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Southeastern Channel Reaches A Million Viewers

Louisiana Welcome Centers

Original television programs produced by the Southeastern Channel have been selected by the Louisiana Office of Tourism to be shown statewide to over a million visitors to the state of Louisiana each year.

The programs produced by the channel, Southeastern Louisiana University’s Emmy-winning educational cable channel airing on Charter Cable Channel 18, were chosen by the state to be viewed by visitors at all 13 of its state Welcome Centers located at each major highway entry and stopping point of Louisiana.

"Louisiana State Emblems", an episode of the nature series, "Backyard Wonders", and a pair of episodes from the Emmy-nominated history series, "The Florida Parish Chronicles"- "Who Killed the Kingfish?" and "Part One: Legendary Crimes and Criminals of the Florida Parishes"- began showing at the Welcome Centers over the recent Christmas holiday break.

Welcome Centers displaying the videos are located at Slidell (I-10 Westbound), Pearl River (I-59 Southbound), Kentwood (I-59 Southbound), Capitol Park on the state capitol grounds in Baton Rouge, New Orleans (St. Anne St.), Atchafalaya (I-10), Vinton (I-10 Eastbound), Alexandria (I-49), Greenwood (I-20 Eastbound), Mound (I-20 Westbound), the Vidalia Riverfront Center, and St. Francisville (U.S. 61 South).

The Southeastern Channel videos include promotional spots for the university woven between the full-length programs.

"This is unprecedented exposure for both the university and the Southeastern Channel at major viewing points throughout the entire state on a daily basis," said Southeastern Channel general manager Rick Settoon. "We’re extremely honored to be selected by the Louisiana Office of Tourism and very appreciative of the opportunity."

The programs will continue showing daily at each of the Welcome Centers on an annual basis. According to the Louisiana Office of Tourism, a record number of visitors to the state is anticipated this year as 2010 saw Mardi Gras alone draw over 55, 000 visitors.

"We passed the 1.2 million mark for 2010 on November 30th," said Nancy Broussard, Welcome Center Program Director for the Louisiana Office of Tourism. "We anticipate- barring unforeseen circumstances- that many or more visitors signing the guest books at our 13 centers in 2011."

Broussard said that the Office of Tourism came upon the idea after the supervisor of one of its Welcome Centers viewed Southeastern Channel programs on Charter Cable Channel 18. Requested samples were then sent from the channel to the main tourism office in Baton Rouge where the decision was made to show them.

"We found the production qualities and storytelling to be such that it would provide entertainment for visitors taking a break from the road, as well as an enticement for travelers to see and do something they may not have considered already while in the state," Broussard said.

"These videos will help pique the visitors’ interest in Louisiana’s roads less traveled, and help draw visitors to less well-known parts of the state," Broussard added.

"Louisiana State Emblems", hosted by biology instructor and Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station director Robert Moreau, details the rich history of Louisiana emblems, including lesser-known ones like the Catahoula Leopard Dog in Abita Springs and the Natchitoches meat pie.

"Who Killed the Kingfish?", hosted by Sam Hyde, Ford Chair for History and director of the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies, explores new theories about the assassination of former governor Huey P. Long.

In addition to these programs, the southeast Louisiana Welcome Centers will show the "The Florida Parish Chronicles" episode, "Part One: Legendary Crimes and Criminals of the Florida Parishes" spotlighting the legend of southeast Louisiana train robber Eugene Bunch and the controversial lynching of six Italians for a 1920’s Independence murder.

The Southeastern Channel, which has won over 100 national and international awards over the last seven years, reaches a potential audience of 250,000 on Charter Cable Channel 18 in Tangipahoa, St. Tammany and Livingston parishes and on Channel 17 in Washington Parish.

The channel’s live 24-7 webcast can be seen at Viewers from 47 different states and 46 countries, including U.S. soldiers in Iraq enrolling in telecourses, visit the channel’s website each month. The channel is also on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.