Rip Van Winkle Gardens
—Atchafalaya Water Heritage Trail —
A lone chimney rises above the surface of Lake Peigneur as a reminder of the unusual disaster that occurred here in 1980.
More than 140 years ago, Lake Peigneur was described as the most beautiful lake in the South. The present-day lake and adjacent Jefferson Island are located on an ancient salt dome that was the site of an unusual disaster.
Like other salt domes in Louisiana, the Jefferson Island dome is made of salt deposited more than 165 million years ago during the mid-Jurassic period. When what would eventually become the continents of North America and South America began drifting apart, seawater evaporated in basins. The salt that formed here was eventually buried miles below the surface by more recent sediment from the Mississippi River’s various courses and distributary streams — a process which continues today. The weight of this younger sediment pushed up a column of salt, resulting in a landform referred to as an “island” because of its height relative to the neighboring land. Jefferson Island rises about 50 feet above the surrounding landscape and is the northernmost salt dome in the Five Island Trend—which includes Avery Island, Weeks Island, Côte Blanche Island and Belle Isle. Salt was mined here throughout the 1900s, creating a gigantic cavern below Lake Peigneur.
Today, visitors can learn more about Jefferson Island and its intriguing history at Rip Van Winkle Gardens, made up of the Joseph Jefferson home and surrounding gardens.
This site’s geology/geomorphology: Pleistocene meander-belt deposits of Mississippi River blanketed by Peoria Loess preserved atop salt domes of the Five Islands Trend
Erected by State of Louisiana and National Park Service.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Atchafalaya Water Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 29° 58.394′ N, 91° 58.529′ W. Marker is in New Iberia, Louisiana, in Iberia Parish. Marker can be reached from Jefferson Island Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10106 Jefferson Island Road, New Iberia LA 70560, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Jefferson Island (approx. 0.3 miles away); Bayou Carlin Cove (approx. 2.2 miles away); The Erath Sugar Company (approx. 3.8 miles away); Acadian Prairie Settlement (approx. 4.7 miles away); Boat House (approx. 5.7 miles away); This Buddah (approx. 5.7 miles away); Bayou Petite Anse (approx. 5.7 miles away); The Cleveland Oak (approx. 5.7 miles away).
More about this marker. Located within the Rip Van Winkle Gardens, so a fee will be charged for garden tour, and also access of marker.
Categories. • Disasters • Environment • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 15, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 15, 2018, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 70 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 15, 2018.