Saints & Pelicans Team President Dennis Lausha: Life in the Big Leagues pg. 68
Short-Term Rentals What You Should Know pg. 62
New Opioid Laws Perspectives from a Pain Medicine Doctor pg. 66
Cres Gardner, VP of Beau Box New Orleans, commercial real estate’s big winner this year
TOP 10 INFLUENCERS New Orleans’ top real estate professionals share what excites and challenges them about the upcoming year. pg. 72
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Publisher Todd Matherne
Editorial Editor-in-Chief Errol Laborde Managing Editor Kimberley Singletary Art Director Sarah George Web Editor Kelly Massicot Assoc. Multimedia News Editor Leslie T. Snadowsky
Contributors Julia Carcamo, Maria Clark, Pamela Marquis, Chris Price, Kim Roberts, Jessica Rosgaard, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, Poppy Tooker, Keith Twitchell, Patrick Waring, Melanie Warner Spencer
Advertising Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan (504) 830-7215 Colleen@BizNewOrleans.com Sales Manager Maegan Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien (504) 830-7219 Maegan@BizNewOrleans.com Senior Account Executive Caitlin Sistrunk (504) 830-7252 Caitlin@BizNewOrleans.com Senior Account Executive Carly Goldman (504) 830-7225 Carly@BizNewOrleans.com
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 Coordinator 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 Award of Excellence Bronze: Best Feature Layout 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 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 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 2016 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.
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features top stories this month
Living the Dream
Top 10 Influencers
Q&A with Dennis Lauscha, president of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans
New Orleansâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; top real estate professionals share what excites and challenges them about the upcoming year.
contents october 2017 | Volume 4 | Issue 1
18 | Editor’s note The State of Real Estate 20 | publisher’s note Time to Give 24 | Calendar 26 | industry news
44 | entertainment
28 | recent openings
Film Fest More Diverse Than Ever:
30 | Events
With a new executive director comes a mission update for the New Orleans Film Society.
46 | entrepreneurship
perspectives 54 | education The Business of Charter Schools: A post-Katrina boom has changed the way children in Southeast Louisiana are educated.
The First Entrepreneur: Who was it? A rundown of the contenders.
from the lens 86 | great workspaces Opening Up: AOS expands its downtown offices, transforming the space into a sleek and functional showroom.
in the biz 38 | dining The Rebirth of Dixie Beer: The New Orleans brew comes home.
40 | tourism Get Your Motor Runnin’: StarBike brings a new twist on vacation rentals and New Orleans dining.
42 | sports Titletown, U.S.A.: Make the leap to Lambeau, Green Bay.
48 | etiquette Mr. Telephone Man: The basics of cellphone use at the office and in meetings.
50 | marketing Lessons From Casinos: Five winning strategies you can adopt today.
58 | healthcare
94 | making a match: businesses and nonprofits
Oh Say Can You See?: Vision problems become more common for those over 40. A look at some of the most common causes of vision loss and local resources that can help.
Hope for the Holidays: With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, now is the perfect time to make plans to join the New Orleans Mission in caring for the least fortunate among us.
62 | law Short-term Rentals: What You Should Know: A look at the rules governing this newly legal income opportunity.
66 | guest viewpoint Louisiana Needed New Opioid Laws: Non-narcotic pain relief options exist, and need to be considered.
104 | on the job Rollin’ Along
on the cover Cres Gardner, VP of Beau Box New Orleans, was the big winner at this year’s CID Achievement Awards, bringing home the Overall Top Producer and F. Poche Waguespack Award as well as Top Landlord Office Lease, Top Tenant Rep Office Lease, Overall Top Office Producer and Highest Volume 1st Time Recipient. Photograph by Romero & Romero photography
On the Web
Beyond the magazine But wait, there’s more! Visit BizNewOrleans.com to watch videos from this month’s issue, including:
The State of Real Estate
ctober is our annual real estate issue and I’m excited to share what we’ve learned from local professionals that live this industry every day — from those working to revitalize neighborhoods and provide affordable housing, to those closing the biggest commercial deals of the year. If you’d like to learn more, I encourage you to attend the 7th annual Economic & Real Estate Forecast Symposium, presented by Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company on Tuesday Oct. 10 from 12:30 to 5 p.m. at Loyola University’s Roussel Hall. At the symposium, top industry experts examine “New Perspectives on the Changing Economy.” Among the guest speakers scheduled this year is the Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research for the National Association of Realtors, Dr. Lawrence Yun. The event will be followed by a business networking social from 5 to 7 p.m. In this issue we’re also excited to have a chat with Saints and Pelicans President, Dennis Lauscha — who, among other things, shares his personal pregame ritual — as well as an interesting piece by Dr. Patrick Waring, founder of the Pain Intervention Center in Metairie, who shares his thoughts on Louisiana’s new opioid laws. Finally, as we look toward the holidays, I encourage you — if you haven’t started already — to begin thinking about how your company will be giving back this year. Every month we profile a different nonprofit in need of your assistance in our “Making a Match” feature. This month it’s the New Orleans Mission, a very worthy cause indeed and a great way to get employees out in the community and making an immediate difference in the lives of others. Happy Reading,
Helping Hands for Harvey On Sept. 5 and 6, Second Harvest Food Bank’s Community Kitchen brought together a group of local chefs and volunteers to its 8,500-square-foot production kitchen in Harahan to prepare food for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. For information on how you can help, visit no-hunger.org
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Time to Give
s we roll into October and look back on the events of the past months, there is a great need for support for those who’ve lost so much. I find myself actively giving to charities and people more than ever. With the disastrous events occurring so close to home, and looking around at some of the biggest problems New Orleans is facing, it seems that help is needed everywhere. So now is our time to step up to the plate and give back for all that we received 12 years ago. I’ve nicknamed October 2017, “Donation Month.” This month, focus on supporting a cause, lending a hand and helping someone in need. Whether through financial or human capital, you can make a difference in various and creative ways according to your distinct style and passion. Here at Renaissance Publishing, we have formed a foundation — Renaissance Foundation — to give back via company events. You will begin to see our events with a new logo and tag line, “A Renaissance Foundation Event.” We host nearly 50 events a year, and now ticket proceeds will go to help a deserving cause. To me, giving is rewarding, so this month reward yourself and give. Todd Matherne
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Meet the Sales Team
Maegan Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien Sales Manager (504) 830-7219 Maegan@BizNewOrleans.com
Caitlin Sistrunk Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7252 Caitlin@BizNewOrleans.com
Carly Goldman Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7225 Carly@BizNewOrleans.com
Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales (504) 830-7215 Colleen@BizNewOrleans.com
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New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Alliance 5 to 7 p.m. Ruby Slipper 2802 Magazine St. NewOrleansChamber.org
New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Networking Event 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Central City BBQ 1201 S. Rampart St. NewOrleansChamber.org
Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Mayoral Luncheon 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Hilton New Orleans Airport 901 Airline Hwy., Kenner JeffersonChamber.org
Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Chamber 101 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. 3421 N. Causeway Blvd., Suite 203, Metairie JeffersonChamber.org
St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce 5th Blues, Brews and BBQ in da Parish 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Docville Farm 5124 E. St. Bernard Hwy, Violet StBernardChamber.org
ABWA Crescent City Connections Monthly Luncheon Featuring Dima Ghawi, motivational speaker and leadership coach 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ralph Brennan’s Heritage Grill ABWANewOrleans.org
11 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Power Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1515 Poydras St. 5th Floor Auditorium NewOrleansChamber.org
11 Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Lunch & Learn Series: What Keeps You Up At Night? 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Colmex Construction 4334 Earhart Blvd., New Orleans HCCL.biz
12 St. Bernard Parish Economic Development Foundation Grow St. Bernard Lunch & Learn Series Master Your Presentation! Learn Some Tips and Public Speaking Strategies Nunez Community College Entrepreneur Center Second floor, Computer Lab 218 SBEDF.org
25 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Prosper Jefferson Seminar Series: Customer Service 9 to 10:30 a.m. JEDCO Conference Center 700 Churchill Pkwy., Avondale JeffersonChamber.org
27 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Business & Breakfast 7:45 to 9:45 a.m. Copeland’s of New Orleans 1319 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner JeffersonChamber.org
30-Nov. 3 World Trade Center New Orleans Louisiana International Trade Week & Jubilee WTCNO.org
16 St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce Louisiana Economic Outlook 2018/2019 Featuring Dr. Loren C. Scott 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Northshore Harbor Center 100 Harbor Center Blvd., Slidell StTammanyChamber.org
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For a more complete list of events visit BizNewOrleans.com. We’d love to include your business-related event in next month’s calendar. Please email details to Editorial@BizNewOrleans.com.
Close your next deal at one of these business-friendly bistros.
Riccobono’s Peppermill Restaurant
3524 Severn Ave., Metairie • (504) 455-2266 riccobonospeppermill.com
746 Tchoupitoulas St. • (504) 581-1103 tommysneworleans.com
Enjoy The flavors of Germany the whole month of October. Dinner only... German wines, beers and authentic cuisine. Wiener Schnitzel, Wiener a la Holstein, Sauerbraten, Bratwurst and more! 3-9 Wednesday –Saturday
Tommy’s Cuisine is a locally-owned and operated restaurant located in the Warehouse District. Famous for its inspired upscale Creole-Italian cuisine, all perfectly served in an old-world atmosphere, Tommy’s has been the place to meet, eat, and drink for over a decade. Experience a world-class wine menu along with the finest dishes in the city at Tommy’s Cuisine.
Sala Restaurant + Bar
124 Lake Marina Avenue • (504) 513-2670 salanola.com
601 Poydras St Suite B, New Orleans • (504) 608-3474 servingsushi.com/neworleans
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, halfpriced draft beers and $3 off other wines and sparkling by the glass.
With the opening of Tsunami in the Pan American Building, edible art has come to the CBD! Talented, trendsetting chefs serve up fresh and diverse sushi rolls, nigiri and sashimi along with mouth-watering grilled fish, steaks and top shelf creations to round out the menu. Open all day MonSat, plus Saints Game Sundays!
New at MSY
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to Reach 150 Daily Departures by Spring British Airways, Spirit Airlines and Southwest Airlines will all be adding new flights at MSY in the coming months, bringing the airport’s total to 59 nonstop destinations and approximately 150 daily departures this coming April. Starting in October —British Airways will add a fifth day to its non-stop route to London. Education
UNO Sees Largest Increase In Undergraduates in 8 Years The fall 2017 semester at the University of New Orleans has brought a 15 percent increase in enrollment of new freshmen and graduate students — the best year-to-year percentage change in enrollment at the university in eight years. “These enrollment figures indicate strong progress in reversing a far too long history of declines,” said President John Nicklow. “It means we are nearly stabilized and poised for future growth.”
People Making Headlines
EO Louisiana Names Entrepreneur of the Year
New CEO St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce
At its annual meeting on Aug. 25, EO Louisiana honored Erik Frank, president of Your Nutrition Delivered, with this year’s Marshall Klein Award for Entrepreneur of the Year. The award was created in 2006 to honor one of the organization’s past members, Marshall Klein, who was president and CEO of Mandeville-based iBusiness.com before his death in 2004.
Cathy Juarez has been named the new CEO of the St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce. Most recently the director of admissions for Archbishop Chapelle High School, Juarez also previously worked for Visit Baton Rouge and the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau. She has already crafted a 100-day action plan, citing that community involvement is one of her biggest passions.
