Biz New Orleans May 2018

Page 1

Bridging the Gap: Local

banks reach out to female entrepreneurs pg. 48

Rick Tallant Executive VP of Gulf of Mexico for Shell

Ground Rules for Growth: 4 tips for success pg. 60

Remarkable Roe: The

women behind Cajun Caviar’s success pg. 84

Nicole Patel Senior VP of People for Lucid

Gender Struggles

Dr. Lana Joseph Owner of High Level Speech and Hearing Center

where we rank and Who’s leading us forward MAY 2018

2 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

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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 Alexa Harrison Social Media Assistant Becca Miller Multimedia Blogger Leslie T. Snadowsky

Contributors Julia Carcamo, Aimee Freeman, Rebecca Friedman, Keith Loria, Pamela Marquis, Ashley McLellan, Chris Price, Kim Roberts, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, Poppy Tooker, Keith Twitchell, Melanie Warner Spencer

Advertising Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan (504) 830-7215 Sales Manager Maegan O’Brien (504) 830-7219 Senior Account Executive Caitlin Sistrunk (504) 830-7252 Senior Account Executive Carly Goldman (504) 830-7225 Account Executive Jessica Jaycox (504) 830-7255

Marketing Director of Marketing & Events Cheryl Lemoine Event Coordinator Whitney Weathers Digital Media Associate Mallary Matherne For event information, call (504) 830-7264

Production Production Manager Jessica DeBold Traffic Manager Topher Balfer Production Designers Emily Andras, Demi Schaffer, Molly Tullier

Administration Chief Executive Officer Todd Matherne President Alan Campell Executive Vice President Errol Laborde Office Manager Mallary Matherne Distribution Manager John Holzer Subscription Manager Brittanie Bryant For subscriptions, call (504) 830-7231 AABP 2016 Bronze: Best Feature Layout AABP 2017 Bronze: Best Daily Email AABP 2017 Silver: Best Recurring Feature 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 2018 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 self-addressed 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.

8 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

top stories this month



The Status of Women in Business in Louisiana Are we really that bad? A look into three critical areas where Louisiana tends to rank at the bottom — equal pay, percentage of womenowned businesses and friendliness toward working mothers. By Kim Singletary & Rebecca Friedman portraits by greg miles

m ay 2018 / Volume 4 / Issue 8

contents 14 / Editor’s note

What Year is This? 16 / publisher’s note

Simple Beginnings 20 / Calendar 22 / industry news 24 / recent openings 26 / Events

36 / sports

Patron Saint: Tom Benson transformed New Orleans’ sports scene. 38 / entertainment

NOLA’s Terrifying New Festival: Horror film fans got a special treat last month. 40 / entrepreneurship

in the biz

What They Said: A collection of famous quotes to keep your motivation running high.

perspectives 48 / banking & finance

Finding the Funding: A look at how local financial institutions are helping a growing number of women-owned businesses breach the funding gap. 52 / maritime & ports

Nautical Networking: Launched last year, Women in Maritime Operations aims to provide industry women with support. 56 / real estate & construction

Marketing Multifamily to Women: Real estate developers and marketers are going after the female vote.

42 / etiquette

32 / dining

A Healthy Revolution: Fit NOLA aims to change workplace habits. 34 / tourism

How’s Your Mama and Dem?: Mother’s Day in the Crescent City

Work Wardrobe Woes: Whether a recent grad or a seasoned pro, office attire can be a source of ire. 44 / marketing

from the lens

The Sound of Success: What is your sonic brand?

78 / great workspaces

Reclaiming the Past: Third generation keeps Ricca’s Architectural Sales going and growing 84 / why didn’t i think of that?

Re-Born on the Bayou: The all-female team behind Cajun Caviar is bringing attention to the quality, and affordability, of Louisiana caviar.

on the cover Representatives of three companies leading the way for women in business in Louisiana: Nicole Patel, senior VP for people at Lucid; Rick Tallant, executive VP of Gulf of Mexico for Shell and Dr. Lana Joseph, owner of High Level Speech and Hearing Center.

90 / making a match: businesses and nonprofits 60 / guest viewpoint

Basic Ground Rules for Growth: A professional business consultant shares her top four tips for success.

A House of Hope: Bridge House/Grace House provides a pathway out of addiction for the region’s worst afflicted. 96 / on the job

Dairy Duty - Cloverland Dairy Products

Editor’s Note

On the Web

What Year is This? “Well that’s just wrong. They better have that fixed by the time I grow up

or I’m going to have to go be president.” That was my 7-year-old daughter’s reaction when I explained to her what the Equal Pay Day event I was going to was all about. It really is kind of amazing that in the year 2018 we still haven’t sorted this out, and I have to admit, it was pretty disheartening to see Louisiana’s rankings in not only equal pay, but other issues important to women in this state — from multiple sources. It’s obvious that this is far from just a women’s issue. How can we expect to be successful as a state if half of our population is being left behind? What really struck me, though, is learning that enabling women to rise to the top in business — by offering mentorship opportunities, providing affordable childcare, bridging that funding gap for female entrepreneurs, etc. — is not just right, it’s been shown time and time again to make companies more profitable. The data proves it, and companies like ThirtyNorth Investments and Shell and Lucid are already reaping the benefits. Is yours? On that note, one thing we did not do in this issue — partly due to lack of space — is lay out a plan for companies who want to do better by their female employees, who want to see more equity in their leadership. In addition to encouraging you to reach out to the best practices companies we introduce within these pages, there is also a book on this exact subject that I learned about at this year’s ABWA’s Equal Pay Day event called “Money on the Table: How to Increase Profits Through Gender-Balanced Leadership.” On the author’s website,, she also offers a 10-step action plan anyone can download for free. Higher profits, stronger leadership, better company morale, easier recruitment — there’s no downside here, and no longer any excuses. We can, and must, do better. Happy Reading!

Beyond the Magazine But wait, there’s more! Visit to watch videos from this month’s issue, including:

Louisianans speak out for equal pay Visit to learn more about equal pay and what Louisiana business owners have to say about it in two videos created with support from The United Way of Southeast Louisiana.

View the videos at EqualPay

Kimberley Singletary Managing Editor

14 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018 / 15

Publisher’s Note

Simple Beginnings Last month I attended a presentation

by the Federal Reserve Bank and United Way about Investing in America’s Workforce and the ALICE population — an acronym for Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed — and you can visit this site for more details about ALICE What I want to write about is something panelist Stephen Toups of Turner Industries mentioned during this presentation. He talked about jobs and the struggle with finding employees who will show up for work consistently and drug-free. But there was one line he used that hit home for me. He said, “Someone who comes to work for us can go from entry-level hole watcher to sustainably employed and move out of this ALICE category.” As I sat and listened, I reflected on my career. In 1986 I had that job — hole watcher. My father was a plant guy —someone who earned a living and raised his family at one of the many industrial plants along the river — and in 1986 he was able to get me an entry-level position with a subcontractor doing turn-around work. So, for three weeks during Christmas break in college, I watched a hole. That job did so much for me in those three weeks. The appreciation I had for my father and the career path that job moved me toward meant even more to me than the good pay it gave a college student during Christmas. Thank you Dad. Love you. Todd Matherne 16 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

Meet the Sales Team

Maegan O’Brien Sales Manager (504) 830-7219

Caitlin Sistrunk Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7252

Carly Goldman

Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7225

Jessica Jaycox Account Executive

(504) 830-7255

Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales (504) 830-7215 18 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018


May 8

New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Power Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1515 Poydras St., 5th Floor Auditorium


Northshore Spring Forward Job Fair 2 to 6 p.m. The Slidell Auditorium



New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Chamber After 5 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jung Hotel + Residences New Orleans Hotel Collection 1500 Canal St.


Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana Bilingual Workforce Training & Business Development Center Job Fair 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 2200 Veterans Blvd., Suite 200, Kenner

ABWA Crescent City Connections Spring Membership Drive 5 to 7 p.m. Zea’s 5080 Pontchartrain Blvd. Jefferson Convention and Visitors Bureau National Travel and Tourism Week Celebration and Lunch 12 to 2 p.m. Ponchartrain Center 4545 Williams Blvd., Kenner


Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Business Leadership Awards Luncheon 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Airport Hilton 901 Airline Dr., Kenner


Women’s Business Alliance Networking 5 to 7 p.m. Pete’s Bistro Bar Lounge Located inside the InterContinental Hotel 444 St. Charles Ave.


Louisiana Workforce Commission 20 Minute Virtual Coffee Talk How to setup a virtual recruiter Free webinar Register at


Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Business and Breakfast 7:45 to 9:45 a.m. Holiday Inn New Orleans Westbank 275 Whitney Ave., Gretna


Propeller Equity Investments: Beyond the Basics 5:30 to 7 p.m. Propeller Incubator 4035 Washington Ave.

20 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018


ABWA Crescent City Connections Awards Ceremony — Monthly Luncheon Featuring Klassi Duncan, director of Urban League Women’s Business Resource Center and Entrepreneurship Center 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Cannery 3803 Toulouse St.



New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Educational Seminar on Sexual Harassment: What Are You Doing to Prevent It? Presented in partnership with the Downtown Development District 8 to 9:30 a.m. The Jung Hotel 1500 Canal St.


Propeller PitchNOLA: Living Well Presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana $10,000 in total startup funding for ideas to make health and wellness accessible and affordable for all New Orleanians 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Propeller Incubator 4035 Washington Ave.


AMA New Orleans Digital Marketing Workshop with New Orleans Chamber 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Delgado Community College — Martin Hall 615 City Park Ave.


Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Prosper Jefferson: Building Your Brand, Part 1: Social Media Workshop 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. JEDCO Conference Center 700 Churchill Parkway, Avondale


Close your next deal at one of these business-friendly bistros.

Rib Room

Royal House

Located on the most fashionable corner of the French Quarter, St. Louis at Royal Street, the Rib Room has delighted locals and visitors alike for over 55 years. The Rib Room’s benchmark rotisserie remains a focal point featuring Prime Rib as its mainstay with contemporary selections that go well beyond the classics. The Rib Room also serves a traditional Sunday JAZZ Brunch from 11:30-2:30. For a private gathering, there are four private dining rooms available for parties of 6-40 guests. Complimentary valet parking available.

Royal House is a French Quarter oyster bar and seafood restaurant with a classic New Orleans atmosphere and menu featuring fresh-air dining and local seafood dishes. From fresh-shucked to charbroiled and Rockefeller to Royale, you’re sure to find your new favorite oyster dish here. While enjoying a dozen at the bar or a cool cocktail on the balcony, you can usually catch a street performance from a jazz musician, an experience unique to New Orleans. Whether you’re a traveler to our great city or a New Orleans native, we’ve got the perfect place for you at our restaurant and oyster bar. We hope to see you soon!

Sala Restaurant + Bar

Josephine Estelle

In the line up of Riccobono family establishments, Sala is the newest to open. Sala,designed after its name, is a modernly comfortable space to make guests feel at home. The menu focuses on delicious cocktails and wines paired with delectable small plates and entrees.Happy Hour on Tuesdays through Fridays from 4 to 7pm, and late night Thursdays from 10pm to 12am, pours $5 house wines by the glass, $5 classic cocktails, half-priced draft beers and $3 off other wines and sparkling by the glass. Now open for lunch.

Named after each of their daughters, Josephine Estelle serves seasonal, Southern inspired Italian fare by James Beard Award nominated chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus, weekend brunch and the very best kind of happy hour. Cin cin.

621 St. Louis St. • (504) 529-7046 •

124 Lake Marina Avenue • (504) 513-2670

441 Royal St. • (504) 528-2601 •

600 Carondelet St. • (504) 930-3070 • / 21

Industry News

did you know?

fast facts

Louisiana Tax Facts

NOEW By the Numbers

Louisiana has the highest combined state and local sales tax rate in the country.

During the 10th annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), held from March 18 to 23…

We also rank…


33rd highest in state and local tax collections per capita

in funding and services was awarded to entrepreneurs across


42nd in terms of how well the tax code is structured

days and


events throughout the Greater New Orleans area in

Louisiana Business Tax Climate Rankings (of 50 states)


different neighborhoods.

42nd — Overall 40th —Corporate Tax

Attendees came from over

27th — Individual Income Tax 50th —Sales Tax 4th — Unemployment Insurance Tax30th — Property TaxWho’s No. 1? Wyoming ranked first in the country for overall, corporate tax and individual income tax. Source: Tax Foundation 2018 Facts and Figures Report


zip codes and


NOEW Winner

NOLA Health Innovators Challenge Alertgy, a company that has created a wearable, noninvasive, realtime blood glucose monitoring and alert system that works with a smartphone application, was the big winner at the inaugural New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge (NOLAHI), which kicked off this year’s New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. The New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System to present Alertgy with $36,000. In addition to winning the cash prize and pilot opportunity, Alertgy also won free co-working space to launch its company presence in New Orleans, along with legal and consulting services. Diabetes is among the leading causes of death in Louisiana. In 2000, 6.6 percent of Louisiana adults had diabetes. By 2013, that number had risen to 11.6 percent according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

giving back

Galatoire’s Gives $100,000 On Friday, March 16, The Galatoire Foundation presented two $50,000 checks — one to Eden House New Orleans and another to Breakthrough New Orleans during a presentation held in the Galatoire’s restaurant main dining room. The money represented the proceeds from the foundation’s annual Christmas and Mardi Gras table auctions, held on Dec. 4, 2017 and Jan. 15, 2018. Eden House New Orleans is dedicated to eradicating human trafficking and Breakthrough New Orleans prepares middle schoolers for the rigors of high school and college while also inspiring and training high school and college students to enter the field of education and become advocates for educational equity.

22 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

of participating companies were woman-owned businesses.

NOEW Winner

Startup Saint Bernard Winner Announced During this year’s NOEW, Clean Course Meals won the fourth annual Startup St. Bernard pitch competition, taking home a $100,000 prize package of cash and in-kind services designed to help take their business to the next level. Clean Course Meals is a new business based in St. Bernard Parish that offers affordable gourmet meals made with fresh ingredients. The company was co-founded by Kim Sawyers and Erika Jupiter and was one of five finalists to pitch their business in the competition.

“Physicians, especially those in small practices in Louisiana and across the country, are struggling with the administrative burdens stemming from governmental and insurer requirements. These administrative hassles lead to lost productivity, physician burnout and less time with patients.” Barbara L. McAneny, M.D., president-elect of the American Medical Association, who added that AMA research has found that during the office day, primary care physicians spend more than half of the workday at a computer performing data entry and administrative tasks. On April 17, Orleans Parish Medical Society (OPMS) and Jefferson Parish Medical Society (JPMS) hosted a ‘Meet-And-Greet’ with McAneny followed by a presentation on: How to survive and prosper in a time of MIPS, MACRA and the burden of regulatory changes: Predictions for healthcare in the next 3-5 years.

