Ignore This Post (or treat it like the national business community has treated new orleans)


I just spent the last hour watching the New Orleans debate for mayor which was broadcast on MSNBC. In case you didn't know, the election is tomorrow.

After watching the debate I have made a decision about who should be mayor of my hometown but I'm not going to post that. Voting and shitting are our only two privacys left and I plan on holding on to both as long as possible.

But let me tell you what is really happening in New Orleans.

Here's the deal.

The middle class, for the most,part have hauled ass.

They can't come back into the city even if they wanted.


Because there are no jobs for them.

All the good paying jobs have relocated and are not coming back.

So people who own their own business now have no one to sell to so they are going under.

What you have is a case study of how to kill a city.

People look at what happened in New Orleans as a failure of the different branches of government. And they are right.

But what has happened afterwards is a failure of the national business community.

It's a living case study of why depending on market forces to save one of this countries greatest cities is bone-headed.

It also proves that business, doesn't give a fuck.

I live in Tampa.

We have a booming economy here. 

Met-Life just announced they are bringing 470 more jobs to the city with an average salary of $52,000.00.

Now in this over-connected, you-can-do-anything-anywhere world, why did they not consider putting their offices in New Orleans?

But it's not just the financial community.

I did a google news search today for "new jobs to" just to see where the new jobs are going.

A new manufacturing plant to built in Colorado Springs,CO.

Rhode Island-based Neptco (they do Fiber Optics) is expanding in South Carolina

New Jersey-based Heartland Payment Systems, Inc. has broken ground on a new service center in Indiana

After that I just got mad and stopped looking.

The United States Business Community has proved to be no better than the Government was 8 months ago.

The country of Cuba and Brad Pitt has done more to help the city than most Fortune 1000 business owners.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

See you at JazzFest

[reloaded: A discription of what it's like trying to get help in New orleans]

Explore posts in the same categories: Army Of One, big business, crimes, cursing, DEAD, fortune 500, New Orleans, personal

14 Comments on “Ignore This Post (or treat it like the national business community has treated new orleans)”

  1. TerryC Says:


    Why do you expect businesses to come back to a city that is obviously dying?

    I’ve been to New Orleans a dozen times. I love the city. But I wouldn’t move my business there.

  2. Mark Says:

    Char –

    I dig your blog, and generally like and agree with most everything you post, so I’m honestly not trying to be “snarky” with the following —

    1. If you were the head of a Fortune 1000 company, how would you go about convincing your shareholders that moving / expanding into NOLO would be a good move, especially when there hasn’t really been anything done to protect assets down there from what is being forcast to be another tough (or tougher) hurricane season on the Gulf coast?

    2. You post a good deal about this being a time of incredible opportunity, the changing paradigms of business, the power of the small, army of one…yet you bash the stogy old time fortune 1000 companies for staying away — something that everyone would arguably expect them to do? Why not put the same energy into a post that tows the official chartreuse (BETA) line of lighting a flame under the butts of these singular person armies out there (including yourself in Tampa?) to go out to NOLO and make something happen?

    Just curious.

  3. Diane Ensey Says:

    I’m with Mark’s #1 response. The fundamental problem is that we are seeing an upturn in hurricanes and New Orleans is below water level. As a shareholder, I would question any company that relocates there in a big way.

  4. candice Says:

    Saudi Arabia has come up with a bunch of donations too, to schools and other such. (The mind-bending one that comes to mind is they donated 200,000 worth of desks and other such school furniture for Mount Carmel Academy, a girls’ catholic high school.)

    I can’t watch the debates, they just hurt too much. My night-class English class at UNO was discussing them the other night, and we were all horrified at how our politicians make the rest of us look like idiots. Besides that, I’m still registered to vote in Jefferson parish. All I can do is try to oust Broussard when the time comes.

    (btw, I’m going to try to do a set on the post-apocalypse car-graveyards around soon. They’re freaking me out. I just have to finish moving.)

  5. Mark Says:

    First, a viral tag for an excellent post.
    We Are Not OK

    Second, NOLA needs to provide an educational system that attracts employers. That is the one thing we have to get right to recover. And it will take a generation for the real benefits to be seen. In North Dakota (where I have lived for the past decade or so) there is a remarkably low unemployment rate. Businesses are enticed to locate businesses like call centers here in part by a highly regarded public school system.

    I think we can attract a vibrant and educated middle class, starting with the young and childless. The people we used to call Yuppies are attracted to an attractive cultural environment, and we have that in spades. What we need to figure out is how to incubate technical and nother knowledge or talent industries, the sort of people who chose to live in, say, San Francicso in spite of the costs and other hassles because it is The City.

