Biz New Orleans October 2019

Page 1

Senior Housing Real Estate Law’s Top 3: Sazerac’s New Digs: Demands: Communities Hottest industry topics Spirits are high on Canal grow to fill need P. 50 Street P. 70 P. 46

Wesley J. Palmisano Founder Palmisano

Gerard Henry VP and Principal Max J. Derbes, Inc.

Annual real estate issue Terri B. North President and CEO Providence Community Housing

october 2019

2 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

6 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019 / 7

8 / Biz New Orleans / October 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 Multimedia Blogger Leslie T. Snadowsky Contributors Julia Carcamo, Rebecca Friedman, Keith Loria, Pamela Marquis, Ashley McLellan, Chris Price, Jessica Rosgaard, James Sebastien, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, Melanie Warner Spencer, Poppy Tooker, Keith Twitchell Advertising Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan (504) 830-7215 Sales Manager Caitlin Sistrunk (504) 830-7252 Senior Account Executive Brennan Manale (504) 830-7298 Senior Account Executive Jessica Jaycox (504) 830-7255 Account Executive Celeste Lavelle (504) 830-7225 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 Audience Development Claire Sargent For subscriptions, call (504) 830-7231

2016 Bronze: Best Feature Layout 2017 Bronze: Best Daily Email 2017 Silver: Best Recurring Feature 2018 Gold: Most Improved Publication 2018 Silver: Best Recurring Feature 2019 Gold: Best Recurring Feature 2019 Gold: Best Explanatory Journalism

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 / October 2019 / 11

october 2019 / Volume 6 / Issue 1

contents EVERY ISSUE 16 / 18 / 20 / 22 / 24 / 26 /


from the lens

Editor’s note publisher’s note Calendar industry news recent openings Events

in the biz 30 / dining

No matter your age or interest, New Orleans is home to museums guaranteed to feed belly and soul

46 / law

Three local real estate attorneys weigh in on the three biggest topics affecting the industry now

32 / tourism

NOTMC releases first-ever guide to local LGBTQ-owned businesses 84 / great workspaces

34 / sports

Excitement for pro basketball at all-time high 36 / entertainment




Leading professionals weigh in on on the state of the industry

The Sazerac House opens as the first true homeplace of the largest manufacturer of distilled spirits in the nation

portraits by romero & romero

By Rebecca Friedman photographs by Sara Essex Bradley

Top 10 Real Estate Influencers

Making a House a Home

50 / healthcare

A look at communities expanding to meet demand

During its 103rd season, Le Petit Theatre is making a stronger push for younger audiences and continuing a successful workforce development program

Opened this summer, HI New Orleans hostel on Canal Street has conquered multiple challenges to provide young adventurers with a comfortable, stylish home away from home 88 / why didn’t i think of that?

Offering unique products like glow-inthe-dark glitter, plant-based glitter and custom color creations for local schools and sports fans, Glitter Over NOLA has quickly claimed its place in New Orleans’ increasingly competitive costuming marketplace

38 / entrepreneurship

Female- and minorityowned businesses are learning to leverage opportunity zones thanks to a new effort by the New Orleans Startup Fund 40 / etiquette

How to quit your job with grace and on good terms

42 / marketing

Want to stand out from your competitors? Avoid wasting money? You can’t afford to skip out on the first step in a marketing plan

90 / making a match:

businesses and nonprofits

54 / education

Local elementary schools, high schools and universities are using different pathways in an effort to fill current and future workforce needs

Powered by volunteers, New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity offers businesses the chance to transform communities 96 / on the job

Danos now offers rope access to help customers in tricky spots

on the cover Left to right: Gerard Henry, VP and Principal of Max J. Derbes, Inc., Terri B. North, President and CEO of Providence Community Housing and Wesley J. Palmisano, Founder of Palmisano Photograph by Romero and Romero / 13

Meet the Sales Team

Caitlin Sistrunk Sales Manager (504) 830-7252

Brennan Manale Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7298

Jessica Jaycox

Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7255

Celeste Lavelle Account Executive

(504) 830-7225

Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales (504) 830-7215 14 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019 / 15

Editor’s Note

5 Years In October 2014 was the first issue we printed of Biz New Orleans magazine,

which means you hold in your hand our 61st issue, and I can tell you, it’s been quite the ride. To be honest, when I met with Errol Laborde — the editor-in-chief at Renaissance Publishing — five years ago this past summer and he said he wanted me to help launch a business magazine, I wasn’t so sure. I’d run a few magazines before related to interior design and homebuilding and the thought of covering all of the business industries in Southeast Louisiana sounded both daunting and like it had the potential to be a very stuffy task. Turns out I was right, and wrong. Covering business in this region IS a daunting task, because over the past five years we’ve diversified and grown so much — leaping into the tech world, conquering the healthcare front and growing in basically every industry. Fortunately, readers like you are continuously reaching out to keep us abreast of everything from new hires, to business openings, to general feature ideas. I really feel like our editorial team reaches far beyond the borders of our building, and for that I’m extremely grateful. Keep the emails coming! On that end, I’d also like to extend my gratitude to all of our columnists and reporters — especially our sports columnist and blogger Chris Price and Entrepreneurship writer Keith Twitchell, who, along with our nonprofit writer and Labor of Love blogger Pamela Marquis, have been with us since the first issue. Along the way, we have picked up so many incredible reporters and columnists who have done a tremendous job bringing business to life both within these pages and at — ruled by our incredible web editor Kelly Massicot. Kelly has also been a part of the team since day one, as has our multimedia blogger Leslie Snadowski and our indomitable sales manager Caitlin Sistrunk. Now, to where I was wrong (and happily so). If there’s one thing that’s been evident since I moved to New Orleans more than eight years ago, it’s that this city is anything but stuffy, so it’s no surprise that the business industry here follows suit. What I failed to realize five years ago is that business is all about people, and the people in New Orleans are like none other on earth, which makes covering business here like no other job on earth. I look forward to all the stories and incredible personalities yet to come! As always, thank you for reading!

16 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019 / 17

Publisher’s Note

Five Flew By Can you believe it has been five years?

This month marks the fifth anniversary of Biz New Orleans and I am so proud of our company and Biz team for the excellent work they do to make this a nationally recognized, award-winning magazine. On July 16, 2014, Renaissance Publishing publicly announced that we would launch a new and better magazine for the business community of New Orleans. We first launched our award-winning website,, in September of that year, followed by the magazine’s first edition in October. Since then, the magazine has covered thousands of people and businesses that are moving New Orleans forward and making our region a great place to do business. Our pages are always bullish on the business environment and the people that make it happen. Over these past five years, we have added events to our Biz network including monthly Biz Nights, annual celebrations of top CEO, Business People of the Year and Southeast Louisiana’s “New & Notables.” All have become staple events through which the business community is able to network and be reconized. We have also added a morning Biz email newsletter in addition to our local Biz afternoon newsletter. Next month, our pages we will take a deeper dive into the business landscape over the past five years, so until then you can keep up with all the news and information by visiting Todd Matherne

18 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019 / 19


October 8 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Power Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1515 Poydras St. 5th Floor Auditorium 9 Young Professionals Networking Event 5 to 7 p.m. Pythian Market 234 Loyola Ave. 9-11 LAGCOE – Louisiana Global Conference on Energy Ernest N. Morial Convention Center 10 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Power Lunch: A Young Professionals Exclusive Event Featuring Jerry Bologna, President and CEO of JEDCO 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Location T.B.D. 10 Biz New Orleans 5 Year Anniversary 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Ernst Café 600 S. Peters St. 16 Women 2 Women Conversation Tour Local successful businesswomen discuss the issues that matter most to women in the Crescent City 6 to 8 p.m. The Cannery 3803 Toulouse St. 16 & 17 ACG Louisiana Capital Connection Networking and educational events for business professionals interested in corporate growth and access to capital 18 USGBC Louisiana’s FORWARD Symposium on Sustainability 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tulane University Lavin-Bernick Center, 2nd Floor

18 National Institute of Government Purchasing – Southeast Louisiana Chapter Reverse Trade Show Meet with and learn how to do business with public procurement professionals 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Audubon Tearoom 6500 Magazine St. 23 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Chamber After 5 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Degas House Museum, Courtyard & Inn 2306 Esplanade Ave. 25 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Business & Breakfast 7:45 to 9:30 a.m. Copeland Tower Suites & Conference Center 2601 Severn Ave., Metairie Pre-Registration Required 29 ABWA Crescent City Connections 5th Annual Women Can DRIVE Business Symposium 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. NOLA Motorsports Park 11075 Nicolle Blvd., Avondale 29 Regional Business Networking Night 5 to 7 p.m. Rock ‘n’ Bowl 3016 S. Carrollton Ave. 30 2019 Educational Seminar with NOLA SHRM HR Management Tricks & Treats 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1515 Poydras St. 5th Floor Auditorium 30 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Prosper Jefferson: Sales 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. JEDCO Conference Center 701A Churchill Pkwy., Avondale

For a more complete list of events, visit We’d love to include your business-related event in next month’s calendar. Please email details to 20 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

Industry News

Greater New Orleans Ranks Second in Nation for Growth in Real Estate Sales According to real estate data company CoStar, Greater New Orleans was No. 2 in America for growth in real estate sales in 2018. Last year, “more than 5% of the metro’s inventory traded hands” for the first time in the decade following the recession, according to CoStar’s New Orleans market report. “Planned redevelopment of the former Avondale Shipyard could kick the city’s industrial market into high gear. Its sale to a joint venture last October for $60 million was the largest industrial deal in the past year.”

Top 10 Cities for Industrial Real Estate Sales Growth 1. Austin, TX – 115% 2. New Orleans, LA – 89.1% 3. Cincinnati, OH – 84.1% 4. Norfolk, VA – 83.6% 5. Seattle, WA – 80.8% 6. Fort Lauderdale, FL – 77.7% 7. Richmond, VA – 68.8% 8. Portland, OR – 63.2% 9. Honolulu, HI – 62.9% 10. Kansas City, MO – 59.7% For more information, visit

New Orleans Among Top Metros for Apartment Growth Contrary to the national trend, construction in New Orleans/ Metairie is surging this year, as 134% more apartments are being built compared to last year, according to a recent report by Over 1,000 units are estimated to come online in the metro area this year, 800 of which are in New Orleans. Nationally, however, apartment construction has slowed for the second year, dropping by 8.21% between 2018 and 2019, with an estimate of 299,442 units delivered nationwide this year.

The Commons Tulane University’s largest construction project since Yulman Stadium, The Commons — a $55 million addition to the Uptown campus — welcomed its first students Monday, Aug. 19. The 77,000-square-foot building serves as a dining hall, gathering space and the new home of Newcomb Institute. The opening allows Tulane to move forward in tearing down Bruff Commons, the university’s dining hall which was built in the 1960s. It will be replaced with a unified residential quad for first-year students.

St. Tammany New Home Supply Highest in 6 Years Overall St. Tammany New Home Market Data Overview

2nd Q 2017 2nd Q 2018 1st Q 2019 2nd Q 2019

Listings 207 225 185 251 Sales 188 177 121 141 Est. Supply 3.30 3.81 4.59 5.34

22 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

New home supply saw a 40% increase from 3.81 to 5.34 months, according to the St. Tammany Parish Market Study Report for the Second Quarter of 2019 (created by Keller Analytics). “This is a higher months’ supply than years past and is the result of a substantial increase in new home listings from 225 to 251, marking the highest new home listing count in the past six years for the second quarter,” notes the report. “At the same time, new home sales decreased from 177 to 141, which is lower than the average new home sales in the 2nd Q for years past.”

The New Orleans/Metairie market ranked fourth in the nation this year for “Top 10 Metros by Change in Apartment Deliveries,” behind Detroit, San Jose and Riverside. To view the report, visit RentCafe. com/blog/rental-market/ apartment-construction-2019

“As we near the end of our Post-Katrina Recovery Master Plan, we have shifted our focus to preserving and maintaining the nearly $2 billion investment made by the federal government in our school facilities. Thankfully, the voters approved a millage rededication that will provide ongoing facility funding for the preservation and capital needs of our existing school facilities starting in 2021 and we are working with schools and facility experts to develop plans on how to efficiently use those funds.” NOLA Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr., who added that the school system recently presented a facility plan that identified long-term needs, including the need for additional funding for future new construction. The next step, he says, is to explore financing options for those projects.

Opportunity Zone Activity Increasing Commercial real estate investment in Opportunity Zone (OZ) communities is on the rise following a sharp decline in investment experienced in 2017 (the year the program launched), according to a new market-specific Opportunity Zone report by national commercial real estate data and insights provider Reonomy. From 2018 to 2019, investment activity in OZs increased by 0.2%, a minor uptick that suggests the program has started to attract investment as intended. According to the report, 13.6% of the New Orleans/Metairie’s total commercial assets lie in Opportunity Zones (the average of the top 50 metros is 11.8%). Of those New Orleans/Metairie assets, 59.33% are classified as multifamily, 17.1% are general commercial, 12.29% are retail, 5.52% are office, 4.03% are hospitality and 1.74 are industrial.

tulane Photo by john darre / 23

Recent Openings


Stone Interiors Kenner Showroom This fall, Stone Interiors, a stone fabrication shop specializing in granite, marble, engineered quartz and quartzite, will open a new 26,000-square-foot showroom at 99 East Airline Hwy. in Kenner. Founded over 20 years ago, the company now includes three locations in Alabama, South Carolina and Louisiana.

