National Scenic Byway designation for Louisiana’s Great River Road

Designation means additional marketing for 18 parishes.

Friday, April 9, 2010 - 11:15am

BATON ROUGE, LA –Louisiana’s “Great River Road” has been designated a National Scenic Byway by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. The designation covers 717 miles along the Mississippi River’s corridor through 18 Louisiana parishes. The honor means additional tourism promotion opportunities at state, regional and national levels, and a higher likelihood of federal improvement dollars.

“These marketing efforts increase Louisiana’s exposure as a great destination for a variety of tourists, ranging from history and culture enthusiasts to people who like to travel by RV or incorporate cycling in scenic venues into their trips,” Assistant Secretary for the Louisiana Office of Tourism Jim Hutchinson said.

The National Scenic Byway designation for the Great River Road includes the river corridor through Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas and Louisiana. All four states collaborated on efforts to secure this national recognition. The only other Louisiana highway that is part of the America’s Byway system is the Creole Nature Trail in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes in southwest Louisiana. It was designated an All-American Road in 2002.

America’s Byways® markets the unique collection of 150 National Scenic Byway and All-American Road designees. More than 2,800 projects on those roads, ranging from infrastructure improvements to marketing initiatives, have received over $308 million in federal funding since the program’s inception in 1992.

The historic Oak Alley Plantation, Houmas House, San Francisco Plantation, and Laura Plantation are just a few of the destinations tourists can visit while traveling along the Great River Road.

“These distinctive homes are a cultural and historical tribute to Louisiana’s history,” said Hutchinson. “The Great River Road is packed with unique Creole cooking, stately bed and breakfasts, great musical performances, and Southern hospitality.”

To be designated as a Scenic Byway or All-American Road, highways must offer archaeological, enriching, historical, natural, entertaining and/or scenic intrinsic qualities. Louisiana’s designation was based primarily on historical qualities, including ancient Native American mounds and historically significant structures and cities within the river corridor.

For more information, visit experiencemississippiriver.com or call 1-800-99-GUMBO.