100 East Main Street
Every Building Has a Story
Every building has a story. This is a truly important statement for anyone who owns any type of structure. The history of a building can determine its importance, its value, and possibly its function. The past can explain why a building is constructed a certain way and can even provide an interesting story that can be an important part of history and culture. The building located at 100 East Main Street of New Iberia has its own interesting story, which has been uncovered by the project known as Phone Home.
The earliest readable documentation of the building located at 100 East Main Street dates back to March of the year 1920. However, the building is known to be much older. This building and the two next to it were built as a block in 1893. Before the fire of 1899, the building housed Lee’s Drug Store. After the fire, the exterior walls of this building remained standing and the structure was rebuilt on those walls, but Lee’s had already moved to the Davis Building (museum annex) on the corner of Serret Alley and East Main.
The ornamentation on the building at 100 East Main is original and was used on the next two buildings as well (104 and 106 East Main Street). The lower façade of this building has been altered since the 1899 fire, but other than the canopy, has not been altered since the early 1930s.
After the structure was rebuilt, it was used as a confectionary that was run by a Greek family. The confectionary was eventually moved and then Bowab’s moved in. Bowab’s functioned as a ladies’ clothing store. This was about the time when Antoine Ackal and Elias Ackal purchased the building from the previous owner Esrael Taul. The building was passed on after the death of Antoine to his wife Julia Betar Ackal in July of 1952. With the death of Julia, the building was completely entitled to Elias. Dola Deroun Ackal, and Anthony H. Ackal later received ownership of the building with the death of Elias. They then sold it to Wilfred J. Ackal and Theophile G. Ackal. When he died, Wilfred left his portion to Helen Mary Ackal, Gabriel Antoine Ackal, Aline Katherine Ackal, and Laurence Ackal Bowab. Theophile left his ownership to Alfred T. Ackal. Alfred later sold his portion to his co-owners. When Aline died, she gave her share to Helen. Gabriel and Laurence did the same, leaving Helen with full ownership of the building. She passed it on to Anthony H. Ackal who sold it to the current owner, Kirk Anthony Sieber. The building is now functioning as Accents by Tee and is run by Tee Sieber and Juanita Seibeor.
If Walls Could Talk
The building’s style is a mixture of Italianate and Romanesque with Art Deco touches in the display area. The building is currently a brick structure covered by painted stucco, just as it has always been. The parapet, the top of the building that usually holds the name of the building, was plastered over when the Greek confectionary moved in after the fire. It was intended to be left blank, but if you look at it today, you can still see “LEE,” the name of the first business. The building’s side has many pilasters with arches connecting them. On the top of each arch is a keystone; however, this is not an actual keystone, rather just a decoration to make it appear as one. After the fire, architectural glass was added to the storefront. French doors are the types of doors used on this building. Wrapped around the upper wall is a coping designed to give the building face more than just a blank slate. After the building was changed to Accents, a canopy was added to hide the original neon light tubes spelling out the word “Bowab’s.”
A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words
This is an old photograph of a parade on Main Street. In the far left corner of the image is Bowab’s while it was still a functioning business.
This is the storefront of Accents. Notice the architectural glass, the awning, and the parapet that still bears the plastered-over name “Lee” on top.
Voices from the Past and Present
In April 2012, an interview was conducted with the present owner of the building.
Question: What are some interesting things about the building that you work in?
Answer: “It was partially burnt but has been rebuilt.”
Question: Do you know anything about previous functions of the building?
Answer: “It was originally Lees’, then Bowab’s.”
Question: How long has your business occupied the building?
Answer: “Ten years, probably.”
Question: Why did you choose this building as the location for your business?
Answer: “We just wanted a downtown location.”
Question: What services does your business provide?
Answer: “We provide custom drape and re-embedding services.”
Question: Was this building affected by the great fire of New Iberia?
Answer: “The building survived the fire of 1899, although it was greatly damaged. It was the last building that was affected by the fire.”
Question: Are there any renovations that were made to the building that you know about?
Answer: “Just air conditioning. That kind of stuff.”
Berard, Jacob, and Jacob Primeaux. Accents. 2012. Photographs. Private collection. Jacob Primeaux.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 76, Folio 292, Entry 29284 13 May 1914. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 93, Folio 257, Entry 34706 13 Mar. 1920. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 123, Folio 566, Entry 48084 22 Aug. 1934. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 210, Folio 294, Entry 85795 31 Jul. 1952. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 300, Folio 567, Entry 102872 20 Dec. 1956. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 500, Folio 32, Entry 137635 7 Nov. 1966. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 728, Folio215, Entry 80-1523 15 Feb. 1980. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 730, Folio 610, Entry 80-2676 24 Mar. 1980. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 848, Folio 667, Entry 84-5182 6 Jun. 1984. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 1202, Folio 153, Entry 00-8662 17 Jul. 2000. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 1213, Folio 868, Entry 01-2987 20 Mar. 2001. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 1267, Folio 525, Entry 03-13527 24 Sept. 2003. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 1267, Folio 531, Entry 03-13528 24 Sept. 2003. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 1318, Folio 634, Entry 05-13294 2 Nov. 2005. Print.
Laperouse, Roberta, and Jimmy Delcambre. New Iberia 1950-1953. Photographs. Private Collection. Mickey Delcambre.
Sieber, Kirk. Telephone interview. 2 May 2012.