108 East Main Street
Every Building Has a Story
New Iberia’s Main Street has always been a center for community interaction and a prime spot for many vendors and retailers. Due to its commercial nature, this particular site at 108 E. Main Street has seen many stores come and go, as the building was leased to various small businessmen. The building was under the ownership of Sliman Realty Corporation, a realty company run out of New Orleans, from 1948 to 2003 before it sold the building, along with other plots, to Vermillion Holdings. Vermillion Holdings is a company currently run by Robert C. Jordan, also known as Chris Jordan, and is responsible for many leases across New Iberia. Currently, this the site of Natalie’s Apparel and Accessories, which is a women’s clothing store that is popular with the locals of New Iberia. The shop has stood at this location for the last seven years. This site is most famous as the location for Babineaux Shoes, which occupied the address for over forty years before other businesses took its place. Many local adults remember buying their school shoes at this location.
If Walls and Windows Could Talk
Today, it is difficult to recognize any distinct architectural style that would definitively describe this building. Because it has gone through so many owners who have redecorated it as they saw fit, the site is now a conglomeration of several different styles, none of which particularly stand out. There are several areas of Spanish influence such as the flat stucco walls and the extended awning with decorative wrought iron posts. However, the terrazzo flooring at the entrance to the building is characteristic of a more modern style that arose around the 1930s. Due to its frequent restructuring and the famous New Iberia fire of 1899, which burned down the entire block between Julia and Iberia Street, there is almost nothing to connect the building that stands today to its original form.
A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words
Voices from the Past
Interview with Mr. Lloyd Babineaux, son of the original owner of Babineaux’s shoes.
Question – How are you connected to the building that was previously Babineaux’s Shoes?
Answer – Well, I never owned the building, but I did run a business in the building previously.
Question – About how old were you when you began to run the business?
Answer – Thirty years old.
Question – Do you have any personal stories that you can share with us?
Answer – There are plenty, but not enough time to share the memories.
Question – Is there anything unique or special about the building that you can remember?
Answer – No.
Question – Does it have any significant history?
Answer – Nothing, aside from being many years old and being the store that was Babineaux’s Shoes.
Interview with Joyce Oubre, a citizen of New Iberia with memories of Babineaux Shoes
Question – How long has it been there?
Answer – I’ve known it to be there most of my young life, and then the father passed away and his son was running it and then I believe it was closed some time in the 80s.
Question- When was the last time you shopped there?
Answer- Probably the early 90s. There were many little stores down town, and people would shop there often, but we really didn’t know the families who owned them.
Babineaux, Lloyd. Telephone Interview. 24 Apr. 2012
Conrad, Glenn R. New Iberia: Essays on the Town and Its People. Lafayette: Center for Louisiana Studies University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1979. Print.
Dubose, Peighton. Natalie’s Photos. 2011. Photographs. Private Collection. Peighton Dubose and Don de Mahy.
de Mahy, Beth. Personal Interview. 24 Apr. 2012.
Edmund, James. New Iberia, Louisiana. Photographs. Private Collection. James Edmund.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 107, Folio 36, 2 Aug. 1927. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 184, Folio 555, 31 Aug. 1948. Print.
Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 1256, Folio 585, 28 Feb. 2003. Print.
Oubre, Joyce. Personal Interview. 24 Apr. 2012.