There is no rarer blending of beauty and utility, romance and riches, than Avery Island. It is typical of the Eden that Louisiana can become. For generations it has been the home of brave men and fair women, and the lovely and busy haven is in keeping with their vision and a tribute to their constructiveness.
Warmed by the waters of the Southern seas, with sunny stretches billowy with bloom, the island's surface is literally a garden of the gods. There are acres of peppers, okra, tomatoes and other truck, there are giant groves of pear, peach and fig trees, all carefully tended, for they send their harvests through the flower fringed paths to the great Mcllhenny canning plant, which looks more like some castle standing in the midst of parks. The interior is as bright and clean in every part and process, with the spirit of pride in the place stirring the hundreds of employees to emulation. There the famous Tabasco Sauce and kindred pepper products were first made, but the factory has extended until it includes a score or more of the purest and most perfect food preparations, condiments and preserves which have won wide popularity, selling from the Pacific to the Atlantic, with the demand constantly greater than the supply. The Mcllhennys have given up as much of their land as possible to the crops, and have conducted campaigns in the section to raise the vegetables and food required, but have not yet been able to reach the limit of their quest. Then, the island nestles among some of the finest oyster reefs and shrimp fishing grounds in the country, there is a picturesque fisher village and fleet, and oyster and shrimp products form a department of the factory conducted as carefully and scientifically, with specialization the order in experts and equipment. The wonderful red Tabasco fluid and powder was the inspiration and the Incentive, but since Edmund Mcllhenny began their production in 1866 the idea has expanded with the trade and field, and the island garden will be but one in a chain that will spread over and develop a large section of South Louisiana. In order to keep pace with the demand created by the quality and palatability of the Mcllhenny brands, the concern has frequently gone long distances to secure the raw material that would best answer.
Under the surface the wonder island is just as magnificently magical, for the Avery salt mine is one of the greatest in the world. The deposit is an immense inverted mountain of pure salt. From the peaceful valley above, which gives no inkling of the surprise, a shaft goes down 600 feet to the crystal cave, with its perpetually snowy galleries and arches following in the wake of the mining operations, with electric lights, railroads, and other equipment giving the secure touch of modern efficiency without detracting from the scenic charm.
Nor do these exhaust the attractions of the spot, for the same love of nature and the spirit of kindness and human interest that is apparent in the many phases of the island's ideal life has found expression in an unselfish enterprise matchlessly captivating. Only a few steps from the factory is a bird paradise, a reserve where the plumed pilgrims from every clime, which were becoming almost extinct as a result of ruthlessness and greed, come for refuge and spend the winter in protected comfort. The foods they most relish have been planted, so that there is gorgeous growth of every hue and kind, with streams flowing through the fairy coves, and the birds have become so sure of their safety and so fond of their surroundings that they go about their business, part of which is to provide for the many strange creatures in the nests they build for their young, without fear or heed of the hundreds of visitors. For Avery's is the land of peace and plenty, of purity and perfection, of health and happiness, and its influence is felt and its industry known wherever merit is appreciated and public spirit and enterprise honored.
A text book on the Industrial, Commercial, Financial, Agricultural, Live Stock, Produce, Lumber and Mineral Resources, and Advantages of a Great State.
Publisher: Times-Picayune, New Orleans, 1917.