1000 area leaders meet today to map region's economic future
Shana Rose Reporting
Greater New Orleans, Inc., the economic development organization for the 10-parish region, will host its annual meeting today. Leaders will be discussing how to keep up the growth momentum once the Katrina rebuilding funds wind down over the next three years. Add to that the fact that the rest of the country is recovering from the Great Recession and will present more formidable competition to the New Orleans metro, and it's clear the economic sands are shifting under the Crescent City.
The theme of this year's gathering is 'From Progress to Success' because as Michael Hecht, President and CEO of GNO Inc. says, we're not there yet, and that means the new Orleans area will have to compete on a more level playing field and more on the region's own merit..
He says it's clear that now New Orleans is becoming a world-class city, and competing on that level as recently demonstrated with the GE IT Center of Excellence, while all the metro used to compete with was the state of Mississippi.
"But at the same time we want to caution people that we're really just at halftime in our game," says Hecht. "We want to talk about the things going forward to insure that all the gains that we've succeeded in obtaining so far are sustainable and made permanent."
Hecht says now it's time to focus on the strengths of the Greater New Orleans region. "One is the river, the second is energy, particularly natural gas for us, and the third is our culture. These are three non-competable advantages that we will always have."
He says although New Orleans has seen progress, success will be more difficult, and today's meeting will be a celebration of the remarkable improvement of the region, but also recognition that there is work to be done to ensure that this rapid progress translates into sustained success.
The goal of GNO Inc. is for the Greater New Orleans area to be one of the best places in the country to grow a company and raise a family.