When a group of New Iberia Senior High alums met last year in New Iberia to reminisce and catch up on the town’s happenings, it didn’t take long for the friends to face a harsh reality plaguing their hometown.
“Everyone we knew from school was no longer living there.”
For Phanat Xanamane and Amelia “Mimi” Cronan, two New Iberia natives who both moved out of state for education and career opportunities and recently returned to New Iberia, the notion that the town has historically driven away “young talented residents” was an unacceptable one.
A “brain drain” observation between friends thus became the brainchild of Envision daBerry, a nonprofit coalition of former and current New Iberia residents joining in the efforts to transform the poverty- and blight-stricken West End of New Iberia into a viable community that’s attractive to both new and erstwhile New Iberians.
The group, according to its website, will be working with 21 LSU architecture students throughout October to install five temporary structures, models of sorts to show the community what Hopkins Street could be with the addition of a community garden, outdoor market, art and culture park, civic center and transit hub:
da BERRY is both a nickname for New Iberia and a multi-generational coalition of residents whose main role is to construct an opportunity for local growth, development, and participation through public art. Working with the Hopkins Street Revitalization Association, Envision da BERRY will provide a forum for public discourse so that residents can initiate and guide urban renewal efforts. We are committed to promoting art, ecology, and connectivity within our city while building the foundation for a cultural, creative class to thrive.
We didn’t want to start from scratch, and since there were already many Master Plans for redevelopment in place in the West End, it seemed like a natural place to start. Phanat grew up along Hopkins Street, and it is one of the oldest parts of New Iberia and is currently the poorest. Beginning in the early 1950s, the draw of the outside world brought passenger rail service, the returning war veterans, and a blooming entertainment business to New Iberia. While these additions helped many in the community, it also led many of the most talented of our local artists to leave in search of better living standards. The out-migration resulted in a slow deterioration of local prosperity. This “brain drain” perpetuated the out-migration of new young talented residents, and meanwhile the remaining population became quickly afflicted by urban ills: low standards of literacy, drugs, poor health practices, and accompanying high poverty rates. It is precisely this audience that we seek to engage with through the power of public art.
As young people who left New Iberia and returned, we want to open the city up by expanding the creative class and contributing our cumulative professional expertise. Our project will succeed in its ambitious goals by introducing a new model for transformative design processes that integrate engagement and dialogue with art as essential tools in community building.
Visit the Envision daBerry website for more information on the group’s efforts.
Project Front Yard has been launched to help us change our image and our habits.
Alleged victim is a Navy vet with brain trauma resulting from a car accident three decades ago.
Richard Buswell was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in prison for his role in an investment scheme that defrauded his clients of more than $6 million.
Lafayette Regional seeking new leadership after longtime director Greg Roberts’ June resignation.
The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 2,068 from the previous week's total of 2,071. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,494 claims.
The struggle for control of the regional flood authority board and its lawsuit against oil and gas companies for wetlands damage has taken an unexpected turn.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier agreed several weeks ago to change the compensation formula for any future payments, but he ruled Wednesday that a deal is a deal when it comes to money BP has already paid out.
IberiaBank has already retrofitted many of the Teche Federal Bank locations it acquired in a buyout earlier this year, but some residuals from the estimated $161 million deal are still playing out, namely a federal lawsuit alleging the theft of sensitive information by two former Teche executives.
Both join Russo as brand developers.
Targets of an investigation of alleged corruption within the settlement program for compensating victims of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill will be in federal court Tuesday.
Excitement over Bell Helicopter’s 505 Jet Ranger X is growing, as is the international demand for the state-of-the-art chopper, which will soon be manufactured at the company’s first-ever Louisiana assembly facility in Lafayette.
The Louisiana Hospital Association, Louisiana Nursing Home Association, Louisiana Pharmacists Association, ambulance providers and intermediate care facilities are pooling their resources and planning for a statewide media buy to promote the passage of the first two constitutional amendments on the November ballot.
New report also reveals negative results of Medicaid cuts.
The Pentagon says two Louisiana companies have Navy contracts worth a total of $26.8 million.
Newcomer to Top 50 among five companies selected for Naval contract
Both sets of figures — adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes — were released by the U.S. Labor Department.
Texas declined by five rigs, West Virginia dropped three and Louisiana was down two.
A federal appeals court in New Orleans has upheld a federal safety board's right to investigate the role of Transocean Deepwater Drilling Corp. in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
A supporter of a lawsuit against the oil industry has been re-nominated to a seat on a south Louisiana flood control board despite opposition from Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The nominating committee for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East was set Thursday to nominate applicants for two people on the board whose terms have expired.
Restaurant could see ‘a little facelift,’ Bobby Butcher tells Daily Report.
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell says he won't approve a Cameron Parish Police Jury resolution to hire outside attorneys for such a lawsuit until the resolution is amended. Caldwell's Sept. 15 letter says the resolution must make clear that those attorneys will represent the parish alone — not the state.
Michelle D. Lavergne, who worked for the Lafayette law office of L. Clayton Burgess for 13 years, faces up to 10 years in prison.
Sonnier, former media buyer and account exec at Sides, joins Acadian companies as marketing specialist; Maggard, who most recently worked for Potenza, joins Russo as director of media and PR.