Business leaders give some governmental action the thumbs up - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Business leaders give some governmental action the thumbs up

From left: Jack Norris, Kimberly LaRosa and Chevis Swetman address the small group at the Katrina + 10 lecture series. (Photo source: WLOX) From left: Jack Norris, Kimberly LaRosa and Chevis Swetman address the small group at the Katrina + 10 lecture series. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Progress since Hurricane Katrina can be attributed to many things, but arguably, some of the biggest recovery efforts were led by landmark legislative action.

On Wednesday, the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art’s Katrina + 10 lecture series presentation was small but the message was big. It featured business leaders who gave some governmental action the thumbs up.

Jack Norris, with the Gulf Coast Business Council, says wind pool initiative and the regional tourism concept were important.

“The net result of the policy and the programs and the initiatives had great impact,” Norris said. “I think more than anything else, the Coast pulling together as a region, from the business community, elected leaders, our nonprofit to lay the foundation of things critical to our economy moving forward is kind of our lasting legacy that continues today.”

Chevis Swetman, with Peoples Bank, believes the decision to allow gaming to move to solid ground was the top initiative.

“I think everyone was aware that the gaming industry was here,” Swetman said. “It was contributing a tremendous amount to the economy. Then, all of a sudden, the storms, the barges breaking away, crushing buildings, made everybody aware that maybe that's the safest thing for our area.”

The national flood insurance program that pushed new flood safety codes was also a game changer for now and the future.

“One of these days we’re going to look back and have another storm that has a lot of tidal surge and someone's going to say, ‘Gee, a lot more of these buildings survived this time, than the last time,’“ said Swetman.

Kimberly LaRosa spoke of the Renaissance Corporation’s growth toward business support, but it was public leadership from the top that she said was important.

“I think we were very fortunate that we had Haley Barbour, and I think he described Mississippians very well when he said we didn’t wait for help to come, we got up and started cleaning up ourselves,” said LaRosa.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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