According to the local newspaper the Times-Picayune, New Orleans is attracting young entrepreneurs who are eager to help the city get back on its feet. In fact, the article notes that the American business magazine Forbes listed NOLA as eighth (of ten) US cities where Americans are relocating in March 2009.
At the time, Forbes wrote:
Still recovering from the damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans has been regaining its population slowly over the last two years after losing 22% of its people from 2005 to 2006. Due to massive rebuilding efforts, the unemployment rate is at a moderate 5.5%, 2.6 percentage points lower than the national average.
One business mentioned in the article, iSeatz, has 80 percent of its staff that are not from New Orleans — according to the company’s founder, Kenneth Purcell.
Part of the allure about New Orleans may also be that there’s just a lot of work to be done.
Tim Williamson, president and co-founder of the Idea Village, a nonprofit that identifies and supports promising local entrepreneurs, agrees.
“New Orleans is attractive because there are lots of opportunities here and less layoffs than in other places like Boston or San Francisco,” Williamson said.
In addition to digital media, Williamson said other hot sectors include green business, those ventures that pursue environmental sustainability, and urban redevelopment.
“Katrina reversed the brain drain, so you’ve seen an influx of new talent and capital coming in,” he said. “If you’re an individual looking to take on the most pressing economic and social challenges, there’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity here with entrepreneurship.”