Odyssey House The long-vacant Bohn Motor Co. is now officially the home of Odyssey House Louisiana, the largest addiction treatment provider in Louisiana. The $17.4 million project has historically restored and expanded the building at 2700 S. Broad, transforming it into a 37,000-square-foot, state-of-the art facility for OHL and 4,000 square feet of retail space. The site doubles OHLs capacity to provide access to behavioral health and substance abuse treatment, critical in the face of the nation’s growing opioid epidemic, and creates 45 new jobs.


Tulane Law Clinic

Judy at the Rink Gift and retail shop Judy at the Rink celebrated its grand reopening Sept. 12 inside The Rink Shopping Center in the Garden District (2727 Prytania St.) Purchased and revamped over the summer by Martha Claire and Quin Breland, the new Judy features new product lines, local art, new wedding registry gifts and the option to shop online.

24 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

Tulane Law School will launch a new law clinic dedicated to First Amendment rights thanks to support from a nearly $1 million gift from the Stanton Foundation. The Stanton Foundation was created by Frank Stanton, a longtime president of CBS News, to advance First Amendment and democratic values through an informed citizenry. The gift will cover the full operating costs of the new clinic for five years and enable the law school to hire a new faculty member to lead the clinic. The school will launch a national search for the faculty director this fall with the goal of enrolling students in fall 2020. Once in operation, clinic students will represent clients seeking to vindicate First Amendment rights of speech, the press and to petition and assembly under the supervision of faculty mentors.

Northshore Medical Complex On Sept. 12, Ochsner Health System, St. Tammany Parish Hospital and Slidell Memorial Hospital opened Northshore Medical Complex in the former Louisiana Heart Hospital building (64026 Highway 434, Lacombe) to provide post-acute care services for the region. Representing an investment of $15 million over five years, the Northshore Medical Complex includes the 30-bed Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital and 58-bed Northshore Extended Care Hospital.


Litify An integrated, intuitive legal technology platform that helps law firms manage business operations, New York City-based Lifity will open a new regional office in New Orleans — creating 20 new direct jobs — by the close of 2020. The company’s first regional expansion outside of New York, Litify’s New Orleans office will include career opportunities in engineering, marketing, support, professional services, human resources, cloud operations, development operations, leadership, consulting, project management and sales.


Investar Bank Renovation Investar Bank, National Association (“Investar”) has announced it will be renovating its branch at the corner of St. Charles Ave. and Napoleon in New Orleans (4402 St. Charles Ave.) The renovations should be complete by the spring of 2020, with opening subject to regulatory approval. Investar currently has four locations in the Greater New Orleans market (Elmwood, Metairie, Mandeville and Hammond), included in a total of 24 locations across South Louisiana and Texas. An additional two locations in Texas are expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

Odyssey Photo by Claire Bangser with Roots and Wings Creative. / 25











Wednesday, August 7 | Harrah’s Casino

Friday, August 16 | Sheraton New Orleans

Thursday, August 29 | Windsor Court Hotel

2019 Hispanic Business Conference and Trade Show

New Orleans Chamber 2019 3rd Quarter Luncheon: Workforce Engine of Louisiana

Women of NORLI: Women’s Equality Summit

Representatives from the City of New Orleans, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and Port of New Orleans participated in a roundtable discussion at this year’s event.

Keynote speakers Superintendents John White and Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr. shared their thoughts on the successes and challenges of Orleans Parish and Louisiana public schools at the chamber’s latest quarterly luncheon.

The New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute (NORLI) and the New Orleans Chamber joined to produce the inaugural Women’s Equality Summit. Loyola University President Tania Tetlow was one of three keynote speakers.

1. Rocsean Spencer, Alex Cheramie and Javier Sanchez 2. Tammie Taffi and Alyssa Herbert 3. Tatianna Bruce, Janet Brewster and Raiza Pitre

1. Candice Forest, Garri Brown and Kathy Moss 2. Mary Garton, Amada Aiken and Shayla Hilaire 3. Sean Wilson, Latoye Brown and Lynn Spearman

1. Kristin Palmer, Julie Stokes and Kelisha Garrett 2. Monica Sylvain, Phala Mire and Andrea Chen 3. Rachel Nunez, Emily Remington and Sandra Linquist

26 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

photographs by cheryl gerber / 27

28 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

Biz columnists spe ak out


Ready to quit? How to make a graceful exit

In The Biz dining

Artful Eating No matter your age or interest, New Orleans is home to museums guaranteed to feed belly and soul. by Poppy Tooker

Not long ago, museum-goers who worked

up an appetite while touring galleries had few choices to satiate their hunger: plasticwrapped muffins and questionable coffee were often their only options. Locally, the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group operates Café NOMA  — the sleek, elegant, dining room and courtyard at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the city’s oldest fine-art museum. In 2017, Travel & Leisure recognized it as one of the country’s top museum restaurants. Café NOMA Benefits from Sculpture Garden Expansion

Back in 2009, Café NOMA was designed to operate for only four months in conjunction with a major exhibit of art from the Walt Disney Studios. Ralph Brennan’s Group had operated Disneyland’s Jazz Kitchen since 2001, making them a perfect partner on the project. At the time, NOMA’s original café had been dormant since Hurricane Katrina. With only 90 days planning, Chef Chris Montero and his crew welcomed museum crowds when the exhibit opened with tasty Disney-themed treats appropriate for all ages. That original four-month engagement has continued for more than a decade. Today, the menu includes a healthy, progressive choice of sandwiches, salads and bowls, complemented by cocktails, wine and decadent sweets. In addition to built-in museum traffic, the ability to attract outside guests is vital to the survival of any museum restaurant. With the recent 6-acre expansion of NOMA’s Sculpture Garden, more hungry visitors are finding their way to the comfortable oasis of the café’s courtyard. THNOC Offers Dining with a Historical Flair

30 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

LCM Dining Delights All Ages

Newly opened on 8.5 acres in City Park, the Louisiana Children’s Museum welcomes visitors with broad walkways spanning newly dug lagoons. Once every hour, the footbridge to the museum becomes magically enveloped in fog. Funded by the Helis Foundation and created by 86-year-old Japanese fog artist Fujiko Nakaya, the installation is the first of its kind in the southern United States. It is also just one of the delights visitors will encounter with a visit to the museum’s Acorn café. Acorn is the latest offering from Dickie Brennan & Co., and Brennan credits his nephew, Geordie Brower, with spearheading the project. Brower’s glee over Acorn is evident. From stroller parking to birthday party breakout rooms, everything at the café is designed to allow “kids to just be kids.” The dining room’s centerpiece is a kids’ culinary lab intended for special classes or kids-only dining. Surrounded by seats that give the grownups a bird’s-eye view, after hours the lab disassembles into portable bars for events catered in the space. Sustainability was paramount in Acorn’s design: Everything is reusable, compostable or recyclable. Hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza dominate the kid’s menu along with lots of healthy options like baked, housemade sweet potato tots and crispy Brussels sprouts that grownups will love too. Along with sandwiches and salads, there’s an emphasis on protein alternatives to meat, like tofu and ancient grains. Open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Acorn is intent on capturing the morning exercise crowd, offering French Truck’s coffee program along with other grab-and-go breakfast items. Later in the day, baskets complete with house-made charcuterie and wine will be available for impromptu picnics in the park.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.

illust ration by Tony H e al 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.

When The Historic New Orleans Collection moved into the Seignouret-Brulatour building on Royal Street this past spring, its gallery space increased dramatically enough that visitors may now easily while away an entire day —  including lunch. Inside one of the French Quarter’s most iconic courtyards, Dana and Christina Honn  —  known for capturing the essence of Caribbean foodways at Carmo, their flagship restaurant — created Café Cour. The restaurant’s menu is carefully curated with the city’s culinary roots in mind. Included in the offerings is a creative take on the muffaletta, long fabled to have originated at Central Grocery. Café Cour’s

version is the mufulettu, a seafood imagining of the sandwich which, according to Dana Honn, has been a Sicilian tradition for hundreds of years. New Orleans’ African roots are honored with akara cala, a bygone black-bean fritter, and pain patate, and a traditional Haitian sweet potato pie. Both embody a distillation of the city’s culinary history found throughout the menu. / 31

In The Biz tou r is m

Y’all Means All NOTMC releases first-ever guide to local LGBTQ-owned businesses By Jennifer Gibson Schecter

32 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

Meeting new people and experiencing different cultures is inspirational and exhilarating. It can also be terrifying, especially if you walk through this world as part of a marginalized or targeted group. To help welcome LGBTQ+ visitors to New Orleans, the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC) and the Gulf South LGBT Chamber partnered to create the first-ever guide to LGBTQ-owned businesses in New Orleans. The guide was released in August just before Southern Decadence. It aims to serve as a resource for both tourists and locals who want to support LGBTQ-owned businesses. It was also designed to create access to the hospitality that makes New Orleans the world’s second “Most Welcoming City” for LGBTQ travelers for two years running, according to GayCities 2017 and 2018. “We are thrilled that we have added yet another great resource for our LGBTQ visitors and locals to experience our city,” said Mark Romig, president and CEO of NOTMC. “A city as diverse as New Orleans needs to offer resources that provide an inclusive environment for every resident and visitor to our city…Every day we strive to be a welcoming and inviting city for everyone.” The guide includes a list of “10 LGBTQ Must-Dos,” a map with points of interest, a detailed description of bars by personal interest (including local, laid-back and leather), as well as a business directory organized by category. One such business is Arrow Cafe, an artistic coffee shop on the edge of the French Quarter located at 628 N. Rampart St. The shop’s walls are filled with fine art and hand-crafted treasures made by local artists, most of which are for sale. It hosts frequent art shows, and a curated menu of coffee, tea and pastries caters to both regular folks and sophisticated palates. Fans of exquisite drag queen Varla Jean Merman might recognize it as the location for some of the “One Time in New Orleans” webisodes created for GoNOLA. Sarah Corsiatto, who bought the cafe in 2017 with co-owner Nick Christian, works to make Arrow Cafe a place where locals and tourists feel comfortable. “For me, as a gay person operating a small business in New Orleans, it’s important to

foster an environment that makes people like me feel safe and seen,” said Corsiatto. “I’m a big fan of radical spaces where artists and ‘others’ can create and do organizing. I feel like my business partner and I are holding space for people trying to create positive change in many facets of the city, from LGBT+ issues to wage issues and general left-leaning political thoughts.” The business guide is still too new to measure its impact on Arrow Cafe, but the coffee shop is already active in the LGBTQ+ community. It serves as the starting point for NOLA Drag Tours, led by local drag queen Quinn Laroux, whose tours tell the stories of underrepresented people in the history of New Orleans with a focus on rebellious drag queens, the history of sex workers and even the first transgender person on record in the United States. Corsiatto said Arrow Cafe experiences a direct sales increase from Laroux’s tour, as well as other tours in the French Quarter. Serving about 45% local customers and 55% tourists, the business experiences the common ebb and flow of New Orleans’ tourism cycles. “In the summer, we’re mostly a locals’ hangout,” said Corsiatto. “Our Quarter locals keep us afloat in the summertime. Once the city starts cooling off and folks come down, we start seeing a huge increase in sales from people taking tours, taking the new street car on Rampart, and just wandering this part of the French Quarter.” Arrow Cafe is one of more than 75 businesses included in the new LGBTQOwned Business Guide. Beyond food and entertainment, categories like health and beauty, home and design, marketing, and real estate, provide locals and tourists with a variety of services. Printed copies are available at many hotels and restaurants in the city, and it is also available online at n

illust ration by Tony H e al 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

Travel is one of life’s ultimate adventures. / 33

In The Biz s po r ts

Pelicans Soaring Excitement for pro basketball at all-time high by chris price

34 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

“This is Jrue Holiday’s team,” Griffin said this summer. “Zion is going to be learning how to win at a really high level. At some point, if there is a time that the baton gets passed in terms of who is expected to carry us to win games, it will. That is not now.” While Holiday’s stock is rising, the majority of attention will surely be on Williamson, a generational talent who has been called the most exciting player to enter the league since LeBron James. Since being drafted, Zion fever has hit the city. His name and likeness have become ubiquitous in New Orleans and across the country. Twenty of the team’s games this season will be broadcast nationally on ABC, ESPN and TNT (the team’s previous high was 13 on those networks) and an additional 10 will be aired on NBA TV. One major difference in this team and previous incarnations is the depth on the bench. Sharp-shooter J.J. Redick and team vet E’Twaun Moore will see a lot of playing time While excitement is flying high, expectations for the Pelicans remain a bit grounded. New Orleans made the postseason just twice in Anthony Davis’ time in the Big Easy, and the road to a championship remains difficult. The Western Conference is stacked with talented teams, and New Orleans will have to have several things go right just to make the playoffs. So far, the Pelicans have won the offseason. Tickets and merchandise have sold at a rapid clip. Fan and media interest are at an all-time high. Anticipation for tipoff is growing daily, (the first preseason game is Oct. 7 and the season opener is Oct. 22). It’s an exciting time for the franchise. Now all they have to do is put it together on the court. n

illust r ation by Tony H e al 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

