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Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans is second only to Charlotte, North Carolina, when it comes to economic development in the South.

A new report by the magazine Southern Business & Development says more corporations are calling the metro area home than ever before!

The city, now dubbed the silicone bayou, is attracting tech start-ups and companies like Federated Sample to the area.

'There's a number of investment firms and people who want to get tech start-ups going in New Orleans and that is part of why we are here,' says Federated Sample President Michael McCrary.

The technology firm does data and market research for companies all over the world and the company chose New Orleans because it is pro-business, offering tax credits and incentives to businesses who set up shop in the Crescent City.

But more than that, McCrary says it attracts the technology industry's best and brightest.

'They want to move to New Orleans,' says McCrary. 'They want to be apart of the New Orleans revival, but they also want the big city job.'

Michael Hecht, the President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., says it is for that reason that New Orleans is only second to Charlotte, N.C., when it comes to attracting new and growing businesses to the region.

'We have created a much better business environment by simplifying taxes,' says Hecht. 'We have put incentives in place like the digital media incentive, which is why we are the fastest growing digital market in America.'

What is most impressive is that most, if not all, of the economic activity the metro area has seen, has happened in the last five years.

'New Orleans got to number two having done absolutely nothing before Katrina and nothing really for three years afterwards because we were drying out,' says Hecht.

Hecht says that success is partly the city's doing and partly luck.

However, he says there is no denying that companies from all over the world want to call New Orleans home.

'One of the things I am most encouraged about is, in fact, that we are seeing such a diversity of industries,' says Hecht. 'What really hurt us back in the 80s was that we were only invested in energy.'

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