Department of Tourism
Katrina Evacuee to Work with Tourism Department
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 10, 2005) – The Kentucky Department of Tourism and several other Kentucky organizations are making use of the talents of an experienced travel writer displaced from her home in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.
Patti Nickell, a Louisville native who has been a New Orleans-based freelance writer for about 15 years, evacuated her home in suburban Metarie the day before the storm’s winds and flooding ravaged the region on Aug. 29. She made her way by car through traffic-clogged highways in Mississippi and Alabama to I-65, where she headed north to Kentucky to stay with relatives in Lexington.
The University of Kentucky graduate, a frequent visitor to the commonwealth who has published articles on her native state in Woman’s Day, Elite Travel and Las Vegas magazines, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, The San Antonio Express-News, and other publications, will assist the Tourism Department in preparing group-tour travel guides, media kits and other written materials. She will be a part-time contractor with the department and continue her journalistic projects.
"We are very pleased to have Patti join us,” said Tourism Commissioner Randy Fiveash. “Our communications branch will benefit from her extensive travel writing experience. And we're glad to be able to reach out to someone who has suffered from the terrible disaster of Hurricane Katrina."
“If you have to be an exile, there’s no better place than Kentucky, which is so beautiful and has such friendly people,” said Nickell, who plans to return temporarily to New Orleans in early November to determine the condition of her condominium and put other affairs in order. Her long-term plans are uncertain, since she doesn’t know if her home withstood the winds and flooding.
“I’m excited about working with the Tourism Department to promote a state I already know and love,” she said.
Since arriving in Lexington a month ago, Nickell has also written articles for Lexmark about the Lexington-based company’s hurricane relief efforts and has authored a first-person feature for The Louisville Courier-Journal about her experiences. She’s also landed an assignment from Ladies Home Journal.
“I’m a lot more fortunate than many because I had the means and a car to get out and someplace to go,” she said. “And the help of good friends here in Kentucky has allowed me to continue working in my chosen career.”
The Kentucky Department of Tourism, an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, exists to promote The Commonwealth as a travel destination, generate revenue and create jobs for Kentucky’s economy.