The Big Easy - Too Easy?

by Pamela Cole, Editor-in-Chief

June 6, 2007 -- Some things never change. Louisiana lawmakers are back in the news this week, splashing their trademark corruption across headlines around the country. "The Big Easy" is once again making it easy for sleazy politicians and businessmen to get in bed together. This isn't shocking -- it's business as usual in Louisiana's culture of government corruption. It would be shocking if such deals weren't being done.

Media pundits are pondering whether this FBI investigation means the end of Louisiana's domination of southern film production -- a dagger in the heart of post-Katrina reconstruction.

Au contraire, cher!

As the saying goes, there is no such thing as bad publicity -- especially in New Orleans. Anyone who follows this still growing story is getting a first-rate education in the tremendous value of Louisiana's film incentives. We're talking tens of millions of dollars on major feature film production! Tony Soprano would push anyone off a pier in cement boots for that kind of money. And any film producer who didn't previously realize the value of filming in Louisiana, gets it big time now.

The media is painstakingly outlining the state's incentive program, the value of the projects in question, and the tax credits to be gained from said projects (I mean, millions and millions of dollars!), distilling the often complex business of incentives into numbers that anyone can understand. This kind of free publicity is priceless.

While no charges have been filed yet (and may never be), I predict that the Big Easy will be just fine, bouncing back as always. If Hurricane Katrina couldn't destroy film production in this state, I don't think the FBI stands a chance.

When you think about it, film incentives are really just legalized kickbacks. So, it's no wonder that some state employees in Louisiana got a little confused.


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