Contrary to what you might have heard, MegaMillions is not the biggest lottery in America.  $656 million is certainly a lot of money, but it pales in comparison to the $5 billion jackpot that cities all across the U.S. are trying to win.  That's the investment Amazon says it will make in the city that becomes home to their 2nd headquarters which they are simply calling "HQ2". Throw in the 50,000 jobs that Amazon says the project will create, and you have the biggest headquarters lottery in history.

When the October 19th deadline for applications expired, Amazon said 238 cities and regions from all over North America had submitted proposals.  One of those areas was Louisiana and there's only one place in the state that meets at least some of the criteria that Amazon requires which are 1) a population of at least 1 million; 2) an established mass transit system; and 3) access to an international airport.  That place is New Orleans.

But does the city of New Orleans have a real chance to win the ultimate headquarters lottery?  Not likely, and here's why.  There are a few other key components that Amazon is looking for in its new home, and New Orleans simply doesn't provide them.  Those are a stable business climate, a highly-educated labor pool, and a high quality of life.

Here is Sperling's Best Places list of front-runners for Amazon's HQ2:

  1. Atlanta
  2. Boston
  3. Chicago
  4. Philadelphia
  5. Washington, D.C.
  6. Austin
  7. Dallas
  8. Denver
  9. New York City
  10. Raleigh

The Wall Street Journal ranks their list this way:

  1. Dallas
  2. Boston
  3. Tie: DC, Atlanta, Seattle
  4. Chicago
  5. Denver
  6. Tie: New York, Nashville
  7. Austin
  8. Minneapolis
  9. Newark

All this being said, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is notorious for taking risks and defying expectations.  Any predictions about where HQ2 will ultimately wind up are pure conjecture.  So, for now, New Orleans is still in the running.