Mighty Mississippi Drives Industry in New Orleans

Photo credit to Cheryl Gruber
On Friday September 27, 2013, Tulane hosted its annual Tulane Business Forum which seeks to bring together leading business people in the south to put the development of industry in Louisiana, especially in New Orleans, into focus for a day. I had the chance to take part in this exciting conference. Among the many speakers were:
  • Daryl G. Byrd, President & CEO, IBERIABANK Corporation
  • Gary P. LaGrange, President & CEO, The Port of New Orleans
  • John F. Tercek, VP, Commercial and New Business Development, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd
All of these speakers’ ideas focused on the fact that New Orleans has an opportunity to leverage its location at the mouth of the “Mighty Mississippi” to continue to build industry in New Orleans.
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_RiverDaryl Byrd’s presentation was especially interesting to me as a Master of Finance candidate. It was very helpful and insightful to hear about the evolution of the financial services industry in the past few years from an influential and experienced professional. Mr. Byrd sees the opportunity for significant growth in Louisiana, particularly for IBERIABANK’s commercial banking sector. Growth in energy and shipping provide portals through which the company will continue to develop. Mr. Byrd also highlighted IBERIABANK management’s experience banking in the south. He sees this as a significant advantage in expanding operations out from New Orleans.
Gary LaGrange and John F Tercek focused on building industry through leveraging the Mississippi River as Louisiana’s greatest resource and revenue generator. Mr. LaGrange spoke about how the vast tributary network of the Mississippi means that things shipped through New Orleans can easily be transported as far as Alberta, Canada in the northwest and Pittsburgh in the east.
New Orleans’s relatively close access to the Caribbean is a major draw for Royal Caribbean Cruises. As cruises become more popular amongst Americans, people are cruising out of New Orleans for the convenience and cost effectiveness. This has been a huge boon for New Orleans tourism. In addition, as Royal Caribbean moves its ships around globally, New Orleans is seeing newer and larger cruise ships in her port.
As a student at Tulane, all of this opportunity is exciting because it means the possibility of more jobs in New Orleans, a city that has become my second home. Financial knowledge is essential to any business or government and there will always be jobs for finance professionals. Seeing the growth of business in New Orleans means that there is employment opportunity, especially for highly skilled Master of Finance candidates. The Tulane Business Forum provided a great deal of insight on business in Louisiana and the drivers behind its growth.
Tommy Milburn