Avery Island, Louisiana

Avery Island, Louisiana

Overview
Avery Island is a salt dome
Salt dome
A salt dome is a type of structural dome formed when a thick bed of evaporite minerals found at depth intrudes vertically into surrounding rock strata, forming a diapir....

 best known as the source of Tabasco sauce
Tabasco sauce
Tabasco sauce is the brand name for a hot sauce produced by US-based McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, Louisiana. Tabasco sauce is made from tabasco peppers , vinegar, and salt, and aged in white oak barrels for three years. It has a hot, spicy flavor...

. Located in Iberia Parish, Louisiana
Iberia Parish, Louisiana
Iberia Parish is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat is New Iberia. As of 2000, the population was 73,266.Iberia Parish is part of the New Iberia Micropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Lafayette–Acadiana Combined Statistical Area.Iberia, along with...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, it is about three miles (5 km) inland from Vermilion Bay
Vermilion Bay
Vermilion Bay is a bay in southern Louisiana in the United States.Vermilion Bay is located in southwestern Iberia Parish and southeastern Vermilion Parish...

, which in turn opens onto the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

. A small human population lives on the island.

The island was named after the Avery family, who settled there in the 1830s, but long before that, American Indian
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

s had found that Avery Island’s verdant flora covered a precious natural resource—a massive salt dome.
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Encyclopedia
Avery Island is a salt dome
Salt dome
A salt dome is a type of structural dome formed when a thick bed of evaporite minerals found at depth intrudes vertically into surrounding rock strata, forming a diapir....

 best known as the source of Tabasco sauce
Tabasco sauce
Tabasco sauce is the brand name for a hot sauce produced by US-based McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, Louisiana. Tabasco sauce is made from tabasco peppers , vinegar, and salt, and aged in white oak barrels for three years. It has a hot, spicy flavor...

. Located in Iberia Parish, Louisiana
Iberia Parish, Louisiana
Iberia Parish is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat is New Iberia. As of 2000, the population was 73,266.Iberia Parish is part of the New Iberia Micropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Lafayette–Acadiana Combined Statistical Area.Iberia, along with...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, it is about three miles (5 km) inland from Vermilion Bay
Vermilion Bay
Vermilion Bay is a bay in southern Louisiana in the United States.Vermilion Bay is located in southwestern Iberia Parish and southeastern Vermilion Parish...

, which in turn opens onto the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

. A small human population lives on the island.

History


The island was named after the Avery family, who settled there in the 1830s, but long before that, American Indian
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

s had found that Avery Island’s verdant flora covered a precious natural resource—a massive salt dome. There the Indians boiled the Island’s briny spring water to extract salt, which they traded to other tribes as far away as central Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, and Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

.

According to records maintained prior to 1999 in the Southern Historical Collection
Southern Historical Collection
The Southern Historical Collection is a repository of distinct archival collections at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill which document the culture and history of the American South...

 at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States...

, Petite Anse Island, renamed Avery Island in the late 19th century, was purchased by John Craig Marsh of New Jersey in 1818. Marsh operated a sugar plantation on the island's fertile soil. A daughter, Sarah Craig Marsh, married Daniel Dudley Avery in 1837, thus uniting the Marsh and Avery families. Daniel Dudley Avery hailed from Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Baton Rouge is the capital of the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is located in East Baton Rouge Parish and is the second-largest city in the state.Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, medical, and research center of the American South...

, and was a jurist
Jurist
A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

. In 1849, Daniel became co-owner of his in-law's sugar plantation, and in 1855 he became sole owner.

During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, a mine of pure rock salt was found on Avery Island in May 1862, which subsequently produced more than 22 million pounds (10,000 metric tons) of salt for the Confederacy
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

. According to the historian John D. Winters
John D. Winters
John David Winters was a historian at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana, best known for his definitive and award-winning study, The Civil War in Louisiana, still in print, published in 1963 and released in paperback in 1991.-Background:Winters was born to John David Winters, Sr...

 in his The Civil War in Louisiana (1963), the rock salt mine had been well-protected until Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 General Nathaniel P. Banks began a push up Bayou Teche
Bayou Teche
The Bayou Teche is a waterway of great cultural significance in south central Louisiana in the United States. Bayou Teche was the Mississippi River's main course when it developed a delta about 2,800 to 4,500 years ago...

