San Antonio and New Orleans share some things: two Sun Belt cities with big tourism and convention industries,and serious issues with working poor populations and underperforming inner city public school. Both cities are blessed with history, charm, and authenticity. Neither city is like anywhere else. Both are ambitious to become something more than they are now. Hugh Daschbach, a southern Louisiana native and a 1995 graduate of Trinity University, has a foot in both cities. He leaves San Antonio for New Orleans today, fortunately, only for five days. We’ll check in with him to see what lessons San Antonio can learn on the road to transformation.
By Hugh Daschbach
Today I will join 26 diverse, talented individuals from around the country to explore New Orleans, Louisiana, in the first annual NOLAbound project. We will enjoy five days of behind-the-scenes access to community leaders, participating in meetings and activities aimed at assessing “the status of New Orleans as a model of new business and thinking”. Along the way, we’ll get a close look at the culture of food and fun that makes New Orleans special. Organizers have invited us to share our observations and insights (the good, the bad, and the ugly) into what New Orleans can do to create a more attractive environment for businesses and entrepreneurs. Participants were selected from four distinct business sectors: sustainable industries, biosciences, digital media, and arts-based businesses. Sound familiar? San Antonio has seen significant recent growth in the first three of these niches and, with Contemporary Art Month in full swing, one could easily argue that the connection between NOLA and San Antonio and these four industries is a clean sweep.
I am a Louisiana native and New Orleans alum. I first moved to San Antonio twenty years ago to attend Trinity University, and since graduating I’ve returned on three separate occasions to live and work here. I am drawn to the distinct flavors of both New Orleans and San Antonio. They are unique American cities with their own food, music, language, personality, and culture. They are cities on the move, with growing business communities and job markets, attractive real estate prices, and enormous opportunity and potential. My goal this week is to learn about New Orleans through the eyes of my fellow NOLAbound participants and to bring home valuable lessons that can be applied in San Antonio when I return.
I’ll be blogging and posting on social media networks about the experience throughout the trip and I look forward to contributing to a discussion that I hope will continue long after the NOLAbound adventure has ended. Learn more about NOLAbound at www.benolabound.com and follow my trip on the social media sites listed below. I encourage you to share your input with me during my visit on what you think New Orleans (and San Antonio) can do to make the city a more attractive environment for entrepreneurs.
NOLAbound blog: http://www.benolabound.
The Rivard Report: http://www.
Twitter: @HughDaschbach and @beNOLAbound