Of all the qualities of life I miss about New Orleans, the pace at which she sashays is missed the most. You never know how good you have it in life until you’ve gone without something you intrinsically know is just comfortable.
Just ... right.
Unfortunately, this pace is a killer in the business world, which hints at the deep dichotomy of NOLA – New Orleans, Louisiana.
In March of this year, my fellow NOLAbounders and I embarked upon a chosen mission. The mission plan was set and to some extent, some plans were just made-on-the-fly. This modus operandi felt natural for me being a film and television producer. It is exactly the way we work in Hollywood. Some would argue this is exactly how an entrepreneur works. I subscribe to that argument.
Over the past year, I’ve been formally working on several business plans for two ventures in New Orleans. Ventures which would certainly see me relocate back to my hometown, build two companies, and create much-needed jobs in this stagnate economy. After thirty years in Hollywood, for some strange reason, I’ve always considered Los Angeles my ‘crash pad’ and New Orleans my ‘home’. My fellow NOLAbounders need no explanation.
One of my favorite memes in Hollywood revolves around gambling. Something New Orleans is famous for in folklore as well as commerce. If you’re a gambler in Las Vegas, the longer you stay at the table, the more the odds tip in favor of the house. However, if you’re a gambler in Hollywood, the longer you stay at the table, the more the odds tip in your favor. Flop down a little luck on that table and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how my career has progressed. This luck, shuffled with an insatiable need to be prepared, is the game I play for my vocation.
GAME PLANS ONLY WORK ON SUNDAY
Since post-Katrina entered the lexicon of modern day American language, I have been laboring over a game plan which encompasses building an incubator for motion pictures, television, new media and the arts in this town called The Big Easy. This first-of-its-kind incubator will be a home to sound stages, production facilities and a teaching environment for crew talent, as well as acting talent. Having built and run several companies in Los Angeles, I’ve got a pretty good plan put together. Fold that. I have an excellent plan put together.
As the New Orleans Saints can attest, a game plan only works on Sunday. You can plan, research, do a little more planning, scrap plans, start-over, do more research… It’s the thought process of an entrepreneur. With that approach, I have developed my game plan. But ... there’s always a ‘but’ isn’t there? That ‘but’ is New Orleans’ levee to creating an environment where small businesses can swiftly launch. That levee is leaking a little, just not fast enough. Hard knocks in Hollywood taught me business has to happen yesterday. Small business game plans will only work in NOLA if they get support measured in weeks, not months or years.
RESEARCH IS SUCH A SLOW DEATH
While research may be such a slow death, the current pace New Orleans is walking, with regards to small businesses launching, is an inherent killer. Think of it as heart disease where one day you just drop dead on the sidewalk as you’re sashaying by your favorite NOLA haunts. You are dead before you hit the ground.
An entrepreneur knows when the research needs to slow down and the action plan needs to launch. You can learn the game of poker in five minutes ... but, (grrr) it takes a lifetime to master. Entrepreneurs are business gamblers who measure risk in their ventures – on a daily basis.
The research on my game plan is slowing down and it is time to launch the action plan. But (there’s that word again) New Orleans just can’t seem to belly-up to the table. The problem with NOLA’s attitude towards small business today, is floating exactly back to the same attitude it had pre-Katrina (another lexicon entry). Is NOLA getting lazy again?
TOUGH LOVE FOR NOLA
Post-Katrina saw billions of dollars flood into New Orleans faster than magnetic mercury. With that, business was bound to invade NOLA. The money was there. The new University Medical Center being built and the infrastructure work to the city are very notable projects. Yet, small businesses still have a fight to get launched. The city’s mayor Mitch Landrieu is launching a one-stop-shop for businesses. Really? Seven years after, er, post-Katrina? You can’t sashay like that and expect business to stay for the long term, or even care about the city that care forgot. I’m glad the mayor is launching this effort. It needs to happen yesterday.
One of our NOLAbounders Chris Boyd has already made the leap to NOLA. I hope our other NOLAbounders do, too. Me included. But (there it is again) if you can’t get local business support for a venture such as the game plan I have developed, then explain to me why I should beNOLAbound?
During our NOLAbound adventure, several documentary crews were following us around. As is my natural curiosity being a producer, I found myself always poking my nose in to listen to the interviews. In one interview, my fellow NOLAbounder Marianne Rodriguez gave her first impression of New Orleans. She nailed it on the first try. Stunned me. To paraphrase what I heard:
There’s an admirable but detrimental stubbornness about New Orleans. They’re resistant to change. That thinking won’t allow NOLA to open itself up to new things. New ways of thinking – change.