Recent Openings

Ochsner Health Center — Michaud Ochsner Health System and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have opened Ochsner Health Center – Michoud. The new facility offers primary care onsite, and offers specialty services including cardiology, neurology (headache) and diabetes education through telemedicine. These visits are conducted virtually, through a computer, where a specialist is able to consult patients in the same way as an inperson appointment. Physical therapy and rehabilitation are also available and laboratory services will be offered in the near future. There are currently about 3,500 employees at Michaud Assembly Facility

Abita Springs Hotel The Abita Springs Hotel opened March 18 in the heart of Abita Springs. Built in a restored 1890s home, the Abita Springs Hotel features five spacious suites, each privately accessed from a wraparound porch. The hotel sits above a courtyard garden, featuring the healing waters of one of the town’s famed artesian springs. Through a partnership with Brooks Bike Shop, the hotel offers bike rentals for guests to explore the adjacent Tammany Trace bike trail. The hotel also houses the Ann O’Brien Gallery, a multi-use art and event space available for intimate to mid-size event rentals.

La Cire Condominiums On April 13, development company Weber Condominiums opened its latest luxury offering at 917 Conti Street — La Cire. The project includes 16 multimillion-dollar units and 15 private parking spaces, along with a rooftop pool, hot tubs, a sun deck and fitness center at the former home of a wax museum. Suites and penthouses are now available for purchase.


Saltgrass Steak House at Fremaux Park The first location of Saltgrass Steak House on the Northshore (and fifth in Louisiana) is coming to Fremaux Park, a tract of acreage surrounding the Fremaux Town Center mixed-use development Town Center. Fremaux Town Center is currently 98 percent leased, and jointly owned and operated by CBL Properties and Stirling Properties. Construction has begun on the Texas-themed steak restaurant, which will occupy 7,127 square feet at the intersection of Town Center Parkway and Levis Lane.

Residence Inn New Orleans Elmwood Hotel The 119-suite Residence Inn New Orleans Elmwood by Marriott, opened Feb. 9. Located at 1080 Elmwood Park Blvd. —just six miles from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. The hotel will operate as a Marriott franchise, owned by Elmwood Hospitality, LLC and managed byBaywood Hotels, Inc. Residence Inn properties are designed as all-suite hotels that offer studio, one-bedroom and twobedroom suites designed for stays of five nights or more.

24 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

Hippie Kitchen Seasonal, farm-to-table dishes are paired with community engagement at Hippie Kitchen a new lifestyle dining experience in the heart of Old Jefferson, at 3741 Jefferson Highway in New Orleans. Hippie Kitchen’s menu features breakfast, lunch, and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, along with beer, wine, cocktails, cold pressed juices and quick bites. It was founded by ……Khera, a 30-year service industry pioneer who developed the first successful farm-totable food and beverage model utilized by Tulane University and Wayne Greiner, a native New Orleanian who began his culinary career under Emeril Lagasse at Commander’s Palace.

Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist In early March Louisiana became the 22nd state in the United States to open a Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) approved human milk bank —Mothers’ Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist. The milk bank accepts donated human milk following a detailed screening process of a lactating woman. Currently, the facility distributes the milk to Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) across the state with plans to expand the supply to critically ill, older infants across Louisiana. / 25

Events 1






GNO, Inc. Annual Luncheon: Strategies for Success

Crimestoppers 33rd Annual Awards Luncheon Thursday, March 15 | Hyatt Regency

Wednesday, March 14 | Hyatt Regency

Celebrating the largest economic development jobs win in the city’s history last year, GNO, Inc.’s annual luncheon highlighted the region’s successes in 2017 and announced and installed the 2018 board of directors and NextGen Council.

Crimestoppers awards this year included Chairman Award-winner Glenn Orgeron, Media Award-winner Sally-Ann Roberts, Award of Excellence in School Safety and Prevention winner St. Tammany School Board Superintendent Trey Folse III and James J. Coleman Corporate Partner Award-winner John Georges.

1. Arnel Cosey, Greg Abdelnoor and Thomas Faucheux 2. Michael Hecht 3. Laurie Martin, Emilia Gilbert and Daniel Bozard

1. Clancy DuBos and William Goldring 2. Mike Cooper, Michelle Sclafini, Melissa Messina and Tim Lentz 3. Shaun Ferguson, Jennifer Dupree, Shawn Summers and Robert Ronson

26 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

photographs by cheryl gerber and jeff strout / 27

Events 1






New Orleans Entrepreneur Week

Professional Women of St. Tammany 2018 Retreat

Thursday, March 22

Thursday, April 5 | Southern Hotel

The 10th Annual NOEW included 60 events that spread across the city for the first time in the entrepreneurship festival’s history. Over 3,000 people participated in the week of events, including 1,223 unique visitors.

At this year’s Phenomenal Women Retreat, the Professional Women of St. Tammany were treated to an array of educational events, including a presentation on “The 3 Massive Mistakes Professional Women Make That Keep Them Stuck, Stressed and Spinning Their Wheels.”

1. Bitsy Metcalf, Kelsey Ware and Kay Charbonnet 2. Alison Burns, McDaniel Wyatt and Rachel Harris 3. Gary Solomon Jr., Gary Solomon and Sam Solomon

1. Mary Byrd, Barbara Doyle, Linda Larkin 2. Dr. Sophia Omoro 3. Retreat Co-Chairs Jill and Sara Stoltz, President Stephanie Miller Murphy Miller

28 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

select photographs by cheryl gerber / 29

Biz columnist s spe ak out


A P P h oto/ J o n at h a n B a c h m a n

A tribute to the man that made professional sports in Louisiana what it is today.

In The Biz dining

A Healthy Revolution Fit NOLA aims to change workplace habits. by Poppy Tooker

32 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

Searching for a healthy solution to the void in workplace dining, in 2011, entrepreneur Erik Frank launched “Your Nutrition Delivered,” a small startup offering fresh food delivery to offices across the city. His concept exploded when he won the Big Idea competition in 2013 during the Idea Village Entrepreneur Week. Not content to rest on junk food profits, Refreshment Solutions soon took notice of the startup, recognizing that Frank was part of the wave of the future. Frank joined the vending giant in 2015 and together they envisioned something far more convenient than delivery — micro-markets. Micro-markets are defined as an “unattended-kiosk-open-cooler system” with the ability to offer over 300 items, including fresh foods and organic products. Choices range from buffalo chicken wraps to turkey Caprese sandwiches with fresh mozzarella and basil, or Greek chicken salad with honey-balsamic vinaigrette. Prices range from $3.99 to $7.99. The markets are run on the honor system, utilizing a self-check-out kiosk. Employees register purchases by bar code scan, paying with an app called Canteen Connect or via fingerprint recognition. This payment system allows employers to subsidize and incentivize healthy purchases. Information gathered at point of purchase helps the system develop relationships with the consumer, tracking what and when they buy and making real-time specials a possibility. If you enjoy a particular kind of mid-afternoon snack, for example, the app may send a push notification to your smartphone reminding you it’s time for a break and maybe offering a 20 percent discount on your favorite treat. I encourage all companies to join the healthy revolution by becoming a Fit NOLAdesignated business. The initial survey takes just minutes to complete and the service is free of charge. Seventy percent of all chronic diseases are preventable through simple lifestyle changes, so why not be the change we need in this region? Your body, the bodies of your employees, and your bottom line will thank you. n

Catch Poppy Tooker on her radio show, Louisiana Eats! Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Wednesdays at 1 p.m. on WWNO 89.9 FM.

i llu st r at i o n by To n y Heale 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.

Have you noticed the distinctive

blue bikes that began to proliferate across the streets of New Orleans earlier this year? Aside from being an affordable and convenient travel alternative, they provide exercise while functioning as rolling billboards for outgoing Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s “Fit NOLA” initiative. Inspired by Michelle Obama’s national “Let’s Move” campaign, in 2011, Landrieu launched Fit Nola with the goal of improving the city’s overall health and well-being through better eating options and exercise opportunities. The reach of the program potentially includes all New Orleanians, regardless of age or economic circumstance. Fit NOLA’s programming extends from early childhood into the workplace and beyond. Considering the city’s wellness statistics, the program could be considered a lifeline to the community. Sixty-four percent of New Orleanians are overweight or obese. Diabetes and high blood pressure — often side effects of obesity — are endemic. Louisiana spends $2.3 billion on obesity related costs each year. On average, the city’s workforce is reported to have 11.9 “unhealthy” days per month. That translates into lots of lost revenue for local businesses, and when the bottom line is involved, people tend to take notice. The good news is that, on average, employers can save $3.50 for every $1 spent on workplace wellness programs. That’s where Fit NOLA comes in. The program starts by screening participating businesses for access to exercise and healthy food, then Fit NOLA’s solutions are summarized in individualized tool kits in order to facilitate change. With average Americans spending 47-plus hours a week at work, food is often consumed on the run, with many turning to fast food. Increasingly, the solution is healthy vending, which may sound like an oxymoron. Most vending machines are usually stocked with candy bars, salty snack foods and sugary drinks. What is healthy vending? Norco-based Refreshment Solutions is an expert on the subject. Currently, it is the largest vending operation in Louisiana, servicing over 6,000 machines. When it comes to vending, Refreshment Solutions owns 90 percent of the New Orleans market and 70 percent in Baton Rouge. / 33

In The Biz to u r i s m

How’s Your Mama and Dem? Mother’s Day in the Crescent City by Jennifer Gibson Schecter

34 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

As I sit here writing this column, I just said that out loud, not to a dog, but to my son. He’s 6 and shows affection in some inventive, if slightly disgusting, ways. Mother’s Day arrives this month and I’m overwhelmed with the reality that I am a mother. I wonder how I came to be in that number with this amazing child who brings such a challenging cyclone of emotions into my daily experience. Motherhood is different for everyone, but it seems most of us have those pendulum swings of absolute peace watching our child sleep and then absolute acrimony later that morning when said child won’t put on his shoes. The defiance involved in putting on one’s shoes is magnified tenfold when you travel with children. There is a whole new audience to impress with tantrumthrowing abilities. There is also a new cast of characters to charm into lauding the skills to read out loud, count to 100 by fives, and show off dance moves. I appreciate families who travel and are willing to risk interrupting nap schedules, having breast milk screened by TSA, enduring long car trips, fitting two adults and two children into one king-size hotel bed, and every other challenge that might present itself. They do this to share new experiences with their families and create memories that last longer than the lifespan of a gadget or trendy pair of shoes. And I have a special gratitude for families who travel to New Orleans. Whether you’re a local mother, or one visiting New Orleans on Mother’s Day, there are some unique events that will give your family the NOLA memories you want them to build, while giving you the treats you deserve. Here are two of my favorites. The first is the opportunity to spend Mother’s Day with the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas. Her indelible mark on New Orleans culture and various genres of music make her show a must-see event. She’ll be performing at the Audubon Zoo. Moms get free entry to the zoo and everyone can enjoy a host of special activities. The exact time of Thomas’ performance isn’t available as I’m writing this, but the event generally runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., so you can figure she’ll start around 3:30 p.m., prefaced by some other

wonderful performers. Take blankets and chairs and maybe take advantage of the craft tents if you’ve forgotten to buy that last-minute Mother’s Day gift (or want to treat yourself, mom). The Cool Zoo — the splash park and lazy river within Audubon Zoo — will also be open so consider bringing swimsuits and a change of clothes. Check out the new Nocturnal House and play area in the Jaguar Jungle section of the zoo as well. As for food, you can’t go wrong with the catfish they sell at the Cypress Knee Café in the Louisiana Swamp section of the zoo. You can then walk through the section with live catfish and see where they sourced your lunch. The day tends to sell out so advance purchase is recommended; buy tickets online at zoo. Complimentary tickets for mothers will be available at the gate upon arrival. If crowds aren’t your thing and you prefer some quiet family time, a picnic along the river is a wonderful option. Crescent Park is located in the Marigny, downriver from the French Quarter. It stretches along the river and often musicians will play there for tips. If you are closer to the Uptown neighborhoods, the area of Audubon Park locals call “The Fly” juts out into the Mississippi and also has a playground and public restrooms. Another perfect spot for a picnic is along the Big Lake in City Park. You can stroll through the NOMA sculpture garden for free and there’s plenty of room to fly kites in the spring breeze. For your picnic fare, local grocery stores like Rouses Markets and Breaux Mart sell prepared sandwiches and dips in their deli section, including their versions of famous New Orleans food like muffulettas and hidden secrets like “better cheddar.” They also might have boiled crawfish available and you don’t get much more local than eating crawfish along the river or outside in the sunshine. Finally, for all you mothers out there (and stepmoms, grandmas, aunties, etc.), let me just take a moment to say thank you for raising your children to appreciate the culture of New Orleans. Happy Mother’s Day! n

i llu st r at i o n by To n y Heale 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

“Stop licking my leg.”




