113 East Main Street
Every Building Has a Story
After a night on the town, many New Iberia locals were often times in search of a welcoming atmosphere where they could enjoy friends and great food. They found the humble Provost Café & Bar to be just what they were looking for. Richard Provost began his restaurant business on January 11, 1937 when he purchased 113 East Main Street; he then converted the building into a popular restaurant with New Iberia locals and proudly named it Provost Café & Bar. The bar was a hit from the start as it was the only bar that stayed open all night. The large hamburgers with onions was one of the most popular choices on the menu. Older gentlemen would often visit the “Bourré Room” where they would gamble on a popular Cajun card game similar to poker called, Bourré (Boo-ray). One of the main highlights of the restaurant was the large elaborate bar made of Tiger Oak that was manufactured in the 1890s in California. The bar was brought down the Bayou Teche on a barge from Decoux Bar, in Loreauville, Louisiana, 9.2 miles away. Decoux’s had closed due to Prohibition in the 1920s. Provost then sold the restaurant to Clarence “Cam” Mestayer and his company Instant Housing, Inc on December 7, 1994. Mestayer also purchased 111 East Main Street, a smaller building next door to the original Provost’s. He then combined the two buildings and opened the restaurant Armand’s. In 1999, Mestayer began leasing the two buildings to Wayne Peltier who then purchased the two buildings in 2003. Peltier converted Armand’s into Clementine’s Fine Dining and Spirits named after Louisiana folk artist Clementine Hunter. Peltier vividly remembered the hometown ambiance of Provost Café & Bar and wanted to bring the same hometown feel to his new restaurant. He worked hard to restore the bar to its original form and kept many of the original elements including an original phone booth and large mirrors on the bar and behind the seating booths.
If Walls and Windows Could Talk
The beautiful rust color stucco stands out on the two, three bay, buildings amongst the other more neutral toned buildings. Intricate wrought iron work holds up a black awning that provides shade for customers who wish to enjoy their meal outside.
A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words
Voices from the Past
On May, 11, 2011, Wayne Peltier, the current owner of Clementine was interviewed about his fond memories of Provost Café & Bar.
Laperouse, Roberta, and Jimmy Delcambre. New Iberia 1950 – 1953. Photographs. Private Collection. Mickey Delcambre.
Smith, John. “New Iberia Elects Mayor.” The Daily Iberian November 27, 1956: 12. Iberia Parish Library. Microform.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 1087, Folio 974, Entry 95-1016—. 15 February 1994. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 662, Folio 434, Entry77-71122—. January 1977. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 1260, Folio 739, Entry 03-7126—. 30 May 2003. Print.
Peltier, Wayne. Personal interview. 11 May 2011.