Image: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/121204043818-new-orleans-tech-story-top.jpg width=600
Entrepreneurship has spiked in New Orleans, a city that suffered a population exodus and struggled to get back on its feet after Katrina's destruction. The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center says that 427 of every 100,000 adults in the city started a business between 2008 and 2010 -- the most recent period for which data is available -- compared to a national rate of 333 of every 100,000 during that time.
It is now one of the the fastest-growing cities in America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Forbes recently called New Orleans one of the biggest brain magnets in the country, praising its "communal camaraderie and business incubators that have helped many of the startups get off the ground."
"I've practiced in New Orleans for almost 40 years and I'm more excited about the future of the city today, than I ever have been," said Marcel Wisznia, owner of Wisznia Architecture and Development and a veteran entrepreneur. "I've invested a lot of my life in this community and it's an exciting time for us."
This past May, Wisznia developed Beta, a shared workspace for local startups in a historic downtown building. The space is filled with 20-something entrepreneurs in a range of fields, from tech and fashion to art and music. It's currently at 65% occupancy, and Wisznia expects it to be almost 85% full by the end of the year.
He said he's observed a progression of new startups in the city in recent years -- and the catalyst for this entrepreneurial spark was Hurricane Katrina.
This post was edited on 12/8 at 5:03 am