What a difference 10 months can make in

the life of a professional basketball team. In January, Anthony Davis, the face of the New Orleans Pelicans franchise, announced he no longer wanted to play in the Crescent City and requested a midseason trade to the Los Angeles Lakers. The fallout from the demand wrecked both teams’ seasons and, with former NBA cities like Seattle currently without a franchise, caused many to question whether or not New Orleans was a viable NBA city. Pelicans owner Gayle Benson made it clear that she was willing to do whatever necessary to make the team competitive. She hired David Griffin to serve as executive vice president of basketball operations and Trajan Langdon as the team’s general manager, to direct a makeover of the team. Then, a fortuitous bounce of the (ping-pong) ball caused questions about the team’s future in NOLA to vanish immediately when the Pelicans won the top choice in draft lottery and the right to select superstar prospect Zion Williamson. The team agreed to trade Davis to the Lakers in return for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks. The Pels’ roster was seemingly remade overnight. With the trade, free-agent signings of Derrick Favors and J.J. Redick, and the addition of draft picks Williamson, Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, the Pelicans became one of the youngest teams by average age in the league. Since then, the team’s outlook has gone from desperation to elation. It is expected the starting five will feature Ball at point guard, Jrue Holiday as shooting guard, Ingram at small forward, Williamson at power forward and Derrick Favors at center. Pelicans brass is looking to Holiday to assume leadership of the team as the youngsters adjust to the rigors of playing in the NBA. With Ball playing point guard, Holiday, who had a career year last season averaging 21.2 points a game and who won his second consecutive All-Defensive team honors, is expected to shift to shooting guard. Effective at both ends of the court, NBA players, in an anonymous poll conducted by The Athletic, said Holiday the most underrated player in the league. / 35

In The Biz en t er ta i n m en t

Small But Mighty During its 103rd season, Le Petit Theatre is making a stronger push for younger audiences and continuing a successful workforce development program by Kim Singletary

36 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

season of Le Petit Theatre. The foundations of our “little theatre” began in 1916 when a group of amateur performers began meeting in a drawing room to put on productions. These self-proclaimed “Drawing Room Players” soon moved to space on the second floor of the Pontalba buildings, and then finally to 616 St. Peter Street in 1922 — to a 323-seat theater Le Petit has called home ever since. The building remains the most historic playhouse in New Orleans. It also, not surprisingly, holds the title of “Most Haunted Theatre in America.” Within the theater’s historic walls, however, Le Petit is focused on today — specifically on meeting the desires of today’s local theatregoers while cultivating a future audience. The 2019-20 season kicks off with “Noises Off.” The classic comedy (created in 1982) is getting a bit of a modern update thanks to “a technologically unique and innovative set,” according to marketing director Sara Tweedy. Le Petit’s production of another classic, “A Christmas Carol,” follows next — the second-annual production. Another highlight of the season will be “Angels in America: Millenium Approaches.” The first part of the famed gay fantasia “Angels in America,” Millenium Approaches took home the Tony Award for Best Play in 1993. The season culminates with “A Night with Janis Joplin,” a celebration of the queen of rock and roll and her musical influences. Tweedy says Le Petit’s audience tends to be an older, more affluent crowd, but the theatre is aiming to draw in younger people. This year that means introducing a new Young Players subscription. “Young Players is a play on our Drawing Room Players,” says Tweedy. “It’s a subscription option specifically for professionals age 35 and under that offers five shows for a discounted price of $135 — about a 20% discount.” Le Petit also offers free student matinee performances to area youth that include snacks and busing. “It’s a really popular program,” says Tweedy, who noted that in early

September the matinees were already 90% booked for the upcoming season. Le Petit is also fostering a love of the performing arts in young people through after school workshops for children age 8 to 18. Offered twice a year, they culminate with participants having the opportunity to perform in a Le Petit production. High schoolers and recent grads who have an interest in the performing arts are also able to receive hands-on training in skills like carpentry, lighting, audio, projection and costuming. This is year three of Le Petit’s Technical Workforce Development program, which launches Oct. 8. The workshops run once a week for four weeks. “Something like this is really suited to someone who loves the theater but doesn’t want to be on stage,” says Tweedy. “There are many careers in the theater and people who are well trained in these areas are absolutely, without a doubt, in demand.” For more information on Le Petit productions and programs, visit n

Le Petit Theatre 2019-20 Season Oct. 5-20 Noises Off Dec. 6-23 A Christmas Carol Jan. 17-Feb. 2 Something Rotten! A Very New Musical March 6-22 August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson April 10-May 3 Angels in America: Millenium Approaches June 5-June21 A Night with Janis Joplin

illust ration by Tony H e al 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.

Oct. 4 marks the start of the 103rd

New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles Magazine invites you to our exclusive Fête Maison at


Vision Wood Gallery | 6010 Magazine St.

Come out and enjoy complimentary wine, beer, hors d’oeuvres and door prizes $5 to attend: 100% of ticket sales will be donated to

Reservations required: A RENAISSANCE FOUNDATION EVENT / 37

In The Biz en t r epr en eu r s h i p

Opportunity for All Female- and minority-owned businesses are learning to leverage opportunity zones thanks to a new effort by the New Orleans Startup Fund by keith twitchell

38 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

take advantage of business opportunities within them. More than 125 entrepreneurs participated, virtually all of them women and/or minority-owned businesses. Outreach for the workshops was done in collaboration with the Black Chamber of Commerce, Goodwork Network and Strive NOLA. Roussel was very optimistic about New Orleans’ ongoing leadership in providing opportunities to these business owners. Currently, the Startup Fund’s portfolio includes 45 companies, of which about 50% are minority-owned and 40% are women-owned. These far exceed national averages. “We’ve already had some businesses we worked with that have gone through the cycle, sold their initial business and are now starting a second company,” Roussel said. “Also, we have had five or six companies move from Silicon Valley to New Orleans so they can participate in our programs.” He added that PowerMoves is in the process of expanding to become a national organization in an effort to replicate the New Orleans approach in cities across the country. “It’s really rewarding to see New Orleans be a leader in this way,” he added. The Opportunity Zones program is just one of a variety offered by the Startup Fund and PowerMoves.NOLA, all in the service of expanding business and employment opportunities and increasing wealth in local communities of color. Individuals interested in plugging into these programs should visit, and complete the online submission form. This will be followed by a personal interview to gauge the applicant’s readiness to participate in the programs. While Roussel noted that “eight out of 10 applicants are not really ready for us yet,” the Startup Fund does work with everyone who shows an interes to point them in the right direction. “If we can’t help them directly, we will connect them with someone who can.” Creating a more equitable entrepreneurial landscape is vital to creating a more economically equitable New Orleans. By connecting businesspeople of color to major programs like the Opportunity Zones, PowerMoves.NOLA is kicking the whole game up a big notch. n

illust ration by Tony H e al 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.

In theory, entrepreneurism is an oppor-

tunity open to anyone with a good idea and the energy to back it up. Regardless of background, I think we can all agree that whomever builds the proverbial better mousetrap should have an open path to success. Reality, however, is a different story. Looking at national entrepreneurism data, women and people of color remain discouragingly underrepresented. This column has looked at some of the reasons before  — which range from reduced access to capital, to smaller, lower-capacity networks, to simple bias. New Orleans, however, is increasingly reversing this trend. A number of entities and factors are contributing to this very positive development and one of them is the New Orleans Startup Fund’s PowerMoves.NOLA program, designed to help local minority-owned businesses tap into the federal Opportunity Zones program. Opportunity Zones were established by Congress in 2017. In the words of Jimmy Roussel, CEO of the Startup Fund, they are “aimed at revitalizing certain underdeveloped communities across the United States by investing in local businesses and real estate. The idea is to unlock capital to redevelop those areas.” Basically, the program allows investors with capital gains to invest in the zones. If they maintain those investments for 10 years, the capital gains tax is eliminated. Large portions of New Orleans and the surrounding region are designated as Opportunity Zones. PowerMoves.NOLA was initially established as an outreach program to bring more entrepreneurs of color into the Startup Fund’s various programs. This was soon followed by some capital investments in these entrepreneurs and efforts to prepare them to attract further investments. “The Opportunity Zones present a unique situation,” said Roussel. “They attract different sources of capital, like insurance companies, pension funds and private equity firms. Now we want to position our entrepreneurs as attractive to these investors.” To achieve this, the Startup Fund recently completed a series of four workshops about the Opportunity Zones and how to

October 2nd

Audubon Tea Room

For information & tickets, visit

Chairmen: Adrienne & Archie Casbarian, Amy & Stephen Farnsworth presented by


Thanks to Terrance Osborne


Wednesday, October 2nd, 6-8pm

Exclusive first look at over 20 extravagant tablescapes created by local designers. Enjoy culinary delights & cocktails, music by singing sensation Ronnie Lamarque and a silent auction. All ticket sales and proceeds will benefit TERRANCE OSBORNE

In The Biz e t i qu e t t e

Exit Strategy How to quit your job with grace and on good terms by Melanie Warner Spencer

40 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees in professional occupations spend an average of 5.5 years working at a given company. The advantages of job hopping every five years or so are higher pay and the opportunity to increase your skillset. But to follow this career strategy, it’s essential to learn the art of quitting with grace and on good terms, especially in a small city like New Orleans. It’s important to avoid burning bridges, to use the old cliché, because you never know when you might need a reference from a former employer or colleague or when you might end up working with people from that company. It’s also possible that after gaining experience elsewhere you might come full circle and begin working for a past employer again in a higher-level position. With some forethought and planning, leaving with good references and eligible for rehire is an attainable goal. First, consult your company’s handbook and/or your contract regarding notice. Two weeks is customary, but your company policy or contract may differ from the norm. Once you have the timeline figured out, be sure to tell your boss first before breaking the news to anyone else. Tell your boss in person and, even if you hate your job, try to keep it positive. If you are leaving because you hate it, there’s no reason to go into detail. Find the most truthful answer you can — ambiguity is your friend — because you may need to use this employer for a reference. At this point, your boss will likely begin wondering and worrying about hiring your replacement and getting that person trained. Let them know you are there to help ease the transition. Next, it may sound redundant, but write a formal resignation letter. Send it to your boss and the human resources department to keep on file. The letter should be short, but it’s important to include the information that you are resigning, the date your resignation is effective and your departure date, as well as a thank you to your employer for the opportunities offered during your time with the company. Like your resignation to

your boss, keep it positive. Most companies keep resignation letters to potentially share when companies call for references, so this is an opportunity to illustrate your professionalism. Finally, it’s now OK to share the news with your co-workers and begin saying your goodbyes. This can be done in person or via email and continue with short, positive or neutral communications, because frequently potential employers will contact former coworkers for references. Moving forward, once you have left your former employer — and including when interviewing for another job — don’t make disparaging comments about the company to potential or new employers and co-workers or out in the business community. Adhere to the old adage that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. n

illust ration by Tony H e al 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

A cco r d i n g to a n e co n o m i c n e w s

Looking to showcase your business or venue to the executive community? Let us help you! Biz New Orleans magazine offers “Strictly Biz Nights”—monthly networking events that bring local business leaders to your venue or office. Your Biz event can be customized to best suit your business. We provide you with a month-long campaign across our various media outlets, including print, web, social media and more. And there’s no need to worry about attendance; we invite our readers—affluent business professionals who come ready to network. For more information, please contact Caitlin Sistrunk at 504-830-7252 or THIS IS A PAID PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN BIZ NEW ORLEANS MAGAZINE AND ITS PARTNERS. / 41

In The Biz marketing

But First, Strategize Want to stand out from your competitors? Avoid wasting money? You can’t afford to skip out on the first step in a marketing plan. by Julia carcamo

Quite some time ago, I was the beneficiary

of a pilot management program developed by Caesars Entertainment. At the onset of the program, the director shared the three common areas where new managers struggle (and sometimes fail): change management, finance and strategy. In marketing, a strategy must always come first — before you take out an ad, before you develop your employee manual, before everything. A strategy is the “why” and the signals along the path that tell us we’re on the road to success. A solid strategy simplifies the actual marketing, making it easier to implement the right plan. Many marketing initiatives will fall short when they are executed in a strategic vacuum. I realize that strategy is not as dazzling to work on as your next ad or the design of your website, but skipping this step is a big mistake. As Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman, “Huge. Huge mistake.” WHO ARE YOU?

Strategy means focusing on understanding who you truly are as a brand and the position you can occupy to differentiate yourself. Are you a leader or a challenger? Are you innovative or traditional? By and large, brands fall into one of probably a dozen characters, but understanding the nuances of that character and who you are in the competitive set can open the doors to more creative ways of approaching your marketing. Who doesn’t love a feisty brand willing to cut through the clutter and stand in their own light? Moreover, in an age when “hack” and “disruption” have become the business buzzwords, breaking the mold and offering a new way to look at your brand is almost demanded from consumers.


