‘Gentilly is open for business’

Published July 18, 2011 in The Times-Picayune.

Gentilly’s 19 neighborhood associations have been waiting for this kind of attention for a long time.

After years of relatively stagnant recovery since Hurricane Katrina in both repopulation and commercial activity, Gentilly is about to become the focus of several groups hoping to jumpstart the economy in the neighborhood.

Capital One and the Urban League of New Orleans have created the “Grow Gentilly” small business plan competition, in which two companies already in business in Gentilly will win cash prizes, along with technical and professional assistance.

The winning business will receive $10,000 with the runner-up to get $5,000, money that Capital One officials describe as “strategic investments,” Gentilly also has the eye of the NOLA Business Alliance, Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s new public-private partnership tasked with economic development. The group has identified Gentilly as a high priority area and is developing a strategy to attract large retail centers there.

“We’ve been asking for people out there to invest in Gentilly,” said David Welch, of the Gentilly Community Improvement Association, the umbrella organization over Gentilly’s 19 neighborhood associations. “We’re trying to get the message out that Gentilly is open for business.”

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