Louisiana to host World Cultural Economic Forum

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - From boiled crawfish to zydeco to Mardi Gras, Louisiana culture is one of a kind.

"We have a unique and authentic culture in Louisiana that really is second to none in the world it is recognized internationally," said Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu.

Louisiana culture brings in 10-billion dollars a year and provides 144-thousand jobs. It's that success, that Landrieu says will be discussed and shared at the upcoming Louisiana Cultural Economy Summit, which will include 75 countries and 12 ambassadors.

"We actually have been asked by the United Nations to help them participate in an International Summit in Shanghai to help them explain to other countries how Louisiana has managed to create so many jobs out of culture. So it's wonderful to be recognized internationally, but we would like to bring them here so that we can actually create more jobs on the ground in Louisiana and linking up businesses with other businesses in other countries is really going to be helpful to growing the economy in Louisiana," said Landrieu.

The importance placed on cultural economy has helped arts programs like the McNeese Banners Series survive. In the wake of Hurricane Rita they were given a 25-thousand dollar grant to continue.

"We now think of ourselves as a business. We recognize that we have a part to play. That we provide jobs that we support our local businesses and we are thinking differently. We recognize our partners in the arts and we all realize we are family and we strengthen each other and we are better together than we could ever be apart," said Mary Richardson with the McNeese Banners series.

Louisiana also recognizes honing in on what makes each part of the state unique. Take Southwest Louisiana - now home to the "Boudin Trail."

"It's the history of boudin and on the inside is a self-guided boudin tour for tourists to come in for Calcasieu Parish," explained Susan Reed, Imperial Calcasieu Museum Executive Director.

Culture plus economy equals a recipe for success: "You can't separate the two. Louisiana is it's own culture and culture has a profound influence on the economy. Not just from the arts and music but everything else in produces and influences," said Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach.

The Louisiana Cultural Economy Summit will be held October 29-30 in New Orleans.

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