HomeArts & LitBirthday Tribute to James Lee Burke

Birthday Tribute to James Lee Burke

South Louisiana author James Lee Burke was born today in 1936. Although he was born in Texas, Burke grew up along the Louisiana Gulf Coast, including the bayou town of New Iberia. His stories weave a tale of intrigue with colorful characters pulled from New Iberia and New Orleans. Iberia Parish is home to Burke’s famous character Dave Robicheaux, and his series of novels featuring the detective include landmarks and scenic descriptions from New Iberia. Since the debut of his first novel “Neon Rain” in 1986, Burke has introduced the quaint town of New Iberia to the world. Two of his novels have been made into movies, and 2007’s “In the Electric Mist” was filmed in New Iberia, bringing Tommy Lee Jones as Dave Robicheaux, John Goodman and Mary Steenburgen to town.

In turn, New Iberia has created walking tours of “Dave’s Domain” to follow in the footsteps of the Cajun detective’s adventures. Visitors can also “eat where Dave does” at Victor’s Cafeteria on Main Street. The favorite lunch spot of Robicheaux in the books, Victor’s is known for its plates lunches and huge slices of pie. Owner Catherine Huckaby says Burke likes to sit in the middle aisle at the second to last table when he’s in town. Next door, Books Along the Teche is a great spot to pick up the latest James Lee Burke and other books detailing the town’s past.

Take a mini tour of Dave Robicheaux sites below, and find out more about the detective’s – and Burke’s – South Louisiana haunts in the Deep South Literary Trail App, including Burke’s favorite dish at Victor’s.

Historic homes along Main Street, which Burke has called "the most beautiful Main Street in the country."


Grotto in City Park, where Dave goes to run.


Bridge over Bayou Teche off Main Street.


Bayou Teche running along Main Street.


Victor's Cafeteria, where Dave eats.


Books Along the Teche next door to Victor's on Main Street.


Christmas at Beauvoi
Alabama Shakes, Iris