Source: Houma Today
Starting today, New Yorkers will be able to meet some of the stars of “Swamp People” and watch live alligators being fed in a makeshift swamp with transported cypress trees.
The History channel has built a12,000-square-foot exhibit in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market to herald the premiere of “Swamp People’s” third season, which kicks off Feb. 9.
Louisiana’s Office of Tourism is piggybacking off the weeklong marketing extravaganza, sending its own enticing array of Louisiana ambassadors, including musicians, local basket weaver Janie Luster, a park ranger with alligator expertise, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, food by Cajun chef Chef John Folse and a crew of tourism representatives from different parishes, including Lafourche and Terrebonne.
The exhibit features a miniature swamp ecosystem, including live alligators, turtles and an array of vegetation native to Louisiana.
“This is a phenomenal opportunity. We’ll do a media buy in our driving area, like, Atlanta, but we could never afford one week’s of radio spots in New York,” said LeAnne Weill, assistant secretary of tourism for the Louisiana Lieutenant Governor’s Office. “Here, we’ll have tens of thousands of people passing through this exhibit, and 100 percent of them will be interested in Louisiana.”
“Visitors are interested in learning more about how our hunters and fishermen are still able to live off the land and have recognized the hard work and struggle which is involved in getting the job done. Visitors always comment on the beauty of our environment and are looking for tours which will allow them to see it first-hand,” she said in an e-mail. “This is truly a great opportunity for us to teach visitors about the importance of our wetlands thus building advocates to help us build a stronger case for protecting them.”
The Houma visitors bureau is working with R.J. and Jay Paul Molinere of Grand Bois, the two local stars of “Swamp People,” to create a tourism marketing campaign, but Alford said the show has already helped the northern perception of the area.
“Over the past year, as we have manned tourism booths across our country; we have finally stopped hearing negative questions concerning the hurricanes and the oil spill,” she wrote. “Now they’ve been replaced with positive questions about ‘Swamp People.’ ”
Sharon Alford, executive director of the Houma Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said “Swamp People” has already drummed up tourism for the area’s wetlands and culture.