New Iberia, LA (KPEL News) - One of the brutal storms that barreled through south Louisiana this spring devastated an historic landmark. Rip Van Winkle Gardens near New Iberia posted on their Facebook page on June 2 that they were closed until they could set the property to rights after the severe weather and possible tornado downed power lines and toppled trees.

The work began almost immediately. Staff and volunteers have rallied to clean up and repair what was damaged at the Iberia Parish mansion and grounds that have been the site of many weddings in south Louisiana. The group has regularly shared pictures of the work on social media, and they've set up a YouTube channel so the public can watch their progress.

Rip Van Winkle Gardens is nestled on Jefferson Island. The mansion was built in 1870 by Joseph Jefferson and sits amid 15 beautiful acres. The website describes the experience:

Rip Van Winkle is a riveting tale about embracing change and living in the moment. That whimsical feel is the spirit that encompasses every inch of our property. Get lost in one of our curious gift shops or book a stay at one of our quaint cottages. Whatever you do-don't let time pass you by.

The group has also created a Go Fund Me account to assist in funding the clean up. Michael Richard writes:

Rip Van Winkle Gardens and neighboring Live Oak Gardens was devastated by a tornado at 3 am June 2nd. Massive amounts of large trees including 2-300 year old live oaks were destroyed. It is heart breaking to see the level of destruction that was left in the wake of this storm. The task of cutting trees, hauling off and building repairs will cause a huge financial burden. Unfortunately due to the exorbitant price of wind and hail coverage which was unaffordable for us, we have no assistance from insurance for this damage. We appreciate your generosity and consideration in making donations to repair and restore Rip Van Winkle Gardens back to it's pre-storm glory. Funds will be used to make repairs to Cafe Jefferson, Bayless Center, tree cutting and removal.

No timeline is offered for when the New Iberia destination will reopen, but we wish them all the luck in restoring a piece of south Louisiana history to its former glory.

Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens

Gallery Credit: Gwen