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A fun trip to make if you're in Acadiana is a drive to Avery Island. First of all, there's a beautiful aviary maintained there that's a garden treasure as well. Secondly, it's the home of Tabasco sauce as produced in Louisiana by the McIlhenny family since 1868. Neat factory tour and gift ship make additional reasons to detour there. The site sits on a massive salt dome.

Link:

http://www.tabasco.com/avery-island/

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Don't overlook nearby Shadows-on-the-Teche, the beautiful antebellum mansion in New Iberia. http://www.preservationnation.org/travel-and-sites/sites/southern-region/shadows-on-the-teche.html?gclid=COzLuu_yzLQCFWGnPAodxzwABg

There was a wonderful house in Biloxi just across the highway from the beach known as the Tullis-Toledano Manor. It was built in 1856 for a New Orleans cotton broker. It WAS a scaled-down but still beautifully proportioned version of Shadows. Unfortunately, during Hurricane Katrina, a casino barge was floated up by the storm surge and dropped directly onto this exquisite piece of architecture. That doesn't compare to the human tragedy wrought by the storm but it was certainly emblematic of that disaster.

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As a kid on a school field trip, I once got a tour of the salt dome where the barrels of Tabasco were stored. My eyes are burning just thinking of the experience.

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