Friday, February 6, 2009
New Iberia, LA
New Iberia (French: La Nouvelle-Ibérie, Spanish: Nueva Iberia) is a city in and the parish seat of Iberia Parish, Louisiana, United States, 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Lafayette. In 1900, 6,815 people lived in New Iberia, Louisiana; in 1910, 7,499; and in 1940, 13,747. The population was 32,623 at the 2000 census.
New Iberia is the principal city of the New Iberia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Iberia Parish.
The town of New Iberia dates from Spring 1779, when a group of 500 Malaguenian colonists and the actual founder Bernardo de Galvez came up Bayou Teche and settled around Spanish Lake. The Spanish settlers called the town "Nueva Iberia" in honor of the Iberian Peninsula, and the French referred to the town as "Nouvelle Ibérie" while the English settlers called it "New Town" after the Louisiana Purchase.
Bernardo de Gálvez, Count of Gálvez
In 1814, the federal government opened a post office, and it was officially known as "New Iberia," but postmarks shortly thereafter reveal that the town was being called "Nova Iberia" (with Latin for "new"). The town was incorporated as "Iberia" in 1839, but the state legislature resolved the situation in 1847, naming the town New Iberia.
Bayou Teche at its intersection with the Wax Lake outlet of the Atchafalaya River in St Mary Parish, Louisiana. The bayou runs bottom–top in the picture. View is to the west-northwest.
In 1868, Iberia Parish (county) was established, and New Iberia became the seat of parish government. At first, only rented space served for the courthouse, but by 1884a new courthouse stood on a landscaped lot in downtown New Iberia, at the present-day site of Bouligny Plaza. That courthouse served Iberia Parish until 1940, when the current courthouse was built along Iberia Street, two blocks from the New Iberia downtown commercial district.
Shadows-on-the-Teche historic residence, owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation http://www.shadowsontheteche.org/
Avery Island, home of Tabasco sauce and the oldest salt mine in North America.
Shadows-on-the-Teche in 1938
Shadows-on-the-Teche is an historic house and garden owned and operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It was built in 1831-1834 for sugarcane planter David Weeks and his wife Mary C. Weeks. A National Historic Landmark, the house is located in New Iberia, Louisiana.
David and Mary Weeks were wealthy growers of sugarcane; they owned four plantations totalling approximately 3,000 acres (12 km2) of Acadiana land.
The construction of Shadows-on-the-Teche coincided with the apogee of the Greek Revival style in United States architecture. When following this style, builders minimized the installation of superfluous decorative elements such as cornices, moldings, and trim. Decorations were severely limited and were designed to blend into and set off the building's brick construction. A simple porticoed facade of eight columns marks the exterior of the facade; the columns help to support a second-floor verandah, which provided relief to the house's inhabitants in hot, sultry weather conditions.
Shadows-on-the-Teche was built on the edge of one of Weeks's sugarcane plantations in Iberia Parish, in the parish seat. As a town house, Shadows-on-the-Teche was designed for social life and entertainment. It is said that at the time of its construction, Shadows-on-the-Teche was only the third brick house to be built on Bayou Teche.
The Weeks family began to suffer from a series of family tragedies almost at once after the completion of the house. Planter David Weeks, who became chronically ill while Shadows-on-the-Teche was being built, died in August 1834 in New England while seeking medical attention. Mary Weeks remarried lawyer John Moore but kept her children's property separate from that of her second husband, as she was allowed to do under Louisiana law. This property included the 164 slaves bequeathed to their children under the terms of her first husband's will.
The Shadows-on-the-Teche household was economically and physically dependent on Louisiana slavery. Mary Weeks and John Moore strongly supported slavery and supported the political changes which they thought were necessary to save it; in 1861, Moore was a delegate to the convention in which Louisiana seceded from the Union. This political status and viewpoint made the household vulnerable during the American Civil War. Federal troops requisitioned occupancy of the property, and officers of the occupying force quartered themselves in it. Mary Weeks died in December 1863 in Shadows-on-the-Teche while part of the house was being used by the Union troops as an officers' quarters.
After David and Mary Weeks' son William F. Weeks had partly restored the family fortunes during Reconstruction, the Weeks family's status further declined during the third generation of family owners. The Weeks-Hall family was compelled to sell off much of the land surrounding Shadows-on-the-Teche to meet their living expenses.
David and Mary Weeks's great-grandson, William Weeks Hall, lived in Shadows-on-the-Teche from 1922 until his death in 1958. A strongly preservation-minded individual, Hall sorted and donated the voluminous archive of family papers that he found in the house. Hall also established and maintained an extensive garden of live oaks, bamboo, camellias, azaleas, aspidistras, and other plantings, in the former plantation house's remaining grounds. At the end of his life, Hall donated the house and garden to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which has owned and operated it until the present.
Shadows-on-the-Teche was named a National Historic Landmark on May 30, 1974.
It is located at 317 E. Main St., New Iberia, Louisiana.
Annual Bunk Johnson/New Iberia Jazz, Arts & Heritage Festival, also known as the BunkFest.
Avery Island, home of Tabasco sauce and the oldest salt mine in North America.
Avery Island, Louisiana, as seen from a distance across a sugarcane field.
Avery Island (historically French: Ile Petite Anse) is a salt dome located in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, United States, about three miles (5 km) inland from Vermilion Bay, which in turn opens onto the Gulf of Mexico. A small human population resides on the island.
Long before its namesake Avery family settled there in the 1830s, American Indians discovered that Avery Island’s verdant flora covered a precious natural resource—a massive salt dome. There the Indians boiled the Island’s briny spring water to extract salt, which they traded to other tribes as far away as central Texas, Arkansas, and Ohio.
According to records maintained prior to 1999 in the Southern Historical Collection at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Petite Anse Island, renamed Avery Island in the late 19th century, was purchased by John Craig Marsh of New Jersey in 1818. Besides mining salt, Marsh operated a sugar plantation on the island's fertile soil. A daughter, Sarah Craig Marsh, married Daniel Dudley Avery in 1837, thus uniting the Marsh and Avery families. Daniel Dudley Avery hailed from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and was a jurist. In 1849, Daniel became co-owner of his inlaw's sugar plantation and salt mines, and in 1855 he became sole owner.
Just prior to the Civil War, Edmund McIlhenny joined the Avery family by wedding Mary Eliza Avery, daughter of Daniel Dudley Avery and Sarah Marsh Avery. In 1868, McIlhenny founded McIlhenny Company and began manufacturing Tabasco brand pepper sauce. In 1870, he received letters patent for his sauce processing formula. That same basic process is still used today.
Avery Island was hit hard in September 2005 by Hurricane Rita. According to the Wall Street Journal, the family is spending $5 million on constructing a 17-foot (5.2 m)-high levee, pumps, and back-up generators to ensure that future hurricanes will not disrupt Tabasco sauce production.
The island is also the site of one of the world's largest salt mines, currently operated by the Cargill corporation. Salt extraction has occurred on the island for at least several hundred years, the first benefactors of its salt deposit being American Indians who boiled briny spring water to extract the mineral. In 1862, during the Civil War, the Avery family discovered extremely pure solid rock salt just below the island's surface. Because of a Union blockade, the South had no reliable source for this valuable commodity. As a result, the Averys mined the deposit to supply much of the lower South with salt.
In November 1862, two Union gunboats and a transport ship attacked the island in an attempt to capture the salt works, but they were repelled by Confederate forces under General Richard Taylor. The mines were finally captured by Union Army forces in 1863.
Avery Island is known as the home of Tabasco brand pepper sauce, which has been manufactured on the Island by McIlhenny Company since 1868. Some of the peppers used in Tabasco sauce production are grown on the Island, and those grown elsewhere derive from seed stock created on the Island. Salt used in Tabasco sauce production is mined on the Island.
Some members of the McIlhenny family still reside on the Island with their Avery cousins, and many McIlhenny Company employees also live there in worker cottages, with one or both wage earners working in the fields, the factory, or the company's business office. It is not unusual for employees' families to have worked for the company for several generations.
Tabasco sauce is a brand of hot sauce made from tabasco peppers (Capsicum frutescens var. tabasco), vinegar, and salt, and aged in white oak barrels for three years. It has a hot, spicy flavor and is popular in many parts of the world.
Tabasco is trademarked as the brand name for the variety of tabasco sauce marketed by one of the United States' biggest producers of hot sauce, the McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, Louisiana. Often, the word tabasco is rendered in lowercase when referring to the botanical variety, but in uppercase, Tabasco, when referring to the actual trademarked brand name. While there are many other kinds on the market, Tabasco is the most famous brand of "hot pepper sauce". Although it is produced in the United States, it acquired its name from the state of Tabasco in Mexico. The McIlhenny Company is now in its fifth generation as a family-run business. All of the 145 shareholders either inherited their stock or were given it from another living family member.
For more information about Tabasco sauce history, see linked articles about individual McIlhenny Company presidents.
Edmund McIlhenny's signature can be found on every Tabasco bottle carton.
Tabasco sauce was invented in 1868 by Edmund McIlhenny, a Maryland-born former banker who had moved to Louisiana around 1840. On his death in 1890, McIlhenny was succeeded by his eldest son, John Avery McIlhenny, who expanded and modernized the business, but resigned after a few years to join Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders volunteer cavalry regiment.
On John's departure, brother Edward Avery McIlhenny, a self-taught naturalist fresh from an arctic adventure, assumed control of the company, running it from 1898 to his death in 1949. Like his brother, Edward focused on expansion and modernization, as did war hero Walter S. McIlhenny, who, after serving in the U.S. Marines at Guadalcanal and elsewhere, oversaw the company until his death in 1985.
Today, McIlhenny Company remains a privately held business presided over by a member of the McIlhenny family.
From seeds to sauce
Until recently, all of the peppers were grown on Avery Island. While a small portion of the crop is still grown on the island, the bulk of the crop is now grown in Central and South America, where the weather and the availability of more farmland allow a more predictable and larger year-round supply of peppers. This also helps to ensure the supply of peppers should something happen to the crop at a particular location. All of the seeds are still grown on Avery Island.
A Tabasco advertisement from ca. 1905. Note the cork-top bottle and diamond logo label, both of which are similar to those in use today.
Following company tradition, the peppers are hand picked by workers. To tell their ripeness, peppers are checked with a little red stick, or 'le petit bâton rouge' that each worker carries around. Those peppers not matching the color of the stick are not harvested. Harvested peppers are shipped back to the Island factory. Peppers are ground into mash, and salt and vinegar are added. The mixture is put into old white oak whiskey barrels from distilleries to age for up to three years. The bright red mash is so corrosive that forklifts are reported to last only six years. Much of the salt used in Tabasco production is acquired locally from Avery Island's own salt mine, one of the largest in the U.S.
Classic Tabasco red pepper sauce
Avery Island was hit hard by tropical storms in 2005, especially Hurricane Rita. The factory barely escaped major damage. As a result of a long history of dodging tropical storms, the family constructed a 17-foot (5.2 m)-high levee and invested in back-up generators.
McIlhenny Company now produces numerous Tabasco brand products that contain pepper seasoning, including popcorn, nuts, olives, mayonnaise, mustard, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, grilling/marinating sauce, barbecue sauce, chili sauce, pepper jelly, and Bloody Mary mix. McIlhenny Company also permits other brands to use and advertise Tabasco sauce as an ingredient in their products, including Spam, Slim Jim beef sticks, Heinz ketchup, A1 steak sauce, Plochman's mustard, Cheez-It crackers, Lawry's salt, Zapp's potato chips and Vlasic pickles.
Tabasco sauce has a shelf life of five years when stored in a cool and dry place.
Tabasco sauce is widely used to season a variety of foodstuffs, such as sandwiches, salads, burgers, oysters, pasta, pork chops, shrimp, hot dogs, baby back ribs, hot wings, prime rib, chitlins, gumbo, Po' boys, french fries, cheese fries, crab cake, scrambled eggs, cole slaw, green beans, corn on the cob, onion rings, barbecue, macaroni and cheese, turkey, catfish, stirfry, nachos, calzones, black-eyed peas, soup and omelettes, pizza, potato chips, Spam, Cheez-Its, popcorn, pudding, bacon wrapped steak, mashed potatoes, and even dipping tobacco .
Edward Avery McIlhenny, circa 1930.
Edward Avery "Ned" McIlhenny (1872 – 1949), son of Tabasco brand pepper sauce inventor Edmund McIlhenny, was a Louisiana businessman, explorer, and conservationist.
Born in 1872 on Avery Island, Louisiana, McIlhenny was educated by private tutors before attending Dr. Holbrook's Military School in Sing Sing (now Ossining), New York. McIlhenny enrolled at Lehigh University, where he joined Phi Delta Theta fraternity, but he dropped out of school to join Frederick Cook's 1894 Arctic expedition as an ornithologist. In 1897 he financed his own Arctic expedition to Point Barrow, Alaska, where he helped to save over a hundred stranded whaling fleet sailors (including Japanese adventurer and entrepreneur Jujiro Wada).
Jungle Gardens, botanical garden and bird sanctuary.
McIlhenny founded the Bird City wildfowl refuge on Avery Island around 1895, which helped to save the snowy egret from extinction. Enrolling the help of Charles Willis Ward, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Sage Foundation, McIlhenny was instrumental in securing nearly 175,000 acres (710 km2) of south Louisiana coastal marshland as wildfowl refuges. He banded over 285,000 birds during his lifetime and ran a game farm on Avery Island that experimented with breeding new animal varieties. He helped to introduce the nutria to Louisiana, although — contrary to popular belief — he did not import the creatures to Louisiana, nor was he the first Louisianan to set them loose in the wild on purpose.
Jungle Gardens is a 170-acre (0.69 km2) botanical garden and bird sanctuary located on Avery Island, Louisiana (near the town of New Iberia). The gardens are open daily except for major holidays; an admission fee is charged.
