In the wake of Katrina, people from around the world have joined forces with the City of New Orleans to rebuild its communities—not just the brick and mortar but also the cultural institutions, community organizations and local businesses that have made New Orleans a legendary destination for generations.
Ten years later, that work continues. At Goldman Sachs, we’re proud to play our part in supporting New Orleans’ ongoing resurgence. We’re encouraged by the progress the city has made so far, and we’re excited for the progress yet to come.
At Goldman Sachs, we believe that strong communities are the foundation of a prosperous society. Our Impact Investing work in New Orleans has connected local leaders, nonprofits and small businesses to help create jobs, homes and other crucial building blocks of strong communities.
America’s small businesses are the backbone of its economy. In New Orleans, we’ve focused our efforts on projects that create jobs and small businesses that want to grow, strengthening communities and the broader economy.
Net new jobs in the U.S. over the past 15 years
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration
Participating businesses in the New Orleans 10,000 Small Businesses Program
CREATING A STRONGER SMALL BUSINESS COMMUNITY
10,000 Small Businesses
Our New Orleans 10,000 Small Businesses program is part of a nationwide effort we launched in 2009 to stimulate small business and economic growth by providing greater access to business education, financial capital and business support services. As of today, over 400 small businesses have participated in the program locally.
Colmex Construction Saw Millions in Growth
Family-owned Colmex Construction is representative of the multiplying effect that 10,000 Small Businesses has had in New Orleans communities. Colmex, which helped build the Lafitte housing complex, has expanded from 6 employees to 20. Watch the video to hear from this small business owner.
Parkway Bakery & Tavern
Founded in 1911, this nostalgic po’ boy spot is a true reflection of New Orleans history and culture. With the help of the 10,000 Small Businesses program, owner Jay Nix got out of the kitchen and took on a leadership role, taking educated risks that have helped to make his business more successful while staying true to its roots.
To date, over 400 small businesses in New Orleans have participated in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and just six months after graduation, 69% of these businesses have grown revenues and 44% have added jobs, rates significantly above national averages.
ReFresh Project set out to change the way people think about healthy food in a community that has been historically underserved. The project converted a previously abandoned building into a resource for a wide range of offerings related to health and nutrition, including locally-sourced produce and workforce education for at-risk youth, creating over 250 permanent jobs and over 300 construction jobs in the process.
Whole Foods Market
Committed to the community it serves through buying from local vendors, hiring local staff members and providing food education.
A non-profit commercial kitchen and café offering workforce development focused on at-risk youth.
The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine
A teaching kitchen operated by Tulane University to educate practicing physicians and medical students about food, cooking and nutrition, so they can incorporate healthy food choices into their practice.
Community Office Space
As a community center, the food hub also extends its space to various local groups, including a local charter school operator and several nonprofit organizations.
Hurricane Katrina brought unprecedented devastation to the city of New Orleans—70% of the occupied housing in New Orleans was damaged by the storm.
Goldman Sachs has partnered with community leaders and local businesses to help the city rebuild. The Enterprise Louisiana Loan Fund facilitates construction and enables low- and moderate-income homebuyers to obtain mortgages. We have also partnered on two substantial housing and community development projects, bringing affordable, high-quality housing to some of the most severely impacted neighborhoods.
New Housing Units
Harmony Oaks Apartments
Formerly the Magnolia Projects, this neighborhood was destroyed by the storm. Today, the apartments are fully occupied —all 460 new units, across 116 buildings and over 25 acres. The property now also houses a community center, pool, childcare facility and an adult-education and empoyment-training center.
Public Housing Complex
Lafitte Public Housing Complex (I and II)
One of downtown New Orleans' oldest housing developments, Lafitte was severely damaged by Katrina. It's since been rebuilt with 517 housing units, all of which are fully occupied. Residents displaced by the flooding were given priority for these homes, as well as for the 295 rebuilt homes in the surrounding neighborhood. Those returnees now occupy 59% of the neighborhood's 812 units.
Before Katrina over 70% of the students went to failing schools. Our goal is to do our small part in helping make New Orleans the first city in America where every kid goes to a good school.
Jay Altman, CEO of Firstline Schools
Phillis Wheatley Community School
Phillis Wheatley Community School educates hundreds of students from pre-K through the 8th grade each year. Recently rebuilt, it now offers bigger classrooms and better facilities, as well as publicly accessible community spaces, including a gymnasium and a theater.
The construction brought almost 500 jobs to a community with an unemployment rate that is more than two times the national average.
St. Bernard Parish Hospital
After Katrina destroyed the Chalmette Medical Center, this community’s only healthcare facility was a mobile clinic in a vacant parking lot.
Today, St. Bernard Parish Hospital provides 40 inpatient beds, 10 emergency room beds and 60,000 square feet of medical office space for the local community.
Jazz is an essential part of the city’s culture—and this new school and performance space provides a vibrant new gathering spot for the musicians of today and tomorrow.
In addition to the 350-seat performance space—home to the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra—the 14,000-square-foot center houses practice and recording studios, a digital archive and classrooms where professional musicians give lessons to low-income students.
Impact Investing at Goldman Sachs
Our investments in New Orleans are part of our broader efforts across the country. We form partnerships with government agencies, businesses and community groups, putting our capital and expertise to work to create jobs, affordable housing, quality schools, healthcare facilities, and other resources to help communities grow stronger.
We help companies raise capital to fund their businesses through domestic and cross-border public offerings and private placements of a wide range of securities and other financial instruments. Learn more about our Investment Banking Division.