Life After Ella
Edition Celebrating the ladies breaking barriers and building the future
A year after her motherâ€™s death, Ti Martin continues her culinary legacy
pg. 54 All Male No More Local women succeeding in male-dominated fields P. 60
Top 5 Financial Fitness Tips for Women What you should be doing right now Restaurateur Ti Martin
Saving Time and Waistlines Local delivery service offers solutions for every diet. P. 72
2 / BIZ NEW ORLEANS / MAY 2019
6 / BIZ NEW ORLEANS / MAY 2019
Publisher Todd Matherne EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Errol Laborde Managing Editor Kimberley Singletary Art Director Sarah George Digital Media Editor Kelly Massicot Associate News Editor Suzanne P. Tafur Social Media Assistant Becca Miller Multimedia Blogger Leslie T. Snadowsky Contributors Julia Carcamo, Rebecca Friedman, Keith Loria, Pamela Marquis, Ashley McLellan, Chris Price, Jessica Rosgaard, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, James Sebastien, Melanie Warner Spencer, Poppy Tooker, Keith Twitchell ADVERTISING Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan (504) 830-7215 Colleen@BizNewOrleans.com Sales Manager Caitlin Sistrunk (504) 830-7252 Caitlin@BizNewOrleans.com Senior Account Executive Brennan Manale (504) 830-7298 Brennan@BizNewOrleans.com Account Executive Jessica Jaycox (504) 830-7255 JessicaJ@BizNewOrleans.com Account Executive Sydney Steib (504) 830-7225 Sydney@BizNewOrleans.com
MARKETING Director of Marketing & Events Jeanel Luquette Event Coordinator Abbie Dugruise Digital Media Associate Mallary Matherne For event information, call (504) 830-7264 PRODUCTION Traffic Coordinator Lane Brocato Production Manager Emily Andras Production Designers Rosa Balaguer, Meghan Rooney ADMINISTRATION Chief Executive Officer Todd Matherne President Alan Campell Executive Vice President Errol Laborde Office Manager Mallary Matherne Distribution Manager John Holzer Subscription Manager Brittanie Bryant For subscriptions, call (504) 830-7231
AABP 2016 Bronze: Best Feature Layout AABP 2017 Bronze: Best Daily Email AABP 2017 Silver: Best Recurring Feature AABP 2018 Gold: Most Improved Publication AABP 2018 Silver: Best Recurring Feature
110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123 • Metairie, LA 70005 • (504) 828-1380 Biz New Orleans is published monthly by Renaissance Publishing, LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005; (504) 828-1380. Subscription rate: one year $24.95, two year $39.95, three year $49.95 — foreign rates vary call for pricing. Postage paid at Metairie, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Biz New Orleans, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 2019 Biz New Orleans. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The trademark Biz New Orleans is registered. Biz New Orleans is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork, even if accompanied by a selfaddressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in Biz New Orleans are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or owner.
10 / BIZ NEW ORLEANS / MAY 2019
BIZNEWORLEANS.COM / 11
MAY 2019 / VOLUME 5 / ISSUE 8
CONTENTS EVERY ISSUE 16 17 18 20 22 24
/ / / / / /
EDITOR’S NOTE PUBLISHER’S NOTE CALENDAR INDUSTRY NEWS RECENT OPENINGS EVENTS
IN THE BIZ 28 / DINING
One local couple is putting their own Southern stamp on Kombucha. 30 / TOURISM
Audubon Zoo’s highlyanticipated lion habitat opens this month.
44 / BANKING & FINANCE
Top 5 financial fitness tips for women 48 / MARITIME & PORTS
Born just off Louisiana’s shores, the offshore services industry is facing tough times but their trade organization is fighting back.
32 / SPORTS
Life After Ella Approaching the first anniversary of her mother’s death, Ti Martin talks about continuing her mother’s dream, her recent leaps into education and “fast fine” dining, the “Me Too” movement and how being a woman has affected her management style. BY REBECCA FRIEDMAN PORTRAITS BY ROMERO & ROMERO
Compensating college athletes would open a Pandora’s box of trouble for schools, NCAA.
68 / GREAT WORKSPACES
34 / ENTERTAINMENT
72 / WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?
French Truck Coffee opens its seventh location, plans additional growth and keeps kindness at its core.
My top 3 unique entertainment options for families this summer.
All Male No More A look at three heavily male-dominated industries and the local women who refuse to be intimidated from making their mark. BY KIM SINGLETARY PHOTOS BY GREG MILES
FROM THE LENS
Clean Course Meals’ meal delivery and new grab-and-go café is capitalizing on a growing trend, especially among millennials.
36 / ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Unlicensed entrepreneurs abound — and so do their unwanted affects. 38 / ETIQUETTE
Five strategies for when you need a recommendation letter or reference
76 / MAKING A MATCH:
BUSINESSES AND NONPROFITS
50 / REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION
Local women in the construction industry share their experiences of being in the minority.
Electric Girls is working to create the next generation of women in STEM fields. 80 / ON THE JOB
New restaurant boasts a feminine flair.
40 / MARKETING
If you want brand ambassadors, not just employees, consider making some additions to your employee manual.
ON THE COVER Restaurateur Ti Martin Photograph by Romero & Romero
MEET THE SALES TEAM
Caitlin Sistrunk Sales Manager (504) 830-7252 Caitlin@BizNewOrleans.com
Brennan Manale Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7298 Brennan@BizNewOrleans.com
Jessica Jaycox Account Executive
(504) 830-7255 JessicaJ@BizNewOrleans.com
Sydney Steib Account Executive
(504) 830-7225 Sydney@BizNewOrleans.com
Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales (504) 830-7215 Colleen@BizNewOrleans.com 14 / BIZ NEW ORLEANS / MAY 2019
BIZNEWORLEANS.COM / 15
Springing Ahead THIS IS ALWAYS ONE OF MY FAVORITE ISSUES OF THE YEAR. I LOVE OUR WOMEN’S
issue. I love sharing the incredible things women business leaders are doing in Southeast Louisiana all year long, but it’s especially excited to have a full issue devoted to it. We’re so excited to have the indomitable Ti Martin gracing our cover this month. It’s hard to believe it’s been a full year since we lost her dear mother, Ella Brennan. Martin shares with us her mother’s dream of making New Orleans “the Paris of America,” and how she’s taken up this dream. With NOCHI in full swing and restaurants continuing to pop up all over the city every moment, it certainly feels like we’re on our way. Looking ahead a bit, we’re in the process now of putting together this year’s class of New & Notables for our July issue. Every year we highlight professionals who are taking bold leaps to push our region forward in every industry. Every year we’re inundated with suggestions and its always a hard decision, but as a region it’s a great problem to have. Finally, between Mother’s Day and graduations at every academic level, May is always a month of celebrations. Congratulations to all the graduates and to all the moms out there, may you receive even half the spoiling that you so richly deserve. Happy Reading,
Kimberley Singletary Managing Editor Kimberley@BizNewOrleans.com
16 / BIZ NEW ORLEANS / MAY 2019
A Political Month IN APRIL, LOUISIANA KICKED OFF ITS LEGISLATIVE
regular session and this month we are in the thick of lobbying, debates and compromise, which all ends on June 6. If you are not aware, this is an election year and term-limited members of the House and Senate are at record numbers. Many will begin moving from one chamber to the next as they try and hold on to a position in the state legislature. But what is more important than a new seat in a different chamber is what are you doing in this current session. This year, like all the ones before, we have important items before the state that we can improve and fix. Whether it’s trying to lower car insurance, fund roads with protected gas tax money or create a funding source for early childhood education, the needs of Louisiana are great. As a business owner or executive, being involved with your local chamber, business council or trade association is a great way to stay abreast of the latest developments and issues in your area and business. Business groups are active daily in Baton Rouge trying to move us all in the right direction. Let’s hope the elected representatives are too. If you would like to follow what is happening in Baton Rouge, visit legis.la.gov/legis/home.aspx Todd Matherne
BIZNEWORLEANS.COM / 17
May 8 Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana 2019 Women’s Business Symposium 1 to 6:30 p.m. Sheraton Metairie – New Orleans Hotel 4 Galleria Blvd. HCCL.biz 8 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Business Leadership Awards Luncheon 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hilton New Orleans Airport 901 Airline Hwy., Kenner JeffersonChamber.org 8 New Orleans Magazine Top Female Achievers 2019 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Cannery 3803 Toulouse Street TopFemaleAchievers.eventbrite.com 9 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Alliance 5 to 7 p.m. The Starlight 817 St. Louis St. NewOrleansChamber.org 9 ACG Louisiana 12th Annual ACG Louisiana Awards 6 to 9 p.m. Roosevelt Hotel 130 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans ACG.org/Louisiana 10 New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce Biz to Biz Breakfast/Vendor & Trade Fair 8 to 11:30 a.m. Intercontinental New Orleans 444 St. Charles Ave. NORBChamber.org 10 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Business & Breakfast 7:45 to 9:30 a.m. Holiday Inn New Orleans Westbank 275 Whitney Ave., Gretna JeffersonChamber.org 14 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce JEDCO Challenge 5 to 8:30 p.m. Gretna Cultural Center for the Arts 740 4th St., Gretna JeffersonChamber.org 14 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Power Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1515 Poydras St. 5th Floor Auditorium NewOrleansChamber.org 18 / BIZ NEW ORLEANS / MAY 2019
14 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Networking Event 5 to 7 p.m. NOSH — New Orleans Social House 752 Tchoupitoulas St. NewOrleansChamber.org 16 The Funding Seed Nonprofit Fundraising 101 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Ashe Powerhouse Theater 1731 Baronne St. TheFundingSeed.com 16 AMA New Orleans Cyber Security in Marketing 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Greater New Orleans Inc. 1100 Poydras St. #3475 AMANewOrleans.com 21 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Coffee and Community with Michael Hecht 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Jefferson Chamber of Commerce 3421 N. Causeway Blvd., Suite 203, Metairie JeffersonChamber.org 22 World Trade Center New Orleans Bertel Award Ceremony & Luncheon 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Le Meridien New Orleans Second Floor 333 Poydras St. WTCNO.org 22 MedCity News and the New Orleans Business Alliance INVEST Pop Health A summit on the importance of population health, innovation and investment 12:30 to 7:30 p.m. Louisiana Cancer Research Center 1700 Tulane Ave., New Orleans Events.medcitynews.com 23 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Chamber After 5 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Fillmore New Orleans 6 Canal St. — Second Floor NewOrleansChamber.org 29 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Prosper Jefferson: Public Relations 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. JEDCO Conference Center 701A Churchill Pkwy., Avondale JeffersonChamber.org
BIZNEWORLEANS.COM / 19
Louisiana Ranked “Most Stressed State” In honor of April being Stress Awareness Month, Wallethub just released its report on 2019’s Most & Least Stressed States. Louisiana ranked dead last when looking at 40 key metrics of stress levels.
“These lawsuits are nothing more than a trial lawyer’s version of Hadacol; they promise snake oil to heal all your ailments, but do nothing other than line the peddlers’ pockets.” Gifford Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, speaking in response to the City of New Orleans filing a Coastal Management Zone lawsuit on March 29 against several oil and gas companies. The lawsuit seeks to require companies including Entergy New Orleans, Exxon Mobile Pipeline Company and Chevron USA to repair damage caused to the city’s wetlands by exploration, pipeline construction and oil production.
Stress Levels in Louisiana (1=Most Stressed, 25=Avg.): 5th Avg. Hours Worked per Week 6th Share of Adults Getting Adequate Sleep 5th % of Adults in Fair/ Poor Health 10th Job Security 2nd Median Credit Score 20th Housing Affordability 3rd % of Population Living Below Poverty Line 2nd Divorce Rate 3rd Crime Rate per Capita 3rd Psychologists per Capita
New Orleans Fests Best The Jazz and Heritage Festival and Essence Festival were recently ranked number 9 and 8 respectively in Vent Magazine’s “Best Music Festivals Around the Globe,” published last month. New Orleans is the only city to be represented twice on the list.
