Bicycle group on 500-mile trip stops in Ascension Parish

Staff Report

The Ascension Parish Tourism Commission welcomed a bicycle group, the Highway 61 Challenge, over the weekend.

The bicycle group poses for a photo in front of Ashland Belle Helene Plantation.

The 500-mile, four-day challenge started in Memphis and ended in New Orleans. Along the journey, the 25-member group made a stop in Ascension Parish at Ashland Belle Helene Plantation.

The Ascension Parish Tourism Commission provided water, Gatorade, snacks and some goodie bags with information on Ascension Parish for the bikers to plan a return trip.

Bikers from Brazil, England and New York participated, APTC Executive Director Tracy Browning said.

She thanked Shell Geismar for hosting the location for the restroom break at Ashland Belle Helene Plantation.

Bikers also got to take a quick tour of the home on their break.

“We were excited to welcome our guests to stop along their journey in Louisiana’s Sweet Spot, Ascension Parish and to show them a little bit of history,” Browning said.

The tourism commission recently introduced its new brand, Louisiana’s Sweet Spot, which is a mix of history and culture.

Ascension Parish saw $169.6 million dollars in tourism spending and is ranked 10 out of 64 parishes in tourism expenditures. Tourism generated $5.9 million dollars in local taxes and $15.1 million in state taxes in 2019. The local impact created 2,200 jobs and $61 million in workers paychecks. This allowed each household to pay $495 less in taxes.