Everyone knows Emeril Lagasse began his career in New Orleans. We all know he succeeded Paul Prudhomme as executive chef at Commander’s Palace. Emeril Lagasse was the “face of New Orleans” in a commercial describing the impact of the British Petroleum (BP) Deep Horizon oil spill in 2010. Emeril Lagasse was not only an internationally known chef and restaurateur, but was acknowledge as the ambassador for what is all that is good about the City of New Orleans, its people, and its food.
Others outside the city can’t begin to comprehend our disappointment in Emeril’s BP’s $8 million claim. Even as Blaine LeCesne, a Loyola Law School professor explains what Emeril has done is legally correct, we all know it is truly ethically improper. What he has done is what all the shady politicians, business people, and other “low life” scam artists have done for decades in New Orleans. He has “gamed” the system!
We held Emeril to a higher standard. He was one of us. We expected Emeril not only did the right thing, but the really good things. Prior to being “outed” by BP Emeril was seen in the same class as Harry Connick, Jr., Archie Manning, and Drew Brees. He was truly one of the good guys. What Emeril has done is wrong in so many ways.
My undergraduate degree is from Loyola University where I took numerous ethics courses. Over and over again we were taught the difference between legally correct and morally acceptable. Now we have Loyola professors like LeCesne talking about what’s “legally correct” and Dane Ciolino representing crooked Jefferson Parish politicians. Obviously my alma mater Loyola University and its legal professors are really concerned about what’s right, but only what can be construed as legally allowable. For LeCesne to support Emeril’s actions embarrasses me as a Loyola graduate.
Without a doubt, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the British Petroleum (BP) Deep Horizon oil spill in 2010 had a dramatic impact on New Orleans and the surrounding areas. We all knew that billions of dollars meant for recovery have worked their way through our corrupt system. It’s how business is done in New Orleans and we all accept it as a fact. But know that we find one of our beloved with their hand in the “cookie jar,” it’s a whole lot harder to swallow.
Emeril you have disappointed and hurt many of us with your actions. I for one will never see you in the same light. I’m sure you’ll put a public relations twist to let us know everyone else was doing it and you had to do it for the good of your people. That might be great for others, but for many of us it just doesn’t wash. You make millions, have millions, and obviously enough for you is never enough. When you get into your twilight years and look back, trying explaining these actions to your kids and grandkids and make them understand why you did what you did.
Unfortunately for us, I feel certain this won’t be the last high-profile person exposed as going to the “cookie jar” with BP. I’m certainly not supporting BP, we deserve every penny they pay for their actions. But we also deserve all the funds BP pays to go to the deserving that were truly harmed and to correct the natural disasters they have caused. Just think how much Emeril’s $8 million could do to help reverse the damages that have been done to our coast line. Has our City, our State, and our Country’s ethics gotten so bad that we merely stand by and accept things like this as acceptable? Your voice can and will make a difference. Please let me and others know where you stand on issues like this. Together we can make a difference.