Am I destined to be a tourist in my own hometown, again? Hollywood and New Orleans have made me a cynic. I blame both towns. It has kept me honest. I wonder if I had a $100 million dollar investment portfolio if New Orleans would pay attention? Would I get support? Do alligators bite?
It will break my heart if I find in the coming times my NOLAbound adventure was just a glorified tour of New Orleans. A very cynical friend of mine in NOLA was suspect about beNOLAbound from the beginning. I told him, “No. No. It’s not like that.” I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I feel I lied.
But (arg!) without support from New Orleans economic developers for several small business plans I’ve spent a considerable amount of time on, I will just default to what I’ve always known about the town. Crime. Corruption. And, crime. Did I mention crime?
My fellow circle of entrepreneurs in Los Angeles have told me not to give up. We know when any one of us is trying to B.S. our way through a project. And we call each other on this ‘art’ of Hollywood and Washington. Yet (better than but?) if New Orleans is B.S.-ing me, my only recourse is to forget about all the wonderful things said to me during my NOLAbound adventure. My cynical NOLA friend will be right. My only mental recourse will be an Oz one. It was all a dream.
THIS CITY NEEDS TO GET OFF ITS ASS SOMETIMES
That’s what this city needs.
To get off its ass and help small business.
After all these years, Hollywood has given me the gift of knowing B.S. before it even walks down Hollywood Boulevard. I can smell it like a drug-sniffing dog standing on any given Walk of Fame star. But (again, that word) I fear all I’ve received in return for my NOLAbound adventure are the friendships made. I can promise I’ll cherish those friendships for a very long time.
The City of New Orleans and Louisiana have been not-so silently parading headlines of economic successes over the last few years, in the land some forget and to resounding success. For that matter, a lot of people still think the mouth of the Mississippi river is the bottom of the toilet bowl for life in America. Katrina, Rita and the levee breaches had a hand in creating that vision.
The organized armies of Big Easy business carolers have been proving on a day-to-day basis this vision has to be changed—at all costs.
lagniappe | lanˈyap | noun. Something given as a bonus or extra gift.
While I have spent the majority of my career in Hollywood, over those three decades I have found California has slowly drowned the Golden State’s goose when it comes to business. In a recent survey by Chief Executive Group, California came in dead last for the fifth year running. Wait. Sixth? No. Eighth. I’ve lost count. You tend to forget about when things are this bad. New York is a kissing Cali cousin to this horrible business climate.
On practically a daily basis I hear talk radio story after story of other states which come to California to poach business. To be honest, it really isn’t that tough of a sell. The ONLY thing California has going for it now days is the weather. You’re two hours from surfing to snow skiing. In the end, the weather doesn’t pay the bills.
ALL POLITICS ARE LOCAL
Now as cynical as Hollywood and New Orleans’ past has made me, I do know politics is one of the root causes of these horrible business climates in California and New York. New Orleans suffered from that same mental disease for decades. On one hand I wished Cali was as exuberant as New Orleans is in throwing crooked politicians in prison. Unfortunately for the California populace and fortunately for the politicians, prison overcrowding and federal court rulings have kicked ‘non-violent’ offenders back out on the streets. Manslaughter criminals are considered ‘non-violent’ according to the state. While I believe crooked politicians deserve the death penalty, California just doesn’t execute people anymore.
What has absolutely shocked me about New Orleans’ politics is, not that there isn’t any politics left in New Orleans, I mean, come on, it is New Orleans. Sorry. My cynicism coming out. What absolutely has shocked me about New Orleans’ politics is that after all these years, the city has figured out if you fight to bring business into The Big Easy and treat them well, they end up staying. And staying with all their employees. It has been a watery road along the way, but I actually think New Orleans has found the right recipe to making good business.
IF YOU’RE GOING TO DREAM, DREAM BIG
One of the tenants of being an entrepreneur is coming up with that first idea. In Hollywood, ideas are like Japanese tourists with $5,000 camera rigs taking photos of the Hollywood Stars on the Walk of Fame—they’re everywhere. With an entrepreneur, after that first idea, you have to figure out how to create a viable business model. Those are not so plentiful in Hollywood. It’s littered with the carcasses of non-viable business models. And a few washed-up [fill-in the blank]. The entrepreneur number-crunches, plans, crunches again, gets a latte (at least in L.A.) and crunches again. The goal is to give life to a viable business model which makes an expected return on investment. The M.B.A. kids call that R.O.I.
In New Orleans, I will probably not be the first or nearly the last entrepreneur to say those three orgs listed above are doing anything and everything to bring entrepreneurs to The Big Easy. They are also looking—and lobbying hard—to bring back those who have moved away for better opportunities in life. This author is one of those runaways. Not only is big business chased after, but small businesses are too.
