River Parishes Tourist Commission Removes ‘Plantation’ from Its Promotional Name
LaPLACE, La. – The River Parishes Tourist Commission announced that it has changed its promotional name from “New Orleans Plantation Country” to “Louisiana’s River Parishes” in an effort to “encompass the complete story of the River Region.”
“For nearly 20 years, our brand brought millions of visitors but turned away others,” said Buddy Boe, executive director of RPTC. “Two years ago, we began a journey to expand our narrative, diversify our message and engage with new stakeholders. We recognized that our destination had so many unique experiences that a brand centered around one category of attractions no longer represented us. Today, we have a promotional name that captures the essence of our rich history, people and food that you can only find in Louisiana’s River Parishes.”
In a demonstration of how fast the zeitgeist can change, it was only a few years ago that people booked weddings at former plantation homes without a second thought. More recently, many have begun to question the idea of supporting venues that fail to recognize the reality of their history of slavery. There was a watershed moment in December when several wedding planning websites – including Pinterest and The Knot – announced that they would no longer allow content that “glorifies, celebrates or romanticizes Southern plantation history,” according to BuzzFeed.
The RPTC said it began intensive research and analysis into the promotional name of the organization in 2018.
First step: remove the image of a plantation house from its New Orleans Plantation Country logo. The name change is the logical next step, although the organization said the schedule to do so was pushed forward a bit. The RPTC said the new name unveiling was set for the end of 2020, but the organization felt it was imperative to change directions now.
“There are moments in history that move us. So, we’re moving ahead,” Boe added.
Next, the RPTC will get back to the tricky business of promoting tourism while acknowledging the history of the region in a way that hasn’t happened before – all while the coronavirus pandemic continues to throttle tourism worldwide. The group’s current pitch to visitors demonstrates a carefully calibrated message:
“Whether it’s exploring one of the rarest varieties of tobacco, cruising the Manchac Greenway on a one-of-a-kind swamp tour, sitting under a 300-year-old cypress tree at a plantation or visiting the andouille and catfish capitals, the River Region has plenty to offer locals and visitors. Under its new promotional name, RPTC will encapsulate all the various accounts of its people, attractions and history spanning centuries throughout Louisiana’s River Parishes, a place where history, adventure and flavor collide.”
Expect a few more cultural collisions to come …
For more information about Louisiana’s River Parishes, visit LARiverParishes.com.