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.
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.