My goal is to bring to life an entertainment incubator for film, television and new media ventures in order to provide skilled and talented crew members to the region. In addition, launching a start-up production company to develop and produce projects utilizing these same people. While I have run divisions, run companies and launched start-ups in Los Angeles, it’s now time to bring those skills back to my hometown.
Along the way, I will be enlisting the support of these three business amigos to help me make that vision a success. My vision coupled with their reinforcements can only bring about success. These visions and ideas have worked in the past for me and I’m going to the proverbial well, but in New Orleans.
If you visit the websites of these three business amigos above, you will read wonderful stories about big as well as small business successes, I honestly never really thought was possible in New Orleans, post- or pre- Katrina. Hopefully, my venture will be one of those success stories.
Check back when you can. I’ll have some gumbo for ya darlin’.
Ever since my life-changing experience with NOLAbound back in March, my fellow NOLAbounders and I have been publicly blogging and privately discussing behind-the-scenes about our unique experiences. I wanted to wait at least a month before my next posts, to allow some time to click by and the NOLAbound hangover to subside.
While most conversations we had were private, the public conversations had specifically focused on the process of moving to, and creating businesses in New Orleans. Some of us had decided we are going to put New Orleans (NOLA) to the test—starting a business.
Of our NOLAbounders, one is already putting New Orleans to the test. Chris Boyd sold his house in Houston, packed his bags, quit his ‘corporate job’ and moved to New Orleans. Oh, and launched his iPhone and iPad app developer start-up Apptitude. Go Chris! Go.
THE TIME HAS COME
Several other NOLAbounders have expressed similar interest in opening their own businesses in New Orleans, too. I am one of those. After three decades in the film and television industry in Hollywood, I see great opportunities in The Big Easy to launch an incubator studio and production company.
The start-up idea actually came to me post-Katrina, when I was wondering about the local independent filmmaking community and where it had gone. I lobbied and brought the 48 Hour Film Project to New Orleans and launched its inaugural year. Were it not for my efforts in bringing this competition to NOLA, I wonder what would have ever happened to the local indie community. I’m proud to say the competition is still going strong.
Stan Gill gave the independent film community a collective voice overnight.—John Dean Alfone, Corsair Media Productions
This ‘incubator idea’ I had been working on was an effort to develop the skills base and crew talent base in New Orleans and its surrounding areas. Bringing some of my friends who are professionals in their trades in Hollywood to NOLA to teach others in classes was the original incarnation of my idea.
It’s now time to bring my start-up to New Orleans.
I will be testing the waters (pun intended) of New Orleans’ so-called new approach to business and see whether or not NOLA is all talk and no action. My past has shown NOLA to be all talk and horrible action. New Orleans’ political and business past are fresh in my mind, so cynicism is probably too light a word for me.
While I have read volumes of articles and studies heralding New Orleans’ and Louisiana’s new business climate, I will report back—the good, the bad and the ugly—of my experiences with New Orleans. I believe this would only be fair to those who are reading my posts, prospective businesses looking at NOLA and the three organizations responsible for NOLAbound 2012—Downtown Development District, Greater New Orleans, Inc. and The Idea Village.
In future posts I’ll provide more details on this entrepreneurial start-up. In the meantime, think entertainment incubator, studio and production company ideas.
Kill Me Once, Shame On You - Kill Me Twice, Shame On Me
NEW ORLEANS— The Big Easy is one of the most alluring cities in the world. While I have traveled the Big Blue Marble, I have not seen as many cities and continents as my heart desires. Be forewarned, I was raised in New Orleans so my bias is strong. Or, cynical. You decide.
During my life-changing experience as a NOLAbounder, I was having a passionate conversation with one of the stakeholders in this whole out-of-the-box-and-planet experiment. Apparently, I had uttered something she thought was profound.
She cut-in, “Wait! What did you just say?” To which I replied, “What? What did I say?” While fumbling around, I finally recalled:
I don’t know if I’m a cynic because I was raised in New Orleans, or because I work in Hollywood, but I’m a convert for my own city.
Maybe it’s this cynicism which keeps me protected in the Land of No—Hollywood. Maybe, it’s what made me write on my application for the beNOLAbound experiment, in answer to the question:
“Single most important issue facing New Orleans?”
To which I penned, “When New Orleans lowers its carnival mask, as divisive and unpleasant a sight it may be, her single most important issue is today’s rate of murders and crime. While those more scholarly than I can provide a better examination as to the history and causes, it’s certainly the black veil hanging over New Orleans which she has not emerged from. Whether a real or perceived issue, New Orleans will be frozen in this state until she can provide safe harbor for those tourists and businesses desiring to come to the city, as well as for her residents.”