Nominations Open for UNO25 RANKINGS
Four Louisiana Universities Rank Among Top Online MBA Programs
May is Maritime Month
While traditional MBA enrollment is down, online MBA programs are seeing record enrollment numbers due to their lower tuition costs and the flexibility of the programs. On March 19, BusinessStudent.com released its “202 Best Online MBA Programs in 2019,” which included: #14 Louisiana Tech University #146 University of Louisiana — Monroe #188 Louisiana State University — Shreveport #191 McNeese State University
20 / BIZ NEW ORLEANS / MAY 2019
Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) is gearing up for its third-annual Maritime Month in May in line with National Maritime Day on May 22. Events planned throughout the month will pay tribute to the region’s rich maritime history and the men and women who serve in it.
The University of New Orleans is now accepting applications and nominations for “UNO25.” This will be the second-annual event honoring 25 high-impact businesses owned or led by UNO alumni.
As part of the month-long series of events, Port NOLA will partner with STEM NOLA to create a day of interaction for students in third to twelfth grade. The port will also once again be partnering with WWL-TV to broadcast promotional ads and will host the morning news team for a live broadcast from the port.
Applications and nominations must be received by June 30, 2019. Selected businesses will be honored at a luncheon at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans on Jan. 16, 2020.
Port NOLA’s Harbor Police Department will also be celebrated May 12-18 during National Police Week.
UNO has more than 75,000 alumni across the globe, including more than 47,000 in metro New Orleans alone. To submit an application, visit new.uno.edu/uno25.
For updates to the Maritime Month programming, visit PortNola.com.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JOSHUA BRASTED COURTESY NEW ORLEANS JAZZ & HERITAGE FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY SHELL
BIZNEWORLEANS.COM / 21
Ruby Slipper Metairie Ruby Slipper Café celebrated the opening of its first location in Jefferson Parish on April 16. The café is located at 2700 Metairie Road in Metairie and is the chain’s 11th location, including seven restaurants around New Orleans and cafes in Pensacola, Orange Beach, Mobile and Baton Rouge.
Domio Baronne St.
Tech-hospitality brand Domio officially opened a new “apart-hotel” in March in New Orleans’ historic Warehouse District. Located at 888 Baronne Street, Domio offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments with stocked kitchens. Guests may also access a fully-customized digital concierge, on-site game room and business center, gym and a 38-foot rooftop pool.
Ochsner Urgent Care & Occupational Health The Central Business District has a new Ochsner Urgent Care. The 3,050-square-foot facility is now open on the first floor of the Whitney Hancock Building (formerly known as One Shell Square). In addition to walk-in services, the clinic offers occupational health services, including pre-employment screening, drug and alcohol screening and immunizations for international travel.
International consultancy company Sound Diplomacy has chosen New Orleans as the home to its American office, set to open later this year. The move is being celebrated as the first business development win for Greater New Orleans, Inc.’s New Orleans Music Economy (NOME) initiative, which aims to create a complete music economy that supports the business of music.
The Historic New Orleans Collection On April 6, the Historic New Orleans Collection welcomed the public to experience the results of its $38 million expansion at 520 Royal St. and the debut of Art of the City, the HNOC’s first contemporary art exhibition in its new 35,000-square-foot space. The new exhibition center includes a restoration of the historic Seignouret-Brulatour Building and courtyard, as well as a new rear building.
22 / BIZ NEW ORLEANS / MAY 2019
Macy’s Backstage Mercantile Innisfree Hotels, the largest beachfront hotel owner-operator on the Gulf Coast, celebrated the grand reopening of The Mercantile Hotel at 727 S. Peters St. in New Orleans’ Arts/Warehouse District. The company’s renovations have made The Mercantile into the only all-suites boutique hotel in the market. In addition to 90 suites, the hotel includes a rotating art gallery, updated business center and craft cocktail bar.
A store-within-a-store, Macy’s in the Lakeside Shopping Center opened an off-price shopping experience called Macy’s Backstage on April 13. The 14,300-square-foot offering is located on the store’s third floor and offers 20 to 80 percent discounts off department store prices. Macy’s currently has 165 Backstage locations within stores across the country.
DOMIO PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN TORRES; MACY’S PHOTO BY ZAID HAMID
TUESDAY, MARCH 19 | BENEDICT’S PLANTATION
FRIDAY, MARCH 22 | HYATT REGENCY
THURSDAY, MARCH 28 | NOMAR
St. Tammany West Chamber State of the Parish Breakfest
POWER UP! Women’s Leadership Conference
Real Estate Group Investing: Crowdfunding and Keeping it Legal
St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister was open for questions at this year’s State of the Parish Breakfast.
Now in its fifth year, the POWER UP! Women’s Leadership Conference featured prominent women in the top of their fields and multiple educational breakout sessions.
The Commercial Investment Division of the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors hosted a conference that explored crowdfunding with industry author and educator Gene Trowbridge, CCIM.
1. Anne Pablovich, Pat Brister and Kelly Rabalais 2. Justin Landry and Tommy Benge 3. Lisa Farrell and Suzanne Bourgeois
1. Aimee Adatto Freeman, Mamie Gasperecz and Megan Holt 2. Patrice Williams-Smith, Lanitra Johnson and Chassity McComack 3. Stella Singleton,
1. Amy Trosclair and Richard Juge 2. Beth Cristina, Jon Cerruti and Jennifer Lanasa-Evans 3. Ryan Pearce, Gene Trowbridge and Cameron Lambardo
Tina Clements and Adriana DiMatteo
24 / BIZ NEW ORLEANS / MAY 2019
PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHERYL GERBER
BIZ COLUMNISTS SPE AK OUT
IN THE BIZ DINING / TOURISM / SPORTS / ENTERTAINMENT / ENTREPRENEURSHIP / ETIQUETTE / MARKETING
This sparkling probiotic tea is worth checking out, says dining columnist Poppy Tooker.
IN THE BIZ DINING
Come Get Some Kombucha One local couple is putting their own Southern stamp on this trendy drink. BY POPPY TOOKER
28 / BIZ NEW ORLEANS / MAY 2019
Euphrosine. Nestled between Earhart Boulevard and I-10, in what’s become an industrial, culinary corner of New Orleans known as “Maker’s Mile,” Austin Sherman and his wife, Alexis Korman, are creating their own bit of the American dream. A mere six years ago, Korman stopped in at SoBou for a scheduled interview with the head bar chef for a beverage industry article she was writing. At the time, Sherman was tending bar there, so as she waited, the two struck up a conversation and discovered they had much in common, including a love for sparkling probiotic tea, kombucha. Korman, once a self-described Diet Coke junkie, discovered kombucha a decade earlier while living in New York. She had become a vegetarian and a friend suggested she try the drink. Korman says she found it refreshing and was surprised by the feeling of well-being it gave her. With a taste reminiscent of sparkling cider or champagne, the beverage can be traced back to China in 220 B.C. While kombucha’s probiotics promote gut health, the antioxidants, enzymes and vitamins also found in the drink add quite a healthy punch. Lab data supports kombucha’s antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties. The glucuronic acid it contains systematically detoxifies the entire body, working through the liver and kidneys. Many enthusiasts home brew kombucha — something that Korman and Sherman had both tried before. “New Orleans is such a culinary city in an agricultural state,” Korman says, adding that she and her husband’s version of kombuchas is “uniquely Southern.” On a cocktail napkin, the two began to dream up what is today Big Easy Bucha. Big Easy Bucha begins with a base tea brewed using a proprietary blend of black and green teas sweetened with organic cane sugar. Once it cools, symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeast are introduced to the batch. Fed by sugar, they create carbon dioxide, which causes a natural effervescence. As the tea ferments over 10 to 14 days, enzymes and probiotics are created. Various natural Southern ingredients are then added to create each of Big Easy Bucha’s distinct flavors. Sherman’s background in bartending combined with Korman’s knowledge of the beverage industry, has led to a variety
of creative taste combinations. Their first creation, Cajun Kick, combines ginger with local citrus and a pinch of cayenne. When the cayenne’s spiciness proved a bit much, a touch of hibiscus rounded out the kick. It remains a best-seller today. Dedicated to supporting and giving back to the community they love, Big Easy Bucha uses only local fresh produce. “Working with small farmers is the best part of the business,” Korman says, adding that one of their flavors, Bayou Berry, begins with strawberries from Fletcher Farms, where William Fletcher can often be found playing his banjo in the fields. “We buy his entire crop, juicing the strawberries at peak flavor for use year-round.” Big Easy Bucha’s head brewer, Paul Zeringue, is part of a family that has farmed citrus for generations in Taft, Louisiana. All of Zeringue Farm’s annual crop goes into a variety of Big Easy Bucha flavors. Big Easy Bucha was originally brewed and bottled at Edible Enterprises in Norco, Louisiana, but when grocery home delivery service Good Eggs ended operations in New Orleans two years ago, the company’s Gert Town facility became available. The move to the Euphrosine Street facility allowed Big Easy Bucha to ramp up production just as grocery store giants like Publix and Rouses became customers. Along with the growth of the business, Sherman and Korman’s family has grown as well. Almost concurrently with the move to the new facility, Korman gave birth to Lyla Day, who spent most of her first year at work with mom and dad. Little wonder that Big Easy Bucha’s newest product is Lil Easy Kombucha Shots. The homegrown company is first in the nation with an entirely new product for those who want their kombucha in a single swallow. The concentrated product is aged longer, giving it a tart, slightly more acidic, non-carbonated profile with an unctuous mouth feel. Stop by Big Easy Bucha to see what all the fuss is about. Guests can sample all varieties available there on draft and fill up a growler to take home. Luckily, that 64-ounce jug is refillable, because you’ll be back for more! n Catch Poppy Tooker on her radio show, Louisiana Eats! Saturdays at 3 p.m. and Mondays at 8 p.m. on WWNO 89.9 FM.
I L LU ST RAT I O N BY TO N Y H E A L E Y
A native New Orleanian, Poppy Tooker has spent her life devoted to the cultural essence that food brings to Louisiana, a topic she explores weekly on her NPR-affiliated radio show, Louisiana Eats! From farmers markets to the homes and restaurants where our culinary traditions are revered and renewed, Poppy lends the voice of an insider to interested readers everywhere.
SOMETHING DELICIOUS IS BREWING ON
BIZNEWORLEANS.COM / 29
IN THE BIZ TO U R IS M
New Orleans’ New Pride Audubon Zoo’s highly-anticipated lion habitat opens this month. BY JENNIFER GIBSON SCHECTER
30 / BIZ NEW ORLEANS / MAY 2019
The train station has a poignant meaning behind it. According to Audubon, the station is “a symbol of the transportation system that once spanned lion country and, tragically, opened the door to habitat loss, poaching and the devastation of Africa’s vast natural resources.” The anticipated popularity of the lions has Zoo officials expecting an increase in guest attendance. They have no specific projections, but did share that 2018 brought 764,621 visitors to the zoo. Of that amount, roughly 60 percent were from Louisiana and 40 percent were from out of state. To promote the new lion habitat, Audubon Zoo is working with local companies Trumpet Advertising and Search Influence on a robust marketing campaign. The teams are planning specific media buys in traditional and digital media for an integrated campaign. Additionally, Audubon is reaching out to engage the community of Zoo supporters directly. Opening day coincides with Audubon’s, “Endangered Species Day” programming — part of the zoo’s “Party for the Planet” event series— from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The zoo will be collecting old cell phones to recycle for its “Gorillas on the Line” conservation effort, which helps protect the animals by reducing consumer demand for coltan, a mineral found in small electronics that is mined in gorilla habitats in Africa. The lion habitat will be in full view of the public during Audubon Zoo’s normal hours of operation, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For additional information, visit audubonnatureinstitute.org/zoo. n
I L LU ST RAT I O N BY TO N Y H E A L E Y
Jennifer Gibson Schecter was once a tourist in New Orleans herself and is now proud to call NOLA home. She also writes the Wednesday Tourism Blog on BizNewOrleans.com.
