The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
445 East Main Street
New Iberia, LA 70560
In the Historic District of New Iberia next to the Iberia Parish Library is a replica of the Grotto of Lourdes, France. It is believed that on February 11, 1858, Bernadette Soubiroux, a fourteen year old peasant girl, witnessed the first of eighteen apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. During the ninth apparition, Our Lady revealed a spring of water. This water was to become world famous for the miraculous cures worked through it. Every year over a million and a half pilgrims visit Lourdes hoping for a miracle. While there are not a large number of documented miracles, there are numerous spiritual miracles and most leave with a deep sense of joy and hope. During one of the apparitions, when Bernadette asked her name Our Lady replied, "I am the Immaculate Conception".
This replica of the Grotto of Lourdes was erected in 1941 on what was the campus of St. Peter's College, a boy's school operated by the DeLaSalle Christian Brothers. The grotto is a solid construction of cement and Louisiana marble and resembles the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. It contains a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and Bernadette, who was canonized a saint on December 11, 1933. The grotto was originally erected in grateful memory of the pioneer families of New Iberia and in gratitude to God for His abundant blessings on the Teche country. It was rededicated in 1967 by a grateful community to the Veterans of Foreign Wars from New Iberia, who died in the service of their country.
The grotto is shaded by a live oak tree estimated to be over 150 years old. In 1997 as a result of efforts of the New Iberia Garden Club, the tree was acknowledged by the Live Oak Society and was named for Mayor Cliff Aucoin, who served as Mayor of New Iberia from January 1, 1993 to October 24, 1997. In 1996 there was a major restoration of the shrine, thanks to the generous support of the citizens and civic clubs of New Iberia, St. Peter's Alumni and The Daily Iberian. The statues were repainted, a sitting area was provided, and a large area of the grounds was landscaped with plants and labor donated by the people of New Iberia. A wrought iron fence, topped with gold painted fleur-de-lis, built by the Teche Area Vocational School, was added to the back of the property. The hard work of the volunteers was recognized and honored by the National Make a Difference Foundation.
Often on a summer evening you will find a number of people praying at the shrine.