Houma and Thibodaux are two of the first cities in Louisiana to be officially designated as retirement communities by the state tourism commission.
The designations were awarded this week at the annual Lt. Governor’s Travel Summit in Lake Charles.
“Through a competitive and selective application process, these communities, including Thibodaux, will now receive state-level marketing support, networking opportunities and possible grant funding to help us grow our brand moving forward,” Thibodaux officials said Thursday.
Other cities now included in the program are Lafayette, Lake Charles, Natchitoches, Ruston and Lincoln Parish, Toledo Bend and Sabine Parish, and Shreveport-Bossier City.
Each was chosen under a competitive application process through the Encore Louisiana Commission, which reviewed applications for several months. It eventually selected the eight cities and parishes “that are now certified and focused on bringing retirees to enjoy their ‘encore’ at life,” the website states.
Under the new program, each retirement community has detailed retirement information on the state tourism website, LouisianaTravel.com.
Houma-Terrebonne was selected for its small town charm and easy access to city living in New Orleans. The area’s many outdoor activities, festivals, music and food are all boasted by the state.
“This specific designation was a great opportunity for both Houma Travel and (Terrebonne Economic Development Authority) to work together on a project that has an effect on both economic development and tourism,” Houma Travel Assistant Director Joey Pierce said.
Terrebonne has a wide demographic range, seeing many natives of the area stay through retirement, while newcomers are constantly flowing in especially as the oil and gas industry rebounds, he said.
“If you are born here, you’re going to want to stay here,” Pierce said. “There are a lot of intrinsic qualities people of this area love.”
Promoting the parish as a retirement community will not only help tourism by encouraging potential retirees to visit before settling down, it could also spark growth in the housing and job markets, he said.
About 20 miles north of Houma, Thibodaux also boasts a robust retirement community.
“Among the many factors that make Thibodaux an ideal retirement community are its fair taxes, recreational opportunities and healthcare facilities, which make for a second-to-none experience for all those who call this city their home,” the website states. It also notes the state-of-the-art Wellness Center at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, the many festivals and events, and the work in the historic district by Thibodaux Main Street.