Vol. 38: From Progress to Success

The progress of Greater New Orleans over the past five years has been rapid and dramatic; the publisher of Forbes called it “one of the great turnarounds in American history.” And indeed, there is a preponderance of evidence that Greater New Orleans has not only come back from Katrina, but has come back better than ever.

In economic development, we are at the highest point, in every economic ranking, in our history:

  • #1 Most Improved Metro in the USA [Wall Street Journal]
  • #1 Growing Metro Area for Employment [Brookings Inst.]
  • #1 Metro for IT Job Growth in the USA [Forbes]
  • #1 Most Improved State in the U.S. [Chief Executive magazine]
  • #1 State for Economic Growth Potential [Business Facilities]

In recent years, Greater New Orleans has rediscovered both its imagination and will – and the result has been truly remarkable progress.

But progress is not yet success. Our gains are fragile.

Over the next three years, post-Katina funding will wind down; the rest of the country will emerge from the Great Recession; and the energy of rebuilding could begin to attenuate. We have hit the inflection point. The question now is, will we stay aloft?

That is what do we have to do to translate this recent progress into long-term success?

Part of the answer lies in critical mass: developing enough companies and trained workforce so that our economy becomes self-sustaining.

Part of the answer lies in institutionalization – of policies, programs, and organizations– to ensure that our progress will continue even as people change.

Finally, the answer lies in making permanent our newfound culture of excellence, whereby Louisiana no longer competes against Mississippi, but against the world – as we successfully did this year for GE Capital.

The symbolic start of our recovery may have begun on September 25, 2006 when Steve Gleason blocked that punt against the Falcons. If so, then it is appropriate to say that we are now at half time.

The Saints went on to win that game. Now, if we play our second half like the first – with focus, energy and unanimity of purpose across the region – then we too will triumph.

Thank you for your support.

See the video and PowerPoint presentation “From Progress to Success” by visiting gnoinc.org/annualmeeting.

Michael Hecht
President and CEO
Greater New Orleans, Inc.


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