. After an all-night march, Union Colonel W.K. Kimball, in Winters' words, "advanced to the beautiful little island and, without opposition, burned eighteen buildings, smashed the steam engines and mining equipment, scattered six hundred barrels of salt awaiting shipping, and brought away a ton of gunpowder left behind by [Confederate General] Taylor
Richard Taylor (general)
Richard Taylor was a Confederate general in the American Civil War. He was the son of United States President Zachary Taylor and First Lady Margaret Taylor.-Early life:...

's men.

Before the Civil War, Edmund McIlhenny
Edmund McIlhenny
Edmund McIlhenny was an American businessman and manufacturer who invented Tabasco brand pepper sauce.-Origin:Born in Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1815, Edmund McIlhenny moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, around 1840, finding work in the Louisiana banking industry...

 joined the Avery family by wedding Mary Eliza Avery, daughter of Daniel Dudley Avery and Sarah Marsh Avery.
In 1868, McIlhenny founded McIlhenny Company and began manufacturing Tabasco brand pepper sauce
Tabasco sauce
Tabasco sauce is the brand name for a hot sauce produced by US-based McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, Louisiana. Tabasco sauce is made from tabasco peppers , vinegar, and salt, and aged in white oak barrels for three years. It has a hot, spicy flavor...

. In 1870, he received letters patent for his sauce processing formula. That same basic process is still used today.

Avery Island was hit hard in September 2005 by Hurricane Rita
Hurricane Rita
Hurricane Rita was the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and the most intense tropical cyclone ever observed in the Gulf of Mexico. Rita caused $11.3 billion in damage on the U.S. Gulf Coast in September 2005...

. According to The Wall Street Journal, the family spent $5 million on constructing a 17 feet (5.2 m)-high levee, pumps, and back-up generators to ensure that future hurricanes will not disrupt Tabasco sauce production.

Bird sanctuary


Under the Avery/McIlhenny family's management, Avery Island has remained a natural paradise, inhabited by many animal species, as well as by exotic plants from throughout the world.
Edward Avery McIlhenny
Edward Avery McIlhenny
Edward Avery "Ned" McIlhenny , son of Tabasco brand pepper sauce inventor Edmund McIlhenny, was a Louisiana businessman, explorer, and conservationist....

, or "Mr. Ned" as he was affectionately known, founded this bird colony—later called Bird City—around 1895 after plume hunters had slaughtered egret
Egret
An egret is any of several herons, most of which are white or buff, and several of which develop fine plumes during the breeding season. Many egrets are members of the genera Egretta or Ardea which contain other species named as herons rather than egrets...

s by the thousands to provide feathers for ladies' hat
Hat
A hat is a head covering. It can be worn for protection against the elements, for ceremonial or religious reasons, for safety, or as a fashion accessory. In the past, hats were an indicator of social status...

s. Edward gathered eight young egrets, raised them in captivity on the Island, and released them in the fall to migrate across the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

. The following spring the birds returned to the Island with others of their species, a migration that continues today.

Exotic plants


Edward McIlhenny introduced numerous varieties of azaleas, Japanese camellias, Egyptian papyrus
Papyrus
Papyrus is a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt....

 and other rare plants to the Island's natural landscape
Natural landscape
A natural landscape is a landscape that is unaffected by human activity. A natural landscape is intact when all living and nonliving elements are free to move and change. The nonliving elements distinguish a natural landscape from a wilderness. A wilderness includes areas within which natural...

. When oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 was discovered on the Island in 1942, he ensured that production crews bypassed live oak
Live oak
Live oak , also known as the southern live oak, is a normally evergreen oak tree native to the southeastern United States...

 trees and buried pipelines
Pipeline transport
Pipeline transport is the transportation of goods through a pipe. Most commonly, liquids and gases are sent, but pneumatic tubes that transport solid capsules using compressed air are also used....

 (or painted them green) to preserve the Island's beauty, wildlife, and utility as a wildlife refuge.

Today Jungle Gardens
Jungle Gardens
Jungle Gardens is a botanical garden and bird sanctuary located on Avery Island, Louisiana . The gardens are open daily except for major holidays; an admission fee is charged....

 and Bird City
Bird City (wildfowl refuge)
Bird City is a private wildfowl refuge or bird sanctuary located on Avery Island in coastal Iberia Parish, Louisiana.It was founded by Tabasco sauce heir and conservationist Edward Avery McIlhenny, whose family owned Avery Island...

 are open to the public.

