Shadows-on-the-Teche

317 East Main Street
New Iberia, LA 70560
337-369-6446
877-200-4924
www.shadowsontheteche.org

Sitting on the banks of the Bayou Teche, a white-columned brick building was constructed between 1831 and 1834 and is both a survivor and a reminder of another time. Shadows-on-the-Teche is an antebellum home visited by over 25,000 people annually.  It serves as a solid reminder of the many layers of history associated with the site, each succeeding generation building on the one before to become an integral part of the property's history.

David Weeks and his wife Mary Clara Conrad Weeks built Shadows-on-the-Teche on a tract of 158 acres.  It was constructed in a Classical Revival style on the exterior with the distinctive eight white columns across the front facade. Unlike other columned plantation houses being built across the south in the same period, the new Weeks home had a Louisiana Colonial floor plan with exterior staircases, wide down-sloping galleries, no interior hallways, and numerous opposing windows and doors for good ventilation in the subtropical climate of southern Louisiana. 

Fortunately, we not only have the house and the historic site, but we also have the Weeks Family Papers, a collection of over 17,000 invoices, receipts, business, legal, and personal letters that testify to the joys, sorrows, fears, sickness, celebrations, pain, prosperity and poverty, all the emotions and situations of life on the plantation. The site was also occupied by Union soldiers during the Civil War. Mary’s refusal to abandon her home during the war probably saved it from confiscation and greater damage. 

From the wafting scents of sweet olive trees to the expansive azaleas blossoms, ginger lilies and magnolias to the vivid summer crepe myrtle, the landscape at the Shadows-on-the-Teche is a sensuous reminder of the artist Weeks Hall, the fourth generation and last private owner of the home. Hall divided his grounds into "rooms" with a square garden, a round garden, and a "naturalistic garden", these being formed by boxwood hedges and aspidistra walks. Creating the gardens were his passion, and many of his contemporaries considered his gardens to be his crowning achievement. Though occupying only two and a half acres of the original 158-acre plantation, the remaining gardens and house still provide mystique, allure and peaceful pleasures to visitors from around the globe.

The purpose of the Shadows-on-the-Teche, a property placed in the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is to preserve the buildings, landscape, collections and historical integrity of the site; to research and interpret through education programs a 19th century southern Louisiana plantation economy and community and their evolution; and to encourage an appreciation of and interest in historic preservation.

When you visit the beautiful brick house with tall white columns encircled by towering live oak trees, you should see not only a historic house museum. You should also gain an understanding of the past, by "seeing" the many people and events and "hearing" voices of the generations of people that constitute the history of the Shadows-on-the-Teche.

Daily guided tours from 9 am to 4:30 pm, closed Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years Day, Shadows-on-the-Teche offers group rates with advance reservation. Special events include exhibits and Civil War re-enactments.