New Orleans Reflections For K10

The following post is a written letter by Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. I’m sharing the letter in its full format because I believe this is something more people should read and hope that by sharing it with you - readers of The Causemopolitan - that you’ll understand a little bit more the struggles and the triumphs of New Orleans and how we all work a little bit every day to undestand it more and to work towards a better future.

The “us” is all of us. It’s not just residents, it’s expats living elsewhere, it’s one-time residents now somewhere else, it’s college students and JazzFest visitoes. It’s all of us. We all have the power, passion and influence to keep New Orleans top of mind and continue to help her from whereever we may come from. I hope you’ll join me. Now onto Michael’s letter:

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:

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.

As the CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., Michael Hecht leads an organization whose mission falls broadly into two categories: business development—marketing the region to businesses—and product development—creating better conditions for business. The ultimate vision is to make the region one of the best places in the country for both a business, and a family.

More information can be found at

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