Posted: Jul 11, 2011 6:19 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Less than a decade after one yearlong bicentennial bash, Louisiana is gearing up for another.
The agency throwing the statehood bash says it's about one-third of the way toward the $1.9 million needed to do it right.
Louisiana became the 18th state on April 30, 1812 - eight years and four months after the Louisiana Purchase, which had a 200th anniversary celebration through all of 2003.
The statehood bicentennial is expected to open in September and run through the end of 2012.
Lobbyist Randy Haynie is in charge of fund-raising for the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission. At its meeting Thursday, he said he has cash and commitments totaling about $700,000.
"What we have to do now is get things funded," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel HonorDe, chairman of the commission. He asked panel members to start "going to people you think you know who will put something in the pot. We have to execute the budget, and that means raising money."
"We have to work to do," said Haynie, whose family made the initial donation of $25,000 to the 200th anniversary program.
HonorDe said the commission also has to get the word out about the events that are planned. The bicentennial commemoration is expected to get under way when school opens and teachers get information on how they can weave bicentennial data into lesson plans.
Haynie said the only public money allocated to the event is $200,000 in tourism marketing funds made available by the lieutenant governor's office from BP PLC's fund to help Gulf Coast tourism recover from last year's oil spill.
Haynie said he'd prefer to raise another $1.4 million and return the $200,000 to the lieutenant governor's office for tourism initiatives.
The commission approved a $165,000 contract with Louisiana Public Broadcasting for 18 one-minute promotional spots and a documentary on the events that shaped the state during the past 200 years. Clay Fourrier, the network's executive producer, the projects and up to 11 premier showings of the documentary around the state will cost about $450,000, requiring LPB to do additional fund-raising.
Haynie's budget anticipates about $100,000 each from online donations and web sales of bicentennial items.
HonorDe said a commemorative shotgun - "something that the working man can afford, something in the $400 to $500 range" - and a coin also are in the works. A more expensive shotgun could be sold for $2,500 or more, he said.
Other promotional sales items will include a compact disc of Louisiana artists and music and books of Louisiana historical and nature scenes. The commission approved spending up to $50,000 to produce the CD and up to $75,000 for 500 hard-bound and 2,500 soft-bound books.