January, 2012. New Iberia, Louisiana – Shadows-on-the-Teche

Posted on January 13, 2012

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We always look for National Trust for Historic Preservation properties when we travel.

These properties always seem to be a bit special. They are not as commercialized as many other historic sites, and, as members of the Trust, we like to think we’re supporting their activities in more ways than one.

Located on the banks of Bayou Teche in southern Louisiana in the city of New Iberia, Shadows-on-the-Teche was built in 1834 for sugarcane planter David Weeks. Unfortunately, Weeks died in Connecticut while on a trip to purchase furnishings before the plantation house was finished.

Weeks’ widow, Mary, managed the plantation and cared for the couple’s six children until she remarried in 1841.  Her second husband, Judge John Moore, a U. S. Congressman from Louisiana, died shortly after the Civil War.

During the War Between the States, the home was occupied by Federal troops, but was not harmed.  Mary Weeks Moore died in 1863.

Shadows stayed in the family until 1958, when it was turned over to the National Trust for Historic Preservation by Mary’s great-grandson, William Weeks Hall.

The Weeks/Moore/Hall families were real packrats.  After the Trust took possession, a trunk room was discovered containing dozens of trunks and boxes jam packed with clothing, receipts, ledgers, journals and letters from over a century of life on the plantation. Included in this treasure trove were some 17,000 family documents dating from 1782.

All rooms in this impressive home are intact, furnished with items original to the family.  It was never remodeled or “modernized” in any major way, so restoration meant mostly general repairs and refurbishing projects, such as restoring the original paint and decorating schemes, and returning the gardens surrounding the home to their original beauty.

This plantation homes is a beautifully preserved picture of wealthy planter life along the Bayou Teche.

You definitely get the feeling that if you stayed long enough, someone from the family would soon return home and be happy to welcome you to Shadows-on-the-Teche.

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