Cynical? Maybe. Did I mean it? Yes. Oh, I meant it.
Maybe I was trying to protect myself—if and only if I was selected—to be a NOLAbounder. That way I could easily wiggle out of any nasty political issues, if need be. I hedged my bet.
CONGRATULATIONS—You’re a NOLAbounder!
Well, guess what? I was selected along with 26 outstanding applicants to take part in this experiment, which had as much chance to go horribly wrong, as it did to go horribly right.
We were told there would be a documentary crew following us and upon arriving in New Orleans, we would be immediately interviewed. After being searched by the TSA before I even got on the plane—I was fearless. Walking funny, but I was fearless.
Now, what do you think the first question I was asked? You got it. What were my thoughts on what I wrote with regards to the crime problem in New Orleans? To add to the tension, I had such a crushing migraine from sleeping on the flight over from Los Angeles, I could barely utter my name.
So, I stuck to my guns and tried desperately to remember what I wrote. I spent enough time thinking about my answer to that question, I should have had it memorized.
Blank. Dumb. Stare.
Eventually, I think, maybe, probably, I said something similar to what I wrote. Yet, I was serious about my task given to me by the beNOLAbound challenge. I meant every word. Even if I couldn’t remember what I wrote.
I FOUGHT THE LAW BUT WE BOTH WON
Part of our beNOLAbound experiences included a Key Issue Panel Discussion at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). The NOLAbound team had done their homework. And, boy did they. They were setting the NOLAbounders up with key influencers in the city. And who do you think would be one of the most key influencers?
From Los Angeles, I’ve only seen Chief Serpas through the main stream media lens. Short sound bites and frequent cuts of full sentences. A few problems immediately come to my mind. One is, the Chief could rival any offensive lineman the New Orleans Saints has. *He has to be a 6’10” corn-fed boy, or pretty close to it. Another is the instant command presence he had in front of our group. The Chief certainly has seen a shadier bunch than us before and as a leader, I could see he had to have a command presence. As a Navy Veteran, I was struck by his awesome command presence.
Okay, good so far. I was waiting a few minutes for him to finish his standard answers to practically the same topics he has to talk about all the time. Though I don’t directly work in the journalism arena, being a public speaker and media trainer gave me the weapons I needed to fight through all the bullet points the Chief was about to give us.
Every one of my fellow NOLAbounders began to lob pointed and relative questions towards the Chief. I didn’t hear once a question a TV reporter would ever ask, maybe out of fear their press credentials would be revoked for asking tough, pointed questions. What was the Chief going to do to us? We weren’t the press. We were the NOLAbounders tasked with a mission. And that mission was going to be achieved.
Then it hit me. Looking directly across at this man, this leader (whose job you couldn’t pay me enough to take), began to make quizzical faces as if he’d never heard these questions before. His responses gave him away when he told us we were asking really poignant questions. Trust me when I say my questions weren’t as nearly as tough as my fellow NOLAbounder’s.
Here is our exchange, as best as I can remember:
First, I introduced myself, “Chief, Stan Gill, I’m a film and television producer out of Los Angeles via the Westbank (of New Orleans).”
He cuts me off, “I grew up on the Westbank.” “Yeah, yeah, don’t throw me off course,” I thought to myself.
“Chief, what is your opinion on the national main stream media and how fair it treats New Orleans’ crime problems?” What happened next, I never expected. Chief Serpas grinned from ear-to-ear. That little bit of body language told me he completely understood New Orleans was not getting a fair shake from the national main stream media and he was about to say his peace.
To paraphrase, he relayed his department had two issues, with regards to my question. One, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) needed to do a better job of getting relative, timely and accurate information out to the public. He readily admitted the NOPD was not doing that efficiently. Two, he would hope when his department achieves those goals, that the national main stream media would then reluctantly have to give New Orleans a fairer outlook with regards to its crime problems. Yeah, good luck with that. But, he reeled me in.
Save for the spikes in certain areas of crime, for example the rate of homicides in New Orleans versus the national average, Chief Serpas did not shy away and give us a convoluted answer. He was direct. He was to the point. And, I sensed he felt he needed help. Help which could only be solved by better budgets.
I can tell you by sitting there for hours and finally putting the Chief on-the-spot (because I didn’t have a press pass to revoke), Chief Ronal Serpas is the right man for the right job.
He even inspired me while sitting in front of him, to come up with a thumbnail action plan where my company could actually help the NOPD with these issues the Chief spoke about. I was in. How could I help solve these problems? I had a plan. I just had to be asked to help.
