What a difference five years makes. Hard to believe but it was that long ago that Katrina devastated New Orleans and made a comeback seem impossibly difficult and daunting.
But now the Big Easy is not only home to the Super Bowl champions, but it also just elected as mayor in a landslide Mitch Landrieu, son of former New Orleans mayor, Moon Landrieu. While in most cities the election of a new mayor would not be cause for prolonged celebration, New Orleans of course is not most cities. It has a top-shelf reputation for political scandal and corruption, so these results–Landrieu secured 66% of the votes–can be seen as a statement on the city’s collective optimism and a new era of unity.
And as if that wasn’t enough good news, the city is about have its profile jacked even higher, as David Simon, best known as the creator of The Wire, brings his NO-based show about post-Katrina life, Treme, to HBO in April. Oh, and did I mention that a little annual party is just cranking up?
Last year’s Mardi Gras injected about $322 million into New Orleans’ $5 billion tourism business, and this year’s festivities should pull in even more. Because of the non-stop party that is February there, hotels are packed near capacity and 70,000 or more people will be employed to help entertain the masses. No wonder one local PR flack took note of the Super Bowl trophy and crowed: “This year is not Mardi Gras; this year is Lombardi Gras.”
As good luck–or was it masterful editorial leg work?–would have it, next week’s Upswing installment in our series on hot places to start businesses will feature New Orleans. Who dat, indeed.