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November — Spirit Airlines will add four nonstop routes to New Orleans from Boston; Newwark, New Jersey; Minneapolis/ St. Paul and Tampa. April 2018 — Southwest Airlines will add its first international flight from New Orleans to Cancun.
LABI Free Enterprise Awards Nominations are due by October 15 for LABI’s Free Enterprise Awards, an annual event designed to honor LABI member businesses who demonstrate exemplary commitment and contributions to Louisiana’s business climate and play an integral role in their local communities’ growth and sustainability. Award winners will be recognized at a ceremony on Nov. 16.
International customers have a taste for New Orleans cuisine. Yes, there can be logistics and regulatory challenges, but for Louisiana companies willing to invest the effort, taking their food products global can result in delicious profits.
Erin Butler, director of U.S. Commercial Service New Orleans — one of the panelists at Going Global: Food and Beverage Export Strategies,” a panel discussion that was co-hosted by JEDCO and the World Trade Center of New Orleans on Sept. 25.
B on Canal B on Canal, the latest hotel from national brand B Hotels & Resorts, is set to open in the first quarter of 2018 at 1300 Canal St. The hotel will include 157 guestrooms and suites, full service food and beverage options including a signature restaurant and bar, along with 1,600 square feet of banquet and meeting space boasting city views.
Alder Hotel Following a two-year renovation, the historic Bristow Tower next to Ochsner Baptist opened at the Alder Hotel on Sept. 12. The mid-century modern-style 90-room hotel at 4545 Magnolia St. is owned by the Valentino Hotel Group of New Orleans, along with the Place d’Armes Hotel, Prince Conti, Hotel St. Marie, French Market Inn and the Lafayette Hotel.
Hancock Whitney Center In 2018 Whitney Bank will relocate its regional headquarters at 228 St. Charles Ave. to One Shell Square (701 Poydras St.) The tallest office building in Louisiana is being renamed the Hancock Whitney Center. The bank’s 400 employees will occupy seven floors of the building.
Ochsner Baptist Women’s Clinic In August Ochsner Baptist, a campus of Ochsner Medical Center located at 2700 Napoleon Ave., announced it had opened a new clinic designed to provide urgent obstetric and gynecological services called Ochsner Baptist Women’s WalkIn Care. The clinic offers same-day access to a wide array of female issues with no appointment needed.
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CrescentCare, a nonprofit provider of community-based wellness services for the Greater New Orleans area for more than 30 years, broke ground on a new health center at 1631 Elysian Fields Ave. on August 15. At 65,000 square feet, the new $23 million comprehensive campus will triple the organization’s capacity to provide primary care, pediatric care, dental, HIV services, case management and behavioral services to all in need.
Pin Oak Terminals On August 14, two years after breaking ground, Pin Oak Terminals announced the beginning of operations of a new petroleum liquid storage terminal in the Port of South Louisiana district. Created through a $600 million capital investment, the terminal is expected to create 70 new on-site, full-time and contractor jobs and an additional 81 indirect jobs. At peak construction, the project created 440 construction jobs.
ASI Federal Credit Union ASI Federal Credit Union held the grand opening of its newly designed Mid-City Marketplace branch at 411 N. Carrollton Ave., Suite 3 on August 24. Noting findings from the 2016 National Report Card on Adult Financial Literacy that Louisiana is one of the least financially literate states, the branch is hosting a series of financial workshops for the public. The first of which, “Financial Fitness Bootcamp,” was held Sept. 13.
United Way of Southeast Louisiana- Northshore Flood Recovery Anniversary
AMA New Orleans and New Orleans Chamber “Protecting Your Brand Through a Crisis”
Friday, August 11
Wednesday, August 23
On the former Daily Star property in Hammond — site of last year’s UWSELA flood warehouse — an event was held to honor those that helped with the rebuilding process following last year’s flooding. UWSELA and its partners were responsible for over 1.55 million items distributed, valued at more than $1.4 million and 5,400 hours of volunteer service.
Speakers from Gambel Communications, Sarah Chambless Federer and Renee Lebouef spoke about how to handle crisis communication at this event open to both members and non-members of AMA New Orleans.
1. Jamene Dahmer, Michael Otkins, Kenneth Johnston and Cammie Proctor 2. Michael Williamson 3. Jim Fatic, Daniel Edwards, Beth Lafargue and Tamara Danel
1. Elizabeth Frost, Ashley Falkenstein, Haley Pegg and Dorothy Hills 2. Speakers Renee Lebouef and Sarah Chambless Federer 3. Matt Pruett, Ben Johnson and Brett Napier
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photographs by cheryl gerber
JEDCO 30th Anniversary Celebration
3rd Annual ABWA Leadership Conference
Wednesday, September 13 | Jefferson Performing Arts Center
Thursday, September 14 | NOLA Motorsports
JEDCO celebrated 30 years in business at a free event packed with food, drinks and live music by The Benchwarmers.
The American Business Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Association held its annual leadership conference at NOLA Motorsports this year. The conference included speakers, a panel, an awards ceremony, networking, and kart races.
1. Jay Lapeyre, Henry Shane, Joan Davis and Sen. Conrad Appel 2. Jerry Bologna 3. Mike Yenni, Tom Gennaro and Ryan Daul
1. Amanda Polkey, Shawntele Green and Casey Blasiar 2. Christi Felder, Laura Thomas, Katie Kunstler and Edna Cooper 3. Daya Naef, Desiree Young and Michelle Cullison
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photographs by cheryl gerber
34 Biz October 2017
in the biz Biz columnists speak out
DINING • TOURISM • SPORTS • ENTERTAINMENT • ENTREPRENEURSHIP • ETIQUETTE • MARKETING
Dixie Comes Home The Bensons tackle a new project. More on page 38
In the Biz d i n i ng
The Rebirth of Dixie Beer The New Orleans brew comes home. By Poppy Tooker 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.
o you remember your first cold beer? Tom Benson does. It was a Dixie, but he’s hardly alone in that! Anyone who grew up in New Orleans during the 20th century has their own Dixie beer story to tell. Dixie beer is much like the city itself — a survivor. New Orleans in the 1890s was considered the “Brewing Capital of the South.” Thirty breweries produced sudsy, golden lagers for the thirsty populace. In the late 20th century, Budweiser, Miller and Coors, the industry giants, made it increasingly difficult for small breweries to survive until finally, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina wiped out the city’s last brewery, Dixie Beer. As the city rebuilt after the storm, Tom and Gayle Benson participated in the revitalization through new projects like Benson Tower, the Hornets and Fox 8. Seeing the positive effect each brought to the city, they tasked their management team with finding businesses that perhaps were dwindling or already “ain’t there no more.” As they investigated possibilities, “and we talked with just about everyone you can think of!” says Ben Hales, Benson’s senior vice president of marketing and business development, “one name that kept coming up was Dixie.” After the iconic Tulane Avenue brewery became a casualty of Hurricane Katrina, Dixie beer owners Joseph and Kendra Bruno resorted to contract brewing the product in Wisconsin. But to loyal beer drinkers, it seemed something was missing when it came to taste. Despite flagging quality, brand loyalty remained strong – as strong as the Brunos’
38 Biz October 2017
commitment to Dixie. Kendra Bruno’s family was the original makers of Barq’s Root Beer, so she knew what it was like to see a local product lose its cultural identity, something she and her husband, Joseph, were determined would never happen to Dixie Beer. Over the past decade, the Brunos received over 80 buyout offers, but were not willing to sell. All that changed once they saw the passion for the brand the Bensons brought to the table. It was clear they understood that to New Orleans, Dixie was so much more than just beer. Once the deal was struck, the first priority was to restore the beer’s quality. Luckily, the original 1907 recipe for Dixie had been carefully preserved and Kevin Stuart, Dixie’s longtime brewmaster, was ready and willing to take on the project. He had been
making Dixie on Tulane Avenue for 20 years before Katrina. First the brewing operation was moved from Wisconsin downriver to Memphis, where Kevin meticulously recreated the original taste, but by 2018 the brewery will move home to New Orleans. The first kegs were delivered to local establishments in late July and the reaction was unanimous. Dixie drinkers proclaimed, “This is the beer I fell in love with!” What a wonderful way for an iconic brand to celebrate its 110th anniversary! Today, almost every New Orleans neighborhood has a brewery nearby. Instead of industrial sites, today’s breweries are cozy affairs, most with a tasting room to sample the wares. Outdoor seating areas welcome dogs
and children with casual dining from food trucks or restaurant pop-ups. But where will Dixie fit in the current brewery scene? For over a decade, Avenue Pub owner Polly Watts has been the dynamic force behind the burgeoning craft beer movement in New Orleans. Her carefully curated selection of local and international brews has made the pub a destination location for beer lovers, catering to the best educated of connoisseurs. What’s Watts’ take on Dixie’s rebirth? Both she and her customers are thrilled. “Once upon a time in America, every big city had a brewery making a local lager,” Watts says. “The rebirth of Dixie brings us back to our post-Prohibition place.” She adds that the “vast majority of Americans still prefer a beer with a clean, crisp taste that’s not alcohol packed. Dixie is our version of that. It’s the guilt-free beer to pop after cutting the lawn!” Now is the time to pop the top on a Dixie and toast Tom Benson’s commitment to preserving the history of New Orleans. 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.
In The Biz to u r i sm
Get Your Motor Runnin’ StarBike brings a new twist on vacation rentals and New Orleans dining Jennifer Gibson Schecter
By Jennifer Gibson Schecter
was once a tourist in New Orleans herself and is now proud to call NOLA home. She also writes the Wednesday Tourism Blog on BizNewOrleans.com.
ew Orleans has been an overnight destination since its founding, which means we’ve had nearly 300 years to perfect the hotel stay. From rowdy taverns to modern-day sophistication, this city has met travelers’ needs and even surprised them a time or two. Enter StarBike Café and Guest Quarters, a new addition to both the New Orleans dining and overnight rental scene. One part vacation rental, one part community café, StarBike is a hybrid business in the hospitality and tourism industry with particular appeal for any motorcycle aficionado. Amanda Frank, owner of the establishment, created StarBike with a vision of health, service and fun. “I was on a health kick a few years ago and I had a hard time finding healthy places to eat for breakfast and lunch,” explained Frank. “I also have my love for motorcycles and I kept thinking to myself, ‘Why can’t I do something I love?’ One day I just figured out a way to combine the two and start a motorcycle-influenced café. Based on the property, I was also able to add vacation rentals to the business.” Located at 4737 Tchoupitoulas St. at Bordeaux Street, StarBike is situated near amenities that appeal to a variety of customers. The nearby Rosie’s Jazz Hall brings in wedding guests who need accommodations, the Rouses is an easy place for renters to stock their kitchens and Tchoup 45 bar is a well-regarded watering hole an easy walk away. Not to mention the tasty treats and people
40 Biz October 2017
watching at Hansen’s Sno-Bliz in the summer months. The accommodations at StarBike include four apartments, with a fifth to be added in early 2018. Housing single people or entire families, the property can be rented to suit any tourist’s needs. Frank said she has already had repeat customers in less than a year of operation and is booked for major events like Voodoo Experience and Mardi Gras. The café is scheduled to open for daily breakfast and lunch service in late October. Frank will hire a chef
with a focus on healthy, fun dining options, but is also open to bringing in food trucks for dinner choices and special events. “I want tourists to feel a sense of community,” said Frank. “I want locals to feel comfortable too, and for them to be here to help tourists see and do things in New Orleans outside of the French Quarter and see a different view of the city.” To that end, Frank is happy to provide suggestions of things to do and places to eat, even beyond her own café. Using
her nearly 30 years of motorcycle experience, she also plans to create a map specifically for motorcycle riders for destinations and day trips beyond the immediate New Orleans area. Her love of all things motorcycle has been intertwined with her business model. StarBike, the namesake of her business, was Frank’s first motorcycle and a painting of it adorns an exterior wall. The original gas tank will also serve as part of the interior décor in the café. While StarBike by no means caters specifically to motorcycle enthusiasts, special amenities like secure off-street parking for motorcycles and easy access to the highway are draws. “I’m doing this because it’s something I enjoy and I think we need it,” Frank said. “Not just the motorcycle community, but for all locals and tourists to feel at home at StarBike and in New Orleans.” It’s definitely a passion project for Frank. She quipped, “I want to make enough money so I can stay open, but I’m not looking to become a millionaire.” To book a StarBike rental or learn the latest news about the café, visit starbikenola.com. n
In The Biz sports
Titletown, U.S.A. Make the leap to Lambeau, Green Bay By chris price
Chris Price is an awardwinning journalist and public relations principal. When he’s not writing, he’s avid about music, the outdoors, and Saints, Ole Miss and Chelsea football. Price also authors the Friday Sports Column at BizNewOrleans.com.
