Lt. Governor Nungesser visits LaPlace during Travel & Tourism Week

Published 3:58 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2023

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LAPLACE — Louisiana’s River Parishes Tourist Commission kicked off National Travel & Tourism Week Monday afternoon with remarks from Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser at Frenier Landing Restaurant in LaPlace.

Nungesser and the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism have been hard at work identifying strategies to capitalize on tourism as the state rebounds from the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Nungesser’s leadership, Louisiana saw years of record-breaking tourism numbers, peaking at 53 million just before the pandemic. State park revenue also increased from $9 million to $16 million during Nungesser’s seven years in office.

Outdoor activities have been popular among tourists since 2020, Nungesser said, giving Louisiana an opportunity to showcase the unique experiences Sportsman’s Paradise has to offer.

“On any given weekend, we see 1,000 people from an eight-to-10 state area drive in to go on mountain bike trails. We’re looking for more of those things like glamping that will draw in people,” Nungesser said. “We know after COVID, people bought RVs, bikes, canoes. It’s a great opportunity to expose people to our state parks, our local parks, and the great fishing in Lake Pontchartrain.”

In Louisiana’s River Parishes, Swamp Country is catered to the outdoor enthusiasts with experiences including Zip NOLA’s aquatic zipline and Cajun Pride Swamp Tours.

Louisiana’s rich, sometimes painful history is another draw for tourism. After taking office, Nungesser was embarrassed to learn that Louisiana did not have a Civil Rights trail. Since 2019, 10 Civil Rights Trail markers have been placed at sites of historical significance across the state, celebrating the contributions of those who paved the way toward equal rights for all.

Nungesser said the Civil Rights trail is not only for tourists; it’s an educational tool for Louisianans to start conversations at schools, churches and at home.

Litter prevention and response has been another major focus of the lieutenant governor’s office.

“Litter hurts economic development in Louisiana, and it hurts our quality of life,” Nungesser said.

Observed April 17-23, Love the Boot Week inspired 530 anti-litter events across all 64 of Louisiana’s parishes. Nungesser, Keep Louisiana Beautiful and Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Executives recently announced a Clean Biz Partnership to adopt best practices including cleaning parking lots, placing trash receptacles at storefronts, and maintaining clean dumpster areas to reduce litter across the state.

Other efforts include utilizing grants to place garbage cans in high traffic areas and instating a ticketing system to send offenders to litter court.

“We’re going to work through this thing all the way from educating our kids to enforcement to cleaning up, but also through long-term prevention through recycling and making sure all of our cities, villages and towns have the necessary equipment.”

Nungesser’s visit to LaPlace was the first installment in a week filled with events celebrating Louisiana tourism. On Monday, the public was invited to visit Southeastern Louisiana University’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station for a closer look at Swamp Country. Tuesday highlighted the 1811 Slave Revolt Trail with a tour of the 1811 and Rost Home Colony exhibits at Destrehan Plantation. Dianne Honore’, an African American descendant of the plantation, was the guest speaker.

A taste of the Andouille Trail will take place today, May 10 with lunch starting at noon at Wayne Jacobs Andouille Smokehouse, located at 769 W. Fifth Street in LaPlace. Wayne Jacobs owner Jarred Zenringue will serve as the speaker, and attendees will tour the smokehouse and view an Andouille processing demonstration.

Maureen Gilly, owner of Felicity and St. Joseph Plantations, will lead a discussion of New Orleans Plantation Country on Thursday, May 11. Lunch begins at noon at Felicity Plantation, located at 3535 Highway 18 in Vacherie.

Friday, May 12 is dedicated to Bonfire Country, with lunch planned from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the St. James Welcome Center with speaker Camella Landry, representing St. James Parish Economic Development. Attendees will tour the Welcome Center and nature trail at 1094-1 Highway 61 in Gramercy.

All are invited to “spend the day in your backyard” on Saturday, May 13 by checking out experiences in Louisiana’s River Parishes.

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