GNO, Inc. Releases Study on National Public Perception of New Orleans


January 25, 2013 // NEW ORLEANS, LA — Today, Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) released Bridging the Perception Gap: Results of National Opinion Survey. GNO, Inc. commissioned Lake Research Partners to conduct the study in late 2012 to understand how the rest of America views New Orleans, through their thoughts on doing business here, moving here, and quality of life. The results provide solid information on if and how our vast improvements since Katrina are resonating around the country. Further, this work is a follow-up to a similar study in 2010, allowing for analysis of perception trends over time.

“Bridging the gap between perception and reality is perhaps our greatest challenge in the region,” said Michael Hecht, President & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “The ‘new’ New Orleans is empirically one of the best places in the country to live and work, but our brand has not yet caught up with this new reality. This original research will help us identify key modes and messages to communicate to the public, as we now implement our national public relations strategy.”

The survey was conducted in November 2012 in six target media markets – Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles/San Francisco, New York, and Washington, D.C. Over 1,600 registered voters were surveyed, including an oversampling of 500 college educated young professionals.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Respondents across six major, diverse urban centers have strong and deeply rooted positive perceptions of New Orleans, a city that many of them have visited and view as a center for culture, diversity, and resilience
  • These associations transcend geography and are durable; the city’s profile has receded only slightly in the aftermath of recent natural and man-made calamities. However, the impact of those events on New Orleans’ image has been profound, on one hand, bolstering impressions of the city as tough and resilient, and on the other hand elevating concerns about susceptibility to disaster and subpar quality of life
  • There is a significant perception lag/gap about the economic resurgence of Louisiana and New Orleans. Americans are less aware than they should be about our new business climate and burgeoning demand for workers
  • Four out of ten would consider moving here if given the opportunity; this number increases to six out of ten for individuals who have visited in the past two years – visiting improves perception
  • Perceptions from 2010 to 2012 have not shifted dramatically, but are mixed up and down; Hurricane Isaac had little effect
  • Positive messaging, especially in the national press, helps improve perception

The results of this study will guide GNO, Inc.’s 2013 communications and public relations strategy. Funding for this study was generously provided by Chevron.

To view the full study, visit gnoinc.org/perceptionstudy.