BP Pays Top Chef To Come To New Orleans, Do Something With All These Eyeless Shrimp

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This wonksplainer by DDM was brought to you by the Patty Dumpling Endowed Chair for Oil Spill Blogging. Let’s travel back in time to April, 2010. After years of stroking and massaging from federal and state tax cuts, BP blows a huge oily load into New Orleans’ backyard. BP looks around, says, “Sorry about the mess.  Here’s a few million for your inconvenience.” Ahhh, memories.

Hey, whatever happened to that money? We trust you to put that money to good use!

What’s that?  You have a mad crush on Padma Lakshmi and that bald guy from celebratainment tee-vee program Top Chef? Are you thinking what I am thinking? Eyeless shrimp challenge!

Bingo, bango – success! The city of New Orleans recently paid $375,000 to have the next season of Top Chef filmed in their fair city. And $200,000 of that came from monies given to them by BP because of the aforementioned oil-covered fish & seagull sadnesses. How in the hell did that happen? Shouldn’t that money go to things like… cleaning up 800 gazillion barrels of oil?

Actually, no!

Back when BP took a record-breaking oil-piss into the Gulf of Mexico, part of the settlement was to provide Louisiana with $30 million over 18 months to help promote tourism. Apparently, round-the-clock video of black gold gushing into your nearby waters has a way to make tourists contemplate not visiting you. Who knew?

So this new-found cash was divided up between state and local governments to do stuff to remind people that despite electing dicks like David Vitter to the Senate, there are maybe some good things about the state worth visiting. Where else can you show your cans and get cheap plastic beads? Yay Mardi Gras! Just be sure there are no military sexual assault prevention officers nearby, k?

So New Orleans decided that paying for an 11-year-old cable reality show was a super-awesome way to spend their monies. I don’t know if this is the best use of the money (DDM stopped watching Top Chef about 4 years ago), but it is way better than the what other politicians from Louisiana do with money – either stash it in a freezer or pay for professional sexytimes.

The people of New Orleans should really thank BP for their generosity. The spill in the Gulf has been really hard on them, and in 2012 they only managed to make a measly $25.7 billion in profit. To put that in perspective, the state budget for Louisiana in 2011 was $25.5 billion.

As BP swims in ungodly profits, New Orleans takes the money off the bedside stand and buys an aging, second-rate reality show in hopes of rebuilding their struggling tourism industry.

YAY CAPITALISM!

[Times-Picayune/The Guardian/State of Louisiana/CNN]

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