Ideas have been stirring for years about how to put a positive foot forward about the communities of Iberia Parish. With a list of past marketing successes, Marti Harrell brought new focus to the disconnected string of ideas when she walked into director Janet Faulk-Gonzales’ office at 5 p.m. on Aug. 1 and said, “I’ve got it. Positively Iberia!” Within 22 days, the concept, energy, marketing and funding came together under the staff and leadership of the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce.

“We assembled a short list of stakeholders and approached First National Bank in Jeanerette,” Faulk-Gonzales said at the campaign launch Wednesday morning. “Immediately we went from ‘What do you think, Farrell?’ (Armentor, vice president of the New Iberia branch of First National Bank) to a meeting with the CEO, Damon Migues. He saw what we were trying to do and said yes.”

Leadership throughout Iberia Parish as well as city governments and business leaders have diligently worked to change the perception of the Teche Area’s Queen City away from a crime focus. The reintroduction of the New Iberia Police Department in 2018 has played a major role in the reversal of that opinion, with an arrest record that has confirmed the faith placed in Mayor Freddie DeCourt’s commitment to bringing back law enforcement.

In fact, it was his comment during the first night of the Iberia Film Festival “PAVY” premiere that gave Harrell the slogan she had been searching for — “... and it’s only getting better” were the words spoken by DeCourt at that event ringing true for the “Positively Iberia!” campaign being formalized.

“Positively Iberia!” is an ongoing, multimedia, positive profile-raising community campaign for New Iberia and Iberia Parish. In its inaugural phase the campaign is valued at over $250,000 with the first weekly television segment set to premiere Thursday, Oct. 3. The initial phase of “Positively Iberia!” will include a weekly three-pronged multimedia plan featuring events, activities and personalities that make the Teche region uniquely home, open for business opportunities and fun for visitors.

The initial media plan includes a pre-recorded guest news segment to be aired three times on KADN/KLAF News15 “Today” (Fox/NBC). Later that morning a 30-minute in-depth, round-table discussion with the same guests/same topic will open Jeff Boggs’ “Teche Matters” on KANE AM1240/107.5FM. Question/answer call-in capabilities will welcome residents to participate in the discussions about happenings around the area.

Social media through Facebook LIVE, via the “Positively Iberia!” Facebook page, will be available during the in-studio action from KANE for a “peek behind the curtain” of the live radio show.

Additionally, KADN/KLAF, KANE and the GICC will archive and promote each segment on websites, mobile apps and Facebook pages for replay at viewer/listener convenience.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Greater Iberia Chamber on the ‘Positively Iberia!’ program. It fits in directly with our motto, ‘Focus on Family and Your Community,’” said Sean Trcalek, general manager of KADN/KLAF. “As broadcasters, News15 recognizes that we are Iberia Parish’s local television station, and it’s our responsibility to let all of our viewers know of all the positive things going on in Iberia Parish. We take that responsibility to serve Iberia Parish seriously, and this is a fun and informative way for us to be a greater part of the parish.”

Members of the GICC board of directors and other leaders attending Wednesday’s regular Chamber board meeting, as well as Leadership Iberia alumni, participated in the planning of the campaign.

“News organizations often are criticized for reporting only the bad news,” Boggs said. “And I’ve always suggested, as an example, that you need to know a public official is a crook more so than that they’re actually doing their job. However, ‘Positively Iberia!’ is a great way to promote all the good things going on in Iberia Parish. We’re thrilled to partner with the Chamber and KADN on the project.”

The new program is something the entire community will have an opportunity to participate in through advertising, sponsorship as well as on-air interviews by local residents involved in positive achievements for the good of the community.

For more information or to send a positive subject for coverage, contact Marti Harrell, program director for “Positively Iberia!” at positivelyiberia@iberiachamber.org or call 352-2892.

Vicky Branton is Teche Life editor for The Daily Iberian. You can reach her at techelife.editor@daily-iberian.com.

Teche Life Editor for The Daily Iberian

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