Bossier City fails to hire event manager for East Bank District

970
The plaza at the East Bank District in downtown Bossier City. (courtesy photo)

The East Bank District is still without an events manager to attract festivals to the re-envisioned  portion of Bossier City.

The Bossier City Council voted down the first reading to hire one of two potential event management companies at its regular meeting Tuesday, June 5.

Two ordinances on the agenda would have hired either Gumbeaux Productions for one year at $67,000 or CSC Productions for $108,000.

Bossier City CAO Pam Gorioso said their expectations for the company is to act as an agent on the city’s behalf, and manage all aspects of events from materials for events to tax collections.

“The city does not want to underwrite the cost of events,” Glorioso clarified. “You would act as coordinator, the front-end company so those (events) know what they are getting. We want to be hands off.”

When asked what the next step is, Glorioso answered, “I don’t know.”

The ordinance to hire Gumbeaux failed 3-4 and the ordinance to hire CSC failed 1-6. No council member went on record at the meeting to clarify their decision.

The companies made their case during an open town hall prior to the council meeting.

“We have the experience, we’ve been around a long time. I’m very familiar with Bossier and the merchants in that area. I’m an Old Bossier girl and it’s home to me. We would love to be a part of this,” said Gumbeaux Productions Owner Terri Mathews.

Gumbeaux Productions is a full-service event production company that specializes in staging, draping, sound, lighting, and video. The company also has experience in trade show decorating and management, and event and venue management.

Their bid included management of the plaza, a staffing plan, creating and overseeing an East Bank Merchant’s Association, administering and enforcing licensing requirements of vendors, soliciting and securing events, and marketing for the district.

Specifically, they proposed programming that consists of one signature event, three quarterly events, three to five seasonal events, and promotion of second-party events.

“I worked with the architect and engineers on infrastructure that is required for events and festivals. We have blood in the game already. It would be an honor to be involved,” said Mathews.

Events they have managed include downtown Shreveport’s Mudbug Madness Festival for 28 years, BREW for 10 years, the holiday shopping festival Les Boutiques de Noel for 15 years, and the Ruston Peach Festival for three years.

Chuck Gouthiere, principle owner of CSC Productions, admitted to the councilmen in attendance that his company was “unaware of the details going into” the bid, and upon awarding of the contract, wanted to meet with the council and city officials to discover their goal for the district.

“We don’t know what your expectations are. We don’t know what the City of Bossier City wants out of the East Bank District,” Gouthiere said.

CSC Partner Bonne Summers added the company would focus on getting the city a return on its investment, explaining, “You don’t want this to be a money loser.”

“I think East Bank District is on the cusp of great things. I work with the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau and know they want to promote the East Bank District as much as possible,” she said.

Their plan included developing a mission statement, strategic marketing plan, an advisory committee including businesses, and evaluating website and social media.

“We want to make it a destination where people would want to be entertained,” added Gouthiere.

Their bid of $108,000 annually would provide salaries for Gouthiere, Summers, and partner Jim Dull. It would also allow CSC to coordinate and plan events, recruit events, meet with tenants, update website, manage social media, and prospect sponsorships. Plus, cover insurance needs and marketing materials.

“No one can manage that district for less than that,” said Gouthiere.

Gouthiere said his company’s biggest strength is experience, citing 90 years of combined experience in event and festival coordination, as well as experience in “all facets of marketing.”

CSC clients include CSRA, Global Strike Challenge at Barksdale Air Force Base, Krewe of Centaur and Gemini, Shreveport-Bossier Hot Air Balloon Rally, Rockets Over the Red, and Shreveport Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.