NEW IBERIA, La. --- When Forbes' contributing writer John Giuffo asked travel experts from Frommer's, National Geographic, Fodor's, and Midwest Living magazine to weigh in on the 15 most picturesque towns with the best travel options, New Iberia emerged as number one.
Giuffo mentioned the area's TABASCO® Factory and Country Store, Jefferson Mansion at Rip Van Winkle Garden, and swamp tours. Other attractions include the Bayou Teche Museum, Shadows-on-the-Teche, Conrad Rice Mill/KONRIKO® Company Store, Jeanerette Sugar Museum, William G. "Bunk" Johnson's Jazz Trail and Antique Rose Ville Tea Room and Gardens.
"Locally, we know the value of New Iberia as a tourism asset," said Fran Thibodeaux, director of the Iberia Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Being on Forbes' list means so many people will be inspired to learn more about us. The value to us as a destination is tremendous. This is media that can't be purchased."
Author James Lee Burke drew inspiration from the area for the setting of his famed Dave Robicheaux mystery novels, especially New Iberia's historic district, where century-old oaks surround stately homes. New Iberia's Main Street, which follows the curves of Bayou Teche, won the 2005 Great American Main Street Award®, sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation®. At the corner of Main and Center Streets, stands the Shadows-on-the-Teche plantation home and gardens, the first National Trust for Historic Preservation® property in the Gulf South and the only one in Louisiana. Both Shadows-on-the-Teche and New Iberia's Main Street earned 2013 Louisiana Culture Awards for Historic Preservation.
"National recognition such as this [Forbes'] is priceless," said Jane Braud, director of the New Iberia Main Street program. "We, in New Iberia and Iberia Parish, know how blessed we are to be able to experience all that our community has to offer, from the Shadows-on-the-Teche, historic districts and beautiful tourist attractions; to the numerous cultural, historical, theatrical, art and musical opportunities; in addition to annual fairs, parades and festivals. It is high time the rest of the country recognizes it as well!"
Other towns on Forbes' list include, in order of ranking, Camden, Maine; Anna Maria, Fla.; Decorah, Iowa; Breckenridge, Colo.; Fort Benton, Mont.; Athens, Ga.; Lambertville, N. J.; Kapa'a, Hawaii; Edgartown, Mass.; Asheville, N. C.; Leavenworth, Wash.; Galena, Ill.; Holland, Mich.; and Fish Creek, Wis.
Read Giuffo's article here.