A well-considered strategy includes an understanding of whom we want to talk to (both internally and externally), what motivates them and how we can consistently communicate our value to them. A well-articulated strategy will provide your agency partners with clear direction so that you can eliminate the need for multiple revisions. The consistency gained by strategy will paint the full picture you want customers to envision when they think about you and when they are deciding where to spend their dollars. “Tactics without a strategy will always leave you reacting to the news instead of creating your own,” warns Brandon Cox, chief storyteller and founder of the Ever After Agency. CHANNEL EFFICIENCY

When I started my career in marketing, there were four basic ways of communicating with customers. Today, there seems to be an overwhelming number of channels we can use, but not all are the right fit for our brands or our target customers. Armed with a strong strategy, research, and data, we can now pick and choose the most influential channels. The goal is to have target customers choose you over your competitors. A clear strategy built with the appropriate foundational elements will pay dividends today and tomorrow. n


42 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

illust r ation by Tony H e al e y

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 and

Looking for a way to bring more to the bottom line? Stop wasting your time and money on efforts that will not get you to the promised land. Having a strong strategic foundation allows you to better focus your budget and staffing by showing you where to invest. You can focus on only the marketing programs that will support the overall business objectives.


Family-Owned Businesses a profile section

Starting in the November issue of Biz New Orleans, we will publish our inaugural showcase of the family-owned businesses that are the foundation of our historic city. Join us as we celebrate the hardworking men and women who, along with their families, have created household names within their respective industries. From generations past to future generations to come, these families are, and will continue to be, the backbone of this amazing city. For more information, please contact Caitlin Sistrunk at 504-830-7252 or / 43

hot topic s in southe a st Louisiana industries

perspectives law  /  healthcare  /  education

A Booming Industry for Boomers: Local senior living options continue to expand

Perspectives law

Three on Three Three local real estate attorneys weigh in on the three biggest topics affecting the industry now By Keith Loria

Real estate regulations change all

the time, making things confusing for those looking to rent, purchase or sell a home, or even invest in properties. That’s why anyone involved with any of these activities should consult a lawyer and make sure

46 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

they understand everything before signing a contract. A real estate lawyer keeps up with all the changes and knows how to navigate what can often be a confusing system, especially when it comes to sales and investments.

The following are some of the top issues in real estate according to lawyers in the metro area. Hybrid Hotels

Julie Quinn, a partner with Quinn Alsterberg, a firm that specializes in

all aspects of real estate and construction, represents a wide variety of investors, developers, contractors, subcontractors, third-party inspectors, agents, purchasers and business owners. “I assist in due diligence of acquisitions through negotiations, as well as the zoning and permitting and waivers/hearings associated with those issues and contracts involved,” she says. “My partner, Justin Alsterberg, specializes in construction contracts and construction litigation.” Quinn notes one of the major issues this year continues to be short-term rentals. Initially, STRs were about nothing more than a homeowner renting out an extra room for money. However, in response to the demands of the lucrative STR industry, coupled with zoning restrictions, savvy developers quickly morphed STR developments into limited-service hotels, whereby a hotel license was obtained, but the “hotel” was rented on a traditional STR platform and managed by an STR management company. “These ‘hybrid hotels,’ with bareminimum basic hotel services in order to maintain licensure, coupled with expanding technology, are merely one step short of the next wave of vacation options: kioskbased hotels,” she says. “City officials will soon be faced with managing the strong lobby of the hotel-motel association against innovative progress and demand for efficiencies by cost-conscious consumers.” Not unlike grocery stores, car rentals and airports, consumers across the country are already able to check into a hotel via kiosk, and it is predicated that soon these kiosk hotels will completely lack front desk personnel. Quinn says city officials will soon be faced with a slippery slope of what constitutes a traditional hotel, versus what constitutes a kiosk hotel or an STR. “The change in STR laws within the city of New Orleans will impact such investments,” Quinn says. “Current investors are in a gray area, while / 47

future investors will need to review the law more closely to determine what is allowed and what is not allowed.” Affordable Housing

Ryan M. McCabe is a partner with Steeg Law Firm, LLC, which specializes in commercial real estate, including condominiums, development, zoning and land use, leases, purchase and sale, property administration, real estate financing, and title insurance for virtually any type of property. He agrees that STRs are something that should be on every attorney’s radar, but says another top issue in New Orleans right now is affordable housing, and the two go hand-in-hand. “The two issues are intertwined, of course... when long-term rental housing that is taken off the market for use as short-term rentals, it has the effect of increasing rents and housing prices,” he says. “This is either a positive development or a negative one, depending on whether you’re a property owner or a tenant, and the issues have sparked policy debates on the local and national level.” The issue of increased property values in New Orleans is particularly timely given the assessor’s recent reassessment, which has resulted in many property owners seeing their assessments (and property taxes if the current mileages remain in place) skyrocket. That, McCabe says, will drive the importance of the issue even further. Kelly Longwell is a director in the New Orleans office of Coats Rose, which maximizes tax credit benefits for real estate developers and investors in structuring real estate developments across a wide spectrum of projects — including hotels, apartment complexes, office buildings, residential condominiums and retail commercial space. She agrees the top issue in real estate law is affordable housing, mostly because of the way it impacts communities. She explains an estimated 50 million Americans are considered severely rent burdened, paying more that 50 percent of their income in housing costs (rent, taxes, utilities and insurance). And the problem is only getting worse with communities desperate for money that are increasing property taxes and 48 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

insurance companies recouping losses from natural disasters. These increases are passed on to the tenants or homeowners. In Bywater, Coats Rose is working with developers to create both rental and for-sale affordable housing. The firm’s affordable housing and community development team works with clients to create innovative solutions for affordable housing, including utilizing tax credits, HUD funding and philanthropic dollars. “We have been involved in giving presentations to public bodies, including municipalities, parishes, counties and state agencies including housing finance agencies, and federal agencies including HUD,” Longwell says. “We also assist in the policy discussion to help marry various financing sources with separate rules and regulations and navigate master planning and zoning, and we have firsthand experience with assisting clients in addressing the concerns of important constituencies.” Third-Party Inspectors

While third-party inspectors serve a valuable purpose both for the end user (contractors and consumers) as well as for public agencies strapped for resources, Quinn says nevertheless, employees within the inspection departments of various public agencies continue to give pushback on the use of third-party inspectors. “The people on the ground in charge of the department or the inspectors themselves — it’s my belief that they are concerned about job security and why an independent company is going to come in and do the same job they are going to do,” Longwell says. “They may have some legitimate fear that if they don’t have control over the process, it won’t be done correctly.” Longwell says agencies she’s seen that have used third-party inspectors have been happy with the experience. “Contractors love the convenience because you can just call and they are [on site] that day,” she says. “The public agencies don’t have those resources, and you may be forced to wait days or even weeks, and a contractor could lose a crew waiting. Also, in places where they have implemented [third-party inspectors], it has saved public agencies a ton of money. People just need to get over the fear of the unknown.” n / 49

Perspectives h e a lt h c a r e

The population of Americans age

75 and older is expected to grow by 5 million people over the next five years, increasing the number of prospective senior housing residents by 21%, according to Marcus & Millichap’s First Half 2019 National Seniors Housing Report. The same report noted that today’s baby boomers are also living longer, with the population of those age 75 and older expected to increase by more than 10 million over the next decade. With demand for senior living continuing to increase, it’s not surprising that some local members of the industry are choosing to expand their current facilities or add new ones. The following are a few of the most recent expansions. Old Metairie Gardens

Local Senior Living Options Continue to Grow A look at communities expanding to meet demand By James Sebastien

50 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

The only assisted living communities in Old Metairie, Old Metairie Gardens 1 and 2 opened this past January as the first completely new community by Peristyle Residences. Old Metairie Gardens 1 and 2 are two traditional homes situated side by side a few blocks from Metairie Road. Instead of housing one family, however, they house multiple seniors, with open floorplans including shared common areas, and, according to Sean Arrillaga, principal at Peristyle Residences and Peristyle Healthcare, the largest bedrooms of any other offerings in this market. “We serve seniors who need assistance with two or more activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, grooming, medication assistance, etc,” Arrillaga said. “We also offer activities everyday such as pet therapy, music therapy and live music performances from wellestablished local jazz ensembles.” Peristyle Residences offers seniors the option of living in an actual residential home where they can receive care and supervision in comfortable family-style environment. “Peristyle Residences represents a significant portion of the residential assisted living offering in Greater New Orleans,” Arrillaga said. The / 51

company currently includes nine homes, and Arrillaga said further expansion is imminent, noting, “The literature suggests the demand for resources like ours will continue to increase well into the next 15 to 20 years.” Hainkel Home

In June 2018, CommCare Corporation took over management of John J. Hainkel Jr. Home and Rehabilitation Center on Henry Clay Avenue in Uptown New Orleans. It is currently licensed and operating as a longterm care nursing facility with a skilled-to-home unit. “With the new management team in place, we have been working diligently to prepare for the paradigm shift that our patientdriven payment model will bring to nursing facilities in October,” said Sunny Deakle, marketing director of the home. “Our team has just celebrated one year, and we are excited for what the next year holds.” As a skilled-nursing facility, Hainkel Home caters to the short-term and long-term needs of potential residents. “Independence is one of the most important factors to most of the senior community,” Deakle said. “In order to meet the needs of our residents, we offer a wide variety of options, including field trips

52 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

outside of the facility. We have monthly resident council meetings to give residents a chance to voice their opinions and contribute to the growth of the facility. We provide 24-hour licensed nursing care, in-house doctors, in-house therapy, transportation options and an amazing management team for the residents to use as resources.” Colonial Oaks Living Center

Colonial Oaks Living Center — located just a few blocks off the intersection of Clearview Parkway and Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie — has been around for 48 years, but the center recently went through an extensive renovation and celebrated a grand reopening last November. “The industry is changing to more person-centered care,” said Michele Varon, marketing and community outreach coordinator at Colonial Oaks Living Center and Belle Vie Living Center. “It is focusing more now on the resident’s wishes. For example, dietary preferences for types of foods and meals they want, what time they want to get up or go to bed and when they want meals. Seniors are trying to stay in their homes and age in place as long as they can utilizing home-care options and non-medical sitter services.” n / 53

Perspectives edu c at i o n

As technology rapidly changes the

way we live and work, there’s a conversation taking place in education about preparing the workforce of the future. How do schools teach the skills necessary for jobs that don’t yet exist? How can you predict the impact of technological advances on today’s jobs? Schools in the Greater New Orleans area are approaching this issue from two sides: teaching emerging technology while strengthening traditional educational foundations. Elementary and High School Efforts

Building the Future Workforce Today Local elementary schools, high schools and universities are using different pathways in an effort to fill current and future workforce needs By Jessica Rosgaard

54 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

In the metro area, the modern educational focus for younger students currently relies heavily on providing STEAM classes (science, technology, engineering, art and math). Laura Martin is the assistant principal at Arden Cahill Academy in Jefferson Parish. She says the school recently expanded its computer coursework beyond basic keyboarding and software familiarity for its K-8 students. “We saw the need to move toward teaching students more about the design process and the demands behind that, to include the critical thinking and problem solving that goes along with it,” said Martin. “Problem-solving and critical thinking [are] going to get them prepared for whatever jobs are opening in the future.” Martin refers to educational basics — reading, writing and math —as “transferrable skills” because they apply across school curricula and careers. “What we’re doing in science — like teaching skills regarding inquiry and analyzing documents — can be picked up in social studies,” Martin said. “Skills someone would use to conduct research in medicine can also be of use in a law firm.” Arden Cahill Academy welcomed its first ninth grade class this year, which will become its first graduating class in 2023. Martin said the school has a college- and career-readiness plan outlined for students at each year of high school to help students think about their future.

