The NEW Orleans

In a commencement speech, Steve Jobs tells the 2005 graduates of Stanford that, “death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make room for the new.” Because of all the recent changes in my life, I’ve relied on these words quite often the last few months. { read more }

I bring it up again because of what I see here in New Orleans. Out of all the devastation of Katrina a new generation has arisen. These young folks have a fervor, an excitement like we had in Atlanta in the early 80s. The tide seems to have changed in this town. The old guard appears to have lost the reins on this city.

All day long I heard story after story of transformations that occurred because of Katrina. One person came here to help after the storm. She loved this city and its people so much that she quit her job back home and stayed here. A successful stock broker closed up shop after the storm and followed his passion to become an artist. Others tell stories of how they turned from amassing net worth to seeking a joyful, enriching life. This place was changed by Katrina.

New Orleans is drawing scientists, tech gurus, social media professionals, lawyers, artists from all over the world. I’ve heard over and over again of young people returning to their roots, or tired of the rat race in New York or LA. Good, smart, creative young people are flocking this city. It’s very infectious.

Forbes named New Orleans #1 on the list of “America’s Biggest Brain Magnets” for attracting college kids. It was included in the top 10 cities of “Best Places to Live and Work for Young Professionals.” Add to that twenty or so Top 10 listings in “Top Economic,” “State of the Year,” “Top City for Young Entrepreneurs,” and the list continues.

Good has surely come out of a horrible disaster. It really has.

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