LOUISIANACOOKBOOK.COM Now in its second printing! / 35

In The Biz s po r t s

Patron Saint Tom Benson transformed New Orleans’ sports scene by chris price

36 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

Benson was heavily involved in the operations of the NFL. He served as chairman of the league’s finance committee on three separate occasions and helped New Orleans become a Super Bowl host five times. In 2012, Benson purchased the New Orleans Hornets from the National Basketball Association for $338 million. A year later, he rebranded the team to the New Orleans Pelicans. Today, Forbes estimates the Saints to be worth an estimated $2 billion and the Pelicans $1 billion. In addition to transforming the city’s professional sports landscape, Benson donated $7.5 million toward the construction of Tulane University’s Yulman Stadium, which opened in 2014 and brought the Green Wave back to campus for the first time since the demolition of Tulane Stadium in 1980. The playing surface is known as Benson Field. Benson’s business success was only superseded by his generosity toward educational and faith-based initiatives in Louisiana and Texas. He gave millions of dollars to more than 50 charitable organizations, foundations and agencies in annual donations. Benson and his wife, Gayle, were awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice for their generosity to the Catholic Church, the highest papal honor that Catholic laypeople can receive. The Bensons have also donated more than $25 million to establish and expand the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center on the main campus of Ochsner Medical Center. Benson was also a major contributor and past director of The National WWII Museum. n

i llu st r at i o n by To n y Heale 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

The eternal image of Tom Benson

will be of him lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy after his New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl XLIV in February 2010. The sight of Benson holding the trophy aloft was seared into memories because so many never thought it would happen. When it did, it was because of the steps the team’s owner did to ensure his team was not only winning, but capable of competing with the NFL’s elite teams. When Benson, 90, passed away March 15 at Ochsner Medical Center, after being hospitalized with the flu in mid-February, his wife, Gayle, was by his side. Benson was born on July 12, 1927, in the Seventh Ward neighborhood of New Orleans. He graduated from St. Aloysius High School (now Brother Martin) in 1944, enlisted in the U.S. Navy to fight in World War II, and returned home to New Orleans and continued his business administration studies at Loyola University. In 1948, he entered the automobile industry as a bookkeeper. In 1958, he moved to San Antonio to run the business operations of a Chevrolet dealership owned by New Orleans car dealer Michael Persia Sr. Just four years later, by 1962, Benson had established a multi-dealership organization with outlets throughout New Orleans and south Texas. He entered banking a decade later. Benson became a household name across the Gulf South in 1985 when he bought the Saints for $70 million after learning that the team was on the verge of being sold to parties interested in moving it away from New Orleans. In 18 seasons under the team’s original ownership, the Saints were a perennial loser. They won just 30 percent of their games, lost almost 100 more games than they won, and posted a 78-176-5 overall record. In just two years under his leadership, the team posted their first winning season in 1987 and advanced to the playoffs for the first time. During 33 years under Benson, the team won more often than they lost, going 271-256, and was transformed from a doormat into a contender and, ultimately, a champion. Since purchased by Benson, the Saints have earned 11 playoff berths, six division titles and captured a Super Bowl title. / 37

In The Biz e n t e r ta i n m e n t

NOLA’s Terrifying New Festival Horror film fans received a special treat last month. by Kim Singletary

38 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

created last year by industry veterans Michael Lerman and Landon Zakheim as a sort of summer camp for horror movie fans. The idea? To pair an incredible collection of films from the genre with intimate, interactive experiences all put together in the perfect horror setting — hence the name Overlook, the Colorado hotel that inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining.” Last year’s inaugural festival was held at the Timberline Lodge in Oregon — the hotel used for the exterior shots of “The Shining.” “We liked the idea of hosting the festival at an out of the way, rural location,” said Zakheim, “and the festival was great — everyone loved it. But we quickly realized that we were already outgrowing our surroundings. In order to expand and grow the festival we needed to find a place with more options. We needed not just a haunted hotel, we needed a haunted city. New Orleans became the natural choice for The Overlook, which attracted thousands of attendees from around the country in its first year. So the festival made the move, filling downtown New Orleans with horror lovers from April 19 - 22. Designed to be much more immersive and intimate than many film festivals, in addition to 40 films (23 features and 17 short films from 12 countries) showcased at Le Petit Theatre and Cinebarre Canal Place, the festival included an array of parties, live performance and virtual reality and interactive experiences. All access passes went for $380, film and panel passes for $280 and individual movie tickets sold for $13. Zakheim said the diversity of the programming dovetailed perfectly with the move to New Orleans this year. “The more we came to check out spaces, the more we got really excited about the possibilities,” he said. “Every venue we explored and business we talked to was so excited to work with us, and honestly, we’re used to that being a lot more work. Everything was here. For instance, we usually have to build the theaters. We didn’t have to do that here to have the intimate experience we wanted.”

The Overlook also didn’t have to look far for staffing. “We are a scrappy bunch — I’d say under 15 as far as staff — and almost everyone was local,” Zakheim said. “We got a lot of people through the New Orleans Film Society; they were incredible. As were other groups like Novac and Shotgun Cinema. Our goal is to create a community while embracing the one that already exists.” Of course for community, you can’t do better than the most haunted city in America, and Zakheim said this year’s festival also happened to fall within a particularly exciting time for the genre. “Since starting the festival last year there’s been such an upswing,” he said — think recent huge hits including “A Quiet Place, and last year’s big hits, the Oscar-winning “Get Out,” and “It” (which surpassed “The Exorcist” to become the highest grossing horror movie of all time). Why the resurgence now? Zakheim feels it’s a mixture of three things. “First, we’re seeing a lot of people who grew up as horror fans — like Jordan Peele and John Krasinski, for example — who are now in the position to make their own films. Secondly, we’re seeing studios either doing these big blockbusters or cheaper independent films. There’s less of those mid-level adult pictures.” Finally, Zakheim says the boost in horror popularity tends to fall at times when people feel less secure. “I read somewhere that in the months after Sept. 11, folks thought that haunted houses wouldn’t be popular that year, but what they found was that attendance actually shot up a staggering amount. People embraced the horrific as an escape. In general, genre and fantasy movies do better when the world feels unsafe.” The result, he says is that the genre is currently “seeing some of the most creative filmmaking in a long time.” So will Overlook become an annual thing? “We’ll have to see,” said Zakheim, “but I can tell you I’d like to keep it here. It’s been such an incredible working experience and I’m so excited about the possibilities and partnerships that we could have moving forward.”n

i llu st r at i o n by To n y Heale 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.

The Overlook Film Festival was / 39

In The Biz e n t r epr e n eu r s h i p

What They Said A collection of famous quotes to keep your motivation running high. by keith twitchell

40 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

for both men’s and women’s basketball motivated their teams: A common thread was using quotations from all kinds of sources. From stirring speeches out of the mouths of great world leaders, to insults from opposing teams, inspiration often seemed to be drawn from the words of others. This led me to wonder what the great minds of past and present have had to say related to entrepreneurism. Interpreted a bit liberally here and there, read on for a cross-section of those pearls of wisdom. “A person who sees a problem is a human being; a person who finds a solution is a visionary; and the person who goes out and does something about it is an entrepreneur.” — Naveen Jain, founder of InfoSpace. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford, automotive pioneer. “Do or do not. There is no try.”— Yoda, extraterrestrial sage. “The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” — Mark Twain, America’s greatest writer. “Next to our moral obligation to address global challenges, it is also an enormous business opportunity.” — Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” — Wayne Gretsky, greatest hockey player ever. “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can live the rest of your life like most people can’t.” Anonymous MBA student. “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” — Jimmy Dean (presumably the actor, not the sausage maker). “Luck is the residue of design.” — Joe Paterno, football coach. “This defines entrepreneur and entrepreneurship — the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” — Peter

Drucker, business writer. “Nothing will work unless you do.” — Maya Angelou, poet. “The type of person you are is usually reflected in your business. To improve your business, first improve yourself.” — Idowu Koyenikan, entrepreneur and writer. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” —Steve Jobs, founder of Apple. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” — Albert Einstein, greatest physicist ever. “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.” — Michelangelo, artist, sculptor and inventor. “No te illegitimus carborundum” (bad Latin for “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”) — My mother, no doubt quoting somebody. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill, British prime minister. “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” — Steve Martin, wild and crazy guy. “Don’t worry about failure, you only have to be right once.” — Drew Houston, co-founder of Dropbox. “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” — Hunter S. Thompson, hallucinogenic writer. “I do not wish to die well-rested.” — George Bernard Shaw, bombastic playwright. “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” — Babe Ruth, one of the greatest baseball players ever. Needless to say, this list could have filled an entire issue of Biz, and speaking of entrepreneurial opportunities, there are companies making a lot of money putting inspirational quotes on posters and selling them. Being the entrepreneur that you are, all you need do is pick a few of your favorites and scrawl them on the office whiteboard. As per another famous entrepreneurial quote, I’ve provided you with your inspiration, now you just need that 99 percent perspiration to be successful! n

i llu st r at i o n by To n y Heale 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.

Around the time of March Madness this year I read about how coaches / 41

In The Biz etiquet te

Work Wardrobe Woes Whether a recent grad or a seasoned pro, office attire can be a source of ire by Melanie Warner Spencer

42 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

for the office was a no-brainer. From the early 20th-century to the late 1970s, men donned a suit and tie and women switched between dresses, skirts with coordinating blouses and, toward the later end of that spectrum as fashion evolved, women’s suiting. Hats and overcoats for men and women, plus gloves and hosiery for women, were included in that lineup early on, but were the first causalities of the impending casual era. In the 1980s, a shift occurred. The concept of business casual — khakis, a button-down shirt and dress or dressy-casual shoes — was born in Silicon Valley and made its way through the rest of the country. Had business casual stayed the same and was the only other choice of business attire, it would still be fairly easy to navigate office dress. Alas, even business casual has changed and can mean anything from its original look (a dressed-down suit of sorts) to a T-shirt and jeans, or, for remote workers, loungewear. To complicate matters further, even when a mention of the company dress code is included in an employee handbook, it’s often vague and will simply say, “business,” “professional” or “appropriate” attire or the ever-elusive business casual. So then, what is a professional to do when it comes to work attire? If your employer doesn’t include it in the handbook, is it anything goes or business attire? Should you ask during the interview or wait and see what everyone else is wearing when you first report to work? Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy answer, because every company is different, but there are several things you can do to easily navigate any dress code — even if there isn’t one. Graduates and Other Interviewees: When interviewing for a position, whether you are a recent grad, looking to change companies or vying for a promotion within your existing company, its important to “dress for success.” Interviewees should definitely ask the hiring manager about the company dress code prior to the interview and if you are told it’s casual, err on the side of dressier. Even in a casual work

environment, interviewers and managers are likely looking to hire or promote those who stand out (in a good way) above the other candidates. If everyone up to and including the CEO wears jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers to the office, mirror his or her casual vibe, but dress it up a bit with a blazer and dress shoes. If, however, the hiring manager tells you the dress code is business attire, do not deviate from this during the interview stage. Adhere to strict formal business clothing (suits, dresses and skirts). Once you’re hired, continue to dress accordingly and only begin dressing down if it’s evident that the company culture (and your boss) supports it. Proceed with caution and again, adopt a dressed-up version of the attire worn by the CEO or upper-echelon managers. Everyone Else: While business casual can certainly be a confusing prospect, when you think about it — and assuming formal, semi-formal, festive and exercise apparel are off the menu — there are really only four types of workplace attire: business, business casual, dressy casual and casual. Always consult your company’s handbook, or if that’s not an option, learn which mode of dress is acceptable to your boss and/or the person who is at the top of the organizational chart for your company. For those who couldn’t care less about fashion — business or otherwise — or have yet to find their personal style, “The Capsule Wardrobe: 1,000 Outfits from 30 Pieces,” by Wendy Mak is an excellent resource and will help you mechanize your closet. While shorts, shorter skirts, plunging necklines and maybe even flip-flops are acceptable in some workplaces, it’s better to favor more coverage rather than less. Finally, remember that the founder or president of your company has earned the right to dress as he or she pleases, but expectations are different for everyone else. n i llu st r at i o n by To n y Heale 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

There was a time when dressing / 43

In The Biz marketing

The Sound of Success What is your sonic brand? by Julia carcamo

44 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

sounds around you. More than likely you will hear the sounds of successful sonic branding. The pop of a Snapple lid. Hometown hero Peyton Manning humming, “Nationwide is on your side...” Sound can connect consumers to a brand on a deeper level than any logo. As consumers develop a growing reliance on voice technology, making audio connections becomes a must. Sonic branding and the use of sound can reinforce your brand identity...and even drive increased sales. Yet, the power of sonic branding is generally overlooked by many marketers. Casinos have been at this game for quite a while now, and you may have never noticed. As the industry transitioned to coinless slots, operators quickly understood that the clanging sound of coins falling into a metal tray signaled winning even if you weren’t the one pulling the handle. That sound had to be engineered into the mechanics of the newer slot machines. Audiobrain’s owner/creative director, Audrey Arbeeny, is an Emmy Awardwinning executive producer and pioneer in the field of sonic branding. Arbeeny is guided by the notion that humans are deeply connected to sound. “We are natural receptors for sound and vibration,” she says. “Our (adult) bodies are vibratory systems made of 50 to 68 percent water. Additionally, sound is housed in the emotional center of the brain. It is stored very deeply which is why we respond to and remember music and sound once it is stored. Think of a song from when you were a kid. You’ll remember every word, even if you haven’t heard it in 30 years.” The next time you open your store, spa, or customer outlet for a day of business, think about the sound of your brand. As it turns out, music plays a bigger part than just filling up the quiet time. If your logo is the identity of your brand, and your store and employees are the face, that sound you select to guide your customers is the voice of your brand. The right sound has the potential to put customers in the best mood to purchase by defining the brand in a deep, emotional way that will (ideally) connect with them.

Have you ever walked into a store or restaurant that had no background music playing? How did you feel? Uncomfortable? Did you feel the need to leave? How about the last time you walked into a store and they had some oddly selected music playing? What if you were purchasing a luxury item but the store was playing a selection of metal and hard rock? As a customer, we don’t ever really think about the sound of a store. You might sing along if you recognize the tune...or you might not care at all. The sound of your environment is just as important as the displays and signs. Sonic branding can be used to enhance your time at a place of business, encourage you to shop quickly or slowly, maybe even spend more money. Additionally, the proper sonic approach can create a sense of privacy for customers, allowing them the space they need to comment and make decisions. And, if you’re lucky enough to be a high-traffic, high-demand business, proper use of music can make lines feel shorter. The same applies to the music and messages that are played when customers are on hold. Because you are more likely to remember music that doesn’t fit with the atmosphere, the best music is the kind you don’t really notice because it’s such a natural part of the brand experience. What kind of mood do you want your customers to be in while they are in your store? Does it match your brand? It’s time to say goodbye to “elevator music” and welcome your sonic brand. Buying from you can, and should, be an environmental experience your customers will enjoy and repeat. n

i llu st r at i o n by To n y Heale 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

Close your eyes and listen to the / 45

46 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

hot topics in southe a st Louisiana industries

perspectives banking & finance  /  maritime & ports  /  real estate & construction  /  GUEST VIEWPOINT

Local financial institutions are reaching out to help female entrepreneurs find funding.

