Tourism, energy, trade leaders to join New Orleans economic outlook summit

Area leaders in tourism, health care, energy, trade and other major industries are set to appear next month at the 2020 Economic Outlook Summit, hosted by The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate.

The event, slated for Jan. 9 at the newspaper's St. Charles Avenue newsroom, will offer breakfast and a panel discussion moderated by editors. 

It starts at 8 a.m.

[Tickets can be purchased here.]

To provide readers and audience members a view of what could be in store next year for the New Orleans economy, a number of leading executives will offer their perspectives, including: Port of New Orleans President and CEO Brandy Christian; Entergy New Orleans CEO David Ellis; Michael Fitts, president of Tulane University; Anne Teague Landis, chief executive of Landis Construction; Katie LeGardeur, managing director, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.; Quentin Messier, president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance; Walt Leger, senior vice president at the tourism promotion group New Orleans & Co.; Tara Hernandez, president of the real estate development firm JCH Properties+; and Aimee Quirk, chief executive of innovationOschner, a lab at Oschner Health System aimed at creating new ways to help patients.

The summit comes as business leaders in the region, buoyed by a U.S. economy in the midst of a decadelong expansion, are trying to grow the city's leading industries centered around tourism and trade while sparking nascent sectors like technology in health care.

"These are some of our top thinkers in the sectors that drive the region's economy," said the newspaper's managing editor, Martha Carr. "I expect a vigorous discussion and important insights on what the next year will hold."

The summit is part of the newspaper's push to offer events across south Louisiana that bring leaders, journalists and the public together to talk through issues around business, politics and other key topics. It follows similar events held last year at The Advocate's Baton Rouge and Lafayette newsrooms.

Publisher Judi Terzotis, while announcing the New Orleans summit earlier this month, said both events last year sold out quickly, a signal that they were "filling a niche the community wanted."

"It was something with real value," Terzotis said.


With the Louisiana gubernatorial election now over, some of the political uncertainty in the state has receded. That could offer some business leaders more confidence that they won't face major policy shifts as they invest. Still, national politics are set to take center stage amid the drama of President Donald Trump's impeachment and the coming 2020 elections.

Meanwhile, the national economy continues to hum with employment at some of the highest levels in decades. That has kept the city's critical tourism industry in growth mode.

Low natural gas prices have put petrochemical firms into expansion mode even as pollution concerns become a bigger factor for local communities weighing jobs against the environmental and health costs.

And the city's politicians and economic development agencies are still working to spur the technology and biotech sectors, with mixed success.

Those topics and others are expected to drive the panel discussion.

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