“It’s all geared toward getting students to understand where their interests lie and how that overlaps with their abilities,” Martin said. “Then they can make a really good determination going into their sophomore year of where they might want to go to college, so that going into junior year, we’re already starting to prepare: What’s the composite I need to get into this school, and what kind of courses am I supposed to be taking?” Martin hopes by the time students reach their senior year they’ve already been accepted to their school of choice for the career path that they’ve chosen. At that point, students will take on a senior project — using community partnerships to shadow someone in the industry they want to pursue. “The senior project will really target the career element and prepare them for the workforce, moving forward with what we’ve seen projected up through 2024,” Martin said. Howard Hunter is the academic dean at Metairie Park Country Day School (MPCDS), which serves students from kindergarten through grade 12. He agreed that a strong liberal arts background — both sciences and humanities — will provide students with the analytical foundation necessary for applying technology. “The liberal arts are not only essential to the workplace, but to life,” Hunter said. “Technology has simply enhanced our ability to perform these skills, and engineering integrates both the quantitative skills and the creative bent of the humanities.” In 2017, MPCDS opened a 10,000-square-foot science and engineering building to house its STEM-based educational offerings. The facility features an engineering laboratory, a computer science classroom, and physics, chemistry and biology classrooms. “These classrooms have dynamic new equipment and innovative technologies, such as a microcontroller, a fabrication center equipped with an industrial laser cutter, 3D and / 55

large-scale 2D printers, programmable robotics equipment, and a math-modeling work station,” said Matt Neely, MPCDS head of school. New spaces have allowed MPCDS to explore opportunities for new courses in creative engineering, computer science principles, introduction to robotics, and app development. Students can then apply their creative energy to new kinds of learning, Neely said. Higher Education

Preparing students for the future workforce is a goal in higher education, too. Walter Kimbrough is the dean of Dillard University, where he’s focused on the challenge of preparing students for jobs, including those that don’t yet exist. “We can’t teach specifically what people will need, so we have to make sure students have a stronger, broader skillset to be able to adapt to do whatever those jobs are,” Kimbrough said, adding that companies are still looking for people with strong communication and critical thinking skills, but in a broad context. “You might not be preparing for a specific job or career, you’re developing and honing those skills so that whatever job and careers evolve, you’re able to move into that space,” he said. Kimbrough points to the growth of the social media age in the last 15 years as an example of how advertising, marketing and communications skills are being applied in a way that wasn’t specifically taught. One of the challenges that higher education institutions face, he said, is making sure faculty stays up to date on technology. For example, what a professor may have learned in a traditional computer science PhD class won’t carry through their career because the landscape changes so fast. “Particularly for all of higher education, faculty have to be much more open to constant retooling,” Kimbrough said. “The traditional way we educate college faculty gives them a good foundation, but it’s not enough to sustain.” To that end, Dillard is one of 10 historically black colleges and universities that has partnered with

56 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

Google on a program in which the company provides an on-campus resident to teach classes, allowing students and faculty members to learn from someone on the front lines of emerging technology. “We’ve got to change the model and be open to working with people in these spaces,” Kimbrough said. “Some people may not have that traditional academic background, but they’re in the real-world space making things happen as we speak.” At Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, marketing and communications director Jerad David said the school has started to focus on a career niche that is particular to South Louisiana and urgent for the local community: coastal science. “The coast is knocking on our back door, and so we’ve tried to start focusing our attention on preparing for the jobs to help battle that receding coastline,” he said. “If we do nothing, half of the people that we service — their homes are not going to be there at the rate the coast is deteriorating.” Nicholls University has partnered with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to create a “coastal center” on its campus where students can study the effects of land loss on the Terrebonne and Atchafalaya basins. Nicholls has also partnered with the University of New Orleans in an effort to bolster its engineering program. “We have a drone program with our geomatics (land surveying) program, and we’re partnering with UNO’s engineering program to use those drones to fly over the coast and survey the land,” David said. The program will offer coastal environmental science students a chance to study on the front lines of their field, as well as provide an opportunity to learn about saving the culture of South Louisiana. “We’ve devoted some energy and resources into a bayou studies course that sort of teaches and preserves some of the culture that we have here in South Louisiana,” David said. “So, it’s not just the scientific side of things we’re focusing on, but the cultural and sociological aspect as well.” n / 57

Influe top 10 real estate

“ The city has not seen real estate

development of this scope and magnitude in nearly 50 years.” Those are the words of Gerard Henry, vice president and principal of commercial real estate brokerage firm Max J. Derbes, Inc., and one of this year’s Top 10 Real Estate Influencers. Indeed, it’s hard not to be excited at the growth currently being seen in the real estate marketplace across Southeast Louisiana. In Downtown New Orleans, construction is everywhere: New coworking spaces, hotels, restaurants, and especially multifamily offerings, are popping up it seems on every block. Plus, thanks to the recent addition of Opportunity Zone investments, the growth is starting to really expand on both the commercial and residential fronts to the communities that need it most. Not all is rosy, however. We continue to struggle with an affordable housing crisis as available land dwindles and labor and materials costs continue to climb. Public resources provided in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita are drying up, as are possible historic renovation projects. Moving forward, we will be forced to deal with these issues, along with an aging infrastructure and a lack of skilled workforce. How we handle all of these challenges will determine the future growth and success of the region we all call home.

encers portraits by romero & romero

Kupperman Companies

is a real estate development and investment firm that designs, develops and acquires hotels, retail, office, multifamily and mixed-use projects across the Southeast. The company invests in award-winning historic redevelopments designed to preserve the architecture and culture of the surrounding community. Notable projects include: Hotel Saint Vincent (1507 Magazine St.); The Drifter Hotel (3522 Tulane Ave.); The Frenchmen Hotel (417 Frenchmen St.); The Rampart Hotel (300 S. Rampart St.); 31 West Congress Ave. (Savannah, Georgia); and 800 S. First St. (Austin, Texas). What are you most excited for in the coming year? I’m excited about the future of New Orleans. Our city is moving in the right direction

Zachary H. Kupperman Founder & CEO Kupperman Companies

“The stock of larger, vacant historic structures that need renovating is dwindling.”

for the first time in a long time. I see amazing prospects for the growth of our economy, development of our community and preservation of our culture. I’m also excited about bringing fresh ideas and concepts to the city and the continued development and urbanization of Downtown New Orleans. What would you say is the biggest challenge you’re seeing? The stock of larger, vacant historic structures that need renovating is dwindling, but I’m hopeful that our economy will grow fast enough to create the demand to justify the cost of more new construction. We are proud to play our small part in the revitalization and growth of New Orleans.

Terri B. North President and CEO Providence Community Housing

“In developing and preserving affordable homes, the greatest challenge is twofold: insufficient resources and rising costs.�

Providence Community Housing is a nonprofit real estate development organization focused on

transforming lives and communities through the development and preservation of affordable homes. A member of NeighborWorks America, Providence has developed more than 1,500 units of housing and helped more than 600 individuals and families become homeowners throughout the Greater New Orleans Area. Notable properties include: Sacred Heart at St. Bernard (with Columbia Residential); Bell Artspace Campus (with Artspace); Faubourg Lafitte (with Enterprise Community Partners); St. Bakhita Apartments in Marrero; and numerous senior affordable housing properties in conjunction with the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

What are you most excited for in the coming year? In New Orleans, 45% of Louisiana renters are rent-burdened (pay more than 50% of their income on rent), the fifth-highest rate in the country. Only 38 units of affordable housing are available for every 100 individuals in need. Producing more than 30,000 affordable homes is critical to the well-being of New Orleans. 2020 will be the year to set the foundation for growth and equity in our community. Having this issue in the forefront allows Providence the opportunity to find partners in the fields of health, finance and government to create a larger impact in improving quality of life for EVERYONE in our community. What would you say is the biggest challenge you’re seeing? In developing and preserving affordable homes, the greatest challenge is two-fold: insufficient resources and rising costs. As the public resources supplied to recover from hurricanes Katrina and Rita have been depleted, there is far less funding available to continue building new affordable units. At the same time, the cost of labor and materials has continued to rise. Therefore, finding innovations that can produce that same level of quality but are more cost efficient is a major goal for us and finding partners to offset the loss of public funding is vital.

Delisha Boyd Real Estate Broker/Notary Public Delisha Boyd, LLC

“In the coming year, and the remainder of 2019, we can expect the housing market to continue to improve in both sales and pricing.”

A top producing agent for more than 15 years, Delisha Boyd opened her own firm in 2014. In

five years, the team has grown from two (Boyd and her daughter) to nearly 50 agents, including several platinum-selling, multimillion-dollar producing agents. Boyd has been recognized by the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors (NOMAR) as a candidate for Manager of the Year for three consecutive years and received Excellence in Real Estate awards in both 2018 and 2019. Both Boyd and the brokerage are licensed in Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi.

What are you most excited for in the coming year? I am excited about the available resources for buyers. The unexpected lowering of the mortgage interest rates has been a welcomed surprise. In addition, the multiple programs available to buyers to assist in homeownership will shift the supply and demand and encourage, even inspire, existing homeowners to sell their homes. The lower interest rates, availability of bond and grant funds, and more homes available for sale will counteract rising home prices. In the coming year, and for the remainder of 2019, we can expect the housing market to continue to improve in both sales and pricing. We are also excited about becoming the listing brokerage for a new, 20-unit condo development on Freret Street. What would you say is the biggest challenge you’re seeing? The biggest challenge is finding qualified lenders and mortgage brokers to work with the wide array of buyers, especially those who are self-employed. Surprisingly, even with the lowest rates in history, some people have not been able to qualify for mortgage financing. Many lenders have tightened guidelines, and some lenders aren’t qualified to or have refused to participate in some of the bond and grant funding programs. This is slowly creating a marketplace with excess inventory, attractive interest rates and very few qualified buyers. 62 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

Larry G. Schedler &

Associates, Inc. is a real estate firm that specializes exclusively in marketing multifamily assets throughout the Gulf South. They have transacted over $4.5 billion in multifamily assets. Notable projects within the past few years include: The Esplanade at City Park (443 units); American Can Apartments (268 units); AVR Portfolio (2,079 units); Millennium Towne Centre Apartments (276 units); Morguard Portfolio (643 units); Grand Pointe Apartments (266 units); Pelican Pointe Apartments (266 units); and East New Orleans Portfolio (1,600 units). What are you most excited for in the coming year? Both private and institutional investors have taken note of the sound fundamentals and returns in the multifamily space. As a result, they continue to seek opportunities in the metro New Orleans market for all asset classes — from affordable to luxury housing. Over the past decade, we have seen

Larry Schedler Principal Larry G. Schedler & Associates, Inc.

“Scarcity of large tracts of land, coupled with rising construction costs, make the development of affordable housing without a subsidy virtually impossible.”

many neighborhoods revitalized by the development of largescale multifamily communities (South Market District, Two Saints, Lumina, 930 Poydras, etc.) This demand should remain strong in the coming year as rental rates and high occupancy levels will inevitably continue to attract investors. What would you say is the biggest challenge you’re seeing? The barriers to entry in developing multifamily housing in New Orleans are significant. Scarcity of large tracts of land, coupled with rising construction costs, make the development of affordable housing without a subsidy virtually impossible. Meeting the need for affordable housing is a challenge facing cities all over the country. The solution can best be accomplished by public/ private partnerships with experienced developers.

Eugene Schmitt Director Urban Properties Real Estate, LLC.

Urban Properties Real

Estate, LLC, is a boutique real estate consulting, development, brokerage, and property management firm focused on urban projects in New Orleans. With a background in development, finance and asset management, coupled with an understanding of the local market, the company aims to craft innovative and practical real estate solutions. Notable projects include concepts such as St. Roch Market / Politan Row (in Chicago), Social Bicycles (an Uber company), Framework, Zasu, and local expansions of Goodbird and The Daily Beet. What are you most excited for in the coming year? The rise and level of prominence of New Orleans as a market as it relates to recognition from the country. Retailers, businesses and developers from outside the city are starting to recognize New Orleans as a thriving market. Growth and betterment of the city since Katrina is at a tipping point where outside markets and brands are attracted to the city now. From an economic development standpoint, we have properly branded our culture, architecture and way of living to the outside world, to the point

where others want to be a part of it. This is evident in the increase in hotel development and national brands coming to market. From a development standpoint, New Orleans has stayed true to itself, but at the same time is inclusive of the outside trends and influences in terms of bringing in forward-thinking brands and business. I also believe there are a lot of areas in this city that are poised for growth. We are seeing a lot of interest in the Lower Garden District, the Warehouse District and the Lafitte Greenway. What would you say is the biggest challenge you’re seeing? In New Orleans specifically, it’s the presence or reality of the deteriorating infrastructure of the city. An adequate sum of tax dollars should be allocated to updating our antiquated infrastructure. From an industry trend standpoint, it will be interesting to see how the New Orleans office market evolves to keep up with national trends such as co-working and a waning demand for typical downtown office product. That, coupled with slower job growth compared to other markets, will put some downward pressure on CBD office space.

“Growth and betterment of the city since Katrina is at a tipping point where outside markets and brands are attracted to the city now.”

Wesley J. Palmisano Founder and Floor Sweeper Palmisano

Palmisano is a commercial and civil firm specializing in vision, creativity, partnership and results.

In just six years, the company has increased annual revenues to $125 million, completed over 100 projects and hired more than 140 employees. Notable projects include: Ace Hotel; Maison de la Luz; The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden Expansion at the New Orleans Museum of Art; The Higgins Hotel and Conference Center at the National World War II Museum; Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy; Hotel St. Vincent; and Kimpton New Orleans.

“The industry is stuck. It’s being held back by outdated processes and is missing out on the opportunity to improve the construction experience for the next generation.”

What are you most excited for in the coming year? We remain optimistic and excited about the opportunities presented by continued growth of the Greater New Orleans region. The metropolitan area continues to add new jobs in diverse sectors and tourism remains strong. We believe there will be opportunity in a variety of construction sectors. More specifically, we are excited about numerous proposed new developments in the downtown urban core that fit within our core areas of expertise. What would you say is the biggest challenge you’re seeing? For over a century, the modern construction industry has been the backbone of American success. But the industry is stuck. It’s being held back by outdated processes and is missing out on the opportunity to improve the construction experience for the next generation. We know that to continue our legacy of hard work, partnership and philanthropy, we have to evolve. That’s why we created a new kind of construction company designed to foster the next generation of leaders, a place where talented renegades are empowered to share their best work with millions of people, and where bold new ideas and technologies are embraced and cultivated. / 65

Gerard Henry Vice President and Principal Max J. Derbes, Inc.

“The city has not seen real estate development of this scope and magnitude in nearly 50 years.”

