State and federal officials from Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida will join with local community leaders to launch an effort to support and revitalize the economies of the Gulf Coast.

Kickoff of The Ready 4 Takeoff Coalition is set for Aug. 26 at the New Orleans Marriott on Canal Street.

A statement on the group’s website, www.ready4takeoff.org, states that "given the gravity of the BP oil spill and its threat to the livelihoods of coastal communities, it is imperative that we unite behind pro-growth initiatives that will enhance the economy and create good-paying jobs."

Membership in the group includes numerous chambers of commerce chapters in the four states, along with airport authorities, cities and county economic development boards.

Mike Wiggins, mayor of Pensacola, Fla.., and a charter member of Ready 4 Takeoff, said that the region had been battered by hurricanes and most recently by the effects of the BP oil spill.

"Ready 4 Takeoff wants to tap into resources and initiatives to support and revitalize local economies on the Gulf Coast and to increase our competitiveness as destinations," Wiggins said.

Other members include Sam Jones, mayor of Mobile, Al., Ewell Smith, head of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion Board; and Donna Fraiche, one of the original appointees to the Louisiana Recovery Authority following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The launch coincides with a number of activities taking place next weekend in New Orleans to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Katrina.

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