    Crime and education. These have to be addressed.

  6. candice Says:

    Mark – also, one of the biggest problems at the moment is housing, STILL. Until there’s anywhere for even the people who want to stay to live, stuff is going nowhere.

    We might have hope if the movies keep coming back, but that was what we were saying before, as New Orleans has lacked a good amount of middle class jobs since the late eighties, really.

  7. chartreuse Says:

    First, I was a bit uncomfortable posting this in the first place. This blog is not about politics but the situation in my hometown is killing me. And watching the apathy as a major American city slowly dies hurts me to no end. Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. We deserve better. And thought we, as a people, were better. The inginuity and can-do attitude which this country is based is gone.

    Mark-you are right. I will try to come up with a way to 'light a fire' under people.

    You and Diane have a point about shareholders and such. But aren't something just right?

    They say the age of excess highlighted in the '80's are over. But what has come from it is, in some ways, worse.

    No one wants to sacrifice. We have no patience nor the attention span to solve the big problems. And that's too bad.

    And special thanks to the posters actually from New Orleans. Westbank Mark, I feel like your wife. I'm pissed. And don't understand while everyone isn't protesting in the streets.

    We'll see how this whole thing plays out…

  8. Randy L. Says:

    I like that you broke out a little Mr. Char. Although, please don’t start creating Char(BETA) into another political blog.

    My city has a similar dilema. We (Vancouver, Washington) sit just over the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon . . . no sales tax.

    The PDX scene is much more broad economically and culturally than Vancouver . . . business is hurting in Vancouver, however, the schools thrive in Vancouver and are being shut down in PDX . . . makes no sense.

    Seems to me that both cities could create quite a nice place for people to come if they’d share some of the wealth with each other . . . Randy for Mayor!

  9. candice Says:

    >And don’t understand while everyone isn’t protesting in the streets.

    Most of us are in this bizarro ptsd/survivor syndrome haze, and everyone is drunker than usual. 🙂

    You coming to jazzfest, chartreuse?

  10. chartreuse Says:

    considering it…

  11. Equityval Says:

    Well this is one of the more asinine posts I’ve seen in a while.

    Why wouldn’t businesses locate there? Perhaps it is the quality of the political leadership in the city and state.

    You’ve had one of the largest natural disasters in the history of the world and the people running the city and state seemed to have learned nothing from it. Any rational person can see that there are some areas of the city where NOTHING should ever be built, but the mayor will have none of, he says rebuild wherever you want.

    You had levee districts, which arguably had the most important function in the whole city, filled with political hacks, venturing off into all manner of unrelated businesses, and seemingly unable to do the one clear thing they were tasked with doing – advocating with the core of engineers for a bullet proof levee system as the low lying areas of the city continued to subside.

    The school system down there is apparently the only one in America that makes New York City’s look good.

    A goodly portion of the police force walked off the job at precisely the moment they were needed the most.

    The governor’s performance in the aftermath of the hurricane can only be described as cringe inducing.

    Now granted, the mayor and the governor didn’t get much in the way of timely help from the Feds, but with this set of facts as background, my question is: WHY WOULD ANY SANE BUSINESS PERSON LOCATED HIS OR HER BUSINESS IN NEW ORLEANS AT THIS POINT?

    Perhaps when there is a sane plan for rebuilding the levees to resist a Cat 5 storm, administered by a group of people who know what they are doing with a single minded focus on protecting the city, accompanied by some urban planning that avoids planting neighborhoods in harm’s way, perhaps then the business community will develop some conviction that there is an opportunity for them in N.O. that they should respond to.

    With that as a starting point, you might interest a few people. Until those things occur, I’d suggest you focus your energy on demanding political competence rather than laying all this at the feet of the business community. But you don’t even have the balls to do that, you won’t tell us who you voted for and why. Good political leadership is probably the single most important issue in N.O. at this point and you won’t even join that conversation – you are just looking for scapegoats.

  12. chartreuse Says:

    First of all, you should read some of my other posts. I have written things wwaayy more asinine. 🙂

    This is not about the political climate in New Orleans nor the levees.

    When 9/11 happened was any business demanding a change in the political climate of the city before they came back?

    This is the worst disaster in history of our country and instead of stepping up to the plate, the business community is making excuses if they are speaking at all.

