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Message from Governor Kathleen Blanco

State of Louisiana
Message from Governor Kathleen Blanco

Dear Friends,

   Long before hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Louisiana resolved to create the nation's most professional, responsive, efficient and successful business climate. Despite the hurricanes, that commitment remains one of our highest priorities.
   It is true; the hurricanes did damage our state — some areas more dramatically than others. While our entire state is dedicated to the recovery efforts, the entire state is not crippled. In much of Louisiana, business continues as usual. In fact, it never stopped.
   We continue to work diligently to assist the 13 parishes most dramatically impacted. Louisiana has created and/or administered several initiatives to help our people recover. The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is strategically managing our long-term recovery efforts and has established nine Recovery Teams to focus on each aspect of the recovery.
   Louisiana Economic Development (LED) created four programs to help businesses recover. The Louisiana Bridge Loan Program provided short-term access to capital by reallocating $10 million of state funds. We developed the Worksite Housing Program and placed more than 4,000 FEMA trailers at or near worksites to get our businesses back on their feet. Our LED Forward campaign directed affected businesses to much-needed resources. A special web site and toll-free call center provided direct access for business owners to discuss their concerns and problems with LED personnel. The Louisiana Legislature recently enacted our plan to provide significant tax relief for manufacturing businesses severely impacted by the storms.
   While we have expanded our mission, our attention has not been entirely focused on recovery. Before the hurricanes, we planned a European mission promoting Louisiana's business incentives to emphasize our desire to work more closely with European economic and industry leaders. We are keeping that commitment — this mission will allow us to show the world that Louisiana is open for business and remains an ideal business destination.
   Though the current challenge is unique, our opportunity is even greater. To foster aggressive growth and investment in all of Louisiana's critical industries, we are positioning ourselves to create a unique and unprecedented pro-business environment. We are committed to providing business opportunities to invest in our future with confidence and success. Our unique incentive package, together with a rich history of investment by domestic and international companies, will propel our state well into a prosperous future.
   Our resolve has never been so been so strong. With our deep-water ports and strategic location within the fastest growing region of the United States, Louisiana is a major gateway for goods moving in and out of the country. Coupled with significant contributions to energy, petrochemical and manufacturing markets, the critical importance of Louisiana to the global economy is clear. Come grow with us.

Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
Governor, Louisiana
Michael J. Olivier, Secretary
Louisiana Economic Development

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