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Charles Rice, CEO, Entergy New Orleans:

charles rice entergy

Entergy CEO Charles Rice has a message for young entrepreneurs: New Orleans is open for business.

“If you are looking to be an entrepreneur, I would encourage you to move here,” says Rice, the president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans since 2010. “If you’re a business person, we have four great universities here, seven universities total. There’s a lot of talent in this town, and there’s a true entrepreneurial spirit. I really like the current vibe of all these young people moving in. You can get whatever talent you need, right here.”

The Algiers native went to college at Howard University in Washington, D.C., before serving in the U.S. Army as a Military Intelligence Officer with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky. He returned home in 1992 and earned a Juris Doctorate from Loyola in 1995. He also holds a Master’s of Business Administration from Tulane’s A.B. Freeman School of Business.

After practicing law in Birmingham, Ala., for several years, Rice’s life journey redirected him home for good. Rice says he loves the palpable atmosphere of “transplants” relocating to New Orleans, a much different phenomenon from when he first returned 24 years ago.

“This is a community where if you take the time, it can be very welcoming,” Rice says. “Once people get to know you and you develop a reputation, it’s small enough that your reputation helps you in the long run.”

Rice’s reputation is partly built on the way he and his wife Vonda serve organizations like Boys Hope Girls Hope, giving back to the city that opened so many doors for him. It’s a commitment first imbued by his parents and family, but that continues today.

“Family is very important to me, and it’s very important to the people who live here,” Rice says, explaining that it’s part of what keeps him in the city. “It’s a pretty affordable place to live and it’s a pretty good place to raise a family. I like that it’s a family-oriented place.”

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