Perspectives b a n k i n g & fi n a n c e

to support all women-owned businesses with the needed capital and resources to help them launch and grow. Help From LiftFund

Finding the Funding A look at how local financial institutions are helping a growing number of womenowned businesses breach the funding gap. by Keith Loria

As of January 2017, there were 11.6 million women-owned businesses in

the United States—a growth of 114 percent over the past 20 years. While they now make up 39 percent of the businesses in this country, women-owned companies only make up 8 percent of the employment and 4.2 percent of the revenues, according to the 2017 State of WomenOwned Businesses Report Commissioned by American Express. In this survey, New Orleans was ranked among the bottom five metropolitan areas for least economic clout (defined as combined

48 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

growth rates of women-owned businesses for number of firms, employment and revenues). Why the gap in employment and revenue numbers? One reason is that women entrepreneurs, especially minority women entrepreneurs —who represent 71 percent of new women-owned businesses but only 22 percent of the revenues — tend to experience unique challenges, industry access to capital to launch their business ventures and access to resources, mentors or advisers to continue developing their growth. Fortunately, there are some financial institutions in New Orleans that are aiming

As a mission-driven organization led by a female leader who understands firsthand the challenges business owners face on a daily basis, LiftFund’s mission is to empower women business owners and provide them with the needed tools, resources and capital to be successful. “LiftFund began serving the New Orleans small-business community in 2009,” says Lindsey Navarro, senior business development officer for the organization. “Since then, we have provided more than $7.6 million in small-business loans and business support to owners who are not able to qualify through traditional sources. Our customer base consists primarily of the underserved and underbanked, which often includes women and minority entrepreneurs.” In New Orleans, women business owners make up 42 percent of LiftFund’s lending portfolio, and that number has been consistently increasing. Last year, with support from JP Morgan Chase, LiftFund launched LiftUP—a program that provides faster access to affordable small-business loans for underserved women-owned and minority small businesses. To be eligible for a LiftUP loan, the business must be majority-owned by a woman and located in Jefferson or Orleans Parish. “Accessing capital from any financial institution is a process that takes time,” Navarro says. “With LiftUP, we aim to streamline the process and reduce our underwriting and approval time from an average of five weeks to as little as four days. Our LiftUP loans range from $500 to $15,000 and can be used for operating or working capital, marketing, professional services and similar business expenses.” LiftFund client Dr. Iisha Bailey is the owner of the Mastectomy Boutique, an online and retail store that focuses on providing breast cancer survivors with an array of essential products pre- and postmastectomy. Bailey applied for financing at different local banks but was considered a startup and not eligible for a loan, despite the fact that she had been operating as an online retailer for a year.

by the numbers

Did you know?

71% of women-owned businesses launched each day are owned by women of color, but they represent less than 22 percent of the revenues.

$1,663,991,671 Revenues of all women-owned businesses in the U.S. in 2017

$360,711,804 Revenues of minority-owned women businesses in 2017

$1,303,279,866 Non-minority women-owned business revenue in 2017 “If revenues generated by minority womenowned firms matched those currently generated by other womenowned businesses, they would add $1.1 trillion in revenues and 3.8 million new jobs to the U.S. economy.” Source: 2017 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report Commissioned by American Express / 49

“At LiftFund, she qualified for a $15,000 loan that enabled her to purchase the necessary equipment and inventory to open the physical location of her specialty boutique,” Navarro says. “Without access to capital, she would not have been able to grow her business at a critical point—a misstep that can ultimately mean the difference between success and failure for a small business.” LiftFund also works closely with community organizations that support women entrepreneurs, such as the Urban League’s Women’s Business Resource Center, to provide business education and guidance to entrepreneurs about how they can prepare to access capital for their businesses. A Powerful Connection

Fidelity Bank offers the P.O.W.E.R (Potential of Women Entrepreneurs Realized) program, designed to meet the needs of women in business throughout the region. “We are passionate about helping businesses thrive in the communities we serve,” says Liz Broekman, director of P.O.W.E.R. at Fidelity Bank. “We believe in small business, and women-owned business is a big portion of the overall population — and growing every year. Through our relationship-based approach, we focus on understanding what’s important to the business owner and recommend solutions.” P.O.W.E.R bundles a wide array of financial products exclusively for entrepreneurial women and combines them with personalized service delivered via its P.O.W.E.R. partners. It offers resources such as a P.O.W.E.R. plug podcast, a calendar of women-centered events in the area and a private directory of members. “But what our P.O.W.E.R. members seem to enjoy most is the opportunity to connect and network with each other through our sponsored events, like our smaller group settings — called P.O.W.E.R. Hours — and our larger quarterly events,” Broekman says. “We have watched businesses and friendships grow organically.” Allison Albert, owner and founder of Pet Krewe, a pet costume company, came to Fidelity in search of a small-business loan to expand her business. Thanks to P.O.W.E.R., she not only received the funds necessary to expand her retail presence, but made a series of local contacts with women who own businesses who started offering her products in their stores. “Fidelity’s P.O.W.E.R. program has helped me network with amazing women that I’ve used for insurance and marketing needs,” Albert says. “I’m also in the process of switching my checking accounts because

50 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018


Top 5 Metropolitan Areas where Women-Owned Businesses have MOST increased Economic Clout between 2002 and 2017 1. CharlotteConcordGastonia area NC/SC 2. San Antonio, Texas 3. Austin, Texas 4. Indianapolis, Indiana

the program gives discounts and bonuses to P.O.W.E.R. checking account holders. It’s a win for everyone.” Fidelity Bank’s P.O.W.E.R. group will also be fielding a team for this year’s Women Build, a project by the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity where women help build a home from start to finish for two hard-working New Orleans women and their families. “The energy, passion and excitement for this project is like nothing I’ve ever seen,” says Marguerite Oestreicher, chief advancement officer for New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. “We create an environment that will allow women of all capabilities and backgrounds to come together in support of one another and the Habitat partner families. Volunteers will include strong women from

than $2 million in Louisiana to help create a more inclusive small-business ecosystem, with its grant-making focused on ensuring greater accessibility and connectivity for women and entrepreneurs of color. “We are committed to expanding opportunities for these entrepreneurs, who have historically faced difficulties in accessing the resources needed to start and grow businesses—especially those with a high bar to entry such as tech, health and biosciences,” LeGardeur says. “In addition to support through our investments and lending, we bring women in business together to meet and learn from peers and bring helpful resources to them.” For instance, last fall the company brought more than 100 women in New Orleans together for an afternoon with Mel Robbins, a CNN

all walks of life who contribute their time, love and labor to the project.” Women Build will take place from May 9 to June 2, with volunteer opportunities available on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of each week.

commentator, best-selling author and entrepreneur. “Creating greater economic opportunity must be a responsibility and an imperative for all of us,” LeGardeur says. “The fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. is minority women, and when people can’t participate fully in a growing economy, it creates frustration. It divides us and creates a whole host of serious civic problems. Financial institutions can, and must, do something about it.” n

5. (Tie) Salt Lake City, Utah and Riverside, California

5 States where Women-Owned Businesses have seen the LOWEST growth in Economic Clout between 2002 and 2017 1. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2. New Orleans, Louisiana 3. St. Louis, Missouri 4. Boston, Massachusetts 5. Providence, Rhode Island

Fostering Diversity

Katie LeGardeur, managing director and market leader for JPMorgan Chase & Co., says diversity and inclusion are the cornerstones of the company’s corporate culture. “The same is true for our communities and our economy,” she says. “They gain incredible strength from diversity. Creating greater opportunity for the broadest spectrum of entrepreneurs fosters greater innovation, creativity and productivity. Equity is indeed a growth strategy.” JPMorgan Chase & Co. has invested more / 51

Perspectives maritime & ports

Anna Hogan, Jenna Gaudet, Kasey Eckstein and April-Hope Wareham

Nautical Networking Launched last year, Women in Maritime Operations aims to provide industry women with support. by Chris Price portrait by cheryl gerber

Professionals in maritime-related

businesses, Kasey Eckstein, director of outside sales and business development at Marquette Transportation, and Jenna Gaudet, CFO at St. John Fleeting, said they often found themselves as the only women at industry events. “Too many times I’ve been the only female at an event with over 100 men, and I realized that

52 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

there’s no way there’s not another woman in our industry that would’ve liked to be there and probably just didn’t know about it for one reason or another,” said Eckstein. Knowing there were more women than they were seeing represented, Eckstein and Gaudet decided to create an organization to empower women in the maritime industry to expand their networks,

provide and receive mentoring, and grow their careers. Women in Maritime Operations (WIMOs) was founded in July 2017. “A big initiative of WIMOs is to keep our members informed, invited and included,” said Eckstein, who serves as the organization’s president. “If you do not know about an industry event, then you cannot ask to go to the event, therefore you / 53

who’s who

The WIMOs Executive Board Women In Maritime Operations, or WIMOs, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to retaining, advancing and promoting women in the maritime industry through sharing knowledge and continuing education. The executive board of its founding New Orleans chapter includes: President & Founder Kasey Eckstein, director of outside sales and business development at Marquette Transportation Vice President Anna Hogan, operations at MID-SHIP Logistics Vice President Alice Momenee, senior analyst of marine transportation – commercial development at Marathon Petroleum Secretary AprilHope Wareham, production superviser at Cargill Treasurer & CoFounder Jenna Gaudet, CFO at St. John Fleeting

will not be at the event. We are going to inform each other about events and encourage each other to go to them because, not only is it fun, it’s also good for your career no matter what you do at your company.” The 501(c)3 organization is open to women who are actively employed in the maritime industry, including those who own, operate, charter, dispatch or provide other types of logistical, operational and emergency management services on the water. WIMOs is dedicated to retaining, advancing, and promoting women in the maritime industry through sharing knowledge and continuing education. “In our industry, your network can be almost as valuable as your skills,” Eckstein said. “That is why attending industry events is so important. Every event that you attend is an opportunity to expand your network, enhance your networking skills and learn something new. All of these things build confidence and better your career, and that’s what WIMOs is all about.” As evidence of the need for such an organization, Eckstein said WIMOs already boasts 38 member companies — including Associated Terminals, Marathon Petroleum and the Port of New Orleans — along with over 100 individual members from women all over the country. “And we haven’t even done any recruiting,” she said. “Everything thus far has been word of mouth.” New Orleans is home to the organization’s founding chapter, but WIMOs already has plans in place to launch chapters in other maritime cities. An executive board has currently been established for a Houston chapter and leadership is being put in place for chapters in St. Louis and Nashville. A major motivator for WIMOs’ start, said Eckstein, was to build amity among her peers. “Although I am good friends with certain men in the industry, I still was not ever going to get to the same level of closeness that they have with one another because I am a woman,” she said. “I don’t blame it on anything but biology, as it’s only natural to feel more comfortable with someone of the same gender. I just want that same sense of camaraderie that my male counterparts have, and I think all women in maritime do. I think that establishing WIMOs and openly acknowledging some of the barriers that women encounter is motivating other women and men in our industry to help. We’re changing all of this – we invite, inform, educate and provide mentorship for women who want it.” Annual WIMOs dues are $200 per individual or $1,500 for corporations, which allows membership for eight or more individuals. The all-inclusive membership includes admission to WIMOs events — including “Lunch ‘n’ Learns” at a member company’s office to discuss pertinent maritime topics — as well as outings to shipping operations where members may tour fleets, locks, boats, terminals and more, and quarterly chapter meetings.

54 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

The organization is also in the process of constructing a website,, and an app. Both will feature a password-protected membership directory, to include member photos alongside their subject matter expertise — an idea designed to allow members to recognize and remember other members much easier — and a calendar of chapter- and industry-related events. Mentorship is another important WIMOs initiative. “Due to our industry being very ‘male-dominated,’ as a female it can be hard to find someone to take you under their wing, Eckstein said. “A young woman might feel more comfortable asking another woman

“I just want that same sense of camaraderie that my male counterparts have, and I think all women in maritime do. I think that establishing WIMOs and openly acknowledging some of the barriers that women encounter is motivating other women and men in our industry to help.” Kasey Eckstein, director of outside sales and business development at Marquette Transportation

for advice. This is where our mentorship program comes into play — we will have a membership directory and women with a high level of experience will note in their bio that they’re open to mentoring. This way other WIMOs know who they can reach out to with questions.” Eckstein said another major component of WIMOs membership will be helping members develop their skills on the greens, since many maritime industry events tend to be golf tournaments. The group is offering sponsored golf clinics for members who want to learn. In mid-March, a golf pro led the first WIMOs golf clinic at no charge to members. To accommodate varying schedules, there were morning and afternoon sessions that included an hour-and-a-half lesson followed by a nine-hole round, and an evening after-work session with lessons only. Turn Services also sponsored a WIMOs team in its Annual Glenn Otero Golf Tournament this past February so that women could play together in foursomes. “While I love winning ladies longest drive at these tournaments, it will be nice to have more competition at these events,” Eckstein said. n

Save the date

UPCOMING TRAVEL As part of its mission, WIMOs encourages support and donations to maritime-related charities. This September, members will travel to Cincinnati to participate in Living Lands & Waters’ annual river cleanup. “WIMOs will be paying for the lodging on this trip, and women from all over the industry and country will attend,” said Kasey Eckstein, WIMOs’ founder and president. “The plan is to have members arrive the evening before for a group dinner and socializing, and we’ll all work the cleanup the next day on LL&W’s boat and barges.” Headquartered in East Moline, Ill., Living Lands & Waters is a 501(c) (3) environmental organization dedicated to “industrial strength” cleanups of the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Since the organization was founded in 1998, Living Lands & Waters has worked on 23 rivers in 20 states, and with the help of more than 100,000 volunteers, it has removed 9.2 million pounds of debris from U.S. waterways. In 2017, 1,938 volunteers removed 441,667 pounds of garbage during 60 community cleanups. / 55

Perspectives r e a l e s tat e & co n s t ru c t i o n

Marketing Multifamily to Women Real estate developers and marketers are going after the female vote. by Kim Roberts

Multifamily and mixed-use projects are

booming in New Orleans right now. Last October, approximately 1,933 condos were listed for sale in the city, 51 percent more than in all of 2016, according to listings website Trulia. The median list price was $244,060, up from $240,000 in 2016 and $169,250 in 2015. “New Orleans has an extraordinary demand right now for new development,” said Will Bradshaw, president of Green Coastal Enterprises. “This is something that has been true for the last decade, despite bumps in the market nationally. There are signs that things may be slowing, and may turn in the near future, but the growth in multifamily and mixed-use properties has helped transform a number of iconic assets that were dormant back into exciting places in our city. Our Pythian project downtown is among them.” “The redevelopment of historic buildings shifted from hotels to multifamily about a decade ago,” said Dawnne Keeney, realtor at Orleans Property, a firm that develops and manages projects in New Orleans’ French Quarter and Warehouse District. “While we are still seeing some hotel and multifamily redevelopment, we are also seeing more new development geared toward the condo segment.” When it comes to residential real estate purchases, women often have the final say — a fact that marketers take into consideration. “In my 30 plus years’ experience, I have found the real estate marketing industry has always been aware of the importance of women in the decisions-making process,” John Paszamant, broker and owner of NOLA Moves, LLC, said. “Residential

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developers have consistently focused on women’s influence in the buying process, beginning with design stage factors through to the sales person’s interaction with the buying public. “Actually, I believe the real estate sales and marketing industry has been at the forefront of effectively marketing to the female segment,” he added. When luxury developers plan their next projects, much thought goes into the amenities and features that will entice buyers. While in the past, a children’s play space, party room, gym and doorman service might have been enough, in today’s high-end market, those features are considered de rigueur, and often found in regular rental buildings. “We have seen that women are driving the decision process, and for that reason we target our marketing to women by featuring bathroom photos that include our makeup mirrors and staging units with furniture so they can see what it looks like,” Keeney said. “Also, we geotarget places where women congregate so we can be sure our ads are directly reaching that audience.” Keeney added that during the design and building process, Orleans Properties often includes female-friendly items such as planning for dresses and long gown hanging spaces in their custom closets, offering built-in vanities in the bathrooms, and providing several lighting temperatures for day and evening makeup application. At Green Coast Enterprises, Bradshaw said the firm, “focuses on an approach to real estate that supports people and families.” “We make buildings more resource efficient, which puts money in buyers’ pockets that they don’t pay to their utilities. We never use carpet because hard surface flooring reduces the incidence of asthma, especially in kids. We remake historic blight, which puts new life into long vacant buildings that have often been unattractive nuisances in neighborhoods. By putting them back in service, we not only reinvest in a building, but we send a signal that the area has value. We believe this kind of approach is attractive to people who care about neighborhoods, families and children’s wellbeing. While this certainly isn’t the exclusive domain of females, we think that approach to real estate is attractive to women.” When it comes to managing its properties, Orleans Properties continues its focus on women. “By employing a mostly female property management team focused on tenant engagement, it creates a natural inclination for us to be more accommodating to the wants and needs of female renters and buyers,” Keeney said. “We also provide assistance with large packages and deliveries and provide onsite management when items are received.”