anton, Ohio, may be the birthplace of professional football, but Green Bay, Wisconsin, is definitely its spiritual home. Many of the NFL’s iconic moments and legends are Green Bay Packer iconic moments and legends. The city celebrates its team like no other. If you have the chance to follow the Saints later this month for their tilt against the Packers, GO! Even if you can’t make it up for the game, put Green Bay on your sports bucket list. You won’t be disappointed. With a population just north of 105,000, about 250,000 in the metro area and 600,000 in its television market, Green Bay is by far the smallest home city in top-level American professional sports; but it is one of the sporting world’s most respected. Founded in 1919. By Earl “Curly” Lambeau, the team has won a record 13 NFL Championships, including four Super Bowls, and is unique as the only publicly owned team in any of the country’s major professional sports leagues, which makes it the only franchise to release its financial balance sheet every year. “We know we are very blessed to have an NFL franchise,” said Jim Schmitt, Green Bay’s mayor since 2003. “There are cities much larger than us that don’t have the recognition nationally or internationally that we have, and it’s because of the Green Bay Packers. We know that. We never take it for granted.” Homages to the Packers are all over Green Bay, from the Packers Heritage Trail Downtown, which covers the team’s history from the Lambeau through Lombardi eras, to the Oneida Nation Walk of Legends, a display of 24 monuments celebrating Packers history and legends, just outside of Lambeau Field.
42 Biz October 2017
Last year, Forbes estimated the Packers’ market value at $2.35 billion, with revenues of $391 million and an operating income of $101 million. However, financial success wasn’t always in the Packers’ grasp. “The fact that this team has survived in this city is the most remarkable in sports,” said Cliff Christl, the Packers’ official historian. The team had to sell stock thrice to stay solvent, first in 1923, then 1935, and 1950. In 2003, the Packers opened the $295 million Atrium at Lambeau Field to solidify finances by making the stadium a year-round attraction rather than only used 10 times a year on game days. The
Atrium, with a terrazzo floor looks like a football field, is home to the Packers Hall of Fame, ProShop, 1919 brewpub, and fast-food options. With it, the Packers went from among the bottom of league in revenue to the top 10. This fall, the Packers will unveil the Titletown District, a $125 million, 45-acre mixed-use tract across the street from Lambeau. Phase one, anchored by Lodge Kohler, a AAA-rated fourdiamond hotel and spa, Hinterland Brewery & Restaurant, a snow tubing hill, ice skating rink, and athletic field is expected to be completed by Thanksgiving. Lodge Kohler features 144 rooms, including 10 suites, the 6,000 square-
foot Kohler Waters Spa, and Taverne in the Sky, with its panoramic view of Lambeau Field and a sky terrace outside with couches, club chairs, and fire pits to keep warm. A unique feature of Lodge Kohler’s suites is Weber propane grills and concierge service that will provide your choice of meats for cooking right outside your hotel room in the thick of tailgating action. Hinterland owner Bill Tressler slyly grins when someone tells him he’s going to be able to mint money on game day. He relocated to the Titletown District from downtown Green Bay after his brewery reached max production and the Packers shared their idea for the development with him. Hinterland now brews 25 kinds of beer in 15,000 31-gallon barrels each year in a 24,000 square-foot facility split between restaurant and brewery. While Tressler says his heart is in the brewery, the move has meant a greater focus on cuisine. He’s combining some traditional Wisconsin plates with items from the Pacific Rim. He’s anticipating up to 2,000 customers to come inside on game days and many more in the beer garden outside. With 18-hour days preparing for football season, Tressler said the hardest part of the move has been hiring enough workers to meet expected demand. n
In The Biz enterta i nment
Film Fest More Diverse Than Ever With a new executive director comes a mission update for the New Orleans Film Society.
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.
By Kim Singletary
eld October 11 to 19, this year marks the 28th year of the New Orleans Film Festival and it’s a year where you’ll be seeing more diversity than ever before. This will be the first festival to be helmed (Top) This by Fallon Young, who year’s NOFF stepped in this past centerpiece film, February as the new “Mudbound.” executive director of (Bottom) the New Orleans Film Fallon Young became Society. the new executive “Not long after I came director of in, we were doing some the New strategic planning and Orleans Film Society in that included redoing February. our mission statement,” says Young. “We wrote in diversity as a priority and as an organization we’re investing in that focus heavier than ever.” Fifty-three percent of this year’s selections are by female directors and 45 percent are by directors of color — the most diverse lineup in the festival’s history. mixer and head of makeup. If you miss This year’s centerpiece film appears “Mudbound” at the festival, it will be to be the perfect choice — ticking all available on Netflix starting Nov. 17. the boxes. Filmed in and around New “This is a story of racial tension that Orleans, the film takes place during is very timely,” Young says. “It may take World War II and focuses on two place decades ago, but it hits on a lot families — one black and one white — of contemporary issues.” in the middle of the Jim Crow South. The festival continues to grow, seeing It was also directed by a woman, with a 20 percent increase in submissions this women also filling the roles of producer, year over last. Nearly 5,000 entries were writer, cinematographer, editor, sound received from 109 countries, but still 29
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percent of the films being showcased were made in Louisiana. Given recent box office news, the effort to make the festival more diverse makes good business sense. “It’s about reaching a broader audience that’s hungry to see their experiences on screen,” says Young. “Just look at ‘Girls Trip.’” A box office success, the film “Girls Trip” starred an all black female cast
and brought in more than $130 million worldwide this year — the same year another black, female dominated movie, “Hidden Figures,” topped over $229 million worldwide. Then of course there’s “Wonder Woman,” which officially destroyed the Hollywood male, white action star mold and blew away the competition to become the top-selling movie of the summer domestically, grossing over $400 million. With all three of these successes occurring within less than a year, it’s clear that the market for more diverse films that break the usual Hollywood formula for success is there, and it’s far from small. The New Orleans Film Festival is a treasure trove for those looking to see quality films that challenge, inspire and educate that they may otherwise never get a chance to see — whether that’s with a thoughtful documentary on climate change, a film on female boxers in India, or the story of the war for electricity fought between Edison, Westinghouse and Tesla. Tickets for the New Orleans Festival go on sale Oct. 2. For more information, visit NewOrleansFilmFestival.org. n
In The Biz entrepreneu rsh i p
The First Entrepreneur Who was it? A rundown of the contenders. By keith twitchell
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.
his column has recently featured a number of profiles of some of our newest and most interesting entrepreneurs. While I hope our loyal readers have enjoyed these stories, I thought it might be interesting to look at the other end of the timeline this month and pose the question, “Who was the first entrepreneur?” Though there will never be a definitive answer, read on for a look at some candidates and their stories. We’ll start our search in the Bible. Some argue that God was the original entrepreneur, having created the earth by hand. A case could be made for the serpent, who definitely sold Adam and Eve a bill of goods. But I would propose Noah, whose reward for building the ark, and populating it with every animal on the planet, was to have the whole world for himself and his family once the flood waters receded. According to the Bible, he promptly planted a vineyard, which gets him some bonus points. All very impressive for and given it to humans. Not King Croesus a 600-year-old man! only is the ability to cook and of Lydia — Thinking more along evolu- credited with eat meat considered to have issuing the tionary lines, probably the real first true gold been the catalyst for major first entrepreneur was some evolutionary advances in our coins with a standardized proto-human who managed species, Prometheus’ gift of fire purity for to knock off two animals sparked the entire restaurant general circulation. in one day’s hunt. With no industry. freezer available back then, Sticking with Greek myththis enterprising individual traded the ology, another candidate would be spare carcass for a couple of spears and Procrustes. This son of the sea god a cooking pot, thereby establishing Poseidon had a palace in a choice location the barter system. along the sacred road from Athens to Speaking of cooking, the titan Eleusis. Limited to one bed, Procrustes Prometheus deserves a place on our nonetheless welcomed visitors to spend list for having stolen fire from the gods the night. The catch was that if they were
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too short for the bed, he would stretch them to fit; and if they were too tall, he would cut off their feet. Procrustes’ run as an innovative hotelier was put to an end by the hero Theseus, who wrote a terrible review of his palace in the 11th century BC equivalent to TripAdvisor. One final hospitality industry note: if prostitution is the oldest profession, the first prostitute could certainly lay claim to being the first entrepreneur. Though the barter system has not disappeared completely, most entrepreneurs today operate on a cash basis, thus a key progenitor of entrepreneurship was King Croesus of Lydia — credited
with inventing money. Not surprisingly, this made him very wealthy, hence the still-used phrase “rich as Croesus.” Marco Polo, and his father, Niccolo, are often cited as the first global entrepreneurs. Not only did they envision — and to no small degree launch — a vast trade network from western Europe to eastern Asia, Marco’s famous writings inspired countless others. Among them was Christopher Columbus (himself quite the entrepreneur), who found the American continent while searching for a western trade route to India. Indians were of course the first American entrepreneurs. Though much maligned for selling Manhattan to the Dutch for the equivalent of $24, in retrospect they may well have gotten the better end of that deal. I personally have to give a shoutout to whomever sold the first oyster. Getting anyone to pay anything for a gray, gelatinous bivalve strikes me as epic entrepreneurship. The history of entrepreneurship is replete with creative, innovative firsts. What makes entrepreneurism truly remarkable is that enterprising individuals are still breaking new ground. Next month we’ll get back to the more recent end of the entrepreneurial timeline. n
In The Biz et i q u ette
Mr. Telephone Man The basics of cellphone use at the office and in meetings Melanie Warner Spencer is
By Melanie Warner Spencer
editor of New Orleans Bride and New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles and managing editor of Louisiana Life and Acadiana Profile. Spencer’s ever-expanding library of etiquette books is rivaled only by her ever-ready stash of blank thank-you notes. Submit business etiquette questions to Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.
hile not ideal, it’s generally acceptable to have laptops and cellphones out during a presentation at a conference (but not in the conference room). It’s of course considered a rule of thumb, however, to turn off alerts and other sound effects. This is just one of many cellphone etiquette points to consider when at the office, in meetings or during conference presentations and workshops. This month I will dispel any ambiguity about when, where and how to use this essential business tool.
