LICI To Help Vermilion Parish Tourist Commission With Marketing Iris Bloom
Updated: Jul 22
July 14, 2023 Abbeville, La.
Louisiana Iris Conservation Initiative’s (LICI) President, Gary Salathe, met with Executive Director of the Vermilion Parish Tourist Commission, Alison Miller, at the Abbeville Cultural & Historical Museum & Art Gallery on Wednesday, July 12, 2023 in Abbeville, La. The two discussed LICI's new partnership with the Friends of Palmetto Island State Park, Inc. in managing the I. nelsonii (Abbeville Red) iris planting at the park's boardwalk, plans the partnership has to increase the number of Abbeville Red irises growing there, and to publicize the iris bloom at the park next spring. They also talked about the proposed Bayou Teche Native Louisiana Iris Festival that will be held in March, 2025 in New Iberia, La. and at Palmetto Island State Park.
Photo: The Abbeville Cultural & Historical Museum & Art Gallery is located in the downtown historic district at 200 N. Magdalen Square, Abbeville, La.
Ms. Miller gave Salathe the history of marketing the tourist commission has done to publicize the Abbeville Red irises at the Palmetto Island State Park, especially when they bloom each April. She also shared how they help organize and publicize the annual Daylily Festival in the historic district of Abbeville each June. She thought that some of the people involved in organizing that festival may be able to offer helpful advice to the organizers of the inaugural Bayou Teche Native Louisiana Iris Festival.
Photos above: These tree beautiful murals on the front exterior wall of the Abbeville Cultural & Historical Museum & Art Gallery depict scenes from the town's annual Daylily Festival held in the public square across the street.
A group of civic leaders in New Iberia, La., have begun organizing the inaugural Bayou Teche Native Louisiana Iris Festival to be held March 28th through the 30th in 2025. The festival will be based in New Iberia, but the last day of activities will be in Palmetto Island State Park at the boardwalk to celebrate the restoration of the I. nelsonii planting there. The educational type festival will also have talks open to the public about this rare iris and the need to preserve its native habitat. Ms. Miller said the tourist commission would help with marketing the inaugural Bayou Teche Native Louisiana Iris Festival.
Photo: The last day of the Bayou Teche Native Louisiana Iris Festival will be held in Vermilion Parish in the Palmetto Island State Park near the boardwalk.
Although awareness of the Abbeville Red irises at the Palmetto Island State Park will be elevated by the iris festival in 2025, the Vermilion Parish Tourist Commission has already extensively promoted the iris bloom at the park each spring. At the end of the meeting, LICI committed to helping the tourist commission get the word out about the iris restoration project at the park and to increase awareness of the Abbeville Red irises while they bloom next spring.
Photo: Abbeville Red irises are shown blooming at the Palmetto Island State Park boardwalk on April, 5, 2023.
Ms. Miller said they regularly get people from all over the country come into the visitor's center and ask about the Abbeville red irises, especially during the iris bloom each spring.
At the end of the meeting, Salathe committed LICI to work with the tourist commission to publicize the iris bloom at the park and the iris festival in 2025. "Alison and the tourist commission have done a great job in bringing attention to the Abbeville Red iris and the need to preserve this very special native plant. After all, Vermilion Parish is the only place in the world where it is found growing in the wild. We want to build on their success and get the word out to even more people," Salathe said after the meeting.
Photo: Executive Director of the Vermilion Parish Tourist Commission, Alison Miller, is shown at the Abbeville Cultural & Historical Museum & Art Gallery on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, in Abbeville, La, after meeting with LICI's Gary Salathe.