NEW ORLEANS -- What does BP's oil mess, former U.S. President Andrew Jackson, and a war 200 years ago have to do with a little known print advertisement designed to reel in tourists to New Orleans? It all adds up to one interesting quarrel that now stretches across the Atlantic Ocean.
The always charming French Quarter has former President Andrew Jackson at the center of it all -- both in history and now in controversy.
It was during the war of 1812 when then-General Jackson led American troops to victory in New Orleans against an invading British army.
Now, in the wake of BP's oil trying to make it's way on shore, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau tried to poke fun at the situation, all while attempting to lure in squeamish tourists.
Their print ad featured a picture of Jackson Square and read, 'This isn't the 1st time New Orleans has survived the British.'
'They ran briefly but in very limited distribution,' said Steve Perry, president and CEOof the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. 'Frankly, we've gotten notes that people loved it.'
But Perry admits those fans aren't living in Britain.
In fact, the headline on a U.K. newspaper Wednesday called it an anti-British campaign.
New Orleans is now choosing to pull the print advertisement that was slated to run in major newspapers and magazines across the country. A television ad baring the same phrase has also been nixed.
'You don't want to do something that's making some folks uncomfortable,' said Perry. 'So we decided we had so many other good ones, we'll just go with those.'
Those ads include assurances to would be tourists saying, 'There's no moratorium on shrimp po-boys' and 'Things in New Orleans are normal... well, our normal.'
But for Chantal Brnasconi, visiting the Big Easy from Switzerland, it's much ado about nothing. The Brits, she says, are overreacting.
'They have their responsibility and they just should just laugh at it,' she said. 'It's a joke, yeah, it's not that bad.'
Eyewitness News showed the ad to Tulane University marketing professor Mita Sujan, who says it invokes everything a great ad should: humor, thought, and controversy.
'Given how much people are focusing on this issue, I think to have any impact it has to push the envelope,' said Sujan. 'I think it does so in a very light hearted way.'
In the midst of all the bad publicity surrounding the oil and it's victims, she says the city should be praised for thinking outside of the box and the ad, she argues, should have never been cut.
'An ad is misleading if 15 percent of the targeted population misread the ad,' said Sujan. 'I don't think anyone in the targeted population would read this ad as anti-British.'
But Sandra Waller, visiting from her home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, says New Orleans should be trying to reel in tourists, not alienate them.
'New Orleans really needs to heal,' said Waller. 'You don't want to offend any people because you've got people from those countries coming here to visit.'
According to Perry, Britain provides the second largest international draw for New Orleans tourism, making the decision to nix the ad a friendly and financial one.
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