Aug 30, 2011 7:31 PM by Melissa Hawkes

Revitalization Plans for South Hopkins Street Underway

South Hopkins Street in New Iberia is plagued with crime and poverty, but residents are hoping a new project called DaBerry will turn it all around. In it's prime, the street was bustling with businesses.

Resident Michael Belle said, "dentists offices and doctors offices. You had black pharmacies, but after integration all that dissolved."

Now abandoned buildings and boarded up homes line the street, but residents like Marlon Lewis are ready to see improvement.

He said, "when you get up in the morning and come to work in the west end. You see what's going on, you have to say we need to change something."

A number of ideas have been proposed about how to revitalize the area, but residents have yet to see any of the plans. That's where Phanat Xanamane steps in as daBerry project director. He's hoping to use the arts to inspire the community.

"The project is mostly to try to get those ideas and those design concepts about the community that people have proposed and put out there in a very visual and a very bold way," he said.

` Five events will showcase different community projects which will hopefully one day be a permanent fixture in the west end.

Some of the ideas are a civic center and a market place. The first event will take place October 5. It will be aimed at increasing public health and wellness. Free health screenings and other workshops will be offered.

The second event will begin October 11 and will target local commerce. An outdoor market place will be available to people in the community .

The third event is scheduled October 26. It's all about arts and entertainment.

The fourth is an outdoor cultural center starting Oct 26. Kickboxing and self defense classes will be offered free of charge.

The final event is aimed at increasing public transportation. It begins November 2.

For more information contact Envision daBerry at (337) 944-9966 or email info@daberry.org.



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