Street Beat will delve into the history of important streets around New Iberia and give facts on how they got their names, what they used to look like and what they may look like in the future.
The main attraction
One of the most important streets in the Teche Area is New Iberia’s Main Street, the epicenter for social events throughout the year. From parades to festivals, Main Street has seen it and done it all for New Iberia for decades.
Some of the most iconic venues can be seen driving along Main Street. The moss-covered trees provide shade for historic sites like Shadows-on-the-Teche plantation home and the main branch of the Iberia Parish Library in the city government complex.
Shopping local today
All down Main Street, visitors can find little,d local businesses that range from food to entertainment. Look to the left and right and see Sweet Interiors, Books Along The Teche, Taunt Na Na's Flea Market, A Spot for Tea, Preservation Bar & Grill and many more.
Main Street is a staple in New Iberia, with its historic homes and still brings in tourists each and every year.
Here are some interesting facts about Main Street:
The main road
Main Street got its name because it was considered the main road between Franklin and St. Martinville, according to the book “New Iberia” by Glenn Conrad.
By the early 1900s, Main Street was a one-way dirt road where people used horses and buggies to get around New Iberia at the turn of the century.
Highway 182, a part of which Main Street encompasses is over 173.4 miles long and stretches from Whiteville to Raceland and passes through St. Landry, Lafayette, St. Martin, Iberia, St. Mary, Assumption, Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.
A historic fire
Before Main Street became what it is today, a fire on Oct. 10, 1899, caused major damage in downtown New Iberia. Known as “The New Iberia Conflagration of 1899” by Conrad in “New Iberia,” the fire started at the end of what pedestrians thought was a normal workday.
At 6:15 p.m., the Municipal Fire Bell at then-city hall announced the emergency after the fire was started from an exploding lantern in a warehouse behind the Estorge Drug Store.
Shortly after 7 p.m. that night, the fire’s blaze consumed buildings on the corner of Main and Julia, including the New Iberia National Bank, and by 7:30 p.m., the fire had consumed P.A Ross’, Jules Landry’s saloon, the Two Lions Hotel and LaSalle’s Saloon and was moving toward the Moss Hotel.
As the fire continued, help was on the way from both the Jeanerette and St. Martinville fire departments.
With the help of those fire departments and wind in the area, the fire that destroyed numerous buildings down Main Street had subsided by 10 p.m. that night. By midnight, the fire had run its course.
Over several hours, the fire had burned down some of Main Street’s most prominent businesses which included Iberia National Bank, Estorage Drug Store, P.A. Ross’ General Store, Jule’s Landry’s Saloon, the Two Lions Hotel, LaSalle’s Saloon, So Adler’s Grocery, C.P. Moss’ Restaurant and Hotel, Decourt’s Barber Shop, Smith, De Blanc and Suberbielle’s Dry Goods store, Nathan Freyfus’ Grocery Store, the State Bank of New Iberia, J.J. Craig’s Insurance Company, the Postal Telegraph Co., Pfister Brothers Jewelry Store, James Lee’s Drug Store, the Law Offices of Foster and Broussard, the lodge rooms of the Catholic Knights of America, Justice Breaux’s Office, and the office of Drs. J.W.k Shaw, C. Pierson and George Sabatier.