Thursday, 06 December 2012 15:47

Google Hangout Interview: Michael Hecht of Greater New Orleans Inc talks the economy

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FirstFrameAs New Orleans braces for its magnificent holiday season followed by the mega-extravangzas of Sugar Bowl, Mardi Gras and this year, the super of the super, the NFL Super Bowl, there is one question on the mind of many tourists:  How is the New Orleans city and region economy doing since it is now seven Christmases ago from the season following Hurricane Katrina?



According to Michael Hecht, the energetic, optimistic, articulate and even somewhat zany  President and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc,, the region is doing quite well, thank you.

Hecht discussed the local economy in a recent remote over the “Internet video interview”  with me.  I queried him as he sat comfortably in his downtown Canal Place office overlooking the city. I, on the other hand, sat in “beautiful downtown Metairie” looking at him eye-to-eye, monitor to monitor as we chatted about numerous issues related to economic development.  

So how is the New Orleans region doing in the realm of economic development?

Hecht, who is charged with bringing businesses into the region while keeping those here already,  spoke with confidence and vigor.  He talked about the young enthusiasts moving into the city, the transformation occurring in the city and about Smoothie King’s recent decision to make neighboring Jefferson Parish its home rather than hitting the road to Texas.  

Hecht discussed the fast-growing digital media industry which has attracted the likes of Game Loft and GE Capital and which is bringing the best and the brightest young adults into the community.

We discussed the remark return from the Katrina floods, the similarities between San Francisco (where he previously lived) to the Crescent City and which industries are most suited for growth in Southeast Louisiana.  He discussed how Louisiana is positioned for the expansion of the Panama Canal, a possible rail system connecting Bourbon Street to Baton Rouge, and Sasol’s decision to invest up to 21 billion dollars in nearby Lake Charles.

While there were miles of cyber separating Hecht and me, the technology allowed us to communicate as if we were sitting at the same conference table.  

So, click on the video below, learn about the economic conditions and opportunities in southeast Louisiana and enjoy the insights and the levity of this region’s “go-to-guy” who has the onerous job of helping to transform a city of the past into the enviable metropolis of tomorrow.

Bayoubuzz Note: I apologized for the video quality of the interview.  There was and is nothing wrong with the technology, just a dumb mistake by the person operating it for almost the first time—me.


Visit GNO Inc.


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