Sign promotes identity; Reflects cooperation, history and progressive outlook


By Juanice Gray,

Motorists entering Natchitoches from the interstate will be greeting by a new welcome sign in the median. Local artist Patrick Hollier designed the sign with input from the City, Northwestern State University and utilized the new branding initiative in the word Natchitoches. Mayor Lee Posey said the City requisitioned the sign and waited until the new brand was confirmed so it may be incorporated into the design. “The former sign was designed by Hollier and we went back with him because he knew all the DOTD requirements. We also wanted it done locally,” Posey said.

He said the former sign was in need of repairs. “Many may not know, but it was hit a couple of times in accidents. The bottom part of the sign was also damaged by time and was peeling. That is one reason the landscaping was allowed to grow tall, to help cover the damages up.” Posey said the design was meant to send a message of welcome, obviously, but to also incorporate all the entities and the story of Natchitoches.

Up go new welcome signs to the City featuring the new text sponsored by the Historic District Development Commission. Javier Santiago of Mexico and Martin Nunez of Honduras, both employees of Payne Landscaping, put the final cement blocks in place. A heightened base has been included to raise the sign above the landscaping. The City is hurrying to get the signs in place for the fall festival season and the Grambling football game, Sept. 8

“It was important we included NSU, which is a lifeline to this community, and to promote a sense of working together.” Posey said the sign had to be ordered by a specific deadline, therefore the entire branding logo was not used. “We got the word Natchitoches and went with it. We decided it would be sufficient to bring the whole thing together. Our goal was to have the sign up by the start of school. We were close.”

Hollier said the sign is actually very lightweight, constructed of ice chest style styrofoam with a specific plastic coating over it that makes it durable. “The whole thing has to be made to (help people) survive a crash into it,” he said. As far as the design elements, Hollier said it reflects the Historic District signage and colors for a consistant look throughout the city.

“It is all a combination of different ideas, from the city to NSU. A lot of people worked together on the concept. The goal was to give visitors an idea of what the city is about, instantly,” Hollier said.

Local artist Patrick Hollier designed the new sign as well as its predecessor.