Ascension Parish Tourism rebrands as Louisiana’s Sweet Spot

Michael Tortorich

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and local dignitaries joined the Ascension Parish Tourism Commission for a rebranding kickoff event at Houmas House’s Great River Road Museum Nov. 18.

Ascension Parish Assessor Mert Smiley, Ascension Parish Tourism Executive Director Tracy Browning, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, and Chief Deputy Assessor Justin Champlin share a laugh after the unveiling of the Sweet Spot Landing at Houmas House Nov. 18.

Houmas House owner Kevin Kelly hosted the event, which concluded with the unveiling of the new name for the pedestrian bridge spanning over Hwy. 942 to the Mississippi River levee top.

Kelly and Nungesser pulled down a covering to reveal the new name, which is Sweet Spot Landing. Kelly said 1,500 names were submitted.

Ascension Tourism Executive Director Tracy Browning said the new branding cohesively connects all of the “sweet spots” throughout the parish.

Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment and Executive Administrator Ruth Phillips look at an exhibit inside the Great River Road Museum at Houmas House.

A new video was presented, showing several aerial shots of sugarcane fields, the Mississippi River, oak trees, and various landmarks. The rebranded materials focus on attractions in Gonzales, Sorrento, and Donaldsonville.

The Donaldsonville Historic District is Louisiana’s second largest historic district behind only New Orleans.

As the narrator states, influences derive from African, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Acadian, and native cultures.

The video showcases Sorrento’s restored shops and Gonzales’ status as the Jambalaya Capital of the World.

“When you arrive there, you know you’ve reached Louisiana’s sweet spot,” the narrator said at the conclusion of the video.

Ascension Tourism’s staff includes Tina Bouchereau (executive assistant and travel counselor) and Kylie Gravois (graphic designer and social media). Board members include: Craig Walling (chair), Al Schof (vice chair), Michael Bonfanti (secretary and treasurer), Jeanne St. Germain, Karen Hatcher, Gasper Chifici, and Rae Milano.

All marketing materials have been revamped, including pamphlets, advertisements, and the website, which can be found at visitlasweetspot.com.

Steve Chandler, a certified tourism marketing professional and owner of Chandlerthinks, worked on the rebranding project.

Tina Bouchereau and Kylie Gravois pose with the new hashtag for Ascension Parish’s rebranding as Louisiana’s Sweet Spot.

Based in Franklin, Tenn., Chandlerthinks has worked on projects in 26 different states. Chandler said he has worked in south Louisiana in the past, crafting the “Cajun Bayou” branding for Lafourche Parish.

In working on the strategy, it was discovered some visitors from out of the area said they did not realize they were in Ascension Parish. They only knew that they were between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Nungesser said Louisiana has had four years of record-breaking tourism, and despite challenges, he remains optimistic about the future.

“If one state can bounce back with tourism, Louisiana can,” Nungesser said.

Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment and Kelly also spoke during the event. Kelly thanked Browning and the commission for their professional approach to parish tourism.

After unveiling the new name of the bridge, many of the attendees walked over to the levee top. 

Hors d’oeuvres, iced tea, and the Louisiana’s Sweet Spot Signature Cocktail were served during the event.

Those in attendance also received a gift bag with items featuring the new branding. The items included a glass, brochure, and face mask.

According to the brochure, Ascension Parish saw $169.6 million in tourism spending in 2019, which generated $21.1 million.