At your desk: Whether you have a private office or a shared space, turn off your phone’s ringer. If possible, use silent mode without vibration. Even a faint buzz can be a distraction to coworkers with sensitive ears. If you are expecting an important call, simply keep it in a spot where you will see it light up. Also, remember to take personal calls outside a shared office space and into a private or outdoor area where your conversation won’t interrupt work and those around you can’t overhear personal details. When face-to-face: It’s important in all of our interpersonal relationships, not just those in our business life, to give the people in front of us our undivided attention. When communicating in person at work, either leave your phone at your desk or in your pocket. This eliminates the temptation to glance at it, text or take a call in the middle of a conversation. If caught off guard
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Simply state, “My apologies in advance, but I’m awaiting an important call that couldn’t be rescheduled and I may have to step out during the meeting.” Excuse yourself quietly and with as little disruption as possible, keep your absence brief and return with the same lack of commotion. This courtesy notice goes a long way, but don’t abuse it by using it every time you are in a meeting. Use the same strategy if you are awaiting an urgent text or email. Leave, answer it and come back.
with phone in hand, at least follow the advice of Peter Post, managing director of the Emily Post Institute, who writes in his Boston Globe column, “Act in a way that both solves the situation and is best for the relationship between the people involved. Sometimes that is hard to do. If I am talking to you, I know I’ll want to answer my cellphone if it rings, but the better choice, the harder choice for me, is to send the call to voicemail so I continue to focus on you and our interaction.” During meetings: Cellphones on the table during meetings is unfortunately
becoming the norm. I encourage you to fight this trend in an effort to stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s a formal meeting around the conference table, a casual lunch meeting, or something in-between, cellphones should be left in your office or tucked away in a pocket or purse. By having it out, you are potentially sending an unwanted message that you aren’t invested in the people or subject matter in front of you. There is an exception to the rule: if you truly are awaiting an urgent call or message. If so, inform the other party or parties. It isn’t necessary to go into specifics.
Cellphones have revolutionized the way we do business, but if used unwisely, they can do more harm than good. Keep these simple rules in mind when using yours and enjoy the all-too-rare opportunity to focus on the person or people in front of you. The benefits of deeper communication are sure to outweigh the instant gratification of immediately responding to a text, email or call that most likely can wait until you are free. The added bonus is that later you can turn your full attention to the person on the other end of that communiqué and avoid a potentially costly text or email faux pas. n
illustration by jason raish
In The Biz market i ng
Lessons From Casinos Five winning strategies you can adopt today. By Julia carcamo
Julia Carcamo is president
and chief brand strategist at J Carcamo & Associates, specializing in brand and marketing strategy. She is also the co-founder of espNOLA, a Hispanic marketing and engagement agency. Learn more at jcarcamoassociates.com and espnola.com.
ne of my favorite things to talk about is strategy, specifically marketing strategy. A solid strategy unveils a path to success because it identifies where you want to end up. It differs from your marketing plan, which is the collection of steps you’ll take on that path and the tools you’ll need to get further.
Database Marketing. Like any other business, casinos compete for the disposable dollars of adults, specifically disposable dollars that adults may choose to use for entertainment. Casino marketers are asking for a not-so-insignificant part of that entertainment budget. While a trip to the movies with popcorn and soda could easily top $50 for two people, casinos are looking for that amount from one adult. So, how they identify and target is worth a look. In my opinion, few companies leverage a database quite like a casino. They have been collecting information about customers for years and are now able to leverage that information to determine who the most valuable customers are today and will be tomorrow. They have learned to understand the triggers that drive visits during targeted times. And, given the explosion of technology, they continue to use snail mail in successful ways. You can do this too! CRM and sales tools abound, from free starters great for small businesses to rock star business intelligence tools.
Personalization. Today’s casino host is part salesperson, part customer service representative. The
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primary functions of the casino host are to create experiences for high-worth customers by providing the complimentary perks that make their visit truly personal. At the core of this function is the understanding that casino customers (indeed all of us) want the businesses we patronize to know who we are and what we like. The lesson here? It’s the little touches that matter.
A Chance to Win. Ever wonder what makes people buy lottery tickets when the odds are stacked against them? Psychologists will tell you that our brains can’t really compute probabilities that are that high. They might also argue we mere humans fall into a trap of “near miss.” In other words, “If I was that close this time, I could be the winner next time.”
But what about freebies? When 7-Eleven gives away free Slurpees, people line up by the hundreds and thousands. Whether it be free or a gamble, people want a chance to win something. Casinos understand this and build calendars of events that use drawings, free spins and tournaments to create multiple chances to win.
Value. Anyone with a dollar to spend wants to feel they are getting something of value for that dollar. Casinos understand pricing and value like few other businesses. Thousands of focus groups have repeated the same feeling. Gamblers know the odds of winning are not in their favor, but they want to be able to play a sufficient amount of time with the budget they have. That’s how they interpret value on the casino floor. Additionally, casinos
price certain food venues to appeal to that need for value. Value is not a dollar amount; it’s the relationship to your customer’s wallet. As you look at your offerings and customer experience, think about those moments you add value and where you take it away. Sometimes, something as easy as using a POS system that easily emails a receipt can add value to a checkout.
Community. Let’s be honest, when casinos came to the area, many looked forward to the fun and excitement but few really believed the operations would enhance the community. At the last company I worked for, employees performed over 14,000 hours of community service in only one year. Perform a simple search on the American Gaming Association site and you’ll see example after example of how the communities were enriched by the hard work of casino employees. The message here is simple: get involved. There are too many needs, and I bet that given the opportunity, your employees would love to join together and do some good.n
perspectives hot topics in southeast Louisiana industries
education • healthcare • law • GUEST VIEWPOINT
Oh Say Can You See? A look at common vision problems for those over 40 More on page 58
Perspectives ed u cat i on
The Business of Charter Schools A post-Katrina boom has changed the way children in Southeast Louisiana are educated.
Start a Charter School
By Kim Roberts
In Louisiana, charter schools may be approved by local school boards or the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).
ince Hurricane Katrina — a starting point for a lot of things in New Orleans — charter schools have exploded throughout the city, popping up in one neighborhood after the next. Essentially public schools that are independently run, charter schools are granted more flexibility in terms of operations but are held to different accountability and benchmark levels. The term “charter” refers to the terms that each school agrees to in their performance contract, which details the school’s mission, program, students served, performance goals and methods of assessment. In the broadest sense, charter schools are really public schools that are chosen, meaning that parents choose a particular school for their children other than just attending the school in the neighborhood. According to the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, charter schools operate with freedom from some of the regulations that are imposed upon local district schools. They are accountable for the same academic results as traditional district schools, and for upholding the promises made in their charters. Additionally, these schools must demonstrate performance in academic achievement, financial management and organizational stability. If a charter school does not meet performance goals, it may be closed. As a public school, charters do not charge fees for attendance; instead, each is funded according to enrollment levels and receives public funds on a per-pupil basis. Charters are entitled to federal categorical funding for which their students are eligible, such as Title I and special education money.
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“Before Katrina, there were a handful of charter schools in Orleans Parish, and it has grown and mushroomed from there,” says Ken Ducote, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Collaborative of Charter Schools (GNOCCS). “At first there were regular charter schools, then the state had a few school takeovers that were faltering and they chartered those.” Ducote says that Greater New Orleans schools were struggling with a lot of confusion pre-Katrina. “There were 12 superintendents, no consistency and the decisions being made were moving further away from the school,” he said.
“After Katrina…all of the political indications pointed to the schools not reopening anytime soon, so school leaders got together and got organized and utilized the charter system to rebuild the schools and the community,” he says. “Chartering was a way to get things to happen in a timely fashion so the students could get back to school.” Since charter schools are public schools, they receive their funding through the Minimum Foundation program in the same way the state distributes public funds to all kindergarten through 12th grade public school programs, on a per-student basis. Also, like other public schools in Louisiana, charter schools must
The Louisiana Department of Education publishes on its website a set of common eligibility requirements that charter school applicants must complete in order to be considered for opening a charter school in the state, along with the common charter school application. Local school boards may elect to impose additional eligibility requirements, which must be published on their websites. Charter school applicants may submit their application to one or more authorizers. For more information on the charter application process and relevant deadlines, please visit the Louisiana Department of Education website at louisianabelieves.com.
comply with state laws governing public entities, including the Code of Ethics, Open Meetings Law, Local Government Budget Act, Public Records Act and Public Bid Law. Charter schools must also comply with policies set by their authorizer. Like other public schools in Louisiana, charter schools receive letter grades through the state accountability system and take the same state tests. Unlike other public schools, however, a charter school may be closed by its authorizers if it does not meet its academic, financial and operational obligations by the end of its charter contract (usually five years). “Charters have the ability to be more specialized; for example a school can focus on STEM, foreign languages, international business, public service or leadership,” Ducote says. “There is a parish in Louisiana that has a charter school specifically for students with dyslexia. Charter schools have the ability to look at the underserved community and help them out through a new, fresh approach. There is autonomy in the curriculum.” Kathy Reidlinger, CEO of Lusher Charter School, says there are no public schools in New Orleans any more, only charter schools. “After Katrina, little by little, all the schools converted to the charter system,” she said. “Charter schools do not always have a traditional office staff, they operate under new policies to meet the needs of their students. Most have their own nonprofit boards that govern.” The change, she says, has been a positive one. “Since the implementation of charter schools, we are seeing more public and community involvement in schools,” she said. “Achievement test scores are up and there is more accountability because of the governing board. There are good school choices for parents to send their kids to in New Orleans, and it will just continue to get better. New Orleans has done a remarkable job of creating places for students to go to school, and the momentum will keep going to continue to bring quality education to the students of our city.” While tuition is not charged to attend a charter school, parents may be asked to pay for school uniforms, school supplies, extracurricular activities, enrichment or supplemental fees and before and after school care. “For us, the biggest reason we became a charter was as a response to an emergency — Katrina — and knowing we would not reopen if we did not do something,” says Ben Franklin High School Administrative Director Lynn Jenkins. “As far as schools go, a one-size-fits-all model was not working in this city anymore and charters were the way
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There are good school choices for parents to send their kids to in New Orleans, and it will just continue to get better.
Kathy Reidlinger, CEO of Lusher Charter School
to go to help the students. Now we have the ability to have niches and to better serve the community.” Jenkins adds that charter schools provide more transparency in the education system and more accountability. “This is a matter of necessity and allows us to focus without all the bureaucracy,” she says. “It’s hard work to become a charter school. It’s a business and you have to pay attention to budgets and payroll and manage
the federal money that is received, as well as have a CFO on staff. You always have to know what is going on in the school on the business side and be accountable. But, we are still governed by state laws and there are layers of rules and regulations that have to be followed to maintain our charter. Overall, we feel a commitment to the community and we believe that we can help any student that comes in, and meets our criteria, to find a place in our school.” n
Who Attends Charters in Louisiana? Charter school students have similar demographic characteristics to students in all public schools in Louisiana, but charter schools serve a larger percentage of economically disadvantaged students and black students. Economically Special Ed Disadvantaged
Asian Black Hispanic White Multiracial Charters
*Data is based on 2015 student enrollment counts from the Louisiana Department of Education.