AUDUBON ZOO IS POISED TO OPEN ITS NEW
lion habitat on Saturday, May 18, returning lions to the Zoo after a six-year hiatus. The habitat is a creative addition to its African Savanna exhibit and follows Audubon’s practice of organizing the animal habitats geographically. The driving force behind the lion habitat is conservation. According to data provided by Audubon Zoo, the current wild lion population is only about 20,000, yet it was once more than 450,000 in the 1940s. “Under the recommendation and guidance of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) Audubon hopes to breed lions,” said Annie Kinler Matherne, communications strategist at Audubon Nature Institute, who added that lions are classified from threatened to critically endangered.” Audubon chose four lions — one male and three females — to form the pride. Scientists considered the lions’ genetics and behaviors to create the best potential matches to, ahem, “help bolster the lion population in human care.” Arnold, who I suppose in New Orleans we can call “The Rex of the Savanna,” came from Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. The three females, henceforth known by me as “Queens of Iris, Muses and Nyx,” are Nia, Kali and Zuri, who each came to Audubon from the Peoria Zoo in Peoria, Illinois. The lions have been getting to know each other since March in their behind-the-scenes enclosure so they will be acclimated and bonded as a social group before their public debut. “Lion introductions take quite a bit of time,” said vice president and Audubon Zoo general curator Joel Hamilton. “We are making sure the lions form a cohesive pride under the care of our expert animal team.” As part of the African Savanna, the lion habitat has been modeled after a 1920s-era train station. Visitors get a sense of place from empty train cars and abandoned crates and enter the station to gain access to a panoramic view of the rolling savanna created for the lions. Zoo staff will occupy the train cars, which are equipped as conservation and research stations, and provide new programming for visitors with interactive animal care and education demonstrations.
BIZNEWORLEANS.COM / 31
IN THE BIZ S P O R TS
The Difficulty of Pay to Play Compensating college athletes would open a Pandora’s box of trouble for schools, NCAA BY CHRIS PRICE
32 / BIZ NEW ORLEANS / MAY 2019
the nation that college athletes should be compensated for their play. The issue was raised again earlier this college basketball season when Duke University’s Zion Williamson, the expected top overall draft pick in the coming NBA draft, injured his knee after his shoe split at the sole and he slid to the ground in pain. Luckily for Williamson, the injury was minor and will not affect his draft status. But what if a college player with professional potential were catastrophically injured and their athletic career ended, causing them to miss out on the opportunity to play for big bucks? As of now, athletes are allowed to receive funds for tuition, books, room and board, and that’s about it. Only a handful of college players, mainly in football and men’s basketball, get full scholarships. The vast majority of college athletes get partial scholarships. With academic and athletic demands, many players can’t get part-time work. When they do, athletes’ employment is highly regulated by the NCAA because players have previously been given “jobs” with no work requirements. Those in favor of paying athletes sometimes make the claim that college athletics are a billion-dollar-industry and that athletic programs bring universities and colleges millions of dollars from merchandise, broadcast contracts and tickets for games. While that may be the case for a few schools with historically strong athletic programs, the number of institutions profiting from their athletic programs is slim. According to a 2013 NCAA study of athletic department budgets, only 20 schools out of the then-124 in the Football Bowl Subdivision had revenue that exceeded expenses. According to the report, the average loss among the Power 5 conferences was $2.3 million. At all other FBS schools, it was $17.6 million. Now it’s possible that the number of profiting schools may be artificially low due to athletic programs that try to zero out their annual ledgers by investing in facilities and paying coaches extremely well. But it is believable that the vast majority of schools at the top level of NCAA competition — not to mention those at the lower levels — are not making enough to be self-funded, much less pay players.
Several athletic programs require financial assistance from the school or through booster programs and athletic foundations. Depending on the culture of the school, that could mean vast differences in the participation and effectiveness of the sponsoring organizations’ financial support — a comparison can easily be made between LSU’s Tiger Athletic Foundation and the Tulane Athletics Fund. Another danger in paying college players is that there is no way to ensure equality across the board from school to school, conference to conference, or player to player. If schools are allowed to pay players, it could create a major schism between the handful of programs that have the funds to separate themselves as elite sports schools. Jersey sales are often dominated by the star players. While it’s easy to say a popular player’s exploits drive sales of merchandise with their name or image on it and they should be paid for it, what can the walk-on who is used in practice but never sees the field in an actual game expect to take home for their effort? How would schools compensate players who wear an honorary or legacy number, like No. 7 or 18 at LSU, awarded to outstanding seniors or elite playmakers? Different levels of pay for different players would drive a wedge between skilled players and others. There are also disparities between sports. Basketball players can join the NBA after one year of college, while football players have to play three years of college ball before they can play in the NFL. These rules are unequal and seem arbitrary. While it would fundamentally change the nation’s sports landscape, market forces seem to say there are openings for minor professional leagues – like the NBA’s G League or the new Alliance of American Football or the XFL coming in 2020 — to accept athletes not interested in going to college. It works for baseball, so why not other sports? While the addition of minor professional leagues might impact college athletics financially, it would allow schools to return to their original focus, education, and let those with their eye on the ball freely pursue their dreams without getting caught up in the red tape of college athletics. n
I L LUST RAT I O N BY TO N Y H E A L E Y
Chris Price is an award-winning journalist and public relations principal. When he’s not writing, he’s avid about music, the outdoors, and Saints, Ole Miss and Chelsea football. Price also authors the Friday Sports Column at BizNewOrleans.com.
THERE IS A GROWING ARGUMENT ACROSS
BIZNEWORLEANS.COM / 33
IN THE BIZ EN T ER TA I N M EN T
A Little Gift for the Moms My top 3 unique entertainment options for families this summer. BY KIM SINGLETARY
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! FOR YOU MOMS WITH
kids still at home, like myself, Mother’s Day means two things: first, hopefully there is some form of treat coming to you — whether that’s something handmade and a big hug and kiss, or the ultimate indulgence, dare we even whisper it…a whole morning of sleeping in. (Shivers). The second thing Mother’s Day means is that summer is coming. The days are longer, the weather oppressive, and kids. Get. Restless. Even with summer camps and family vacations, there’s bound to be some down time where you find yourself looking for some sort of new adventure. As my gift to you amazing moms this Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share my top three favorite entertainment options for the summer. Maybe one of these will be something you’ve never thought of, or didn’t know about. Happy Summer!
HATCH AN ALLIGATOR Mark your calendar now if you have kids of any age. This is a truly unique Southeast Louisiana experience that only comes in the summer. Insta-Gator Ranch & Hatchery in Covington allows visitors to hatch a baby alligator right in their hands from August 12 through September 6. The hour-and-a-half experience includes a guided tour of the facilities where alligators are raised, plus the chance to play with baby gators (mouths taped of course), ending in the bit messy, but totally amazing chance to be a little gator mama and help bring a little critter into the world. My eight year old loved every moment, but it was my husband, honestly, that couldn’t get enough. Weekend hatchings are $49.99 per person and weekdays are $39.99. Bookings can be made online, but I suggest calling up and chatting with someone there to get any questions answered.
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cat lovers in the family and are looking for a unique indoor entertainment option, you’ve got to check out the Crescent City Cat Club. A converted shotgun house in the Marigny (1021 Marigny St.), the cat club is home to 20 to 40 kitties, all ready to play with or ignore you, depending on their mood of course. Admission is $10 for
ADVENTURE IN ABITA Since my parents
live on the Northshore, we’re up in that direction fairly often, and Abita Springs has become a favorite. This little town packs a lot into one parking job. Pull up at the Abita Springs Trailhead and you’ve got your choice of summer fun options, starting with a free splash pad adjacent to a large playground with a zip-line. If it’s too hot for a bike ride or lazy walk down the trail, for $3 a person you can duck into the Abita Mystery House where you’ll have plenty of wild and weird things to explore, including old arcade machines, homemade inventions and the creatively taxidermied “Darrel the Dogigator.” For food, you’ve got Abita Brewing Company right there. Again, weirdly, I recommend the gyros. (I do eat things other than gyros, I promise). So those are my family’s favorites, but we’ve far from explored them all. I’ve got a list going for this summer of places we haven’t tried yet. Included on that list is the Marine Mammal Studies’ Ocean Adventure Marine Park in Gulfport, Mississippi, where you can do dolphin meet and greets or get a kiss from a sea lion. Closer to home, we’ve yet to explore the Mini Art Center in Algiers Point. On the first and third Saturdays of the month they offer free open studio time where families are encouraged, and guided if you’d like, in to creating collaborative artistic projects. If you’ve been to either of these places, I’d love to hear what you think! My last plug — don’t forget to check out the summer kid film series offerings at The Prytania, Orpheum Theater and Grand Esplanade 14 Theatre in Kenner. Who doesn’t love spending a sweltering summer day curled up in a cool, dark theater with treats? Nobody I know. n
I L LU ST RAT I O N BY TO N Y H E A L E Y
Kimberley Singletary is the managing editor of Biz New Orleans magazine. A 20-year Southern California veteran, she has been surrounded by the film industry for most of her life.
FROLIC WITH FELINES If you’ve got some
a few hours of play and outside food and drink is permitted. Plus, there’s complimentary Wi-Fi. When my family goes, we like to pair this trip with a meal at the nearby St. Roch Market or go for Mediterranean food at Kebab (2315 St. Claude Ave). In addition to great gyros, they have craft beers and cider and pinball machines!
IN THE BIZ EN T R EPR EN EU R S H I P
Another Side of Jazz Fest Unlicensed entrepreneurs abound — and so do their unwanted affects BY KEITH TWITCHELL
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to the city, nor is anyone collecting sales taxes. Also, clothing and art are popular items for sale, plenty of it with Jazz Fest connections; this too is done without any license to use the festival’s copyrighted images and trademarks. While I doubt these activities are having any seriously detrimental impact on established neighborhood businesses, the city’s revenue stream or Jazz Fest, it’s all completely unregulated and under the table. All this is not to throw cold water on a festive environment in one of the world’s most festive cities. However, entrepreneurs at every level have responsibilities, beginning with being mindful of the impacts created by one’s business. It would be delightful if the jello-shot people had a few trash bags with them and even policed the area before they went home. It would be most considerate to invite your musician friends to play two or three nights instead of imposing their sounds on the neighborhood every single night. And it would certainly be good to reduce the number of really drunk people who do real damage to our property – and could potentially do much worse on their way home. I admire and enjoy the enterprising spirit of my neighbors (less so those people who come from somewhere else to set up shop). It’s not a big deal that people are profiting off the festival while not paying any fees, though on a larger scale it would become problematic. Yet I do feel that even at this micro level, entrepreneurship is a privilege that comes with responsibilities, and I encourage all entrepreneurs to consider the consequences — good and bad — that they create. n
I L LUST RAT I O N BY TO N Y H E A L E Y
Keith Twitchell spent 16 years running his own business before becoming president of the Committee for a Better New Orleans. He has observed, supported and participated in entrepreneurial ventures at the street, neighborhood, nonprofit, micro- and macro-business levels.
