If you love New Orleans so much, why don’t you live there?

I’ve been asked that question a few times since leaving New Orleans six years ago, but I won’t be asked again. I’m home.

I left New Orleans the night before Katrina and the move back home has been a long time coming. Over the past 6 years I lived in Las Vegas, San Francisco, and South Lake Tahoe. I’ve met incredible friends along the way that have been like a second family. I miss everyone on the west coast, but I’ll be back to visit often. A San Francisco – Tahoe trip is coming soon! Anyone else praying for snow?

So .. The big Question .. Why did I move back?

tl;dr .. New Orleans is home. Long answer ..

Family.

I’ve lived thousands of miles away from my family for 6 years. We have been able to visit each other, but we’re not getting any younger and as crazy as they are, they are a blast to hang out with and I’ve missed being around them.

The day I got back to New Orleans was also my grandmother (dads side) 80th birthday. She was pretty stoked.

When I was on my way home, my 90yr old Great Grandmother (moms side) was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I was able to sit with her for a few hours on my birthday. We had a great conversation, told some jokes and cut up, talked about the road trip, etc. She passed away the next day.

My other grandparents, mom’s side, just moved back to New Orleans a month ago.

I got to watch my little brother get engaged a couple days before Christmas ..

Congrats Patrick and Sarah!

It’s been awesome…

But anyone can experience events like these when moving home or being around family.

I get all that family jazz with a lil lagniappe, and sometimes, dare I say, too much. I’m in my favorite city on the planet. People write love letters to this place.

If you haven’t been to New Orleans in a while, get here. The music, food, culture.. it really is an incredible city. Voodoo Fest, Jazz Fest, and Mardi Gras, are just the tip.

Ok, cool. New Orleans is quite the party, but what about work?

Friends in San Francisco – January 25th. SANFRANOLA.

Here are a few initial thoughts from friends about New Orleans vs San Francisco..

– salaries are too low
– hardly any tech jobs
– no software dev talent to grow a startup
– no Angel / VC money in the south
– stay in SF or a bigger tech hub like Los Angeles, Austin or Boulder…

Here’s my take so far.

a. I agree that Salaries are too low in New Orleans, but this is starting to shift up due to competition and will substantially over the next couple of years.

b. Companies are hiring. I’m hoping to start hiring soon.

c. Engineers are in huge demand everywhere.

d. There are some angels, but there should be more and I hope we can convince some folks to bring it.

e….. Boucoup going on in NOLA.

Tribecon kicks ass every year right before Voodoo. Launch Pad Ingition, a new startup accelerator, and Second line, a conference around innovation, both had a successfulul inaugural year in 2011. There are around 70 companies in the Launch Pad NOLA co-working space. Ideavillage is incubating and has a few rad programs for entrepreneurs. The silicon bayou is growing. Lots of startups and a rockin community.

The vibe of the city is like no other. Especially when the Saints are marching to the Super Bowl! Who Dat!

Oh, and I almost forgot .. There’s this girl I’m in love with.

  • Awesome to hear, for all the reasons both of us know and don’t need to say. Looking forward to enjoying all of with you again soon.

  • Billy Vincent

    I see that you saved the best reason for last!  Welcome home, I had a similar story so I really do appreciate yours.    There are a lot of similar stories and a lot of people that truly want to make N.O. a great place to live AND work.  People like Chris Schultz and his associates are helping pave the way for innovators and Angels alike.   The future looks bright for the city and its citizens, old and new!  

  • Anonymous

    I love this post. I’m so happy you’re home. 

  • Sstein13

    Well written, Gerard!!  I’m so glad you’re back!! 

  • Rick Ramos

    Love this cuz.  So glad you’re home!!!

  • Such a great post. So glad you’re highlighting the bright spots in the NOLA tech scene!

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