Ravaged by Katrina and accosted by Gustav, New Orleans, the city best known for its Mardi Gras and musicians (and now for its hurricanes) is gradually being reconstructed. The New Orleans 100 showcases one hundred world-changing ideas that underscore just how far the city has come. Here's a look at ten of the most innovative ventures and organizations aiming to revitalize the city.

A nonprofit book making project, The Neighborhood Story Project helps writers in New Orleans create and publish books about their communities. Successful endeavors include a book-making program at John McDonogh Senior High, where high school students learn creative nonfiction, photography, and in-depth interviewing so they can write books about their lives and communities. So far several books have been published. There's also an oral history project that encourages neighbors of the seventh ward to share stories about their lives with one another.

Fotos for Humanity's motto says it all: sharing pictures not taking them. The organization philanthropically provides volunteer photography services for projects undertaken by cultural, community-oriented and educational non-profit groups around New Orleans. It donates the copyright of their images, allowing organizations to retain maximum control over how they use them. Successes so far include raising money to buy beads and feathers for Mardi Gras Indian tribes through photo sales.

Dirty Coast's t-shirts feature slogans like The Beauty of Entropy; Make Wetlands, Not War; and Be a New Orleanian, wherever you are. The goal: stirring conversation and creating local and international awareness about New Orleans's culture, with each shirt serving as a "walking billboard" to help brand the city.

The New Orleans Exchange helps privately held companies gain quick access to working capital. It allows companies to offer their receivables for auction to a global network of capital providers that can bid on them in an online marketplace. The outcome: small companies gain quick access to much needed cash flow, without the lag.

The Idea Village is a nonprofit that encourages economic development by providing strategy, talent and resources to entrepreneurial ventures. It offers financial and technical assistance, business strategy consultation and increased access to technology. It also connects entrepreneurs to business mentors and facilitates access to professional services and capital resources. Recently, the organization launched a $100,000 business competition to unearth the best business ideas to retain and engage the 23-35 year old demographic in New Orleans with hopes of sparking social change and possibly advancing their careers.

NOLA 180 is a nonprofit organization designed to turn around failing charter schools and prepare students for high quality schools and colleges. The organization is currently incubating a group of teachers and administrators at its flagship school, the Langston Hughes Academy, to prepare for the removal of management that isn't meeting its academic goals. Rather than allowing the schools to be shut down, NOLA 180 plans to step in to provide quick, effective replacements.

The New Orleans Kid Camera Project enables children from neighborhoods that were flooded during Katrina to express their feelings through the use of photography, creative writing and mixed media. Apart from helping them recover from the emotional impacts of losing their homes to Katrina, the project also equips the kids with new skills, offering them an alternate lens for viewing the world.

Showcasing 80 artists from around the world, Prospect 1 is no small feat. The exhibition, which opens on November 1, 2008, will be the largest biennial of international contemporary art ever organized in the United States. The aim: to attract a new category of tourism to the city by spotlighting new artistic practices and to offer the international art community a way to make a positive contribution to the city.

Green Coast Enterprises is a small real estate services firm that aims to build sustainable, storm-proof homes along the Gulf Coast. Current work includes Project Home Again, a project of the Riggio Foundation that plans to build energy efficient homes for families whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Since January 2007, waste management company, SDT, has been employing innovative methods to clean up New Orleans. Using a large team of specially equipped water trucks, the company added a patented new smell of lemon and eucalyptus to the French Quarter, and offers services to both residential and commercial areas.

Fast Company

10 Coolest Innovators Rebuilding New Orleans

Ravaged by Katrina and accosted by Gustav, New Orleans, the city best known for its Mardi Gras and musicians (and now for its hurricanes) is gradually being reconstructed. The New Orleans 100 showcases one hundred world-changing ideas that underscore just how far the city has come. Here's a look at ten of the most innovative ventures and organizations aiming to revitalize the city.

Add New Comment

0 Comments