Vol. 15: We Dat
It was the rhetorical question heard round the world. As Garrett Hartley’s overtime kick flew through the uprights, the messages started flying, too. A call from my brother in Brooklyn: “Who Dat?!” A text from my in-law in Denmark: “Who Dat?!” An email from a friend in Australia: “Who Dat?!” Back at home, our three-year old was running in circles yelling “Who Dat?!” (And, somewhat less endearingly, “Stand up and get crunk!”)
My response to each of them — every rhetorical question deserves a response — was, “We Dat.” If the Saints are a metaphor for a resurgent New Orleans, it is because they epitomize what has lifted our region over the past four years: a remarkably broad and committed effort, where every day brings a different savior, a different star. This game it was the unheralded Hartley, last game it was the famous Reggie Bush.
The point is, the Saints are clearly a team of “we;” it is their collective talent and selflessness that has taken them from well-documented lows to celebrated new heights. This is why everyone — from Presidents to residents — loves the Saints. They are a team of “we” — and so is our region.
Economic development is about quality jobs and quality of life. And if you look at our region’s wins in this arena over the past few years, you will see an unmistakable team effort:
- The honor of being named “Major Market of the Year” by Southern Business and Development, due to a series of local/state/federal collaborations, including the groundbreaking Federal City project.
- Tens of billions of new investment in our region, thanks to the tireless efforts of our citizens and elected officials. These funds have not only rebuilt our region, but provided the jobs that have BusinessWeek calling us “one of the best places in the country to ride out the recession.”
- Growth of new companies like The Receivables Exchange, iSeatz, TurboSquid and Naked Pizza that are led by fearless entrepreneurs who have made our region their home-base for global expansion, and prompted FastCompany to name New Orleans one of the “fastest” regions in the U.S.A.
- A documented influx of recent graduates who are flocking to New Orleans, giving our region a Top-10 ranking for “Best Places to Live and Work for Young Professionals,” and stocking new hubs of innovation like the “I.P.” building
- Corporate expansions, like Monsanto in St. Charles, assisted by local economic development partners, that have created hundreds of new jobs; and, continued work on other projects, like Nucor in St. James, that promise thousands more
- An intense focus on economic development at the State level, from the Governor on down, leading to important recognition like Louisiana being named #8 in the country for growth prospects by Forbes
- Fundamental policy wins, like the exclusion of capital gains on the sale of Louisiana businesses, that were pushed through by business, political and community interests tired of us exporting our best people and jobs
- An educational reform movement, led by parents, teachers and administrators, that has Mayor Bloomberg in NYC calling New Orleans the national incubator for educational reform
- Innumerable community groups, faith-based leaders and individual heros, whose collective efforts have rebuilt neighborhoods and institutions from the ground up
All of these above team efforts have collectively led the editor of World Trade 100 magazine (the Sports Illustrated of economic development) to declare: “the transformation that’s taking place in New Orleans both socially and economically is stunning.”
Go Saints. Go New Orleans.
Economic Development News
ESPN: Saints — The Soul of America’s City
Louisiana Is Pulling Through National Recession With Little Pain
Louisiana Will Target Undeveloped Business Sectors in 2010, Economic Development Secretary Says
New Orleans Area Posts Lowest Jobless Rate
New Orleans is on the Verge of a Digital Revolution
The Saints’ Success is Paying Dividends for the New Orleans Economy
New Orleans Area Gains Jobs in November
WSJ: New Orleans Is On a Tear
Around the Region
Announcements and Events
Creating a “Culture of Preparedness” with General Honore
Feb. 10, 2010
GNO, Inc. Annual Meeting
March 9, 2010