(WGNO) –– It’s a $700k investment, says Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, that could pay off big. Nungesser is leading the state’s effort to attract tourists to Louisiana using floats in some of the biggest parades outside of the state.
The most recent float will roll in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, on New Year’s Day. The float will bring a taste of Louisiana’s culture to the streets of Calif. in front of a national TV audience.
The float will also compete with others in the parade for awards. Volunteers are decorating it with more than 34k flowers. But that’s just some of the painstaking work.
“Everything is covered in seeds,” Nungesser told WGNO News on Thursday. “Even the little humps on the back of the alligator are made of nuts.”
Then Nungesser talked about other details in the decorating work.
“The signs, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, are all actually rice. The corn and the crawfish on the tray is actually made with crushed red pepper.”
This investment follows a $1 million dollar one for a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In both parades, Louisiana is the only state to have a float. According to Nungesser, the state has already received about $15 million in publicity.
“We had to think outside the box, knowing that we’re competing against every state for those tourism dollars,” Nungesser told WGNO during a Zoom interview.
Nungesser says his tourism team will also be handing out t-shirts and other items to help promote tourism. He also says that the float will roll with some star power provided by the Hot 8 Brass Band and American Idol winner Laine Hardy.
To see the work on the float in California as well as video of the first float rolling in the New York parade, click on the video at the top of this story.