Post BP Oil Spill Mardi Gras will be a Party

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Next week Louisiana will begin celebrating its first Mardi Gras since last April's BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But the crisis shows no signs of damage on the annual party.

"It is our nature to be resilient," Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana Jay Dardenne tells AOL Travel News, of Louisianians.

When it comes to Mardis Gras, "It will be as big and great as ever," he says "The mood is upbeat."

Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, the largest celebration of its kind in the country, begins with parades on February 19th, culminating on Fat Tuesday on March 8. But nearly every community in Louisiana also celebrates in its own way.

The Louisiana tourism department recently rebranded its materials with the logo "LOU!S!ANA, Pick Your Passion." In Louisiana, that is often synonymous with its unique cuisine, and central to that is its seafood.

Dishes like shrimp po'boys, seafood gumbo, boiled crawfish and oysters Rockefeller are classics. Louisiana is eager to restore the hit that commercial and recreation fishing took after the spill, as well as any perception of unsafe seafood.

"Seafood is as safe, delicious and impeccable as ever," says Dardenne, who also serves as the state's chief tourism officer of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. "It's literally the most tested in the world," he added.

The lieutenant governor also said that the state is not ignoring the tragic aspects of the spill. Discussions are under way to commemorate the loss of life---11 people were killed---and the impact on the state that happened as a result of the gulf oil spill explosion, but nothing is confirmed yet.

Photo, Louisiana Office of Tourism
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