paxview

A frequent flier's views on flying & the aviation world

The Cajun Corridor Rt-14 Louisiana Avery Island and New Iberia to Lake Charles

Exploring the Cajun Corridor

Like many of us living in the USA, I have a notion about what Louisiana is like, and that notion is based on too many TV shows, and on too many hours spent driving the endless flat straight numbing and boring Interstate highways (I-10, I-12, and I-55) that cross the state. Lots of water, lots more water, swamp, marsh, rice fields, more water, brown water, bayous, rivers, bridges, oppressive humidity, mosquitoes, unnamed bugs, tropical hurricanes, and a state that is always in the news for floods. That’s Louisiana. A state that is in my way going from Texas to Florida or when I am heading up north.

Sure, some cities (New Orleans) in Louisiana are well known, but basically long expanses of nothing.

Well, I had the chance to do a bit of driving/exploring in Louisiana recently, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Shocked even. Stunned. Nothing at all like what I expected.

A really nice 100 mile drive, starting in New Iberia and ending in Lake Charles, pretty much following State highway 14 as it cuts through the south-west of the state. Plenty of scenic detours, great local restaurants, some cool tourist sites, and all of it on a perfect spring day.

100 miles

The trip started at 9AM at the gate that controls access to Avery Island, which is an ‘island’ that is actually a bubble of earth sitting atop a large salt dome that pushed up through the ground about 100,000 years ago. Within the confines of the island is a small private community, an amazing drive-thru wildlife park, and the home of Tabasco. Yes, the family owned red fire in a bottle sauce. Factory tours are available, and for $12.50 you can buy a bundled package that includes both the Tabasco factory tour and entry to the “Jungle Gardens” wildlife park.

Avery Island space

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Outside the gates to Avery Island

8:45 Monday morning, parked under a typically majestic southern oak, waiting for the island to open to the public. My ideas about Louisiana were already being changed.

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The park contains a 3 mile gravel road, mostly flat and level, with detours around the few sections that are marked as NOT suitable for campers or trailers. It meanders alongside of quiet waterways, thru groves of trees and flowers, under arches of wisteria, and along fields of grass where you can see (or hear) many deer and turkey. Massive nesting areas are filled with native waterfowl (especially herons and white egrets), while the waters contain sunbathing turtles, and even alligators (I saw 3). Dozens of spots along the drive are marked with signs highlighting a particular interest, and several easy walking trails lead away from the road to especially beautiful places. Here are a series of images for the 2 hours (yes – 2 HOURS) I spent driving and walking and exploring this area.

JungleGardens

I do hope these images give you some sense of the quiet and beauty of this park. During the time I spent exploring I only saw one other car (it was parked), and I only met 3 people who were just starting to walk down a trail that I was returning from. In short – I felt like I had the whole place to myself.

Out of the park, and just 100 yards down the road, is the entrance to the Tabasco factory and tour. Just like the Jungle Gardens, it is very quiet and calm, and this doe casually watched me as I parked.

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The museum was pretty good, rather interesting with a really good history of the island, of Tabasco, the Mcllhenny family, and a lot of associated memorabilia from its founding after the civil war to the modern day.

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IMHO the factory tour itself was… well… rather uninteresting. Worth doing once, but probably not twice.

However the Tabasco gift shop and the associated “1868” restaurant were well worth the time. I had no idea how many sauces and spice mixes bear the Tabasco brand label.

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And I might have burnt off a part of my tongue with this Bloody Mary I mixed for myself.

Ouch! (But worth it)

With my mouth still on fire (the habanero sauce is that potent), I left Avery Island and doubled back the few miles towards New Iberia to pick up Louisiana state highway 14. This road looked like an interesting way to head back west (eventually I was heading to Houston), with my immediate goal being Lake Charles. One thing I was very lucky about was the weather. This trip was in mid April, so the heat and humidity had not built up, and a cold front had blown thru the night before. That brought cool temperatures (mid 70s), blue skies, and unseasonably dry air. All of that combined makes for really great driving in a convertible.

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Here then, in chronological order are some of the random road photos I took during this 100 mile drive.

Cover Photo

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I guess what I can really summarize about this trip is that even though I live in Texas, I am already making plans to go back to this area of Louisiana in the fall and do some more road trip exploring.

You know what? It’s obvious, isn’t it? I simply loved this drive and the area.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez !! (Let the good times roll)

 

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One comment on “The Cajun Corridor Rt-14 Louisiana Avery Island and New Iberia to Lake Charles

  1. work from home
    May 6, 2017

    My brother suggested I might like this website. He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You can’t imagine just how much time I had spent looking for this information! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on April 28, 2017 by in Road Trips and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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