New Orleans is more than Bourbon Street

Journalists around the country continue to drool over the feel good, comeback kid story that is New Orleans. We can’t blame them – we love us, too! Both Bloomberg and Inc. Magazine published stories this week related to the local entrepreneurial movement.

Unfortunately, both stories featured an image that reinforces an age-old idea of what New Orleans looks like: Bourbon Street.

Bloomberg Businessweek: Building Startup Culture in New Orleans

“Since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has reinvented itself as a bit of an entrepreneurial hub, replete with incubators and accelerators and an Entrepreneur Week now in its fourth year that draws visitors from Google, Stanford, and venture capital firms. It has homegrown success stories like the Receivables Exchange and Naked Pizza that now have national profiles.” Read more.

This photo in the Bloomberg story makes a hazy Bourbon Street look like a great place to start a business.

Inc Magazine: New Orleans and Young Entrepreneurs: Nurturing Each Other

“Looking for a supportive start-up community in which to launch your venture but hoping to skip the extreme competition of the likes of Silicon Valley? If you hurry, New Orleans may be the answer.” Read more.

It's possible that Inc. Magazine thinks our entrepreneurs are nurturing each other over drinks at Rick's Cabaret.

So What?

It’s great to have people talking about New Orleans: our startup culture, our collaborative spirit, our risk-taking, our entrepreneurial resources, our business successes. Many of the journalists writing about New Orleans are writing about the right things, they just aren’t representing us well visually.

A few months ago I had a friend who visited from Boston. When we drove into the city from the airport, she was shocked by what New Orleans actually looks like. “It’s a real city! It has big buildings!” Yes, we do business in New Orleans. We have a Central Business District. We have skyscrapers.

So to get it on the record:

Bourbon Street is primarily a tourist trap in New Orleans, not a center of business.


This is New Orleans.


This is also New Orleans:


Photo of Bourbon St. sign by Rob Lee.