New Iberia is 30 miles from Lafayette which is in the middle south of the state. New Iberia has its roots as far back as 1779 when 500 Malaguenian colonists decided to found the city. Bernardo de Galvez came to the Bayou Teche and Spanish Lake thinking it would be a good place to settle. New Iberia is the seat of the parish government. Today the city has numerous attractions and festivals to make it a place to visit. Festivals include the Sugarcane Festival, Gumbo Cook Off, and Louisiana Hot Sauce Festival. Places to visit include Jungle Gardens, Iberia Community Band concerts, a statue of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, and Shadows on the Teche.
Shadows on the Teche is a historic house owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The house has a garden with it. The building's construction began in 1831. It was owned by David Weeks and his wife Mary. They were sugarcane planters. The Weeks family owned 3,000 acres of plantations on Acadiana land. In fact these acres broke down into four plantations. The house itself was constructed in the Greek Revival style. Cornices, moldings, and trim all have the Greek style. The house was built with bricks, and added a porticoed facade with eight columns. There was also a second floor veranda which still exists today. The house faced a decline after 1834 when David Weeks died. Mary Weeks had charge of the house for their children, but it was run by slavery which means when the Civil War began there was really no one to look after it. Federal Troops even occupied the home. Union Troops were still in the home when Mary Weeks died. In 1974 the house began a national landmark.
The property is more than just a house. This particular property has 158 acres for the plantation. Ginger lilies, magnolias, azaleas, and crepe myrtle run on the property. It is a semi tropical place. Live oaks are also very important to the landscape. The gardens were updated when the historical society took over the ownership. Any of the plants which needed to be replaced or removed were taken out. The property was updated so that it could have the same quality as it had when it was first built. The preservation society wanted to have a place for visitors where they could find peace in a town filled with gas stations, and other modern amenities.
The house is located on Main Street in New Iberia. There are guided tours Monday through Saturday from 9am to 4:30 pm. Sunday has tours from Noon till 4:30pm. The house is open to visitors for these same hours, except on holidays. Admission rates vary depending on age and whether one is just accessing the gardens. For garden access it is $4.50 for students, $6 for seniors, and $8 for adults. To tour the house and gardens it is $6.50 for students, $8 for seniors, and $10 for adults. There are discounts such as AAA and Military.