All of Louisiana’s 64 parishes will share in the first $5 million from BP’s $30 million contribution to help rebuild a tourism economy that was devastated last year by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
The largest payments will go to the 12 parishes hardest hit by the falloff in tourism caused by the massive oil spill that began April 20 and was not permanently sealed until Aug. 19. The $30 million will be spread over six quarterly installments of $5 million.
Orleans Parish will receive $6 million from the BP fund, the largest amount for any parish. Orleans Parish will receive an initial payment of $500,000 and five follow-up payments of $1.1 million. Six parishes will receive $2.17 million over the six payments, four will receive a total of $500,000, and East Baton Rouge Parish will receive $494,000.
The 52 less-affected parishes will receive a lump-sum payment this quarter when their tourism campaigns are approved by the Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism. The payments range from $2,449 for Tensas Parish to $235,150 for Lafayette Parish.
Lieut. Gov. Jay Dardenne said the review of individual parish tourism proposals will help ensure coherence with the department’s new slogan, “Louisiana — Pick Your Passion.”
Officials estimate the oil disaster cost the state’s tourism economy $700 million in lost revenue, and Dardenne said the industry may not recover until 2013. The agreement with BP also calls for a separate $30 million marketing campaign for Louisiana seafood and $18 million for a state-run seafood testing program.