SHOOT ME CHIEF, I DARE YOU
My second question went something like this, “Chief, why don’t you just pack-it-in? Go somewhere else where you can make more money and not have to deal with these headaches here in New Orleans. You know you can make more money.”
Ron Serpas smiled and said, “I love this city. I grew up here.”
Signed. Sealed. Delivered.
I replied, “Chief, I see you through the media lens out in Los Angeles. The sound bites. The cut-off sentences. No in-depth coverage. Thank you for your service to my city.”
Whether real, or perceived, there was a tension in the air which slowly vanished when I heard sighs of relief come from within the room. Was I too arrogant to ask my questions? Was I rude? Did I embarrass my fellow NOLAbounders by coming out firing?
I don’t think so. I think the entire room felt the same as I did—Chief Serpas is the right man for the right job. He had convinced me.
To be fair, I have no idea whether or not press credentials are pulled from reporters asking pointed questions as the NOLAbounders did. I doubt credentials would be pulled after listening to the Chief. He’s a leader.
Oh, by the way, this experiment went horribly right.
*Chief Serpas has since corrected me to say he’s actually 6’5” and CRAWFISH-fed. Duly noted, Chief. Duly noted.
posted: March 21, 2012
Dear New Orleans Is A Script of Your Life
If New Orleans has a script, this would be the first two lines:
Like all we talk about here toward economic.—and blown them on and on their—Let’s talk about happy. And we got a lot to Europe be thankful for this Thanksgiving security in the city in the literary and he had been as safe as Jim Williams from here with me president of—village one of my favorite people definitely favorite organization think from coming into and our—welcomed here. And Michael had to us see your prison greater New Orleans eggs never does a thing hasn’t accomplished anything is just put that aside from. Bring unity number of big businesses here and make our future look all—brighter of marginal organization about Michael Eric welcome to the show. No article brought up Karate—and as Michael—black gold course—New—downtown development district go—welcomed the show. And they tell me you’ve got to be leaving close to the top of the hour salute you sort—jump. Tell us some good stuff tell you something happy for Thanksgiving. One when I go to canal pleased when I go to canal street. When I go to the French Quarter. Well we’re not good words the hospital is gonna be built in the—hospital that it just feels like mr. cynicism. Doesn’t every place to go anymore things look good.
I think the last time Tim and I were on where if you—we didn’t want to keep mr. system other experts were very good—some.—you weren’t able of course you have you know the higher opening and you know we’ve. A lot of small stuff that he did I think people are starting to take note but it’s hard to put your finger on. But like perspective we’ve had twenty it’s aside renovation that canal street alone just over the last three years. All that and that kind of thing is starting to come together and and we got more on the way we got you know the same hotel it’s gonna open yet this year.—Jewish fears and open before the end of this year so their own Connecticut right now I think you’re just gonna CO more of the same positive news—
Michael headquarters in for mirror and every time I talked to the B individual organizations. Or. Potential manufacturing organizations. Ports and you.
Well you know I think that that. We are in the midst of one of the greatest—turnaround over a lifetime and something that history is gonna look back on. And described in the same terms as maybe Chicago—back the great fire. They keep that anyone was its its—tremendously exciting and fulfilling time to be here we seek quantitative evidence. So for example last week a ranking came—just a ranking that said that. New Orleans was number eight in the entire country—over the summer 2011. But you also seek qualitative.—for example we—getting phone calls. For the first time in my tenure out of the blue from fortune 100 companies that have made the world a finalist for locations. Before we even jumped density you’re seeing actually have a shift in the way—being perceived in the corporate community globally. And it’s just it’s it’s tremendously promising.
I’ve got a good quote—Tim Williamson here with the do bill is one of the new releases we’ve sent out—how—this last night. It’s from the seal of something called film rated sample of which we’ll talk a little later hoosiers quotes.—successful companies in New York London and Los Angeles. But right now in New Orleans surrounding area is the absolute best place to build its startup. Welcome back we’ll talk with Tim Williamson and what I—village they got a whole new thing they’ll call launch normal—program.—Good old tank and the integrity of my—zero prison greater New Orleans think. Tim Williamson a concern to you—this president I—village—why go downtown development different kind of just been informed that this is a project between all three entities. A launch showed no love bound program. Tim—we don’t start reviewing them go to Michael Gordon Kurt. It’s out there involved to tell—about the.