I LIVE TWO BLOCKS OUTSIDE THE SIDE GATE
of Jazz Fest, which means that if you ever want to see the good, the bad and the ugly of street-level micro-entrepreneurship, pass through my neighborhood at this time of year. In the morning, the entrepreneurial scene is relatively subdued: a few neighbors selling water out of coolers, and the “How ya gonna clap?” guy hawking those drink cozies that hang around your neck. After the fest, things get more intense. Many more people sell water and beer; I guess after paying $6 for a mass-produced beer all day, paying $3 sounds like a good deal. And my neighbors are operating no-overhead businesses, so that 200 percent markup means a tidy profit. It’s another step up to the people selling jello shots, and here’s where things start to get a little sketchy. First, those plastic containers end up all over the neighborhood. Second, you can down a bunch of those in a hurry if you are so inclined, which leads quickly to some unfortunate behaviors. There are frequently unpleasant aromas in the air the next morning; our landscaping is routinely damaged, and two years ago someone actually broke a window in my car. A couple people take this even further, setting up mini-bars in the street. One of them promotes cheap double-alcohol drinks. This has repercussions far beyond damage to the neighborhood: professional bartenders are trained to identify over-served customers and cut them off — street-level purveyors, not so much. I enjoy adult beverages too, but I also favor responsibility and — should it come to that — liability. Other people sell food. This too brings up questions of responsibility and liability if someone gets sick and contributes to the amount of trash we pick up each morning. The final piece is that quite a few people have begun inviting bands to set up in front of their houses to play for tips. The resulting cacophony now means that hanging out with friends in our back yards after the fest is frequently not such a pleasant experience. Needless to say, none of the above entrepreneurs pays any kind of license fee
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IN THE BIZ ETIQUET TE
Highly Recommended Five strategies for when you need a recommendation letter or reference BY MELANIE WARNER SPENCER
I T ’ S R E CO M M E N D AT I O N L E T T E R A N D
reference season. That’s what I call the time of year when soon-to-be college graduates are cranking job searches up to full speed or, for those seeking additional education and training, submitting those last-minute scholarship and internship applications. For those already in the professional realm, job references and letters of recommendation are less like seasonal harvests and more like year-round crops, seemingly always in need of tending and cultivation. No matter which group you are in, it’s smart to have a strategy in place for those times when you are job hunting, applying for a fellowship or some other type of professional training, joining industry organizations or angling for a seat on the board of your favorite charity.
GOOD TIMING: Be sure to give the person you are asking for a letter of recommendation as much time as possible to write and send it. Some companies have online questionnaires that make the process of references easy and efficient, but the person filling it out still has to make time in their schedule to complete it. Two weeks or more is optimal for either one, but this is not always possible, which is why you’ll want to pay particular attention to the next point.
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GIVE THANKS: Once you have your team in place, send a quick, handwritten thank-you note to show your appreciation to each person for their support. Repeat this practice each time they provide a recommendation or reference for you.
HEADS UP: Even though you’ve obtained
their permission in advance, it’s good form to alert people on your recommendation and reference team when a request is coming their way. Reference checks could come from the interviewer, his or her underlings or the human resources department. Most people don’t answer calls from unknown numbers and spam filters can grab unknown emails, so letting someone know ahead of time can eliminate time lapses, missed calls and lost emails.
FOLLOW UP: To be human is to err and
also, despite the heads-up, it’s possible that a) the other person had an unusually busy week or your request slipped their mind or b) they didn’t get the call or email. A quick call, text or email confirmation to see if they finished the letter or heard from the company you interviewed with is a good idea. If you follow this plan, the next time you need a recommendation letter or reference, the process will be seamless. Soon enough, you’ll make your way onto someone else’s team and you can pay it forward. n
I L LU ST RAT I O N BY TO N Y H E A L E Y
Melanie Warner Spencer is editor of New Orleans Bride and New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles and managing editor of Louisiana Life and Acadiana Profile. Spencer’s ever-expanding library of etiquette books is rivaled only by her ever-ready stash of blank thank-you notes. Submit business etiquette questions to Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.
It’s possible that you will occasionally find out about an opportunity last minute. It’s unfair to ask the same person over and over to write a recommendation letter for you or serve as a reference, even if you are able to give them a long lead time. Even worse is to ask them repeatedly for eleventh-hour recommendations. Take time to make a list of three to five teachers, mentors, colleagues, former colleagues and people you’ve worked with on charity or professional boards and committees. Call or email each one to ask if they would consider being a job reference or letter-of-recommendation writer for you. Perhaps it goes without saying, but make sure these are people with whom you are in good standing. Let them know you are making a list, so that you can always be prepared when you need a recommendation or reference, and that you immediately thought of them, because of the time and interest they have BUILD A TEAM:
taken in you and your professional and pursuits, or that you enjoyed and are proud of the good work you with them on a certain project — whatever makes sense and is true regarding that individual. Request their email address, phone number and work or home address and also find out which one they prefer for recommendation and reference correspondence. Make note of it and file this information where you can quickly access it. (I have a Google document set up for this purpose.) Additionally, if one of your go-to team members is too swamped to meet the deadline, is out of town or has family obligations, you can just work your way down the list.
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IN THE BIZ MARKETING
Is Your Employee Manual Missing Something? If you want brand ambassadors, not just employees, consider making some additions. BY JULIA CARCAMO
THE EMPLOYEE MANUAL IS OFTEN SEEN AS
one of those things a business is required to have. This collection of policies and procedures is believed to be a critical document for setting clear expectations: what to wear (or not), how to behave (or not), and how to earn and use time off. Although the purpose of this document is to create a sense of stability and avoid failure, it is often missing an exploration of one of the most critical pieces of content that will help your employees grow your business — how to be, not only a great employee but a great brand ambassador. Employees must be invested in your brand if you want to improve your company culture and increase productivity. You must create and maintain a culture that is inextricably tied to your brand so that how the brand is perceived on the outside matches the experience on the inside. Understanding your core values and your brand purpose is the first step. This understanding will guide the overall development of an innovative employee manual. Then, you must understand the meaning of the employee manual. If indeed, it is only to contain the behavior of employees, you can stop reading now. This month’s column will be of no interest to you. If, however, the purpose of the manual is to build a strong foundation that inspires your employees to create brand experiences your guests will want time and time again, then you want this document to be so much more than the usual. RETHINK YOUR MISSION STATEMENT LANGUAGE.
Julia Carcamo is president and chief brand strategist at J Carcamo & Associates, specializing in brand and marketing strategy. She is also the co-founder of espNOLA, a Hispanic marketing and engagement agency. Learn more at jcarcamoassociates.com and espnola.com.
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FOCUS ON THE LANGUAGE YOU USE AND DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET CREATIVE. Employee manuals are traditionally one of the first documents given to new hires, which
I L LU ST R AT I O N BY TO N Y H E A L E Y
Many manuals include a company mission statement, but it can often appear reduced down to an elevator speech. Rather than relying on a typical corporate mission statement — which is usually focused on the company’s goals — describe your mission as a brand purpose statement and the purpose or role the brand plays in the life of the guest. This type of statement helps to set and maintain a singular focus for employees. A simple yet clear brand statement can engage even the most skeptical or apathetic employees by making their work meaningful.
means the brand voice and values should be introduced here, especially if they have not been through the recruitment process. Additionally, because so many employee manuals can often feel the same, the language you use can be an opportunity to create a distinct impression in the mind of employees. There are some great examples of company employee manuals that are reflections of the brand. Nordstrom’s one-page “one simple rule” employee manual is a great example as it puts the focus on the employee’s role in creating and growing the brand. It’s a single card. One side reads “Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them, so our employee handbook is very simple. We have only one rule...” The other side? “Our One Rule. Use good judgment in all situations. Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager or Human Resources any questions at any time.” Tech company Trello uses its platform to deliver its manual to employees. Even the first entry is a nod to their brand: “Dust off the age-old employee manual for today’s modern workforce.” Hubspot’s employee manual also warrants a mention because it manages to communicate a great deal through a simple PowerPoint and posting it to SlideShare further cements their commitment to transparency — a key brand value. Most of the readers of this column will have spent little more than reading time with an employee manual but designing one that is not only useful but purposeful is ultimately worthwhile. So, I encourage all of you to take a look at your current manual and evaluate how it is assisting employees in creating the brand experiences that are necessary to grow your business. A human resources/marketing partnership is key to building and empowering brand ambassadors. n
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HOT TOPICS IN SOUTHE AST LOUISIANA INDUSTRIES
PERSPECTIVES BANKING & FINANCE / MARITIME & PORTS / REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION
The president of the Offshore Marine Service Association shares efforts to move the industry forward in a complicated time.
PERSPECTIVES BANKING & FINANCE
One Size Does Not Fit All
FINANCIAL GOALS BY DECADE
Lisa Calongne, financial advisor with Edward Jones, suggests women focus on the following financial goals based on their age:
Top 5 financial fitness tips for women BY JESSIA ROSGAARD
20s Set a budget to live within your means, start an emergency fund and contribute to your employer retirement plan.
WHEN SHOPPING FOR A T-SHIRT OR PAIR
of pants, what’s designed for a man might not fit properly on a woman. It’s the same when it comes to financial fitness. But why is that? Why do women need to plan differently than men when it comes to financial security? Lisa Calongne, financial advisor with Edward Jones, says there are some life situations that women face that most men do not, and women have to prepare accordingly. “Eighty percent of women will be solely responsible for their financial needs at some point in their lives,” she says, “and 57% of women will, at some point, leave the workforce to care for children or sick and elderly family members.” Women may have to take a break from climbing the corporate ladder, and that can impact their income and earning power. The following are the top five things women should do to make sure they’re financially fit.
30s Concentrate on paying off bad debts (credit card, high interest) and make sure you are properly insured. 40s Focus on building your retirement and increasing your savings. 50s Make sure that your longterm care needs are in place, start preparing your legacy plan and catch up on retirement savings. 60s Maximize your social security, pay off all debts and boost savings.
HAVE A PLAN. The focal point for finan-
cial fitness is to set goals and have a plan to achieve them. The best way to do this is by partnering with a financial advisor who will help you plan for retirement, emergency savings, insurance, and estate and legacy planning. “A trusted financial advisor will work with you, with your best interests in mind,” Calongne says. Tamara Wyre, vice president and senior portfolio manager at Hancock Whitney bank, says women in particular thrive when they have defined objectives.
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“Set the goal and then move on to the next,” she says. “Then set the next goal and move on to the next. It’s truly a marathon, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it.”
Creating a budget and living within your means goes hand-in-hand with setting and achieving financial goals. Calongne says people often CREATE A BUDGET.
spend money without realizing how much they’re spending. Once you see where your money goes, you can make better decisions on where it should go to maintain your financial goals. “Are you contributing more than you can afford at the current time to your retirement? Maybe you need to reallocate some of those funds into emergency savings
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or paying down debt,” Calongne says. “You may have too much money going into your entertainment budget – so that’s where the budget is really helpful.”
KEEP A CLOSE WATCH ON YOUR CREDIT. Closely
tied with budgeting and living within your means is being mindful of your credit score. “You’re able to get a free copy of it every year; you should not have to pay for it,” says Tammy O’Shea, chief marketing officer at Fidelity Bank. Your credit score and your debt-to-income ratio both impact how banks make decisions on loans. O’Shea warns women to be careful with store cards that offer a sales discount. “If you are going to apply for a card just to get a discount on a purchase you need to make sure that you pay that off immediately and that you close out that account afterwards,” she says, “but truthfully, its better if you just don’t do it at all.”
SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. Whether preparing for emergencies or for retirement, experts say it’s never too early to start saving, and the best place to start is with an employer-sponsored retirement account, especially if your company offers matching funds. “Women should definitely contribute the minimum that is needed for any type of employer matching funds,” says Calongne. That personal contribution is usually around 3 to 4% for most companies, and triggers an additional contribution from your employer, or “free money.” But don’t just set it and forget it, says O’Shea. “Ramping up [your contribution], even if it’s just a percentage every year — believe me you won’t feel it in your paycheck,” O’Shea says. “Shooting for a goal of being able to save at least 15% of your salary I think is realistic and well-prepares you for retirement.” While saving for retirement is important, women also need to have some money available for emergency situations. Lisa Calongne says the best way to plan for the unexpected is to pay yourself first. “Have the money directly deducted from your paycheck, before you even see it,” she says. Another trick Calongne recommends is having your paycheck deposited into your savings account instead of your checking account, “then move your monthly allocated budget from your savings account to your checking account, not vice versa, because if you ever hope to have extra money it needs to remain in your savings account out of sight.”
