New Iberia Mayor Freddie DeCourt stays optimistic about the future of New Iberia.
Whether it’s business development or the city’s new brand new police department, DeCourt has worked to accomplish his vision of a safe, prosperous New Iberia.
Question: For those new to New Iberia, what are the benefits of living in the city?
Answer: “Our culture, our history, of course our national historic district downtown and residential historic district. The Bayou Teche, we have a lot of cultural activities. If you start totaling them up, we have Beneath the Balconies, the Sugar Cane Festival, several symphonies and art walks. For a town our size, we really have a ton of cultural activities for a town our size.
“If you marry that with the historic district, it’s a good place to live. Our property values are cheap, if you go up the road you’ll be paying a whole lot more than what you’re paying for here, so we have good real estate choices. We for the most part are too big to be small and too small to be big, if you go to a residential neighborhood we have the feel of a small town but if you’re downtown it feels like a big city.
Our traffic is nothing like our neighbors, not that there’s not traffic but it’s completely different from other areas.”
Q: How do you see the city growing in a year?
A: “Let’s hope some of these big developments that are supposed to be coming turn the gas on and hit gas pedal. But what I see for now is that we should have some of the promised developments done, and if we continue on the same pace as last year we should open 17 to 20 new businesses. Some are small but we did well with businesses last year. I’m hoping that trend continues. Actually they poured the slab today for a two new businesses. If that works and we get some bigger developers, it’ll be good.
For our crime issues, July 1 (when the New Iberia Police Department goes live) is not an overnight fix. If you give me a year-and-a-half, I think it’s going to really impact the city. You’re going to see a difference in the crime. So a year from now the crime situation will be improving, small businesses are coming and some businesses we’ve been waiting for will finally open.
We have some new people too. We have about five new families that are moving for the police department. What I anticipate is that if some of these businesses come, that will get us some new residents.
Q: How do you see the city growing four years from now?
A: “I kind of have a four year vision, and I’m hopeful. Let’s say by the end of my first term I feel that the economy should be on the upswing. If we continue the pace with businesses, our money will finally stabilize so we can do some more things. We are still not out of the woods money-wise right now. So money will stabilize. Right now, we have eight grants we’re working on.
“I’m not saying we’re going to get them all, but we’ve got stuff out for the skate park, the Essanee Theater and a lot of other things. Other than that it’s just day-to-day, trying to make the money work and building a police department.”