Vinton Welcome Center Reopens to Public -- 01/26/2006
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2006
Vinton Welcome Center Reopens to Public
Facility opening milestone for Louisiana recovery efforts
BATON ROUGE, LA. - The tourist information and welcome center serving Interstate 10 travelers from Texas and points west has reopened to the public, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism Secretary Angele Davis announced today.
The Vinton Welcome Center near Lake Charles had been closed since Sept. 24, 2005, when Hurricane Rita made landfall near the mouth of the Sabine River and impacted Cameron, Calcasieu and Vermilion parishes and east Texas. The welcome center saw more than $37,000 in damages to its roof, a large plate glass window, ceiling tiles and flooring and to on-site pumping equipment, said Davis.
"The rebuilding of the tourism industry in Louisiana is critically important, as it brought in more than $9.9 billion annually to the state's economy before the hurricanes." Davis said. "The Vinton Welcome Center welcomes tourists from Texas, Louisiana's biggest domestic tourist market, and its reopening is a vital part of Lt. Gov. Landrieu's Louisiana Rebirth: Restoring the Soul of America strategic plan to rebuild LA as a top tourism destination." Davis also applauded the efforts of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, which managed the restoration of the rest area located beside the Welcome Center.
The Vinton Welcome Center is one of Louisiana's top five most frequently visited information venues, having hosted almost 200,000 tourists last year. Other state welcome centers are currently located on Interstates 10, 20, 49, 55, and 59; on U.S. Highways 61 and 84; in the Louisiana State Capitol; and in the New Orleans French Quarter adjacent to Jackson Square.
A copy of Lt. Governor Landrieu's Louisiana Rebirth: Restoring the Soul of America strategic plan can be downloaded at http://www.crt.state.la.us/LouisianaRebirth/Plan/index.aspx.