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The Saxony to Open in December In late October, developers broke ground on The Saxony, a new 75-unit condo building being built on the Bywater site of the old L.A. Frey & Sons meatpacking plant. With unit prices ranging from $187,000 to $689,000, this new five-story project is being developed by Ward Investments and will feature studio, onebedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom floor plans.

Did you know? According to Forbes Magazine, women are the world’s most powerful consumers, and their impact on the economy is growing every year. The global incomes of women are predicted to reach a staggering $18 trillion by 2018, according to global professional services firm EY.

Recognizing that security can be a particular concern for its female residents, the company provides secure keypad access to all its buildings, along with a video access phone that allows residents to receive guests without leaving their unit and also view street activity before leaving. Each building has a private rear keypad access entry and all back of house areas require a security code. Bradshaw said he is not sure that the industry is doing enough to market to women. “We certainly don’t train, cultivate, and promote women enough in real estate,” he said. “We need to make better choices because of the diversity of our teams, especially the gender diversity,” he said. “For example, in the redevelopment of Pythian, we had to make a choice about having operable windows or not. The men on the team would have selected not to have operable windows, but the women as a team spoke up. Their comments caused us to have an informal survey of women who unanimously told us they would choose a unit where windows opened 4 inches versus not opening at all. We made the window operable and now our building is outperforming our nearest competing properties. That may not all be due to the windows, but some of it is.” n

When finished, the amenity-rich project will also have a little something for everyone, including a pool, fitness room, garden courtyard, dog run, electric vehicle charging station and bike storage. Each unit will have at least one assigned parking spot in a gated garage on the development’s first level. The entrance and exit to the parking area will be on Burgundy Street. The Saxony is located on the block bounded by Alvar, Burgundy and Bartholomew streets and is expected to open in December 2018. / 59

Perspectives guest viewpoint

Basic Ground Rules for Growth

ness. How can I say no?” My answer is simple: A no to others is a yes to your business. So many business owners think they have to sell to everyone. This is absolutely not true. Good strategy calls for businesses to focus on the most profitable clients that fit your business model. If your gut reaction is to say no to a project, then why do you sometimes end up saying yes? Often, we say yes as a favor to others, but is this really a favor to your business? The best way to implement this suggestion is to create a “no” list. Start by writing a full description of projects or situations that do not fit your business model. What does this do? The “no” list will actually open up opportunities for your business so you can focus on what fits best in your portfolio. Looking closely at your business’s strengths and your client portfolio is important, but it is equally important to understand your weaknesses. I recommend that you look closely at the profitability of your projects over time and fully understand what is working so you can say “no” with confidence. When all is said and done, a profitable business is composed of a group of people who combine their strengths and use smart strategies.

A professional business consultant shares her top four tips for success. by Aimee Freeman

As a professional, a wife


Do Something for Yourself Each Day. About 90 days ago, I decided to give myself 3 to 6 minutes for daily morning meditation. If you

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3 know me, you know that I am usually working on overdrive, so this represented a real shift in my routine. For those who don’t know me, let’s just say that I am a “professional perfectionist.” There should be a photo of me in the dictionary next to “type A personality.” Much to my surprise, this morning routine has absolutely helped me improve my days and prepare for “whatever” happens. Of course, my deadlines still exist, and I feel stress

like everyone else: Let’s face it, stress does not go away because you spend a few minutes meditating. What has really changed are my reactions to the world around me. If meditating is not for you, maybe take a walk, take a class, go fishing, or play tennis. Just make sure you carve out some time for yourself outside your business.


Know When to Say “No.” When I share this suggestion, my clients say: “But I need the busi-

Pause and Prosper to Focus. Stop checking your emails, texts and voicemails like you are an “on call” emergency room doctor. Yes, we all do this. We obsess over the latest email, text or deadline. I suggest that everyone take a step back every once in a while and live like you are in the 1980s — when you could not be contacted 24/7. Many of you are probably wondering, “Can I do this?” Yes, you can! Is this difficult for most of us to do? Yes, it is. The ideal way for my clients to focus on their business strategies is for the senior managers and business owners to pause, focus and reflect

A p p h oto/ E va n V u cc i

and a mother of four children, I know first-hand that most of us are constantly in motion. Recently, I was on my way to a client meeting, and the client called to inform me that his son was receiving an unexpected academic award from his high school. He knew our meeting was important, but he also wanted to see his son receive the award. Did I have to change direction? Yes. Did I have to rearrange my scheduled meeting with the client? Yes. Was shifting gears the right thing to do for this situation? Absolutely. As busy professionals, we all know that change is constant, but how we react to change is our real opportunity. For most of us, our goal is to strategically grow our businesses and enjoy our free time. I’d like to share my four basic ground rules for long-term growth in life and business:

without the buzz of technology. I can assure you that the results are best when key decisionmakers take the time to pause and focus on business goals together. The distractions of daily business are often what lead most people to make quick decisions that end up wasting time, money and resources. Slowing down ultimately will help your business reach its long-term growth goals. Let me share a quick example. I have a business services client who has successfully reached nearly $1 million in sales in a few years. Working with the partners of the firm, we took the time to clearly define the best strategy for growth and to decide which clients were not part of the firm’s future growth plans. Three years later, the partners reached nearly $3.5 million in revenue. This happened because the business paused and focused. You know your business, you just need to give yourself time to step away from it. Once your strategy is in place, you will be able to handle the business emergencies that occur.

firm. Delegating tasks to them has actually helped our family enjoy the planning of the wedding celebration. The lesson here is just because you know how to do something does not mean you should always do it yourself. When you think about your business, what tasks can you successfully delegate to your staff or other paid professionals? Remember that sometimes you should even delegate the items you already know how to do. Final Thought

We all know that life is one big to-do list and the reality is we cannot get it all done, but we can do most of it when we stop and create a strategy for our personal lives and our businesses. I can confidently recommend that using my four basic ground rules will increase opportunities for growth in your life, with your family and friends, and with your business. n


Delegate and Enjoy the Process. If you can hire someone to complete a task, hire them. Like most of you, I often want to just “do it myself,” because I sometimes feel it will take longer to explain the task than to complete it myself. Let me share a relevant example about our oldest daughter who is getting married this year. She and I are incredibly efficient, successful women. At first, we thought: “We don’t need a wedding coordinator because we understand the details of how to plan and execute an incredible celebration.” As native New Orleanians, our party-planning genes are strong, and my daughter’s professional job is to plan major events for a national nonprofit. Even with our combined experience, however, I am thankful that we did end up hiring an event-planning

For more than 20 years, Aimee Freeman has helped businesses and nonprofit organizations grow to achieve their goals. Her company, Aimee Freeman Consulting, helps organizational leaders to combine strategic thinking with an always-evolving strategic plan. For more information, visit / 61

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The Status of Women in Business in Louisiana

(Are we really that bad?)

L ouisiana is the worst state in the country for women — at least according to a recent report by the financial website Wallet Hub. In the report, Louisiana received poor marks in a lot of areas, including dead last in “Economic and Social Wellbeing” and 47th in “Health and Safety.” We are 49th for “Highest Percentage of Women in Poverty,”41st for “High School Dropout Rates for Women,” 38th for “Share of WomenOwned Businesses,” 48th for “Friendliness Toward Working Moms” and 46th for “Friendliness Toward Women’s Equality.” Is this really true? And if it is, is anything being done about it? The following is a look into three critical areas where Louisiana tends to rank at the bottom when it comes to women in business — equal pay, percentage of women-owned businesses and friendliness toward working mothers. All are big, complicated topics, and one has even become controversial, but it’s only by understanding a problem that solutions can be found. In a state (and nation) where women make up half the population and workforce, we can’t afford to continue to lag behind. The good news? As you’ll see, some companies are already leading the way forward.

By Kim Singletary & Rebecca Friedman portraits by greg miles


equal pay

Where does Louisiana rank in the U.S. for equal pay for women?

Consistently at the bottom of all studies on the subject, including: 45th of 51 states (Washington D.C. included) according to Wallet Hub’s “2017 Best & Worst States for Women’s Equality” Dead last – (51 of 51 states) Institute for Women’s Policy Research – March 2018 report “Status of Women in the States” / 65

(PART I) equal pay

What is the problem? Women make up half the labor force in Louisiana (1,057,323 of 2,209,139 in 2016) but they are commonly paid less than their male counterparts for the same work.

What is the actual pay gap? It depends on the data that is used, so it varies. In general, the consensus seems to be that women earn around between 60 and 69 cents to every dollar a man earns in Louisiana (nationally, it’s 80 cents on the dollar). Lowest end – Black women make 48 cents on the dollar (nationally, that number is 63 cents on the dollar). Latina women fare only slightly better at 51 cents on the dollar. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women should expect to realize equal pay in the U.S. around the year 2058. In Louisiana, that time period increases substantially to 2115. In the meantime, full-time working women in Louisiana continue to take a $11 billion hit each year, according to a 2016 report by the National Partnership for Women and Families.

How does this hurt Louisiana? It makes our state (and families) poorer. As a result of unequal pay, the average Louisiana family loses about $17,000 a year. If women in Louisiana were paid the same as comparable men, the state’s poverty rate would drop by more than half. The average woman would see an annual boost equal to: • nearly three years’ worth of food for her family, or • 14 months of mortgage and utility payments, or • 21 months of rent. Women are the primary breadwinners in 16 percent of state households (248,000 households), and 38 percent of those households are below the poverty level. Source: April 2016 report by the National Partnership for Women and Families

Recruitment and retainment of top talent statewide. If Louisiana is widely recognized as paying women unfairly, will women want to come to and remain in Louisiana?

What are Louisiana’s laws regarding equal pay? Federal Law In 2014, the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963 was codified into Louisiana state law. This law makes it illegal to pay women less than men in companies of 15 or more employees. There are exceptions, however.

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Exceptions Include: Anyone employed in an executive, administrative or professional capacity (including anyone employed in the capacity of academic administrative personnel or teacher in elementary or secondary schools), or in the capacity of outside salesman.

How much of the problem is that women tend to be employed in traditionally lower paying fields?

Pay Transparency: Employees are protected when talking about pay, but this does not apply to supervisors or management.

244,876 men 280,559 women

State Law Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law: Prohibits employers with 20 or more employees from intentionally discriminating in the compensation of any person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, pregnancy (including childbirth and related medical conditions), sickle- cell trait or protected genetic information (LA Rev. Stat. Sec. 23:301 et seq.). Louisiana Equal Pay for Women Act – effective August 1, 2013 Who is protected: Women who work for state or local government at least 40 hours a week. A supplement to the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law, the act bars state and local government from paying women less than men for “the same or substantially similar work on jobs in which the employee’s performance requires equal skill, effort, education and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions including time worked in the position.” Pay Transparency: Applies only to state and local government employees working at least 40 hours a week. The Louisiana Equal Pay for Women Act also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for inquiring about, disclosing, or discussing wages, or for exercising their rights under the act. Retaliation is also barred against individuals who file charges, provide information in an inquiry, or testify regarding violations of the new law. Violating employers may be held liable for damages in the amount of unpaid wages, liquidated damages in the amount of half the unpaid wages and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

Do wage transparency and equal pay protections (currently available only to public employees) make a difference? Maybe. According to the 2014 Louisiana census, women in private for-profit jobs were paid, on average, 74 cents on the dollar in state government jobs, and 80 cents on the dollar in federal government jobs.

According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the highest number of men and women are employed in the occupational group of :

Management, business, science and arts Within that category, the breakdown in management skews heavily male:

60.6 percent male 39.4 percent female Management occupations

64.5 percent The pay gap at this level for women

Do we have less women in STEM fields than other states?

27.7 percent Women in STEM fields in Louisiana -

28.8 percent Nationally

What’s being done? Everyone agrees there’s a problem, but not on how to fix it. Legislation has recently focused on the efforts including raising the minimum wage and extending equal pay and wage transparency protections to the private sector and government contractors. Raise minimum wage: Louisiana minimum wage stands at the national rate of $7.25 an hour. A bill proposed by State Sen. Troy Carter would have raised it to $8 an hour in 2019 and $8.50 an hour in 2020 for businesses with 25 employees or more. On March 29, the state senate voted 21-17 against the bill. Louisiana is one of only five states that have not raised its minimum wage above federal levels. This is the third consecutive year that efforts to raise the minimum wage in the state have failed. Approximately 60 percent of minimum wage earners fall within the “accommodation and food services” or “retail trade” categories of business. They make up 22 percent of Louisiana’s total workforce. Louisiana is tied with Arkansas for 49th place in the percent of workers paid at or below the minimum wage.

equal pay (PART I)

3 of the Most Common Occupations in Louisiana in 2015 (ranked in order of number of employed)

Whether male or female dominated occupations, women always fare worse. Secretaries & Administrative Assistants ( women make 68 cents on the dollar) Total women employed: 54,955 Total men: 1,917 Average full-time salary for women $32,904.50 Average full-time salary for men $47,990.80 Gap $15,086 Cashiers (women make 67 cents on the dollar) Total women employed: 44,513 Total men: 8,761 Average full-time salary for women $18,131.80 Average full-time salary for men $26,683.40 Gap $8,551.60

Most Popular Occupations by Gender Women Employed in LA Median Earnings Women Sales and office occupations – 209,284 $29,991 Office and admin support – 146,091 $30,723 Service occupations – 122,681 $20,388

Men $45,407 $39,699 $30,788

Men Employed in LA Median Earnings Men Women Natural Resources, construction and maintenance – 181,419 $43,076 $31,931 Production and transport and material moving – 166,429 $45,997 $24,317 Sales and office occupations – 116,623 $45,407 $29,991 Source: Louisiana Workforce Commission

Elementary & middle school teachers (women make 87 cents to the dollar) Total women employed: 45,558 Total men: 7,842 Average full-time salary for women $42,406.20 Average full-time salary for men $48,269.50 Gap $5,863.30 Source: April 12, 2016. article entitled, “Men v. Women: The Pay Gap in Louisiana,” quoting information from Data USA.

