McIlhenny, Edward Avery, 1872-1949

Edward Avery "Ned" McIlhenny, son of Tabasco brand pepper sauce inventor Edmund McIlhenny, was a Louisiana businessman, explorer, naturalist, and conservationist. He participated in Arctic expeditions as a young man before assuming control of the McIlhenny Company, overseeing Tabasco sauce production as president of the organization until his death. During his tenure, McIlhenny expanded, modernized, and standardized sauce production, as well as experimented with new ways of promoting the world-famous product, such as advertising on radio.

McIlhenny founded the Bird City wildfowl refuge on Avery Island, La., around 1895, which helped to save the snowy egret from extinction. He was instrumental in securing nearly 175,000 acres of south Louisiana coastal marshland as wildfowl refuges. McIlhenny banded over 285,000 birds during his lifetime and ran a game farm on Avery Island. He used his 250-acre personal estate, known as Jungle Gardens, to propagate azaleas, irises, camellias, bamboo, and other plant species.


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