112 East Main Street
Every Building Has a Story
Followed by the roaring twenties, the stylish thirties gave women more feminine and conservative fashions. On Main Street of New Iberia, women were attracted to dresses, tops, and shoes enclosed in three lighted showcase windows at the entrance of the new ladies clothing store Wormser’s. J. Wormser opened the store in 1932. Wormser’s was only half of its current size until 1934 when popularity demanded expansion. The building next door was purchased and Wormser’s doubled in size. Years later, Wormser’s purchased the building on the corner of East Main Street and Church Alley, currently Susan’s, thus tripling the stores original size. Eventually, the family owned almost the whole block bounded by Church Alley, East Main Street, Iberia Street, and East St. Peter Street. The Wormser’s building is still owned by the Wormser family today; however, the three windows have showcased different businesses that have leased the space over the years.
If Walls and Windows Could Talk
When the building was renovated to include the additional building, the exterior was designed in an Art Deco style. Above both sets of double doors are engravings of stylized depictions of women on mirrors. Rising over the top of the building is a green Wormser’s sign, originally in neon, which is still part of the building today. Beneath the suspended sign, three dimensional letters in an Art Deco font spell out Smart Ladies Wear along the top of the building. In the center, a purple background contrasts with the huge green letters spelling Wormser’s. The building was altered to accommodate three large glass showcase windows lined along the top with a textured belt course. There is a covered entrance, supported by two columns once covered in mosaic tile, where shoppers were able to take cover from any weather conditions. The face of a woman is depicted in orange and green terrazzo at the beginning of the building’s entrance.
A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words
Courville, Morgan, and Caroline Hulin. Wormser’s. 2011. Photographs. Private collection. Caroline Hulin.
Wormser’s. Advertisement. Daily Iberian, 28 November 1956: 5. Microform.
Wormser’s Department Store. 1956. Private Collection Josephine Wormser. Looking Back: Images of Iberia Parish 1940 – 1970. 2005. The Daily Iberian. Page 51. Print.
“Wormser’s Store to Double.” New Iberia Enterprise 13 July 1934:1. Iberia Parish Library. Microform.