Natchitoches brings home two Louisiana Travel Association ‘Louey Awards’

From left are Kelli West, NACVB Marketing Director; Arlene Gould, NACVB Executive Director; and Anne Cummins, NACVB Group Sales Coordinator.

The Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Bureau was awarded two “Louey Awards” during the Louisiana Travel Association (LTA) Annual Membership Meeting Jan. 30 in Charenton. The Natchitoches Area CVB was named the Outstanding Convention and Visitors Bureau/Tourist Commission of the Year (Budget $499,000 and under) and the Blush and Bashful Weekend campaign was awarded Tourism Campaign of the Year (budget up to $29,999).

The Natchitoches CVB’s 2019 successes included the launch of a new film trail and the hosting of the International Conference for the Jefferson Highway Association. “With full-time staff of three, this organization proves that with hard work and determination, anything is possible. Their leadership and strategic partnerships throughout the community have resulted in $97 million of local spending, supporting more than 1,370 jobs,” the announcer said during the award luncheon.

From left are Jill Kidder, LTA Executive Director; Anne Cummins, NACVB Group Sales Coordinator; Kelli West, NACVB Marketing Director; Arlene Gould, NACVB Executive Director; and Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser.

“The staff and I are very proud to receive these awards and will bring them back to the Natchitoches community,” says Arlene Gould, Executive Director of the Natchitoches CVB. “We get the opportunity daily to greet visitors from around the world at our office and we will proudly display these new awards on the front counter for all to see.”

For the Blush and Bashful Weekend, the CVB brought together local partners to host several events including an Easter egg hunt, armadillo cake contest, star look-a-like contest and more to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the release of the Steel Magnolias movie. The weekend was a success for the area, selling out seven bed and breakfasts, five hotels and three movie theatre screens. There were 84 mentions of the movie and city in the press, totalling over 287 million impressions.

“We cannot do what we do every day without the events to promote and the organizations that work hard to pull those events together,” said Gould. “For the Blush and Bashful event, we thank the Natchitoches Service League, Natchitoches Historic Foundation, Association for Preservation Historic Natchitoches, Steel Magnolia House B&B, Parkway Cinema, Louisiana State Museum, NSU’s Hospitality Management and Tourism Department and many others who helped create a special weekend. This award wouldn’t have been possible without them.”

Natchitoches representatives at the LTA luncheon are, from left, Rebecca Blankenbaker, CRNHA Executive Director;  Arlene Gould, NACVB Executive Director; Jay and Lauryn Sharplin of Sharpco Hotels; Jill Leo, Director of Festivals and Events for the HIstoric District Business Association and Main Street Manager for the City of Natchitoches; Kelli West, NACVB Marketing Director; and Anne Cummins, NACVB Group Sales Coordinator.

This year, LTA presented 19 “Louey Awards” to honor and showcase individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to the Louisiana tourism industry.