Baseball brings business to Gonzales
Today was the last day of the Dixie Youth baseball tournament in Gonzales, and it's turning into a major money-maker in Ascension Parish.
It's estimated more than 3,000 people from 11 different states came to Gonzales for the tournament. Last Friday was the opening night, and in less than a week, estimated revenue totals are nearly $1.8 million for the city of Gonzales and Ascension Parish.
The last major baseball tournament that came to Gonzales was in 1989. That tournament was different-- it was the Dixie Boys World Series for 13 and 14-year-olds.
As far as the tournament's impact on business goes, Dixie Youth Vice President and former Mayor Johnny Berthalot said it's big. The amount raised at the Dixie league alone is nearly a quarter million dollars. Berthalot said the majority of that money will go back to the city to use however officials wish.
"It was raised through a recreation event, and I know they will probably use it to enhance facilities elsewhere," said Berthalot.
Baseball visitors have come to Ascension Parish from all over the country. That means an increase in business because they need a place to sleep, eat and get gas, just to name a few necessities. Gonzales business owners welcome the traffic. Holiday Inn General Manager Chip Robert said the tournament is something he's been looking forward to.
"Our hotel has been booked for almost a week. We have 170 rooms. The coaches and all, it's really been great, being able to take care of them and entertain them and give them good south Louisiana food that we're known for, "said Robert.
South Carolina resident Chad Newman said he and his family came to the tournament not only to support his son but to enjoy the Louisiana culture.
"We brought the kids on, and they've gone everywhere, looked at the mall, all kinds of things, batting cages, a lot of good stuff," said Newman.
Newman said he used all of his vacation coming to Louisiana. He said he's glad he saved up some money.
"About $1,500-$2,000, somehere in there. If you don't make plans for it, it's tough," said Newman.
The tournament is set to come back to Gonzales again in 2016.