NEW ORLEANS -- Forbes Magazine recently called Louisiana “America's new frontier for business opportunity,” and New Orleans has been raking in plenty of accolades of its own, in areas like entrepreneurship and employment.
Last year, Chris Boyd was set to move from his then home, Houston, to New York to launch a mobile app company. Things changed though, and he came to New Orleans instead.
The decision, Boyd said, is paying off.
"Better than I ever imagined. I've got more business than I know what to do with, and I'll probably be hiring in 2013," said Boyd, who launched his company, Apptitude, last year. "(New Orleans is) a great place to live. It's a great place to raise a family. We know how to have fun here. Everybody is kind of social. That's the kind of city I want to live in."
Boyd, who is originally from Baton Rouge, noted what a difference a few years have made.
"The Louisiana that I left in 2003 and the Louisiana that I returned to in 2012 are totally different. The business environment, especially in New Orleans, is very hospitable," he said.
And not just for entrepreneurs.
The most recent Labor Department statistics show the New Orleans unemployment rate, at 4.7 percent and falling, is second only to Oklahoma City for metropolitan areas of more than a million people.
"Across the income stratos, you're seeing needs for people all along there," said Peter Ricchiuti, a finance professor at Tulane.
Ricchiuti said the opportunities apply to industries like oil and gas, tourism and, especially, medical, as the new hospitals begin to take shape.
"Historically, not many students stayed in New Orleans after graduation and now, you're seeing a lot more of them wanna stay because they view it as a place of opportunity," he said. "I've been here for 30 years and I just have never seen this much momentum."