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New Orleans - the Inevitable City in the Impossible Place

by Mark Peterson - August 28, 2019

Last week I had the privilege of traveling to New Orleans, which seemed to be thriving. If you wonder how and why New Orleans has been able to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, consider these factors from George Friedman of Stratfor--a strategic planning consulting firm. He shared some powerful strategic observations about New Orleans as a port that are not widely publicized:

  • The breadbasket of our nation lies in the watershed of the Mississippi River.
  • Our entire low-cost agricultural commodity production and transportation system depends on the ability to move huge volumes of agricultural commodities to the Port of Southern Louisiana, where they are loaded onto ships for export.
  • Trains and trucks do not have the capacity to handle such huge volumes (this port is the fifth-largest in the world).
  • The port also transfers precious industrial materials – rubber, steel, and petrochemicals that are needed by our nation’s heartland.
  • It takes a large workforce to operate the port. The workforce must live close enough to get to work, and needs housing, grocery stores, schools, hospitals, and other services.
  • Friedman concludes that there are many factors to consider in rebuilding New Orleans, but the viability and requirements of the port must be among the most strategic.

A few more observations – New Orleans has:

  • Authentic, unique, interesting culture – food, shopping, etc.
  • Many things to do, such as an aquarium, National WWII Museum, and paddle boat rides on the Mississippi River, and
  • Multiple transportation modes: trolleys, trains, bicycles, cars, buses, uber, ocean liners, and paddle boats, that all converge downtown.

Question for you - do you understand the strategic reasons why your community was formed? Do you understand what is strategic in this emerging 21st century economy? These are issues we address in Breakthrough Solutions.