It can be overwhelming to try and accomplish all of these financial goals at once, and everybody’s financial journey is different. “It needs to be based on where you are in your life,” says Wyre. “Look at what are those things that you’re looking to achieve and then set goals based on that.” n
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WORK WITH WHERE YOU ARE.
HELPING WOMEN FIND THEIR P.O.W.E.R. In 2018. Fidelity Bank introduced its P.O.W.E.R. program. An acronym for the potential of women entrepreneurs realized, the goal of the program is to provide opportunities for women business owners, entrepreneurs and heads of organizations which include networking opportunities and a suite of financial services. Tammy O’Shea, chief marketing officer at Fidelity, says it’s not that women have different needs when it comes to running their business, they just sometimes go about things in a different way than men. do “Women tend to be more collaborative and make a conscious effort to try to do business with other women in many cases,” O’Shea says. Small businesses are typically self-financed – maybe starting out on credit cards, or loans from friends and family. O’Shea says Fidelity is aware of unique situations that women entrepreneurs may have experienced that affect their borrowing ability. “Sometimes we see women who have maybe gone through a divorce, and typically women don’t make as much income as their male counterparts, and that sometimes affects their credit score.” Just over a year after it launched, the P.O.W.E.R. program has over 500 members. O’Shea says the program’s products include a checking account with more free transactions than a typical business account, and a dedicated team of small business lenders to work one on one with P.O.W.E.R. members.
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PERSPECTIVES R E A L E S TAT E & CO NS T RU C T I O N
Still Leveling the Ground
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
WHAT DRIVES YOU? “What drives me are projects that really bring good things to our community. Also, when our teams are really clicking internally and externally, and killing it on a project – that’s fun.” Anne Teague Landis, CEO of Landis Construction Co.
Local women in the construction industry share their experiences with being in the minority.
“Bringing a disruptive technology to an industry that has been notoriously stagnant is what excites me everyday. We are revolutionizing a process that is over 100 years old.” Rebecca Cooley, vice president of manufactured interior construction at AOS Interior Environments
BY JAMES SEBASTIEN
AMONG THE FIELDS THAT HAVE MADE SOME
great strides in lessening the divide of gender inequality in the workplace is the typically male-dominated construction industry. Rebecca Cooley, vice president of manufactured interior construction at AOS Interior Environments, graduated with a degree in interior design from Louisiana State University in 2007. “I took the natural path of working for architecture and design firms,” she said. “Through project experience, I gravitated towards the collaboration and execution part of the process.” Seeking a change and a chance for growth and improvement, Cooley decided to switch gears and shifted her career focus to align with her passion and strengths. “Manufactured construction through a design-assist role checked all of the boxes for me,” she said. “The fast pace, hands-on, problem-solving work challenged, yet invigorated me.” Cooley gives the credit of her success to her parents, who she said encouraged her to always be an advocate for herself. “Entering the workforce, I was competing against everyone, regardless of gender, and more importantly competing against my former self,” she said. “The industry we are a part of is a challenging culture. Projects require collaboration from multiple stakeholders, consultants and professionals. In order to succeed, transparency, respect and efficiency is key.”
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“My father told me a piece of advice when we opened Triton Stone. He said, ‘Act as if every day you are going out of business. I work hard so I can build a strong company that can take care of its employees and their families. That’s what keeps me going.” Katie Peralta, president and owner of Triton Stone Group
That being said, Cooley admits that there is still an ongoing battle against stereotypes and misconceptions. “Has my construction knowledge been underestimated because I am in a dress and heels? Absolutely,” she said. “But each time is a wonderful opportunity to educate that individual on a new streamlined way to build better.” Katie J. Peralta, president and owner of Triton Stone Group, said her foray into the construction industry began during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“My family and I started Triton Stone Group in August 2006,” Peralta said. “We wanted to get into a business that would contribute to the rebuilding of the city. We knew that so many houses had been destroyed and would need new countertops, so we opened Triton Stone with the hope of helping everyone in the city rebuild.” On the day Triton Stone opened for business, Peralta hopped on a forklift to unload a container of stone that had arrived — she hasn’t slowed down since.
“My new mortgage! All jokes aside, I love building things. I love seeing a structure go from an idea, to paper, then to an actual building. My favorite thing to see is how excited a client gets when they are seeing their space transition before their eyes. It definitely gives this job a purpose at the end of the day.” Amber Carrier, project manager at Woodward Design + Build
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“As a woman in the construction industry, or for me, the stone industry, there were definitely challenges, but none insurmountable,” she said. “I think it is harder to create relationships with some customers, as they can relate better with male counterparts. However, if you can show them that you can provide a good product and the right price and do what you say you are going to do, you can earn anyone’s respect and business.” Peralta believes that women bring a fresh perspective as they are able to offer solutions in a different manner. “I like to understand the problem and figure out how we can solve it,” she said. “I think the industry is very open to female entrepreneurs and females working in the construction industry. I do not feel that there is more or less support for women.” Anne Teague Landis, CEO of Landis Construction Co., is also part of a family business in which her first job in construction was as a file clerk. “I have had instances of working for the company since I was 12,” she said. “I decided to pursue construction as my career and returned to Landis Construction in 2008. That decision was made because I really love the work, the opportunity to work with my dad and a desire to be back in New Orleans.” Landis said she feels lucky that she did not face challenges entering the construction field as a woman, adding that the idea of the industry being challenging for a woman didn’t even occur to her. “I believe that comes from the benefits of a family business, and especially one that has had strong woman leadership since the 1970s,” she said. “If anything, I face more challenges now in my CEO role because there are so few of us in the industry.” Landis said that one of the most significant changes in the industry is the reduction in cat-calling by construction workers. “That is uncomfortable for all women, but maybe especially for those in the industry, whether or not they are the target of the catcalling,” she said. Another area of the business that needs to change is the openness for networking and enterprising opportunities. 52 / BIZ NEW ORLEANS / MAY 2019
“Construction can still be a good-ol’boys network,” Landis said, “which results in the shutting out of women — that needs to change.” Recent Landis projects have included the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s Linear Park and the third phase for the Iberville Housing Redevelopment, now known as Bienville Basin. The company is also involved with the development of The Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience at 818 Howard Avenue. Amber Carrier, project manager at Woodward Design + Build, also has construction in her blood. Her family consists of an architect, residential contractor, a commercial contractor, framing and trim builders and a grandfather who used to flip houses. “My first job in construction started early in life,” Carrier said. “My father would take me to work with him as a young girl during the summers and I would pick up scraps and sweep the sawdust. Sometimes I would ride around Baton Rouge with my grandfather to the different job sites and ‘supervise.’ As I got older, I would run trim, put hardware on, install stair treads, etc.” After graduating from Louisiana State University, Carrier said she was at first intimidated about entering into the field of construction. “You definitely have to have a backbone and not be scared to ask questions or stand your ground,” she said. “One of the challenges that I was faced with and still continue to deal with today is the double standard. I have run across some men in this field that do not think women should be in construction.” Carrier said she has seen changes in the industry since she got her start 11 years ago, but still feels that there’s a stigma attached to women in construction and that the pay gap needs to be addressed. “The persona of women in construction needs to change,” she said. “I think that it is starting to come around, but there is still a lot of work to be done. I had a couple of people doubt me in the beginning of my career, and through hard work and determination, I feel that I have definitely proven them wrong.”n
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Life After BY
REBECCA FRIEDMAN P O R T R A I T S BY
ROMERO & ROMERO
Approaching the first anniversary of her mother’s death, Ti Martin talks about continuing her mother’s dream, her recent leaps into education and “fast fine” dining, the “Me Too” movement and how being a woman has affected her management style.
We feel like if we really take care of the locals and make them want to come back, everything else will happen naturally. We’re as good as the last meal we served. Period. We’ll take all the awards they’re giving out, but that’s what really matters.
Though you grew up immersed in the restaurant business, you didn’t join right away. What finally swayed you?
“If it ain’t broke, fix it anyway.” I T ’ S A FA M I LY M O T T O O F S O R T S F O R T I M A R T I N .
She heard those words often from her mother, “Miss Ella” Brennan — the groundbreaking restaurateur and Brennan family matriarch who passed away on May 31, 2018 — and she repeats them to her team members often. Martin credits that approach for the success of the Commander’s Palace family of restaurants (Commander’s Palace and SoBou, which Martin runs with cousin Lally Brennan, and Brennan’s of Houston, led by Martin’s brother Alex Brennan-Martin). It’s also driven her to pile an already full plate with new challenges: the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute (NOCHI), of which Martin is board chair and co-founder, welcomed its first students this past January and Picnic Provisions & Whiskey, a more casual spot in Uptown New Orleans that she co-founded with Commander’s Palace chef Tory McPhail and local restauranteur Darryl Reginelli, opened Sept. 10, 2018. The other thread that runs through Martin’s projects is a fanatical belief in the importance of hospitality and the role New Orleans can play in spreading this gospel. Biz New Orleans sat down with Martin recently to discuss the importance of this industry to the city and what’s needed to keep it, and its increasingly diverse workforce, thriving.
The truth is, mom discouraged me from being in the business. She said, ‘Go learn how to take care of yourself, kid.’ So, I got an MBA and was in the real estate industry in California, then Houston. It was great experience, but I quit that business when it seemed to me those people weren’t acting very ethically. My Aunt Dottie had gotten a radio station in a divorce. Because I had an MBA and had worked for a while, she thought I was eminently qualified to go and run it. So I did, and in the midst of that, she called me and said, ‘Your mama’s going to have heart surgery tomorrow.’ On the drive from Texas to New Orleans, I asked myself, ‘What are you doing, idiot? When are you going to go work with your best friend and mentor?’ So, I came home. My mother, of course, was perfectly fine. But I had gone away and done my thing, and I wasn’t about to waste any more time. I do not know what normal girls talk to their mothers about, but my mother and I have always talked about business because we think it’s the most exciting thing in the world. That’s what our relationship was like from beginning to end — though we did have a good time together too.
Picnic Provisions & Whiskey is a stylistic departure from Commander’s. What have you learned from that project? Picnic is the brand-new baby we’re crazy about. A modern corner neighborhood restaurant that we call ‘fast fine.’ We have service — that’s a very important element — and the cutest little bar in America. I’ve gotten a lot of advice from people I admire in the industry. When we first started Picnic, I called up Cheryl Bachelder, the former CEO of Popeyes, and said, ‘Cheryl, we can’t make the fried chicken fast enough! I need some advice on systems.’ My entire life is one giant collaboration. Anybody who thinks they’re doing any of this stuff by themselves is an idiot. But we’re having a blast with it. At the same time, you were launching NOCHI – what drew you to that project?
It’s remarkable that Commander’s Palace continues to be recognized in such a high-profile way. What do those accolades mean to you? It’s much harder to stay there than to get there. But that’s the thrilling part. It’s all about keeping the standards up and pushing, pushing — it takes an extraordinary amount of energy to do that. You can see how people rest on their laurels, but ooohhh, that makes me crazy nervous. I hope it never happens around here. People can only name about four favorite dishes at Commander’s Palace, the rest change all the time. I believe that’s how we stay relevant. I once heard a restaurateur in New Orleans say, ‘If I just get every tourist once, I’ll be fine.’ That is the opposite of anything we feel, believe or admire.
F U N FAC T
As a high school student, Ti Martin convinced the administration of Isidore Newman School to create a girls’ volleyball team. Since then, Newman has won 17 state volleyball championships.
