Susan Simoneaux | 8/26/2005 8:29:43 PM
Iberville Parish is a large rural area in southeast Louisiana and is divided by the mighty Mississippi River. Iberville consists of 620 square miles and has a population of 30,000 residents. The parish extends south to White Castle, east to St. Gabriel and Carville, through the parish seat of Plaquemine and north to the villages of Grosse Tete, Rosedale and Maringouin. Count Pierre LeMoyne d'Iberville gave the parish its name when he explored the territory on his first trip to the Mississippi River in 1699.
Because of the many chemical industries, Iberville has a strong tax base and many jobs available for its citizens. The parish is also known for its numerous waterways like the Atchafalaya Basin, which is partially located in Iberville Parish. The bayous and the river have played an important part in commerce and transportation. These areas attract sports fishermen, outdoorsmen, tourists and provide a source of revenue for commercial fishermen.
The River Road affords a view of the acres and acres of sugarcane fields, the crop that led to the opulence of the plantation era. Located in the small farming community of White Castle is the parish's only surviving sugar mill, Cora Texas Manufacturing, Inc.
The parish seat is Plaquemine, which is home to the historic Plaquemine Lock, a favorite spot for tourists. The lock, completed in 1909 and operated until the mid-1960s, is now a museum. Plaquemine is nestled in the arms of scenic Bayou Plaquemine, a historic waterway used by early French settlers and traders.
Iberville Parish is home to Live Oaks Plantation, built in 1828 and located in Rosedale. This two-story home has a winding stairway from the 20-foot-wide hall to the second floor. About 150 feet from the house stands the fifth largest live oak in the country.
Awe-inspiring Nottoway Plantation, built in 1859, is in White Castle; it is a classic Greek revival structure with 53,000 square feet and some 64 rooms. It features a 65-foot grand white ballroom. This popular tourist attraction can be found on La. 1 just nine miles south of Plaquemine.
Many other treasures await tourists: Quaint Old Turnerville, which lies just across the bayou from Plaquemine Locks; St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church; The Island Golf Course; antique shops; and numerous eateries.
In October, the International Acadian Festival is held in Plaquemine. Other festivals, including country church fairs with an array of good food, music, crafts and games, are also held each year.