Oh Say Can You See?
By the Numbers
Vision problems in the U.S.
Vision problems become more common for those over 40. A look at some of the most common causes of vision loss and local resources that can help.
14 million Americans age 12 and older have self-reported visual impairment (defined as distance visual acuity of 20/50 or worse).
By Maria Clark
3.4 million (3%) Americans age 40 and older are either blind (having visual acuity [VA] of 20/200 or less or a visual field of less than 20 degrees) or are visually impaired (VA of 20/40 or less).
ver had to hold a menu out at arm’s length? Struggled to read small print? Among the many changes people typically notice as they age are changes in vision, the most common being something called presbyopia — problems seeing clearly at close distances. While presbyopia is nothing serious — likely requiring nothing more than maybe switching to bifocals or picking up a pair of cheap reading glasses — there are more serious eye conditions that can threaten vision in older adults. For this reason, it’s recommended that those over 40 make sure to schedule a comprehensive eye exam at least every two years. There are four leading causes for vision loss as people age. The first is age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of severe vision loss in those over the age of 50. This condition results in blurred vision or no central vision, which can make it hard to recognize faces, drive or perform other activities of daily life. Another common problem is glaucoma, which is actually a group of ailments that occur due to pressure buildup within the eye, which can lead to damage to the optic nerve. The condition affects nearly 2.2 million Americans over the age of 40. Diabetic retinopathy, also known as diabetic eye disease, is a condition caused by diabetes that can lead to damage to the retina. Symptoms include loss of central vision, blurry vision and holes or black spots in vision. The most common eye condition for people age 40 and older is cataracts, which affect
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1.6 million Americans 50 and older have agerelated macular degeneration.
5.3 million (about 2.5% of all people) age 18 and older have diabetic retinopathy.
20.5 million people (about 16% of Americans) age 40 and older have cataracts.
2.2 million Americans age 40 and older have glaucoma.
about 20.5 million Americans according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “At age 40 the lens in the eye starts to get firmer, making it harder to see objects distant and near,” said Dr. Delmar Caldwell, director of the Department of Ophthalmology at Tulane University. The condition can also cause patients to stop seeing shades of blue, which means they must be especially careful driving at sunset and sunrise. Treatment for cataracts has advanced significantly over the years, with cataract surgery becoming focused on providing
the lens with more flexibility, resulting in improved vision. “The technology has improved tremendously from what it used to be,” said Dr. Ron Landry, director of Eyecare Associates in Metairie. The center employs ophthalmologists and optometrists and offers a wide range of clinical and surgical procedures for eye care. In the past, patients have had to wait until a cataract was advanced to the point of near blindness to have surgery, which required general anesthesia. Now, cataract surgery only requires localized anesthetic and is normally an outpatient procedure.
50% of an estimated 61 million adults in the United States who are classified as being at high risk for serious vision loss visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Numbers are based on data from NHANES, NHIS and a compilation of populationbased studies.)
“I can say many people come to us It is recommended nearly as soon as “For example, we train some people feeling hopeless because we are wired to cataracts begin to affect general activity so that they can see around the spots use our vision,” said Heck. “The reality and offers an almost 99 percent success in their vision,” said Heck. “When we is we were designed to get information rate, according to Landry. are born, our brain chooses to take in “People are living longer and living images through our central vision. from all of our senses.” Deborah Barrett, an occupational much more actively,” he said. “They When we lose it, our brains pick a therapist at Lighthouse for the Blind, rely so much on their eyesight that second point, and we train people to says her clients suffer from different when it starts to fail them they are focus on it.” degrees of vision loss, and range from much more proactive about having it The training is not a procedure but toddlers to a patient who at 103 years remedied if possible.” more like physical therapy, she says. of age learned to use a CCT reader, For New Orleanians struggling with Additionally, the organization is up to a video magnification aid to help her vision loss, Lighthouse for the Blind date with a variety of mobile apps and read the newspaper. can be an invaluable resource. This gadgets that make simple activities a lot New technology is constantly being nonprofit organization, based Uptown easier, such as Tap Tap See, a mobile developed to aid those suffering from near Children’s Hospital, serves patients application that uses any smartphone vision loss. Therapists at the Lighthouse of all ages, as well as provides in-services camera to photograph and audibly for the Blind work with patients to at several nursing homes, including identify items for the user. help them use devices that aid with Poydras House. basic tasks such as the EZ Pour, a Jenice Heck is vice president device that connects to the top of of vision rehabilitation services a mug and beeps when the liquid at Lighthouse for the Blind. The is an inch from spilling. organization provides a range “It’s simple devices like this of services from the point of At age 40 the lens in the that take away the frustration diagnosis to offering ways to eye starts to get firmer, of being visually impaired,” said help retain independence. Loss making it harder to see Barrett. “If I can give a patient of central vision is a common objects distant and near. one thing that they are able to symptom among several of their do when I leave, it gives them patients. a renewed sense of hope. I have At Lighthouse’s low-vision seen them open up and grow from clinic, occupational therapists just a small change.” n help patients train to use their Dr. Delmar Caldwell, director of the Department secondary vision. of Ophthalmology at Tulane University
The following symptoms could be the early warning signs of a serous eye health problem:
Seeing floaters and flashes. Occasionally, you may see spots or floaters in your eyes. In most cases, these are shadowy images
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Top Mobile Apps for the Visually Impaired BARD Mobile: Offers over 80,000 books, magazines and music scores in braille and audio format Nant Mobile Money Reader: Instantly recognizes currency and speaks the denomination Tap Tap See: Photographs the items and audibly tells the user what the item is VO Tutorial: VoiceOver Tutorial provides an overview of how to use iOS using Voice Over Visor (electronic magnifier): Also known as CCT or a video magnifier, it allows the user to magnify text to help them read Around Me: Allows users to quickly find information about their surroundings
Warning Signs to Watch For
Fluctuating vision. Frequent changes in how clearly you can see may be a sign of diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure). These chronic conditions can damage the tiny blood vessels in the retina, the lightsensitive layer at the back of the eye. This vision loss can sometimes be permanent.
of particles floating in the fluid that fills the inside of the eye. Although they can be bothersome, spots and floaters typically don’t harm vision. They are a natural part of the eye’s aging process. But if you suddenly see more floaters than normal, along with bright, flashing lights, see your optometrist immediately. This could be a sign that you have a tear in your retina, and it could detach. This should
be treated immediately to prevent serious loss of vision. Loss of side vision. Losing peripheral or side vision may be a sign of glaucoma. Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged and no longer transmits all visual images to the brain. It often has no symptoms until damage to your vision has begun. Seeing distorted images. Straight lines that appear distorted or wavy or an empty area in the center of
your vision could be signs of age-related macular degeneration. The disease affects the macula, which is the part of your retina that is responsible for central vision. The disease causes a blind spot in the middle of your field of vision. Regular eye examinations and early diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases can help you preserve good vision throughout your life. Source: American Optometric Association – AOA.org
Blindfold Games: Fully accessible games with audio cues for the visually impaired KNFB Reader: Take a picture of a document and the app will read the print Color ID Free: Color identifier uses a smartphone to identify colors Goggles: Enables users to make searches using pictures Source: the staff at Lighthouse for the Blind
Short-term Rentals: What You Should Know A look at the rules governing this newly legal income opportunity. By Jessica Rosgaard
t’s a debate that pits neighbor against neighbor — literally. “I have not talked to many people who are not hosts, who are not making money from it, who really like Airbnb,” says Andrew Legrand, founder of Spera Law, a firm focusing on small businesses. And while the existence of short-term rentals isn’t historically new to New Orleans, advances in technology have made the practice of advertising, scheduling and operating a short-term rental widely accessible. The number of short-term rental hosts in New Orleans grew rapidly starting around 2010. By the end of 2015, Airbnb estimated it had about 2,400 hosts in New Orleans. Residents complained about excessive partying and the loss of their neighborhoods, while concerns grew about the impact on the city’s limited residential market. “The city government started having discussions in 2015 and that generated proposals for ordinances,” says David Groome, partner at Deutsch Kerrigan. “There was the idea that stuff like this had to be regulated, or it was going to be pushed underground — so why not regulate, tax it and control it?” In December 2016, the New Orleans City Council passed a series of zoning ordinances to establish rules, regulations and taxation of short-term rentals. Before the new ordinance went into effect on April 1, 2017, short-term rentals in New Orleans weren’t just unregulated, they were illegal. Legrand sees the new ordinance as an expansion, rather than a restriction. “The ordinance that the council passed in the spring actually made the rules broader,
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a little help
The Host Local company offers tailored services specifically for short-term rentals. For those looking to jump into the shortterm rental business, local entrepreneur Brittney Greene runs a company called The Host designed to make your life easier. The company offers everything from how to get started, help with licensing and getting online, to a designer to furnish a rental and service providers for maintenance, housekeeping and lawn care. For a fee of $35 per reservation, owners also have the option of offering their renters access to a guest concierge who will meet them at the unit and help plan all the activities during their trip. For more information, visit TheHost.com.
allowing the activity that was disallowed before,” Legrand said.
Three Types of Short-Term Rentals The ordinance divides short-term rentals (STRs) into three categories: accessory, temporary (for residential properties) and commercial. For each one, the owner must obtain the appropriate license — which comes with different rules and fees. An accessory STR is one where the owner lives on the property full-time and rents out a spare bedroom, or, for example, the other side of their double. There is no limit to the number of nights you can rent out the space, but there are other restrictions. “You can’t rent out more than three bedrooms, and you can’t have more than two people in each bedroom, or a maximum of six people for the rental,” says Yvonne Chalker, a real estate lawyer with Elkins PLC.
“The basic idea is that if you’re the landlord, if you’re the owner of the property, you’re going to be there all the time, watching over your guests and hopefully being a responsible host,” adds Legrand. For a temporary STR, the owner does not need to be on the premises while a guest rents out the house. You can rent out up to five bedrooms with a limit of two guests per bedroom, or up to 10 people for the property. The catch is that a temporary STR can only be rented for a maximum of 90 nights per year. This limitation prohibits investors from buying residentially zoned properties and running them solely as short-term rentals — responding to a concern of homeowners in especially popular neighborhoods like the Marigny and Bywater. “That was certainly the intent of the ordinance, to help preserve neighborhoods,” says Chalker. “They’re trying to strike a balance between the ability of property owners to use their property in a way they see fit and, in
aÂŠ ic er tion m A ia in ed rs n M e i wy 17 La 20 st 12e B 20
Things to Consider
some instances, could supplement their income, but to balance that with the concerns of the residents that don’t want their neighborhoods to turn into hotel districts.” The third category is a commercial STR — unrestricted by the number of units or nights rented, the property has to be in a commercially zoned area. For example, “If you’re a property owner and you have an apartment building with 20 units, and it’s in the CBD, you can have the entire building be short-term rentals and you can rent it out every night of the year,” says Chalker.
