Linda Horton is a self-described New Iberia girl who has never met a stranger. She’s outgoing and positive. While she hasn’t always understood where her path would lead her, Linda says that God has put her where he needed her to be. And where he needed her to be was in New Iberia giving back to the community and owning her own driving school, Iberia Driving Academy, a business that she loves.
How did you start giving back to your community? I worked at Catholic High for six years, and while I was there I was introduced to an organization called the Berry Queens. I joined in 2012, and in 2013 I ran for and was crowned Her Royal Highness Queen of the Berry!
What was that honor like for you? You are the Queen. You represent the organization. That year, I went to every single thing the Berry Queens did. I realized pretty quickly that I was a part of something much bigger than I thought. It’s more than putting on a wig and walking down Main Street. You’re giving back to your city in such a big way. I was introduced to so many wonderful people and organizations.
Tell me a little bit about your involvement in the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce. In 2017 I was involved in Leadership Iberia with the chamber. That was such a wonderful opportunity to get to see the inner workings of our community. The following year, I was asked to be on the Chamber Board. Through the chamber, I’m also a member of the junior leadership program, Firestarter.
What is your role in Firestarter? I’m the secretary of the Firestarter program, and this year I’m really jumping in feet first. Seeing children who are passionate about the same things that I am, giving back to our community, is an amazing experience. We plant small seeds and these kids want to grow up and stay in our community to can be leaders here one day.
What inspires you to support New Iberia? As a small business owner, I feel like New Iberia supports my dream every day. This community believes in me and I want to do everything that I can to give back in small ways. Through volunteering at the St. Francis Diner, the Gumbo Cookoff, the Sugar Cane Festival, it’s my way of saying thank you for supporting me.
What was a moment in your life that changed things for you? Going to college! I didn’t think I needed to go to school. All of my in laws are educators and they kept telling me that I really needed to continue my education. I finally enrolled at SLCC before transferring to UL, where I graduated with a general studies degree. As soon as I started taking classes, I realized how important it was. Now I can tell the kids I teach how important it is to further their education.
What is your dream for your community? I’d love to see our community grow. I think we can grow into such a thriving area. We have energetic leaders and a chamber that is doing amazing things. I think by people getting involved is the way we continue to grow. We have so many great committees and organizations, there is truly something for everyone.