I see a lot of film productions come through town, and while we can debate the value of the incentives that are bringing them, what is certain is that Tyler Perry’s “The Passion,” filmed live in New Orleans last weekend, was a major win for the city and state. In the past 10 years, Louisiana has hosted more than 400 film and television productions, and I can’t recall many that put New Orleans center stage like “The Passion.”

The live broadcast was essentially a two-hour commercial for our city during prime time on a national network. The production masterfully transformed the streets of New Orleans into its set, spotlighting the unique cultural assets that make the city a premier travel destination. Regardless of how one may feel about the content, as everyone in the tourism and marketing industries knows, this level of positive publicity is invaluable. We should try to attract more companies like Dick Clark Productions and thank them for bringing this widely publicized show to New Orleans.

While many production companies come and go, Dick Clark Productions is making long-term commitments in Louisiana and helping boost our economy. “The Passion” was the work of many hands, creating jobs and utilizing local businesses, like Solomon Group, a world-class production company that employs over 200 people in New Orleans.

During this time of state budget crisis, we should review all of our economic policies, including the film tax credit program. It is important, though, that we do not throw the baby out with the bathwater. While we must cut wasteful spending, it is strategic investments in projects like “The Passion” that are going to put our state’s economy back on track.

Helena Moreno

state representative, District 93

New Orleans