Founded in 1934, Max J. Derbes Inc. is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage serving the Gulf South region. Projects of note include the sale of the Avondale Shipyard, The Sazerac House museum and distillery at Canal and Magazine streets, and the relocation of Hancock Whitney Bank corporate headquarters. Vice president and principal at the firm, Gerard Henry, has practiced real estate for 30 years.

What are you most excited for in the coming year? I am most excited about the continued investment in real estate development in the New Orleans area. The investments are diverse — ranging from the redevelopment of the former Avondale Shipyard to the mixed-use projects in Central City, Uptown and New Market South. The city has not seen real estate development of this scope and magnitude in nearly 50 years. I believe we will see not only the continued renovation of existing structures, but growth in new commercial construction as obsolete structures are replaced. What would you say is the biggest challenge you’re seeing? I believe the biggest challenge facing the real estate industry in New Orleans is the lack of available land for development. This is a significant factor in commercial, as well as residential real estate, evidenced by the accelerated demolition of older, less functional properties for redevelopment with multistory, mixed-use buildings. Due to limited supply, land values have been continually elevated, making development more expensive. This issue directly affects housing and commercial development in the form of higher occupancy costs for owners and tenants. 66 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

Kelly Longwell Director and Managing Director of the New Orleans office of Coats Rose

Coats Rose affordable

housing and community development attorneys work with developers, owners and operators of public and private residential rental housing for individuals, families, elderly and special needs populations to create innovative solutions for affordable housing, including utilizing tax credits, HUD funding and philanthropic dollars. The firm recently served as development counsel to Gulf Coast Housing Partnership, Inc. on CrescentCare Community Health Center, a 65,000-square-foot comprehensive medical campus that offers a suite of services, including primary medical care, dentistry, pediatrics, HIV counseling and testing, case management and behavioral health services to New Orleans. What are you most excited for in the coming year? I am most excited about the expansion of using Opportunity Zone investments. This investment tool was enacted roughly 18 months ago and will provide much-needed funding in distressed communities across the country.

What would you say is the biggest challenge you’re seeing? The top issues in real estate law are affordable housing and its impacts on communities. What happens to the lowincome resident in a gentrifying district? Residents are forced to either find properties they can now afford in the area or move to a new district. Foreclosures and evictions begin to rise as residents can no longer afford housing. Federal and state subsidies available for affordable housing are scarce and not sufficient to fill the need. In Bywater, we are working with developers to create both rental and for-sale affordable housing. The popularity of this neighborhood has increased property values significantly in recent years. Landlords can demand rent in excess of $1,500 for a two-bedroom unit, which is almost double what an average tenant can afford to pay. The historical residents are having to look for other areas to live in. The proposed affordable housing will allow the neighbors to remain in the area without being rent burdened.

“I am most excited about the expansion of using Opportunity Zone investments.� / 67

Neville Development

specializes in developing affordable multifamily housing, senior living facilities and small-scale commercial projects in the New Orleans metro area. The company’s projects include Liberty Place Apartments, a historic rehabilitation of several doubles in the Uptown neighborhood; RomanBienville Homes, a three-unit project in Mid-City that’s a mix of both historic rehab and new construction; and the G.O. Mondy School Apartments, a former school building left vacant after Katrina, that has been converted into a 35unit project for seniors. What are you most excited for in the coming year? I am really looking forward to completing our current 45-unit scattered site project in the Lower Ninth Ward. This historic neighborhood really

James E. Neville President Neville Development

68 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

“The Lower Ninth Ward… really needs more investment from the private sector and a lot more love from the public sector.” needs more investment from the private sector and a lot more love from the public sector, like the Department of Public Works, New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board and Code Enforcement. We also have a great new historic adaptive reuse of a former department store in Donaldsonville that is going to be a lot of fun. We hope to get started with that in the spring of 2020. What would you say is the biggest challenge you’re seeing? The challenges today haven’t really changed since I first began working with LIHTC (Low-Income Housing Tax Credit) projects 25 years ago. There is a delicate balance to building a quality project, no different from a market-rate project, except we work in areas with lower acquisition costs that are still located where residents will feel safe and are close to public transportation and job opportunities. Also, historic buildings are becoming harder and harder to find.

Wade Ragas Real Estate Investments and Valuation Expert

Since Hurricane Katrina, renowned economist Wade Ragas has worked on over $1 billion in real

estate valuations and market feasibility studies. His practice includes being a real estate expert witness in state and federal courts, offering seminars on current market conditions and providing quarterly opinions as a SITUS/ Real Estate Research Corp. survey respondent. An MAI commercial and residential appraiser, Ragas holds a PhD in finance from Ohio State University and an MBA from the University of New Orleans.

“The New Orleans metro area is successfully attracting new households to Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes in higher volumes than we were before Katrina.”

What are you most excited for in the coming year? I’m most excited to see a strong resumption of nationwide growth with historically low interest rates that can benefit a wide range of industries in Southeast Louisiana. The New Orleans metro area is successfully attracting new households to Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes in higher volumes than we were before Katrina. Employment — the engine that draws new households here — has also grown at a rate of 12,000 jobs a year for the past two years. What would you say is the biggest challenge you’re seeing? The biggest challenge lies in providing the skilled labor force to attract the evolving AI (artificial intelligence) and cloud-driven technologies, along with internationally oriented young professionals. We must also overcome the drainage failures of the Sewerage and Water Board in Orleans, which threatens to destroy 15 years of work to attract new households from around the country here. In addition, compounding the constant risk of serious street flooding is the rise of street crime and thefts. / 69

Making a House a Home On Oct. 2, the Sazerac House opens as the first true homeplace of the largest manufacturer of distilled spirits in the nation.

By Rebecca Friedman photographs by Sara Essex Bradley

The space features hands-on exhibits and experiences designed to educate visitors about the history of the Sazerac Company and its role in the evolution of cocktail culture. In true New Orleans fashion, tours will also include complimentary samples of Sazerac products. The Sazerac Company proudly traces its roots to a spot just a stone’s throw from the new location. The Sazerac’s highly visible flagship will honor the birthplace of both the company and its namesake drink. “With our origins dating back to 1850 here in New Orleans, the Sazerac Company has long wanted to create a homeplace here in this city,” says Sazerac House General Manager Miguel Solorzano. “We have created similar homeplaces for several of our other distilleries, including our flagship Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. We were so pleased when the opportunity finally presented itself in such a fortuitous location, just 350 yards from the original Sazerac Coffeehouse.”

An Intoxicating History


he Sazerac, an iconic New Orleans cocktail, is about to occupy a brand-new (yet well-aged) stage. On October 2, a historic site at the intersection of Magazine and Canal Streets opens to the public as the Sazerac House. The newly renovated 48,000-square-foot building (which dates to the 1860s) will bring something unique to the local landscape: a combined beverage museum, event space and fully functioning distillery.

There is no Sazerac Company without the Sazerac cocktail, and the organization takes that legacy seriously. The story begins in 1838 with Antoine Peychaud, an apothecary who operated a French Quarter pharmacy. Peychaud developed a blend of brandy, absinthe and homemade bitters that became popular in drinking establishments across the city, including, most notably, the Sazerac Coffeehouse on Exchange Alley. In 1869, the Sazerac Coffeehouse was purchased by Thomas H. Handy, who also bought the rights to Peychaud’s Bitters. Substituting rye whiskey for brandy, he began bottling and marketing a new creation — the Sazerac cocktail. Handy’s former secretary eventually went on to charter the Sazerac Company. In 1948, the Sazerac Company was acquired by Stephen Goldring and Malcolm Woldenberg, partners in a growing wholesale liquor and distribution business who came to embrace the

“The Sazerac House will bring activity to a section of Canal Street that has been vacant for more than 30 years, tying the rest of the historic heart of downtown New Orleans into new projects that are being developed further towards the river, while creating a completely new and interactive experience for tourists and business visitors alike,” says The Sazerac House’s General Manager Miguel Solorzano.

city of New Orleans as their personal and professional home. Over the next several decades, the pair would build an extraordinarily successful business empire and far-reaching philanthropic presence that continues to this day, with foundations named for the two families supporting a broad range of causes in New Orleans and beyond. Today, Stephen’s son, William “Bill” Goldring, serves as the chairman of the Sazerac Company, which remains independent and family-owned. Along with his family, Goldring has overseen the company’s extraordinary growth into new markets and new brands, including several award-winning bourbons and whiskeys. The Sazerac Company’s ever-expanding spirit portfolio includes Buffalo Trace, Pappy Van Winkle, Eagle Rare, Blanton’s, Southern Comfort, Fireball and of course, Sazerac Rye and Peychaud’s Bitters, among more than 300 others. Given its increasing focus on bourbon and whiskey, Sazerac has built up a strong operational presence in Louisville, Kentucky, but the company maintains operations in Louisiana, as well as Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, New Hampshire, Maryland, California, the United Kingdom, France, Australia and Canada. While the private company does not share economic data, the organization is believed to employ roughly 2,000 people and generate annual revenues of around $1 billion. The Sazerac Company has also followed the particular tastes of the New Orleans market, ensuring that its portfolio counts not only the ingredients for a classic Sazerac cocktail, but other local favorites as well. One such example is Ojen, an anise-flavored liqueur traditionally enjoyed during Mardi Gras. The product disappeared from shelves in the 1990s after a Spanish distiller stopped producing it, so the Sazerac Company came to the rescue with their own version, Legendre Ojen, allowing New Orleanians to enjoy their cherished Carnival quaff once again.

There is a House in New Orleans...

Sazerac House Featured Spirits Sazerac Rye • Southern Comfort • Peychaud’s Bitters • Peychaud’s Aperitivo • Herbsaint • Pralines & Cream Liqueur • Handy & Schiller Bottled Cocktails • Legendre Ojen • Buffalo Trace Bourbon • EH Taylor Bourbon • Eagle Rare Bourbon • Cane Run Rum • Mr. Boston Cordials

Sazerac House’s location — just blocks from the Royal Street site of the original Sazerac Coffeehouse and one of the original warehouse spaces for Peychaud’s Bitters (now the Eliza Jane Hotel) — was a major draw for the company. The project’s leaders have been careful to honor and preserve the building’s historical integrity. “Being able to house this experience in a historic building that dates to around the same timing as the beginnings of the Sazerac Company made this especially significant,” says Solorzano. “Guests will be able to truly envision themselves in the era of our origins in this completely restored building that even includes many parts of the original structure — like the floorboards, historic staircase and ground floor columns.” Solorzano says the renovation of Sazerac House will breathe new life not only into a long-vacant building, but to its surrounding area. “The Sazerac House will bring activity to a section of Canal Street that has been vacant for more than 30 years, tying the rest of the historic heart of downtown New Orleans into new projects that are being developed further towards the river, while creating a completely new and interactive experience for tourists and business visitors alike,” he says.

Sazerac House Stats Opening Oct. 2 Six floors totaling 48,000 square feet Floors 1-3: Exhibits, retail, rye and bitters production (including a 500-gallon Sazerac Rye Whisky still), plus tasting rooms. Tours and samples are free. Floor 4: 3,500 square feet of event space Floors 5 and 6: Sazerac Company offices (60 employees, including 45 new jobs created) Led by General Manager Miguel Solorzano

74 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019 / 75

Apart from making the streetscape more attractive, the project has already had a significant economic impact for the city. According to Solorzano, 60 employees will be based in the Sazerac House, 45 of which are new positions within the company. Since construction began in 2016, the project has employed hundreds of workers through local firms including TrapolinPeer Architects, Ryan Gootee General Contractors and Solomon Group.

Renovation Inspiration

This is not the Sazerac Company’s first experience with restoring a hidden gem. Solorzano points to the company’s 1992 purchase of Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, complete with ramshackle buildings, barbed wire fences surrounding the property and an employee base which had dwindled to 50 – down from a workforce of 1,000 employees during the post-World-War-II boom. Today, the restored Buffalo Trace Distillery is one of only 2,600 national historic landmarks in the United States, employing 450 team members and welcoming 250,000 visitors annually.

Sip and See, Sazerac Style

As visitors make their way through complimentary, self-guided tours of the Sazerac House, they will encounter a variety of attractions, including an interactive exhibit in which bartenders share information about drinks popular in New Orleans during various historical periods. “Experience Ambassadors” will be stationed at key points along the route, and a gift shop will offer cocktailrelated merchandise, as well as spirits for purchase. Visitors will also be able to enjoy the rum aging and tasting rooms. Given a market that shows continued enthusiasm for spirits and cocktail culture in New Orleans (the Museum of the American Cocktail at the nearby Southern Food and Beverage Museum remains a popular draw), as well as the Sazerac House’s visitor-friendly location, planners anticipate 150,000 visitors during the venue’s first year. In addition to welcoming visitors for tours, the Sazerac House includes 3,500 square feet of event space with capacity for up to 300 private event guests. Future programming and events will be geared toward both locals and out-of-town guests.

