‘The Good Earth’

Loyola’s Collins C. Diboll Art Gallery (New Orleans)Through May 11
April 21, 2008
April 23
April 23, 2008

“Forbes Magazine” has recently discovered what residents of the metro Houma area have long known: That ours is a vibrant, job-filled region of opportunities.

The magazine recently unveiled its list of 179 best places to work or have a career. Among smaller cities – those with a population of 240,000 people – the Houma-Thibodaux metropolitan area placed No. 133 on its list. That’s up 30 places from the previous year’s ranking.

“Forbes” bases its rankings on labor, tax, energy and office space costs as well as living costs, including housing, transportation, food and other household expenditures. In each of these categories, the region excelled.

Educational attainment, crime, the presence of four-year colleges and cultural and recreational opportunities were also considered. Again, in most of these areas, the region did well. Our lowest number was given in educational attainment. However, programs such as WorkIt! Louisiana, which seeks to encourage students who don’t intend to enroll in college to consider a technical alternative to provide needed skills for the local workforce.

The only other Louisiana city listed, Alexandria, ranks 128. Although Alexandria ranked far better with its cost of living (24th compared to our 74th place) and educational attainment (130th versus 168th), Houma did far better in job growth (29th to Alexandria’s 74th place ranking).

The magazine ranking is a reminder that the Houma-Thibodaux area has fared well in the post-2005 hurricane season. Terrebonne Economic Development Authority CEO Mike Ferdinand probably said it best when he said the list “shows some of our milestones are being met.”

It’s a testament to our leaders and proof that our region has a lot to offer the United States. After all, we have discovered “The Good Earth.”