The gardens were created by Edward Avery McIlhenny, second son of Edmund McIlhenny, the inventor of Tabasco sauce.
One of Jungle Gardens' primary attractions is a bird sanctuary called Bird City. It provides roosts for snowy egrets and other wildfowl species.
Bird City, Avery Island, Louisiana, circa 2005.
Bird City is a private wildfowl refuge or bird sanctuary located on Avery Island in coastal Iberia Parish, Louisiana.
It was founded by Tabasco sauce heir and conservationist Edward Avery McIlhenny, whose family owned Avery Island. McIlhenny established the refuge around 1895 on his own personal tract of the 2,200-acre (8.9 km2) island, a 250-acre (1.0 km2) estate known eventually as Jungle Gardens because of its lush tropical flora.
Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
By the late nineteenth century, plume hunters had nearly wiped out the snowy egret population of the United States in pursuit of the bird's delicate feathers, which were commonly used by milliners for the adornment of ladies' hats.
Alarmed by this trend, McIlhenny searched the Gulf Coast and located several surviving egrets, which he took back to his estate on Avery Island. There he turned the birds loose in a type of aviary he called a "flying cage," where the birds soon adapted to their new surroundings. In the fall McIlhenny set the birds loose to migrate south for the winter.
A flock of Barnacle Geese during autumn migration
As he hoped, the birds returned to Avery Island in the spring, bringing with them even more snowy egrets. This pattern continued until, by 1911, the refuge served as the summer nesting ground for an estimated 100,000 egrets.
Because of its early founding and example to others, Theodore Roosevelt, father of American conservationism, once referred to Bird City as "the most noteworthy reserve in the country."
Today, snowy egrets continue to return to Bird City each spring to nest until resuming their migration in the fall.
In 1895 McIlhenny raised eight egrets in captivity on the island, and released them in the fall for migration. They returned the next spring with other egrets, and have continued to do so over generations. Today thousands of egrets inhabit the island from early spring to late summer. Numerous alligators, black bears, and deer also inhabit the island, in addition to nutria, otters, muskrats, snakes, and other wild animals.
The gardens are planted with azaleas, Japanese camellias, hydrangeas, Louisiana irises, Egyptian papyrus, bamboo, and wisteria. A glass temple, set within a Chinese garden, houses a centuries-old statue of Buddha given to McIlhenny in 1936. Four miles of gravel roads are lined with live oak trees and Spanish moss. There are also many walking paths.
McIlhenny used his 250-acre (1.0 km2) personal estate, known as Jungle Gardens, to propagate azaleas, irises, camellias, bamboo, and other plant species. He wrote numerous academic articles, mainly about birds, oversaw the publication in English of two European botanical treatises, and edited Charles L. Jordan's unfinished manuscript The Wild Turkey and Its Hunting (a book often mistakenly attributed to McIlhenny). He also wrote books about alligators, egrets, and African-American gospel music, including:
Befo' De War Spirituals (1933).
Bird City (1934).
The Alligator's Life History (1935).
The Autobiography of an Egret (1940).
A Buddha temple in Avery Island's Jungle Gardens, the former personal estate of Edward Avery McIlhenny.
The Iberia Community Band hosts four public concerts throughout the year and is open to amateur, student, and professional band instrumentalists of all ages and skill levels.
A local curiosity is an ancient seven-foot marble statue of Roman emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD), located on the corner of Weeks and St. Peter Streets.
Cover of James Lee Burke's novel In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead (1993).
New Iberia is home to fictional detective Dave Robicheaux and his creator, author James Lee Burke.
Jim and Rick at Missoula MT's Festival of the Book Oct 2002
James Lee Burke (born December 5, 1936) is an American author of mysteries, best known for his Dave Robicheaux series. He has won an Edgar Award for Black Cherry Blues (1990) and Cimarron Rose (1998), while the Robicheaux character has been portrayed twice on screen; by Alec Baldwin in the film Heaven's Prisoners (1996), and by Tommy Lee Jones in the upcoming In the Electric Mist. Since 1997, Burke has also written four novels about Texas attorney Billy Bob Holland.
Click Here For More on James Burke
New Iberia hosts the Louisiana Sugarcane Festival in September. Sugar Cane Festival, celebrates the commencement of the sugar cane harvest, locally referred to as grinding. Sugar cane is a principal crop grown by New Iberia farmers.
Cut sugar cane
Gumbo Cook-Off in October.
Louisiana Hot Sauce Festival
The History of New Iberia
by Glenn R. Conrad September 3, 1932 - June 4, 2003
Glenn R. Conrad
What's in a town's name? Some names say little about the town or its inhabitants; others tie together diverse heritages to form a community. New Iberia is one of the later.
New Iberia was founded on the banks of Bayou Teche in 1779 by a group of Spaniards from Malaga. It is the only extant town in Louisiana to be founded by Spaniards during the colonial era. The Spanish pioneers called their town "Nueva Iberia" in consideration of their homeland. Their French neighbors along the Teche referred to the town as "Nouvelle Ibérie." Then, after the Louisiana Purchase, incoming English-speakers dubbed the site "New Town." When, in 1814, the federal government opened a post office here, it was officially known as "New Iberia," but postmarks shortly thereafter reveal that the town was being called "Nova (Latin for new) Iberia" and "Nueva Iberia." Then, in 1839, the town was incorporated by the state legislature as "Iberia," to the consternation of French speakers who supported "Nouvelle Ibérie" and English speakers who favored "New Town." In 1847 a compromise was worked out, and the legislature designated the town's name to be "New (not Nueva, Nova, or Nouvelle) Iberia." This exercise in nomenclature is, nevertheless, reflective of the town's varied cultural history. It does not, however, take into account the African-American contribution which was present from the beginning.
The Spanish pioneers found that most of the lands bordering Bayou Teche had already been granted to others. In time, however, they found a place for settlement on the third great bend of Bayou Teche. The site, however, proved to be too small for the number of settlers, and many of the Spanish families began to move out onto the nearby prairies, particularly those to the south and west of a small lake which came to be called Spanish Lake. Here, they became planters and ranchers.
But the site of New Iberia, while it might not be able to support agriculture and ranching, remained a potentially good location for commerce. As the area around New Iberia became inhabited and merchants began to establish businesses in St. Martinville, some ten miles away, commercial interests set up warehouses at New Iberia for transshipping merchandise from New Orleans to the vast prairie country to the west. New Iberia was important in this regard because it was located at the start of a 25-mile bend of the bayou that flowed first easterly, then northward, and finally westward where the stream passed less than 2 miles from where the bend began. For merchants transporting goods in keelboats, flatboats, and schooners, it was far less time consuming and less expensive to land at New Iberia, unload their cargo onto carts and wagons, cross the narrow portage and reload boats waiting to take the merchandise upstream.
At the end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth, some of the original owners of the large land grants began to subdivide them into small tracts, each having frontage on the bayou. Before long the west bank of the bayou in present-day downtown New Iberia became lined with the homes, warehouses and ancillary buildings of merchants or their agents. As late as 1819 the government surveyor Leander Cathcart reported that there were six houses, a general merchandise store, and a saloon at the place called New Iberia.
But 1819 marked a turning point in New Iberia's fortunes. In that year the Attakapas Steamboat Co. was organized and the following year the steamboat Teche arrived in New Iberia loaded with merchandise for the local merchants and prepared to take on freight for the return trip to New Orleans. Steamboat traffic increased measurably for the next 60 years transporting not only items of commerce but travelers as well. Only with the coming of the railroad in 1880 did steamboating begin to decline. The last working steamboat, a towboat, passed through New Iberia in 1943. An era had ended. Since then diesel-powered towboats pushing barges of sugar continue to ply the bayou.
The years between 1820 and 1860 saw the town grow and prosper. But town expansion was hampered by the fact that the still unincorporated town was hemmed in by plantations on the east and the west. Between these larger plantations were smaller ones which today would be in the heart of downtown New Iberia's commercial district. The first of these plantations was subdivided and lots were sold in 1829. Next to this first subdivision was the plantation of Frederick Henry Duperier, who in 1831 subdivided a portion of it and donated land in 1837 for the construction of St. Peter's Catholic Church. In March 1839 acting upon the petition of Duperier, the state legislature incorporated the town, bestowing on it the name "Iberia," to the consternation of the French-speaking population who thought it should be "Nouvelle Ibérie" and the English speakers who opted for "New Town." Finally, in 1847 the legislature compromised and gave the town the name New (not Nueva, Nova, or Nouvelle) Iberia.
In September 1839 New Iberians experienced their first bout with yellow fever. The epidemic spread up and down the Teche. Almost every family counted at least one victim of the scourge with others greatly debilitated by it. During the epidemic, a black woman named Félicité, a native of Santo Domingo, apparently immune to the virus, worked day and night nursing the sick, comforting the dying, and arranging for burial of the dead. Today, a marker stands before City Hall attesting to the heroism of this angel of mercy in a time of pestilence.
William F. Weeks
The 1840s and 1850s passed quietly for New Iberians. Portions of the two large plantations flanking the town were subdivided in the 1850s providing more town lots for anticipated future growth. What New Iberians did not know was that these years were the proverbial calm before the storm. Elsewhere in the country, however, the 1850s witnessed the growth of intense sectionalism which ultimately would rend the Union and result in civil war. The war not only brought death and destruction to New Iberians and their neighbors, it also brought economic stagnation to the region. Throughout the four years of the Civil War, the Teche country fell prey to the foraging of both Confederate and Union armies. The plantation system was completely disrupted as slavery ended and the freedmen sought to forge a new future for themselves. New Iberia was occupied briefly by Union forces in April and May 1863 during the Teche Campaign. The campaign had been designed by Union commanders to strip the Teche region's capability of supporting Confederate forces. Thus anything of any value was gathered together and placed on wagons which resulted in an eight-mile-long wagon train headed for Morgan City and then to New Orleans. The countryside lay prostrate.
Grand Cote Mill and Freed Men
New Iberia was again occupied by Union forces in October, 1863, as part of the Great Texas Overland Expedition and would remain in Federal hands until the end of the war. The war had brought death and misery and with its end New Iberians and their neighbors hoped that the time had come for a return to normalcy. The next decade or so would dash their hopes.
Agriculture, the mainstay of the economy, was so disrupted by the war emancipation of the African-American workforce, and lack of investment capital, that it would take two decades to recover. Mississippi River floods in 1865 and 1866 destroyed much of the cotton, corn, and sugarcane of the region. Crops that escaped the floods froze in the fields in the winter of 1865-66. There was no one to harvest them. In 1866 and 1867 insects ravaged corn and cotton, resulting in little or no harvest.
If nature dealt bodyblows to New Iberians and others in the region, the worst was yet to come. Beginning in July 1867, a yellow fever epidemic swept the Teche country, and within four months resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. Then, in June 1870, fire broke out in a store on New Iberia's Main Street, resulting in the destruction of approximately one-half of the town's commercial district. Truly, in the 1860s New Iberia had been visited by the sword, fire, and pestilence.
But before the end of the decade, change was in the wind. In 1868 Iberia Parish (county) was created and New Iberia was named the seat of parish government. At first, only rented space served as the courthouse, but by 1884 a new courthouse stood on a beautifully landscaped lot in downtown New Iberia, the present-day site of Bouligny Plaza. This courthouse served the parish until 1940 when the present courthouse was built on Iberia Street, two blocks from the downtown commercial district. Before the century ended, New Iberians built the town's first city hall which stood next to the first courthouse. In 1937, this building was demolished and the second city hall was built on the site. The present city hall, located on East Main St. some two blocks from downtown, was constructed in 1965.
An event of major importance to New Iberia was the coming of the railroad with its impact on the economy and transportation. The railroad was originally scheduled to be built through New Iberia in 1859, but the onset of the Civil War and its aftermath delayed that construction for 20 years. In late 1879, the first passenger train pulled into New Iberia from New Orleans. The following year it was possible for New Iberians to travel by rail to Houston. A few years later a spur line was built to Avery Island and then on to Abbeville. The products of those areas now flowed into New Iberia for trans-shipment to other parts of the nation.
William F Weeks, age 17
The railroad helped introduce a new industry to New Iberia in the 1880s—lumbering. The great virgin cypress forests within a few miles of the town attracted the attention of northern lumber companies. They were soon on the scene and the harvest of these magnificent trees had begun. Sawmills, planing mills, shingle mills, sash and door factories hummed day and night for the better part of forty years. New Iberia was given an opportunity to pull its economy up by the bootstraps after the dismal years of the Civil War and Reconstruction. It is said that New Iberia produced trainload after trainload of cypress shingles to roof homes in Kansas and Nebraska and supplied homeowners of the Midwest with cypress cisterns.
During the 1880s and 1890s New Iberia was home to five brick factories manufacturing bricks and tile pipe. Foundries built and repaired steamboat and sugar mill machinery. Food processing and packaging plants became an important part of the town's economy. Three rice mills operated in the town at the turn of the century. A wagon works, founded in the late 1870s, operated for nearly one hundred years. These wooden wagons were indispensable for sugarcane, rice, and cotton farmers until the era of mechanization dawned. In the 1930s and 1940s, many of these wagons were sold to Hollywood and appeared in "cowboy " movies. Finally, in 1920, the town became host to the Charles Boldt Paper Mill, which manufactured boxboard from rice straw.
Shadows on the Teche Houseplan
In the early 1900s New Iberia was abuzz with activity as salesmen and buyers visited the town to buy and sell. Main Street, though as yet unpaved, was filled with buggies, wagons, carts, and jitneys, all horse or mule drawn. But with the new century came new ideas in the area of transportation. The automobile appeared on Main Street in 1903, and, a few years later, a interurban trolley line was laid on Main Street and ran twelve miles to Jeanerette. Now, people living in the countryside could easily ride the "streetcar" to do their shopping and enjoy sporting events in New Iberia. Children could attend New Iberia and Jeanerette schools without a thought given to the condition of roads.
