New Orleans Needs to Look Beyond Tourism
In preparation for the 2013 Super Bowl which will be hosted by New Orleans, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has donated $30 million to make tourist focused improvements to the French Quarter. Simultaneously, in the legislature, Sen. Edwin Murray has introduced legislation to create a “hospitality zone” which would levy taxes in the superdome and French Quarter area to enhance public safety, sanitation, lighting, and marketing in the area.
As stated by previous TMG blogger Nilsa Duran, the New Orleans tourism industry is doing well and recovering rapidly, but what is the City of New Orleans doing to develop other industries?
A City Where People Want to Live
In a recent Forbes article, billionaire investor Jim Coulter made a statement that may have sparked the interest of the emerging business community: “New Orleans is one of the best cities for entrepreneurs”. The thesis behind this statement is that new and developing businesses, now more than ever, are not tied to location and can therefore establish their headquarters in a city where people want to live. New Orleans has become a brain magnet, attracting young energy from around the nation first with the aid organizations like AmeriCorps and Teach for America and now with sustaining business growth as Coulter describes, but Coulter is quick to mention that New Orleans is “light in the infrastructure around business”.
New Orleans has a culture, a community and a charm that cannot be experienced in any other city in the world, but in order for New Orleans to expand beyond the tourism sector and create real and meaningful economic development the City needs to make a commitment to the people and businesses who call this city home. I have already received this article from several of my email circles because New Orleanians are always happy to see positive news about our city, but instead of patting ourselves on the back for something we have always done well and begin to tackle additional issues that would make the city more economically sustainable.
Senior Analyst, Economics
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