A Still That’s Sparkling

Perhaps the most eye-catching feature of the Sazerac House is its custom-built, fully functional whiskey still. Located on the first floor and visible from Canal Street through a two-story glass front, the 500-gallon still was built for the Sazerac House by Vendome Copper and Brass Works in Louisville, Kentucky. Each day, the still will produce approximately one barrel of Sazerac Rye Whiskey, which will then be transported to the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky for aging. A dedicated bottling line for Sazerac Rye Whiskey, as well as a production line for Peychaud’s Bitters, will be located near the still. Visitors can tour the distilling exhibit and interact with the distilling team to learn about the Sazerac Rye Whiskey production process. With the addition of the Sazerac House to the downtown scene, tourists and locals alike will enjoy a new way to experience one of the city’s most famed creations, and The Sazerac Company now has the perfect home within the city that put it on the map.


The Official Sazerac Cocktail 1 cube sugar 1½ ounces (35ml) Sazerac Rye Whiskey ¼ ounce Herbsaint 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters Lemon Peel

Pack an Old-Fashioned glass with ice. In a second Old-Fashioned glass, place the sugar cube and add the Peychaud’s Bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube. Add the Sazerac Rye Whiskey to the second glass containing the Peychaud’s Bitters and sugar. Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint, then discard the remaining Herbsaint. Empty the whiskey/ bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with lemon peel. (Source: / 77

Since our launch in October 2014, Biz New Orleans magazine has been bringing you in-depth, fullcolor, national award-winning coverage of the businesses and professionals leading Southeast Louisiana in every industry. Stay Tuned! Next month we’ll take a look back at how business in the region has changed over the past five years and pick the brains of local economic development professionals about what we can expect in the future.

Celebrating 5 Years in Print!


Senior Services CHRISTWOOD The Northshore’s premier retirement community, Christwood provides assisted living, Medicareapproved skilled nursing, rehabilitation and cognitive memory care, as well as offering an extensive range of independent living options and resident-focused health services. Christwood residents enjoy a concierge lifestyle on the grounds of a 117-acre campus with convenient access to shopping, dining, entertainment and medical services. Their assisted living is a Level 4 Adult Residential Care Assisted Living provider, a unique designation that provides a

80 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

licensed nurse on site for 24 hours a day and higher than required staffing levels. Since 1996, the community has served the Gulf Coast and surrounding area with consistent standard-setting care with the best possible service. They are continuing to build out their offerings, most recently by opening up assisted living and skilled nursing care services for non-residents on a limited basis. To learn more, call Sandy Fairley at 985-292-1219 for assisted living information; for skilled nursing, contact Patti Prosper at 985-292-1212.

NOTRE DAME HEALTH SYSTEM Steeped in rich, Catholic-based tradition, Notre Dame Health System provides a continuum of healthcare services including home care, independent care, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, memory care, home health and hospice care. Community and home-based care is available in the Greater New Orleans area. Hospice services are offered in several areas of Louisiana, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge, as well the Mississippi Gulf region. Their spectrum of services allows them to tailor care


for all. They pride themselves on employing the most talented and dedicated teams of healthcare professionals, administrative personnel, volunteers and support staff. To learn more, visit their website:

fee-based fitness center membership to allow the public access to their luxury health and wellness facilities. For more information, call 504-865-1960 or visit

LAMBETH HOUSE Lambeth House is a luxury Life Plan Retirement Community offering LifeCare, which guarantees residents access to on-site assisted living and nursing care as they need it. Their focus on holistic wellness guarantees that Lambeth House residents benefit from all of the amenities the community offers, from a vibrant community to a state-of-theart fitness center, a meditation room, an art studio and more. Lambeth House offers 118 independent living apartments, 61 assisted living apartments and 72 private nursing care rooms, 16 of which offer memory care support. For members of the public 55 and older, Lambeth House also offers a

PERISTYLE RESIDENCES Peristyle Residences offer residential assisted living and memory care in the comfort of intimate homes complete with private bedrooms and shared dining and living areas. This approach to senior living provides seniors with day-to-day living assistance in an environment that is more like a home than a large senior living community. They provide the highest level of care, comfort, and compassion possible to the seniors they serve, as well as convenience and peace of mind for their loved ones. Peristyle specializes in senior homes focusing on residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia. They provide

exceptional care and luxury accommodation in an intimate setting that allows seniors with these memory issues, privacy, comfort, and choice. Recently, they have opened the Old Metairie Gardens Memory Care Assisted Living Homes, the only senior living homes in Old Metairie. These two brand-new luxury homes have been designed and built specifically to address the needs of seniors with all levels of Alzheimer’s and dementia. To learn more about Peristyle Residences, visit or call 504-517-3273. VISTA SHORES For attentive, detail-oriented care in a tight-knit community, look no further than Vista Shores, a private luxury assisted living and memory care organization. They pay attention to detail to allow their residents to relax and enjoy themselves in the knowledge that someone is always close by if they need help. Residents can come home to Vista Shores—a safe, secure, worry-free environment. Residents of Vista Shores enjoy chef-prepared meals in the community’s bistro and dining rooms, coffee and cocktails in the lounge and vibrant sunsets from the wraparound porch. Vista Shores offers three “neighborhoods” for residents, bringing together people with shared abilities to promote greater socialization and personalized care. The staff offer personalized care plans to ensure that each resident is equipped with the care and environment they need to thrive—even an environment with a beloved pet. Vista Shores is also home to Lakeview’s only Alzheimer’s support group. To learn more about Vista Shores, visit or call 504-288-3737. WOLDENBERG VILLAGE A unique premiere retirement community in New Orleans, Woldenberg Village offers the entire spectrum of care, from bungalow-style independent living homes to luxurious assisted living apartments and skilled nursing/rehabilitation facilities that provide service to both short-term rehab residents and custodial care residents. Azaleas Assisted Living and Willow Wood both offer memory care for Alzheimer’s and other dementias as well as general memory-related diagnoses. Willow Wood provides a state-of-the-art Snoezelen™ therapy room, Louisiana’s first in a nursing home, which offers a dementia care-based sensory environ- / 81


ment for patients. Through its magic projection area, disco ball, Vibro-music recliners and other sensory projects, the Snoezelen™ therapy room at Willow Wood both stimulates and calms residents with dementia without overwhelming them. For more information or for a tour, call 504-367-5640. The Trace Even after multiple doctor visits, Mrs. Hall’s hearing troubles persisted. It seemed no doctor could get her hearing aids working properly, and like her and her husband, leadership and the caring team members at The Trace were tired of waiting, so they decided to take matters into their own hands. Using the “Live Listening” feature on a pair of AirPodsTM, Mrs. Hall’s hearing was loud and clear within seconds. Today, she is enjoying delightful conversations with her husband and friends. “It’s

82 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

amazing,” she said, “and I am so gracious and thankful to all the caring people at The Trace who went above and beyond to make this possible for me!” Attentive, personalized care like this is why The Trace has been recognized for excellence in senior living for six consecutive years. At The Trace, residents enjoy spacious, designer residences, best-in-class dining quality and exceptional care from dedicated professionals with over 125 years of collective experience. Please call The Trace at 985-590-3035 and ask about lifetime Rent Lock. Home Instead Senior Care Home Instead Senior Care offers seniors and their family the opportunity to have a full, cared-for life in the comfort of their home. Their CAREgivers℠ are provided with exemplary resources, education and training so they can offer highly personalized

care at home for seniors with a wide array of care needs. These caregivers allow seniors and their families to maintain their day-to-day lives and to focus on their relationships, rather than their stress. Home Instead provides the benefit and depth of international resources with all of the familiarity and comfort of a home-grown, home-run business. Lisa Rabito, owner of the New Orleans-area franchise, opened her doors in 2000 and has spent nineteen years creating a locally-based business that caters to the needs of New Orleans-area seniors and their families. To learn more about Home Instead Senior Care’s services, visit or call 504-455-4911.

Southe ast louisiana businesses in full color


Individuals and corporate teams assist New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity in building 25 to 30 homes a year. Could your company help create more affordable housing?

From The Lens g r e at w o r k s pac e s

Cultural Exchange Opened this summer, HI New Orleans hostel on Canal Street has conquered multiple challenges to provide young adventurers with a comfortable, stylish home away from home. by Melanie Warner Spencer photos by sara essex bradley

Over the last two years, a new type of

hostel has opened in New Orleans. For those travelers who prefer a less casual, more chic vibe, there is The Quisby, opened in 2017, and, most recently, HI New Orleans (a property of the nonprofit Hosteling International USA), that opened in July of 2019. HI New Orleans makes use of two circa-late-1800s buildings — the former Pickwick Social Cub at 1028 Canal St., and the upper floors and back of the ground floor of Fischer Jewelry at 1036 Canal. The hostel features 44 guestrooms (including 122 dorm beds and 24 private rooms), a cafe and bar, communal guest kitchen, dining area and lobby. “While we welcome older folks, families and domestic travelers, our core [is] 18- to 30-year-old international backpackers who are looking to explore [New Orleans] and save on accommodation without compromising comfort and safety,” says Mike Foyder, general manager of HI New Orleans Hostel. “We also get plenty of folks who confuse the word ‘hostel’ with ‘hotel’ and create opportunities for us to welcome these newcomers to hostelling; they can experience our communal kitchen and common spaces, daily tours and social events, and let their guard

84 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

The design of the beds in the 20 shared dorm rooms are similar to Pullman-style train sleeping cars. The hostel also offers 24 private rooms for visitors looking for a bit more space to themselves.

“We seek to be not just a beautiful, warm and welcoming social hub, but also offer unparalleled comfort and convenience for a hostel,” says General Manager Mike Foyder. The hostel also organizes a variety of activities for guests including yoga, walking tours, tarot, and vintage pop-ups and community meals.

down a little in an environment where other travelers welcome conversation and cultural exchange.” The design is decidedly more sophisticated than a traditional hostel. HI USA worked with Coleman Partners Architects LLC, Jennie West of Studio West Design & Architecture, and general contractor BEC Development for the project. The expansive lobby is awash in jewel toned hues and features original, reclaimed hardwood floors and floor tiles, along with a pool table, overstuffed tufted leather sofas and wingback chairs, and a variety of tables and seating arrangements. “We are very excited about our two

substantial, commissioned wall murals depicting important elements of New Orleans,” says Aaron Chaffee, vice president of hostel development at Hostelling International USA. Local artists Carl Joe Williams (in collaboration with the Young Artists Movement) and Kristen Downing created the murals, one of which Chaffee says ties in well with what at first was considered the biggest design challenge of the project. “A city requirement for a stormwater capture system was at first seen as a design burden, as we had no exterior location for this capture and it required a 6,300-gallon / 85

cistern inside the building,” says Chaffee. “Once we decided to make it a focal point, front and center in the lobby, it developed into a very intriguing part of our entry. The large cistern demonstrates a period when almost all homes and buildings in New Orleans utilized exterior cisterns.” Foyder says the mural and cistern offer a bit of foreshadowing to another of the hostel’s challenges: water. “[The] mural tells the story of New Orleans’ loving and troubled relationship with water,” Foyder says. It provides our nutrients, [waters the] soil, [fills] our ports, and [provides] our bounty of wonderful seafood, but it can also ravage us. Just 10 days after opening, our lobby, and soonto-open café flooded quite badly. We are in the final phase of repairs.” Despite beginning with a deluge, Foyder says the feedback from guests has been positive. Over the next 12 months, he says he will focus on meeting the hostel’s financial goals and overnight targets. “We are really just getting started, so we will listen to what our guests are telling us and keep pushing forward to make sure we are doing all we can to provide a high-quality and impactful experience for them. We will also continue to forge partnerships with like-minded community organizations, bring more and more beautiful design and local art into our spaces, and really just work to share the very best that New Orleans has to offer with our guests.” To keep employee morale high and encourage a positive work atmosphere, Foyder says the hostel puts a focus on having fun (at the time of this interview they were celebrating “housekeeping week” with “surprise snack carts, prize wheels and free lunches”) and promoting good communication. “I am very thankful to be a part of an organization (HIUSA), where every staff member is encouraged to share their ideas and even challenge our CEO and senior leadership team on monthly calls to ensure we not only are fulfilling our nonprofit mission goals, but [also] that we are also providing a fair and equitable work environment for our teams,” says Foyder. “My philosophy is certainly that I do not have all the answers, nor always know best. Our strength and wisdom lie in our team, and we are only going to truly succeed by providing an atmosphere where the best of each of us can rise to the forefront.” n

86 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

HI New Orleans Hostel has a community affairs manager, Sarah Berger, who works on travel scholarships, educational programming and the company’s mission of cultural exchange within the communities where they are located. “She seeks to continually forge partnerships with local organizations so that our presence is positively felt,” says Foyder. “HI New Orleans also looks through the lens of environmental sustainability on every action we take. You can tell I am rather proud here.”

At a Glance

HI New Orleans Location

1028 Canal St. Date of opening

July 1, 2019


44 guestroom hostel with cafe and bar Number of Employees

25 to 35 seasonally (once Tacreole Cafe opens up) Person in Charge

Michael Foyder, general manager / 87

From The Lens w hy d i d n ’ t i t h i n k of t h at ?

All That Glitters Offering unique products like glow-in-the-dark glitter, plant-based glitter and custom color creations for local schools and sports fans, Glitter Over NOLA has quickly claimed its place in New Orleans’ increasingly competitive costuming marketplace.

