NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Mayor Mitch Landrieu was joined by local business owners and other city leaders on Magazine Street Tuesday, where they encouraged New Orleanians to shop local this holiday season.
"Home values have increased by 14 percent this year, its the highest growth rate in 50 years," said Landrieu. "Although this has been a breakthrough year for us, we want to do better, we want to make sure our local businesses do well."
"We're seeing all-time records for cruise ship passengers and airline passengers," said Rebecca Conwell with the City of New Orleans Office of Economic Development. "Last year tourists spent over $7 billion in our city."
Landrieu said there's more to come.
"This year Cobalt Medical Center opened a $24 million facility, creating a 178 new jobs. And in November, an $800 million Veterans Affairs hospital opened its doors. That is going to provide 2,800 jobs to the people of the City of New Orleans and create an economy that is going to be very explosive," he said.
The president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance, Quentin Messer, said the draw is our unique way of life.
"Other cities are trying to invent being cool. We are cool, and that's what's drawing people here, whether it's in technology, whether it's in bio-innovation, whether it's across industries. They're here because you can come to the Magic Box, and have a unique shopping experience," Messer said.
New Orleans business owner and actor Bryan Batt agrees.
"Magazine Street is 5 miles long of unique, individually, personally owned shops. It's not a big mall, it's not a box store, it's all locally owned shops, pretty much, and that also exists on Oak Street, on Royal Street, on St. Claude, all over our great city. There are great enclaves of great shopping where it's the personal taste of the owners, so, you don't find that anywhere anymore," said Batt, who owns Hazelnut New Orleans.
Landrieu says the unemployment rate in New Orleans dropped from 6.7 percent to 5.8 percent this year.