NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - For the first time since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is one of the 50 most populated cities in the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the New Orleans population dropped from 484,674 in 2000 to 210,768 following the storm in 2006.
But on Thursday, there was big news for the Big Easy. The census bureau ranked New Orleans the 50th most-populated city in the country with 384,320 now calling New Orleans home, "I think this is very good news, one of the most encouraging trends, if not the most encouraging since Katrina is that people are coming back to Louisiana, back to greater New Orleans, back to the city itself, and also companies are coming back," said Michael Hecht with Greater New Orleans, Inc.
Hecht says when it comes to economic development size matters, "the entire region has been one of the top locations for job creation in the country over the past 10 years," said Hecht, "we're a top 50 city but a top 5 brand. We punch way above our weight in terms of what people think about New Orleans as a city and as a brand."
And, Mark Romig with the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation says the ranking proves we're seeing great momentum for the city, "as the census is moving up so is the tourism growth which is all about feeding our economy and helping us create more jobs and more opportunities for our retailers, hotels, and restaurants," said Romig.
Here's how we compare to other cities: New York is the most populated city in the country, followed by LA, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia.
Rounding out the top 50: Atlanta comes in 39th, followed by Miami at 44, Minneapolis at 46, Cleveland at 48 and New Orleans beats out Arlington, Texas for the 50th spot.
The New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation says we had a record amount of spending from visitors last year, $6.8 billion compared to pre-Katrina numbers in 2004 where visitors spent $4.9 billion.