Ford Garage–Allain’s Jewelry

221 East Main Street

 

Every Building Has a Story

Heading the east side of the business district of Main Street in New Iberia is Allain’s Jewelry, formerly known as the LeBlanc and Broussard Ford Garage. Its edifice serves as a link to both the past and present of New Iberia containing both historical and new elements: the Ford logo engraved on the façade and the cursive Allain’s Jewelry writing placed right under it. A large amount of history can be noticeable by a first glance of the building.

The legal description taken from the conveyance filed on July 13, 1926, includes, “A certain lot of ground…measuring fifty-one feet front more or less on Main Street, by a depth between parallel lines, to Bayou Teche and bounded as follows: North or rear by Bayou Teche, South or in front by Main Street, East or below by Estate of E. Gajan and West or above by Brooks or assigns.” Simply stated, today the boundaries include: East Main Street to the south, Bayou Teche to the north, the Pascal Building (Cestia Law Firm) to the east, and the Murray Building (Landry, Watkins, Repaske, and Breaux) to the west. Records show that Emile Gajan sold this previously described property to J.G. LeBlanc, Jr. and Henry J. Broussard on November 6, 1919 for $17,000 to build a Ford Motor Company. The building was used to not only sell cars, but Firestone tires. It even included a gas station to the right of the main building. The company and its structure maintained the same function for over forty years, only changing the actual name of the business. On July 13, 1926, the company formed a legal cooperation for $15,200 and was named LeBlanc and Broussard Incorporated. Then a partnership of LeBlanc and Broussard Ford Motor Company was eventually created on September 9, 1937 for $9,000. Although there were a few adjustments to the status of the LeBlanc and Broussard name, it kept its reputation as a well-known company.

In September of 1965, the role of the building changed functions as the LeBlanc and Broussard Ford Motor Company was moved to a new location. It was leased to Richard Allain, who moved his quaint jewelry store from across the street to this historical abode. However,  it was on March 6, 1969 when Allain finally bought the building for the sale of $56,000.  Ever since then, the building has always been the home of Allain’s Jewelry. The current owners have been great care takers of this historical building, preserving as much as possible including the well- known Ford logo inscribed on the façade of the building and the still-working elevator that was used to haul automobiles to the third floor.

 

If Walls and Windows Could Talk

The building that was once a Ford Motor Company, whose dealers were LeBlanc and Broussard, is now the place of residence for the well-known New Iberia Main Street jewelry store Allain’s Jewelry. The three-story structure does not follow any particular architectural design, but is a typical turn of the century construction, which is reminiscent of the former use of a Ford garage. Its false front fashions a creative aspect to the building. The top story, covered with painted brick, still includes the Ford logo inscribed into a rectangle of stucco. Under the logo are five two over two double hung rectangular windows. The Allain’s Jewelry inscription is painted in cursive lettering using contrasting colors on a sign board that stretches across the face of the building. There is an area under two stories that contains the actual business area.  This recessed section, formerly used by the Ford Company to display new automobiles, now serves as parking area for customers. There are three brick columns, equally spaced in the font, that support the recessed area. The display windows and entrance are constructed in an Art-Deco fashion, where the bulkhead and windows are surrounded in Art-Deco glass. Even though the Ford building does not follow any specific architectural design, it serves as a great preserved structure that has history and architectural details that will never be forgotten.

 

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

Taken from the inside of the Ford Motor Company in 1945

The automobile elevator is the most unique attribute of the building. It was used to carry automobiles to the third story of the building. The elevator still works today!

The two photos above were taken from the same angle about 60 years apart.

 

Making Headlines

New Iberia Enterprise newspaper in 1934


References

Allain, Richard. Personal interview. 10 May 2011.

Conrad, Glenn. Glenn Conrad Collection. c. 1970. Photographs. Private Collection.

Ford. Advertisement. New Iberia Enterprise 3 Feb. 1934: 8. Microform.

Ford. Advertisement. New Iberia Enterprise 22 June 1934: 6. Microform.

Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 92, Folio 28, Entry 33702—. 6 Nov. 1919. Print.

Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 107, Folio 399, Entry 41088—. 13 July 1926. Print.

Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 129, Folio 314, Entry 52514—. 9 Sept. 1937. Print.

Iberia Parish. Conveyance. Book 536, Folio 613, Entry 145399—. 6 March 1969. Print.

Lahasky, Taylor. Allain’s Jewelry. 2011. Photographs. Private Collection.

Laperouse, Roberta, and Jimmy Delcambre. New Iberia 1950 – 1953. Photographs. Private Collection. Mickey Delcambre.