Mardi Gras parade today.

We began today with a tour of the Tabasco facility on Avery Island. It isn't really an island but rather a salt dome surrounded by water and slightly elevated above the local landscape.

Budd showing of his Tabasco shirt.
Clyda and I at Tabasco.

The peppers used in the sauce are grown on the property and in South America. The diversification is to prevent disease and natural disasters from harming the company.

All the salt used comes from the salt dome mine on the island. This dome is over 8,000 feet deep.

 Company store.
Large oak tree with fern growing on the branches.
 A first for us: an RV on stilts.

After lunch we toured the Konriko Rice mill in New Iberia. The mill hasn't changed much in over 100 years. In fact the mill is on the National Historic Register and can't be changed, only repaired. Milling rice is a fairly simple process and hasn't changed since early days. Rice for the mill mostly comes from Crowley about 40 miles away. What used to be rice fields around New Iberia are now sugar cane fields which are more profitable.
Bag sticher.

After the rice fields are harvested in September the fields are flooded which keeps the weeds down and allows craw fish to flourish. Harvesting craw fish begins in November and ends before the fields are again planted in April. Fields are planted by seeds from airplane.

We visited the Rip Van Winkle estate on Jefferson Island. This island like Avery Island is another salt dome. In 1980, Texaco was drilling on the lake near the island and drilled into the salt dome and the lake drained into the salt mine. The suction pulled the drill barge, support barges, a house and the owners prize camellia hot houses into the hole. The mine was ruined but the lake eventually refilled from the surrounding bayou.
Main house.
Peacock in full regalia trying to impress the females.
Rear view which he displays to the females.

We had an early dinner then drove back to town for the first Mardi Gras parade of the year in New Iberia. We don't know if it is the only parade or if more are scheduled. The parade started about 6:30 and ended about an hour later. There were bands, marching groups, and floats. And they threw beads, lots of beads. We each ended up with about 30 strands. We did enjoy ourselves.

Waiting for the parade to start.
 A few of the floats

 Showing the beads we caught.