All 64 Louisiana Parishes to receive BP aid for tourism

Alejandro de los Rios Mar. 15, 2011, 2:52am

The first $5 million of tourism aid from BP will be split between all 64 Louisiana Parishes, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne announced last week.

The funds are the first of six payments by BP to Louisiana totaling $30 million to help the state's tourism industry following the Deepwater Horizon oilrig explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Louisiana suffered $700 million in losses in the weeks and months that oil was spewing into the Gulf of Mexico and leisure tourism may not return to normal levels until 2013, Dardenne said.

The largest share of the BP payments is going to Orleans Parish, which is receiving a $500,000 initial payment and will then receive five more payments totaling $6 million.

After Orleans Parish, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism will receive the most amount of funds, receiving $5 million for tourism and another $1.5 million to offset fairs, festivals and athletic events.

The tourism department plans to use its money as part of a more than $3 million campaign to advertise New Orleans and greater Louisiana as a tourism destination for the summer.

The Parishes of Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany will each received just over $2 million over the course of six payments.

Parishes like Tensas and Lafayette, among the 52 parishes least affected by the oil spill, will receive small, one-time payments.

BP is also giving Louisiana an extra $30 million to help the state Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board promote Louisiana seafood. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is also receiving $18 million to conduct seafood testing.

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