The fourth day started with a presentation from an Economics professor from the University of New Orleans. It was extremely interesting and insightful to see not only her analysis of the economy of the country as a whole but her comparison to the city. One of the most notable statistics was the decrease (down to 60% pre-Katrina) in school age children. This is causing a lot of schools to close and the system to provide less services to those that remain. The overall outlook was that the city is rebuilding but still has a long way to go and additional setbacks such as hurricanes Ike and Gustav have slowed the process.
After lunch, we had a busy day of meeting clients. Rick (from NC) & I met with a woman who had bought a property to rent for functions. She had a few questions about filing sales taxes and didn’t realize that the tax could be passed through to the customer. Since New Orleans and Lousiana sales tax for rentals is a combined 9% it certainly helped her to know this. She wanted to know about the GO ZONE provisions as well. We also talked with her about expanding her network to cross market with wedding planners, JPs, caterers etc. Rick was great at coming up with ideas and she certainly appreciated our input. We got a chance to look at her website… the place looks very nice and airy. She had a great head on her shoulders; she used to be a nurse and a pharmaceutical rep. We could tell that her business was well thought out, so she is sure to succeed.
After meeting with clients, we went out to dinner in the gorgeous garden district with beautiful historic homes. Several among us tried turtle soup per Oliver Bell’s (of Operation Hope) suggestion. After dinner, we went back towards the hotel and went out on the town in Metairie. It was a fun night of firsts including karaoke singing.