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August 17, 2007

Lt. Gov Landrieu thanks LLO cast and crew for “putting Louisiana on the map”

Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu made his appearance center stage at the University of Louisiana at Monroe Thursday, Aug. 16, thanking cast and crew of Louisiana Lyric Opera’s “The Pirates of Penzance” for their superior efforts in putting Louisiana on the cultural map.

Landrieu’s planned attendance for the production’s opening night Aug. 16 commemorates LLO’s induction into the World Cultural Economic Forum, a week-and-a-half-long series of events including “Cultural Passport Events” and an “Executive Session.” LLO, the professional resident company of the University of Louisiana at Monroe School of Visual and Performing Arts, has been chosen as a Cultural Passport Event.

Cast members began the afternoon event with a rousing rendition of “I Am a Pirate King,” beginning with said king’s arrival via swinging ship rope.

After this sneak peek, VAPA Director Keith White mentioned the pride that the LLO feels at providing cultural opportunities and assisting in economic development. “This is the inaugural season of the LLO. We are very honored and privileged to bring opera to Northeast Louisiana, and to be a Passport Event.”

No stranger to theatre as a former equity actor, Landrieu joined the cast on stage, personally shaking each member’s hand for their talent and contributions. “Culture is economic development. Every area of the state is showing off their strengths. Louisiana…has an authentic, deep, rich culture, and if you think about it from the business side, we’re going to create a lot of jobs.”

Landrieu relayed his lifelong love of theatre, and his dismay that his friends in that profession left the state out of necessity to pursue professional opportunities in New York City and Los Angeles. One of his goals is to make Louisiana a viable destination for those in the artistic community.

The WCEF will conclude during the weekend of the 24th in New Orleans with an Executive Session, where leaders from around the world will convene to discuss best practices for growing cultural industries as key segments of a global economy.

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor, together with the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, developed the forum to leverage the state’s unique heritage and to ensure that it remains the driving force and embodiment of a global cultural economy.

“Culture is the calling card. Without being too majestic about it, Louisiana has a very natural place in this international discussion,” Landrieu said at the event’s conclusion.

More about the WCEF:

Fashioned after the formative years of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the WCEF is a series of statewide events that will convene annually on the anniversary of hurricanes Katrina and Rita to demonstrate the resilience of our culture. In this demonstration year, opportunities to elevate cultural enterprise as a cornerstone for a growing economic sector in Louisiana will be a focal point.

Building from the success of the three previous Louisiana Cultural Economy Summits, the Forum is anticipated to develop in the coming years, attracting cultural ambassadors, educators, art and cultural leaders from around the world, complete with a series of events, programs, exhibitions, workshops and performances designed to demonstrate the emergence of culture economic growth in Louisiana, the nation and internationally.

“Louisiana has tremendous potential to grow the cultural economy,” said Secretary Angéle Davis of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. “Our culture is what holds our people together, and by showcasing this asset on an international level, we hope to build an economic engine that will support our state for years to come.”

In 2007, the initial forum will focus on laying the foundation for a healthy cultural economy, building investment and financing new cultural economic models, and utilizing culture to find common higher ground in communities and across the globe.

The objectives of the Forum are to provide a space where matters of cultural economy will be discussed and best practices shared, to promote greater participation in international dialogue and exchange, and, by doing so, to promote culture as a means of sustainable development.

To get a full listing of the World Cultural Economic Forum’s events, please visit

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