This Isn’t The First Time New Orleans Has Survived The British

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel rumblings

New Orleans Anti-British advert (image courtesy New Orleands CVB)

New Orleans Anti-British advert (image courtesy New Orleands CVB)

There has been an apology.
Not from the English, French or Italian world cup teams. Not from bankers or hoteliers that raised prices during the volcanic ash problems. Not from BA’s Heathrow based cabin crew who caused passengers so much disruption with their strikes and probably not from the tube strikers in London who are about to go on strike.
No this has come from the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau who admit that they may have offended the UK with their recent advertising campaign. Unless you are eagle-eyed or a Guardian reader you might have missed the fact that the NOCVB began an advertising campaign last week. Paid for by BP as part of their contrition over the Gulf oil spillage, this $5.5 million campaign used newspapers and TV advertising across the USA to encourage people to visit New Orleans. The headline was “This isn’t the first time New Orleans has survived the British.” Accompanied by a picture of Andrew Jackson who, as a general rather then the president, defeated the British when they attacked New Orleans last January, 195 years ago, the adverts then say that, “everyone is welcome, especially our friends from England.”
Forget for the moment that BP hasn’t been British Petroleum for 12 years or so. Forget that Americans own only 1% fewer shares than the British do in the company. Is this anti-British as the Guardian claimed? Does it irritate or annoy you as a potential visitor? Without the press would you even know about it? Or does it just make you think that there is a sense of humour in a crisis, not an easy thing to have?
Incidentally The Guardian, next day, claimed that it’s original article was ironic. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/17/new-orelans-drops-advertising-campaign-british. Too ironic for me to spot it though. And the article above doesn’t help. It just shows The Guardian is probably too clever for it’s own good.
Whatever you think, New Orleans- and Louisiana- ought to be pleased. The extra publicity caused by us (or The Guardian) being upset got them lots of extra coverage in the market they were targeting, the USA.
New Orleans, the whole of Louisiana and the other coastal states of Alabama, Mississippi and Florida all face one problem. Seeing depressing pictures of oil enveloped pelicans struggling ashore has left many people with the thought that the whole coastline is desperately affected. It isn’t. But that hasn’t stopped people cancelling bookings and deciding that the area is not for consideration this year. New Orleans isn’t even on the coast. It is 100 miles inland and unaffected. About 70% of the coastline of Louisiana is open. In Florida only the north west coastline is affected. Mississippi and Alabama have also only been slightly affected.
So if you’re thinking of going then the reasons you chose to go are still as valid as they were when you decided. The attractions are open, the hospitality is still there and you will be welcome. Unless maybe you wear a hat emblazoned with BP on it!

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