well aware the idea village in—only can dvd connect. Is really about making the world a better place a better place this open for business for entrepreneurs small businesses and the—project was driven by the economic development—that challenge just to—collaborate together with. The campaign to showcase that new worlds is in fact open for business. So in true innovative—Lewis took brain storm room and and together we came up. With this project the just launched this week where we’re gonna be inviting 25. Innovators. Entrepreneurs. Creatives. Of those who—on Twitter and FaceBook and social media gurus. 2—loans for three days during the—and we can march. And with the belief that what we see on the ground we think is truly. As as Michael said this something magical happening here and the only way we can communicate that is bringing people here. So we’re doing a round trip ticket we’re gonna do we have an open application identifying 25 folks around the country. And they get to experience New Orleans. Firsthand. They gonna see beyond Perot movement thing—the business opportunities seat downtown. And we’re really asking the do the honest. Come in and tell us what you really think you see. We’re gonna certainly showed the what we’re doing here but give us feedback it was constructive insight. And help us and partner with us on making the—as a world class city so it kicks off on this week.
Incurred by gore hundreds of foreign content on to—downtown development district.
Well Carol India as—QB or there’s the big part of our economic development strategy downtown. You know what we call industries of the mind focus on digital media. Medical and arts based businesses and—If I think that the reason we are so we’re also you. Supportive generally on the same page on this and and I and I I once did there’s so many other folks you know the from the mayor’s office—you’re the mayor shown great leadership in terms of—The cultural economy and the that knows business alliance it’s it’s very gratifying right now to see how we’re all pulling in the same direction because as you know. I think that is not always been accused and on—and so you know it’s I think we all strongly believe and that’s I think the reason we do. Is because you know the way I think it is it’s if you if you are completely. Confident in your product—is a place. Still centimeter brochure and hope they’ll come but we’re so confident that working invite the world—and have them tell the rest the world what this city because. You know as Michael and chemicals that. We’re we’re we’re out firing on all cylinders right now and we want these folks come in until the rest the world are just.
Michael Eric we have. Demographer. But I use hero and a regular basis and the story always tells his cell migration of Louisiana who’s constantly losing. Of people—numbers. One I’ve recently done I asked him to dig into the—recent. Census figures and take a look at the metro area in particular New Orleans and you call reckon these little social and and you’re right. You’re not losing your gaming. And he says although the numbers are not huge. There certainly are a lot of young people coming in here. They’re the business people you’re attracting young people that you—this kind of thing appears say look. We’re gonna bring in wanna plug qualified professionals all expense paid. Have you come in into what they think can we didn’t film that we can do a document rail Britain.—this is this just a little tiny little fraction of what works or does this make a big difference.
Well I think there’s there’s two answers that it.—the ideal answered that will really start over our number one count that we have from an economic development standpoint is brand it’s the brand of New Orleans and Louisiana really pre dating Katrina for decades. As console far Q—narrower basis we sold—as a place to come and party but not the place to invest and running and grow a business or family.—we’re trying to change that now. Ideally we would have a hundred million dollars a year for three years and we can tell this story about buying media around the country and around the world are we don’t have that money. So we’re left Q he’s being much more creative about it and using more ground up on guerrilla techniques and one of those. It is—know about were—were cheating what I would call key influencers. Are from strategic industries around the country. Bring them here and then allowing them to tango and promulgate the message to. So on one hand this is the ideal solution but the ideal solution costs—dollars. Still absent that. Did they tried and true method we use and actually with site selectors who talked to companies have these are individuals were gonna talk to perspective on new residents so. I think it is a very important part of a very or are attested in true part of the solution.
And into movie tomb where the pros do villages—overlap of the fourth in New Orleans entrepreneur awards week. In—BI emphasizes too much because—broadcasted one year for a three hours. But I was just amazing continue to remain some homework to a—bright not a related to goes to Harvard she’s here this week and should get a bunch of Harvard people coming with her very much good I do village and get an idea what’s going on but—numbers there was MIT was Rhodes scholars who was cal tech. And they did it it was either Harvard—one of the others that almost had a a lottery as soon who got to go there. Because so many of you born to come. For a good in turn each network and the village but because a hearing this is on to Britain nor city. Right I mean that this continues to grow.
What good does this is actually some data and some facts behind it so we do have. A cluster of companies are doing incredibly well right now from a naked pizza to receivables exchange. To Turbo squid—it’s ice seats. This and companies Garland now there are—only raising money they’re growing creating jobs and and growing globally. And as Michael—and and encrypt his dad and now coming out that the—is a brain—that New Orleans is. A great place for jobs so I think—is being the fourth you people are not coming down here ache they feel sorry. Becoming a—actually see an opportunity that New Orleans is. In a unique position that in in in our country’s. Situation right now that they’re coming down. To know pointed to experience such partnership and launch no movement. But they’re looking for jobs they’re looking for—ideas and they’re looking to be part of what’s happening in New Orleans. And that’s what we like no abound as a project as we get to bring folks into this. To see it to touch it to feel it and there really to help tell the rest of world what we see is happening we’re gonna leave a little over a minute—who what when and where. What with a program launched a—going to be no bound dot com. It has launched this week and what we’re seeking right now or are 25. Individuals I can be for around the world that would come to New Orleans. During march. Tenth to sixteenth. All expenses paid and what they were of those experience. The richness of—experienced the business and with the knowledge in doing TV the united village. We’re gonna basically opened the doors—to what we—going on so applications alive. And will be announcing the finalist. The beginning of the year and then—entrepreneur week we’re gonna introduced the world to go to New Orleans.
