The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 reminded many business leaders that ultimately, the fortunes of New Orleans and Baton Rouge are connected. That reality was affirmed in a recent report suggesting closer economic ties among the New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Houma-Thibodaux areas.

The report, authored by the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, concluded that the three regions have key industries in common — and many similar challenges. The threat of coastal erosion touches on all south Louisiana communities, but in collaborating on research aimed at coastal restoration, leaders can build a body of expertise that can be marketed to other coastal communities around the world.

That’s just one opportunity for economic cooperation among these neighboring regions. The Baton Rouge Area Chamber and its Crescent City counterpart, Greater New Orleans Inc., are already seeking business development opportunities in digital media and software design.

We hope such collaboration continues, and expands. Similar teamwork among neighboring regions in other states, such as Tampa and Orlando in Florida and Austin and San Antonio in Texas, have reaped big rewards. By working together more closely, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Houma might score a few big wins, too.