Vol. 2: Hurricane Gustav


Hurricane Gustav

This newsletter was supposed to go out a week ago, but we shelved it. The message I had written was about the third anniversary of Katrina, and how the Greater New Orleans region was at a tremendously exciting inflection point: like a roller coaster cresting the first hill, the recovery was about to rapidly accelerate, propelled by the pent-up planning and funding of the immediate post-recovery period.

The numbers told the story: over $70 billion in investment initiated by federal programs and another $40 billion from state incentives, a resurgence of visitors and residents that meet 90% of pre-storm levels, a documented “brain-gain” of new professionals, and billions dedicated to world-class levels of innovation to solve some of our most entrenched issues, like education. But Gustav put all of this on hold, and the region held its collective breath. This was the moment we knew would come, and yet still could not believe: our first major post-Katrina hurricane. Those commentators who called the timing “ironic” – near the third anniversary – were wrong. When else in the year would a huge storm come?

The implication of Gustav was clear, if largely unspoken. If we evacuated well, our levees held and people and property were protected, we would prove ourselves to the world. If we failed on these counts, then, as one individual put it: “Last one out, lock the door.”

We prevailed. Our citizens and businesses were prepared. Our leaders at the city, state and federal level demonstrated an unprecedented level of coordination. Our infrastructure was strained but not broken. And lives and assets emerged largely intact.

This success will be underscored when the Saints take the field this Sunday. And the world had already noticed: headlines proclaimed, “Businesses Eye Quick Recovery after Gustav.” We passed our first post-Katrina test.

The result is that now we can now get back to the business at hand: supporting companies and policies to create opportunity and wealth. The fact remains that no other place in the country has our combination of economic assets and quality of life, and we have to tell this story. To this end, in one week GNO, Inc. will kick-off a business development tour in New York City.

At the same time, we do have to recognize the challenges associated with our weather, and proactively and creatively address them. This is why GNO, Inc. is going to forcefully advocate in Baton Rouge and Washington DC for continued funding of both levee protection and coastal restoration. It is also why we are exploring novel solutions, like the potential for a business interruption insurance package as an incentive to companies considering the Greater New Orleans region.

We should feel proud; we did a fine job. Now, we need to redouble our efforts to accentuate the remarkable positives of our region, and mitigate the perceived and real issues.

After a brief pause, the recovery continues.

For the full story on the Post-Katrina numbers of the New Orleans region,
click here.

Hurricane Gustav in the News

USA Today: Businesses eye quick recovery effort after Gustav
Full story…

AP: Louisiana Governor and New Orleans Mayor are praised
Full story…

New York Times: FEMA is eager to show it learned from Katrina
Full story…

Washington Times: Bush says hurricane response has been ‘excellent’
Full story…

Washington Post: Lessons learned helped soften the blow
Full story…

Forbes: Gustav’s gone. Let’s play some football!
Full story…

Visitemergency.louisiana.govfor the most up to date information on FEMA services, statewide updates, parish-by-parish information and critical contact numbers.
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Around the Region

Regional Economic Development Entities to Assist Displaced Businesses
Full story…

JEDCO opens temporary emergency center
Full story…

St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation open to assist businesses
Full story…

Federal aid to help business, residents affected by Gustav
Full story…

Port facilities spared serious damage
Full story…

Entrepreneurs are giving New Orleans a fresh look
Full story…

Tom Benson and economic development officials lure film production company to New Orleans
Full story…
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Around the Region

Announcements and Events

JEDCO releases Jefferson EDGE 2020 Beautification Implementation Strategy
Full story…

New Orleans region joins the 10/12 Corridor
Full story…

Washington, DC: GNO, Inc. pitches federal public policy issues
,em>Event Date: September 15-16, 2008
Full story…

New York City: GNO, Inc. and LED promote the New Orleans region to NY businesses
Event Date: September 15-16, 2008
Full story…

GNO, Inc. hosts economic outlook forum
Event Date: September 30, 2008
Full story…

GNO, Inc. undertaking Regional Workforce Analysis
Full story…

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GNO, Inc. announces new staff members
Full story…

Do you have news or events that you would like to share in our upcoming editions? Let us know…
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