How do women rank among the state’s highest paid jobs? Highest Paid jobs, by average salary (2015) 1. Physicians (28.7 percent female in Louisiana as of 2014) Louisiana ranks 11th in the nation for largest gender wage gap among physicians at 40 percent (or $105,000 a year in Louisiana). The national average is 26.5 percent. Source: April report by Statnews. com. (findings controlled for hours worked).

2. Dentists No data could be found for Louisiana, but nationally 22 percent of dentists were female in 2004 and that number is estimated to rise to between 28 and 30 percent by 2020, according to a JADA April 2017 study. Dentistry has a 28.1 percent pay gap nationally. 3. Architectural & Engineering Managers 4. Nurse Anesthetists 5. Materials Engineers No state-specific data could be found for these particular fields, however nationally, female managers in architectural and engineering jobs out-earn men, but make up only 8.5 percent of the population. The gap in pay for women in engineering is currently only overcome in 2 of 20 occupations in the field. The highest gap is 81.1 cents on-thedollar for operations research analysts. A majority of gaps are in the 80 to 90 cents on the dollar range. / 67

(PART I) equal pay

Who’s Doing It Right: Best Practice Example

Lucid Founded as Federated Sample in 2010, entrepreneur Patrick Comer changed the name of his company to Lucid in 2015. The data technology company based in New Orleans has since opened offices in London and India in 2016 and New York in 2017. The company employs approximately 250 people, 150 of those in New Orleans, where Lucid is headquartered. The tech company connects buyers and sellers of data/market research. In September of 2016, Lucid created a forum to look at data regarding diversity within the company and its industry. They found that looking at the entry level to manager levels, the company was approximately 50 percent women. At the senior levels, however, the numbers fell. In 2017, Lucid created a “Diversity and Inclusion” strategy where they monitor themselves on a quarterly basis to make sure women are being represented equally in hiring, promotion and pay. “We attend more women in engineering events and look nationally for talent,” says Nicole Patel, Lucid’s senior vice president of people. “We’re not setting any quotas, but we are definitely casting a wider net. We also have training programs to help women Nicole Patel, get to that next level. At our last annual review, we Lucid’s found that 60 percent of promotions were women senior vice and 50 percent to senior management and above.” president of In an effort to retain women after they start a people family, the company offers three months of paid leave to all primary caregivers and four weeks to secondary caregivers, regardless of gender. Lucid also hosts a working parents group that gathers once a month to discuss issues and provide support. “It’s going to take us eight to 12 weeks to fill a position anyway, so it’s better for us to have people come back, and want to come back,” Patel says, adding that all of Lucid’s efforts stem from its company culture. “It was important from our company’s beginnings that Lucid would be a leader in the community,” says Patel. “We want to represent the next level of places to work in New Orleans. We are definitely fast-paced and we play to win, but we also believe in being fearless, open, progressive and inclusive. If we do right by our employees, we’ve found that translates into a huge ROI.”

Are Current Laws Enough? It depends on who you ask. Michelle Anderson, partner with Fisher Phillips, specializes in employment law, representing businesses. She sides with LABI (a vocal critic of additional legislation) in feeling that current legislation covers all the bases. “Every woman is protected against gender-based discrimination, even if they are public sector or upper management, because of more general

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state and federal laws regarding gender discrimination,” she says. “The fact is that most employers are not out to treat employees badly. They recognize that happy employees are productive employees,” adding, “Currently only 1 percent of total EEOC charges filed each year are related to equal pay.” Anderson says the true problem lies with another issue. “We have systemic problems in that pink collar

jobs are valued less in our society than blue and white collar jobs. And then there are women who take time out to raise children and get outpaced.” On the other side are those that say more laws are necessary to fill in the gaps. “Our equal pay law is a joke,” says State Sen. J.P. Morrell, who says our current protections are riddled with loopholes and that a central argument

— that additional laws would likely mean subjecting employers to unnecessary risks of litigation — is unfounded. “After previous equal pay legislation went through we didn’t see any rise. With any complaint, employers have to be given a chance to make things right,” he says. “Only if they don’t would litigation proceed. If most employers are doing the right thing, why would there be a rise in litigation?”


lack of womEn-owned businesses

Where does Louisiana rank in percentage of businesses that are women-owned?

38th — according to Wallet Hub in its “2018 Worst State for Women” report. 31st — according to a 2017 study by Zippia. / 69

(PART II) lack of women-owned businessess

What is the problem? The number of women-owned businesses is on the rise nationally, but Louisiana’s numbers could definitely be better. Only 4.99 percent of businesses in the state are women-owned, according to a 2017 report by Zippia using data from the most recent Survey of Business Owners and the American Community Survey. The No. 1 spot went to Montana, with 9.87 percent of businesses women-owned. The most commonly cited reasons for the lack of women business owners comes down to two issues: a lack of support and a lack of funding.


“A lot of time we have things where women can bring their kids and we structure our curriculum and the vocabulary we use to be very approachable. Our culture is the opposite of what you’d consider ‘bro’ culture.”

businesses with greater access to capital, technical support and guidance. The group of 12 entrepreneur support organizations that comprise the national initiative include two New Orleans-based groups; Propeller and New Orleans BioInnovation Center.

Propeller currently sees an almost equal mix of male and female entrepreneurs.

When Women Reach the Top, Companies Fare Better

The organization’s alumni and current ventures are

48% male 52% female Male-owned companies created

According to the latest quarterly report of The State of Online Small Business Lending by small business financing company Fundera, on average women ask for $35,000 less than men. Also… • Women receive 80 percent of the capital men do when searching for funding. • Women are 5 percentage points less likely to receive a loan than male entrepreneurs are. • Men are three times more likely to receive venture capital funding.

What’s being done?

262 jobs generating

$8.7 million in wages Female-owned companies created

174 jobs generating

$5.6 million in wages Total revenue and financing generated

Tailored Support and Guidance: While there are numerous organizations that assist entrepreneurs in Southeast Louisiana, Propeller is among those recognized most often for its work specifically with women and minority entrepreneurs. “I think having an organization that is led by women is something that can draw in women,” says Andrea Chen, executive director of Propeller. “Our board chair is a woman, and both our board and staff are majority women.” Chen says this has led to the fact that the organization’s programming and curriculum tend to be geared toward women.

Male graduates

$33.2 million Female graduates

$48.8 million More Good News! This past March, Propeller announced that JPMorgan Chase had expanded their Small Business Forward initiative with a multi-year commitment of $150 million to support women-, minority- and veteran-owned small

Other Local Organizations that Support Female Entrepreneurs Small Business Association (SBA) Junior League of New Orleans – (offers annual Women Entrepreneur Fellowship) Urban League of Louisiana - Women’s Business Resource Center Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business

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The Southeast Regional Women’s Business Center Louisiana Federation of Business and Professional Women New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Alliance ABWA

NAWBO New Orleans Good Work Network – Women’s Business Center For information on financial organizations looking to bridge the gap locally, see (Financial Perspective) pg 48.

ThirtyNorth Investments Allows Investors to Put Their Money Where Their Values Are In 2015, Suzanne Mestayer, managing principal of Thirty North Investments, a 20-year-old investment firm with offices in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, says she came across some articles that suggested that companies that had more women in top leadership and board positions tended to perform better. The articles inspired Mestayer and Blair duQuesnay, principal and chief investment officer, to do their own research in which they evaluated companies in the S&P 500 Index in 2006 and tracked their performance for 10 years. They too found that companies with more women (specifically on their boards) tended to perform better. With that information, in April of 2016, ThirtyNorth launched The Women Impact Strategy Separately Managed Account, a portfolio of 50 companies around the world that they have found to be leaders in gender representation within boards and executive teams. The new offering, Mestayer says, is perfect for what she says is a growing number of investors interested in progressive, socially responsible companies, but also those just looking to make a good investment. “We’re demonstrating that financial performance doesn’t have to take a back seat to investing for social impact,” she says, adding that interest in the strategy has been, “genuine and definitely grown.” Nationally, Mestayer says ThirtyNorth is on a short list of industry firms that have created this kind of investment opportunity. “We’re on the early end of things for sure,” she adds. “There’s nothing else like this in the South.”

More Women are Turning to Franchising Between 2011 and 2016, franchise ownership increased by 71 percent nationally in women while male ownership rose just 26 percent, according to franchise consulting company, FranNet. Liz Lewis, owner of FranNet of Louisiana, says the rise is not surprising, as she says franchising provides a clearer path to business ownership that includes a lot of support. “When you buy a franchise,” she says, “you’re in business for yourself, but not by yourself. Most people who end up buying a franchise have no experience in that particular industry, so there is plenty of training and ongoing support, both from

lack of women-owned businessess (PART II)

the franchisor, who has a vested interest in seeing the franchisee succeed, and from other franchisees.” Lewis became a business owner herself by purchasing FranNet of Louisiana a year ago. She says that within that time her clients have been split about evenly between male and female. “I see women in all stages of life,” she says, “from new moms to empty nesters and women who just want to do something different.” Lewis says one common theme she’s noticed is that women tend to look for companies that give back to the community in some way. “The good news is there are a ton of concepts like that,” she says. “I see a tremendous opportunity for women in business.”

Local Success Story

Delta Personnel

most of the people at the bank are not your gender,” says Lawrence. “When you walk into a loaning facility, you have more of a challenge because you’re not part of the tribe.” Lawrence’s advice? “Try to find a woman banker because I think people give money to people who look, sound and act like them.” She also believes that women can be their own worst enemies when it comes to achieving professional success. “A lot of women play this mind game with themselves: ‘Should I say this or not say this?’ Just jump out of your own head games and go for it.”

Local Success Story

High Level Hearing

Marrero native Dr. Lana Joseph is the owner of High Level Speech and Hearing Center. Joseph opened in Harahan in 2016 and, after As Delta Personnel celebrates its 50th anniexpanding her offerings from just adults to pediatric versary, president/owner Teresa Lawrence emphasizes patients, opened a second location in Uptown New that the staffing company’s approach has always Orleans this past January. been “people first.” In just over two years, the company has amassed Lawrence’s father-in-law founded the company in over 18,000 patients and is ranked among the top 1968, and Lawrence took the reins when he passed eight speech pathologists in New Orleans in 2018 away 20 years later. Last year, Delta Personnel filed on more than 800 W-2 forms and has a daily average of “In the first year we took in $300,000,” she says. 238 to 258 employees at work. Delta serves clients “That increased to $1.5 million in 2017, and right across sectors but, since Katrina, has focused more now we’re on track to hit $2.3 million this year.” heavily on industrial clients. Joseph found her love of audiology after Working within a male-dominated suffering through years of teasing due to a industry has given Lawrence plenty of speech disorder that went untreated until Economic Impact of opportunity to reflect on her responsibility she was in the seventh grade. Growing up Franchising in as a woman business leader. “I think we poor in a family led by a single mother, Louisiana are a part of something much bigger than she says she always knew she wanted to just ourselves,” says Lawrence. “The heavy be a business owner. 11,000 lifting comes when you bring another She credits her success to a mixture franchises in the state woman to the table and you say, ‘Not only of pure determination and the luck of did I bring you to the table, but you have finding two incredible mentors, beginning 115,900 to stay at the table. You belong here.’” with Desiree Young, founder and CEO of jobs Lawrence tries to help new woman VentureWalk Business Partners. business owners understand the resources “I met her and saw how incredible $3.8 billion at their disposal, such as government she was, so I just started following her payroll certifications for women-owned and around while I was getting my master’s minority-owned businesses. $9.8 billion in healthcare management,” she laughs. “There are so many things you can use “She taught me everything about pitching, output to grow your business. You’re not alone,” branding, marketing, communication.” $5.8 billion she emphasizes. While attending Washington University She also points out one roadblock GDP School of Medicine in St. Louis, she worked many women face in building a business: on her business plan, which helped her accessing capital. “One of the things I’ve Source: International win money from a few business pitch Franchise Association encountered in going out for funds is that competitions — one from her university

and one from the American Academy of Audiology. During her studies she met her second mentor, Dr. Joy Pritchett, president and CEO of Atlanta Hearing Associates, who eventually became her employer. “I learned so much from her, including amazing financial advice,” she says. “I still send her a gift basket whenever I reach a milestone in my business.” When it came to financing her dreams, however, Joseph struggled for a while. “I got approved through Wells Fargo, but they wanted a really high interest rate. Then I found out about JEDCO and through them, I secured a $65,000 loan and paired that with $23,000 I had saved.” Joseph says she thinks the biggest barriers for minority entrepreneurs are resources and exposure to successful business owners. “Minorities tend to be afraid to talk about money,” she says. Having conquered her fears, Joseph is focused on the future, which includes more expansion. “There’s a huuge need for services in Baton Rouge,” she says. “So who knows, maybe next year.” Dr. Lana Joseph, owner of High Level Speech and Hearing Center / 71


Friendliness Toward Working Mothers

Where does Louisiana rank?

In ranking Louisiana its 2018 Worst State for Women, Wallet Hub ranked the state 48th in friendliness toward working moms.

