The British press didn't get the joke:
New Orleans runs $5m anti-British campaign – paid for by BP
The advertising campaign is the brainchild of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, which fears a sharp reduction in tourism and gatherings of other kinds, just as business was picking up after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"You can't just say we're open, come," the bureau's president, Steve Perry, told the organisation as he launched the campaign, according to blogofneworleans.com. "You have to acknowledge it. It's sorta like the poster with the family in front of the shark tank at the aquarium after Katrina, saying we're pleased to report that this is the only part of New Orleans that's still under water."
I suspect the "brainchild" jab was wry British humor.
So as of today, the campaign is reportedly D.O.A. But as luck would have it, Mr. Perry and our Mayor held a press conference this morning and asked BP for another 75 million dollars.
I'm thinking maybe the ad campaign was an attempt to punk them into giving us more money. Actually, I don't know what the hell to think. It's dredging up really bad memories of our former mayor planning a fund raising trip to NYC in the wake of Katrina, then publicly commenting that the WTC site was still a big hole in the ground.
I doubt this campaign was even on Mayor Landrieu's radar before it was announced but let's hope the channels of communication get better in the immediate future. Perhaps we should at least wait until we actually get the extra 75 million before we insult them. I've been insulting the hell out of them but I never thought to ask for money to do it. Now that I think about it, that's brilliant if it works.
New Orleans drops 'anti-British' ad campaign for fear of upsetting UK tourists
The bureau's president, Steve Perry, said the ads "were not anti-British at all" and blamed the Guardian coverage for forcing it to cancel any adverts "referring to anything British in every form".
"Already in our London office we've had multiple major cancellations because of the article," he said. "We've had to cancel the entire thing and we are moving to an ad that pokes fun at the president.
"We thought, with all the grief, we would try to turn things a little bit lighter and more tongue in cheek. So far, unfortunately, it has had devastating consequences that were not intended.
"The British are the most popular of all of the foreign visitors here. It's just horrifying to us."
So we're now going to take a jab at the president? It's the Guardian's fault we created the ad?
Perry, who sounded despairing as he speculated on what he feared would be the political fallout over the campaign and the impact on a meeting with BP later in the day, said he could not understand how anyone in the UK could consider New Orleans anti-British when people there loved BP – a view not guaranteed to be a hit with Guardian readers.
We love BP? Huh?
Duct tape...the only thing that can fix this is duct tape.