Sights in New Orleans
Drive southwest of New Iberia along Hwy 329 through cane fields to Avery Island (admission $1), home of the McIlhenny Tabasco Factory and a wildlife garden. The ‘island’ is actually a salt dome that extends 8 miles below the surface. The salt mined here goes into the sauce, as do locally grown peppers. The mixture ferments in oak barrels before it’s mixed with vinegar, strained and bottled. At the factory gift shop, order a bag of the ‘Tabasco dregs,’ which are what remains from making the sauce, and you’ll gain a fine seasoning mix and get a free tour to boot. The gift shop also has just about any Tabasco-imprinted item you can imagine.
The entrance to this massive park has got to be one of the greatest gateways in the USA; a picturesque arch that ought rightfully be the final set piece in some period drama about Jazz Age New Orleans. We wonder how Satchmo would feel about the park dedicated in his name. Parts of it, particularly the walkways over little rivers and streams, are gorgeous, and the original Congo Sq is here. On the other hand the park is surrounded by imposing, unfriendly walls; parts of it remain undeveloped and rough looking, and overall this isn’t a good place to walk around at night. Too bad – a public space with a jazzy name on this particular spot really ought to be a cultural focal…