Parish officials plan celebration to open Veteran’s Memorial

Dee Cruise

Iberville’s award-winning Veterans Memorial will be dedicated on Veterans Day, November 11, with a parade, performances by the 40-piece Marine Corps Reserve Band, the 156th Army Band, military color guards, an F-15 Air Force fly-over, a military equipment display and a ceremony honoring the parish’s servicemen and women.

Veterans, who wish to ride in the parade, beginning at 3:30 p.m., will ride in military vehicles as honored guests.

There will also be a special seating area for veterans at the dedication ceremony at 4:30 p.m.

The parade will begin on Main Street at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. It will travel down Main Street, turn left onto Railroad Avenue and continue to the memorial site at the corner of Railroad Avenue and Court Street.

The Marine Corps Reserve Band will be a highlight of the parade. It will be joined in the parade by Army, National Guard, Navy and Coast Guard Color Guards, ROTC units, the Plaquemine High Band, veterans and the Freedom Riders.

Parish officials are urging the public to line the route to greet the parade and then walk to the memorial for the ceremony.

The ceremony will include patriotic music, the anthems of each of the military branches, recognition of veterans, POWs, MIAs and those who lost their lives in service, and taps played by Iberville veteran Johnny Wilbert.

District Judge Alvin Battiste Jr., the highest ranking veteran in Iberville Parish, will give the keynote address.

“This memorial is Iberville’s way of saying thanks to our veterans, and we want everyone to come out and show their appreciation by attending,” said Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr.“This is really a rare opportunity for people to see military bands, color guards and equipment here in our parish, and we are very proud to hold this event on Veterans Day.

“We are expecting a large crowd of not only Iberville residents, but many others from throughout south Louisiana for this event, so please come out. We are planning an event that you won’t forget.”

The Iberville Veterans Memorial has already won one major award for design, and is expected to be in the running for further honors.

It won the prestigious Honor Award in competition with 58 other design projects in the Louisiana Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) design competition in September.

According to architect Jerry Hebert, the memorial was designed to be a fitting and moving monument honoring Iberville veterans without using the names of those who have served.Its composition also was required to reflect Iberville Parish and its people.

Hebert sought to accomplish the goals using of a variety of materials and effects. Further information on the design is planned at the ceremony, and a brochure on the memorial will be released at the dedication.

The memorial will feature a display of correspondence – letters, postcards or e-mails -- between serving men and women and their families.

Those who wish to contribute to the display of correspondence can deliver the material to Judy Burleigh at the Parish President’s Office on the second floor of the Courthouse, or mail it to Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr., Iberville Parish Council, P.O. Box 389, Plaquemine, LA 70765-0389.

Further information is available from the Iberville Tourism Office at (225) 687-2462 or at the Iberville Parish website at www.ibervilleparish.com.