But if this was an evolving picture of the ideal small American town, an ugly stain was appearing— not only in New Iberia, but also in towns and cities across the South—racial segregation. Jim Crow came to town in the 1890s and, like the man who came to dinner, extended his stay—for seventy-five years or more. Three generations of African Americans were condemned to live as outcasts in their homeland—simply because their skin was black. Their industry, their ideas, and, indeed, their feelings were not to be a matter for consideration for decades. Only with the passage of time "on the cross" did this minority and others come to be regarded as individuals, as a community, and as Americans entitled to our country's bounty.
St. Peter's Cemetery, New Iberia
As New Iberians looked forward to the turn of the century with expectations of progress and prosperity, tragedy enveloped the town on the night of October 10, 1899. Shortly after 6:00 p.m., someone in a downtown store screamed "Fire!" Storekeepers and customers raced into Main Street just as the flames leaped above the roofs of this primarily wooden commercial district. With no municipal water system yet installed (voters had approved a bond issue for this purpose the previous August), New Iberians and people from St. Martinville and Jeanerette, fought to contain the fire in a one square block area. After six hours of struggle by bucket brigades and a small fire brigade, the fire's spread was halted. Ironically, an hour later, after months of drought, rain began to fall on the town. As the century closed, New Iberians began rebuilding the stores of nearly one-half of the commercial district. A lesson had been learned concerning wooden structures crowded together. The rebuilt stores were constructed of brick with metal roofs and decorative metal facades. Today many of the buildings built in 1900 still stand, albeit with updated facades. One building, which served as a firebreak because it was constructed of brick and had a metal roof, the Gouguenheim Building, has been recently restored to its original turn-of-the-century appearance. Restoration work is proceeding on other downtown buildings.
St. Peter's Catholic Church, New Iberia
An event of major importance to New Iberia and all of Southwest Louisiana was the discovery of oil and natural gas that led to the development of the present-day oil industry that plays such a major role in the state's economy. Oil exploration near New Iberia resulted in the opening of the Little Bayou Oil Field in 1917. Nearly ninety years later that field is still in production. A great boost to the industry occurred just after World War II when the technology became available for off-shore drilling. Drilling platforms began to dot Vermilion Bay and steadily marched out onto the continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico. All of this activity led directly to the development of the Port of Iberia. Today, the port is a beehive of activity with 70 industries producing over $200,000,000 in retail sales annually.
New Iberia, looking west on Main St. toward downtown
All along, New Iberians have worked hard, but, beginning in the twentieth century, found more time for entertainment. Although bands, dances, showboats horse races, and other entertainment were well known in New Iberia before the Civil War, these pastimes were usually small in scope and attendance. Only the centennial celebration of American independence was done on such a scale as to attract thousands to the events occurring in New Iberia. After the Civil War, however, there were few displays of patriotism, with the exception of the centennial celebration. For the most part, the old pastimes seemed to persist, together with a circus now and then.
Beginning in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, brass bands became quite popular, particularly the municipal brass bands. As was happening all over America, Sunday afternoons in New Iberia usually found a brass band playing in front of the courthouse. City bands were a part of the towns entertainment for nearly 100 years.
Historic Images of Iberia Parish
In the 1890s and the first two decades of the twentieth century, a favorite entertainment for New Iberians were wild west shows, Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show thrilled New Iberians in 1895. The most famous wild west show, "The King of Them All,' Col. W. D. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, came to town in 1902
Historic Images of Iberia Parish
But perhaps the favorite pastime of the community, as it was across America, was baseball. The game was played on sandlots dotting the town and led to the formation of a municipal team that challenged similar teams from nearby. The first recorded intercity contest was between the New Iberia Quicksteps and the St. Martin Attakapas Club in the 1870s. Semi-professional baseball came to New Iberia in 1920 when the local team became a club in the Texas League. The team dissolved in 1924 Ten years later professional baseball was introduced into New Iberia as town's team became a charter member of the Evangeline League, and served as a farm club of the St. Louis Cardinals. Prior to dissolution of the club in 1957, the New Iberia franchise furnished a host of players to St. Louis, including pitchers Mel Parnel, Red Monger, and Terry Fox.
Historic Images of Iberia Parish
Football was introduced into New Iberia in 1904 when the Central High School team was organized and played in intercity contests. These contests continue to the present with teams drawn from the city's high schools.
A long-standing pastime of New Iberians has been and remains the little theater productions of the New Iberia Little Theater beginning in 1923 and continuing to today with the Little Theater's successor IPAL.
Fishing and boating in the myriad waterways of south Louisiana not only bring relaxation and enjoyment but also an array of delectable seafood for the regions outstanding cuisine.
East Main Street
Movie theaters have a long history in New Iberia. A local opera house sponsored the first silent movie in 1905. By 1914 there were three movie houses entertaining local folk. Then, fans of motion pictures increased significantly with the coming of the "talkies." By the late 1930s, and throughout the World War II years, the town boasted four movie houses that were usually jammed with patrons in the evenings and on the weekends. Only with the coming of television and later the home video did the town's patronage of the traditional movie house begin to wane. Nevertheless, a modern movie complex with six screens offers the townspeople the opportunity "to go to the movies."
Parades, pageants, and special events have always fascinated New Iberians who give widespread support to these activities. In 1979 townspeople celebrated the bicentennial of the founding of the town. Ten years later there was a week-long celebration of the sesquicentennial of New Iberia's incorporation. Today, there are carnival krewes that annually provide lavish parades and balls. The three-day annual Sugarcane Festival and Fair, occurring in late September, sponsors street parades on two days of the event and a boat parade on Bayou Teche. The Sugar Festival also includes the staging of a contest among representatives from the sugar parishes for the title of Queen Sugar. In October the town enjoys the annual Gumbo Cookoff, a contest that pits culinary skills of participants to determine who is the very best gumbo maker in the world. Throughout the year Shadows-on-the-Teche, an antebellum home that is the property of the National Trust For Historic Preservation, is the site for many public exhibitions, lectures, children's' programs, and re-enactments
New Iberians enter the twenty-first century proud of their many past accomplishments, prepared to meet the challenges of the new century, and devoted to the concept of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I. A. Martin Photographer
Selected Images from the Martin Collection
Bunk Johnson Collection
Bunk Johnson: A Short Biography
With a family background that included having a Black Creek Native American grandmother who had 11 boys and 11 girls and himself being one of 14 children in a 7 girl/7 boy immediate family, Bunk Johnson entered our world via New Orleans in, he claimed, 1879. With a mother operating at least three New Orleans eating places at a time and a sister escorting him to school as he carried his tin dinner bucket of red beans, rice, cabbage and syrup, Bunk didn't waste any time grabbing the chance to learn music. Thanks to the learn-the-basics-first approach of Professor Wallace Cutchey, Johnson learned to read music and after a couple of years learned to play the cornet, just the first of so many instruments he could play as, according to future Bunk Johnson music student Cliff Davidson, Bunk could play not only the trumpet and cornet, but the drums, the clarinet, the saxophone, the French horn, the slide trombone...
In his mid-teens Johnson began his professional music career, spending his "rookie year" playing in Adam Olivier's New Orleans-area band at $2.50 a night. According to Bunk, the next year (1895) he joined the legendary Buddy Bolden band and played cornet alongside Bolden. He would eventually play in many New Orleans-based bands and then his "traveling" era began, where Bunk wound up playing music around the globe, working as a seaman and journeying to such lands as China and Australia. Stateside Bunk joined several traveling shows, such as circus/minstrel shows which took him to pre-1906 earthquake San Francisco and as far east as New York.
In the 1920's and 1930's Bunk Johnson spent much of his music-playing time in the southwest Louisiana/southeast Texas region with New Iberia, Louisiana as his "base" and primary residence until his passing away in 1949. While in the area he played frequently with the locally-based Banner Band which traveled in a variety of vehicles to nearby southern Louisiana and Texas towns. Unlike many other jazz musicians Bunk did not achieve great monetary wealth but he never shied away from jobs that helped supplement his music income. Along the path of his life, Johnson would work in such jobs as funeral parlor work in Texas, dock work in San Francisco, cigar-making work in the upper midwest, truck-driving work in the Louisiana rice industry, and music-teaching in the Iberia Parish, Louisiana school system. As far more than one individual has pointed out, Bunk Johnson was a very well-loved music teacher, very patient, willing to joke and speak of his travels in the past but strictly business when it came to teaching music to aspiring musicians. It is said he was always willing to teach music to anyone interested. Many great jazz artists spoke highly of his talents and both musicians and relatives often have credited Bunk with teaching such legends as Louis Armstrong (whom Bunk indeed knew in the early 1900's in New Orleans).
Bunk never let adversity stop his lifelong dream to always have music-playing a part of his life, be it teeth problems interfering with his trumpet-playing, be it having a music performance and equipment disrupted when one of his fellow musicians was murdered in 1931, be it trying to support his family in New Iberia with very little paying work to be found. It was in the late 1930's, after Louis Armstrong (who himself performed in New Iberia in 1938 and met up with his old friend while there) and others "spread the word" about Bunk that various jazz enthusiasts traveled to Louisiana to record Bunk and book him into concerts on the West Coast, the New Orleans area, and northern U.S. cities. First, however, he needed new teeth and in a wonderful example of the balance of life, Bunk was fitted with a new set of false teeth by Dr. Leonard Bechet, whose brother, jazz great Sidney Bechet, had been helped get his first music job by Bunk Johnson himself when Bechet was a boy.
Thanks to the efforts of a wide-ranging group of supporters Bunk found himself riding the trains and planes from 1942 through 1947 to concert appearances and recording sessions in such cities as San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, and Boston and jazz magazines became wonderful homes for articles on Bunk Johnson.
In late 1947 Bunk achieved a dream--playing in a band with musicians entirely of his own choosing. This was what Harold Drob wanted for him; Drob was a jazz fan who pooled his military service finances into booking Johnson into a series of New York dance concert appearances and who helped record Bunk with these musicians. These proved to be Bunk's final public performances; despite his passing in 1949, he was not forgotten, thanks to Harold Drob, Bill Russell, and a host of other friends, several of whom provided "homes away from home" for Bunk during his many "big city" concerts.
Konriko Rice Mill and Company Store
Placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Konriko Company Store on the grounds of America’s Oldest Rice Mill is eager to share some history and joie-de-vivre with you. Start your tour of the mill with our historically accurate presentation on Cajun culture, how it began and how it developed.
We will next guide you through our old rice mill where you can watch us package rice and make rice cakes. Built in 1912 by founder Phillip Conrad, Sr., the mill creaks and groans, but still produces the finest quality rice in America.
After your tour, feel free to browse through our collection of local foods, t-shirts, Cajun jellies, even Cajun dance videos and music tapes. Our assortment of interesting local products is said to be the best in Louisiana. We’ll also have one of our products cooking for you to sample free, plus the best coffee in town and some great recipes we’ve developed over the years.
Konriko Rice Mill and Company Store
301 Ann Street
New Iberia, LA 70560
A property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Shadows-On-The-Teche is an antebellum home visited by more than 25,000 people annually. Constructed between 1831 and 1834 by sugar planter David Weeks, our home is a tangible link to the past, representing over 150 years of history, stories about people and events about life.
Preserving a “picture of the life” is part of our mission at Shadows-On-The-Teche, a Southern plantation home and gardens on the banks of beautiful Bayou Teche. We’ve gathered on-site the collections of more than 17,000 family papers from four generations to present this authentic portrait.
Daily guided tours from 9 am to 4:30 pm, closed Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years Day, Shadows-On-The-Teche offers group rates with advance reservation. Special events include exhibits and Civil War re-enactments. Please contact us for details.
317 East Main Street
New Iberia, LA 70560
The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes shrine was originally erected in 1941 in memory of the pioneer families of New Iberia and re-dedicated in 1967 to the Veterans of Foreign Wars from New Iberia who died in the service of their country. In 1996 the grotto was restored by a dedicated group of community volunteers whose hard work was honored by the National Make A Difference Foundation.
The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
445 East Main Street
New Iberia, LA 7056
The Statue of Hadrian
Created in A.D. 130 in Rome to commemorate the greatest of the Spanish Roman emperors, the seven foot tall white marble statue is visible to the public at all times in a glass-enclosed dome on the corner of Weeks and St. Peter Streets.
Jane Braud, certified manager of our Main Street Program, is responsible for the many exciting Main Street activities in downtown New Iberia.
Main Street Logo
Jane Braud, Director Planning, Marketing & Zoning Department 457 E. Main Street, Suite 404 New Iberia, LA 70560-3700 Phone: (337) 369-2330
The Statue of Hadrian
301 East St. Peter Street
New Iberia, LA 70560
Teche Area Farmers’ Market
Join us at Bouligny Plaza on West Main Street in downtown New Iberia for the Teche Area Farmers’ Market. The market is open year round on Saturday mornings from 6:00AM to10:00AM and on Tuesday afternoons from 3:00PM to 6:00PM. Experience our harvest of delicious homegrown produce and home-made products by area farmers, artists and crafters.
Also included are hand-made cypress yard objects, home-made bread and fresh baked goods, ceramics, honey, jellies, jams, herbs, candies, handcrafted wooden bowls and utensils, birdhouses, garden benches and much more.
Main Street Events and Projects
Plant A Tree
The City of New Iberia Main Street Program recognizes the importance of trees to our city’s atmosphere, both aesthetically and environmentally. The Main Street Program encourages the planting and preservation of trees in the downtown area because trees help to keep our city beautiful and clean the air. Our City’s historic Live Oaks and other trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and give off oxygen in the process, thereby aiding in the fight against global warming.
Operation Community Pride
The City of New Iberia Main Street Program’s banner fund raising project netted a total of $25,000 designated for banners in the historic districts, which are displayed on a rotating basis.
