Bubba O’Keefe, executive director of the Coahoma County Tourism office, provided the Coahoma County Board of Supervisors with an update of his plans Monday.
The Board of Supervisors oversees the tourism commission that appointed O’Keefe to his position. He started Jan. 1.
“One of the first things I had to address was a branding issue,” O’Keefe said. “We had three different logos out there. I know that Visit Clarksdale just hits you between the eyes. It doesn’t have Coahoma County and Mississippi on there, but the fact of the matter is that the world knows Clarksdale, Mississippi, or just Clarksdale. You don’t even have to say Mississippi anymore. I really needed to get that out there. We do realize that it is all about Coahoma County.”
O’Keefe said he is working on how to make all communities in Coahoma County a part of local tourism.
He said he recently lined up a bus to take two groups to the Friars Point museum the Friday of Juke Joint Festival weekend.
O’Keefe said he would also be addressing the Lula City Council about getting involved. He also spoke with Board of Supervisors member Derrell Washington about involving Jonestown. Washington resides in Jonestown.
“They don’t have all the things that we have in Clarksdale, museums and all, but we all have something and I just wanted to assure you that I’m reaching out to these different communities to try to figure out a way to tie tourism into it,” O’Keefe said.
O’Keefe said Jonestown has But God Ministries and the Montessori school.
“One of the thoughts was volunteer tourism, how we can coordinate and work with the different groups around Clarkdale and Coahoma County where somebody wants to volunteer,” he said.
O’Keefe said there are 22 festivals for the year.
He said he has put out Visit Clarksdale car tags and retailers are able to sell them for $10.
“We’re our best ambassadors, so if we plug in and buy into Visit Clarksdale, we hope that will resonate to our visitors,” O’Keefe said. “They do come for the music, the history and the culture, but the main thing is they all say they love the friendliness of the people.”
Paul Pearson, president of the Board of Supervisors, offered his insight about Jonestown.
“I was born there,” he said. “My grandfather was a blacksmith there and I lived there until I was 3. But, the most important thing is, the longest-serving county supervisor was Dave Solomon, who served nine terms. He had a store in Jonestown.
“That man helped anybody and everybody. If they couldn’t pay the six dollars to vote, he helped them.”
“We’ll see how to fit that into the tourism,” O’Keefe replied.