Fareed and that’s do you know—that beat eat yet needle up bound dot com. Remains open until Friday December the sixteenth ranked. Right and then people listen all over the country from wide open. And all expenses paid. All expenses paid into group that is hampering their Twitter account their iPhone well you Michael Tim incurred—gifts are should thank you for what you’re doing.—for the region for the should be per month and only. But that’s tough because you’re born my negative show. And I. I ratings went through the room because there was nothing but negative because command ruin the whole thing but happy Thanksgiving anyway and I appreciate the time you wanna give to the show.—Thanksgiving you have these guys have been—Teradata.
NEW ORLEANS— It was Monday, August 29th, 2005 while I was completing my final (unbeknownst to me at the time) set of Active Duty orders with the U.S. Navy, as I gazed into the glowbox in stunned-silence. My hometown of New Orleans was being attacked by man-made mistakes and Mother Nature’s daughter—Hurricane Katrina.
I had grown up with levees, neutral grounds, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and mosquitos. It’s the mosquitos I can’t handle too well. The world watched live on its lightpipes and airways. Everyone wanted to just jump in a pick-em-up-truck and head out to help. It’s the American way. But there was nothing we could do and I was in Los Angeles. Just watching.
One of the hardest lessons I learned many years ago, while attending Damage Control training with the U.S. Navy, was sometimes you have to just ‘standby to standby’ as my trainers would say. Listen to the radio chatter. And, sometimes get this guttural, hopeless feeling as your shipmates battle a life-threatening emergency down below. There was nothing further you could do.
That was exactly how I felt watching the Katrina disaster unfold.
While volumes of history can and will be written as to the causes, outside of the hurricane itself, of the disaster and loss of human lives, I’ll keep my opinion off this page. For now.
To be honest with you, I am still having some leftover PTSD issues. Yeah, it’s that fancy acronym of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Our grandfathers and grandmothers called it Shell Shock.
I got to The Big Easy - boots on the ground 15 December 2005 - not long after the authorities allowed air traffic to start again, which was not support-related in recovery efforts.
Everything I could do to help in the recovery efforts, I did. And then a little more. Volunteers from around the country and the Big Blue Marble came to town. This time it wasn’t for Mardi Gras, or Jazz Fest. It was an amazing sight. I felt I was doing my small part, even if sometimes, I just had to standby to standby.
My plans to stay in New Orleans for 3 to 4 months were about to turn into 26 months.
GROUND ZERO FOR ME
On the morning of 15 November 2006, a negligent garbage truck driver almost killed me when he ran a stop sign. Certainly killed the truck I was driving. To make matters worse, he accused me of running ‘the stop sign’ which didn’t exist for me, so, in my U.S. Navy Photographer way, I took out my digital camera and began to photograph the scene. With my head killing me, my vision blurry and my knee aching, I snapped away.
Then, silently from behind, another idiot driver hit me in his truck. It felt like the entire Saints Defense just nailed me. Reflexively, I captured the moment of impact.
My Navy career ended that night and almost my film and television career. I now have lifelong injuries.
Thank you New Orleans.
A NEW OUTLOOK
Six years later and many years of coping with pain, surgeries and deep-seated anger towards New Orleans, I’m now heading back as an honored member of beNOLAbound to show the world what a ‘new’ New Orleans has become.
A very, very wise man gave me this ...
Don’t hold what a few people did to you against a whole city. You’re better than that.
Well, I’ll never get my Navy career back and I’ll probably never run again. But I can still write, produce and direct. Yes, I’m thankful for just being on the right side of the grass.
My dear, departed granny once told me,
What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
By that rule of measure I should be Superman—The Man of Steel.
Wednesday is coming-up fast in my rearview mirror. Let’s see how I cope.
