Highlights from Louisiana Entertainment’s Newsletter: Tech on the Bayou

Louisiana, particularly New Orleans, has become a booming brain magnet for entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology over the last few years.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal wrote a piece covering the tech growth on the bayou, highlighting Barrett Conrad’s mobile gaming company Red Ticket Games and the launch of his first app, Expert Trivia. Launch Pad co-founder Chris Schultz is also mentioned in the article for his work and entrepreneurial skills.

As a second piece of news from the Louisiana Entertainment’s Newsletter, we learn that our state is no stranger to going after key industries like gaming. Louisiana has agressive tax incentives that lures big national or international companies to the bayou. The Los Angeles computer and video-game trade show called Electronic Entertainment Expo highlighted some of the top gamers that may be heading down south sooner rather than later.

A Tech Buildup on the Bayou

Barrett Conrad had plenty of chances to leave this city after earning a degree in computer science from Tulane University in 2002.

Instead, the creator of a smartphone app for trivia buffs now urges computer programmers from across the country to move here.

“Everybody I know is hiring,” said Mr. Conrad, a fast-talking, 32-year-old Arkansas native with thick-rimmed glasses who works out of a sparse office in the city’s Central Business District. “And if they aren’t, give them three months.”

New Orleans is in the midst of a mini tech boom, as young “nerds with laptops” are moving from New York, San Francisco and elsewhere to staff established digital businesses and start-ups, said Chris Schultz, the 37-year-old co-founder of Launch Pad, the New Orleans tech incubator where Mr. Conrad rents a desk to work on the company he founded, Red Ticket Games Inc.

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Welcome to Silicon Bayou: Louisiana is coming after California’s gamers

You never know what you’re going to find when you stagger out into the sunlight after watching a preview of the latest zombie-apocalypse videogame. But that’s exactly what happened to me at Day 1 of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, the big computer and video-game trade show that’s taken over the Los Angeles Convention Center.”ZombiU,” the new game from Ubisoft, does looks pretty darn scary. It also seems to be set in London, which somehow makes it even scarier — you can watch the trailer here, be warned, it isn’t for younger viewers! I’m not even sure it was for me, so I made a dash for sunlight and ran right into…a food truck from Louisiana! Giving away alligator (sausage) and fried shrimp po’boys! And root beer! And two kinds of chips!

But also providing helpful information on why, if you’re involved in the gaming industry, you might want to come to work or set up shop in the Pelican State. I spoke with Heath Williams, the Director of Digital Interactive Media from Louisiana Entertainment and Louisiana Economic Development, who was completely unapologetic about bringing his state’s fine cuisine right to the very heart of the California gaming industry, a roughly $2.6-billion-per-year business (and about $5 billion nationally).

And looking to bring our gamers back with him.

“Louisiana has the most aggressive tax incentives in the country,” he said. “We’re comparable only to Canada.”

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