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    “I was so proud of Louisville. I thought we were one idiot away from an international incident, from someone throwing a tomato on the casket. It’s not surprising but refreshing that Louisville came together and shone at that time.

    “I’ve stopped at Cave Hill — I live in the Highlands — at least a dozen times since. I monitor the interest. People leave coins, mementos, flowers. People have been leaving honey. There are 150 people on average daily.

    “We’re promoting the idea of Ali tourism. Sort of what Minnesota is building with Prince and what Memphis is doing with Graceland. It’s hard to think of someone who has garnered this much international attention. In our lifetime, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa come to mind, but neither has a specific place for people to visit. What’s unique about Louisville is the capacity to host — I don’t want to call it a pilgrimage, but it’s like that. Ali is a big topic of interest when I go to trade shows in London, Berlin, Dublin. Internationally, people always asked (about him). Domestically, I think a lot of people were surprised he was from Louisville. Ali had a vision to build his center. Then you have the boyhood home. The third leg of that stool, Cave Hill, is already on the National Register of Historic Places. Central High School, the Smoketown monument — we haven’t stopped, basically.”

    Yates is VP of marketing and communications at the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau.


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    Mary Chellis Nelson's picture

    About Mary Chellis Nelson

    Mary Chellis Nelson is the managing editor of Louisville Magazine.

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