Glitter Over Nola creator Tara Vicknair hand makes customized glitter products for yearround celebrations, parades, school functions, party favors and more.

by Ashley McLellan photos by sara essex bradley

Since New Orleanians are always looking

for a way to add a little sparkle to any event, it’s not surprising that the local marketplace includes several home-grown companies geared toward providing costumes, wigs, glitter, sequins and more. While many cities may just costume on Halloween, here we have an almost insatiable customer base looking to celebrate football games, school spirit, parties, Carnival and practically every holiday on the calendar. Launched early this year, Glitter Over NOLA is New Orleanian Tara Vicknair’s custom, small-batch face and body glitter company, and one of the newest and fastest growing glitter cosmetics accessory companies around. It’s a venture Vicknair said was born from her own needs. “To be quite honest, I wouldn’t say I had inspiration to start a company at all,” she said. “I was having a king cake party and I was also being a cheapskate and didn’t want to pay $20 for a product that I thought I would only use one time … silly me. I knew I wanted to have some Mardi Gras-colored glitter for the party and I consider myself to be pretty crafty, so I figured I’d give it a shot to see if I could make it. I had told my friends at work that if it came out, I would bring them some, too.”

88 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

Where to Shop Glitter Over NOLA Nola Gifts & Décor C & S Pharmacy Monogram Express Hickory Chicks Nola Boo All About Face Home Malone (both locations) Miche Designs & Gifts Destrehan Plantation Fall Festival, November 9 & 10

Marketing for Vicknair’s idea began immediately and organically with friends and family, but quickly grew thanks to social media. “I had zero intentions of ever selling product or adding to the glitter trend, but a few of my friends at the party asked for some, so I gave them what I had and decided to make a few more batches. I decided to throw it out on my Facebook page and Facebook (Marketplace) to see if I had any takers.” Vicknair said her husband initially laughed about her glitter hobby, that is until the orders started coming and didn’t stop.

“So here I am today,” she said, “the girl behind the glitter.” Despite a small staff, Glitter Over NOLA is available at eight boutique locations across the area and frequently sells out in hours after new colors and glitter combinations are posted online. Currently filling orders out of her home, Vicknair relies on the business management skills she learned both from watching her parents’ operate their own business, as well as her own position, albeit in a different setting than most new cosmetic entrepreneurs. As a day job she works at the Mid-City Veterinary Clinic, a workplace that she said supports her entrepreneurial efforts.

“I have always felt that I have pretty good business skills,” she said. “My parents ran their own exterior remodeling business my whole life, so I always remember things that they would do,” she said. “Also being in the management line at the veterinary office has taught me a lot about customer service and business management in general.” Glitter Over NOLA is on trend in a big way, reflecting both a national and local sales wave. According to style reports from publications and online news site including The Hollywood Reporter, Popsugar and Glam, the 1990s body glitter trend is making a comeback, especially due to festival fashion

showcased on social media at events like Coachella, Bonnaroo, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Locally, the glitter trend surpasses festival season, with customers buying products year-round to celebrate their favorite schools and teams during fall football season, parade season, holidays and even a night out with friends. Glitter Over NOLA is unique in its wide range of colors and styles. “Last time I checked it was well over 50 [color combinations]. I have come to the realization that I have a slight problem,” Vicknair said. “I absolutely do custom orders and I enjoy them. At this point, I have most

Other Colorful Companies

More local businesses focused on New Orleans’ costuming and parading dress up include: The Crayon Case – colorful kits, palettes and accessories. Native Nail polish – locally inspired nail colors and palettes. Voodoo Makeup – corn-, soy-, gluten-free, vegan and organic for face, eyes and lips. Elektra Cosmetics – microfine glitter, body balm and primers. ElektraCosmetics. com

Glitter Over Nola comes in more than 50 color combinations inspired by New Orleans neighborhoods, schools, holidays and traditions.

of the colors people would need, but I am always excited to work with the customer to make sure they get exactly what they want. There is nothing better than seeing smiling, glittered faces.” New Orleans-inspired color combinations include “Carnival,” “Audubon” and “Brass Band,” while school-inspired creations are available for Chapelle (“Chipmunk Spunk,”) Mt. Carmel (“Cubbette,”) and Brother Martin (“Crusader,”) and many more. There are also creations designed for LSU and Saints fans. Glitter Over NOLA is a carefully curated business, made by hand by Vicknair — using a cosmetic base and mixing in different color combinations — along with her network of family and friends, for now at least. “I have free labor, paid with friendship and love. My husband, Zach, is my delivery boy and label applicator. My friend Megan is my event girl; she comes with me to any craft shows or special events that I do. She also is one of my glitter models. Also, for my work family at the vet [clinic,] I keep their glitter supply full because they are my walking advertisement. But honestly, for the most part, I do pretty much everything — including ordering, mixing, social media, photos, website, shipping and packaging and jarring.” Shimmery cosmetic lines from international lines like Burberry and Sephora run the price gamut — from $8 for a pack of metallic “freckle” tattoos to $12.99 Unicorn Snot body gel, to pop star Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty $42 glitter pom powder. Glitter Over NOLA prices range from $12 to $15 in stores and online. In addition to color combinations, several selections set the collection apart, with a Disney-themed “Mickey” ear glitter for mega-fans, colors that glow in blacklight, regular glow-inthe-dark shades, and three eco-friendly, biodegradable plant-based combinations. “Sales have been great,” said Vicknair. “I would say that my biggest seller has probably been my Mardi Gras-inspired color, “Carnival,” and following that would be “Fleur de Saint” and “Tiger Pride.” To be quite honest, I haven’t sat down and looked at what sold the most because all of the colors have been successful in their own way.” In addition to local boutique and online sales, Vicknair brings her creations to markets and craft fairs, with the dream of one day opening a brick-and-mortar location. “I would LOVE to eventually have a little shop, but for now, I am just thankful for how things have been and excited for what may be in the future.” n / 89

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 of i ts

Affordability Heroes

(Left) Marguerite Oestreicher, New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity director

Powered by volunteers, New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity offers businesses the chance to transform communities. by Pamela Marquis

This January, singer-songwriter and

WWOZ DJ Cole Williams closed on her 1,250-square-foot camelback in Central City. She and Snoopi, her tiger-striped cat, are now quite contentedly settled into their cozy home with its $846.10 per month mortgage. Williams’ home is yet another product of New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity (NOAHH), a nonprofit committed to making substandard housing a thing of the past. Actively fighting the city’s affordable housing crisis, NOAHH believes no family should have to pay more than half of their paycheck to cover the cost of a home. “Habitat for Humanity is one of the first organizations that embraced me when I moved here in 2015,” said Williams, a NOAHH family partner. “They worked with me to rebuild my credit and helped me to become a first-time homeowner. I cherish this opportunity and I am so mindful of what it means to own my own home. I just keep pinching myself. None of it would have been possible without Habitat.” Habitat’s primary program makes homeownership possible for families who are unable to qualify for traditional home loans but have a stable job and are willing to contribute 350 hours of their own time, which the organization calls “sweat equity,” to the building of other Habitat homes. Williams personally put in 270 hours of sweat equity, with her additional 80 hours provided by the help of her friends. “Because my house was a camelback, something they had not done a lot, it was

90 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

by the numbers

Success of Services


homes built since NOAHH’s incorporation in 1983

10 to 12

homes built a year prior to Hurricane Katrina

25 to 30

homes currently built a year

$307 million

subcontracted out,” Williams said. “So, I did most of my work on other houses. The hardest part for me was lifting all that heavy lumber.” NOAHH is an independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, founded in 1976 in Americus, Georgia, by Millard and Linda Fuller. Thanks to the personal involvement of former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, the awareness of this program has steadily grown to operations in all 50 states and more than 70 countries, resulting in more than 22 million people achieving strength, stability and independence through safe, affordable shelter. Since its inception in 1983, NOAHH has built more than 630 homes for low-income

families. The organization also operates The Habitat ReStore, which offers new and gently used building materials and home furnishings. Two locations serve the community at 2900 Elysian Fields and 2425 Williams Blvd. in Kenner, with all proceeds benefiting NOAHH. In addition to constructing new homes, in 2012 NOAHH began “A Brush With Kindness,” a home repair service for area homeowners. Typical projects include wheelchair ramps, siding and roof repair, door replacement and landscaping. NOAHH also runs Habitat Urban Gardens, a program in which the organization partners with 12 local nonprofits and businesses to use Habitat lots to grow produce, cultivate

impact made since Hurricane Katrina on the economy of New Orleans and


jobs created since 2006


cents of every dollar donated goes directly to the local program


volunteers hosted by NOAHH


elderly or disabled property owners have received urgently needed repairs.

photos courtesy new orleans area habitat for humanity / 91

fruit trees and more, which are made available to local communities and restaurants. NOAHH has 30 full-time employees. The organization’s longtime director, Jim Pate, recently retired to spend more time on social justice issues. The role is now being filled by Marguerite Oestreicher, who was formerly in charge of NOAHH’s development efforts. “Homeownership is not just good for neighborhoods, it’s good for business,” says Oestreicher. “Research shows that higher rates of homeownership go hand in hand with job stability. When someone buys a home, they are deeply vested in their work and their community.” Construction volunteers comprise the foundation of the NOAHH homeownership program, often working alongside NOAHH partner families to build homes from the ground up. Local businesses provide much of the volunteer labor. With guidance from NOAHH, companies can customize their build days, Jim Oliver, general manager of The and provides financial support and advice. which could include a special speaker Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, whose “At Fidelity, we’re always looking for and a catered lunch. All build days employees often participate in build opportunities to support the communities include teamwork experiences and days, believes his employees’ efforts we serve,” says Chris Ferris, CEO of Fidelity ample opportunities to give back Bank. “We are owned by our account reflect the values Ritz-Carlton holds (Above) to the community. This kind of holders, which means we need to make as a property and company. Corporate volunteering not only helps NOAHH build (Left) “Habitat is a fantastic organizaa real impact. Habitat allows us to do so but also benefits the business owners Homeonwner tion that has helped many in our because affordable homeownership is Cole Williams and their employees. community, specifically hospitality both meaningful and sustainable. Helping “Businesses that volunteer with workers, which are the heart and people buy and own their own home Habitat learn that it can be the ultimate soul of the New Orleans economy,” he creates better and stronger communities team-building experience,” says Oestreicher. says. “Assisting with Habitat builds is a for everyone.” “On the construction site, cooperation and wonderful way to help take care of those When Williams was growing up, she communication are the keys to success. that take of our guests throughout the city thinks she was a bit lazy and fairly nonchaOwners might discover some of their each and every day.” lant about her parents’ home. employees have construction skills, so “I didn’t put the care into my home the the office manager could become the boss How It Works way my mother always did,” she says. “But It costs about $95,000 per house to build a over the CEO for the day.” now I understand. I don’t want to scratch Habitat house. This includes the land, building my floors or put marks on the walls. I’m supplies, professional services (foundation, respectful of my house and I only want to electrical, plumbing, etc.) and management invite good people into it, those who will of the volunteer work. respect the blessing that I am so grateful Families apply for homeownership with to have.” n their local Habitat for Humanity. Each local Habitat’s family-selection committee selects homeowners based on three criteria: the Success Story applicant’s level of need, their willingness to partner with In late 2005, Harry Connick Jr., Branford Marsalis and NOAHH created the concept of Musicians’ Village, a neighborhood Habitat and their ability to designed to preserve the musical heritage of New Orleans. repay a mortgage through an Today, it sits on an 8.2-acre tract of land and consists of 72 affordable payment plan. Along single-family homes, five elder-friendly duplexes, a toddlerthe way, future homeowners are friendly pocket park and the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music. also required to take classes in More than 40,000 volunteers worked with Habitat financial education. construction leaders to build these homes. New Orleans-based Baptist Crossroads sent more than Fidelity Bank services the Habitat homeowner interest- 6,000 volunteers and helped sponsor 50 homes. free mortgages at no charge

92 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019


New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity Mission’To build homes in partnership with sponsors, volunteers, communities and homeowner families, whereby families are empowered to transform their own lives, and to eliminate substandard housing in the New Orleans area while serving as a catalyst to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. CONTACT

2900 Elysian Fields Ave. (504) 943-2240 Current Needs

Volunteers to work at building sites and in the ReStore. All volunteers must be at least 16 years old. For those under 18, an adult must be present with them while volunteering. Questions? Call the NOAHH Volunteer Office at (504) 861-4121. Companies can schedule a build day for employees. Corporate groups interested in partnership should contact Jim Dempsey at (504) 861-4121. Shop at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and/or donate new and used building materials, furniture and appliances. / 93

PUBLISHER’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 General’s Office at 1-800-273-5718.

94 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019 / 95

From The Lens ON T H E J OB

Learning the Ropes Danos now offers rope access to help customers in tricky spots Early this year, oilfield service

provider Danos added rope access capabilities to its list of services following a request from a long-time customer. Designed to allow quicker access to projects in small or challenging locations, rope access can function as an alternative to scaffolding that owner Mark Danos says can help companies “reduce the time, number of personnel and risks associated with a project. Based in Gray, Louisiana, Danos has approximately 3,000 employees and 10 office locations throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Permian Basin, Eagle Ford Shale and Marcellus Shale. For more information, visit n

96 / Biz New Orleans / October 2019

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.