Yuletide on the Bayou
This annual Christmas event — co-sponsored with the LA Sugarcane Festival & Fair Association and the Bayou Girl Scouts — features area Girl Scouts and Brownies who display gingerbread houses created for the Christmas holidays. Held on the second Saturday in December at Bouligny Plaza, Yuletide on the Bayou continues to grow. Following the event, the gingerbread houses are displayed in downtown storefronts for the remainder of the holiday season.
Downtown Building Façade Grants
Since 1994, the State of Louisiana has contributed a total of $83,741 to New Iberia’s downtown restoration with rehabilitation projects totaling $497,987. The grants are awarded to historically significant commercial buildings located within the Downtown Commercial Historic District.
Sliman Theater for the Performing Arts
The Sliman Theater for Performing Arts is located at129 E. Main Street in the heart of New Iberia’s downtown historic district. The Sliman family donated this theater to the City of New Iberia in 1994. State Representative Bo Ackal initiated efforts to acquire funding to preserve this "Art Deco" gem and restore it to its useful purpose for the community. As a result of these efforts, the City received a State Capital Outlay Grant in 1995 for the proposed project and work began in 1997. The doors of The Sliman Theater for Performing Arts opened in 1998, since then the theater has established itself as a quality venue for performance art.
The Sliman Theater is currently host to the widely-acclaimed musical concert series entitled Louisiana Crossroads, presented by the Acadiana Arts Council. For a complete Louisiana Crossroads concert schedule, click here.
Andrew Romero House Other Names: Alvarez House
The Andrew Romero House (1937) is a two story plaster-over-concrete block residence in the Moderne style. Located on a narrow but deep parcel which borders Bayou Teche in New Iberia, the home stands well back from the street amid lush vegetation. It is reached via a small bridge which spans a ditch running through the property.
Although the home has received two additions since construction, the newer construction blends well with the original fabric and does not detract from the structure's architectural integrity nor diminish its National Register eligibility.
The building's asymmetrical and split level floorplan focuses upon a central stair hall standing directly behind a separate entry foyer. The foyer provides access to the front-projecting master suite on one side of the building and a dining room with curved wall on the other. Behind the dining room stands a kitchen and breakfast area. A small home office (formerly a bedroom) is located behind the master bedroom and bath. The building's major staircase connects the first floor to two bedrooms and a greenhouse/play area above. A second, plainer stair rises from the rear of
the hall to a raised den which does not connect to the second level bedroom area. A third stair, also situated at the rear of the hall, descends to a workroom and garage.
The pink color and gray trim of the exterior's stucco finish duplicate the original appearance of the home. In addition to the projecting master suite with jerkinhead roof, the streamlined and curved outside wall of the dining room is also a noteworthy feature. The two sides of the front elevation stand in sharp contrast to each other, for the bedroom wing contains a bowed wall of windows while the dining room side displays noticeably fewer openings. Only one curved corner glass block window on the first level and two small windows centered almost at roof level above
pierce the exterior on this area of the facade. The rear elevation is distinguished by a small rounded entrance pavilion (now enclosed but with its massing still evident); the original second floor greenhouse (still intact beneath a covering roof); and by a recently added deck which mimics the International Style.
The interior abounds with Moderne architectural details. For example, the master bedroom focuses upon a rounded yet geometric fireplace mantel and surround which is surmounted by a mirror with decorative plaster frame. Many of the home's interior doors display plaster panels featuring teas relief sculptures of birds and flowers.
The stairway is especially noteworthy, for in place of balusters it features unusual verdigris and chrome stalks of leaves in the Art Nouveau style to support a wrought iron and aluminum curved railing. Also of note is a geometric stained glass window in tones of yellow and green. It is located in the upper reaches of the stairwell.
Much of the home's original brass hardware is intact. Also characteristic of the Moderne style is a curved storage wall located in one of the second floor bedrooms.
Auguste Erath Building
The Auguste Erath Building is a two story brick combination residence and business
constructed in 1884. Stylistically, it is transitional late Greek Revival/ Italianate. Prominently located on a comer in downtown New Iberia, the building is adjacent to the city's railroad corridor.
Historically, a railroad spur ran immediately adjacent to the northwestern side elevation. On the whole, the Erath Building is well preserved. The exterior looks almost as it did originally as does the upper residential floor.
The building constructed by Auguste Erath in 1884 to house his hardware business and
living quarters is rather backward looking from an architectural standpoint. Indeed, in terms of its overall look, it could just as easily be from the 1850s. However, a closer inspection (molding profiles and other details) makes the 1884 date believable. In any event, the construction date is documented. A very early photo shows the date on a drain spout, and Erath's 1900 obituary notes that he opened his hardware business in the building in 1884.
The large building has a five bay main block with a narrower, but nonetheless fairly wide, wing extending from the middle of the rear, yielding an overall T shaped footprint. Perhaps the building's most distinctive exterior features are its decorative gabled parapets -- on the sides of the main block and the back of the rear wing. They feature two bands of dentils, and in the peak of one (a side elevation) the initials of the owner are prominently displayed in cast-iron. There are also decorative tie-bar ends in various places on the side elevations. The Erath Building's two Greek Revival front dormers are particularly handsome, featuring pilasters with molded capitals and a pediment. Other noteworthy features include nine over six sliphead windows on the second floor with movable louver shutters and two large round head openings with shutters on the ground floor of the principal side elevation. The present balcony extending across the front of the building is not the original one, which was shallower and cantilevered. However, the original Italianate balustrade was re-used, causing one to not immediately notice this change. The balcony is presently supported by fairly thin metal poles. Originally there were four tall ground floor facade openings, evenly spaced.
Today only two of these survive (see alterations below).
Auguste Erath's upper floor residence is very well preserved. It has a central hall plan with two rooms on each side in the main block. The hall becomes narrower in the rear wing, with two additional rooms on each side. The staircase to the living quarters is accessed from a door located on one side of the facade. As it ascends the staircase turns the corner (i.e., to meet the central hall at a right angle). The flush board ceilings upstairs are roughly fourteen feet high and feature a
molded cornice. Most of the openings have raised four panel doors with porcelain knobs. The hinges feature two gudgeons of the type one might just as easily see in an earlier building. Six panel pocket doors are found between the two rooms on the west side of the main block.
The residential quarters retain their five fireplaces. Their chimneys were built into the previously mentioned gabled parapets. One chimney top remains (at the top of the eastern gabled parapet). The three wooden mantels have the standard pilasters and an entablature, but are given an unusual appearance by the use of moldings superimposed on the pilasters, and two have applied star designs on the entablature.
Conrad Rice Mill
The Conrad Rice Mill is located on Ann Street in a working class residential area of New Iberia. The present structure occupies some 10,000 square feet of ground space. It was built in three sections, beginning in 1914. The original section consisted of a two-story structure in front with a three-story rear structure directly behind it. In 1917 the three-story rear structure was extended sideways or northward. In 1930 a two-story storage building was erected to the south of the original structure. At the rear of this building is a gable roof tower which is part of a rice drying mechanism.
The rice drying equipment is original to the building and operates to this day. At the front of the building is a covered area where trucks deliver rice to be processed. It contains a hopper into which rice is dumped, a scale for weighing the loaded trucks, and a hoist. The hoist is left over from the days before dump trucks had hydraulic lifts.
Much of the present rice milling process takes place in the 1914-1917 building.
Operations conducted here include:
* 1. the separating out of immature (green) grains of rice;
2. the husking of mature grains;
* 3. the step-by-step removal of the bran coating;
4. the application of a protein mixture to the clean grains,
* 5, the grading of rice into categories according to whether the grains are broken or whole;
* 6. the bagging and labeling of the processed rice;
* 7. the shipping of the bagged rice by means of the original carts and the original loading dock.
* Indicates operations which are conducted with old machinery or old equipment, All three parts of the rice mill are constructed of heavy timbers with corrugated siding of galvanized iron. Most vertical supports are 6" by 6" with angle braces framing into the beams.
Vertical supports are heavier in areas where machines are mounted. In a few places the heavy tongue and groove floorboards have been reinforced with steel plates.
The most noteworthy aspect of the mill is the system of power transmission in the
1914-1917 portion. All of the older individual machines are run by means of a central power source.
The central engine turns a system of rotating steel shafts which run throughout the building. These shafts have pulleys with leather belts attached. The belts run between the rotating shafts to turn machines. In some cases shafts turn other shafts by means of leather belts. Rotating shafts are secured to the vertical structural members by means of bolted bearings. Shafts run either along the tops or the bottoms of the walls, never in the middle. Leather belt pulleys vary in size from a few
inches to several feet in diameter. At one time the main power source was a steam engine, but this has been replaced by an electric motor. The rice is moved through the various processing operations by means of metal pipes which work by means of gravity feed.
Little of the structure has been replaced or altered. A side porch has been enclosed for storage, and a small amount of the siding has been replaced in kind due to rust. Throughout the mill the interior retains its cavernous, crowded, and scaffolding-like character.
Assessment of Integrity:
As has already been mentioned, the structure itself has only been minimally altered. Some of the original machinery is no longer in use. More importantly, the steam engine which originally drove the machinery has been lost. However, this has not lowered the value of the Conrad Rice Mill as an example of a belt drive factory. Most comparable examples have also lost their original power plants. It would not have been possible to continue to operate the mill under steam power.
Moreover, the mill's significance is based on the belt drive system itself, not the source of power.
Darby is a two-story house with open galleries on two sides. The plan of both levels is typical in that a central hall transects the building from front to rear with two generously dimensioned rooms flaking either side of the hall. The house, inhabited until the late 1960s, has recently been adjudged to be in a structurally sound condition.
The lower floor of Darby (basement level), constructed at ground level, is of solid native brick, originally plastered on both inner and outer faces. Interior partitions of this level are similarly constructed. The original flooring here was of black and white marble tile, but, today, bare ground serves as the only floor.
The upper floor reflects the early Louisiana French style of building referred to as briquete entre poteaux. This means of construction incorporates heavy cypress structural members, to effect stability, with full brick or broken brick filling the spaces between the "posts." This combination of brick and wood is layered over with plaster on inner surfaces and cypress siding on the exterior upper surface.
The roof is gabled and extends over the front gallery. A modified hip roof on the east gable projects over the side gallery. Of the three original galleries only two remain. The front gallery is in a state of dilapidation. The side gallery is in fair condition, and the rear gallery has been removed. The roof of the upper front and side galleries is apparently supported by a colonnade composed of masonry columns on the ground floor and wooden ones on the upper level of a turned, classical design.
There is no evidence of the original rear gallery design, but it is believed to have
approximated that of the front gallery.
Other notable features include a substantial flight of wooden steps which climb along the front face of the house to connect the upper gallery. There are also three underground cisterns, built in the shape of a jar, projecting approximately four feet above grade.
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
Darby, one of the oldest structures in Iberia Parish, is located on Darby Lane approximately one-tenth mile outside the New Iberia city limits. The home is an excellent example of rural Louisiana colonial architecture, particularly that found in the Teche region of the state. Because of this rural character the house possesses less elaborate detailing, but remains a fine compliment to its setting amid giant live oaks and sugar-cane fields.
The immigrant ancestor, Jonathan Darby, an Englishman, sailed from France to Pensacola in 1719. In 1737, he married Demoiselle Marie Corbin Bachemin, a native of France. His grandson, Francois St. Marc Darby, inherited the Darby plantation from his father Jean-Baptiste St. Marc Darby. Darby House was built between 1813 and 1820 for Francois and his wife, Felicite de St. Amant, and remained in the possession of their pioneer family for more than 150 years.
The Attakapas Historical Association is in the process of acquiring the property in the hope of fostering a renovation program. Immediate steps have already been initiated to prevent further deterioration to the building.
Dulcito Plantation House
Dulcito Plantation House (c. 1850) is a one-and-a-half story frame house mainly in the French Creole tradition. It is set back about a half mile from Louisiana Highway 182 near Spanish Lake in a grove of live oaks. Despite various alterations over the years, Dulcito retains enough of it original character to merit National Register listing.
There is some controversy over the date of Dulcito. The house is popularly believed to have been built in the late eighteenth century; however, the architectural evidence points clearly to a date of c. 1850 for the present house.
The gable end house is built of circular sawn timbers and is raised about six feet on a common bond brick basement. (Circular saws first appear in Louisiana in the 1830s.) The columns on the front gallery are believed to be original. When the present owners acquired the house in 1993, the entablature had been added to, the column capitals were missing, and the gallery had been screened. In an attempt to bring the facade back to its original appearance, the screening and the addition to the entablature were removed and capitals were installed. Because there was no
architectural evidence, they are conjectural based upon period examples. A historic photograph of Dulcito uncovered since the work was done shows that they are accurate. Marks in the columns indicated the height for the balustrade, which is otherwise conjectural but appropriate. Openings on the facade consist of a central entrance flanked by two six over six windows. The windows are unusual because they do not have sills. Instead, the molding continues around the bottom.
As originally built, the house's front range of rooms consisted of a central hall with a large room on each side. The south hall wall has been removed. The rear range consisted of three unequally sized rooms and a small space containing a staircase to the unfinished attic. The room behind the staircase has since been subdivided into three small spaces. Surviving original interior features include four panel doors, exposed beaded ceiling beams in all rooms, and door and window surrounds with molding profiles typical of the late 1840s and '50s. The latter match those found on
the facade. The most unusual interior feature for a house of this type is a transomed doorway with pocket doors at the end of the central hall.
East Main Street Historic District
The East Main Street Historic District is a linear district which encompasses New Iberia's grand residential rue of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. There are seventy-one buildings within the district, most of which date from between c. 1890 and c. 1930. All of the contributing buildings are residences except for a 1903 synagogue, a 1903 post office and a 1902 bank. The intrusion rate is 20% and none of the contributing buildings have been significantly altered.
The three-quarter mile long district more or less follows the course of Bayou Teche as it meanders downstream from the center of town. It begins next to the much altered New Iberia central business district, proceeds east through an area of large relatively well-treed lots, and terminates near a modern shopping center.
