A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to find myself in lovely New Orleans for a Pulitzer family reunion. My grandfather was the oldest of twelve brothers and sisters so there are a lot of cousins as a result; and we thoroughly enjoy getting together regularly.
Before arriving in the Crescent City one of my cousins [Carol Pulitzer] emailed me she was moving back to "NOLA" (New Orleans, Louisiana). She said NOLA was experiencing a renaissance technologically, entrepreneurially and artistically. I was intrigued. I emailed another cousin [Alexa Pulitzer] who's a 3rd generation New Orleanian and she enthusiastically confirmed it. Now I was hooked on finding out more.
Alexa, who has her own incredibly successful brand of beautiful stationery, mousepads, party cups and other items, introduced me to The Idea Village Co-Founder/CEO Tim Williamson. So, while there, before the reunion festivities kicked-off, I walked a few short blocks from our hotel (the Monteleone, which by the way charges an outrageous $10 a day per device to access the Internet!) to their lofty space.
The next two hours flew by in what was one of the most friendly and interesting meetings I've been party to in a while.
The first 20 minutes or so were filled with "oh so your cousin is..." and "I went to school with your cousin ______ " and "my wife went to school with your cousin _____." I was struck by the similarities of "who do you know" and "what high school did you go to" between this town with French origins and the country where I now live (France). I guess some old habits die hard! Fortunately I had all the right answers. But there is something to be said for Southern hospitality and, of course, Entrepreneurial friendliness.
After introductions went around, Tim provided me with an excellent background and overview on The Idea Village and the city. Next Communications Manager Cameron Yancey offered the point-of-view of a native New Orleanian on the city's new growth. The Idea Village is home to several Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and one of them, Kevin Wilkins, provided insights as a recently relocated Mid-Atlantic experienced business manager.
And without further ado, here are the findings: