LT. GOVERNOR LANDRIEU PROVIDES A SUMMARY OF THE FIRST YEAR OF HIS TERM -- 01/23/2009
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2009
LT. GOVERNOR LANDRIEU PROVIDES A SUMMARY OF THE FIRST YEAR OF HIS TERM
Tourism, Culture, State Parks, State Museums and State Library Continue to Contribute to Louisiana's Economy and Quality of Life in 2008
Baton Rouge, LA - After the first year of his second term, Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu and the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism are working to build on the successes of 2008. To accomplish its mission, the organization has leveraged more than $109 million in public-private partnerships, providing value to taxpayers at no additional cost.
OFFICE OF THE LT. GOVERNOR: Making Government Work for Louisiana
Fighting for Gulf Coast Recovery: Throughout 2008, Lt. Governor Landrieu worked to keep Gulf Coast recovery at the forefront of the national agenda. He met with White House and Congressional leaders, focusing attention on the continued challenges facing Louisiana. Lt. Governor Landrieu addressed the National Press Club, outlining a forward-looking strategy for recovery. He also worked with officials from President Obama's transition team to make recovery a priority in the Obama administration.
Making Government Work: Landrieu has hired a diverse team of professionals in leadership positions throughout the organization. As the CEO of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Lt. Governor Landrieu manages more than 800 employees and a $165 million budget. Landrieu implemented a new budgeting process focused on results called Budgeting for Outcomes. Rather than taking the previous year's budget and deciding what to cut and what to add, Lt. Governor Landrieu's budgeting approach begins by defining the results the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism is trying to achieve. This new process ensures that funding decisions are made based on results benefiting Louisiana taxpayers and advancing strategic goals. Lt. Governor Landrieu puts a premium focus on competence, great service, return on investment, public private partnership and innovation.
Emergency Response: During Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, Landrieu served as a member of the Unified Command Group in the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. In the days before Gustav made landfall, Landrieu was part of the leadership team that managed the largest evacuation in Louisiana history and the largest medical evacuation in U.S. history. In the wake of the storms, Lt. Governor Landrieu toured the state with Governor Jindal to get first hand knowledge of local preparations and responses. Lt. Governor Landrieu also led a bipartisan delegation to Washington, D.C. to fight for recovery aid for Louisiana.
Bringing Louisiana to the International Community: As ambassador for the state, Landrieu met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderón at the North American Leaders Summit in New Orleans in April 2008. At Prime Minister Harper's invitation, Landrieu represented Louisiana at a gathering of over 60 nations at the International Francophone Summit in Québec in October of last year. Later that month, Landrieu convened the World Cultural Economic Forum in New Orleans, welcoming nearly 70 nations to the state to discuss best practices in cultural economic development. In December, United Nations officials asked Lt. Governor Landrieu to offer his recommendations on growing the cultural economy to a United Nations panel at UN headquarters in New York.
SERVICE: Building Stronger Communities through Citizen Service and Social Entrepreneurship
Social Entrepreneurship: Lt. Governor Landrieu created the Louisiana Office of Social Entrepreneurship, the first of its kind in the nation. Social entrepreneurship is the practice of applying innovative business models to solving old social problems. The office hosted "Changing Louisiana" seminars across the state to raise awareness about social entrepreneurship.
Voluntourism: The organization harnessed the energy of tourists interested in helping to rebuild Louisiana. The Serve Commission helped organize major service projects in conjunction with national partners, including:
AmeriCorps: Awarded $7.8 million in AmeriCorps state grants to community-based programs serving 32 parishes. A record number of 900 AmeriCorps members served nearly 1 million volunteer hours. AmeriCorps grantee St. Bernard Project is an example of the power of AmeriCorps in the every day lives of families and communities. The grant funded 30 AmeriCorps members to serve in a full-time volunteer capacity with the St. Bernard Project to help rebuild 120 homes for families of St. Bernard Parish recovering from Hurricane Katrina. St. Bernard Project, was honored as 2008 CNN Hero of the Year.
AmeriCorps grantee City Year Louisiana inducted its 4th corps of AmeriCorps members in 2008. 60 AmeriCorps members serving with City Year tutored 350 K-12 students in 10 schools in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. 85% demonstrated significant academic improvement - often catching up 1 or more grade level in reading and math. From disaster recovery to tutoring, AmeriCorps provides nonprofits with people power to help to strengthen communities. For every $1 invested by the state, the Louisiana Serve Commission secured $40 in federal AmeriCorps resources.
Google: Partnered with Google to spread the word on how people can get involved in service. After an address to Google executives in Silicon Valley, Lt. Governor Landrieu worked with the internet giant to launch Google Street View in Louisiana, allowing people all over the world to experience Louisiana at the ground level.
TOURISM: Creating Jobs and Attracting Visitors
Visitation Numbers: Research projections for 2008 show that Louisiana is expected to host 22.8 million visitors this year, according to a recent survey conducted by the University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center. The "Louisiana Tourism TSA and Forecast: 2008-2012" report also showcased that visitor spending is forecasted to reach $9.3 billion in 2008.
A Destination for Sports: In 2008, Louisiana was an international sports capital, hosting the NBA All-Star Game, the Sugar Bowl, the Bayou Classic, the Independence Bowl, the Arena Bowl and the BCS National Championship Game. New Orleans was announced as the site for the 2012 NCAA Men's Final Four and the 2013 Women's Final Four.
Epcot partnership: In 2008 Louisiana was the only state in the nation to partner with Walt Disney World to bring Louisiana's authentic culture to the 2008 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. The "My Louisiana" experience at the Festival gave 485,000 visitors a chance to try our state's music, food and culture. The partnership delivered strong publicity and return on investment for the state. We developed a regional approach and involved local CVB's, Louisiana attractions, merchants, chefs, artists and musicians.
Festival Capital of the World: From the Frog Festival in Rayne to the Zwolle Tamale Festival, Louisiana's festivals are known all over the world. In 2008, we enhanced our reputation as an international destination for live music, with banner years for the Essence Music Festival, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Voodoo Experience and Festival International de Louisiane. In all, Louisiana hosts more than 400 festivals each year, accounting for a $500 million industry in our state.
"My Louisiana" Ad Campaign: Crafted an award-winning campaign to offer visitors an insider's perspective on what to do and see in Louisiana. Chef John Folse, actress Faith Ford, Grammy-award winning musician Terence Blanchard, NBA star Karl Malone and others share their secrets for the best Louisiana experience.
Louisiana's African American Heritage Trail: Launched the African American Heritage Trail, a collection of 26 sites throughout the state that highlight the contributions of African Americans Louisiana's history and heritage. The Trail, one of only two of its kind in the country, was highlighted in the New York Times, Black Enterprise, and other publications. We will announce the second phase of the trail in February 2009, with more sites and attractions.
America's Wetland Birding Trail: Expanded the America's Wetland Birding Trail into a truly statewide attraction, with the addition of three new loops in central and north Louisiana. Birders can now experience our biological diversity at any one of 264 sites across the state.
New Grammy Category: Celebrated the first ever Grammy for Best Cajun or Zydeco Album. All of the nominees hailed from Louisiana, and Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience took the inaugural Grammy home.
Louisiana Culinary Trails: In partnership with the Louisiana Travel and Promotion Association, launched seven regional trails highlighting the diversity and authenticity of Louisiana's cuisine. This program provides an interactive experience and a way to discover all of our state's culinary treasures.
CULTURE: Growing Louisiana's Cultural Economy
World Cultural Economic Forum: Hosted the World Cultural Economic Forum with leaders from across the state and 73 countries participating, including France, Brazil, China and Iraq. Modeled after the World Economic Forum in Davos, the purpose of the WCEF is to bring the world to Louisiana to discuss best practices for expanding the cultural economy and to forge international ties to grow business here at home.
Louisiana's Film Industry: 2008 was a record year for the Louisiana film and television industries, with over 80 major projects being produced in the state. Louisiana's film industry now boasts the highest growth rate in the nation. Since the state's motion picture incentive program began in 2002, movie production has contributed more than $2 billion to Louisiana's economy.
Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program: Leveraged $30 million in private funds and created 810 construction jobs as part of this program. The office administers the Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, which is designed to put historic buildings back into commerce, boosting the economy and reducing blight.
Main Street Initiative: More than 700 news jobs were created in Louisiana Main Street Districts this year. The organization designated five new Main Street communities, bringing the total to 29 communities in rural Louisiana and six New Orleans neighborhoods with established commercial districts. The Main-to-Main initiative, which works to draw visitors to main street communities in the month of November, drew 78,000 visitors and generated $9 million in visitor spending.
Cultural Districts: Launched Cultural Districts, designating 29 districts in the first year of the program. As part of the Cultural Economy Initiative, Lt. Governor Landrieu championed smart tax-policy legislation in 2007 to incent local municipalities to designate "Cultural Districts" in their communities. The program provides two primary tax incentives: property owners are eligible to apply for state historic tax credits for renovations to historic buildings in a Cultural District, and sales of original, one-of-a-kind works of art within the district are exempt from local and state sales tax. This will spur economic development, save historic structure and create jobs.
Historic Building Recovery Grant Program: This fiscal year, approximately $7.8 million was distributed and more than 120 projects were completed. The state can be proud of this program, which provides a transparent, fair and fast grant review process which supports homeowners of historic properties damaged by the hurricanes of 2005. Money was moved from Washington to the ground in record time and helped people rebuild their homes. This initiative has been heralded as post-Katrina success story.In all, more than 550 homeowners have been able to rebuild and recover.
Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation: To improve healthcare, we launched an innovative initiative which raised more than $1 million and quickly distributed grants to over 350 artists, cultural enterprises and non-profits. The Lt. Governor formed this not-for-profit foundation after the hurricanes of 2005 to provide private support to struggling artists and cultural workers. Launched a model initiative connecting cultural economy workers with existing, affordable healthcare resource. Partnered with private organizations to provide cultural workers with free or low cost health care including screenings, medications, and preventive care.
Historic Preservation Federally Mandated Reviews: Reviewed 20,000 properties as part of State Historic Preservation Office's federal obligation to conduct Section 106 reviews. A Section 106 review is the federal review process designed to ensure that historic properties are considered during federal project planning and execution. The organization successfully streamlined the Section 106 procedure to provide rapidly expedited review for federal hurricane relief and recovery. The organization cut the normal thirty day turnaround time to as little as two or three days - another example of lean and efficient operation.
Louisiana Division of the Arts: Reached over 5.1 million people through cultural programming supported by the organization. Provided more than $5 million in competitive grant funding to Louisiana artists, non-profits and organizations. Hosted the Governor's Arts Awards, honoring leaders in the arts from across the state.
STATE PARKS: Contributing to Louisiana's Rural Economies and Quality of Life
New State Parks: Broke ground on new state parks at Bogue Chitto in Washington Parish, Palmetto Island in Vermilion Parish, and Fort Randolph and Fort Buhlow State Historic Site in Rapides Parish.
Increased Visitation: Saw increased visitation to parks, despite nationwide trends to the contrary. Louisiana's State Park system reported an 6% increase in overnight visitation from 2007, welcoming over 840,000 visitors.
LOOP: Education and healthcare are two key areas that Louisiana needs to improve. To do that we launched the Louisiana Outdoor Outreach Program, which creates educational opportunities for at-risk youth in Louisiana's state parks. In 2008, the program expanded into the Recovery School District and schools in the Baton Rouge area, serving more than 850 students. LOOP encourages hands-on learning by taking small groups through a series of organized, academically linked, adventure-based activities. LOOP's method of teaching emphasizes three major areas: Environmental Education, Outdoor Skills and 'Soft Skills' including teamwork, problem solving, conflict resolution, self-esteem and perseverance.
Wi-Fi at State Parks: Created access to free wireless internet at many state parks in Louisiana, including Bayou Segnette, Fairview-Riverside, Fontainebleau, Lake Bruin, Poverty Point Reservoir and St. Bernard State Parks.
Fontainebleau State Park: Completed a $12.8 million renovation of the park in St. Tammany Parish, including new waterfront cabins, a visitor center and an expansive lake front area. Fontainebleau continues to offer Louisiana taxpayers a return of nearly four dollars for every dollar spent on park operations.
Fort Pike: Reopened Fort Pike State Historic Site, Louisiana's oldest state park property, and the final site closed due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Redefining State Parks: Expanded expectations of what our state parks can do. In 2008, we created an art park at Hodges Gardens State Park, opened state historic sites to weddings and increased community programming.
Emergency Response: Responded quickly and efficiently to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, housing thousands of evacuees and displaced employees.
STATE MUSEUMS: Creating Hubs of Cultural Activity
Education: The State Museum touched over 9,000 students in 2008 through its education program. The Museum provided students with special guided tours, lectures, and workshops to enhance their classroom learning.
Jazz Museum at the Old US Mint: The Old U.S. Mint, a State Museum property and home to the world's largest collection of jazz artifacts, announced the creation of a world-class jazz museum. In collaboration with the National Park Service's Centennial Initiative, the museum at the Mint will house exhibition space, classrooms and educational facilities, and a state-of-the-art jazz performance venue. The museum is expected to open in spring 2010.
Major Exhibitions: The Louisiana State Museum hosted a number of national and international exhibitions in 2008, including Let Your Motto Be Resistance, a collection of 100 photographs selected from the National Portrait Gallery that highlight African American resistance over more than 150 years of U.S. history. Other exhibitions included Gold and The Treasures of Napoleon, which included a number of artifacts and personal effects of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Prospect 1: In its inaugural year, partnered with Prospect 1, the largest contemporary art biennial ever organized in the United States. The two-month exhibition showcased groundbreaking art at a variety of locations throughout Greater New Orleans, including the Old U.S. Mint.
Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame: Broke ground for the new Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum in Natchitoches. The state-of-the-art facility will pay tribute to Louisiana's greatest athletes, coaches and sports figures.
STATE LIBRARY: Providing Access to Information and Promoting Literacy
Louisiana Book Festival: Broke attendance records in 2008, drawing more than 20,000 visitors for this annual celebration of all things book. The Festival was capped off with a free performance by the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra on the steps of the State Capitol.
Literacy Initiatives: Continued efforts to promote literacy in Louisiana, such as the Louisiana Young Reader's Choice Awards, which attracted 20,000 participants, and the Summer Reading Program, with 90,000 students joining in. Over 300,000 Louisiana citizens attended library programs statewide.
Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped: Lent more than 186,000 talking books to patrons statewide. The State Library is the only official library for the blind and physically handicapped in Louisiana, and now houses a studio for production of additional talking books.
Informational Databases: Purchased statewide databases for use at all 337 public libraries at a 10 to 1 cost savings to taxpayers. These databases were searched a record 1.2 million times, a 30% increase over last year
Computer Access: Upgraded Internet connections at all 68 public library headquarters and insured that all 68 library systems filed for e-rate discounts resulting in over a 5 million dollar savings to taxpayers. Implemented a new wireless mobile laptop lab to be used for training and implemented wi-fi in all conference rooms and on all floors of the State Library.
Historic Photograph Collection Completed the Louisiana Gumbo digitization project which includes 28,000 historic photographs, Works Progress Administration documents, sound recordings, oral histories, and Louisiana artwork all now available on the Web for the world to see and appreciate.
RETIREMENT: Promoting Louisiana as a Retirement Destination
Certified Retirement Communities: Certified five new retirement communities in 2008, for a total of 11. Certified Retirement Communities undergo a rigorous selection process, and are awarded grants to market their areas to 50-plus Americans.