Construction work has begun in Bouligny Plaza for the long-awaited veterans memorial to be placed next to the Steamboat Warehouse Pavilion.
New Iberia Mayor Freddie DeCourt said in December that city government was planning an agreement with the Iberia Veterans Association, who have been spearheading the construction of a memorial for veterans for years.
The IVA had raised approximately $50,000 for the project, and New Iberia government dedicated $25,000 that came from a one-time dividend check the City Council accepted from the Louisiana Workers Compensation Corporation.
“That gets us to $75,000, but the project is $88,000 for Phase I,” DeCourt said at the December meeting.
“We’re going to use in-kind Public Works equipment and labor to come up with the extra $13,000.”
DeCourt said Tuesday that demolition at the future monument area started last week, and the scale of the first phase of the project was expected to last several months.
Although the city and IVA have combined funds for the project, the mayor has noted that there still isn’t enough money for a memorial centerpiece.
To aid with the funding, project organizers are selling bricks that local residents can purchase. To order a brick, those interested can contact Benny Schovajsa with the IVA at 344-9397. Bricks can be personalized with a veteran’s name, branch and location of service.
The project will include leveling the depressed area of Bouligny Plaza near the Steamboat Warehouse Pavilion. The mayor said the leveling will accommodate handicap access and those who may be injured.
A wall will be constructed that will encircle those who enter the memorial, and etched on the sides will be a list of every war and the Iberia Parish residents who sacrificed their lives for their country.
“We’re hoping that as the project gets going, people will see it and want to be a part in help creating it,” DeCourt said.