State to hold forum celebrating Louisiana culture

As the second anniversaries of two major hurricanes approach, Louisiana plans an August forum of tourism officials from around the world -- capping what will be a month-long effort to shift attention from lingering devastation to thriving cultural events that are important to the recovery.

Throughout the month of August, a series of exhibitions, programs, workshops and performances will be held across the state to demonstrate the value and diversity of culture in Louisiana. Among them is a celebration of Cajun cuisine being held in Lafayette.

Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu says they're trying to make the entire state a cultural mecca.

Landrieu says events will culminate with a ten-day World Cultural Economic Forum in New Orleans August 16th through 26th.

The forum will bring together culture and tourism officials from more than a dozen countries to discuss cultural economic opportunities for Louisiana.

Landrieu says participants from each country, including Saudi Arabia, France, Japan, the Netherlands and Trinidad, will also discuss such issues as race and poverty.

Since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated south Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, Landrieu says it has become clear that the state's cultural economy -- its food, film, music and the arts -- is an important sector of Louisiana's economy, accounting for 144-thousand jobs.