By José Manuel de Molina Bautista
Author/Historian from Alhaurin de la Torre, Malaga, Spain (New Iberia’s sister city)
A land of immigrants
I think America is so influential and important to the whole world because the best people from each country - the bravest, the most courageous, the most entrepreneurial - abandoned their own countries to begin a new life across the Ocean.
So their descendants are capable of everything, also preparing the way to establish a relationship between our peoples, which had been lost through the years.
In 2011, a delegation from New Iberia led by Mayor Hilda D. Curry, came to Alhaurin de la Torre and this old Spanish city remembered its past, offering the best of itself for the Americans.
Together, we created an official twinning with exchange of students and touristic and cultural visits, but the New Iberians make a bigger effort every year with El Festival Español, where they show how proud they are of their origins and renew the tribute to their Malagueño ancestors.
When I visited in 2009 and 2012, I appreciated it very much and was enormously honored to meet Spanish descendants with surnames like Romero, Garrido (Gary), Segura, Migues, Ridao (Reaux) and Villatoro (Viators). My thanks to all of you.
New Iberia's avenue in Spain
In Alhaurin de la Torre, we named a main avenue in honor of the City of New Iberia, placing a crossroad sign pointing at this wonderful land, to help us remember forever this common point in our history.
We also host those of you who visit us, opening our homes and giving you thanks for your interest in this white Andalusian city, full of gardens and friendly people.
But, still we have to discover more common points like the connection between the Cajun music and the Verdiales, the ancient folk music from the mountains of Málaga.
I wish that every year we can improve this collaboration and I especially hope that I can come back to your country, to admire your generous people again.
Hasta la vista! See you soon!
Ebrar Reaux of New Iberia reminisces about the twinning:
"When we visited, Jose Manuel knew that Mayor Curry’s great grandmother was a Gary (in Alhaurin the family name is Garrido). He organized a picnic in El Porton, which is a beautiful park in their city, hosted by the Garrido family from Alhaurin which is where the original Gary family came from. If you look at the photo closely, especially in the front row, you will see a lot of New Iberians. The picnic was a great time shared by all and new friendships were made."
Visit NewIberiaSpanishFestival.com for the complete schedule of events.