When President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, he excluded from its jurisdiction (along with certain other places in the South) the parishes of St. Martin and St. Mary — parts of which would one day become Iberia Parish. Visit to learn more about the Civil War in the Teche region.
The museum celebrates Iberia Parish’s unique food industry, restaurants and festivals, featuring gumbo, red beans and rice, crawfish, hot peppers and more. Exhibits showcase Tabasco® sauce, seafood and various local foods, past and present.
Shiny Happy Blue Dog
New Iberia’s native son, George Rodrigue, grew to become a world-renowned artist. Best known for his Blue Dogs, he spent his life showing his love of Louisiana’s stunning oaks and rich Cajun culture through his oil and acrylic paintings. Currently on exhibit is Shiny Happy Blue Dog, a mixed media collection mostly on chrome. It is comprised of 13 original paintings and a six foot three-sided sculpture.
Rodrigue’s Artist Studio
Artist George Rodrigue’s Carmel, California studio (pictured) was recently dismantled by his family and moved across the country to the Bayou Teche Museum in his hometown of New Iberia, Louisiana. This special recreation is installed as he left it —including the painting he was working on and the paint-splattered floor.
James Lee Burke
Famed author James Lee Burke put New Iberia on the literary map with his wildly popular Dave Robicheaux series of detective novels. Take a stroll through our real-life version of Dave’s Bait Shop, view an assortment of memorabilia, and watch a clip from In The Electric Mist, a film shot in scenic New Iberia and surrounding parishes, and based on the popular Burke novel.
Join us in New Iberia for Dave Robicheaux’s Hometown Literary Festival, March 31 – April 2, 2017. For more information click here.
The Iberia Carnival Association’s first street parade and ball, in 1895, launched a thriving tradition of Mardi Gras celebrations in New Iberia, which continues to present day.View the ball gown of a former Queen and other costumes commemorating New Iberia’s colorful, hometown take on Fat Tuesday.
Hear the world-famous music that emerged from the Bayou Teche region, including Doggerel & French Waltz, Rural Jazz from the likes of New Iberia’s own Bunk Johnson, Swamp Pop, and Cajun and Creole Music. Grammy award winning artist, Clifton Chenier worked in the sugar cane fields in New Iberia before he became the King of Zydeco.
The Attakapas and Chitimacha Tribes have lived along the Bayou Teche since the early 1700s. The selection of beautiful, significant artifacts on display includes arrowheads, pottery, and baskets. The name Teche was derived from the Chitimacha Indian word meaning snake, which describes the many turns in the Bayou perfectly.
Iberia Parish enjoys a rich political past. The region around New Iberia belonged to both St. Martin and St. Mary parishes until 1868, when the state legislature formed Iberia Parish from parts of those two parishes. A video of candidates dating back to the late 1800s identifies many of the colorful figures of the past and present.
The predominance of Roman Catholicism in the area originated from the order of the French Colony of Louisiana that mandated affiliation with the Catholic Church. When Louisiana became a state in 1812 religious laws changed and caused an influx of Protestant religions in New Iberia. Artifacts from three distinct religions are on display.
Over 170 years ago, the S.S. New York sank in the Gulf of Mexico, and all was thought to be lost. In 1986, the ship was discovered by an enterprising group of local divers dubbed the Gentlemen of Fortune. Treasures from the wreck, including gold, silver, gems, and the ship’s bell, are now shown in our atmospheric ocean floor and shelved exhibit areas.
Founded in 1779 by the Malagueños, New Iberia is the only Louisiana city founded by the Spanish that exists today.View the museum’s many artifacts from Spain and a detailed history of the original sixteen families that settled along the Bayou Teche.
The introduction of steamships to the Bayou Teche in early 1818 linked the port city of New Orleans with New Iberia and created a central point for trade. View the keel from the steamship Suggs used during the Civil War. This ship, later known as The Teche, delivered mail until sinking in 1868.
Brought to the Americas by Christopher Columbus and introduced to Louisiana by Jesuits priests, sugarcane became the major crop in Louisiana by the early 1800s. Iberia is now the largest sugar-producing parish in the state. In the museum’s Sugar Gallery, watch the process of sugar planting and refining on film, then see an old sugar kettle and other antique farming tools used to process sugar.