Two new faces at the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) endeavor to bring more tourists to Natchitoches. Ashley Paz and Katelyn Murphy are the new sales and marketing team for the CVB, both challenged with promoting and selling what Natchitoches offers to those new to the city and parish and those who return.
“We have media, social media, TV, radio, print and a lot of magazines,” Paz said. “Next, I’ll be going to Charlotte, NC, to promote the culinary trails.” She and Chef Ben Fidelak of Natchitoches will participate Nov. 1-4 with 14 chefs from across the Bayou State that will take over select Charlotte restaurants to introduce some of their best culinary creations. Presented by Louisiana Culinary Trails, Louisiana X Charlotte Restaurant Night is part of a campaign that started more than a decade ago to provide foodies in major cities with a little Louisiana lagniappe to whet their appetite and leave them wanting to take a trip to the Bayou. Paz is hoping to connect with influencers and media there talking about some of Natchitoches’ food attractions, including the meat pie, and to promote the area as a “foodie town.”
Murphy will be conducting group tours, setting up hotels and restaurants for incoming groups or travel writers and “selling Natchitoches” to promote the attractions and get them to bring their dollars here.
Paz is a Shreveport native but most recently a resident of Fort Worth where she used her Hospitality Management and Tourism degree from NSU to work remotely. “I fell in love with Natchitoches when I was at NSU. Then in Fort Worth I was pretty much alone because I worked remotely, and here, I’m excited to meet people. I like people and to talk,” she said.
Murphy is a Natchitoches native and also a HMT graduate of NSU. Her minor is in culinary arts, “I’m jealous of her (Paz) for getting to do the culinary thing in Charlotte,” she laughs. She has no time to be jealous for long, she has her own agenda that includes travel in November as well. She will be in Louisville, Ken., meeting international tour operators at Travel South International Showcase Nov. 27-30. T
he ladies hit the ground running on their first day at work, Oct. 20. No sooner than they arrived at the CVB office than Executive Director Arlene Gould whisked them off to their first activity, the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission monthly meeting. There, they connected with many of the town’s organization heads and immediately began forming contacts and building relationships. Much of their jobs involve working with the budget, being good stewards of the funds entrusted to the CVB, networking with city and parish leaders, representing the city and parish at events and ensuring others know the many great things happening in the area.
“I love Natchitoches,” they both said. Their enthusiasm is palpable. “Stop by to say hello. We want to see you!” Paz said.