Like many comparable historic streets in Louisiana, East Main Street features a combination of large and relatively small houses placed side by side. There is no "rich" or "poor" neighborhood as such. Because the smaller houses are mainly contemporaneous with the larger houses, it cannot be said that the district's smaller houses represent later infill to any great extent.
The district's buildings are predominantly of frame construction, with only a handful of masonry structures. The scale is variable. About one-third of the district's buildings are two to two-and-a-half stories high, a third are one-and-a-half stories high and a final third are a single story high.
The district contains some noteworthy landmarks such as the Creole-Greek Revival
Shadows-on-the- Teche (1834-National Historic Landmark - Building #3), the high style Georgian Revival post office (1903- building #2), and the vaguely Romanesque synagogue (1903- building #1). Apart from these, most of the district's buildings reflect the Eastlake, Queen Anne Revival, Colonial Revival, or bungalow styles. No single style predominates in either the large or the small houses, although the most pretentious houses tend to be either Queen Anne Revival or Eastlake.
There is no local style in evidence. The buildings along East Main Street could at one time have been found in most any regional city in Louisiana.
None of the contributing buildings have been significantly altered. For the most part, losses of integrity have taken the form of demolished or replaced structures. As a result, the flow of historic structures is broken in a few places. However, the overall intrusion rate is 20°%, which is well within the range of intrusion rates normally considered acceptable. Generally speaking, the intrusions are similar in size to the historic buildings and conform to the same land use pattern (i.e., large lots and considerable setback). In addition, they are masked by the large live oak trees which line East Main Street for much of its length.
The largest break in the flow of historic structures occurs near the intersection of Bank Avenue (see map). This area requires additional comment. In addition to the above mitigating factors, one must also note that three of the intrusions (18, 19, 24) are built in something resembling a historic style of architecture. As a result, the area does not exude a modern feeling , as it otherwise might.
The district's building period breakdown is as follows:
Pre-Civil War 2 buildings 3%
1865--1889 4 buildings 5.5%
1890-1910 30 buildings 42%
1911-1933 21 buildings 29.5%
Intrusions 14 buildings 20%
Episcopal Church of the Epiphany
The records of the Church of the Epiphany indicate that the original building, "a neat and commodious structure," was built in the winter of 1857-1858 of cypress timbers and bricks made by slaves of native clay taken from the banks of the Bayou Teche. It was a one story, rectangular building, 34' wide and 74' deep. The architect and builder are unknown.
The records also indicate that in 1884 the exterior side walls were reinforced with buttresses and that a belfry was added. The building itself was otherwise untouched until renovations were undertaken in 1959. At that time the building appeared as shown in Figure 1. In 1959 the building was enlarged by replacing the last 11' of the existing structure, which had deteriorated, and by adding to the rear a wing 15'6" by 52'. (See Figures 2 and 2a.) This addition allowed the Sacristies and altar area to be relocated, thus enlarging the seating area and providing space for a mechanical equipment room. Original brick was saved from the replaced section and
used on the exterior of the addition. Details were constructed to match those of the existing structure.
The weakening original structure was stabilized by removing the truss and ceiling and roof load from the exterior walls and placing the load on boxed in pipe columns at each truss. These columns rest on a poured concrete beam supported by two spread footings. A concrete slab floor was then poured to replace the wood frame flooring. (See Figure 3.) Interior finish work was done under the general direction of Perry Segura & Associates of New Iberia, Louisiana.
The Church of the Epiphany bears a strong resemblance to the small village churches of the English medieval period, not surprising in American Episcopal churches. The style incorporates simple masonry parapet facades and a steeply pitched roof. In Sir Banister Fletcher's A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method (17th Edition, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1961, Page 387), a drawing of Boarhunt Church, Hants, England, is one example of this style. The wooden belfry, which was added to the Church of the Epiphany in 1884, bears a remarkable similarity to that of the Boarhunt church. (See Figure 4.)
At the Church of the Epiphany the architectural style is adapted to local materials in the modeling of the brickwork and in the wood details. Gothic details arc seen in the pointed arches, the spires, and the traceried windows. The vestibule is a tall Gothic arch with parapet framing the recessed entrance of high wooden doors. The main facade wall contains a circular rose window and, above it, brick dentils which outline the peak. Finials designed as spires rest on protruding buttresses at each corner. The side walls contain fenestration set in pointed arches.
Inside, the decor is so plain it must be called spartan. The walls and ceiling are white plaster with pale gray trim. The balcony, originally for slaves who attended church with their masters, is wood, painted gray, and supported by two square wood columns. An interesting little turning stair leads to the loft, and several old "slave pews" of two different sizes are still there. They bear markings which tradition says are the teeth marks of horses which ate hay piled in the pews when the church yard was used for the horses of Union soldiers during the Civil War.
Holes in the seats were supposed to have been drilled to drain rain water.
The focal point of the interior is a stained glass window extending from floor to ceiling behind the altar. It is said that this beautiful window is a Tiffany piece. The colors are lovely muted tones dominated by an exquisite rose and accented with bright medium-blue lines. This window is the only color on the, interior except for the side stained glass windows, including one at the rear which is quite brightly colored and different from the others. These windows were all added in the 1959 renovation. All are memorials.
The renovation undertaken in 1959, as stated before, strengthened the weakening structure and enlarged it to the west. The original slate roofing was removed and replaced by asphalt shingles to lighten the roof load. During the renovation it was necessary to strip the structure of its dense covering of vines, which was apparently responsible for keeping the deteriorated rear wall erect, but today much of the wall surface is again green with regrown vines.
SPECIFIC DATES 1857-1858
Evangeline Theater Other Names: Sliman Theater for the Performing Arts
The Evangeline Theater started its life as a wholesale grocery building in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. Remodeled for a movie house in 1929, the building gained its current Art Deco facade and other characteristics during a 1939/40 renovation. The two story brick building's facade is clad in stucco and pigmented structural glass. Located on Main Street in the New Iberia central business
district, the façade is fully restored to its 1940 appearance.
Some elements of each era of the building's history remain. The general shape as well as three of the exterior walls are remnants of the earliest period. The interior walls of the auditorium, left exposed during the recent rehabilitation, also show evidence of the building as a wholesale grocery. A series of pockets in the brick walls denote where shelves and hangers were attached to hold the groceries and other supplies.
The 1929 remodeling of the building to house the theater has also left its mark. The vertical Art Deco Evangeline sign that still graces the front of the building is original to the theater. Incandescent lights create a flashing border around the word "Evangeline" which is spelt out in neon lights. Neon did not become generally widespread in Louisiana until the late 1930s, so the sign represents an early use of neon in the state. The high vaulted ceiling is a dominant feature of the lobby which recalls the early years of the movie house. The black and white tile floor which also represents the 1929 renovation has a Greek key border design and the word "Evangeline" in block letters.
After 10 years as a theater, the building was updated to its current appearance. The most dramatic change was to the front street façade which was completely redone. William Bowen, the architect for the project, designed the current Modernistic façade. The sharp geometry creates a sculpted look to the front of the building, which is divided into three sections: an upper register, a large marquee, and a street level entrance. The upper register is denoted by a central geometric design that peaks at the center of the building and creates a background for the original Evangeline neon sign. The sign, which was placed to one side of the 1929 building, was reused in the center to emphasize the striking verticals common to Art Deco architecture. The backdrop, composed of superimposed vertical elements, makes three short steps down to the main wall of the building. Each section is a different color and is articulated by a band of contrasting color. The colors used on the facade and marquee-- rich greens, reds, and yellows--match the color of the vertical neon sign and emphasize the striking geometry of the facade. The large marquee, with vertical neon bands of lights, separates the upper register from the street entrance.
At the center of the marquee two bands of color curve down from a vertical central element. These curving bands meet two "wings" which shoot out along the top of the marquee. All of the elements are outlined in neon lights.
Like the upper register, the entrance displays the dynamic geometry characteristic of the Modernistic style. A wide solid band of deep red Carrara glass denotes the base of the first story. Above that, an off-white glass background is dissected by sharp beige lines which shoot up from the dark base and veer off to the right and left at different levels. Centered over the entrance doors and ticket booth is a
long black glass sign with "Evangeline" in stylized white letters. Under the sign a ticket booth is sidled by two sets of double doors with large rounded glass panes and brushed aluminum fixtures.
The recent rehabilitation of the building restored the exterior, but greatly altered the interior to accommodate mixed uses. Several interior features of the 1940 renovation were saved. The lobby retains much of its 1940 flavor. The dominant feature from 1940 is a set of rounded end steps that lead to the pair of doors that originally led to the auditorium. Two new entrances to the auditorium were installed
to preserve the historic staircase and to accommodate the new flat floor design of the auditorium. The light fixtures in the lobby are also from 1940. Two conical light fixtures made of a blue metal base and surrounded by a series of exposed florescent lights hang from the vaulted ceiling. One covered florescent
light with decorative metal end caps and an opaque cover hangs at the top of the stairs above the original entrance doors.
Many of the original characteristics of the auditorium space were lost during a 30 year period of neglect after the theater closed in 1960. Holes in the roof and rotting floorboards allowed water and other deteriorating elements to ruin much of the interior space. The rehabilitation process which began in 1996 reworked the auditorium to stabilize the structure and to allow for mixed uses. The once slanting wood floor has been replaced with a flat poured concrete surface. A new stage, sound booth and roofing/ceiling system, along with exposed brick walls alter the original appearance of the auditorium. As in the lobby, though, several light fixtures have been restored to give a sense of the historic fixtures. The wall sconces that line the walls as well as the hanging conical light fixtures from the ceiling were part of the 1940 refurbishing.
Assessment of Integrity:
In the opinion of the SHPO, the striking Art Deco flare seen in the restored façade and the lobby establishes the building's architectural character. Although alterations exist, the integrity and uniqueness of the street façade and lobby justify its recognition as an architecturally significant building.
Significant Dates: 1929, 1940
Architect/Builder: 1940 architect: William Bowen
First United Methodist Church
The First United Methodist Church of New Iberia is a one-story stucco-over-masonry Italian Renaissance style building with a two-story front corner bell tower. Erected in 1891, the original Gothic Revival building suffered serious fire damage to its spire, slate roof, and underlying roof structure in January 1907. However, the congregation repaired and rebuilt, in the process remodeling the building to its present stylistic appearance. Located in downtown New Iberia, the sanctuary stands very close to the street and has almost no green space to cushion it from nearby
noise and traffic. For the record, the church is being nominated for its 1907 Italian Renaissance exterior. The property also includes a 1939 education building and a 1960 education building.
The exterior's Italian Renaissance styling was created by applying decorative details to the building's asymmetrical Gothic Revival shell. These decorative elements include an enclosed, arcaded loggia-like entrance with multi-layered concrete arches springing from massive concrete piers; a campanile-like bell tower; an oculus and round arched windows. The larger round arched windows contain double and triple arched divisions inscribed within the larger openings. In an attempt to make the building appear even more Italian, the 1907 craftsmen also added extended
purlins beneath the eaves to mimic the Italian villa style. The building's red tile roof and stucco wall covering are also characteristic of Italian architecture. The stucco was added to hide the fire damaged bricks.
The church is entered through the loggia-like vestibule, added during the 1907 remodeling. Its interior space consists of one large room with a projecting entrance alcove opposite a wide but shallow chancel. Equally wide and shallow transepts give the floorplan just the suggestion of a cross. The bell tower, containing mechanical equipment on the first level, stands on the corner where the alcove and streetside transept meet. The sanctuary ceiling is both supported and decorated by a wooden scissors truss with hammerbeam supports and ornamental hanging pendants suggestive of the structure's Gothic Revival origin. Other noteworthy interior features
include the wooden altar rail, pulpit, and curving pews. Colorful stained glass windows light the sanctuary on three sides.
Alterations/Assessment of Integrity:
The church has experienced only one structural change since its 1907 remodeling. In 1939 an arcaded hallway was attached to the exterior of the chancel wall in order to connect the sanctuary to a newly constructed education building. Otherwise, thanks to a meticulous restoration carried out between 1986 and 1987, the building appears much as it did in 1907.
John R. Taylor Drugstore
The John R. Taylor Drugstore (1906-1907) is a two-story Romanesque Revival style
commercial building located on a comer lot within New Iberia's business district.
The masonry structure retains two well preserved arcaded exterior faces, but its original interior features have been lost. It is for its two public faces, whose eligibility remains intact, that the store is being nominated to the National Register.
The drugstore's corner location provides an opportunity for a recessed corner entrance, as well as for two of the building's exterior walls to be styled. The resulting design is meant to be viewed from a three-quarter angle. The two styled walls are composed of glazed white brick, while the rear wall is of less expensive plain brick. The structure's fourth side consists of a party wall shared with the building next door (see below).
The drugstore's primary Romanesque feature is the treatment of the second floor windows on its two public faces. These openings are housed within heavy brick arcades, with each curving span emphasized by a narrow single raised brick band. The individual arches spring from the top of a corbelled and denticulated broken belt course which spans the structure's two street-side faces. A second, less elaborate belt course runs directly beneath the second story window sills, while a third
belt course (this one both corbelled and denticulated) spans the facade above the storefront window and entrance. Another Romanesque feature is the treatment of the front corner at the second floor level. Because the walls in this area rise higher than the rest of the building, the visual effect is that of a tower. Segmentally arched windows and doors punctuate the first floor's side elevation.
Although not in the Romanesque style, their arched shapes do reinforce the impact of the Romanesque arches above them. On the facade, or storefront elevation, piers are used to divide the area into three bays. The piers themselves are divided vertically by the use of three types of surface ornament. At the first floor level they are rusticated; on the second level they are plain; and above the level of the upper
broken belt course they are paneled. The corner pier protects a recessed entrance and accents the mock tower. A fourth identical pier marks the tower's terminating point on the side elevation.
