Culture, Tourism, and Authenticity

Culture, Tourism, and Authenticity: Is authenticity a legitimate concern? Who decides authenticity? What can be done to preserve it, if anything?

50 points total. Nine questions worth five points each, plus five points of the graders’ evaluation of the overall paper.

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Louisiana earns millions of dollars from its tourist industry and marketing its amazing food culture. While the jobs and revenues they generate are certainly beneficial to Louisiana what is the impact on culture? Does it help culture flourish? Does commercialization degrade or cheapen culture? Does tourism/commercialization do some of both? Is it a fool’s errand to strive for a pure idealization of culture? As long as people from different cultures interact, will they continually affect both cultures, good and/or badly? As one generation gives way to a new generation, does each re-interpret culture?

Using the readings posted (Louisiana Legacies: Jazz and Cajun food essays, plus the Cajun history PDF) and watch the New Orleans tourism commercial, Link to commercial ( thoughtfully answer the following questions, include evidence to support your conclusions). Right and wrong answers will be elusive, however, thoughtful answers will get higher grades.

Readings are attached in Files.

Louisiana Legacies: “Making the ‘Birthplace of Jazz’: Tourism and Musical Heritage Marketing in New Orleans,” J. Mark Southern, p. 291.

Louisiana Legacies: “Commercialization of Cajun Cuisine,” Ryan A. Brasseaux, p. 314

Please number and answer all questions & parts of questions. Don’t include questions in paper.


1. From the “Birthplace of Jazz” essay, explain the trajectory of New Orleans jazz after World War II? What impact did tourism have on jazz and jazz culture in New Orleans? Did revitalization from outside New Orleans or from within, or both?

2. What role did Disneyland play in the development of jazz tourism in New Orleans? Do you find that evidence convincing?

3. What role did professional football play in desegregation and increased tourism in New Orleans?

4. Thinking about what the author explained about “second lines” and tourism, how did its use/proliferation change over time? Do you consider the impact of tourism on that specific aspect of New Orleans culture positive or negative, or something else?

5. Rice and yams are considered staples of Cajun cuisine. How and when did they become integral? Does this information coincide with or contradict your understanding of the history of Cajun cuisine?

6. On p. 325, the author wrote, “Mass media forever changed the cultural landscape in south Louisiana. Newspapers, cookbooks, and later television cooking programs opened communication channels and facilitated dialogues across racial and cultural boundaries and between rural enclaves and urban centers… thereby stimulating new ideas and culinary trends.” Is that change a net loss or a new gain, or both? Besides the economic benefits, how do you appraise the cultural impact?

7. In the PDF article detailing Cajun history, how does the author explain the trajectory of Cajun popularity? In other words, what were the popular conceptions of “Cajun-ness” in the 1800s? How/when did that change?

8. Using the essay and this link What is CODOFIL? What was its role in the popularity of Cajun culture? Like tourism and commercialization, what is/was the impact of this governmental entity on Cajun culture?

9. Do you believe there is a means to preserve, propagate, and profit from Louisiana’s amazing culture and cultural history? Is purity a goal, is it possible? Is culture continually in flux, changing? Tourism and cultural commercialization are not going away nor should they. How do you assess the New Orleans tourism commercial (see link)? Can a person simply “unzip” themselves and dive into another culture? While there is value in the money tourists spend, what does that do to culture? How do you evaluate the tourists’ experience? Do the locals providing the experience live two cultures, one for tourists and one of their own, which a tourist cannot simply jump into?

10. THESE FIVE POINTS WILL BE OUR our evaluation of the quality of your paper.

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