Not only is Natchitoches a wonderful place to live and visit, it is also a highly attractive place to operate a business. The area has experienced economic growth in locales as varied as the downtown National Historic Landmark District to the Natchitoches Parish Port. Natchitoches is posturing for growth to take advantage of low cost of living, extensive natural resources and central location. Innovative partnerships between Northwestern State University, Northwest Louisiana Technical College, the K12 system and the Chamber of Commerce STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiatives are together ensuring a ready and able workforce. These initiatives are the result of strong communication with our existing industries and employers.
In determining location, downtown Natchitoches is a fantastic location for small businesses, while the area’s move-in ready business and industrial parks cater to manufacturing and larger industrial business. Major employment sectors in Natchitoches parish include education, health care and manufacturing, as well as retail trade and tourism industries.
The City of Natchitoches has three primary development parks – the Air Industrial Park adjoining the FAA award-winning Natchitoches Regional Airport; Natchitoches Business Park (with 50-plus acres pending LED Certification); and the Natchitoches Industrial Park, with rail loop access and hundreds of acres to Certify. All these park areas have road access and utility infrastructure in place.
The Natchitoches Parish Port consists of almost 700 acres along the Red River at River Mile 152.2. The port is a multi-modal facility with river, rail (4,000 feet of frontage on the Kansas City Southern Railroad) and highway options (3,000 feet of frontage on Louisiana Highway 486 and 4,000 on U.S. Highway 71). The port boasts a 360-acre tract of land, the first McCallum-Sweeney SmartSite, and a LED Certified Site. The site has ample utilities on-site and has easy access to the port’s docks. Additionally, the port has access to grant/loan programs to assist companies wanting to locate at the port.
Workforce is the number-one priority and a number of programs are addressing this, with more being developed continuously. Northwestern State University provides very strong candidates in Industrial/Electrical Engineering Technology (IET/EET); Computer Information Systems (nationally recognized); Business and Accounting (nationally recognized) programs. A strong, localized scholarship is in place for central Louisiana students to pursue IET/EET programs to meet demand. Additionally, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) offers technician training for safety, millwright, instrumentation, electrical, and controls & automation.
The film industry has used Natchitoches as a backdrop for several movies and TV shows. “The Horse Soldiers” with John Wayne was first shot here, followed by “Steel Magnolias” in 1989, which was influenced by life in Natchitoches. “The Man in the Moon,” “The Year Without a Santa Claus” and others have also been filmed here. The City and Tourism Office work closely with filmmakers to ensure a successful production process. For more information on filmmaking in Natchitoches, visit louisianaentertainment.gov.
The Natchitoches Community Alliance Foundation, Inc., the parish’ economic development entity, continues to revitalize the community to enhance tourism, livability and economic well-being — all balanced between smart, progressive development and the historic preservation of Natchitoches’ landmarks and distinct character.
For more information on the business community of Natchitoches, contact the Chamber at 780 Front St., Ste. 101, Natchitoches; (318) 352-6894; www.natchitocheschamber.com, or visit the Natchitoches Community Alliance online at NatchitochesOnTheMove.com for development inquiries.