Other architectural details of importance on the drugstore's exterior include its watertable composed of three courses of textured concrete block, a floor mosaic featuring "John R. Taylor" spelled out in tile beneath the corner tower, an original side entrance door leading to stairs rising to the second floor, a heavily corbelled parapet, and a paneled and crenellated tower parapet which hints loosely at the Gothic Revival style. Although not visible from the street, the building's original red tile roof survives. The drugstore's connection to its older party wall neighbor is somewhat unusual because the two buildings overlap slightly. A decorative pilaster from the older building is exposed on the first level.
Only one of three second floor mantels and a pressed metal ceiling in the same room
remain to represent the original interior. Otherwise, the structure was gutted and its interior space reconfigured when it was rehabilitated in 1978. The former first floor drugstore now contains a lobby and offices, some of which have exposed brick walls and all of which have lowered tile ceilings. In addition, all of the openings on the first floor's side elevation have been covered on the interior. The party wall between the drugstore and its older neighbor has been opened in two places to connect the two structures, both of which are now owned by the same business. The second floor, historically consisting of doctors' offices, has also been reconfigured.
The only exterior changes of importance are the following:
1) the alteration of the storefront. This included the replacement of the shopfront's
original large plate glass window with three smaller glass panels and accompanying transoms, the replacement of the wooden panels below the glass, the installation of transoms in the corner openings between the rusticated piers, and the covering of the glass which flanked the recessed corner doors.
2) the loss of the original front doors. These have been replaced by the original rear cypress and glass doors. Less important exterior changes include the installation of a modern glass double door on the rear, the covering of the rear transom, and the installation of electrical conduit and plumbing pipes on the rear wall. Because the new glass panes and transoms occupy the same space as the original plate glass window, the alteration of the storefront is not nearly as serious as it might otherwise seem.
Although regrettable, the change in front doors is also insignificant because they are hidden behind the large corner pier. The building still retains the important architectural features which make it significant (see Part 8). For this reason, it is a prime candidate for National Register listing.
Significant dates 1906-1907
Lutzenberger Foundry & Pattern Shop Building
The Lutzenberger Foundry is composed of two commercial industrial buildings located
across the street from one another in New Iberia on the bank of Bayou Teche -- the foundry and machine shop building and the pattern shop building. Due to the buildings' minimal styling details, the term "no style" will be applied to this nomination. The pattern shop is a two-story building sided with corrugated tin. Sanborn maps describe the pattern shop building as “iron clad" and indicate a construction date between 1892 and 1895. The same corrugated material was used to fashion window and door shutters, which when closed, give the effect of a “window-less” building; the roof is metal as well. The foundry and machine shop building is a one-story brick building built in 1882.
Each building has retained its integrity despite a change in use to both and minor modifications to the pattern shop building. The pattern shop building has undergone two one-storey additions -- one to the rear of the building and the other to its southern side. These additions apparently occurred after 1931, as they do not appear on Sanborn maps from that date. They are sided in corrugated tin also, although the
window and door openings are not covered by that material. According to the owner, the building's exterior has recently been re-coated in zinc.
Much of the front office area of the building's interior has been altered to accommodate a modern office while also adhering to the code standards of the State Fire Marshall. Modifications to the pattern shop primarily included the installation of a metal door between the office and storage areas and a lowered ceiling height. The modern acoustic tile ceiling appears throughout the office area except in the reception area, where the original ceiling remains visible. The beaded board walls
in the original office area (as indicated on Sanborn maps) are also extant. The original entrance door, which features stained glass and Eastlake details, has been re-located to the interior, where it now separates two office areas. The current owner also recently made an addition of sills, aprons, and surround trim to the interior of the windows.
The rear area of the pattern shop building, once the woodworking area and now used for storage, continues to house the four lathes which were used in the production of the pattern molds. The upper story of the building (which has not been modified) houses many of the wooden pattern molds produced and used by the foundry, which have remained virtually untouched since the foundry's operation. Many of these patterns are marked in paint with the name of the individual or company who ordered the pattern, as well as a date indicating when the pattern was completed.
Some patterns also indicate the type of part that the pattern was designed to mold. For example, a part manufactured for the Iberia Cypress Lumber Company is labeled with the company's name, a 1911 date, and the words "Heater Bottom."
The foundry and machine shop building is a one-storey brick building, which is currently used as a storage building for a woodworking shop. The front and end walls, which form the gables of the building, extend above the roofline to create parapets with simple, but decorative, brickwork.
The front gable is pierced by arched double entrance doors and four arched windows --two at either side of the doors, and two smaller windows above the doors. The doors and window shutters are crafted of iron. A small rectangular opening (now boarded) is located above the smaller upper windows. The front, rear, and side facades of the building are also decorated with small iron medallions.
Each side of the building also features four iron-shuttered windows. One iron-shuttered window and one iron door are located at the rear facade. Sanborn maps indicate that the furnace was located as an appendage to the south side of the rear of the building; two iron chimneys were also apparently present. Also, a small building was once attached to the north side of the foundry, which is alternately referred to as a machine shop and a boiler shed on Sanborn maps. This appendage was still in place as of 1931, but is no longer extant.
The dirt-floored interior space is completely open, with the exception of a crane, which protrudes from the approximate center of the south wall and extends across the interior of the building. The crane, which is certainly the most significant aspect of the interior, is constructed of heavy vertical and horizontal timbers affixed to the wall and truss system, as well as three diagonal members which act as bracing.
The crane and hook used to hold the iron bucket which transported the molten iron is also anchored at the center of the building by a series of four metal tie-bars which run through the corners of the building to the exterior, where they are further anchored to the ground by cables. An exterior buttress attached to the crane through the building provides additional bracing to counter-balance the weight of an iron bucket filled with molten iron. This bucket -- as well as the scale used to weigh both iron and the coal for fuel -- is still located on the site, to the rear of the
building. The crank, wheel, and chain system which allows the crane its range of movement is still in place, and according to the owner, the crane remains fully functional.
A survey of the foundry building and surrounding grounds gives a clear impression of the previous use of the site, as slag and pieces of coal dot the ground. The building itself also suggests its former use -- the wall surrounding the area where the coal oven was located is charred with soot.
Assessment of Integrity:
The foundry and machine shop building is in good general condition, although the iron doors and shutters and some bricks have begun to deteriorate. Also, some of the brickwork has been repaired due to automobile collisions with the building. The alterations to the pattern shop building are not only minor, but essentially reversible ones, and thus have no major effect to the building's integrity.
Therefore, the Lutzenberger Foundry remains a strong candidate for the National Register not only because it has retained its architectural integrity, but also by virtue of its significance as a rare and primarily untouched example of an industrial site.
Significant dates 1882, 1892-95
Mintmere, Other Names: Roy Boucvalt House
Mintmere is located on a large treed lot with an open lawn vista to Bayou Teche. The house itself is raised seven feet above the ground on brick piers and has a circular sawn cypress frame.
The plan consists of a central hall flanked by double rooms with a pair of wings which form a pretentious three-sided galleried court at the rear. This rear gallery has heavy posts with molded capitols as does the five bay front gallery. Windows are six over six with six over nine floor length windows on the front gallery. Front gallery windows are ornamented with pediments, and the doors at the ends of the central hall are treated with full aedicule motifs with transoms and sidelights. The
front gallery cast iron work is replaced. The rear cast iron work, which employs the flower and treillage design, is original.
None of the mantels are original, and all of the ceiling molding is replaced. Nonetheless, the floorboards, skirting boards, door moldings, and most of the doors are original. In about 1900 a bay window was added to a side parlor. In the 1920's the roof was reworked to give its present bungalow appearance.
Boundaries were drawn to recognize the house and its immediate setting.
The fireplaces were built to accommodate coal grates. All interior woodwork is of simple classic design. Most of the original flooring remains and the plaster ceilings were changed to wood in 1880. At the rear of the house, the original cast iron railings of flower and treillage design have rounded wooden rails.
Excavations at the rear and in this gallery area reveal a brick courtyard with drain gutter area and on both sides may still be seen the foundations and remains of an underground cistern. In the opposite side, excavation is incomplete. There is a side staircase flush against an inner rear wall of the enclosed gallery at the back of the house.
An early photo of “Mintmere” shows the original roof line which was almost flat with a very wide entablature above the columns ornamented with brackets. This was removed following a storm and replaced by the current roof.
Specific dates c. 1845
New Iberia High School
The New Iberia High School stands a few blocks from downtown New Iberia on one of the
community's busiest thoroughfares. The Neo-Classical style, masonry structure consists of a three-story core constructed in 1926 and flanking two-story wings added in 1939. The building has experienced very little change since its expansion and easily retains the integrity required for National Register listing.
Although the overall appearance of the school's 1926 core is that of a rectangular mass, the three-story facade is divided into projecting and receding planes. The majority of the structure's classical decoration is found on the central projection, which is articulated as an entrance pavilion.
This ornament, much of which is made of cast concrete, includes:
1) engaged, colossal columns in antis surmounted by composite order capitals. The
colossal pillars which form the outer members of the in antis motif are crowned by
capitals featuring elongated acanthus leaves.
2) an entablature consisting of a smooth cast concrete architrave, a brick frieze
featuring round and square plaques with teas relief leaf motifs, and a cornice with
separate bands of dentils and modillions.
3) a shaped brick parapet with cast concrete coping surmounting the entablature.
This parapet features a cast concrete open book and lozenge shaped plaques on
4) a plaque exhibiting the words "High School" between the windows of the second and third stories.
5) an arched door surround ornamented with various designs. In addition to the
surround itself, the areas around and within the arch are also highly ornamented.
For example, a bellflower motif surmounted by a child's head is found within the
arch's keystone, teas relief ribbons and wreaths which encircle escutcheons
decorate the spandrels, and an ornamental fan form is located within the arch
Classical features found on the rest of the 1926 building include the continuation of the entablature and parapet, both of which encircle the building and are restrained, virtually unornamented extensions of those found on the central pavilion. In addition, the building has a brick belt course and a cast concrete watertable. Other elements of interest on the original building include geometric shaped plaques at the crowns of the pilasters, bands of large windows, and
prominent lintels at the first and second level. The two-story wings of 1939 replicate this restrained styling, except that their pilasters lack the geometric ornament found on the originals.
The school's floorplan is typical of the period and consists of classrooms lining each side of long central hallways on each floor. The only exception to this is an auditorium which projects well beyond the classrooms on the rear elevation at the center of the building. Its main entrance is on the second floor and its balcony is accessible from the third. The auditorium is the interior's only ornamented space.
Its proscenium is distinguished by paneled pilasters supporting a paneled arch
with an escutcheon suggesting the presence of a keystone. The room also has a cornice and a chair rail. The first floor room below the auditorium was the original gym.
Except for the closing of certain windows and the replacement of some fire escapes, the exterior of the school has experienced no change other than that associated with deterioration. Deterioration and the loss of some non-decorative materials due to asbestos abatement also characterize the interior. Changes not related to these causes include the raising of the gym floor when the space was converted into a study hall and the loss of the auditorium's seats.
The few above mentioned alterations are minor in nature and have no effect upon the
building's National Register eligibility. As a landmark among the city's early twentieth century buildings, the New Iberia High School is a strong candidate for National Register listing.
Significant dates 1926, 1939
Architect/Builder William T. Nolan
The Pascal Building (1898) is located at the edge of New Iberia's central business district near Bayou Teche. It is a two story late Italianate brick commercial building. Having recently undergone a certified ERTA renovation, the building portrays its original appearance adequately.
The Pascal Building began as a brick store with a cast-iron plate glass shopfront on the lower facade and an ornamental piano mobile above surmounted by a parapet and a pedimented tablet.
Each of the windows was set beneath a shallow relieving arch. The facade bays were separated by broad paneled pilasters which continued up through the parapet level. In addition, each bay at the parapet level featured an ornamental brick panel.
Restored to 1903 Picture
Since construction the following changes have been made:
(1) The entire shopfront was removed to a depth of about ten feet. Recently this
area was reworked into a formal recessed entrance with ornamental brick piers.
(2) The rooftop tablet was lost. This feature has been reproduced using a c.1903
photograph of the building.
(3) A portion of the rear wall was broken out. This area has been repaired and
fitted with a balcony, fire escape, windows and doors.
(4) Some replacement doors and windows have been installed. These are mainly
of the type in use at the turn-of-the-century.
(5) The interior has been completely reworked.
(6) Two canopied entrances have been installed on the east side of the building.
Assessment of Integrity:
Despite these admittedly significant alterations, the recent renovation work was certified by the National Park Service. This attests to the basic authenticity of the Pascal Building's present exterior appearance. In our view it conveys its period and could not be mistaken for anything other than a late Italianate commercial building. In addition, it still retains the principal features which establish its architectural significance--i.e., the pilasters and the brick panels.
Specific dates 1898
Builder/Architect Builder: August Pascal
People`s National Bank/Poncio`s
The People’s National Bank stands in a prominent location on West Main Street in downtown New Iberia, the seat of Iberia Parish. Part of a row of party-wall commercial structures which parallels Bayou Teche in the first block inland from the waterway, the bank faces the town’s gazebo and the bayou behind it. The two-story, brick and stone building has various Classical Revival details, many of which are articulated in a manner evocative of ancient Egyptian styling (although not archaeologically correct). Local custom dates the bank’s construction to 1902.
However, the 1904 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the building under construction. Although neighboring structures stood quite close by, at that time the bank remained unattached to its neighbors. The building has received alterations but remains eligible for National Register listing.
The utilitarian side and rear walls of the bank are composed of brick. A thin limestone veneer covers the façade, where all of the decorative motifs are located. Here, four sets of unusual and exotic stacked columns are suggestive of those found on ancient Egyptian temples. Although actually carved from single pieces of limestone, all are articulated to resemble columns formed of stacked cylindrical stones, called drums, found on Egyptian monuments of the period c. 1500 B.C. The lower columns rise from tall square plinths to capitals flaring outward in the Egyptian manner. These feature a boldly carved Classical egg and dart motif which, in this instance, substitutes for the Egyptian lotus flower capital. The capitals support limestone masses articulated as large rounded brackets supporting square blocks with patera. A band of egg and dart molding, with a band of beaded molding beneath it, runs between the blocks to separate the first and second floors. The four second story columns rise from the blocks to capitals identical to those below. These capitals support shallow segmental arches (one per bay). The second floor columns are engaged, as were the columns on the lower level before a mid-1970s renovation recessed and changed the storefront while leaving the columns in place (see alterations section, below).
