New Iberia is the tenth-largest city in the U.S state of Louisiana. Located 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Lafayette, it is the parish seat of Iberia Parish. In 1900, 6,815 people lived in New Iberia; in 1910, 7,499; and in 1940, 13,747. The population was 32,623 at the 2000 census and 30,617 in 2010, a decrease of 2,006, or 6.2 percent, over the past decade.
New Iberia is the principal city of the New Iberia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Iberia Parish.
The Spanish settlers called the town "Nueva Iberia" in honor of the Iberian Peninsula, and the French referred to the town as "Nouvelle Ibérie" while the American settlers called it "New Town" after the Louisiana Purchase.
In 1814, the federal government opened a post office, and it was officially known as "New Iberia," but postmarks shortly thereafter reveal that the town was being called "Nova Iberia" (with Latin for "new"). The town was incorporated as "Iberia" in 1839, but the state legislature resolved the situation in 1847, naming the town New Iberia.
During the American Civil War, New Iberia was occupied by Union forces under General Nathaniel P. Banks. The soldiers spent the winter of 1862–1863 at New Iberia and, according to historian John D. Winters of Louisiana Tech University in his The Civil War in Louisiana, "found the weather each day more and more severe. The dreary days dragged by, and the men grumbled as they plowed through the freezing rain and deep mud in performing the regular routines of camp life." Banks' men from New Iberia foraged for supplies in the swamps near the city.
In 1868, Iberia Parish (county) was established, and New Iberia became the seat of parish government. At first, only rented space served for the courthouse, but by 1884 a new courthouse stood on a landscaped lot in downtown New Iberia, at the present-day site of Bouligny Plaza. That courthouse served Iberia Parish until 1940, when the current courthouse was built along Iberia Street, two blocks from the New Iberia downtown commercial district.