The city of New Iberia is on its way to dedicating Hopkins Street to the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
A resolution next week will be voted on by the New Iberia City Council to dedicate Hopkins Street in New Iberia’s West End as “Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Parkway.” If approved, Hopkins would keep its name but also honors the famous Civil Rights leader at the same time.
The designation came from State Rep. Marcus Bryant, who said in February that the designation is in tandem with several projects state representatives and city officials are undertaking to try to revitalize the heart of the West End.
“It used to be a very beautiful and diverse area,” Bryant said. “It was a centerpoint of the city, and we’re trying to get people to fall in love with their own community again.”
Repairs to the roof at West End Park are underway, and repairs to the interior of the gym is slated to take place afterwards.
Projects including a study and infrastructure improvements are also being proposed to help attract more people and businesses to the West End, and the street dedication also has that in mind.
New Iberia City Councilman Marlon Lewis said that putting Martin Luther King Jr.’s name on the West End’s main corridor has been positively received by the West End community and would hopefully be part of several improvements to improve the area.
“Everybody wants to honor the King,” Lewis said Thursday. “It’s a great endeavor, Hopkins is the main artery of the West End, and all of the other streets are little veins.”
The designation, however, is not an official name change. Although there was interest in renaming Hopkins Street, asking the residents and business owners to approve and change their addresses was too much of an obstacle for city and state officials to proceed.
Instead, the street designation allows the West End community to see the MLK designation while also still retaining the official name of Hopkins Street.
The resolution, which will be voted on Tuesday, says that “the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. should not go unrecognized by any citizen, regardless of race, because of their positive impact in our society,” and that “Dr. King did much to help all Americans especially the black race to realize and continue to seek to achieve the realization of equality of opportunity in our society.”