Still, entrepreneurs face hurdles launching and growing tech companies in New Orleans, which has traditionally lacked the startup culture now thriving in Austin, Texas; New York and other cities. New Orleans does not have a deep pool of developers, venture capitalists and other tech talent.
"As companies start to scale, they need high-level management to help grow," said Tim Williamson, co-founder of the Idea Village, a nonprofit that nurtures New Orleans entrepreneurs. "While we're seeing people with profile (in the tech industry) start to move to New Orleans, we need more of them."
On the surface, Williamson said, New Orleans would seem to be at a competitive disadvantage compared to other cities.
"We don't have any Fortune 500 companies, we don't have tremendous wealth," he said. "But there's something special here that's making this work."
Williamson sees the city as a laboratory of innovation and change.
"I think that this is a moment in time and history where we're right in the middle of a renaissance period, where the next generation of economic and civic leadership is being nurtured and cultivated here in New Orleans," Williamson said.
Entrepreneurs here say the community engagement, spurred by the Katrina and Isaac recovery efforts, is what makes New Orleans different.
It's why Jennifer Medbery chose New Orleans as home to her startup. A Connecticut native and Columbia University graduate, Medbery moved to New Orleans in 2008 and taught at a charter school for one year before launching Kickboard, software that provides a centralized location for teachers to record their students' progress. New Orleans has the largest proportion of students -- almost 80% -- attending charter schools of any city in the nation.
Medbery believes the entrepreneurial spirit in New Orleans is unique.
"The entire entrepreneurial ecosystem in New Orleans understands that when one rises, we all rise. And so as a community, business leaders here are very committed to each other's success, because it's all part of New Orleans redefining itself."