NCA executive director discusses economic development in Natchitoches


Tony Davis, executive director of the Natchitoches Community Alliance, spoke at the Chamber luncheon March 14 about economic development and the efforts of the NCA to move the entire community forward.

The NCA’s mission is to provide leadership and support for economic development and workforce solutions in and around Natchitoches parish.

Davis said collaboration is key. The question to ask now is how to best utilize the limited resources in the Natchitoches community. It’s important that we recognize that it’s our collective success that’s at stake. We will only be as strong as our weakest link. All schools must improve. The Parish and City must work together. Local entities must support one another.

Davis said there’s more to building the Natchitoches economy than meat pies and Steel Magnolias. It’s important that while Natchitoches embraces its history and culture, it also embraces progress and technology.

We need to focus on what’s next: the “low hanging fruit” that is Northwestern State University, the overall quality of life in Natchitoches, and the tendency toward “tourism-turned tenant.” We must improve upon the foundational items of birth to post secondary education and site development, zoning and permitting. We must tell our story by marketing our successes. We must plan for the future and then work the plan.

Moving forward we need more sites, stronger workforce programs, better recruitment, increased regional and state awareness of Natchitoches’ strengths and advantages, consistent visits to Economic drivers, and expanded collaboration among local entities.

Up to 88% of new jobs are created from existing businesses, according to Davis. “Our tide rises and falls together,” he said.

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