N.O. tourism ad gets blowback over lack of racial diversity

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A City of New Orleans tourism commercial meant to welcome back visitors to the city faced negative feedback on social media for its perceived lack of diversity.

The 30-second commercial by New Orleans and Company, aimed at sending the message to day-trip visitors in the region that the city of New Orleans is open for business after weeks of disruption to tourism due to Hurricane Ida.

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Instead, New Orleans and Company removed the ad after it received negative feedback for what appears to be a lack of Black people represented in the ad as Nola.com reports.

The commercial follows a middle-aged white couple as they dine, attend a nightclub show, shop, and visit a museum while very few people could be seen in the ad.

Critics argue the commercial does not accurately represent the city’s demographic.

The U.S. Census Bureau shows Black people make up 60% of the city’s population according to Nola.com.

New Orleans and Company removed the ad and issued an apology on social media which reads in part:

The overall feedback was that this piece wasn’t fully representative of the New Orleans experience that so many of you know and love. For that, we apologize, and we thank you for bringing this discussion forward.

We work hard to create content that showcases ALL of what New Orleans has to offer. From the world-famous French Quarter and marvelous Mid-City to the historic streets of Tremé and Esplanade Avenue. This particular piece was but a snapshot.

“This was a complete miss, a miss by me, and I own it,” Romig said. “I made a mistake. An alarm should have gone off in my head. I’m from New Orleans and I know better.”

The ad, titled 'The New Orleans You Love Is Back', was scheduled to run until October 31. The ad can still be seen here.