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The Times-Picayune

Posted on: April 10, 2014

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New Orleans technology industry sponsors a stage at the French Quarter Fest: A sign of the times?

Mark Waller, | The Times-Picayune APR 11, 2014 – 3:56 AM

A New Orleans-style milestone marking when a company or industry has achieved a measure of stature might be when it sponsors a stage at a major festival. That moment has arrived for the city’s technology industry and this weekend’s French Quarter Festival.

Led by the GE Capital technology office that recently arrived in New Orleans, a conglomeration of technology companies is sponsoring the Big River Stage near the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Officially, it’s called the “GE Capital/New Orleans Tech Big River Stage.”

Davell Crawford, George Porter Jr., Glen David Andrews, Big Chief Bo Dollis & The Wild Magnolias, Jeremy Davenport and The Iguanas are among those who will perform there.

Stars of the local tech scene are among the sponsors: 365 Connect, Carrollton Technology Partners, CotingaSoft, Cox Communications, Crystal Clear Imaging, Fat Happy Media, Federated Sample, Kickboard, Launch Pad, Mirliton Media, NOVO Communications, Search Influence, Susco Solutions, TurboSquid and Southern Light.

The tech companies’ goals include building awareness of their industry in New Orleans and job opportunities in the sector. Technology firm leaders in the city often have discussed struggles to recruit enough technical workers to fill their needs.

The coalition of firms, which also is working with the Greater New Orleans, Inc., economic development group and other sponsors on the project, will host a hospitality tent at the stage including information about the industry and a cellphone charging station. The participating companies will make announcements between acts.

Last year, Forbes magazine ranked the New Orleans area third highest in the United States for growth in information jobs including software, data processing, publishing and entertainment.

The sector grew in New Orleans by 28 percent from 2009 to 2012, Forbes found, only falling short of the duel powerhouse technology hubs of San Jose and San Francisco on growth.

By sheer size, however, the New Orleans industry was much smaller, with an estimated 8,200 jobs to San Jose’s 51,600 and San Francisco’s 47,100.

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