The national media have done our state a disservice by portraying Louisianians as acting and talking like the characters in the movie “Water Boy” and living in areas like the one shown in the TV series “Swamp People.” A June 24, 2008, New York Times article described the state as a “shady, subtropical outpost.”

Contrary to the Hollywood and New York depiction of the state, an objective appraisal of Louisiana’s worth shows it is essential to the nation’s welfare.

Evidence of the state’s worth can be gleaned from statistics published by the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. The statistics show, among other things, Louisiana is fourth in the nation in the production of oil and natural gas, and first if offshore Louisiana beyond the three-mile limit is included; home to numerous refineries that produce gasoline and other products that power the nation; home of the hubs of several interstate pipelines that supply energy to America; the location of LOOP, the only port in the United States that can accommodate deep-draft tankers carrying foreign oil on which our country is dependent; home to two of the four strategic petroleum reserves; home to the ports of South Louisiana that play a huge role in the U.S. import-export market exemplified by the fact that 60 percent of all grain exported from the United States is handled by these state ports.

Perhaps our state’s two greatest assets are two sections of the Mississippi River Corridor that lie within state borders. The first is the vast industrial complex that runs along the river from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico. The second is the entry to the Gulf from the mouth of the Mississippi. Unimpeded access to the Gulf from the Mississippi was the major reason for the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.

Considering the above, the mass media may continue to demean Louisiana, and elitists in and out of state may continue to mock Louisiana people, but if the day ever comes when the United States will have to make a list of dispensable and indispensable states, rest assured that Louisiana’s place will be near the top of the list of indispensables.

Howard Franques