The stacked columns divide the façade’s first and second levels into three bays, of which the center is larger than the two on the sides. On the lower level, the space between the columns is open except for signs suspended between the columns. Behind the signs the façade is now recessed as mentioned above to create a loggia-like space. On the upper level, single one-over-one windows fill each of the side bays. The central bay contains two one-over-one windows separated by a pier rising to a simple capital supporting the central arch. These windows are curved slightly, giving the impression of a shallow bay window. Underneath the bay window, a carved semi-elliptical element connects it to the plane of the façade.
The heavy, block-like treatment of the area between the second story windows and the top of the cornice is alsom reminiscent of Egyptian temples. This space features the above mentioned heavy arcade; a band of boldly carved egg and dart molding with a band of beading beneath; a smooth frieze; and a cornice suggestive of the Egyptian gorge or cavetto cornice. In archaeologically correct examples, this cornice would be composed of a large cavetto (round, concave molding) decorated with vertical leaves, with a roll molding below. On the bank, modillions, each featuring two vertical gouges and curved at the top, substitute for the more accurate cornice treatment. However, the requisite roll molding spans the façade below the modillions. Another band of beading ornaments the façade above the modillions. A heavy soffit separates the cornice from a deeply paneled parapet with stone coping.
Today the bank’s original floor plan remains largely intact, but few of its other interior features survive. A large banking room (now used for retail purposes) fills most of the space. It contains three counters (one possibly original, the other two relatively recent additions). A large vault occupies the rear, and a small side hall leads from the area in front of the vault to the original rear door (see below). The plan of the second floor copies that of the first, including a second floor vault. On this level, the turn-of-the-twentieth century window surrounds remain intact. Per the 1909 Sanborn Map, access to the upper floor originally came via two stairways. One ascended to the second floor from one of the shopfront doors. A fire escape provided access on an exterior wall. Both staircases are now gone. However, the door leading to the fire escape survives.
In addition to the removal of the staircases, alterations to the bank include:
1. construction of a large one-story rear addition some time after 1931, the date of the last Sanborn Map for New Iberia. It contains four spaces: a large office, a closet-like area, a small bathroom with an intact period tile floor, and a staircase rising from a new rear door to the second floor of the main building. A line is visible on the southeast elevation where a stepped wall extending upward from the addition’s side joins the older structure. The purpose of this wall is apparently to hide an exposed portion of the rear stair. The plat map accompanying the current owner’s deed also shows the one-story area as an addition.
2. the previously mentioned mid-1970s loss of the original storefront which, according to a historic photograph, consisted of doors in each side bay and a large window above a stone panel in the center. Above the windows and doors, transom windows spanned the entire first floor level. The new recessed, stucco-covered
shopfront contains three arched openings, two having large single panes of plate glass serving as windows and one holding a large glass door. Cast iron burglar bars cover the windows, and a moveable cast iron gate protects the door.
3. removal from the frieze of the applied lettering which formerly spelled out the bank’s name.
4. covering of almost all the interior surfaces on both floors (original building, vault interior, and rear addition) with modern paneling, carpet or floor tiles, and a grid of acoustic tiles that lowers the ceilings. On the exterior the first floor columns’ plinths have been covered by thin decorative granite slabs, and parts of the lower columns now are covered by thin concrete panels hiding the rough surfaces where they were detached from the original facade.
5. construction of a small dressing room and an equally small elevator shaft in the banking room’s rear corners.
Although the loss of the bank’s original storefront and the related setback of the first floor façade wall are regrettable, these changes have not negatively impacted the decorative features contributing to the building’s architectural significance.
The historic shopfront, while attractive, had no monumental or exotic features other than the Egyptian-like columns, which remain. The stylistic treatment of the façade’s upper reaches remains exactly as it appeared originally. As one of about 10 architectural landmarks found in the New Iberia Central Business District, the People’s National Bank is a strong candidate for National Register listing.
Significant Dates 1904
Santiago Lamperez House
The Santiago Lamperez House (c.1843) is a four room Creole cottage located on the east bank of Bayou Teche in New Iberia. Despite several alterations, the house retains its National Register eligibility.
The original house has bousillage walls and consists of a front gallery, two front rooms, two rear cabinets, and a small rear gallery. There is a single central chimney which serves fireplaces with wraparound mantels in the two front rooms. Aside from conventional features such as six over six windows, the house features an unusual amount of beading. All of the original siding is beaded, as are all beams, all ceiling boards, all original doors, all door surrounds, and the mantels. The
mantels are relatively plain except for the beading and a molded strip. The small rear gallery contains what appears to be an original staircase to the unfinished attic.
Alterations and Assessment of Integrity:
In about 1890 a rear wing was added and the old rear gallery was enclosed. In addition, all interior walls were sheathed in pine boards and a beaded hoard treatment was applied to one of the ceilings. More recently, the two French doors were replaced and the present front shutters were installed. Sometime in the early twentieth century the front gallery columns were replaced by simple square posts which are thought to duplicate the original columns, although there is no proof of this.
Also when the 1890 addition was built, a new rear gallery was constructed beyond the older enclosed gallery. Finally, one of the mantels has lost Its molded strip.
Despite these admittedly numerous alterations, the Lamperez House still retains its basic identity as a Creole cottage, including the form, fenestration pattern, and overall style. In addition, it retains the features which make it an important example of the type (see Item 8). Finally, some of the c. 1890 interior wall boarding has been removed, thus exposing the original bousillage wall finish. (The boarding has been completely removed in one of the rooms, but we have no picture of
Specific dates c. 1843
Builder/Architect Builder: Santiago (Jacques) Lamperez
This oblong house, of locally fired coral-colored brick, with eight masonry columns of the Doric order on the south front, and three attic dormer windows, is of a style unusual in traditional Louisiana architecture. It is extraordinary in southern Louisiana in that it has a paved cellar. This is possible as the ground-line of the house is 20 feet above Bayou Teche at this point. The first floor is level with the ground. The brickwork is unusually fine and the bond used on the south front of the
house is different from that on the other sides. The Louisiana cypress woodwork is almost intact, and the blinds are the original ones, unchanged after a century and more in use.
The outside staircase on the west end of the house leads from the first floor gallery to the second. This is the most typical Louisiana architectural feature of the exterior. A secondary staircase is inside. A row of three identical double wooden doors occurs in the center of the facade of the north, or bayou, front of the ground floor. These give access to a loggia paved in squares of marble.
The house contains no central hall and the identical plans of the first and second floors consist of three rooms across and two rooms deep. The interior woodwork and plaster detail is the original.
The building survives in complete condition with minor losses which have been recorded.
Where replacement of worn moldings or damaged features has been necessary, the architect has carefully duplicated the original materials and design.
Architectural authorities are in general agreement that the historic structure has been preserved and restored with a maximum degree of fidelity by an outstanding specialist in the field, the late Richard Koch.
The house has been recorded photographically by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Specific dates 1831-34
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
The Shadows-on-the-Teche, built as a townhouse for David Weeks, in 1831-34, remained
in the possession of the Weeks family until 1958, when Weeks Hall, great-grandson of David Weeks, bequeathed it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The dignified simplicity of the architecture, the elegant detail of the interior woodwork, and the continuity of fine furniture, silver and family portraits handed down by successive generations of a family of planters, make The Shadows an outstanding example of Louisiana architecture and history.
The Shadows is one of the most distinguished Louisiana planters houses surviving today, a work of architectural distinction and refinement, with a fine two story porch across the front. The architectural significance of The Shadows is attested to by its representation in virtually all works on architecture of the region. The Shadows was deemed of sufficient architectural significance to be included in the Historic American Buildings Survey, and in Great Georgian Houses of America, Volume II. There are eight pages of drawings and photographs devoted to The Shadows in this book.
The history of The Shadows is really divided into two distinct periods. In its earliest period The Shadows tell the story of how a wealthy Southern planter lived before the Civil War. David Weeks, the original builder of The Shadows, lived in his home only a few days before he sailed to New Haven, Connecticut, in an attempt to regain his health. Mary Conrad Weeks, his wife, continued to live in the house with her six children while Mr. Weeks was in Connecticut.
Correspondence from this period tell of Mrs. Weeks' struggles to furnish and set up the house and of how Mr. Weeks sent several pieces of furniture from Connecticut, which still remain in the house, before his death there in the summer of 1834. Mrs. Weeks was an avid reader and enthusiastic pleasure gardener. Many of the books she read are still in the house and much of what she planted still thrives in the lovely garden where she is buried.
Mrs. Weeks married Judge John Moore in 1841. A widower who had been prominent in
Louisiana public life, Judge Moore was elected to Congress that year During the Civil War The Shadows was headquarters for the Union Army in New Iberia. It was during this time, when Mrs. Moore (Mary Conrad Weeks) was virtually a prisoner in her own home, that she died.
In the period after the war, The Shadows drifted into a kind of apathy. It remained in the Weeks family, however, and was lived in intermittently by one member of the family or another. It did not really thrive again though until Weeks Hall returned from Paris in 1922 and spent the rest of his life restoring The Shadows and its garden.
Weeks Hall was a well known painter and intellectual, and several of his works remain in the house. Throughout the twenties and thirties such celebrities as Edmund Wilson, Stark Young, H. L. Mencken, Henry Miller, Max Ernst, Abe Rattner, the Lunts, Cecil B. de Mille, Lyle Saxon and Mae West enjoyed the revived hospitality of The Shadows and all were struck by the remarkable personality of the host.
Weeks Hall was responsible for the accurate and meticulous restoration of The Shadows
with Richard Koch, F.A.I.A., as his architect. It was possible to verify the color of wallpapers and fabrics in particular rooms through descriptions in family records. There were bills and receipts showing when and where certain pieces of furniture were purchased. Family pleasures, travels, reading habits, and planting of certain trees and shrubs could be traced through letters and journals.
The Shadows boasts a varied collection of furnishings including Chippendale and
Hepplewhite styles of the late 18th century, Sheraton of the early 19th century and the later American Empire style. Some are Weeks' heirlooms, some were purchased by Weeks Hall and others were added by the National Trust. Weeks Hall recorded so much information about his research and the restoration of the home that was done for him in 1922 by the New Orleans architects, Armstrong & Koch, that many facts are immediately available. Richard Koch, F.A.I.A., also kept a detailed record of replacements and modern improvements were made during the twenties restoration. In 1961, Richard Koch and Samuel Wilson, Jr., as the firm was then called, handled the restoration for the National Trust, which thus had the benefit of the late Richard Koch's personal knowledge of the house.
The Shadows represents a style of architecture of which many fine examples have been lost or poorly restored. The accurate restoration and preservation of this home is an invaluable record of this important architecture style, and the history of the single family ownership of the house adds to its importance, making it an accurate representation of a life style in this region of the United States.
The history of the landscape of the Shadows on the Teche is the story of many people and many places. It involves four generations of one family and the successive layers that the descendants of David and Mary Clara Weeks imprinted upon several land holdings that were under their ownership from the late eighteenth century to the mid twentieth century.
Shadows on the Teche
Shadows-on-the-Teche decorated for Christmas, including snow on the roof and lawn!
The following text has excerpts taken from " HISTORIC LANDSCAPE REPORT - The Landscape at the Shadows on the Teche", by Suzanne Turner, National Trust for Historic Preservation
David Weeks chose a site just outside the village of New Town for his family's homeplace. New Town was a settlement of Acadian, Spanish, and Anglos on the Bayou Teche near the Gulf of Mexico midway between the borders of Mississippi and Texas. It was close enough to his cash cropland on the Grand Cote island, but more convenient for his wife and children in terms of social contact, the acquisition of staples, the services of a medical doctor, and proximity to relatives in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Franklin.
The Shadows Today
Today the town of New Iberia has a population of 36,000; one of the community's major industries is sugarcane. The Shadows site has been reduced from nearly 200 acres to 2.5 acres. It sits on the corner of Main St. and Weeks St. The commercial district is its immediate neighbor on the northwest and southwest, and turn of the century residential property borders on the southeast. Across the Bayou Teche, where the Weeks Family either had a woodlot or grew fodder crops in the nineteenth century, twentieth century tract houses and suburban-looking yards comprise the view. None of the original structures of the antebellum site survives, save the house itself, and its cistern tops. In 1922, as part of Hall's restoration of the property, he installed a garden consisting of several outdoor rooms to surround the house. This garden was designed around the nearly thirty live oaks, and incorporated the very large camellias that were supposedly planted by his great grandmother, Mary Clara. Hall's intent was to design a garden that was sympathetic to the 19th century setting.
National Trust Period (1958 - Present)
The acceptance by the National Trust for Historic Preservation of the Shadows on the Teche marked a significant change for the property. A house and site that had for over a century been the private residence of four generations of the same family was now to be owned by a national organization, and was to be opened to the public on a daily basis. The actions of the Trust, along with the wear and tear of time and a hurricane, served to alter the mood and density of the Weeks Hall landscape. What had been a shady, vine draped, ivy covered front yard became an open lawn shaded by the much reduced and raised canopies of the original live oaks.The next door residence, once hidden by Hall's planting of a thick bamboo screen, now intrudes awkwardly upon the rectangular garden room that was the jewel of Hall's composition.
A landscape that had been complex and mysterious, and had invited one to explore, had become a highly manicured, simple landscape of lawn, trees, and shrubs.Although the structure of Hall's design for the formal garden survives in the paving and layout, and the sculpture and garden furnishings, the texture of his composition had been removed. Currently efforts are underway to restore the character of quality of the Weeks Hall landscape and to interpret the several layers of landscape use on the site from the 19th century landscape of outbuildings, slave dwellings, outdoor kitchen, etc. to the early 20th century pleasure grounds.
