The “new” New Orleans: Comeback of a southern city
A reawakened city is bidding strongly for leadership among growth centers of the South. The challenger is New Orleans — a port that once dominated the area, then declined. Now, all is bustle and go at the mouth of the Mississippi.
Not so long ago, New Orleans businessmen were worrying about their city. It seemed to have stopped growing. Many called it a “sleeping giant.”
Then a lot of things happened.
New Orleans woke up. Today it is a booming city. Change and progress are everywhere. New industry is moving in, pouring billions of dollars into the city and nearby areas.
Colorful and historic New Orleans, as a result, has become a challenger to other booming giants along the Southern tier of States — Atlanta and Miami to the east, Houston and Dallas to the west. New Orleans seems to be regaining the momentum it once had when its port was the largest in the country and the city dominated the South.
Origins of the boom
Talk to business and political leaders of New Orleans about the reawakening of their city and you hear these points ticked off:
The location of the big Michoud Assembly Facility of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Contracts at the plant, situated east of the city, now amount to 1.5 billion dollars. More than 27,000 workers make up an annual payroll of 190 million dollars.
Vast development of offshore oil and gas
More than 1 million dollars is spent every day in drilling and searching for petroleum and natural gas.
Construction boom in office buildings, hotels and motels, home and industrial sites. More than 2 billion was scheduled for all construction projects last year. By the end of 1965, 80 percent of these projects were going up.
More build-up at the port
A 10-year, 133-million-dollar improvement program is in progress. The port accounted for 90 million tons of commerce last year, now ranks second only to New York in volume.
More than 50 million dollars in convention business has been booked for the next 12 months. The appeal of the French Quarter, with its famous restaurants and shops, will bring in 175 million in tourist business this year.
Outside investors coming in from such cities as Dallas, Houston and New York. This has brought on a more competitive and less cautious attitude among local lending institutions.
A “new faith” in the business community, referred to by some as “political maturity.” Businessmen generally see a more progressive spirit in the city. New Orleans is talked up, not down.
“A new breed.”
Mayor Victor H Schiro puts it this way: “I think a new breed of businessman has come to the fore in New Orleans. The potential always has been here. Only a spark was needed to get the city moving.”