Geography


Avery Island is surrounded on all sides by bayous (slow-moving, muddy rivers), salt marsh
Salt marsh
A salt marsh is an environment in the upper coastal intertidal zone between land and salt water or brackish water, it is dominated by dense stands of halophytic plants such as herbs, grasses, or low shrubs. These plants are terrestrial in origin and are essential to the stability of the salt marsh...

, and swamp
Swamp
A swamp is a wetland with some flooding of large areas of land by shallow bodies of water. A swamp generally has a large number of hammocks, or dry-land protrusions, covered by aquatic vegetation, or vegetation that tolerates periodical inundation. The two main types of swamp are "true" or swamp...

land; it sits about 140 miles (225 km) west of New Orleans. The island was a sugar plantation formerly known as Petite Anse Island. (Petite Anse means "Little Cove" in Cajun French
Cajun French
Cajun French is a variety or dialects of the French language spoken primarily in Louisiana, specifically in the southern and southwestern parishes....

.) Access to the island is via toll road
Toll road
A toll road is a privately or publicly built road for which a driver pays a toll for use. Structures for which tolls are charged include toll bridges and toll tunnels. Non-toll roads are financed using other sources of revenue, most typically fuel tax or general tax funds...

 (technically, a very low toll bridge, which charges only on inbound traffic).

Geology


Avery Island is actually a huge dome of rock salt
Salt dome
A salt dome is a type of structural dome formed when a thick bed of evaporite minerals found at depth intrudes vertically into surrounding rock strata, forming a diapir....

, three miles (5 km) long and two and a half miles (4 km) wide. It was created by the upwelling of ancient evaporite
Evaporite
Evaporite is a name for a water-soluble mineral sediment that result from concentration and crystallization by evaporation from an aqueous solution. There are two types of evaporate deposits, marine which can also be described as ocean deposits, and non-marine which are found in standing bodies of...

 (salt
Sodium chloride
Sodium chloride, also known as salt, common salt, table salt or halite, is an inorganic compound with the formula NaCl. Sodium chloride is the salt most responsible for the salinity of the ocean and of the extracellular fluid of many multicellular organisms...

) deposits that exist beneath the Mississippi River Delta
Mississippi River Delta
The Mississippi River Delta is the modern area of land built up by alluvium deposited by the Mississippi River as it slows down and enters the Gulf of Mexico...

 region. These upwellings are known as "salt domes." Avery Island is one of five salt dome islands that rise above the flat Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 Gulf coast.

At its highest point, the island is 163 feet (49.7 m) above mean sea level. It covers about 2200 acres (8.9 km²) and is about 2.5 miles (4 km) across at its widest point.

Government and infrastructure


The United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

 operates the Avery Island Post Office.

Education


Iberia Parish School System
Iberia Parish School System
Iberia Parish School System is a school district headquartered in New Iberia, Louisiana, United States.The district serves all of Iberia Parish and all of the city of Delcambre, which has portions located in Vermilion Parish.-School uniforms:...

 operates public schools.

Students attend schools in New Iberia
New Iberia, Louisiana
New Iberia is a city in and the parish seat of Iberia Parish, Louisiana, United States, 30 miles southeast of Lafayette. In 1900, 6,815 people lived in New Iberia; in 1910, 7,499; and in 1940, 13,747...

. Students are zoned to Center Street Elementary School, Iberia Middle School, and New Iberia Senior High School.

Avery Island Elementary School (K-6) formerly served the community. After the 2007-2008 school year students from Avery Island Elementary were moved to Center Street Elementary School. At the time 118 children attended Avery Island Elementary. While Avery Island Elementary operated, it fed into the same middle and high schools that Center Street feeds into.

In popular culture

  • On Avery Island
    On Avery Island
    -Track listing:All songs written by Jeff Mangum except where noted. Horn arrangements by Robert Schneider.#"Song Against Sex" – 3:40#"You've Passed" – 2:54#"Someone Is Waiting" – 2:31#"A Baby for Pree" – 1:21#"Marching Theme" – 2:58...

    , a Neutral Milk Hotel
    Neutral Milk Hotel
    Neutral Milk Hotel was an American indie rock band formed by singer, guitarist and songwriter Jeff Mangum in the early 1990s. The band was noted for its experimental sound, obscure lyrics and eclectic instrumentation....

     album, is named after this location.
  • In Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island
    Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island
    Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island is a 1998 American animated comedy film based on the animated television series Scooby-Doo Saturday morning cartoon franchise...

    ,
    the island that the gang visits, "Moonscar Island", is evidently based on this island.

External links