    Let’s see. You can place a call center anywhere on the planet. Instead of saying, ‘New Orleans has been screwed over let’s put our call center there and do our part’ businesses are instead just ignoring the problem. Do you really think the city of New Orleans would not bend over backwards to get industry and businesses back?

    Like I said in my post. The business community should be ashamed.

  13. Equityval Says:

    Have you been to Ground Zero lately? It’s still a hole in the ground. Businesses have not been rushing back to downtown NYC in some patriotic display. On balance, they have moved operations elsewhere, at least in part, in order to create redundancy and backup capabilities so that they survive another disaster without disruption.

    And, yes, they did demand changes in the political climate. Did you notice that right after 9/11 the city elected a non-telegenic Republican businessman with no prior political experience over a guy who had either held office or run for one about 6 times before and who had the enormous apparatus of the local Democrat machine behind him? Responding to security concerns, the NYC police dept now has a counter-terrorism unit that has 1000 officers that routinely puts the FBI to shame in terms of its knowledge of what the bad guys around the world are up to as it relates to NYC. The political climate indeed has changed here. Voters have figured out that there are very important things at stake and career party hacks don’t cut it anymore as mayoral candidates.

    Part of the reason Ground Zero is still a hole in the ground is because security concerns have led to a resiting of the Freedom Tower and eventually a complete redesign because no one had any interest in leasing space in the original plan. The original plan was driven primarily by the political motives of the governor. The business community pushed back and said, we’re not going there, and the plan went back to square one.

    No one is going to put a critical call center in a place that is likely to be under six feet of water in the near future. No company wants to move its employees so that they are in harm’s way of natural disasters and the ensuing mayhem we saw last year.

    This is very much about the competence of local officials and the political climate and how it determines priorities. There is a long and well documented history of decision making in N.O. driven by corruption or political influence with little regard for the downstream consequences. The fruits of all those decisions were on full display last year. The underwhelming response of the business community should be a wake up call for the politicians in the city and state to get their act together.

    If you really are concerned for your hometown, you should be holding the mayor and governor accountable for the quality of the decisions they are making now. A mayor who tells everyone to rebuild wherever they want seems to have learned very little from this experience and doesn’t seem up to the task that now lies before the city. The solution to N.O.’s woes lies within the city limits.

  14. Equityval Says:

    It took 13 months, but this is a sign of progress. The next job is to find the competent people to staff the new orgs managing the levees, then of course to put new ones in place that will survive the next cat 5. More of this kind of behavior will get N.O. back on the radar screen for business investment.

    Louisiana Voters Approve
    Levee Management Reform
    Associated Press
    October 1, 2006 5:52 a.m.

    NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana voters approved consolidating the New Orleans area’s levee boards, the generations-old agencies whose politically appointed members were criticized after Hurricane Katrina for failing to maintain the area’s levees and floodwalls.

    The constitutional amendment — passing Saturday with about 80% of the vote — will combine 10 southeast Louisiana boards into two, one for each bank of the Mississippi River. Members of the new boards will be required to have expertise in engineering, geology and hydrology, mandates that advocates of the new structure hope will convince Congress and the nation that Louisiana has shed a system mired in cronyism. “I think it shows that people really care about basic reform in Louisiana,” said Governor Kathleen Blanco, who supported the measure. “They want everything to be professional.”

    With about 97% of precincts reporting, voters supported the measure by a 4-1 margin. The amendment was passing in every parish that was hit hard by Katrina in August 2005.

    After Katrina breached New Orleans’s levees last August, the boards were criticized as disorganized, full of patronage and lacking in the technical knowledge needed to manage the system of levees that protect New Orleans, which is largely below sea level. Members of the existing boards are appointed by the governor and need no expertise in flood protection. The boards are responsible for levee upkeep and inspections, but critics say they have become distracted with other projects. The board in New Orleans, for example, runs marinas, an airport and a police force.

    Ms. Blanco said she wants to have the two new levee panels in place by January. Republican state Senator Walter Boasso, who sponsored the levee-board amendment in the Legislature, toured Louisiana to drum up support. He told northern Louisiana voters that the proposal affects the entire state because the New Orleans area is home to a third of Louisiana’s economy. U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal, a Louisiana Republican, said passage of the amendment would reassure Congress that Louisiana is cleaning up its act as the federal government invests billions of dollars to rebuild New Orleans and surrounding parishes.

    There was no public campaign opposing the amendment, though state lawmakers from the New Orleans area tried to block the measure in the Legislature. They argued the existing levee boards should be allowed to finish flood-protection projects that are under way.

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