Since Hurricane Katrina, revitalization has become a catchphrase in New Orleans, spurring new business by young, optimistic, and creative entrepreneurs from New Orleans and the country. Large corporations have not come to the city in significant number, but people who tend to possess a resourceful spirit and concern for social issues have made New Orleans their home. Being called the Silicon Valley of entrepreneurship, New Orleans is fast becoming a petri dish of multiplying creativity and business, spurring collaboration and innovation along with a renewal of the city.

Many have not returned to New Orleans, having instead chosen to resettle in the places they went to escape Katrina. But among those who have come back, there exists a strong sense of purpose, whether or not they are involved in any kind of social enterprise. There is a strong sentiment that whatever one does in New Orleans- start a business, attend school, or simply settle down- it is part of bringing the city back to life. Especially after living outside of New Orleans in the post-Katrina period, returnees recognize that they can earn more elsewhere, as well as having access to other resources, such as better schools for their children. Yet, they are compelled to live in a place with a rich culture and unique community, the only place many of them can ever actually call “home.”

While for some, coming to New Orleans is a homecoming, for others it is a venture into something completely new. Because the city was left in ruins after Hurricane Katrina, it is now attracting people who are interested in innovative urban planning, creative ways of doing business, and unique opportunities. New Orleans attracts people who appreciate its frontier-like environment and can take on a challenge. Some have come because they feel they can get their foot in the door much quicker in this low-key city than in a huge urban center like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles. Others have simply stayed on from when they came to rebuild the city right after Katrina, unable to escape the strong pull New Orleans seems to have on so many.

Directed by Anya Vaverko.
For more of my work, see anyaunknown.com.

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