Used to Be From Here in New Iberia: What’s Your Story

Posted at 4:15 AM, Apr 22, 2018
and last updated 2019-03-17 16:28:48-04

There’s something to be said about claiming two different places as home. If one place is lacking in a particular area, the other one can easily make up for its shortcomings. As Mitzi Carruthers would describe it, “it’s like having the best of both worlds.” We met Mitzi in downtown New Iberia on a sunny, windy day in south Louisiana standing outside one of the cafes on Main Street.

She used to call Iberia Parish home, Jeanerette specifically, and while parts of her family are still there, it’s Zimbabwe, Africa that Mitzi has called home for the last 35 years. At the time she moved, she didn’t even know what a passport was, but that didn’t dismay or dissuade her from moving there to be with the man who would eventually become her husband. She met Bruce in college at Nicholls State University while he was studying sugarcane technology, and it didn’t take long for her to be calling Africa home.

Sugarcane is still the primary family business, but it’s far from the only thing with Mitzi teaching at a dance school in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city, as well as crocodile farming. Conservation seems to be at the heart of a lot of what Mitzi does, and along with her husband, they’ve been trying to turn pieces of their property into a game reserve. It was describing the wildlife that a true sense of Mitzi’s feelings towards Africa becomes evident, speaking poetically about the feelings brought on by many of the animals she encounters.

Those feelings certainly aren’t limited to the wildlife; however, everything from the scenery to the people has all captured a piece of her heart. In fact, it was her defense and admiration of Zimbabwe that lead her to talk with us in the first place. While she says she still misses parts of Louisiana, she doesn’t regret in the slightest moving out there and instead blends the best of worlds.