Law Offices of Burke and Cestia

223 East Main Street

Placed in the center on top of the roof, this brick parapet was added during the restoration process and was crucial in listing the building on the National Registry for Historical Places.

Every Building Has a Story

“It’s a great tourist attraction and it really helps out the community.” –Burton Cestia, Attorney as Law and one of the current owners of building.

Known today as the “Pascal Building,” the Law Offices of Burke and Cestia stands as a monument of historical preservation as it links the past and present with its edifice. Considered one of the first buildings down Main Street to be restored, it serves as a constant reminder of the historical past.

According to the legal description taken from the conveyance filed October 31, 1968, the structure is located by the boundaries ”Northerly by property of Robert B.Leblanc, Southerly by Weeks Street, Easterly by property formerly belonging to Wade Gajan, et al, now Louis N. Darby, Sr., and Westerly by said East Main Street, New Iberia, Louisiana.” Simply stated, today the boundaries include: north by Allain’s Jewelry, south by Weeks Street, east by property owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States, and west by East Main Street. It was first built by Aguste Pascal in 1898 (where the building gets its name). In 1908, Emile Gajan leased the building to Leon Dreyfus for Dreyfus Hardware, and his store was proven crucial to the manufacturing of hardware items during the Steamboat Era. Switching hands a few times, the building and its surrounding property eventually became vacant, and later it was used as a part of the Ford Garage. But once the Ford Company relocated in the early 1960s, the Pascal Building became vacant again and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States bought it in 1972 to use as offices for the Shadows, a historical home important to the community that neighbors the Pascal Building.

It was not until September of 1981 that the building was sold to Porteus R. Burke, Burton E. Cestia Jr., and Ralph K. Lee to be used as their law firm offices. The three attorneys worked rigorously in preserving the building to resemble its original structure from 1898. In one year, the process was complete, and in 1985, the Pascal Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its legacy as one of the first buildings to be preserved down Main Street still stands today, and it has become a precedent for other buildings to follow in its footsteps.

If Walls and Windows Could Talk

Located on the corner of East Main Street and Weeks Street, the Pascal Building was restored to look parallel to its original appearance when it was built in 1898. The two-story Italianate architectural-style, brick, commercial building portrays the artesian signature of Alfred and Arstide Etie, New Iberia brick masons at the turn of the twentieth century. Due to the fact that the length of the historic building is five times its width, it resembles many other building down Main Street.  The ornamented façade encompasses a recessed area of about ten feet wide held up by four equally spaced brick columns seen across the front. The wooden entrance door contains glass windows with sidelights on either side. The door is directly under a fanlight, which is surrounded by an ashlar. On both sides of the door and sidelights, there are casement windows, covered by deep green shutters.

The second story contains three evenly spaced, rectangular French doors that are accompanied by deep green shutters. All three sets have a decorated iron balcony, only about a foot deep. The elaborate and embellished brickwork on the façade of the Pascal building is incredible with its many different designs, including dentils over the French doors on the second story. The center parapet on top of the roof was added back to the building during the restoration process. The two corners of the roof encompass smaller, square parapets.

Across the side closest to Weeks Street is the only side seen, as it connects to Allain’s, a local jewelry story. The tops story contains eight double hung windows complemented with green shutters, matching the ones in the front. On the first floor, toward to the back, are two separate green doors with a green awning over each. There are also two windows with matching shutters before each door. Because the façade resembles the architectural style and design of the original building, the Pascal Building serves as a great preserved structure that has history and architectural details that will hopefully remained conserved.

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

From the Glen Conrad Collection

These two photos were taken at the same angle about 90 years about. Those working on the preservation project have done a great job in restoring the building to its original edifice.

This photo is of the inside of the building when the attorneys bought it in 1981 before they started renovating.

One of the great assets of the building, this sliding ladder is located in the library on the second floor.

Making Headlines

The article above explains the opening of the Burke and Cestia Law Firm after it was renovated.

References

Cestia, Burton. Personal interview. 3 April 2012.

Cestia, Burton. Scrapbook. Private Collection.

Evans, Jack. “Old/New Mesh in Renovations on Main Street.” The Daily Iberian. 12 January 1985: 6. Print.

Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 533, Folio 858, Entry 144627—. 31 Oct. 1968. Print.

Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 585, Folio 927, Entry 158694—. 20 July 1972. Print.

Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 775, Folio 742, Entry 81-9663—. 29 Sept. 1981. Print.

Lahasky, Taylor. Phone Home 2012. Photographs. Private Collection.

Louisiana: Pick Your Passion. 17 April 2012. Web.