Two new faces joined the table at the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC) meeting Thursday, Sept. 15.
Carrie Mardorf is the new Superintendent of Cane River Creole National Historical Park. Coming from the Kalaupapa National Historical Park, on the north shore of the Hawaiian island of Molokai, Mardorf came to Natchitoches to work on a project 4 years ago.
She said the park is the perfect weekend getaway or day trip for locals and visitors alike.
“It’s an amazing corridor with its architecture, history, culture, landscapes and views,” she said.
High on her list of priorities are promoting the park, tying the park into a lot of what the City is doing and making a bigger connection in the region.
Jim Rhodes, chairman of the Cane River Waterway Commission, is excited to represent the organization at the meetings. He said the CRWC’s pump station project is currently out for bids and that he feels funding the Rue Beauport Riverbank Renovation Project was the right call for them to do.
Cynthia Sutton said the new Christmas themed billboard skins the NHDDC maintains on the interstate haven’t been installed because of structural damage caused by recent flooding. They should go up in the next 10 days.
The Commission had previously withheld 10 percent of its budget as it waited to see how its state funding played out. With its full $360,000 budget, commissioners will see if they have needs for the $36,000 that was held back. This decision will be made at the January meeting. Stamey said they could always keep it in a “rainy day” fund.
Another change to the budget comes from the suspension of the Jazz and R&B Festival for 2017.
“This leaves us with a real gap downtown for that weekend,” said Stamey. “It’s one of our most important festivals.”
Sandra Dickens said the Historic District Business Association (HDBA) is considering holding a Front Street Festival on Jazz Fest weekend just for 2017.
“We think we can make it work,” she said.
Dickens also suggested that the Commission think about requiring festivals they sponsor to use the ticketing system implemented by the Christmas Festival over the last few years.
“Itinerant vendors don’t pay taxes,” she said. “They’re here and gone and this way the City would get its portion.”