Do you know where natchez.com is?
Recently I was on the Internet trying to see what people across the world saw if they were to look up the City of Natchez online, and I have to say I was pretty disappointed with what I found out. My first thought was that I should type in the domain name, “natchez.com” (something I thought made perfectly good sense), and I was redirected to “natchezgrandhotel.com.”
This didn’t make much sense to me so I tried again and got the same result. I realized that it wasn’t my computer making this mistake, it was that, “natchez.com,” was owned by the hotel and not the city.
After I got over the initial confusion I turned my attention elsewhere, and typed in “Natchez” on Google. Right after “Natchez Shooter Supplies” (not actually in Natchez or Mississippi for that matter) and “Steamboat Natchez Riverboat” (not actually in state either), I found “The Official Natchez Tourism site.”
I spent a while looking at this site (domain name natchez.ms.us) and was pretty pleased with what I saw. After looking around for a while I went back to Google and clicked on the site that came up right after it, and I was pretty shocked once again.
This site, “visitnatchez.com,” I did not like too much (granted the music was better in my opinion than the Natchez Grand’s). My main concern was that it advertised the Vidalia convention center and made no mention of our own. My understanding (though small) is that a major part of tourism is bringing in conventions. It also seemed wrong that a site called “visitnatchez” seem to have no problem sending business across the river. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to bash Vidalia or its convention center. I would just prefer if they were advertised under “visitVidalia” instead.
The rest of the items on the site actually seemed to be in Natchez, but I still was bothered that we were susceptible to losing a major part of our tourism industry. I looked at the bottom of the site to try and find out who owned it and who I would contact if I happened to want to host a convention. The header said “contact the Natchez CVB,” but the other information didn’t seem to have anything to do with Natchez. The address to contact was this: VisitNatchez.com P.O. Box 1066 Vidalia, LA 71373.
This scared me as well; it was as if we had been invaded by our neighbor. So next I thought “Oh no, I should call someone!,” but the number listed was 318-201-4097. If you aren’t familiar 318 is an area code belonging to Louisiana.
People of Natchez, I am not really trying to raise alarm. I am trying to raise awareness. We live here so it is hard to try to picture how people that don’t tend to see us. Our website (or websites rather) are a huge reflection of who we are and what we have to offer. I would honestly just be confused if I were on “visitnatchez.com” and saw all of this stuff about Vidalia’s convention center. If you are not from here and that is the first site you go to, you are completely unaware of our own convention center.
My final thought is: why doesn’t the city own “natchez.com?” That domain name seems like something worth having. It is great for the Natchez Grand Hotel to be able to generate a lot of traffic on their site by owning “natchez.com,” but would it not be even greater if people could type that in and see all of Natchez and what we have to offer, rather than a single hotel?
I would like to add that what I wrote are completely my own thoughts and in my own words. In fact my parents have not read this so forgive any typos or bad grammar. If you think that they did have a hand in my writing this, they did not. They merely taught me to be observant and outspoken.
My parents and I may share some of the same views, but I hope most of you reading this will as well so that we can make Natchez even better.
Martin Trosclair Charboneau is a senior at Cathedral.