Logo to promote, landscaping to beautify, NHDDC working to improve Natchitoches

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By Juanice Gray

jgray@natchitochestimes.com

The Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC) had a productive meeting March 15. The most notable item – unveiling of the new Natchitoches brand and logo. Over eight months in the making, the final logo has been approved and will be unveiled April 5 at 1 p.m. at the Thomas Building by representatives of the Graham Group, the design engineering firm hired by the commission to create the logo. Mayor Lee Posey said, “It is definitely something different. When I first saw it, I was like the millennials caused this,” he laughed. “The more I see it the more it grows on me and I really like it. I personally really like it.”

This is the view from the center of the Touline Street beautification project sponsored by the NHDDC.

The marketing strategy will promote the City of Natchitoches, tie in all stakeholders to a central online calendar, be the new look and feel of the City and will enhance and promote tourism. “In partnership with the Graham Group, the NHDDC Marketing Committee has carefully worked to cultivate a brand platform that reflects the spirit of Natchitoches – a community proud of its heritage, but focused on building a brighter future for its residents and its visitors. After considerable research and discussion, we’re eager to share the results with the community,” Rebecca Blankenbaker said.

This view, taken from the center of the project, shows First Baptist Church and the Parish Library in the background.

•City HR Director Edd Lee said the restrooms on the riverbank were getting final touches. The only things left were to finish painting, cleaning and to stock it with supplies. Lee said, “We temporarily opened the new restroom for this past weekend (March 16-18) because of all of the events taking place downtown, but we have to shut it down for a few days so that the floors can be sealed and then they need time to dry. After that, we will be able to open it and keep it open.” The time capsule and plaques will be placed soon and there will be a new addition to the riverbank – portable tables and chairs for the public to use for picnics and other activities. The slopes on the riverbank will also get a makeover. While it will be landscaped to be aesthetically pleasing, the purpose is to halt erosion. Lee said the plants chosen will be thick rooted and dense. There will be mixed plants that will bloom seasonally throughout the year.

A view from the top of the stairs where the original St. Mary’s school was located.

•Members discussed future events including those that cause streets to be blocked off, especially those downtown. Some merchants feel the street closures are detrimental to their business if the festival or event does not draw enough of a crowd to generate revenue. For these events, merchants would like to see them moved to the riverbank, allowing the streets to remain open.

•Cane River Waterway Commission representative Jim Rhodes said the new pumps have been tested and another test will ensue in April. In addition, the Waterway Commission is looking at sites on the south end of Cane River to install another boat launch. One possible location could be in the St. Matthews area near Melrose.

The end closest to the church will feature a fountain.

•Main Street Director Janna Jenkins announced a virtual view of Natchitoches will soon be available. It will allow visitors to take virtual tours of Main Streets, local businesses, restaurants and unique attractions. Natchitoches will be the first Main Street in the state to have the virtual tours. The tours will not only allow 360 degree interactive visuals of the streets, but will allow site visitors to actually enter and tour businesses. To see more visit https://destination.tours/.

Azaleas, tulip trees and other blooming foliage will be the focus of the project. Photos by Juanice Gray