A lot of us have tried to do a culinary school for a long time but were always stymied by money. [Once we found the building], we just started swinging for the rafters and put together a team... and here we are. We found a way because the industry and the city got behind us. This thing is going to be what the industry wants, a lot of which involves taking young people and making them into managers. Certain jobs in the restaurant industry are entry-level jobs you’re not supposed to be doing when you’re 50 or 70. If you have some get up and go, you can make it in my industry. A lot of what NOCHI does is get you from the entry-level job further up the line. How can NOCHI help promote New Orleans as an industry leader? My No. 1 passion in life is the arena of hospitality. I feel New Orleans is particularly well suited as a city to teach that. We’re not as good as we need to be, but
Favorite book: “Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business” by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss. It goes way beyond just our industry – I’m making my whole team read it. Favorite TV show: Mom and I would have a Sunday night date to watch “Madam Secretary.” She always liked politics, and we both have a belief in something called the common good. That’s an unusual saying in today’s world, but that show appeals to that ideal. Who do you look up to? My mentor Joe Henican; all my “moms” – including the amazing group of aunts who helped raise me; my cousin Lally; my chef Tory McPhail. I’m also quite fond of our governor – he’s an exceptional human being.
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“I do not know what normal girls talk to their mothers about, but my mother and I have always talked about business because we think it’s the most exciting thing in the world.”
Brandy Milk Punch Makes 1 cocktail 2 ounces brandy 1 ounce simple syrup ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1½ ounces cream (or almond milk) Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a light dusting of freshly grated nutmeg and serve immediately.
we’re better than most other places just naturally. I’d love people to think, ‘I need somebody to come speak to people about hospitality, I want to send my management to learn about hospitality... what about that place in New Orleans?’ If every time someone thought about hospitality they thought about New Orleans, that would be a real gift we’ve given our city. One of my mom’s dreams that I’ve inherited is that New Orleans be the Paris of America, and I think we can do that. But we have to keep it going because now other cities in America — like Chicago and many others — are nipping at our heels. We have the product restaurantwise. We needed the school, and we need to keep marketing it. Everything is about pushing hospitality.
How do you think New Orleans is doing as an incubator for women in the industry? I remember when I was very young and working very hard and talking with my mother about some industry organization for women. I told her, ‘I don’t have time for that!’ And she said, ‘Let me tell you something. You may not have time for it, but we need those organizations. You’d better give your darn time to that organization, take your turn and keep it strong so that those organizations can help you.’ I think it’s very important to form relationships in the industry, and you learn from each other. I felt like I had to be involved in all of those organizations because there were so few of us [women], and now I see the next crop in the city coming along and I’m thrilled about it. I finally see a wave, and it’s been a damn long time coming. I just want to stand over here and applaud and help however I can.
Your mother was a pioneer as a woman restaurateur. How did her example shape your approach to this business? I’m of two minds about the whole thing. One of them is ‘just get over it and go do your job.’ Because that’s what she did — it’s not something she thought about day to day. She just was going to lead. However, I find myself very focused and interested in helping young women get ahead. I do think there are very real obstacles. The ‘Me Too’ movement was way too long in coming. It’s pretty damn exciting to see. I certainly have a bunch of folks I’m trying to mentor – I’m a big believer in that. I think young people don’t have enough people to talk to about their career and life decisions. We have something at Commander’s called Aqua Blue U — classes we put on, many of them on industry [topics]. A lot of [our team members] want to own their own restaurant, and I’m like, ‘Good! Let me show you how.’ I would also say being a woman has affected my management style. When I say my whole life is one big collaboration, that’s partly because I’m a woman. I like to surround myself with the best people I can and get input from everywhere I can. That’s one of the first things you teach a young cook. You think you’re macho not asking for help, but then the whole line goes down because you didn’t ask. If you can learn that early enough, it’s a big help.
At some point, will we max out on the number of restaurants in New Orleans?
N O TA B L E HONORS
Gambit’s Top 40 Under 40 (1999) Inducted into Culinary Institute of America Hall of Fame (2008) Inducted into Junior Achievement Hall of Fame (2010) City Business’ Woman of the Year Award (2011)
There’s no way to explain the number of restaurants we have in New Orleans. There’s no way we should be able to support this number of restaurants. But New Orleanians are nuts and go out to eat a lot, and our industry is nuts, and we just keep opening restaurants, all of us. But what is thrilling for me — one of the best darn meals I’ve had lately was on Broad Street [at Marjie’s Grill]. I’m excited because they seem to be serious about the hospitality end of things too. You get these young whippersnappers who say, ‘We want to cook what we want to cook,’ and they find a building they can afford — which is brilliant – and they have to be so good that they can draw people there. I think that is the sign of the most lively restaurant scene we’ve ever had, with the most depth. I always thought we were sort of idiot savants here — we did one thing really well, but we never had any great ethnic food or any kind of variation. And now we’ve got it all. Sure, it’s all competition, but I’ve always found it makes us all better. Don’t get me wrong, the labor market is tough and it does make things a few notches harder, but it’s thrilling.
Biggest life lesson learned: The most important thing is integrity. Period. The common good. If you don’t have that, what do you have? Best advice ever received: One thing my mom taught me was: ‘There are a lot people who spend their lives trying to avoid hard work. I don’t really know anybody who really tried to succeed without working hard. Make this business part of your lifestyle and enjoy it.’ Hobbies: A weekly game of early morning pickleball with 58 / BIZ NEW ORLEANS / MAY 2019
Notable events 1974 Brennan family (Ella, Dottie, Dick and John) buys Commander’s Palace 1996 Commander’s Palace wins James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant 1997 Ti Martin becomes full-time co-proprietor of Commander’s Palace 2005 Hurricane Katrina closes Commander’s Palace for 13 months 2012 SoBou opens in the French Quarter 2018 Ella Brennan dies at age 92 2018 Picnic Provisions & Whiskey opens 2018 Commander’s Palace wins Nola.com/ Times-Picayune Restaurant of the Year 2019 NOCHI opens
my two best friends. I play golf. I love picnics – especially with a bottle of wine at sunset. I love restaurants – eating in them, reading about them, writing about them... I’m either in mine or somebody else’s. Daily habits: I exercise every day. It puts me in a good mood, and at this age you need to anyway. I read. And I try to sneak in something somewhere along the way with a friend. Pet peeve: Servers who take your food before you’re done. What you are most looking forward to in the next year: To NOCHI and Picnic thriving and working on some other hospitality projects. BIZNEWORLEANS.COM / 59
All Male No More
Nurse. Teacher. Secretary. Homemaker. When it comes to societally-approved career choices, women were pretty limited in the United States until well into the 20th century. ¶ Then came that famed, bandana-clad powerhouse, Rosie the Riveter. During World War II, with so many men fighting overseas, desperation through traditionally male-dominated industries wide open to women for the first time. Between 1940 and 1944, approximately 6 million women joined the workforce. ¶ When the war ended, women were largely pushed out, and they’ve been fighting to break back in ever since. While giant strides have been made in workplace equality, some fields have fared better than others. Here, Biz New Orleans takes a look at three still heavily male-dominated industries and the local women who refuse to be intimidated from making their mark. BY KIM SINGLETARY PHOTOS BY GREG MILES
The Women of Wine Brennan’s wine program is a rare offering in the male-dominated wine industry. Brennan’s restaurant has become notable for a lot of things since opening in 1946 — including Breakfast at Brennan’s, bananas Foster, tableside dining and of course, the turtles.Adding one more item to the list, the restaurant is now the only one in the city whose wine program is run completely by women. Charged with a wine cellar boasting more than 13,000 bottles, including approximately 4,000 different selections, Braithe Tidwell has been Brennan’s wine director since the end of 2017. Joining her in the cellars— which once served as a carriage house with stables — is sommelier Sarah Arceneaux. The duo can typically be found working the room of the restaurant, assisting diners with wine choices, making sure the wine is being served correctly and constantly managing the cellar, assisted by an automated tracking system. “We’re kind of like librarians,” says Arceneaux.“A majority of our job is in the cellar — which is kept at 57 degrees, so it’s great in the summer — we do a full inventory every 28 days.” Both Tidwell and Arceneaux hold certifications from the Court of Master Sommeliers. The Court offers four levels of certification with increasing difficulty levels. Tidwell and Arceneaux are both certified at level two and are currently studying for the third level. “It’s a very competitive process,” says Tidwell, “and it’s definitely maledominated, which comes I think in part from the fact that the original wine stewards in Europe were always men.” The final level exam to become a master sommelier has only about an 8% pass rate. Of the 164 professionals in the United States that have earned the title, 138 are men (82 %) and 26 are women.
TOP OF THE TOP There are 164 professionals that have earned the title of master sommelier since the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas inception; 138 are men and 26 are women. Âś The prestigious Master Sommelier title began to be offered in the United States in 1969. The first woman to earn the designation was Madeline Triffon in 1987.
Sommelier Sarah Arceneaux and Wine Director Braithe Tidwell
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THE ORIGINS OF THE SOMMELIER In the late 1600s, sommeliers were employed in the households of lords to choose the wines and be in charge of table settings and desserts. The sommelier would commonly use a small silver saucer on a chain, called a tastevin, to check his lord’s wine for poison.
“More women are sticking their necks out there and going for it,” says Tidwell, who notes that women are particularly well suited for careers in wine, which require two main things: strong organizational skills and a well-defined palate.“It’s a fact that women actually have more taste buds then men.” They also have a better sense of smell — women have an average of 43% more cells and almost 50% more neurons in the olfactory centers of their brains. Arceneaux says her love for wine stems from her love of history and helping people make memories. “Wine is history, culture and art,” she says. “Wine is the capturing of a moment in time and I think of us as storytellers. We get to be part of the fun times of people’s lives and that’s just really special.” That special storyteller role is one she says she’s excited to see more women take on. “You’re seeing more women in control in this industry,” says Arceneaux.“The face of wine really is changing, and I feel happy to be a part of that.”
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Star Automotive owners Shawntele Green and her husband Gary (left) are shown here with one of the company’s technicians, Troy Declouette.
DID YOU KNOW? In 2014, Mary Barra became the first woman to run a major auto maker in the United States when she became CEO of General Motors.
A Different Kind of Green Initiative Shawntele Green is bringing a woman’s touch to the automotive industry.
DID YOU KNOW?
WOMEN DRIVERS OUTNUMBER MEN
This month, Shawntele and Gary Green celebrate their first year in the new home of Star Automotive — a 5,500-square-foot building in Belle Chasse that includes seven offices and two conference rooms. It’s a long way from how the couple started their business as a mobile mechanic called Gary’s Auto Service 20 years ago. “My husband is incredible with cars and I enjoyed working in the background — doing the planning, the taxes, the organizing for the business while serving as a stay-at-home mom to our five kids,” says Shawntele Green. Now that their children have grown, Shawntele has stepped into the foreground and is using her passion for helping people to help the company create a new program aimed at training Louisiana’s incarcerated and recently released of any gender in automotive repair. “The vision is now coming off the paper,” says Green. “We have been closed for a few months to get ready and when we reopen between June and July we’ll have at least eight employees in the program, which will focus on not just education, but motivation and
momentum and will also have a strong spiritual component. This is important because we want to encourage people not just to earn a living, but to go out and grow their own business and when they leave us we want them to have something to hold onto.” Green says Star Automotive frequently helps female customers, who turn to the Greens for help with buying cars, getting a second opinion on repairs and especially with diagnostics. “It can be intimidating for women and I’m happy they feel they can come to us,” she says.“We’ve been offering free diagnostics for 11 years now. This business is all about building relationships.” In addition to educating and creating jobs for former inmates, Green says she envisions a new concept for her industry that caters more to women. “I want to create an automotive repair bar,” she says. “A place where you can come and get your car worked on, and while you wait you can get your nails done and there’s a place to get something to eat and a play area for the kids. Doesn’t that sound great?”
