Restaurants across the U.S. have been attempting to cash in on Acadiana's reputation for great food, but could some of it actually be negatively impacting Louisiana's tourism dollars? We should stand up and protect our culture and brand, and here's an idea of how we might be able to do it...

Gumbo
Photo courtesy of Lance Leblanc Eat Lafayette
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At some point, we've all been out of state and have seen restaurants advertising authentic Cajun or Creole food. Sometimes the restaurant is owned by someone from Acadiana, so it's actually legitimately fantastic, therefore serving as a great ambassador for our state.

However, more often than not, food that is being billed as "Real Creole Cuisine" or "Authentic Louisiana" is way off the mark and arguably detrimental to the reputation of our celebrated culture.

You've probably even heard stories about people from Acadiana actually being advised not to try "Authentic Louisiana" menu items by wait staff because...well because they know there's nothing "authentic" about it and a Louisiananian is probably going to be offended.

This is an issue that's happening more frequently than most of us even know, and maybe it's time we look into a way to fix it.

Certified Louisiana Logo Program

The Certified Louisiana Logo Program was established for the "promotion of Louisiana made, grown, manufactured or processed products that are aimed at enhancing and promoting Louisiana’s agricultural industry."

There are a few logos that fall under this program such as "Certified Creole", "Certified Cajun", "Certified Craft Beverage" and more. To be able to use any of these logos on products, they must be applied for at certifiedlouisiana.org.

One of the ideas behind The Certified Louisiana Logo Program is to protect the Louisiana brand and reputation so that only the best of the best can represent our great state.

You can read more at certifiedlouisiana.org.

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If out-of-state restaurants are going to push subpar and in some cases horrible food to customers labeled as "Cajun", "Creole" or "Louisiana", arguably they're damaging Louisiana's tourism dollars and damaging our culture.

If someone in Kansas eats what they think is authentic Cajun or Creole food at a restaurant that has no clue what they're doing, it's not likely they would ever want to travel to South Louisiana because based on their experience "Cajun food sucks".

Could restaurants fraudulently selling horrible "Cajun" or "Creole" food to unsuspecting customers be in violation of the Interstate Commerce Clause?

Could it even be considered Cultural Appropriation in some cases?

These are pretty extreme ideas, but maybe we should come up with a way to fix this issue.

Certified Louisiana
certifiedlouisiana.org
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What if Louisiana put together a program for out-of-state restaurants to apply to receive our seal of approval on their gumbo, po'boys, etouffee, and more?

If they get it right, they get to use the Louisiana stamp of approval touting that what they're serving is an authentic representation of our food and culture.

If a restaurant doesn't get it right, then we could have people work with them to help them get it right.

Seems like great tourism and press opportunity, a great way to extend and bring awareness to Louisiana's brand and culture, and most importantly a great way to protect our great culture and food's reputation around the U.S.

What do you think? Do you think Louisiana should start a program like this?

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