HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Visit Hattiesburg is asking for help to decide what to call a person who lives in Hattiesburg.
The city's convention and visitor's bureau is holding a public contest for Hattiesburg residents to decide what they want to be called.
Matthew Godfrey, director of sales and advertising for Visit Hattiesburg, said the search for the city's official demonym, or name for its residents, was sparked by a University of Southern Mississippi student.
"We had a USM student who approached us," Godfrey said. "He first approached the city and eventually got to us. He said that he has been at Southern Miss for a while now, has become very fond of Hattiesburg, but recently, I guess inquiring minds want to know, he thought 'what do you call someone from Hattiesburg?' In all the years functioning as a convention and visitor's bureau, and just all the years being here in Hattiesburg, I don't think we've ever been asked that question."
Godfrey said Visit Hattiesburg started the city's naming process by reaching out to other "burg" cities.
"We did a little research with other 'burgs,' Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Heidelberg, Vicksburg, and sought out to see what they were called," he said. "Found a few 'burgers,' which is something you hear from time to time, 'burgonian,' 'burgite.'"
Godfrey said Visit Hattiesburg then took that research and made a survey for people to vote for their favorite name or make up one of their own.
"We've had this overwhelming response to it," he said. "It's interesting to see all of the different things that they've come up with. We thought 'surely there will only be a few things that they can come up with,' but we've gotten quite a response. We've gotten 'Hats,' 'Hatties,' 'Burgs,' 'Burgonites,' 'Hattonian,' 'HubbbaBubbers.' The list goes on. It's been comical, and fun to see that people are really excited about doing it. Something that I didn't expect was they've done a lot of kind of chopping the name up in different ways, and we were thinking the full name 'Hattiesburg' would be included."
And Godfrey's favorite?
"I like, I mean, what about 'HubbaBubb'?" he said. "I don't know what to say about that one, but I've always been a fan of 'Burger.' So we'll see how that flies."
Godfrey can't vote, but you can here. The contest is open until April 27, 2016, and the winning demonym will be announced during the first week of May as part of the city's National Tourism Week celebrations.