•To your health (mind and body)
•Quality family time
By Juanice Gray, firstname.lastname@example.org
“We know it happens, but we don’t think about who makes it happen,” said Natchitoches Parish Tourism Commission Executive Director Arlene Gould at a tourism rally at Fort St. Jean Baptiste Wednesday.
She was referencing the impact tourism has on the City of Natchitoches. Besides the factors above, “…travel and tourism supports 1,370 jobs and $36 million in worker paychecks right here in Natchitoches Parish.”
Gould recognized the unsung heroes of tourism, the electrical, maintenance and others behind the scenes who are the backbone of tourism here. Mayor Lee Posey said he didn’t properly appreciate the impact of tourism until he became a council member.
As mayor, he said the work of the people involved in the travel and tourism industry are invaluable. “It is amazing what you do. I try to keep Friday afternoons free so I can visit people coming into town. They’re from New Orleans to Shreveport and even internationally,” he said.
Gould said she never stops being amazed to see visitors from places like Mongolia and beyond. “The best thing about tourism here is the collaborative partners; us working together headed in the right direction,” Posey said.
Among those recognized at the rally were the employees of the Fort who had to be gathered from their duties to accept the accolade. “They’re busy holding down the Fort,” Gould quipped. Dressed in period attire, Justin French, Jeremy McCormic and Felicia Brand were recognized for operating and maintaining the Fort, now in its 40th year of operation.
Tim Murchison accepted the certificate on behalf of the horticultural department. His crew is responsible for the health and beauty of all the plants and trees throughout the city from the centuries old Oaks on Beau Jardin to the hanging baskets on downtown streets.
Mike Braxton and his Public Works crew take pride in their jobs. Along with daily duties, those employees keep the downtown area clean before and after festivals and events.
Jim Rhodes with the Cane River Waterway Commission partnered with the city for the riverbank renovations. He said there was opposition at first, but now that it is completeand people are able to enjoy it, he is proud to say the CRWC had a hand in it.
St. Augustine Historical Society was recognized for their 150-plus years of hosting their church fair that brings people from far and wide. Doris Jones accepted the certificate.
Finally, Posey accepted the certificate on behalf of the electrical department. He said those employees string and take down miles of lights every year for the Christmas season. “They are so proud of what they do and because of them, we have the amazing set pieces you see today,” he said. The set pieces for the riverbank are designed and built in-house.
Travel and tourism operates on funds generated by the hotel/motel occupancy tax.
Natchitoches was recognized almost two dozen times in national publications in 2018.
Travel Matters in Natchitoches, and for those of us whom enjoy the efforts put forth by those behind the scenes, as well as those from the numerous commissions and organizations, they are building our economy and strengthening the community