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friendliness toward working mothers (PART III)

What is the problem? Nationally, 70 percent of mothers with children under 18 participate in the labor force, with over 75 percent employed full-time. A good portion of the educated female workforce, however, do not return to work after starting a family, including: • 30 percent of women with bachelor’s degrees (the most likely to “opt out”) • 19 percent of women with a master’s degree or higher Source: “The Opt-Out Continuation: Education, Work, and Motherhood from 1984 to 2012

For some, the decision to quit work is a choice. For others, additional issues compound to make having a career and a family more challenging, including: Parental Leave is Not Guaranteed. Advocates for paid parental leave scored a win in February, when Lowe’s, the last of the country’s 20 largest employers not to offer paid parental leave, announced that it would begin offering the benefit to all salaried and full-time hourly employees (10 weeks for birth mothers and two weeks for fathers and adoptive, foster and same-sex parents). While that move is encouraging for parents, most of the nation’s workers remain uncovered. According to the Society of Human Resource Management’s 2017 Employee Benefits Survey, only 30 percent of U.S. employers surveyed offer paid maternity leave. That’s up from 26 percent in 2016, however, an uptick that likely reflects a competitive job market and a growing body of research demonstrating that women are more likely to return to work post-baby if they are given paid maternity leave. Because the U.S. has no federal paid family leave policy (we’re the only industrialized country without one), the decision to offer paid family leave rests with employers. Some workers are protected by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which guarantees employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a new child (among other qualifying reasons), but many are not. And many who are covered can’t afford to go 12 weeks without pay. Big companies like Lowe’s have more options (and deeper pockets) to cover for workers who are out on parental leave, while smaller businesses fear a more direct hit to their productivity. These concerns translate directly into less willingness to offer the benefit: according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 13 percent of America’s private sector workers have access to paid family leave. The national conversation around paid parental leave has grown louder, as President Trump mentioned the need for such policy in his State of the Union

Which Benefits Do Men and Women Prefer? When choosing between and high-paying job and a lower-paying one with better benefits, men and women differ in how much various perks might sway them. Percentage of respondents who said the benefit would be taken into heavy consdieration


Better health, dental and vision insurance




More flexible hours



More vacation time



Work-from-home options



Unlimited vacation



Student load assistance



Tuition assistance



Paid maternity/paternity leave



Free gym membership



Free day-care services





Free snacks



Free coffee



Free fitness/yoga classes

Company-wide retreats



Weekly free employee outings



On-site gym



Team bonding events



source: fractl survey of 2,000 U.S. workers;

address. But until legislative action is taken, parents, and women in particular, will have to rely on the generosity of employers to make paid leave available. A Lack of Affordable, High-Quality Child care. One of the biggest challenges for working mothers is finding affordable, high-quality child care. And the issue isn’t just hurting women personally: it’s cutting into Louisiana’s economic productivity. A May 2017 study conducted by the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children and LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab showed just how big the problem is. The survey of Louisiana households with children under age four found that inadequate child care coverage and resulting drops in earnings cost the state $1.1 billion annually. The decrease in income also means a decrease in tax contributions on those earnings – to the tune of an $84 million loss in tax revenue for the state.

According to the study, child care issues had a disproportionate effect on women’s workforce participation. Women were seven times more likely than men to quit a job, five times more likely to switch from full-time to part-time work, and six times more likely to turn down a promotion. Louisiana does have one bright spot on its child care record: the state legislature’s 2007 passage of “School Readiness” tax credits intended to encourage parents, employers and child care providers to promote and provide high quality care at an affordable rate. The program’s future is uncertain, however, due to the state’s ongoing budget woes. Working More Than Double Duty. The average working mom works the equivalent of 2.5 full-time jobs, clocking a 98-hour average work week thanks to the combination of work and family responsibilities. / 73

(PART III) friendliness toward working mothers

How does this hurt Louisiana? In addition to strengthening the gender pay gap in the state — due to the fact that women can lose seniority and work experience by taking time to care for their family, and thus, be paid less — Louisiana loses a good portion of its talent and companies lose the investment they have placed in employees who leave. More individual companies, such as Shell, are recognizing that the tendency to lose female employees after becoming parents hurts their bottom line.

Flextime and Telecommuting In addition to offering paid maternity leave and affordable child care options, offering employees some control over when and where they work is another increasingly attractive benefit – both for parents, who can respond more nimbly to child care issues, and employers, who see increases in retention and productivity. Flextime, defined as allowing an employee to determine his or her working hours within guidelines set by an employer, is now offered by 57 percent of U.S. employers, according to the Society of Human Resource Management’s 2017 Employee Benefits

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Survey. And it can be a game-changer for working moms balancing the demands of career and family. According to a February 2017 survey published by the Harvard Business Review about which benefits job seekers value most, flexible hours ranked second (behind health/dental/vision insurance), with 88 percent of respondents stating that they would lean toward a lower-paying job with more flexible hours over a higher-paying position with less flexibility. And the good news for employers is that flextime is a no-or-low-cost benefit that can reap a high return in recruitment and retention, particularly among women. Telecommuting, or the ability to work from home, even some of the time, has also grown increasingly common across sectors. Today, 62 percent of U.S. companies offer some form of this benefit. In the same Harvard Business Review survey, working from home was ranked the fourth-most-valuable benefit among job seekers. And telecommuting can actually lower an employer’s expenses, particularly around office occupancy. There has been some backlash against telecommuting among employers who fear the loss of workplace culture and productivity that comes from in-person interaction. But the upside of telecommuting can be very real for parents, especially in a pinch.

Who’s Doing It Right: Best Practice Example

Ernst & Young For 32 years, Working Mother magazine has put out a list of the 100 best companies for working moms. Ernst & Young, the professional services firm, has made the list for 21 of those years and was highlighted in 2017 as a top 10 company. Krystal Calix, an audit senior manager, has been with EY in New Orleans for 12 years – eight of them as a mom. Now, Calix is a leader in the office, serving clients, leading several teams and focusing on the financial service space within New Orleans. And she’s a mother of three (ages 8, 5, and 10 months). “What has made this a rewarding career for me here is that I’ve had flexibility, convenience and additional resources that have assisted me at various times,” says Calix. One of these assists was “A Flexible Work Arrangement,” an EY program that allowed Calix to take a reduction in the number of clients she served and a corresponding reduction in compensation. She spent four years on the program, which allowed her to continue progressing within the firm while having more time for her family. Calix also enjoyed EY’s generous parental leave benefits: 12 weeks paid for her first two leaves and 16 weeks paid with her third child (born after EY extended its leave policy). An added bonus has been the company’s mothers’ lactation program, which provides lactation rooms in all EY offices as well as breast pumps and supplies to nursing mothers, free of charge. They even support nursing moms who are traveling for work. “I could pump at the location then ship my milk back home, where it would arrive by 6 a.m. the next morning,” says Calix. “All free of charge to me and very convenient.” Now, as a senior manager, Calix values flexibility in her schedule and working location that allows her to support her teams, clients and family. “EY preaches flexibility,” says Calix. “And it’s a two-way street... For me personally, as a senior manager, I have the ability to not be at the client site every single day. I tend to work from home at least one day a week... and I work from home at night a good bit too. I have dinner with my family, put the kids to bed, then get back to work once they’re asleep. That allows me to make sure I’m fulfilling my roles both professionally and personally.” Calix is a member of EY’s professional women’s network and views herself as a role model for all women in the office, not just mothers. She hopes to show the growing ranks of young women graduating from university programs that accounting can be a rewarding and sustainable career. “When you say ‘accounting,’ not everyone thinks ‘flexibility’ or ‘working moms,’ so that’s something we’re trying to change.”

friendliness toward working mothers (PART III)

Who’s Doing It Right: Best Practice Example

Sensible Meals Ingrid Rinck, the owner and CEO of Sensible Meals, knows firsthand the importance of employers supporting women. When she founded her healthy prepared meal company in 2014, Rinck was a newlydivorced, single mother of three with no formal education. “Just passion and drive and the will to succeed,” Rinck says. Four years later, Louisiana-based Sensible Meals is the largest and fastest-growing meal prep business in the country, employing about 1,200 people across its ambassador program, kitchens, prep facilities, corporate office, janitorial staff and other roles. Ninety percent of employees are women and 90 percent of those women are mothers — 75 percent of those single mothers. For some of Sensible Meals’ corporate office employees or ambassador staff, telecommuting is an option. “As long as they get their work done, they can definitely do it at home when issues arise with their children,” says Rinck. The company doesn’t yet have formal policies around issues like flexibility and telecommuting, but they are working toward it. Rinck would like to see successful businesswomen supporting other women entering the workforce. “Creating more opportunities, investing time and money and mentoring – that’s the biggest thing I wish I would have had and hopefully I can do for other women.”

Who’s Doing It Right: Best Practice Example

Shell Corporation Operating in the Gulf Coast for more than 100 years, Shell Exploration and Production Company employs approximately 93,000 people worldwide, including approximately 4,400 in Louisiana. In an industry that executive vice president of Gulf of Mexico, Rick Tallant, acknowledges has a long history of being male dominated, Tallant says Shell has been taking efforts to create a 50/50 balance of men and women, including in top leadership positions. The problem was, the company was losing women at the mid-career level. “We want to have the best leadership, and that means having the best of everybody, not just one segment,” says Tallant. “Women were leaving after

they had a child and not coming back, so we had to do something.” Step one was offering a more generous amount of paid leave — 16 weeks for any primary caregiver, and eight weeks for any secondary caregiver (regardless of gender). But beyond that, employees return to a host of support, including an employee resource group for parenting. “The group serves two purposes,” says Tallant, “it provides support to new parents by allowing them to connect with others in the same situation and, also importantly, it educates our leadership about what these returning parents are going through. We need everyone to understand what being inclusive really means.” Shell also offers a new program called B.A.L.A.N.C.E., by Amy Landry, founder of Fuel Success Academy. Formerly a human resources professional and now a workforce development trainer, Landry says that after learning first-hand what it was like to return to a company that did not support her life change, she became passionate about improving other women’s experiences. Landry’s program is designed to help women find balance upon returning to work. At Shell, the program consists of seven, one-hour sessions,

but webinars are also available at To help with juggling demands, Shell offers employees flex-time, the opportunity to move part-time, and a 9/80 schedule, where employees receive every other Friday off to help with outside obligations that can only be handled during the work week. Shell has also started offering subsidized childcare — 80 hours a year plus any time required to help those that have to travel due to work. The company’s changes started rolling out four months ago. “I only wish we’d done it a year-and-a-half earlier,” says Tallant, whose third child is 16 months old. But what about the costs? “We had a conversation about lost productivity early on and the conclusion that we’ve come to is that by working to keep our people happy and enabling them to have that work/life balance they want, we will likely not only up our retention, but also improve morale and help us attract talent going forward. All of these things will result in the kind of diversity that we know from the data makes companies stronger. We’re seeing this already.” Rick Tallant, executive vice president of Gulf of Mexico for Shell / 75

Southe a st louisiana businesses in full color


A look at the all-female team behind Cajun Caviar’s success

From The Lens g r e at wo r k s pac e s

Reclaiming the Past Third generation keeps Ricca’s Architectural Sales going and growing by Melanie Warner Spencer photos by Sara Essex Bradley

Reclaimed lumber, including an impressive number of cypress boards of every size,

stretch the width of the sprawling warehouse at Ricca’s Architectural Sales in Mid-City, along with rows and rows of doors, windows and shutters. In the front, every manner of hardware — think doorknobs, pulls and hinges — is arranged and displayed in the main warehouse, which has also served as a flea market, but most notably in the 1930s was a space to build lifeboats and life jackets for LCVPs — otherwise known as Higgins boats —used in World War II for amphibious landings. “It’s a constant battle to keep it organized and to also keep up with repurposing the material, cleaning it and bringing it back,” says owner Roland Ricca Jr., 31, who inherited the business in 2004 at age 17 after his father, Roland Ricca Sr., died. In 1957, Roland Ricca Jr.’s grandfather, Peter Angelo Ricca, started the store at a space on Broad and Toulouse. Eventually it moved to Iris, then finally landed in its current location at 511 Soloman St., where it has grown to include three warehouses, a mill shop and a brickyard about a block away. There are also three additional storage warehouses.

Roland Ricca Jr. is the third-generation owner of Ricca’s Architectural Sales and Ricca’s Demolishing Corp., in Mid-City. The business was started in 1957 by Roland Ricca Jr.’s grandfather, Peter Angelo Ricca, and later run by Ricca Jr.’s father.

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The stripping room houses three 7-footby-16-foot galvanized steel baths filled with water and the chemicals needed to strip years of paint and grime from old wood.

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Ricca’s salvages everything from wood and architectural elements to fixtures, fencing and wrought iron pieces from homes all over New Orleans. The items are then cleaned, restored and sold.

“My favorite part is the strip outs [of the houses] and finding materials,” says Roland Ricca Jr. “Some houses haven’t been touched since Katrina. It’s a little sad to see, but we are glad we can save it, repurposing, restoring and giving it a new life.” Not only is Ricca’s a third-generation business, but it’s also still a true family business. Roland Ricca Jr. learned the business from his uncle Angelo Ricca, who retired two years ago and who was in partnership with the senior Ricca. Many other members of the family — cousins, aunts and uncles — are still involved in the day-to-day operations, which includes demolition work.

Apart from recently launching a new website and working on ways to do business more effectively, Roland Ricca Jr. focuses on keeping things running smoothly and hasn’t changed much about the company since taking over. The biggest change was a few years ago when he conceived of the idea of a brickyard. “I am really proud of the brickyard and taking an area that was really for storage and make it operational,” says Roland Ricca Jr. Each area, from the stripping room and mill shop to the yard between the two, is bustling with workers — some who have been with the company since Roland Ricca Jr. was a child. / 81

The stripping room houses three 7-foot-by-16-foot galvanized steel baths filled with water and the chemicals needed to strip years of paint and grime from old wood. In the lumber area, a worker puts the finishing touches on a new door made from old cypress. From aluminum casts of antique iron work (gates, fireplace summerfronts, patio sets, hitching posts and lamp posts) to decorative wood brackets and finials made from old cypress, the company can create a reproduction of many architectural items that are getting increasingly hard to find, even by experienced salvage companies like Ricca’s. The yard is a treasure trove of iron gates, sinks, roofing materials, patio furniture, lampposts, metal sculptures and a colossal rusted anchor, for anyone who is in the market for one. “I don’t take credit for any of it,” says Roland Ricca Jr. “My grandfather started this and had the dream and my father and Angelo did it all. It’s nice to see that it’s still growing and getting better. Now me and my cousins and aunts and uncles keep it going. I was thrown into it after my dad passed. I really enjoy it. I can’t see myself doing anything else.” n

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Not only is Ricca’s a third-generation business, but it’s also still a true family business. Roland Ricca Jr. learned the business from his uncle, Angelo Ricca, who retired two years ago and who was in partnership with the senior Ricca. Many other members of the family — cousins, aunts and uncles — are still involved in the day-today operations, which include demolition work.

At a Glance

Ricca Architectural Sales Address: 511 N. Solomon, Mid-City Office completed: Housed in a circa1930s former Higgins boat lifejacket and life raft manufacturing warehouse Square footage: Main warehouse showroom is approximately 1,000 square feet Biggest Challenge: Keeping the inventory organized Standout Feature: Arched, hanger-style architecture / 83

From The Lens w h y d i d n ’ t i t h i n k o f t h at ?