Section Through Exterior Stair
Door, Fireplaces, Moldings
Southern Pacific Railroad Depot
The Southern Pacific Railroad Depot (c.1900) is a single story brick structure with
Romanesque Revival details. It is located adjacent to the Louisiana and Delta railroad tracks near the New Iberia Central Business District. Despite some changes over the years, the depot still retains its turn-of-the-century character.
The building consists of a main block which contains two waiting rooms with a ticket office between. Originally these waiting rooms provided segregated facilities. West of the main block is an open breezeway which leads to a freight room. The depot is surmounted by a broad flared hip roof system with wide overhangs on all sides. The ticket office opens into each of the waiting rooms through a ticket window. The depot also has a protruding polygonal bay which faces the tracks.
Many of the windows are surmounted by rock-face lintels of cast concrete. Other openings are surmounted by round arches with rock-face concrete voussoirs. In addition, the round openings feature stylized leaf forms at the impost level. The overhanging roof is ornamented with decorative wrought iron brackets. The interiors feature milled window and door surrounds and a high wainscot formed of vertical beaded boards.
In about 1940 the open breezeway was bricked in to provide extra office space. Since that time the roof has lost all of its applied decorative features. At one time the ticket office bay was surmounted by a polygonal dormer with a conical roof. There was also a rooftop vent and a second conventional dormer. Finally, in 1986 most of the windows were replaced.
Assessment of Integrity:
Despite these changes, some of which are admittedly noteworthy, the building is still
obviously a turn-of-the-century railroad depot. In addition, it retains integrity of setting and location which is very important for historic depots. Moreover, it retains most of its primary character defining elements, including the broad overhanging hip roof, the wrought iron brackets, the concrete stonework, and the overall mass and form. Hence, in our opinion, the depot still conveys its historic
Note Regarding Date of Depot: The depot does not appear on the 1899 Sanborn Insurance map but does on the 1903 map, hence our c.1900 date.
Specific dates c.1900
Builder/Architect Builder: Southern Pacific Railroad
Steamboat House, Other Names: Emmer-Hughes House
The Steamboat House stands on 2.7 acres of bayou ridge land set between East Main
Street and Bayou Teche in the old residential section of New Iberia.
Originally the house was a one-story, central hall plan, raised house, with a massive
two-story, double turreted front. The front was only one room deep, and was completely encompassed by Eastlake galleries on both stories. Galleries were reached by means of large floor length slip head windows.
In 1948 the second floor gallery was removed as were the coupled turned columns, spindle valences, jig-saw brackets and railings with turned balusters. These were replaced by tall slender round wood columns extending through two stories.
Instead of the second floor gallery, a balcony with a wrought iron railing was constructed across the center of the second floor facade between the two towers.
In addition, the galleries on the sides and rear of the house were enclosed to form
bathrooms and other living spaces. The original one-story portion of the house behind the two-story brick, towered front, was raised to a full two stories, and a new hipped roof with dormers and balustraded captain's walk was added.
Finally the base level of the house, which once consisted of brick piers with lattice work between, was enclosed with brick veneer, the steps were replaced, and tile bell-shaped roofs of the turrets were replaced with lower conical roofs. Several closets were also installed and a staircase was built at the rear of the central hall. However, the millwork was in keeping with the original.
Although the house was extensively remodeled in the 1940's, its unique brick facade with twin circular towers is essentially intact and it is the intention of the present owner to restore the altered galleries to their original form and detail.
When this restoration is completed, the view of the house from the street will appear almost the same as it did in the early photographs, as it is also proposed to reconstruct the interesting wood picket fence and recessed entrance gate and gate
The interiors are large and imposing with fifteen foot ceilings and cove moldings. The mantels are all in the late nineteenth century Renaissance Revival style. The one in the right front parlor is particularly significant, being marbleized slate with glass inlay, circular pattern panels, and consoles.
The house shares the 2.7 acres with a small summer house, a tennis court, and a small
Both the tennis court and the modern cottage are small, low in stature, and set off to the side. They do not significantly impinge upon the house or its view to the river.
Specific dates 1896
Architect/Builder John Emmer
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
When the present restoration work is complete, the Steamboat House will rank, as the
noted restoration architect Samuel Wilson states, "as the largest and most elaborate late Victorian house in New Iberia and its vicinity." (see statement in file) The round turret appears in a number of turn-of-the-century houses in Louisiana but it is a rare one indeed which has two. Moreover, the galleries as restored will be among the most extensive and elaborate examples of the use of
Eastlake vocabulary in the state.
The home's commercial significance arises from its association with its builder John Emmer and his son-in-law George Lebau. Emmer was the well-to-do businessman and farmer--owner of a brickyard and of a fairly large amount of local real estate. He also drilled the first two oil wells in Iberia Parish, although they were unsuccessful. The bricks from the Emmer brickyard were used in the construction of many buildings in and around New Iberia. George Lebau, who along with his wife
owned the home during 1903-1912 and 1914-1937, was a prominent local businessman who served as president and chairman of the board of New Iberia National Bank. (The foregoing information on the home's commercial significance is from the Dr. Hughes' interviews with Andrew Emmer and Wiltz Emmer, grandsons of John Emmer.)
The home's political significance arises from its association with two of its owners--the builder John Emmer, who was mayor of New Iberia from 1889-1891, and Dr. Paul N. Cyr (1878-1946), a significant figure in state politics during the Huey Long era. According to Cyr's children, he spent much time at the Steamboat House during the years he owned it, although it was not his primary residence. Cyr ran for lieutenant-governor on Long's ticket in 1928 and was elected.
But a feud soon developed between the two, beginning in 1929 when Long refused to recommend that the sentence of a Dr. Dreher be commuted from death to life imprisonment. Cyr from then on was "a dangerous enemy" to Long, obstructing his legislative program in his capacity as presiding officer of the senate, for example. Cyr was a major reason why Huey continued on as governor after winning election to the U. S. Senate in 1930. Had he resigned, Cyr would have had fourteen months on his own as governor. "Paul Cyr will never be governor of this state for one minute" became one of Long's favorite sayings. Cyr mounted a campaign for governor in 1932 but soon withdrew to support another candidate. Also in 1932, he tried to force Huey out of office with a lawsuit but was unsuccessful. (The foregoing information on the home's political significance comes from Dr. Hughes' interviews with Andrew and Wiltz Emmer, grandsons of John Emmer; and with members of
the Cyr family including Paul Cyr's daughter Emily Cyr Bridges and Louis Cyr; and from T. Harry Williams, Huey Long (New York: Bantam Books, 1970), pp. 276-277, 293, 353-358, 484-485, 588, 564, 569-572.)
Chain of Title
John Emmer acquired the site of the house from the Citizens Bank in 1882 (see
Conveyance Book 10, page 22, Iberia Parish Records). He built the home during the years 1896-1898. In 1903, John W. Emmer and Mrs. Adelia Emmer conveyed the home to Josephine Emmer (Conveyance Book 49, page 426, Iberia Parish Records). In 1912 Josephine M. Emmer, wife of George Lebau, sold it to John S. Suttle, who in 1914 sold it back to Josephine Emmer. In the succession of George Lebau, the property was bequeathed to Dr. Paul N. Cyr in 1937 (Conveyance Book 132, page 513). In 1948, Mary McGowen Cyr conveyed the home to James P. Cross (Conveyance Book 180, entry No. 74099). In 1978, Elizabeth Carolyn Wall Hughes, the current owner, acquired the property.
The Magnolias is set back from Jefferson Street between two modern buildings.
Because of large trees in the front yard the house cannot be seen from the street.
The house itself originally consisted of three rooms in an "L" shape, upstairs and down, with a late 19th century kitchen wing in the rear. The location of the original stair is not known, but it was probably in a rear stair hall which was set in the corner of the "L". The major changes were made in the 20th century when the following took place:
1. In about 1920 what appears to have been the old stair hall was enlarged to a full size room and a new staircase was built. This was connected to a front room by means of an archway.
2. The galleries on the late 19th century section were partially enclosed.
3. A hallway and two bathrooms were installed upstairs.
The original portion of the house is constructed of pit sawn timbers with six over six windows which have movable louvre shutters. All door frames are shoulder molded inside and out. A very large pair of cypress doors are set between the front living room and the rear dining room in a massive shoulder molded frame with a pediment shaped top. Doors are of the mid-Victorian five panel type. Baseboards are a foot deep and most of the downstairs doors have three pane transoms. Mantels are similar to the Adams type but with large panels formed of crudely planed boards. Most of the original floors remain.
The facade of the house is four bays wide, with two central front doors on each floor. These front doors communicate with a massive two-story pedimented portico which, though it is more or less correctly proportioned, is only one bay wide. This unusual one-bay portico was evidently a solution to the problem of pulling a Greek Revival pedimented pavilion design out of the traditional four bay Acadian house. The scroll-saw brackets and balcony balustrade were added in the late
The house occupies its original site but in 1929 it was turned 90 degrees, so that it now faces Jefferson Street instead of Main Street.
Note: Because of the large number and the size of the trees in the area, greater exterior photographic coverage was not possible.
SPECIFIC DATES 1852
BUILDER/ARCHITECT Dr. Henry Stubinger, Builder
Wormser`s Department Store
The Wormser's Department Store nomination includes two commercial buildings which are
connected on the interior. Both buildings are single story and in the Modernistic taste. Located on Main Street in the New Iberia CBD, both facades are fairly well preserved from their 1930s remodeling.
The architectural development of the property is somewhat complicated. What is now
Wormser's Department Store began as three separate party wall brick commercial buildings dating from the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries. In 1932, Justin Wormser, the present proprietor's grandfather, purchased the two western-most buildings and removed the party wall between them to create a single commercial space for the store he opened in that year. Either at that time, or shortly thereafter, he rebuilt the facade in the Modernistic taste. In 1966, Wormser's
Department Store purchased the adjacent (eastern-most) building and joined it with the existing commercial space via a 12-15 foot opening cut in the party wall.
Sometime during the 1930s this building had also acquired its own Modernistic facade.
The severe massing of the western facade, as constructed for the Wormsers in 1932 or
shortly thereafter, is relieved by a rich and varied assemblage of Modernistic details. The lower portion of the facade is completely taken up by display windows with a low stucco kickplate. This window system is recessed in two places to provide access into the building. Here the glass and stucco walls recede in a complex sequence of angular setbacks which is echoed in lines in the terrazzo entrances. Each entrance features a stylized woman's head set in a rounder. Between the
two entrances, also in terrazzo, is "Wormser's" in stylized letters. The architrave surmounting the windows recedes and protrudes so as to contrast with and, in effect, play off the spatial pattern created by the window display system.
The shopfront level is surmounted by a stylized hood mold motif which contains a panel at each end to mark the two entrances to the commercial space. Each of these silver finished panels features a stylized female nude, with a dove in each hand, surrounded by stars. These panels are recessed from the front plane of the building in a system of carrera glass plates. Between the silver finished panels, at the center of the composition, is the name "Wormser's" rendered in large stylized letters and underlined. Immediately surmounting the hood mold motif are the words "Smart Ladies' Wear" in blockier but still stylized lettering. There is also a small centrally placed formerly neon sign accenting the upper center of the facade. (It was put in place in January 1935, per a mention in the New Iberia Enterprise.) With the exception of the latter two relatively diminutive elements, the area above the hood mold motif is one massive rectilinear expanse of flat unadorned stucco. This forms an energetic contrast to the very intensively styled area below.
The eastern facade is more straightforward with a massive stylized corbelled arch entrance flanked by a pair of display windows. The composition culminates in a lively roof top parapet which forms an overall gable shape. It consists of a succession of horizontal strips and scroll volutes climaxing in a central crest. Although the specific features here are classical, the stylized repetitive
nature of the composition should certainly be viewed within the context of the Modernistic taste. In addition to the foregoing, the parapet also features a teas relief pylon superimposed on a cutaway base.
(1) The interior has been completely remodeled.
(2) There have been two alterations made to the western Modernistic facade. The three
columns that support the upper facade were once clad in small tiles. The tile had
deteriorated and was removed. The supports are now of painted aluminum. In addition,
the present metal fascia on the architrave surmounting the shopfront window system is
a replacement, although it is apparently similar to the original.
(3) It appears that the present shopfront level on the easternmost building has been largely replaced.
Assessment of Integrity:
In the opinion of the SHPO, these changes should be regarded as relatively minor given the overall scope of Wormser's articulation. Both facades retain the overwhelming bulk of their striking Modernistic character. Wormser's Department Store is of state significance in the area of architecture as a superior example of the Modernistic taste within Louisiana.
Louisiana for the most part was architecturally conservative in the late 1920s and '30s. With some notable exceptions such as Huey Long's State Capitol, the state is not considered a mecca for enthusiasts of Modernistic architecture. In compiling a list of major examples for a nationwide inventory, the staff of the Division of Historic Preservation found that there were about 40 in Louisiana. A major example is in contrast to various buildings across the state that could be best described as featuring "hesitant touches" of the Modernistic taste -- i.e., a feature here and there in contrast to intensively styled, fully developed examples.
With but few exceptions, Louisiana's major examples are public buildings whose erection was made possible by federal relief funds. For example, eleven of Louisiana's sixty-four parish courthouses were constructed at this time in the Modernistic style. Other examples include schools, hospitals, municipal auditoriums, etc. Wormser's is particularly important because there are very few major commercial examples. The handful that do exist are found in large urban areas rather than a
small town setting. Although at first glance Wormser's may appear to be a rather restrained example, its significance is in the details, particularly the westernmost facade with its advancing and receding shopfront echoed in the entrance's terrazzo design, the stylized lettering and sign, the nude forms above each door, and the stylized lettering and women's head designs in the terrazzo entrance.