Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Thu Nov 16 21:00:28 EST 2006

The LRA Progress Report - November 16, 2006

In This Issue
Louisiana's Business Climate Ranked 17th in the Nation
Saks Fifth Avenue Returns to Canal Street
New Orleans Welcomes Largest Convention Post-Katrina
LA WorldWide Exports Off to Record-Breaking Year
LRA Upcoming Events

Louisiana's Business Climate Ranked 17th in the Nation

Louisiana is making tremendous strides in improving its business climate - and its efforts are not going unnoticed. Louisiana ranked 17th in Site Selection magazine's recent annual ranking of states with the best business climates. The ranking is based 50 percent on a survey of corporate site selectors and 50 percent on the following categories: the state's overall rank in total new or expanded projects for 2005; new plant performance from 2003-2005; rank per million in population; and rank per 1,000 square miles. Louisiana tied for 17th place with Iowa.

North Carolina placed first for the second year in a row, with reviewers citing a number of factors, including ease of doing business; fast permitting; local and state support for new and expanding businesses; state support for training and site selection resou! rces; availability of competent and cost-competitive employees; and quality of higher education and public transportation.

"While the ranking leaves ample room for improvement, Louisiana is making significant progress," said Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Michael J. Olivier. Neighboring states Texas and Mississippi came in second and 15th, respectively.

Site Selection is the official publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council. View the full story at: http://www.siteselection.com <http://www.siteselection.com>

Saks Fifth Avenue Returns to Canal Street

Upscale retailer Saks Fifth Avenue re-opened this week at the Shops at Canal Place in New Orleans. The Canal Street retailer was severely damaged during Hurricane Katrina by looting as well as water damage from a small fire inside the store.

Attracting shoppers from all over the region, the re-opening signifies another step in the city's recovery.

Saks Fifth Avenue is located at 301 Canal Street in New Orleans.

New Orleans Welcomes Realtors for Largest Convention Post-Katrina

The National Association of Realtors® brought 25,000 - 30,000 conventioneers and guests to New Orleans this past weekend, representing the largest convention to visit New Orleans in one year.

The meeting attracted more than 651 exhibiting corporations and thousands of real estate professionals from the United States and abroad. Celebrating "NARdi Gras," the conventioneers participated in several community service projects throughout the city in addition to attending more than 200 conference sessions.

The three-day convention generated $34 million for the city of New Orleans.

For upcoming conventions and information on New Orleans' tourism industry, visit www.neworleanscvb.com <http://www.neworleanscvb.com> .

LA Worldwide Exports Off to Record-Breaking Year

Louisiana's worldwide merchandise exports are headed toward a record-breaking year, according to the World Trade Center in New Orleans. During the first nine months of 2006, the state's total export value reached $16.2 billion, up 16.2 percent from last year.

Louisiana's increase outpaced total U.S. export growth of 14.7 percent. The value of agricultural exports, the state's top export group, increased 50 percent from 2005. Louisiana ranked No. 13 in worldwide exports among all states placing just behind Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Indiana.

Agricultural products, chemicals, petroleum and coal and processed food products are Louisiana's top four export sectors. Japan, Mexico and Canada are the state's leading export markets.

To see the WTC's full report, visit http://www.wtc-no.org/tradestats/index.html
<http://www.wtc-no.org/tradestats/index.html> .

Upcoming Events:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Event: LRA Environmental Task Force meeting
Time: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Location: Department of Environmental Quality Headquarters
Room 1051 of the Galvez Building, 602 N. Fifth Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Friday, December 1, 2006
Event: LRA Audit Committee meeting
Time: TBD
Location: State Office Building, First Floor Auditorium, 150 Third Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Event: LRA Economic & Workforce Development Task Force meeting
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Location: Governor's Press Room, 4th Floor of the State Capitol in Baton Rouge

Thursday, December 14, 2006
Event: LRA Board of Directors meeting
Time: 9 a.m.
Location: St. Tammany Parish (exact location to be determined)

For a complete events calendar, click here <http://www.lra.louisiana.gov/events.html>
All meetings are open to the public. Meeting times and locations are subject to change.

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