The economic comeback of Greater New Orleans has been gaining steady momentum in the years since 2005. Today, broad evidence suggests that this progress is at an “Inflection Point”—on the brink of rapid acceleration in a number of key areas, including entrepreneurship, human talent, positive perception, and business development. This increasing rate of positive change presents an undeniable, and historic, opportunity for Greater New Orleans to achieve new levels of economic diversity and strength.
posted: March 12, 2012
Second Line Stages
NEW ORLEANS— One of the great additions to the film and television industry in The Big Easy is Second Line Stages, just upriver a little from the Central Business District located in the Lower Garden District.
The NOLAbounders 2012 of which I’m honored to be selected as one, will have the privilege of dinner hosted at the stages when they come to town during beNOLAbound March 14th-18th.
Up until 1998, when Raleigh Studios Manhattan Beach was built, the greater Los Angeles area had not seen new sound stage construction in over 60 years. New Orleans is quite the leader in sound stage creation, however a shortage still exists to meet the demand.
Of all the projects I’ve worked on in New Orleans, I was just too busy to get the chance to have a tour of Second Line Stages. This NOLAbound opportunity will be sorely welcome.
NEW ORLEANS— Accommodations for the NOLAbounders 2012 will be provided by the wonderful folks at The Hotel Modern New Orleans. Sitting right on Lee Circle, it provides a sleek, modern departure from old world New Orleans architectural styles.
Resident Chef Dominique Macquet has created a world class restaurant Tamarind, named after “the exotic tropical fruit Macquet enjoyed as a child growing up in Mauritius and explores Vietnamese cuisine from the perspective of nearly a century of French colonial presence in Vietnam.”
The hotel bar is named after a pre-prohibition era photographer.
“At the turn of the 20th century New Orleans, E.J. Bellocq, a quiet Marine photographer, secretly photographed the madams of Storyville, New Orleans’ famed red light district.”
Bellocq’s drink menu is the creation of the owners of New Orleans’ renowned Cure.
“Cure was recently named one of the Best Bars in America by Esquire Magazine and one of America’s Best Cocktail Bars by Travel + Leisure.”
This looks to be a great adventure for 27 NOLAbounders looking to find a ‘new’ New Orleans.
NEW ORLEANS, La.— Since I’ve started following some of the NOLAbound participants on Twitter, my feed has been overwhelmed with a stream of photos and excitement over the arrival of their NOLAbound care packages—each fully equipped with welcome materials, credentials, a NOLAbound luggage tag, and a Dirty Coast t-shirt. Their excitement got me excited. Like, unnaturally excited.
Southern California, specifically the Los Angeles basin, is located within a ninety minute drive of surfing the Pacific Ocean to surfing on fresh snow in the beautiful local mountain resorts. What’s there not to like? Okay, the oppressive traffic is tops in the Do Not Like column but, the weather rarely gets a chance to change from a wonderful sunshiny day. The business opportunities offered to me in Los Angeles have shaped most of my career and I’m grateful I came here at a young age to take advantage of those windows of opportunity.
In what other cities have you lived?
London, England and New Orleans, Louisiana
What is/was your favorite city and why?
New Orleans shall always be my favorite city. Having grown up there as a small boy into a man, I am grateful for the Crescent City and the culture which inevitably developed that very unique sense of knowing what it means to miss New Orleans. Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? I do. I shall always.
What do you hope to gain from NOLAbound?
THE number one takeaway I hope to gain from participating in NOLABound is exposure to other uniquely talented entrepreneurial rainmakers. These are the thinkers with torchlights of ideas who want to elevate New Orleans to an arts-based business/entertainment industry level she has never seen since her birth, 7 May 1718 when the French Mississippi Company landed. The key to success for the NOLABound arts-based business focus industry is not in just the exposure alone, but rather in the launch of a start-up anchor motion picture and television studio for creative businesses to thrive within a cutting-edge entertainment community.
What is your overall opinion of New Orleans?
Ville de La Nouvelle-Orleans—New Orleans—is not a city. It’s not a post-Katrina soggy, mystic world. Somedays, it’s not even The Big Easy. New Orleans is a state-of-being. She can be cruel to you sometimes out of fear. She can also be the greatest comfort you’ll receive in life. If you haven’t experienced this, you just ain’t N’awlins. The problem with New Orleans is her children only know these secrets. She needs to shine a torchlight on this Big Blue Marble in such a way she draws not only tourists, but businesses, too.
Single most important issue facing New Orleans?
When New Orleans lowers its carnival mask, as divisive and unpleasant a sight it may be, her single most important issue is today’s rate of murders and crime. While those more scholarly than I can provide a better examination as to the history and causes, it’s certainly the black veil hanging over New Orleans which she has not emerged from. Whether a real or perceived issue, New Orleans will be frozen in this state until she can provide safe harbor for those tourists and businesses desiring to come to the city, as well as for her residents.