UH Professor to Discuss Oil's Role in Louisiana History at Bicentennial Event

University of Houston business professor Tyler Priest, a leading expert on the history of offshore oil and gas in the U.S. and around the world, will join other scholars and professionals at a symposium honoring Louisiana’s statehood bicentennial.

The Historic New Orleans Collection is hosting the 17th annual Williams Research Center Symposium on Saturday (Jan. 28) in New Orleans. This year’s event will honor Louisiana’s U.S. statehood, which became official on April 30, 1812.

Priest will discuss Louisiana’s long struggle to control the Gulf of Mexico’s oil revenues and how Louisiana politicians’ arguments regarding that jurisdiction have changed over the years, from states’ rights claims in the 1940s and 1950s to today’s concerns about the environmental impact on the state’s coast.

“For more than 60 years, one issue has consistently kept the state of Louisiana in the national political eye: offshore oil,” Priest said. “This attention has less to do with the substantial share of the nation’s energy supplied from off Louisiana’s coast than with the monumental political and legal battles the state has fought to claim a share of the federal revenue stream from offshore oil development.”

The collection has assembled a dynamic group of scholars and professionals to discuss the events that shaped the state and ultimately the nation. They will cover a range of topics, including media coverage of Hurricane Katrina, famed politician Huey Long and 20th-century music.

“We wanted to cover as many important events and characters from Louisiana’s colorful and varied history as possible,” said Priscilla Lawrence, executive director of the collection. “But we also gave our incredibly knowledgeable speakers the chance to explore the topics they found most interesting.”

Priest is a clinical professor and director of the global studies program in UH’s C.T. Bauer College of Business. A specialist on the history of energy, business and globalization, Priest served as a senior policy analyst to the President's National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

Priest helped found Bauer’s global studies program, which provides a broad, interdisciplinary perspective on international business and the world economy.  In 2007, he received the Bauer College's Wayne Payne Award for Teaching Excellence.

Note: Registration is required for the symposium. For more information about the event, go to: http://www.hnoc.org/programs/symposia.html.