BY T H E N U M B E R S
AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY DISPARITY
of executives in the top 20 motor vehicles and parts companies in the Fortune Global 500 are women.
of automotive repair and maintenance workers are women
of automobile dealers are women
of motor vehicles and equipment manufacturing jobs are held by women.
of C-suite leaders in the automotive industry worldwide point to women as a critical pool of underutilized talent SOURCE: CATALYST.ORG – STATS FROM 2017 AND 2018
SOURCE: STATISTA – 2017
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Women Saving the Wetlands Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition includes a team of female scientists and engineers fighting to save our state. BY T H E N U M B E R S
LOUISIANA’S DISAPPEARING COASTLINE
square miles of land Louisiana has lost since the 1930s, an area roughly the size of Delaware.
additional square miles the state is projected to lose over the next 50 years if no action is taken.
100 million tons of sediment passes through Louisiana every second. Much of it is lost to the deep waters of the Gulf.
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Every 100 minutes, Louisiana loses a football field of land into the Gulf of Mexico. Over the years, the construction of levees, dams, shipping channels and canals, and oil and gas infrastructure, paired with hurricanes and sea level rise have placed the region in crisis level. An extensive problem necessitates an equally extensive solution, which is why the Mississippi River Delta Coalition has partnered with the state of Louisiana and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Scientists from a range of organizations, including the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, National Audubon Society, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Environmental Defense Fund and the National Wildlife Federation, conduct and synthesize research to help educate policymakers and guide effective solutions. Given that many science and engineering fields remain male dominated, the coalition is also unique in that the staff is majority female. Twenty-six of the 42 members of the coalition are women. “I do feel like we have a strong balance of women,” says New Orleans native
WOMEN IN ENGINEERING 13% of engineers are women (Society of Women Engineers) ¶ Among science and engineering graduates, men are employed in a STEM occupation at twice the rate of women. (Association for Women in Science) ¶ Only 30% of women who earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering are still working in the field 20 years later — 30% of which have cited “organizational climate” as the reason they left.
(left to right) Kristi Trail, executive director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation; Cathleen Berthelot, senior policy manager, Environmental Defense Fund; and Alisha Renfro, coastal scientist, National Wildlife Federation
WOMEN REMAIN UNDERREPRESENTED IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH FIELDS Women are 47% of the workforce but make up 26% of the STEM workforce. (Association for Women in Science) ¶ Less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women. (Unesco Institute for Statistics)
Kristi Trail, executive director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, who noted that when she graduated with her undergraduate degree in engineering in the mid-’90s only about 10% of her class were women. A selfdescribed “lifelong environmentalist,” Trail says being a part of a strong group of women leaders has been “a different world.” “I have a daughter and I want her to see that there are women out there solving Louisiana’s problems. Not just one, but teams. We have a ways to go, but we’ve come a long way since when I was starting out.” For Alisha Renfro, coastal scientist with the National Wildlife Federation, the chance to be part of the coalition was too good to pass up. “I fell in love with the wetlands early on in my life, and the situation here, the tremendous scale of the loss and the presence of so many competing factors — I was just drawn to the challenge,” she says.“I figure if you can work out how to do this in Louisiana, everywhere else will be easy.” A sedimentologist, Renfro says one of the priority projects is the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion. After more than 30 years of scientific study, the project will create gated
levees that can be opened to allow much-needed sediment and fresh water into degrading wetlands in the Barataria Basin. The project is currently in the permitting process, which is set to end in November 2020. On the policy side of the team is Cathleen Berthelot, senior policy manager with the Coalition and Environmental Defense Fund. A native of Washington D.C., Berthelot spent six years working on Capitol Hill before moving to New Orleans to work with Senator Mary Landrieu for two years as her regional representative for transportation policy in the state. “Mary actually introduced me to the issues with the wetlands and her passion for the cause definitely brushed off on me,” says Berthelot. “Now my job is to work with policymakers, like our state senators, to keep them abreast of what’s going on, with the end goal being to get the priority projects in our master plan implemented as quickly as possible. I’m proud of what we do. It’s such a good example of how an issue can be very bipartisan or nonpartisan. It’s all about keeping our coastline around for generations to come.”
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SOUTHE A ST LOUISIANA BUSINESSES IN FULL COLOR
FROM THE LENS GREAT WORKSPACES / WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT? / MAKING A MATCH / ON THE JOB
Opened in February, French Truck Coffee’s new Poydras Street location is the seventh for the company, with five more on the way.
FROM THE LENS G R E AT W O R K S PAC E S
Riding the Third Wave French Truck Coffee opens seventh location, plans additional growth and keeps kindness at its core BY MELANIE WARNER SPENCER PHOTOS BY SARA ESSEX BRADLEY
IT SEEMS LIKE ANCIENT HISTORY NOW, BUT
as early as five years ago, connoisseurs of second- and third-wave coffee had scant few choices in New Orleans. Which is odd considering that in the 19th and 20th centuries, New Orleans was the biggest coffee port in the country and that for decades, myriad roasters and distributors have called New Orleans home. In February, coffee roaster and seller French Truck Coffee opened its seventh shop on Poydras in the Central Business district, proving that third-wave coffee has been embraced by both newbies and natives who are steeped in chicory and cafĂŠ au lait. Since its debut in 2014, the company has grown to include five shops in New Orleans, plus two others in Baton Rouge and Memphis, Tennessee. This was the third locally since the beginning of 2018. French Truck CEO Geoffrey Meeker has plans for additional growth for the company, which ranked No. 10 in Fortuneâ€™s 100 fastestgrowing inner-city companies for 2018. At the same time Meeker sticks close to
French Truck Coffee CEO Geoffrey Meeker credits as inspiration for his company, a trip to San Francisco, Califorina, where he first tried Blue Bottle, a celebrated local roaster. French Truck now has seven locations. Five in New Orleans, one in Baton Rouge and one in Memphis Tennessee.
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“Our core audience is somebody who has maybe a sense of adventure and interest in experiencing new things,” says Meeker. “… People who want certain culinary experience and want the same with their coffee.”
his original mission of marrying quality coffee with hospitality. The company’s instantly recognizable vintage-modern design — while it evolves ever-so-slightly to fit each new location — is always at the forefront of French Truck’s sophisticated, yet playful marketing and branding. “We pulled some of the design aesthetic we’ve used in some of our other locations to tie it together,” Meeker says of the Poydras location. Meeker credits an auspicious trip to San Francisco where he first sampled the wares of the city’s celebrated roaster Blue Bottle — which has a near cultlike following — as inspiration for his coffee company. “We tried to make it lighter and more welcoming a bit more modern. Even without the logos, you’d walk in and say, ‘Yeah this feels like a French Truck.’” For the design, Meeker worked with a team responsible for several of the company’s locations, including Colectivo’s principal architect Seth Welty and Ryan Mayer, principal at Mayer Building Co., who was the general contractor. They tripled the glass in the front and moved the entry, which used to be located in an alley, to Poydras for easier, more visible access. “We did a full renovation of that space and it included a pretty extensive kitchen,” says Meeker. “What we are trying to do there is to duplicate what we did in Uptown. We are as much of a café as a coffee shop.
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Where you can have a full meal along with a great cup of coffee and try to bring a quality that is over and above what you’d expect with a regular coffee shop.” So far, interpreting the company’s offerings for different locations has been successful, which Meeker attributes to both the customers interested in his products and services and the company’s culture. “Our core audience is somebody who has maybe a sense of adventure and interest in experiencing new things,” says Meeker. “We are a town of foodies and so are both of the other locations outside of New Orleans. People who want certain culinary experience and want the same with their coffee.” Meeker cultivates that experience by also promoting a positive work atmosphere for his employees. Access to health insurance is available after six months, everyone receives extensive training and there is a kindness code of sorts. “We are really trying to hire nice people,” says Meeker, who also hires people of all backgrounds, not just those with coffee or hospitality experience. “People who are nice to customers are usually nice to each other. I’m proud of our teams. They end up hanging out after work and take care of each other. Create the environment to nurture that behavior and those relationships and let it be and let it grow by itself.” An additional five new French Truck locations are already planned and Meeker says that, “assuming we continue to have the success we are having and growing at that rate, we’ll continue to do as many as we can, and that we are successful with.” Two of the locations will open this year. One is slated for the Lafitte Greenway, but Meeker says he can’t talk about the other one just yet. Currently he says logistics and financing are his biggest challenges, especially given the company’s rapid progress over the past couple of years. “With that growth there comes the growing pains we try to keep to a minimum with training,” Meeker says. “We continue to promote from within and try to make good hires. Hopefully we’ll continue a trajectory that’s both healthy and viable. In general, my background is fine dining and I have worked really hard to make sure that we find the very best raw product, coffee, that we can find and present it to the customer in a friendly and gracious way, that makes them want to come back not just for the coffee, but for the hospitality experience as well.” n
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Each new location features design that stays true to the brand’s vintage modern aesthetic, while at the same time drawing from the location and its surroundings. For the design, Meeker worked with Colectivo and Mayer Building Company.
AT A GLANCE
FRENCH TRUCK COFFEE LOCATION
650 Poydras St. DATE OF OPENING
Feb. 14, 2019 SIZE
2,300 square feet NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
PERSON(S) IN CHARGE
CEO Geoffrey Meeker and Poydras location General Manager Glenn Matthew
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FROM THE LENS W H Y D I D N ’ T I T H I N K O F T H AT ?
Healthy Eating Delivered to Your Door Clean Course Meals’ meal delivery and a new grab-and-go café is capitalizing on a growing trend, especially among millennials. BY ASHLEY MCLELLAN PHOTOS BY SARA ESSEX BRADLEY
W H I L E T V D I N N E RS T RA N S FO R M E D A
generation in the 1960s, prepared meal kits and grab-and-go meals today bear little to no resemblance to those partitioned aluminum trays of the past. Today’s prepared meals can be well balanced, carefully crafted by chefs and nutritionists and custom-made to fit an individual’s dietary preferences, from vegan to gluten-free to keto. Two New Orleans natives, Kim Sawyers and Erika Jupiter, have embraced the prepared meals trend and transformed it to fit the unique lifestyle of busy New Orleanians looking for easy, fresh meals and a healthy alternative to fast foods. Clean Course meal prep and delivery service, which debuted in 2016, and its new grab-and-go café, which opened in Chalmette in November 2018, employs four full-time team members, and prepares 175 to 200 meals per week for delivery and pick up. “We hit the ground running and our sales have been truly amazing,” Sawyers said. Clean Course was the brainchild of Sawyers, who saw a personal need for an alternative lifestyle after a college trip abroad expanded her horizons and introduced her to a new way of thinking about herself and her health.
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“During my time in graduate school, I took my first trip out of the country to Taiwan. I tell anyone, it was one thing to be American in Taiwan, it was second to be African American, but it was a third to be extremely overweight,” she said. “I was about 115 pounds heavier than I am today. I felt the most uncomfortable stares. One of our last days there, we took a trip to the beach and a group of local guys came up to me because they made a bet to see who could lift me up. I had never been so broken down in my life. From that experience, I decided to make a onceand-for-all lifestyle change when I made it home. One-hundred and fifteen pounds later and with a thriving food business teaching others what I taught myself, I now know that that hurtful moment was an imperative part of our story.” Sawyers, who attended Xavier and Tulane universities, where she received a master’s in public health, and Jupiter, a graduate of Southern University with a degree in social work, saw a need beyond themselves in the community. “What sets Clean Course apart from the competition is our commitment to social change and our customer acquisition,” Sawyers said. “It’s as simple as our tag line- ‘We Shop, We Prep, We Deliver, We Educate.’ It’s not just about making a profit to us and healthy living is more than just a trend.” Growing sales statistics prove that consumers are moving away from meal prep kits, where home consumers mix and prepare the food, to pre-made meals that are ready to heat and eat. Many of these meals also fit into premeasured categories for weight loss, dietary restrictions or meal plans, such as keto or paleo. Sawyers and Jupiter’s goal with Clean Course is to reach those people looking for ready-made meals, and who also want an easy way to eat healthy and live a more active life. “Our goal is to teach our customers how to live a healthier lifestyle by implementing healthy eating and physical activity at home,” Sawyers said. “We educate our customers on portion control, nutrition verbiage and the basics of living a healthier lifestyle. We also use our social media platform to raise awareness and engage our followers with fun educational challenges such #NoMeatMarch or #ReadYourLabel
Clean Course Meals’ Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Kim Sawyers and Chief Operating Officer / Co-Founder Erika Jupiter serve healthy meals-ready-to-go from their flagship café in Chalmette. The duo’s long term goal is to make Clean Course Meals as easy as visiting a fast-food drive-through across the area and the U.S.
