LDWF, State Officials Partner with New Orleans Hornets, Launch Louisiana Seafood Market

Release Date: 11/05/2010

Three-year partnership will fund concessions stand selling only La. seafood, helps promote fishing industry.

(Baton Rouge, La.) November 5, 2010 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) joined officials with the Office of Community Development (OCD), and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (LSPMB) today to announce a partnership with the New Orleans Hornets to launch a Louisiana-only seafood concessions stand. Located inside the New Orleans Arena, the Louisiana Seafood Market will promote the state’s seafood industry while serving safe, quality commercial seafood caught in Louisiana waters.

“Louisiana’s fishing industry has battled back from four major hurricanes over the last five years only to face the challenges created by the BP oil spill,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fisheries Randy Pausina. “We have seen a dramatic drop in the value of our seafood this year, and we have to address the industry’s issues now. This partnership is an exciting opportunity to support our fishermen and to help reinforce that Louisiana seafood is safe and healthy. We’re grateful to the Hornets for their incredible support of the industry, and I challenge everyone who comes to the arena to stop by the market for some of the safest, most delicious commercial seafood in the country.”

“The entire Hornets family is proud to support the Louisiana seafood industry and provide our fans at the arena with the freshest seafood straight out of the Gulf,” said Hornets President Hugh Weber.  “Through our partnership with the Office of Community Development, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, we are able to send the message to our fans and the entire community that Louisiana seafood is safe, fresh and back open for business.  The new Louisiana Seafood Market concession stand is just another way we can provide our fans with options for top-notch local cuisine as they cheer on the Hornets at the Hive.”

The Office of Community Development’s Disaster Recovery Unit worked closely with LDWF and LSPMB to secure $300,000 in funding from a Community Block Development Grant for the Louisiana-only seafood concessions stand to support the state’s fishing industry. In addition to the three-year agreement for the concessions stand, the Hornets have also committed to working with the state to promote Louisiana seafood with their fans, and in cities across the country as they travel to away games.

“This oil spill could not have come at a worse time for our fishing industry, which was still struggling to recover from the affects of four hurricanes in three years. It’s crucial that we continue to help rebuild and restore our fishing industry and communities by reinforcing the safety and quality of Louisiana seafood, both with our own residents and with those who join us at the arena from out of state,” said Office of Community Development Director Robin Keegan. “I’m incredibly grateful to President Weber and his staff for working to make this concession stand happen. It takes Louisiana companies purchasing Louisiana seafood to help rebuild our industry and our brand – the Hornets are playing an integral part in that today.”

“The Louisiana seafood stand at the New Orleans arena offers attendees a true taste of Louisiana. Whether it is a fan attending a Hornets game, or watching a performance by a world-renowned entertainer, the experience will be complete with flavorful dishes created from fresh Louisiana seafood,” said LSPMB Assistant Executive Director Rene LeBreton.

In addition to supporting the seafood industry through the Louisiana Seafood Market concession stand, the Hornets have teamed up with Chevron and several other corporate partners including Rouses Supermarkets, CVS pharmacies and Take 5 Oil Change  to launch the “Believe in Blue” campaign which will serve to raise awareness and funds for the residents of communities affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, restore local coastal wetlands and help return the gulf’s water back to its original color—blue.  In the last month alone, the team has raised over $40,000 for Gulf Coast restoration.

All proceeds raised through the entire “Believe in Blue” campaign will benefit the Friends of the Fisherman fund, the officially endorsed fund of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board created to help Louisiana's fishermen, America’s WETLAND Foundation, established to preserve Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans.  All funds will be collected and distributed through the United Way.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, please contact Olivia Watkins at 225-610-8660 or owatkins@wlf.la.gov.

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