The water’s glassy surface reflects the Jefferson Street Bridge, backed by a flawless blue sky. A heron stands, statue still, on a shady bank. And with shallow, easy strokes, we glide along in bright red kayaks tracing Bayou Teche during a weekend getaway in New Iberia.
This spot on the bayou has lived many lives — as a hub for the Chitimacha tribe, which named the bayou “Teche” or “Snake”; as a haven for displaced Nova Scotians, free people of color and other migrants; and as an industrial capital during the slavery and steamship era, just to name a few.
Today, the city of about 35,000 offers weekenders from New Orleans an abundance of unique outdoor spaces perfect for celebrating nice weather, a taste of life in small-town Acadiana and layers upon layers of art and history.
With a recent National Register of Historic Places designation for its downtown commercial district and a slate of new parks and amenities in the works for 2021, it promises to grow only more charming. For an authentic taste of South Louisiana, try a weekend getaway in New Iberia.
This article originally ran in the New Orleans Advocate / Times-Picayune. Read more about New Iberia’s glam botanical garden, where to make the most legit groceries, and how to dive into one of Louisiana’s most loved paddle trails in the full article here.