Image by Flickr user Ray Devlin (Creative Commons)

By Rieva Lesonsky

Eight years ago the city of New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The mega-storm flooded 80 percent of the city, forcing 400,000 people to move elsewhere. At the time many wondered if New Orleans would ever recover.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the city not only survived, but is now thriving. In fact the magazine reports New Orleans boasts “one of the fastest-growing commercial real estate markets” in the country.

Billions of dollars of federal aid kickstarted the boom, leading to a resurgence in housing, retail and office space. Tourists are back and spending at record levels. And though the investment in the city may have started at the federal level, Bloomberg Businessweek talked to a developer who says there’s now a “significant” amount of investment activity in the city from institutional and private equity investors.

The rebirth of New Orleans spells opportunities for local entrepreneurs, of course. But small business owners who live elsewhere might want to take a look at this city that, as one native developer told Bloomberg Businessweek, is “sexy, vibrant and full of life.”

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+   and and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.