Dr. Joseph Kibbe “Father of
It has been said that the business of a
leader is to turn obstacles into
stepping stones, weaknesses into
strengths and disasters into triumphs.
The early settlers of the uncharted
(Erath) prairie area were indeed true
leaders in every aspect of the word.
As one son of Dr. William G. Kibbe, Joe
Kibbe graduated from Tulane University
in 1887. Dr. Joe Kibbe later married the
former Pauline Derouen. His medical
practice began at Perry’s Bridge, south
of Abbeville. However, in 1893, when the
Southern Pacific Railroad Company
completed the railroad in this newly
established area, he decided to
relocate. Dr. Kibbe bought plots of land
from August Erath, and then set up his
medical practice. At this time he also
opened a pharmacy with Frank Williams,
the son of James Newton Williams and
Sara Burton. Dr. Kibbe’s office was on
the corner of Broadway and Lastie. The
Kibbe and Williams Drug Store was
located next to the office.
Although the establishment of the Erath
community was a collaborative effort,
one leader played a phenomenal role
before and during the turn of the
century. Dubbed the “father of Erath,”
Dr. Joe Kibbe skillfully guided the
Erath community across the threshold of
the twentieth century. Considered the
most influential figure in the early
Erath community, Dr. Joe Kibbe made a
monumental mark in the town’s history.
As a true community leader, Dr.
Joe Kibbe guided community
residents in moving toward a
progressive era. With the
assistance of August Erath and
Ollie Moss, Kibbe was able to
help establish a post office in
the new area. The first post
office was located in the train
depot. Kibbe also petitioned the
Vermilion Parish School Board
for the establishment of a
school. As a successful business
venture, Kibbe built a local
lumberyard in the community. In
1899, he took office of Alderman
and remained in that capacity
Through his guidance, leadership
and determination, Kibbe
assisted Erath from its infancy
to its toddler years. Like a
father guides his children, Dr.
Joe Kibbe guided the Erath
community during its formative
years. True to form, he is
indeed worthy of the title, the
father of Erath.
Photo to the right:
Dr. Joe Kibbe's Office, located
near the corner of Lastie Avenue
and North Broadway Street. Dr.
Kibbe, considered to be the
father of Erath, is pictured on
the left in the picture.