Dardenne says activities will go on for Miss USA
BATON ROUGE - Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne's office said things will proceed as planned for the upcoming Miss USA pageant in Baton Rouge, despite recent setbacks for the organization.
Dardenne said he's assured the Miss Universe organization that the state will move forward with all the events they were planning for the contestants when they arrive in Baton Rouge this week ahead of the July 12 pageant.
"I believe it is important to promote the exceptional cultural landscape of Baton Rouge and Louisiana while making the participants and their families feel welcome," Dardenne said.
This week NBC Universal announced they were dropping their agreement to broadcast the Miss USA pageant because of statements about Latino immigrants made by Donald Trump, CEO of the Miss Universe organization. Univision and Chi Hair Care also announced they were pulling out of the pageant. So far no other broadcaster has stepped up to fill the gap and Trump, who is running for president and said Latinos only brought in drugs and guns to the U.S., threatened to sue NBC and Universal for breach of contract.
The events planned so far in Louisiana include a July 2 reception welcoming the Miss USA contestants at De La Ronde Hall, followed by an introduction of the candidates at the Old State Capitol. The contestants will then have a seafood celebration at Houmas House in Darrow on July 5.
Dardenne said he is staying in touch with Miss Universe organizers to evaluate the broadcast situation before committing more state resources to the pageant. The state along with the East Baton Rouge city-parish and its tourism partners planned to provide an incentive package of $545,000 to lure the pageant to the city.
The Lt. Governor's Office said they will not pay an offered $65,000 incentive package, including $50,000 from the state Office of Tourism and another $15,000 from the state Seafood Board, unless unless another broadcaster comes through to provide viewership that compares to what was promised by the NBC and Univision networks.