New Orleans may be immediately associated with Mardis Gras and Hurricane Katrina, but the city has a long track record of successful research and innovation in the biotechnology sector. Lasik eye surgery was developed in New Orleans, and the research that culminated in Viagra originated there. Now, the New Orleans BioInnovation Center is embarking on a new campaign to lure bio industry workers back to the city. The effort gets underway Monday at the BIO International Convention in Atlanta, the biotech industry’s biggest annual event. The "Bio Boom 2009" campaign primarily targets graduates of New Orleans universities who now live in Atlanta. Thea Pagel, the marketer behind the campaign, has been sending out e-mail blasts reminding people of the biotech research that originated in New Orleans. She has also sent out a video that highlights an expected boom in the New Orleans biotech industry. The city plans to spend $2 billion on a cancer center, BioInnovation Center, and two research hospitals over the next few years. These projects will create thousands of jobs in the bio industry. The team behind the campaign sees it as critical to positioning New Orleans as the bio-capital of the South. The New Orleans BioInnovation Center is a technology business incubator created to foster entrepreneurship within the New Orleans bioscience community. Delegates at the BIO International Convention will be wearing branded blue T-shirts underneath navy blazers and khakis. On May 19, the delegation will host “Bio Boom New Orleans,” a networking party for New Orleans university graduates who now live in Atlanta.