Tabasco sauce

For 150 years, the family-owned McIlhenny Company has made Tabasco hot sauce on Avery Island, in coastal Louisiana. It’s the only place it’s made.

Osborn: “My great-great grandfather started it in 1868 and we’ve been making it here ever since.”

Executive Vice President Harold Osborn says to ensure that legacy, the company must protect itself from climate change.

Avery Island is essentially a hill surrounded by grassy marsh. Its elevation makes it less likely to end up underwater than other areas nearby. But flooding is still a concern at the Tabasco plant.

Osborn: “When we had Hurricane Rita here in 2005, the water came right up to the edge of it, so that was too worrisome for us. So we built a levee that was 20 feet tall all the way around the facility.”

They’re also preserving the island’s natural buffer: the marsh.

Osborn: “When a hurricane comes in, it hits that marsh first and it breaks the storm up so that the effects on Avery Island are much, much less. So one of our major things that we do here is marsh and habitat restoration.”

He says the island is an essential part of the company’s history.

Osborn: “For my family, it’s very important that Avery Island is here and we do a lot of work to protect it.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Daisy Simmons

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...