Re-Born on the Bayou The all-female team behind Cajun Caviar is determined to bring attention to the quality, and affordability, of Louisiana caviar. by Ashley McLellan photos by sara essex bradley

Here in Louisiana, we’re known for a

wide array of culinary delights (including everything from boiled crawfish to bananas foster), but one thing you’d never think to put on that list is caviar. Now, three culinary entrepreneurs, Alden Lagasse, Amy Hollister Wilson and Alison VegaKnoll, are determined to change that. In December 2016, the trio took over the Louisiana Caviar Co., a business created more than 30 years ago after local fishermen and processors developed the right methods — copied from master Russian caviar producers — of harvesting roe from the locally abundant choupique, also known as the bowfish. “We have all had experience with the product over the years,” said Vega-Knoll, “but John Burke, the founder of Louisiana Caviar Co., gave us the firsthand knowledge we needed. He brought the product to market back in 1986 and perfected the process over the past 30 years.” The problem has never been with the product, Wilson explained, but more with the fact it had never been marketed. “We had many chefs that had used the product for years, but we wanted to get more chefs tasting it and let the community know about it, develop a website and online presence that it had never had before.” The women rebranded the company as Cajun Caviar and got to work attacking stereotypes.

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Amy Hollister Wilson (a New Orleanian by way of New England) brings together a fascination of the culinary world — having grown up surrounded by a family of restaurateurs — with a master’s degree in business administration from Quinnipiac University. Alison Vega-Knoll is a native New Orleanian who grew up cooking in her family kitchen and went on to become an award-winning chef and restaurateur, along with her husband, Drew, in New Orleans and the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Alden Lagasse is a native Mississippian, born and bred into hospitality, who finetuned her culinary skills after meeting and marrying Chef Emeril Lagasse. / 85

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While many chefs have heard of using bowfin caviar in their dishes and on their menus, Wilson said many others don’t really know what it tastes like. Cajun Caviar’s goal has been to emphasize the local angle and the sustainability of the product, along with its relative affordability ($90 for 5 ounces of traditional Cajun Caviar, $55 for 2 ounces of Spicy Cajun Caviar; $90 for 3 ounces of Paddlefish Cajun Caviar) and top-shelf flavor. “Cajun Caviar is harvested by hand from the fresh waters of the Atchafalaya Basin and processed and packed here locally,” she said. “Our price point is much lower than traditional sturgeon caviars and the quality of our bowfin is higher than any others on the market. This is one of those food products that really must be tasted and experienced. We had chefs that thought bowfin caviar would be muddy and mushy. They are always surprised to taste our product. We do a lot of tastings and we want more chefs and the public to know about it.” Three species of caviar producing fish can be found in the Atchafalaya Basin: the sturgeon, bowfin and paddlefish. The product is harvested by hand from early December through February. Another piece of good news is that Cajun Caviar has less salt than many of its counterparts. The company’s products are preserved with less than 5 percent salt, following in the Russian “Malossol” method, which roughly translates to “little salt.” This process preserves the flavor of the roe and enhances the natural essence. This is yet another reason the product has become a favorite among local chefs like Nina Compton of Compere Lapin, Wilfredo Avelar of Meril and Michael Stolzfus of Coquette, to name a few. A brand new website, which was a priority for the new owners, now provides information on the brand, including salt content and preservation methods, a primer on the basics of bowfish caviar, along with recipes and easy ways to order online and have the product shipped directly to the consumer’s door. In a primarily male-dominated industry, Wilson said the team behind Cajun Caviar has been widely accepted and applauded, both for their business drive and for their presentation of a great product.

“We haven’t really talked about the fact that we are an all female-led company, but we haven’t really had to. Many of the chefs we approach are refreshed to see new faces. We have been overwhelmed by the support of locals, who all just want to see another business succeed.”

What is the company’s favorite way to enjoy Cajun Caviar? “Honestly, we just love it on a mother-of-pearl spoon and with a glass of champagne, of course,” said Amy Hollister Wilson.

Alison Vega-Knoll

Harvested locally from the Atchafalaya basin, Cajun Caviar is available in three varieties: original and spicy bowfin caviar, and paddlefish. All are available locally at Martin Wine Cellar and two Langenstein’s locations, as well as online. / 87

“We haven’t really talked about the fact that we are an all-female-led company,” she said, “but we haven’t really had to. Many of the chefs we approach are refreshed to see new faces. We have been overwhelmed by the support of locals, who all just want to see another business succeed.” While some may stereotype Louisiana cuisine as only hearty, down-home favorites, new trends and products have some chefs working to create more sophisticated, contemporary menus. VegaKnoll said Cajun Caviar is a fit no matter the dish. “We feel like Cajun Caviar is something that is approachable,” Vega-Knoll said. “Its mild, delicate flavor is so versatile, making it perfect for so many different cuisines, not just Louisiana or Creole dishes. It’s a local product that is harvested in the Atchafalaya and packed here in New Orleans. We have the best of the best, right here on our own bayous and waters.” Cajun Caviar is currently available at all Martin Wine Cellar locations in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Mandeville and Metairie, and at Langenstein’s in Old Metairie and River Ridge. Products are also available down the coast at two locations in Destin, Florida (Destin Ice and Destin Ice 30A), as well as online at The team is planning to eventually expand to markets outside Louisiana. “We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service, from helping new clients create menu items with our products to promoting our clients on social media to promptly delivering products on short notice,” Wilson said. “We are grateful for the business and always willing to lend a hand in helping our customers become more successful. We are currently in the process of bringing Cajun Caviar to more national outlets, so stay tuned.” n

Did you know?

The Early Form of Bar Peanuts While in the early 1800s, caviar could be found for free in saloons, which offered up the salty treat to encourage drinking, subsequent overfishing in the United States eventually caused supply to drop and prices to skyrocket. Declared “2018’s most desirable ingredient” by Vogue magazine, the most expensive caviar in the world — according to Guinness World Records — is Almas, prepared from the eggs of a rare albino sturgeon called the Iranian beluga fish. Two pounds, 3 ounces of these eggs are valued at approximately $34,500.

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“Cajun Caviar is harvested by hand from the fresh waters of the Atchafalaya Basin and processed and packed here locally. Our price point is much lower than traditional sturgeon caviars and the quality of our bowfin is higher than any others on the market. ” Alison Vega-Knoll

According to a National Oceananic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 2016 report, caviar sales of 3,203 tons of caviar and roe products were valued at $49.4 million.

a Worldwide affair

International Market Once driven by the Soviet Union and Iran, the market for caviar has swelled with products from Switzerland, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. Source: December 2016 report from Reuters / 89

From The Lens m a k i n g a m atc h: b u s i n e s s e s a n d n o n pro fi t s

Executive Director of Development Kevin Gardere and CEO Else Pedersen in the BH/GH boardroom

A House of Hope Bridge House/Grace House provides a pathway out of addiction for the region’s worst afflicted. by Pamela Marquis photos by cheryl gerber

It was only by the grace of God

that I didn’t kill anyone or myself when I drove home from bars... I gave up hope of ever becoming sober... I decided to drink myself to death…Addiction is a hell I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I was lost and exhausted. These are just a few of the voices of the 23.5 million Americans addicted to alcohol and/or drugs. Fortunately, there’s hope. In New Orleans, there is one organization that has been helping individuals battle addiction for more than 60 years — Bridge House/Grace House (BH / GH).

90 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

When it began as a grassroots effort in 1957 on Camp and Julia streets, BH/GH had only five beds; now it has 154 licensed beds and treats more than 800 individuals every year through a facility for men on Earhart Boulevard and two women’s facilities on Delachaise and Camp streets. “On any given day, when an addict enters through our doors, there is hope because on that day they come to find and begin a new life in recovery and sobriety,” said Else Pedersen, chief executive officer of BH / GH. This organization not only helps addicts, it

also helps the community. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), abuse of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs is costly to our nation, exacting more than $740 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care. “If it wasn’t for us, the city’s problems would be much bigger, said Kevin Gardere, executive director of development. “We offer a safe place to stay, treatment, job training, resources and a strong support system – all without shame or stigma.” “I wasted my youth,” said Andy Trombatore,

who’s been in recovery several years. “I tried to quit so many times, I just couldn’t figure it out. Then, I came to Bridge House and I told them I needed help and they didn’t put me on a waiting list. I began the work right away. I call it Recovery University because I learned so much and grew so much.” BH / GH provides gender-specific, long-term residential treatment to individuals regardless of their ability to pay. Unlike other national recovery programs that rely on federal funds, 85 percent of Bridge House’s funding is self-generated through enterprising outlets such as its two thrift shops (one in Orleans Parish and one in Jefferson Parish). The New Orleans thrift shop location also features a used car lot, full of refurbished donated cars. These programs do more than generate funds, however: they help transition many residents back into the workforce. Along with the organization’s social entrepreneurship, they do what so many nonprofits do, they write grants and solicit donors for contributions. “My job is easy,” said Gardere, “because, not only do I totally believe in what we do, but it’s simply not a hard sell because people understand that addiction is evasive and people want to help in honoring and helping their friends, family and community.” BH / GH also offers a wide variety of fundraising events such as: Cochon Cotillion, Fore! Recovery Invitational, Recycled Fashion Show and the Mr. Legs competition, which features male contestants strutting their stuff in costumes and shorts in order to win the coveted title of “Mr. Legs.” For the past five years, Michael Zarou, an agent with Latter and Blum, has been a prodigious Mr. Legs contestant. He’s won the title twice, came in second three times, and has raised $40,000 for the organization. “I’ve seen and known many people who have graduated from the program, people who are now living successful lives,” he said. “Raising the money for the program is rewarding, and it gives me an opportunity to be a big ham on stage.” BH / GH specializes in working with the most chronic abuse cases, providing thorough counseling and addiction treatment that follows the individual through each stage of their journey. “We know it’s difficult staying sober,” said Pedersen, “so we also help clients with such things as learning how to face the challenges of everyday life, including things like deaths, anniversaries and birthdays. It’s about retraining them to develop

A Good Match



Bridge House/ Grace House Mission: The mission of Bridge House / Grace House is to provide gender-specific treatment to men and women who have become dependent on alcohol or drugs so that they may lead sober and productive lives. Long-term residential services are offered in an atmosphere that promotes dignity, honor and respect. These services are available regardless of one’s ability to pay. Website: Locations: Business Offices 4150 Earhart Boulevard New Orleans, LA 70125 New Orleans Thrift Store 4243 Earhart Boulevard New Orleans, LA 70125 Jefferson Parish Thrift Store 7901 Airline Drive Metairie, LA 70003 Used Car Lot 4243 Earhart Boulevard New Orleans, LA 70125 Current Needs: You can support Bridge House / Grace House in several ways: • Donate to and shop in its thrift stores, which provide nearly 30 percent of the organization’s revenue. • Donate your car to Bridge House / Grace House. • Participate in one or more of the organization’s fundraising events.

(Top to bottom) Bridge House / Grace House Thrift Store; Andy Trombatore at Bokah Bikes; Bridge House Residence.

Have an interest in working with efforts to support sobriety and decrease criminal activity throughout the region. / 91

happy, healthy habits. “It takes a lot of courage to pass through our doors,” she added, “but we are dedicated to rebuilding lives for men and women with honor, dignity and respect. Recovery works!”

Major Fundraising Events Mr. Legs XVIII Tickets: VIP $100 / General Admission $40 In Advance ($50 at the Door)

Success Stories

Else Pedersen, BH / GH CEO. Like many others on the organization’s staff, Else Pedersen was once a Bridge House client. In 1992, after drinking away a thriving business, she found herself unemployed and out of money. After three months of recovery, Pedersen began working for the organization in its thrift shop operations and eventually went on to earn an MBA.

Saturday, July 14, 2018 at Generations Hall from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. More than 15 contestants will compete for the coveted title of Mr. Legs by entertaining the crowd with their costumes and performances set to music. The title is awarded to the contestant who raises the most funds for Bridge House / Grace House. The event includes food, a bar, silent auction and raffle.

Andy Trombatore. “I wasted my youth and ran out of couches,” said Andy Trombatore. “That’s when my sister recommended I come to Bridge House and it became my boarding school.” Trombatore worked the 12-step program and now owns his own business, Bokah Bikes, where he repairs vintage bikes and sells bike supplies and used bikes. He returns often to support clients with their journeys. n

March for Recovery Saturday, September 15, 2018 at Palmer Park at 10 a.m.

By the numbers

treatment that works Pre-treatment

Whether you are in recovery, know someone who is, or simply want to support the recovery process, everyone is invited for a community celebration of this lifelong journey. March for Recovery features inspirational speakers, a memorial ceremony, music, free food and refreshments.

After treatment

100 percent

3.5 percent

of residents reported using drugs or alcohol.

4.5 percent

of men and

of women used drugs or alcohol.

1.8 percent

31.2 percent

of men and

of men and

.9 percent

26.3 percent

of women had employment income.

of women had employment income.

71.4 percent

1.4 percent

of men and

of men and

61.8 percent

.3 percent

of women reported criminal activity.

of women report criminal activity.

28 percent

69 percent

of men and

of men and

30 percent

64 percent

of women had stable housing situations.

of women are in stable housing situations.

9.1 percent

77 percent

of men and

of men and

10.5 percent

70 percent

of women reported having involvement in social/recovery support activities.

of women reported having involvement in social/recovery support activities.

92 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

Fore! Recovery Invitational Tickets: Foursome $1,000 / Individual Player $250 Friday, October 5, 2018 at English Turn Golf & Country Club — 12:30 p.m. tee time

(Top to bottom) The intake, medical exam room and a residential room at Bridge House / Grace House. When the organization began in 1957 it had only five beds, now there are 154 licensed beds and more than 800 individuals are treated every year.

Local businesspeople are invited to take some time off from the busy work week to hit a few strokes, eat some delicious food, and compete for high-end prizes. This scrambleformat golf tournament features lunch (as well as food on the course) drinks, an awards party and auction. / 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 / may 2018 / 95

From The Lens ON T H E J OB

Dairy Duty Back when milk was delivered

to homes in bottles, 3400 Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans was home to the largest dairy in the South — Cloverland Dairy Products. Land for the dairy was purchased in 1921 from its previous owner, Henry Ford, and by 1924 the large, ornate white building was recognizable for the giant milk bottle that stood behind it, which was filled with water used to wash the milk trucks. For decades, until it was sold to Sealtest Dairy in 1950, Cloverland Dairy employed many New Orleanians — both men and women — including Louis Armstrong, who, at age 14, delivered milk from Cloverland from a wagon. Shown here are two women (pictured circa 1930) moving milk bottles into cases. New Orleanians now know the former Cloverland Dairy as a U.S. Post Office. n 96 / Biz New Orleans / may 2018

T he C harles L . F ranck Stud i o Collect i on at T he H i stor i c N ew O rleans Collect i on , 1 979. 3 2 5 . 2 8 4 8