WHO IS ORDERING MEAL KITS AND PREPARED MEALS?
1 in 4
adults purchased a meal kit delivery in 2016
70% challenges. Now, more than ever, we find that people in our community are more inclined to make the healthier choice because they are being educated on what’s good for their bodies.” Meal delivery services can also appeal to a wide variety of consumers, from busy single professionals who don’t want or need to prepare extensive meals, to individuals looking for an easy way to count calories and nutrition, to seniors who may find it easier to have access to a balanced diet for one or two people and have limited access to grocery shopping and meal prep. Clean Course meal plans vary based on each client’s lifestyle and needs, from the basic five-meals-a-week “Lunch Time Plan” for $68, to a 15-meal-a-week “Weight Loss Plan” for $163, and a 21-meal “High Performance Plan” for $207. There’s an additional three-day “Breakfast Plan,” and individuals can select their preferred protein (all proteins, vegan or seafood-only.)
An April 2018 report by BusinessWire noted that according to “Technavio market research analysts, the global meal kit delivery service market will grow at a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of almost 21% during the forecast period [of 2018 to 2022.] Customers looking for convenient option with the advent of faster lifestyle is a major factor driving the market’s growth.” Statista.com also reports “The fast-growing niche market of online meal kit delivery services has continued to expand ever since its introduction in 2012. Revenue is expected to grow to over 10 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, from one billion in 2015.” Clean Course has a built-in market of younger consumers, according to Sawyers, along with those looking to incorporate meatless meals into their regular diet. “With plant-based eating on the rise as a new trend, we have a surefire market of millennials to advertise our products
of respondents said they will continue to purchase meal kits
said time management was a deciding factor in their purchase
noted healthy recipes as one of five top reasons for purchasing Between 25 and 44 years old – primary demographic for meal kits
of subscribers recommend meal kit delivery to friends SOURCE: PACKAGEDFACTS.COM
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TOP 5 POPULAR DIET TRENDS FOR 2019 Ketogenic Diet Paleo Diet Whole 30 DASH Mediterranean Diet SOURCE: MEN’S HEALTH MAGAZINE
“Vegetarian and vegan eating is popular today among millennials; which happens to be the largest demographic in U.S. history. Data shows that there are approximately 80 million millennials in the U.S. and over 12 percent of them are ‘faithful vegetarians or vegans’.” Kim Sawyers, Clean Course Founder
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Clean Course Meals prepares approximately 200 meals per week for customers. Locally inspired menu selections include vegetarian jambalaya and grilled Cajunspiced chicken and vegetables.
to,” she said. “Vegetarian and vegan eating is popular today among millennials; which happens to be the largest demographic in U.S. history. Data shows that there are approximately 80 million millennials in the U.S. and over 12 percent of them are ‘faithful vegetarians or vegans.’ We are going to take the ‘plant-based trend’ and make it a lifestyle.” Additionally, Clean Course has tapped into the need for healthier catering alternatives for corporate events, a market that has received an overwhelmingly positive response. “Under our business-to-business umbrella, we provide catering for events, corporate meetings and occasions,” said Sawyers. “We use seasonal products to increase exposure to a variety of produce offering vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten-free packages upon request. Our customers enjoy trying new, healthy dishes at their board meetings versus the same old box lunches and grocery store food trays that everyone is used to.” While the fare may appeal to those looking for meatless alternatives or fresh and fit diets, many New Orleanians are notoriously stubborn eaters, slow to change their Popeye’s or andouille sausage gumbo habits. Sawyers said Clean Course is breaking long-held misconceptions about healthy foods. “When we talk about meatless red beans and wild mushroom jambalaya, people often want to try it because they don’t believe it can taste as good as the original recipe,” she said. “Our products always leave them in complete shock and wanting more. The most common misconceptions are that healthy food is bland or boring and plant-based meals don’t contain enough protein. These are simply not true.” Recent menu options included a healthy selection of locally inspired favorites such as grilled Cajun chicken with wild mushroom jambalaya, shrimp scampi, and grilled Cajun tofu steaks. While Clean Course currently has the one walk-in café location in Chalmette, the founders’ goal is to make eating healthy and delicious food as easy and ubiquitous as a trip to the drive-through. “Honestly, we aspire to be the next McDonald’s of healthy food,” Sawyers said. “Soon there will be Clean Course Meals across the country, with drive-through access, for your healthy meals on the go that’s accessible to every community and that fits every health goal. Similar to those larger fast-food corporations like McDonald’s and Burger King, Clean Course will mold our brand around the consumer demand by staying current with buying trends and competitive in the market.” n
FROM THE LENS M A K I N G A M ATC H: B US I N E S S E S A N D N O N PR O F I TS
Charged and Ready Electric Girls is working to create the next generation of women in STEM fields. BY PAMELA MARQUIS PHOTOS BY CHERYL GERBER
HELP AND LEARN
SIP AND SOLDER Instead of a big signature fundraiser Electric Girls hosts small periodic events called, “Sip and Solder.” “We invite a small group of people to join us and we drink wine and they learn how to solder,” said Serna. “It connects them to what we do.”
IN THE MID-1980S, ONLY 5.8 PERCENT OF
engineers in the United States were women. Today, it’s not much better. According to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, only 14 percent of engineers are women. And it’s not just the engineering field that is lacking in female representation. Women continue to be underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, also known as “STEM.” For the past few years, two local women — Flor Serna and Maya Ramos — have been fighting to get more girls in the New Orleans area focused on STEM areas with a program they created in the spring of 2015 called Electric Girls. “Studies show that girls lose interest in math and science during middle school, and STEM interest for girls is low, compared to boys,” said Serna, co-founder and executive director of Electric Girls. While working as a recording engineer all through college at Loyola University, Serna was very aware that she was the only woman in her department. In an effort to understand why, she did her undergraduate thesis on why women don’t pursue engineering. That research evolved into a pilot program, which is now Electric Girls. Serna and Ramos, the organization’s chief operating officer, founded Electric Girls to develop leadership skills in young girls by teaching them about electronics and computer programming skills. The pilot program, a summer camp in 2015, had only six girls. Those girls learned the skills to build their own inventions.
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A GOOD MATCH
FOR COMPANIES WHO… Are involved in the STEM fields. Female STEM professionals are invited to volunteer with Electric Girls or just come and speak to the girls about their careers.
“In the beginning, we had a plan to have every one of them build a light-up friendship bracelet,” Serna said. “But the girls weren’t interested in that. They wanted something with more creativity. One girl talked about making an automatic bubble machine, and I thought about it and realized she could do it. So, we worked on basic electronics, the circuitry and how to apply voltage, and she made a bubble machine. We now teach the basic skills and the girls use those to create what they want.” Early on, Electric Girls won funds from Propeller’s PitchNOLA, a competition that awards cash to emerging and developing entrepreneurs who tackle social and environmental disparities in the Greater New Orleans area. Serna and Mayos used their winnings to expand their financial aid
offerings in order to ensure 50 percent of the campers in financial need were given scholarships. “Entrepreneurs like Flor and Maya are key contributors to building a more equitable education system in New Orleans,” said Crystal McDonald, director of entrepreneurship at Propeller. “It’s critical for young New Orleanians to develop the skills required to pursue fulfilling careers with living wages, and Electric Girls’ work is a leading example of how we can make that possible.” Since that first camp, Electric Girls has grown to include not just a summer camp, but one-day workshops, weekend programs, in-school programs and after-school partnerships. Serna estimates that 1,500 girls between the ages of 5 and 14 have attended an Electric Girls event. The organization
ELECTRIC GIRLS MISSION
Electric Girls builds confidence and capabilities in young women by engaging them through STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). CONTACT
Taylor Education Center 612 Andrew Higgins Drive 504-522-1962 electricgirls.org CURRENT NEEDS
Electric Girls needs behind-the-scenes help, especially with things such as financial systems, marketing and building efficient systems. “We need more brain power and more consultants,” said Serna.
SUCCESS OF SERVICES
now has two full-time staff and two full-time AmeriCorps workers. At one recent workshop entitled “Light Up Mardi Gras,” girls learned how to lightup a Mardi Gras costume, bead-catcher, or article of clothing. “They learned a little about electronics and circuitry, and built an LED circuit,” said Serna. “Then, they hot-glued the circuit and LEDs to whatever they brought to the workshop.” Electric Girls also offers electronics, advanced electronics and computer program-
ming in afterschool programs at several schools, including French immersion school Lycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans. “Lycée Français is thrilled to have been partnering with Electric Girls since 2015,” said Claire Dahm, director of the extended day at the school. “Electric Girls activities are always the first to fill up at our enrichment program registration. Our students and parents love the STEM-driven projects, as well as the knowledgeable, inspirational instructors who are role models in technology.
After attending Electric Girl events:
3 out of 4
girls report liking science more
9 out of 10
feel confident enough to teach someone what they learned
feel better about their tech skills
Co-founder Flor Serna started Electric Girls as a summer camp four years ago. The program is now in schools across New Orleans.
Students are always excited and eager to work during class and parents often comment on the quality skills their children acquire, as well as the increase in their confidence in a science-related field.” The summer camp that started it all is still very much a part of the organization. At the Electric Girls Summer Camp Powered by Shell, held at Loyola University, girls are separated by age into groups where they learn skills in electronics, computer programming, power-tools, design and leadership. They design, invent and build their own take-home electronic inventions after learning how to solder and program basic circuits. This summer, Electric Girls will also launch a mentoring program called “Leaders In Training” composed of youth over the age of 14 who have participated in Electric Girls programming before as a participant, volunteer or intern. “This program offers a balance of classroom leadership experience, personal development training, team building with peers, and mentorship from the Electric Girls team,” said Serna. The camp is not all work; the girls have plenty of time for games and visits from other successful female engineers. They make new friends and become a part of a growing community of young learners and leaders in technology. Electric Girls counselors are all female role models who foster a safe environment for girls to learn and explore. Kerry W. Kirby, founder and CEO of 365 Connect, a company that provides marketing, leasing and resident technology platforms for the multifamily housing industry, has supported Electric Girls from its inception. “Nothing is more important than fostering and inspiring our youth to engage in educational programs that will encourage them to build a variety of skills and create a foundation for a successful future,” he said. “Flor Serna is a true leader in our community, and she has put her heart and soul into creating programs for young girls to not only learn, but to also gain confidence in all of their abilities. We are proud to partner with Electric Girls to make these programs accessible to everyone.” n
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PUBLISHERâ€™S NOTICE: All real estate advertised herein is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Ace and the Louisiana Open Housing Act, which make it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination. We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. For more information, call the Louisiana Attorney Generalâ€™s Office at 1-800-273-5718.
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FROM THE LENS ON THE JOB
Sofia New restaurant boasts a feminine flair. EXECUTIVE CHEF TALIA
Diele serves up homemade pasta and wood-fired pizza at Sofia, the latest restaurant from Barcadia and Ohm Lounge owner Billy Blatty. Located at 516 Julia Street, the restaurant opened in late January. Its modern take on Italian cuisine pays tribute to Sophia Lauren through art featured throughout the restaurant. For more information, visit SofiaNOLA.com. n
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