The French Quarter The French Quarter is the exception to all of the rules: there are no short-term rentals allowed in the French Quarter, save for a few blocks of Bourbon Street, which is considered to be an entertainment district and allows commercial STRs. Legrand says one reason for this restriction is a decades-long hotel ban in the French Quarter and a concern that STRs would get around that ban. He says the other reason is history. “For centuries it’s been a residential area, a neighborhood, and I think the city feared that if they allowed short-term rentals into that area all you would see is people who had vacation homes and short-term rentals and it would become a giant tourist area as opposed to an area where people actually live in and work,” he says. Groome says the French Quarter restriction has left some property owners having to foot the bill for renovations they hoped would be offset by short-term rental income. “I personally saw a couple of properties that had wood and dirt floors because they hadn’t been kept up in years,” he said. “They were renovated, put into commerce as an Airbnb or VRBO, and then the city came out with this ordinance. So some of those people had to go ahead and sell some of their holdings” to cover renovation costs.
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Enforcement — Airbnb Partnership The licensing fees and taxes collected on registered short-term rentals have allowed the city to hire six enforcement agents. The Short-Term Rental Administration works under the Department of Safety and Permits, and is responsible for licensing of short-term rentals, along with enforcing standards and regulations. STR applicants must show that they have $500,000 in liability insurance on the property, working smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, posted emergency contact information and compliance with all city building codes. New Orleans actually has an interesting ally in the regulation effort: Airbnb. The company has signed an agreement with the city to provide certain data — like permit numbers and number of nights rented — to help with enforcement. Airbnb now also collects and remits taxes to the city of New Orleans on behalf of its users. As for non-compliance, the city can hit owners with a fine of up to $500 per day for a violation, and if the violations persist, they can revoke your license, put a lien on your property, or have your utilities cut off. All in all, the consensus seems to be that things are moving along fairly smoothly so far. “This is a brand new industry, not just for New Orleans, but every city across the globe,” Legrand says. “So I think they’re all trying to figure it out, and looking at what other cities have done, I think New Orleans has done a pretty good job.” n
The ordinance that the council passed in the spring actually made the rules broader, allowing the activity that was disallowed before.
Andrew Legrand, founder of Spera Law
The French Quarter is the exception to all of the rules: there are no short-term rentals allowed in the French Quarter, save for a few blocks of Bourbon Street.
Would Short-term Renting Work for You? Andrew Legrand specializes in licensing and zoning at Spera Law. He says there are a few things people need to think about when they consider becoming a short-term rental owner/ operator. First, do the math. People may think they can make more money off a short-term rental with a higher nightly rate than a monthly tenant, but “what people don’t realize is that a long-term renter pays utilities, and in a short term rental situation you’re going be stuck with $200 a month in utilities — so that’s another $2,000 to $3,000 per year that you’re going to wind up paying as a short term rental host that you don’t think about.” Next, consider your insurance. If you’re planning to have a short-term rental, make sure your homeowners insurance covers that use. Also, consider insuring the contents of the home. “If you’re a short-term rental host you’ve got some money invested in the furniture in the house, so contents insurance might be something you typically expect a tenant to pay for, but that a landlord may want to pay for, too.” Finally, determine your tax implications. Rental income is subject to self-employment tax. When you rent on Airbnb, the company sends hosts a 1099, the tax form used to report self-employment income. “When people are comparing the numbers of this is how many nights I can rent a year, this is what I can get on a monthly basis, they’re usually not considering the additional income tax burden on that.” “Figure out what you can earn, and include things like taxes and utilities, cleaning, maintenance, furniture, etcetera. Compare that, and that’ll give you a more accurate picture of if your property’s worth more as a shortterm rental or if it’s worth more as a long-term rental.”
Perspectives g u est V I E W P O I N T
Louisiana Needed New Opioid Laws Non-narcotic pain relief options exist, and need to be considered. By Patrick H. Waring, M.D.
n August 1, recently passed Louisiana legislation regulating the prescription of opioid medication became effective law. While the new legislation is an important step, we physicians must do our part and educate our patients both about opioid risks and about non-narcotic treatment options. But let’s back up and look at what caused this crisis in the first place. The seeds of Louisiana’s current opioid epidemic were actually sown in the mid1990s. Before then, most local physicians were concerned about the widespread use of opioids for chronic, non-cancer pain. They believed that these powerful agents were for severe acute pain (a bone fracture or kidney stone) or for end-of-life and cancer pain. They worried about patient addiction and about sanctions from federal and state authorities and so generally avoided the use of opioids for chronic pain. In the mid-1990s, the consensus opinion regarding opioids suddenly reversed. In 1996, Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin, a powerful opioid used mainly for cancer pain. Shortly thereafter, Purdue began an aggressive physician marketing strategy that promoted OxyContin for non-cancer pain despite a lack of evidence of its safety and efficacy. Their marketing strategy was, however, effective. By 2001, OxyContin prescriptions increased 1,800 percent and sales skyrocketed from $48 million to $1.1 billion. Large physician pain advocacy groups went along and opined that opioids were safe and effective for chronic, non-cancer pain. However, an emerging opioid crisis quickly appeared in Louisiana and elsewhere. By 2007, the U.S. was consuming 99 percent of the world’s supply of hydrocodone, despite accounting for only 5 percent of the world’s
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population. By 2012, enough opioid prescriptions were written for every adult to have a bottle of pills. In 2013, drug overdose was the leading cause of accidental deaths, surpassing car accidents. For every death, there were many more prescription opioid overdoses, and even more reports of recreational misuse. In Louisiana, authorities started to prosecute healthcare providers who prescribed opioids recklessly. When the crackdown created difficulty for users to obtain prescription opioids, they turned to a widely available and cheaper option, heroin. As concerning as opioid addiction and deaths were, evidence soon appeared that opioids might not even be effective for chronic pain. Opioids apparently cause “central hyperalgesia,” a condition in which a patient’s natural endorphin production decreases to a point where their pain paradoxically worsens with increasing doses. Finally, in 2016, the CDC labeled prescription opioid abuse as an “epidemic.” And so, 20 years later, after countless lives were destroyed, officials finally acknowledged that erroneous medical consensus had essentially created a public health disaster — the opioid addiction epidemic. In the late 1990s, when I was starting my own interventional pain practice in the Greater New Orleans area, I met with the Purdue Pharma representative and prescribed OxyContin to a few chronic pain patients. I quickly discovered a high incidence of misuse and addiction. I decided then that I would offer primarily non-narcotic pain alternatives. I found that not only did most of my patients want a non-opioid solution, but that I often was able to achieve effective pain relief using interventional strategies alone. While I realized that there were indications for opioids, intuition told me that their indiscriminate use would prove disastrous. The development of evidence-based medicine and practice guidelines regarding opioids directly conflicted with my clinical experience. While
standardization of care appeared a laudable goal, the fertile ground for catastrophic “group think” also developed. In 2003, early in the opioid epidemic, a dissenting group of interventional pain physicians outlined the hazards of opioids and called for state and national prescription monitoring programs. However, the majority of pain societies continued to insist that opioids were safe and effective despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. For the past 20 years, interventional pain specialist physicians have been effectively treating chronic pain conditions without opioids. Minimally invasive interventional strategies were largely ignored by the medical establishment. Failed medical consensus, fueled by pharmaceutical profits, led to the solitary application of opioid therapy and the denial of viable alternatives. With the recently passed Louisiana legislation, we are reminded that only Louisiana healthcare providers, not national drug companies, prescribe opioids. Following our pledge to do no harm, we need to consider real non-narcotic alternatives and prescribe fewer opioids. n
Patrick H. Waring, M.D., founder
of the Pain Intervention Center in Metairie, is board certified in anesthesiology and pain medicine and also serves as a senior spine intervention society instructor.
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Dennis Lauscha, president of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, shares his personal pregame rituals, discusses his biggest pet peeve, and talks about the future of both teams and their stadiums. By Chris Price photosgraphs by michael c. hebert
LIVING THE DREAM BizNewOrleans.com 69
Dennis Lauscha has a dream job, and he knows it. The New Orleans native is president of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, and as such he oversees the business interests of the two franchises, as well as those of team owners Tom and Gayle Benson. In the three years since Biz New Orleans last featured Lauscha in a Q&A, the teams’ combined estimated value has increased by $1 billion. According to Forbes, New Orleans’ two major league sports franchises are worth a combined $2.5 billion. The Saints are appraised at $1.75 billion, with $358 million in revenue ($77 million last year), and the Pelicans are valued at $750 million, with $156 million in annual revenue and $16.7 million in operating income. Lauscha has also overseen the Bensons’ venture into horse racing since 2014, as well as the purchase and return of Dixie Beer to New Orleans over the beginning of this year. Lauscha has worked for Benson for 21 years and has held several positions and responsibilities in that time. He is part of the team that represents the Saints at NFL owners meetings and develops bids to bring Super Bowls and NBA All-Star Games to town. Lauscha helped negotiate the Superdome lease that keeps the Saints in New Orleans through 2025, as well as the deals to name the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the Smoothie King Center. Prior to joining the Saints, Lauscha worked as the club’s auditor for four years while working for national accounting firm Arthur Andersen. Lauscha recently sat down with Biz New Orleans to discuss the Saints as they enter the 2017 season, his views on the Pelicans as a second fiddle franchise, and further renovations to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Smoothie King Center and their external campus.
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What are your thoughts on New Orleans as a sports town? New Orleans is the best sports town in America. The city is very passionate about its teams, and the teams are very passionate about the citizens and the culture that we have here. For me growing up, the New Orleans Saints were No. 1. The Jazz were very important to me when I was a kid. A lot of kids, when you ask them their favorite team, you’re expecting them to name a college team. Not in this city. It’s one of the professional teams. You hear it over and over again, but the teams are absolutely woven into the fabric of New Orleans. If ever there has been a team that has been defined more by its city and culture than the Saints, I don’t know what team that is. Can the city support two pro teams? Some people say perhaps there shouldn’t be two teams in this small city. But we look at it a bit differently. First of all, when we look at the Saints, our fan base is not just in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. It truly is throughout the southeast United States. If you look at the population of Louisiana, Mississippi, southern Alabama and the panhandle of Florida, you’re talking about roughly 7 million people. That’s really where our fan base is. Over a third of our fans come from the southeastern part of the United States, not just New Orleans. As it relates to basketball, it’s a little bit more difficult. With 42 home games and some on Tuesday nights, we won’t see people commute from, say, Jackson, Mississippi. But it’s important that they feel engaged, that they’re watching on television, listening on the radio and making
weekend trips to come and see the team in New Orleans. The beauty of this market is that we have a tremendous amount of support, not just from the fans, but from the leaders, too. All of us have a great working relationship. We’re all working together to make sports a viable industry in this city. We’ve come to the agreement and understanding that we all have to pull in the same direction; that includes the tourism and convention business, the leadership in New Orleans and the leadership in Louisiana. All of us have to pull in the same direction in order to be successful.
Dennis Lauscha at a glance Age: 45 Hometown: New Orleans Family: Wife, Jennifer; son, Patrick, 14; daughter, Evy, 11 Education: Jesuit High School, New Orleans; University of Alabama, bachelor’s degree in business; Loyola University of New Orleans, master’s of business administration; the NFL Managers Program at Stanford University’s Executive Education Graduate School of Business; licensed Certified Public Accountant
How do you manage what could be an especially intense schedule from mid-July to, possibly, late June? First of all, you manage it by having outstanding people around you. Our staff, bottom to top, is really good. We joke a lot of the time that this isn’t a profession, it’s a vocation. If you want to get into sports, you really have to want to do it. You really have to be dedicated – particularly with us because we have two sports. Having great people around you is the most important thing. Also, if you’re having fun or if it’s something that you really like to do, then it’s not work. Sure, there are a lot of late hours, and there’s a lot to do, but at the end of the day, there’s still a passion for it. Fortunately, or unfortunately, a lot of our executives and managers here do not have many hobbies outside of work. Their hobby is football, basketball, horse racing or some of the other business ventures we’re into.
