New Study Outlines Strategies for Sustaining Regional Growth

New Orleans (02/14/2014) — Today, Sustaining Prosperity: A Long Term Vision for the New Orleans Region, a report outlining strategies for sustaining regional growth, was released. The report, completed by internationally-recognized author Joel Kotkin for Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.), captures the factors that have contributed to Greater New Orleans’ economic recovery and resiliency, identifies challenges that could gate growth, and makes recommendations for sustaining prosperity.

“New Orleans has made a remarkable recovery that should be a real source of pride,” said Joel Kotkin. “But from now, the real challenge is to make this renaissance sustainable not just environmentally and economically but for a broad range of area residents.”

The report, funded by Chevron and the Surdna Foundation, identifies five key issues influencing our long term success:

  • Building more middle class jobs
  • Diversifying the economy by building on strengths
  • Addressing poverty
  • Recognizing that environmental and business challenges are congruent, not oppositional
  • Ultimately, only growth is sustainable

“Greater New Orleans’ progress over the past five years has been remarkable; our gains, however, are fragile,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “In order to consolidate our gains, and ensure sustained growth, we need to objectively recognize our opportunities and address our vulnerabilities. This incisive report will help identify these strengths and challenges.”

The report paints the potential for a bright future in greater New Orleans: “A future scenario can be constructed where greater New Orleans emerges as one of the brightest spots in the North American economy. Not only does the region have natural advantages in terms of energy resources and transportation, it can claim primary sources of higher-wage employment. It also possesses a cultural cachet that attracts educated workers, but in a cost and regulatory environment that appeals to business investors.”

The report attributes several factors that put Greater New Orleans at an advantage for long term prosperity, including relatively low cost of living and the breadth of skills that can be easily found in the region.

The report also states that long term prosperity will only be realized if there is a conscious effort to promote broad-based, sustainable growth in a diversity of industries. Without a dedicated focus on higher education, particularly on engineering and the biosciences, and community colleges, technical schools and certificate training, the region may not be able to capitalize on the identified key sectors and advantages.

The Executive Summary can be found at The full report can be found at