Recently, representatives from the Governor's Office of Film and Television Development were in Lafayette for a seminar showing howÂ we can better prepare Acadiana to take advantage of film and TV production opportunities coming to Louisiana, especially through the state's tax incentive program. Some at this seminar felt that the state bypassed Acadiana in favor of Shreveport who is now hosting "runaway" Hollywood productions who were running away again, this time from Katrina in New Orleans.
To the state's credit, Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu commissioned economic research and evaluation of arts and culture in Louisiana. The results were revealing, yet not surprising. Here are a few points from that study that may be useful to us in Acadiana's creative economy.
"One of the most important principles in economic development is to build upon the assets and strengths that you have, and not try to compete in areas where you have limited competitive advantage."
Bottom line, Hollywood is in Louisiana mainly for the tax credits. Our local cultural brand has eroded to the extent that anyone can "download" Cajun and Creole for their own fun and profit. Forget runaway productions; we've got a serious problem with a runaway culture. We must restore the integrity of our cultural brand and begin enhancing its authenticity before no one is left who can de-mystify our so-called "mystique."
"There remains enormous potential in the overseas tourism market, particularly among populations that have a natural affinity to Louisiana and want to experience something other than mainstream American popular culture."
Are we effectively tapping into the global market? Our local Francophone culture remains of great interest to Canada, France and French-speaking Africa. Even in Shreveport they will not deny that our French connection has historically been the main ingredient in the Louisiana brand. If Acadiana really wants to be a player in the film industry, we cannot afford to simply feature our unique culture as a backdrop: it should take a leading role.
"The cultural economy needs fresh talent and provides an attractive avenue for young people to channel their considerable creative energies."
One way to get the attention of film and television producers is to have a trained workforce. We know Louisiana people have a stronger sense of place than anywhere else in the country. When our young people are offered opportunities to truly connect with their culture, fewer and fewer will feel compelled to leave.
The state could do more to promote Acadiana as a film and television site, but Acadiana needs to take the lead in sustaining our local indigenous culture, making it a full partner in this and in all sectors of the cultural economy. This is our greatest resource, and few can compete with it.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.
Jim Bernhard, who engineered the sale of The Shaw Group for $3 billion, recently has told several people involved in Democratic politics that he intends to run for governor in 2015.
A New Orleans levee board wants to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for decades of damage to our state’s coastline, but the Legislature may be poised to put the kibosh on the suit.
New standards curb elective induction
CVS stops tobacco sales
If an Acadia Parish fiddler misses a note while swatting a fly, will a St. Martinville accordionist learn “Ma ‘Tite Fille”?
(It's good, it's bad and it's just crazy)
Can state lawmakers find the nerve — and the votes — to neuter payday lenders?
A calm demeanor has served Gerald Boudreaux well — in his career, passion for sports and in life. And it could be just what his district needs in the state Senate.
Acadiana Catholics* react to Francis
The circumstances surrounding the Jan. 26 fire of the 18,000-square-foot home on Verot School Road seemed strange, but what's even more bizarre is the back-story behind owner Ralph Wadleigh.
Choice cuts from Acadiana's news media for Friday, Feb. 28, 2014: