The Times-Pic reports that the Louisiana Office of Tourism and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. are paying $375,000 to have Top Chef filmed in New Orleans. The state tourism office is paying $200,000 but the money is actually coming from the recovery fund set up by BP after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which was originally set up "to satisfy claims, final judgments in litigation and litigation settlements, state and local response costs and claims, and natural resource damages and related costs" and, erm, bringing Top Chef to New Orleans? The New Orleans' tourism corp? funded partly by the city's hotel-room occupancy tax? is fronting the other $175,000.
The communication director for Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne tells The TP, "We negotiated some things into that agreement, the biggest part of which was at least two of the challenges will take place outside of the New Orleans area... in order to showcase the entire state, our sponsorship is contingent upon filming at least some parts of the show outside of the New Orleans area."
Eater National also reports that city sponsorship isn't new for Top Chef. For Top Chef Texas, San Antonio paid $200,000 and the state of Texas paid $400,000. Seattle also contributed $300,000 to have last season filmed there.
In a statement, a representative from the New Orleans Marketing Tourism Corp. says that the Top Chef partnership "will give us additional legs in the fall, additional exposure for the city," which seems to indicate the season will start this fall. The season is rumored to film May to July.
· State, Local Tourism Offices Paying $375,000 to Underwrite 'Top Chef: New Orleans'
· Top Chef Gets $375,000 From NOLA and Louisiana (Using BP Oil Spill Recovery Funds)[-E-]
· All Top Chef Coverage [-ENOLA-]