Favorites Favorite book? “The Meaning of Sports” by Michael Mandelbaum – A must read for anyone in the sports business or a sports fan Favorite TV Show? Of course Fox 8’s 9 & 10 p.m. newscast. Also “Informed Sources” and “Frontline” Who do you look up to? Tom Benson Biggest life lesson learned? Continuous improvement and education is a daily endeavor. Best advice ever received? It’s amazing what we can accomplish if no one cares who gets the credit. Hobbies? Louisiana and New Orleans history, art and culture Daily habits? Bedtime prayers with my kids Pet peeve(s)? People being late or ill-prepared for a meeting What are you most excited about for the upcoming Saints season? We have an exciting new group of players and coaches. I have been a Saints fan my entire life, so like any other year I of course expect a 16-0 season followed by a Super Bowl win!
How do you balance work and family life? I don’t have many hobbies. When I leave here I spend all of my time with my family. My wife is outstanding. My kids are great. They enjoy sports and coming to the games. They’re big fans. I spend a lot of quality time with my children through work. I’ve been blessed in that way. How do you manage stress? It may sound funny, but I don’t feel very stressed. There have been times over the last decade or so, particularly going through Katrina, the ‘Bountygate’ issue, and the crush of the Super Bowl — those could be stressful times. But we have a great team and a great owner in Tom Benson and Mrs. Benson. A lot of the noise that you would think would come along with being the president really is eliminated because of the good people that we have here. They make it much easier for me. How have the Saints and Pelicans embraced technology? We’ve spent a lot of time and effort embracing technology both on the football field and basketball
I think we have a good relationship with the state. We’ve learned that we can get a lot accomplished if we both can recognize the business aspects, limitations and aspirations of what both sides are trying to accomplish.”
What will be needed to get the proposed Superdome updates accomplished? At the end of the day, it’s always money and the will to get it done. There certainly is a recognition from our standpoint that the state is having some issues right now. There’s no question about it. Money is going to be an issue. We have to understand what issues are in play with the state. The state has to understand what issues are in play with the team. Then we’ll have to make our way and figure out the best way to accomplish it. We always have.
court, as well as behind the scenes. We have five full-time analytics people here on staff who are constantly managing databases involved with the sports and business sides. With the NFL and NBA, we are always pushing the envelope with regard to which technologies we can embrace to make our on-field and off-field products better. The big push for us over the last year has been innovation. We’re working on an artificial intelligence project, which is cutting edge. We’re also using it on the health side with recovery technology and nutrition. I know we’re doing things that other organizations aren’t doing or even attempting. How do you feel about the teams’ relationship with the state and preparing for the next round of lease negotiations? I think we have a good relationship with the state. We’ve learned that we can get a lot accomplished if we both can recognize the business aspects, limitations and aspirations of what both sides are trying to accomplish. If you go back to the ugliness of 2000 and through Katrina there were some very confrontational times for us and the state as it related to a long-term agreement. We were really able to put that behind us and focus on what’s best for the buildings, what’s best for the organizations, and how we can move forward with what’s best for the state. I think as we continue, as we start to look toward what’s next for the Superdome, the question is should it be an evolution or a revolution. Some of the things being talked about are revolutionary. We have an architect who is currently working on a long-term master plan. Everything is on the table. The No. 1 focus is to improve the building for the fans for the next 25, 30, 50 years. We’ll see where we can go.
We have a great team and a great owner in Tom Benson and Mrs. Benson. A lot of the noise that you would think would come along with being the president really is eliminated because of the good people that we have here. They make it much easier for me.”
International Interest The NFL and NBA have gone global. This fall, the New Orleans Saints will play the Miami Dolphins in London on Oct. 1. The game will give the league and both teams international exposure. Dennis Lauscha, president of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, said both teams have a growing international market that they are hoping to expand. “The top (global) markets for us, in many ways, reflect where (expatriate and overseas) U.S. citizens are to a certain degree,” Lauscha said. “We have very large fan bases who watch both the Saints and Pelicans in Brazil, France, Germany, England, Japan, Canada, Mexico and The Philippines.” “From a basketball standpoint, China is very big for us. We played in China last year, and the reception was very, very good. They love Anthony Davis. But who doesn’t?” But not all of the teams’ global fans wait for them to come overseas to see their team. “We actually have a Saints season ticket holder from Germany who makes it to a bunch of games each year, which we’re really proud of. So, we truly are a global team, and we’re trying to become more global every year.”
Will Mercedes-Benz keep its sponsorship of Superdome? First, let me say Mercedes has been a great partner with us, and they have every intent to honor the contract that we currently have. It’s a little difficult to speculate whether they’ll be back or not after their term is up considering the Atlanta stadium. I’d hope that they’d stay forever, but the realist in me tells me there might be a change there. If there is, I’m comfortable with making a change, and I’m sure we’ll find someone as iconic as the building. It’s got a number of big events that it will be hosting well into the next decade. As long as big events continue to come, there will always be someone who is looking at the naming rights. The Saints seem to be in their best position competitively in a few seasons. Has it affected sales and marketing efforts? For the Saints, sales and marketing have been outstanding. We had a couple of big renewals this year. There’s also a good flow of new business that’s coming in. We once again this year had (season ticket) renewal percentage rates in the high 90s. When we see people not renewing it’s either they’re moving away or someone in the family has died or, quite recently, there have been some folks affected by (the downturn in) oil and gas. But for the most part, everyone has renewed. We haven’t raised ticket prices in a while. We’ve seen the base stay pretty steady. The waiting list is approaching 60,000, which is remarkable. We’re very proud of that. What does the London game against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 1 mean for the franchise? More than anything, it’s what it means for the city and the exposure the city is getting. We’re viewing it as a great opportunity to increase exposure and tourism for the city. That’s what our big focus is from a business perspective in going over there. If you look at who are some of our biggest fans globally, England is in the top five for us. England is a big market for us. From a football standpoint, it’s a very difficult trip logistically. We’re going to be there for a week leading up to the game.
That means we have to break down everything on the football side of the business, pack it up, ship it to London, and set it up there. That includes technology pieces, weights and equipment. It’s a tough deal logistically, but it’s one that we’re used to, and we’ve had success playing there as well. Have the Saints’ offseason additions affected sales and marketing efforts? Yes. I preach this a lot. There are three things that sell tickets: you have to be priced right, the team has to be headed in the right direction, and the fans have to like the players, coaches and owner. I think that a lot of people think we’re headed in the right direction with the people we brought in, and the emphasis on defense, the draft and our free agent acquisitions. What do you think of the perception some have that the Pelicans are the little brother franchise? It’s a pet peeve of mine. I’d say two thirds of my time is focused on basketball. We’re invested significantly on the Pelicans’ side of the organization. When we bought the Pelicans we made promises in regard to rebranding the team. We did that. We said we wanted to be a playoff team. We did that. Now we need to improve on it. We’re investing. We invested in DeMarcus Cousins this year. We said we were going to get a new radio deal and TV deal, and we’ve been able to check all of those boxes on things we wanted to accomplish. We’re also helping with educating about coastal erosion. We’ve partnered with Biddy Basketball, which no one in the NBA has done. We have 40,000 kids participating in youth basketball through the Biddy program. Do the Pelicans have any updates in mind for the Smoothie King Center? Sure. The master plan that we have coming is primarily focused on the Superdome, but it covers the entire campus. We’re looking at extending Howard Avenue, putting more connections between the arena and the Superdome. A big complaint that we get on the basketball side is that when we do pregame things in the street outside of the Smoothie King Center, it’s next to the trash and loading dock at the Superdome. So we’re looking at ways to rearrange that, possibly move those areas to other places to benefit the Smoothie King Center. How is Mr. Benson doing? He’s doing great. He’s constantly pushing us to look at new ways to invest in the community, how we can be better as teams and businesses. He’s been busy with football, basketball, horse racing and now he’s taking on Dixie Beer, too.
photographs by romero & romero
New Orleansâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; top real estate professionals share what excites and challenges them about the upcoming year.
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Real estate is an important force in our national, state and local economy — last year it made up 6 percent of our country’s G.D.P. National trends like slower rising home prices and an increase in movement away from the suburbs and into urban centers are on display here in New Orleans. Local home sale price increases have gone from double digit increases annually just a few years ago to now the low single digits. They’re still increasing, albeit much more slowly. The condo market downtown, meanwhile has exploded, causing some to question if we’re reaching a saturation point.
There’s a lot on the minds of today’s real estate professionals — both those focused on residential and commercial — so in our third-annual real estate issue, Biz brought together some of the area’s key players in a wide array of real estate specialties and asked them to share their celebrations and their concerns heading into a new year. Among their answers are a celebration of recent accomplishments like the Lafitte Greenway, the growth of the historic district and an increase in options for shared workspaces. The city is seeing an increased focus on sustainability in an era where talks of climate change dominate national conversation
and a much-needed recognition that a lack of affordable housing remains a dominant citywide issue. While we celebrate our accomplishments, challenges lay ahead and they range from ever-present flooding and storm water issues to uncertainties over increasing interest rates. In those problems, however, lie opportunities. For some companies that means branching out from slowing or saturated markets like multifamily housing or malls, for others it may mean working together to draw new business to our region or embracing sustainable technologies in an effort to lead our region into the future.
Cullan Maumus Development Director, New Orleans Redevelopment Fund
New Orleans Redevelopment Fund is a private company focused on redeveloping New Orleans neighborhoods. Upcoming project: $4 million mixed-use development of former Times Picayune warehouse in Mid-City expected to be completed in early 2018. Most excited about… Personally, we have a number of projects that will be coming online in the next year that I believe will “move the needle” in Mid-City. In addition to a few adaptive re-use projects, where we are converting historic buildings into apartments and office space, we hope our mixeduse/ condo project priced to target teachers, nurses and first responders will be transformative for the immediate area. We are constantly looking for opportunities to help address the city’s issues with blight and affordability, and believe we are honing in on scalable models that can successfully address both. I believe the Banks Street corridor between S. Jefferson Davis Parkway and Broad Street will be a dramatically different place for the better in the next year or two and I am extremely excited to be a part of the transformation. Biggest anticipated challenge… There are hundreds (if not thousands) of residential units scheduled to be placed in service over the next year in various multi-family
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developments. I’m curious to see how efficiently the market absorbs these units. For our company, the biggest challenge will be to accurately identify trends and data while maintaining our ability to respond to market changes. With local elections on the horizon, I believe the biggest challenge for the city’s real estate market will be the timing of any potential housing or development regulations advanced by the new council or mayor. We are beginning to see a leveling in the market, with many new units starting to correct the imbalance of supply and demand. Certain regulations — while well intentioned — could severely impact the market in the city if not enacted without considering the downward pressure already being experienced.
