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Advocacy Article

April 11, 2006 Conference - Entrepreneurship: The Foundation for Economic Renewal in the Gulf Coast Region

The proceedings from the 2006 New Orleans conference include; presentation summaries, powerpoint presentations, and conference participants. To view the full proceedings, please click the PDF attachment below.

Introduction

The pre-conference orientation began on Monday afternoon, April 10 with a bus tour—a sobering view of the devastated areas of New Orleans in Lakeview, the lower Ninth Ward, and points east. Those who had never seen the mile upon mile of water-ruined houses and the shocking remains of devastated commercial districts found words inadequate to describe the scene, seven months after the hurricanes hit. “Overwhelming,” some said. “Unbelievable.”

The conference would fill in further detail about the unusually difficult nature of this disaster for the area’s residents, including the business community. A significant element of complexity is that so many workers and customers have yet to return, and the rebuilding challenges are daunting.

Businesses are opening: participants met andvreflected on what they had seen at the Court of Two Sisters, a small business in New Orleans whose owners, Joseph Fein III, and Jerome Fein, are members of the Louisiana Restaurant Association.

On Tuesday morning as the conference began, there was also a strong sense of optimism. There are signs that economic activity is picking up. The opportunities are there, especially in housing and other kinds of construction. And there is certainly no lack of entrepreneurial spirit in this culture built on small business—and on hope and even celebration in the face of difficult times.

To view the full proceedings, please click the PDF attachment below.