I left New Iberia in 1965 to go to USL, then the Army (Ft. Polk and Heidelberg, Germany) and then Baton Rouge. When I left town, the population rested around 30,000 people. I returned in 2004 to discover the population had not changed significantly nor had the community. I was surprised and disappointed because New Iberia had and still has so much too offer.

The water port, the airport, the Bayou Teche paralleling Main Street, the Bunk Johnson band and the spirit it brings to the city, our cultural diversity, our festivals and fairs, the George Rodrigue Blue Dog Park and the Dave Robicheaux (James Lee Burke) stories, are all unique to our town. We also enjoy the Shadows on the Teche, Spanish Lake, Lake Dauterive, Jefferson Island, Avery Island and Weeks Island, etc. These are all unique assets that other communities would love to have. Our potential is so great. Unfortunately, as my friend Tommy Canterbury says, "Potential is a terrible burden."

The above is the old news. Today I attended a "victory party" for our town and region. Turner Industries and the Port of Iberia announced a new venture that, I believe, is a game changer. Before this letter will be published, I'm sure much of this "game changing venture" will be detailed in this paper.

I believe we are at last moving forward to a place of leadership in Acadiana and the South. We've had most of these assets for decades and now I believe we will receive a return on these assets.

Think New Iberia! Our future has arrived. Become involved in this future, yours, mine and ours!

MIKE MANES

NEW IBERIA

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