Ex-tourism director Keven Kirby now employed by hotelier Warren Reuther

Published 12:03 am Thursday, May 12, 2016

NATCHEZ — Former Natchez tourism director Kevin Kirby will still be involved in Natchez tourism as part of his new job in the private sector.

New Orleans hotelier Warren Reuther, who also owns Natchez Grand Hotel, hired Kirby as a marketing director for his family of companies.

Reuther said Kirby would be based in Natchez and would do marketing work for the Natchez Convention Center, the Natchez Grand Hotel, the Mississippi River Valley Railroad Depot and would be in contact with Reuther’s other tourism industry ventures in New Orleans.

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Kirby’s time as tourism director ended April 4 after months of ongoing personnel issues at the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Kirby’s performance as the city’s tourism director, Reuther said, is part of why he was selected for the position.

Reuther said he feels Kirby’s termination as tourism director is the fault of other factors at the Convention and Visitors Bureau, not Kirby’s performance.

“He’s a good guy, and he’s done a great job,” Reuther said. “Unfortunate what happened to him (at the CVB) but that’s what happens … you get people making decisions that don’t have a clue. Not good. That’s why you got what you got.”

Reuther said he is looking forward to Kirby becoming part of his marketing team.

“This is what I talked to Kevin Kirby about,” Reuther said. “He liked that we brought him to New Orleans, to touch everything and to get an idea of what can happen to Natchez.”

The connection to New Orleans, Reuther said, would be very good for Natchez tourism.

New Orleans boasts a large convention center and huge numbers of tourists every day. Reuther said he would like to see Natchez do the same things as New Orleans, but on a smaller scale.

“We want to take everything to another level, to those standards, which is really what you need to be doing in the industry,” he said.

Kirby did not return requests for comment.