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
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.