Vol. 21: Reflections at K10
Reflecting at the fifth anniversary of Katrina — K5 — it is tempting to claim success.
Our population is back; we powered through the recession; global companies are moving to our region; reforms are making New Orleans a better place; and, of course, the Saints are world champions.
But the truth is, it’s too early to claim success. We have been buoyed by a short-term recovery economy, and significant long-term challenges remain. Decades are not reversed in days.
To really know if we have succeeded, to really know if we have created a New Orleans region better than before, we have to go out ten years. Here we will find the “new normal” that will come to pass after the Katrina money has run dry, and the economy is left to stand on its own.
At this point — at K10 — we will be able to sit back, and reflect. And, if indeed we have been successful, here is what it may look like:
- New Orleans will be the great boutique city of America. In a world of creeping sameness, NOLA will shine with its unique culture and diverse flair, attracting professionals and tourists, alike.
- Greater New Orleans will be a great region of America: cohesive and connected, it will offer a lifestyle or corporate option for everyone — and offer places like Houston and Atlanta a run for their money.
- Globalstar, which recently relocated here from Silicon Valley, will prove to be the vanguard of a dynamic digital sector, as dozens of firms choose Greater New Orleans and create “Silicon Valley South.”
- Showing that you can make lemonade from oily water, Southeastern Louisiana will have become a global hub for sustainable industry. Heralded by the recent move of Blade Dynamics to Michoud, this new sector will create thousands of jobs, diversifying our economy while sustaining our environment.
- At the same time, next-wave oil production will remain an important — and safe — part of our economic mix — while Louisiana finally gets the royalty share it has so long deserved, to help fund the restoration of our coast.
- Greater New Orleans will be on its way to reclaiming the mantle of “Gateway to the Americas,” with reinvestment in its ports, rekindling of relationships with partners like Brazil, and a refocus on value-added port-side production.
- The medical district will spawn close to 10,000 new jobs, as New Orleans becomes a center of excellence, mimicking and then surpassing the success of Birmingham. Our citizens will be served, our doctors will be trained, and our intellectual property will be commercialized.
- Other projects, like Federal City and the revitalization of Avondale Shipyard, will have demonstrated the potential of public-private partnerships to transform old facilities into new centers of opportunity and jobs.
- Innovation will flourish, proving Entrepreneur magazine right when it claimed, “In the midst of one of the worst national economies in decades, New Orleans is recreating itself as a hive of entrepreneurial initiative.”
- Unprecedented and ongoing reforms will have finally put to rest the four historic “dissatisfiers”: corruption, crime, education and flood protection, and Greater New Orleans will be as famous for its quality of life as for its food and music.
If this is Greater New Orleans at K10 — if this is even close — it will be the place we’ve always aspired to: with a diverse and resilient economy, a renowned lifestyle, and an unquestioned reputation as one of the great places in the country to grow a company — or a family.
But this success is not guaranteed. It will require the same qualities that brought the Saints their first championship — energy, focus and selflessness — sustained over many years. Yet I think we can get there. I believe we are part of one of the great revitalizations of our lifetimes. Why? Because our fundamental advantages — our culture, our costs, our assets — are still in place, while our challenges (the “dissastisfiers”) are being addressed. To quote G.E. CEO, and friend of New Orleans, Jeff Immelt, we simply must “practice optimistic action.”
It is appropriate that we take a moment to pause and reflect at K5.
But tomorrow, it’s back to work. K10 is coming.
President and CEO
Greater New Orleans, Inc.
Economic Development News
“Blade Dynamics Unveils 600-Job Project at Michoud Assembly Facility”
“Globalstar Moving Its Corporate Headquarters From Calif. to LA”
“Brookings Institute Releases New Orleans Index at Five”
“Since Katrina, New Orleans Area Has Added 93,800 jobs, UNO Reports”
“Glimmer of Hope: Disasters and Economic Challenges May Spur New Entrepreneurial Activity in New Orleans”
“Looking On the Green Side”
“State of Suspension”
Around the Region
Announcements and Events
Restore the Gulf Coast. Sign the petition.
Expanding Opportunities For Louisiana Businesses in China Seminar
St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation Quarterly Luncheon: “Globalstar: Why We Chose St. Tammany”