Nicole Webre Owner, Webre Consulting, Owner & Developer, Livewell Properties, LLC
Notable Project: Bakery Village — residential subdivision in New Orleans’ Irish Channel Most excited about… My niche in the real estate industry is a very unique one in that I advise clients on zoning and permitting and I also use my knowledge in my own real estate developments. I like to say I practice what I preach. I am most excited about the growth of historic districts in Orleans Parish and the implementation of building design guidelines that require the use of more sustainable and appropriate building materials. The result is that New Orleans will have quality, not just quantity, when it comes to new or redeveloped properties. More thought and care in construction equals longer lasting buildings and homes which promotes stronger communities. Biggest anticipated challenge… The biggest challenge in the next year for the Gulf Coast is learning to live with water and plan for water. As we have seen in Houston and Baton Rouge, flooding is not just for low-lying areas but a fact of life for Gulf Coast cities and towns. We must think long term and plan for future events. The responsibility is not just on government, but also on land owners and developers to utilize best practices for storm water management and build responsibly so that green space is maximized and new developments do not burden surrounding properties.
Cres Gardner Vice President, Beau Box Real Estate
Winner of Overall Top Producer of 2016 and F. Poche Waguespack Award, Top Landlord Office Lease, Top Tenant Representative Office Lease and Overall Top Office Sale at the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors (NOMAR) Commercial Investment Division (CID) 24th Annual Achievement Awards ceremony. Most excited about… The New Orleans Central Business District (CBD) has experienced an incredible transition over the past 10 years. A significant increase in apartments, hotel rooms and condos spurred retail and restaurant development creating a true “live, work, play” environment. New Orleans has the environment large companies are looking for to please the growing millennial workforce. Companies that left years ago for the suburbs are now looking to relocate back into the CBD as employees seek to walk to the plentiful dining and entertainment venues. Marketing the reemergence of the New Orleans CBD will be critical to translating our progress into jobs. The commercial real estate community must work with economic developers to create enticing incentives to draw new business in the city. Our dynamic environment is what “corporate America” is looking for, and we need to let them know we are here and open for business.
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Biggest anticipated challenge… There is a natural real estate cycle that consistently plays out across the country, and as a market recovers, existing properties become full, spurring new development. As that new development succeeds, more projects are built that ultimately increase supply beyond demand. This is certainly playing out in multifamily and condo development in metro New Orleans and will create opportunities for savvy operators to pick up failing condo and apartment projects for only a fraction of their construction costs. It will be our job as brokers to encourage our clients to look past the negative headlines and seize opportunities where others are retreating.
Jeffrey Schwartz Executive Director, Broad Community Connections
Broad Community Connections develops real estate projects in service of larger community development and public policy goals. The organization’s focus is reavitalizing Broad Street from Tulane Avenue to Bayou Road as a vibrant and equitable commercial district. Most excited about… I am really excited about the dramatic increase in the recognition of the importance of affordability for both residential and commercial real estate in New Orleans — a result of
the hard work of the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance, Mayor Landrieu’s administration, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, the Fair Housing Action Center and other partners and leaders. There are a number of imminent policy and financial tools that will be coming online over the coming year that will make high-impact and affordable real estate development an especially dynamic and fun part of the real estate market to be working in, not just over the next year, but for the next decade or more. Biggest anticipated challenge… Over the coming year, one of our biggest challenges is going to be sustaining momentum that will actually create financial tools, public policies and the right partnerships in order to be able to tackle the issues of affordability and the widening gap between rich and poor. In order to make sure everyone has access to quality and affordable real estate — whether a renter, a prospective homeowner, or a small business owner — we need to be really innovative and resourceful in how we use our limited resources to create real estate projects that benefit not just developers, but communities and the city as a whole. But I am optimistic we can do it!
Michael Merideth & Andre Lewis CEO & Co-Founder, VPG Enterprise VPG Enterprise is a real estate development, construction and management group with a portfolio that includes over $12 million in residential real estate assets. Upcoming Project: 37 Hundred, a luxury townhome development in Mid-City. Most excited aboutâ&#x20AC;Ś We are extremely excited to see how the continued development of the Lafitte Greenway will affect Mid-City and the landscape of New Orleans. We are thrilled to see the affect it will have on New Orleans based on previous case studies of other cities like Austin, Dallas, Houston and Atlanta. With the addition of rental housing, luxury condominiums, retail, and simply the elimination of blight that is slated over the next year in this corridor, we have no doubt Mid-City will continue to be one of the most desirable neighborhoods in New Orleans. Biggest anticipated challengeâ&#x20AC;Ś One of the biggest challenges is going to be managing affordability and market correction. New Orleans has been blessed over the last several years with record breaking real estate trends on both the rental and sales market; however, we are starting to see a correction in sales, rental rates and occupancy. Even with this correction, there has not been a decrease in development costs, i.e. construction costs, insurance premiums and infrastructure implementation.
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Managing these conditions, along with creating solutions for the overall affordability crisis in our city, will be a major strategic item for VPG over the next year. It will be our charge to look at creative development solutions around construction methods, deal structures and financing mechanisms to continue to provide high quality housing.
COO & Co-Founder, VPG Enterprise
Susan Brennan President/CEO, Second Line Stages Developer
Notable Projects: Second Line Stages, 300 Girod St. condos, 401 Girod St. apartments, 425 Notre Dame condos, 1530 Constance St. offices Most excited about… My business is renting to films and television productions, and recently I have seen the film industry picking up quite a bit. The tax credits do not have a sunset, so the productions should start coming back to Louisiana. That means the rental market should increase as we get back the several hundreds of people who left for Georgia. I am working on a small rental property with hopefully 14 units with my two son-inlaws and my daughter, which I feel very bullish about. I’m also bullish on the shared workspaces, which I do not think have maxed out. As the entrepreneurial community continues to grow, many are looking toward collaboration. The concept of shared conference rooms, copy rooms and topof-the-line fiber optics seems like a no-brainer for the small business. Biggest anticipated challenge… I think the biggest challenge will be the amount of high-end condos coming online in 2018 in the CBD. I counted over 250 and I hope New Orleans will appeal to enough people (locals and frequent visitors) to absorb all of those condos. I live in the CBD and I love it! Downtown is the new Uptown!
Marcel Wisznia President, Wisznia | Architecture + Development
Wisznia | Architecture + Development specializes in repurposing midrise and high-rise buildings into mixed-use / multifamily developments using designdriven development. Notable Projects: Union Lofts, The Maritime and The Saratoga. Most excited about… I’m really excited about our next two Downtown New Orleans developments as they represent a departure for us. The first is Stephens Garage — the repurposing of a historic 1951 vintage car dealership and parking garage into 21,000 square feet of ground floor retail, 51 apartments and 11 condominiums. The uniqueness is that we are removing the existing car ramps, and replacing them with two automobile elevators. Tenants and owners will be able to park their cars on the same floor that they live on, virtually right in front of their dwelling units. Construction is slated to begin at the end of September, with completion by the end of 2018. Backing up to this site, at the corner of St. Charles and St. Joseph streets is a surface parking lot with two small historic buildings on one corner. This project, which we have nicknamed “Two Saints” will focus on affordable housing, but not in a traditional manner. The housing type is known as co-living, and rents will be based on 100 percent of the area median income.
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The typical apartment will be a four-bedroom, four-bathroom unit and individuals or couples will rent on a per-bedroom basis. Two Saints will be one of a kind in New Orleans and will give many people who don’t have the financial ability to live downtown the ability to do so. Biggest anticipated challenge… As a community, we need to give our residents the confidence that dramatic changes in weather patterns will not sink New Orleans. We need to learn to live with global climate change, not ignore it. We cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand.
Paul Richard Senior Associate, NAI Latter & Blum
Richard is past president of the CID (Commercial Investment Division of the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors), president of the LACDB (Louisiana Commercial Database), commercial director of the Louisiana Realtor Association and program manager for the Economic Real Estate and Forecast Symposium. Most excited about… One exciting aspect of the market is the 1031 real estate exchange. As a result of the long recovery and run up in value, many investors are sitting on substantial property equity that can be converted and reinvested
in a tax-deferred exchange. A commercial realtor today can add value by facilitating complex transactions and by identifying required replacement properties, even those that may never hit the market. In most instances, investors will not sell unless a replacement property can be identified. As such, the currency of today’s market and for 2018 is access to information and available replacement properties. Biggest anticipated challenge… We are now entering a “post-peak” period. The value grid line is beginning to flatten and there is a higher perception of risk, particularly interest rate risk in the market. In response, banks have begun tightening their underwriting for commercial real estate. Lower loan-to values (LTV’s), shorter loan terms, and higher debt coverage ratios are now baked into most deals. The big unknown is the trajectory of interest rates. Of course, the “X” factor is what’s going to happen with tax reform, particularly relating to 1031 exchanges. What we do know is that for every uptick in interest rates, there is a resulting increase in capitalization (CAP) rates, which will result in value compression. Absorption rates are slowing, and days-on-market are getting longer. The deals of tomorrow will have to be well researched and layered with financing that will sustain any increase in interest rates at term, or stay within a debt coverage range that contemplates flattening or even decreases in rent.
Johann L. Palacios P.E, SECB, LEED AP
President / CEO, PACE Group, LLC
Pace Group LLC is a structural, foundation and civil engineering firm out of New Orleans that Palacios founded in 2016. Recent project: Homewood Suites by Hilton New Orleans French Quarter, 618, 640 and 700 Magazine St. and Iberville phase 5,6 and 7. Most excited about… Affordable housing needs are at an all-time high, and with former affordable housing units being converted to 100 percent market rates now after five years, they need to be replaced with new ones. As an engineering firm who routinely designs multifamily housing projects, we get to be on the front end of the projects. Biggest anticipated challenge… There are two challenges I foresee. The first is that with more multifamily projects becoming available, a saturation point is inevitable, and that point will become obvious once units begin to sell for closer to what it costs to design and construct. This challenge is typical of any real estate segment. The second is how good infrastructure, or rather the lack of it, can adversely affect the city and its perception of viability over the long term. The
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recent revelation that the pumps weren’t operable when needed was the most discouraging. Since Aug. 12, 2015, our clients on many projects have been forced to comply with stormwater management guidelines which add on average $5 a square foot over the entire property area in Orleans Parish. I understand that the city needs to start somewhere with slowing down the rate of water that enters the drainage system; however, the system is broken since no revenue is collected from the use of the drainage system. In recent days this entire system is being reviewed with good intentions and suggestions. I hope that our infrastructure does not become an Achilles heel to development interests.
Will Bradshaw Co-Founder & President, Green Coast Enterprises
Since its founding in 2007, Green Coast Enterprises has focused on urban and coastal areas in need of community renewal. Notable project: The Pythian â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the renovation of a historical downtown building (opened May 12) into apartments, dining and shopping. Most excited aboutâ&#x20AC;Ś We are now completing the commercial interiors of The Pythian, which include a food hall, a lounge/venue, and an event space operated by a new venture Green Coast is partnering in called Pythian Market. These three spaces will be a cultural showcase for the building and our city, building on our traditions in food, music and celebration.
Biggest anticipated challengeâ&#x20AC;Ś The development industry has an enormous impact on our energy use and, by extension, human impact on climate change. Where we put buildings and how we build them can do more to help or hurt man-made climate change than just about any other human endeavor. For the last 10 years, Green Coast has been here in New Orleans working in a small way to model better choices on this front. We continue breathing new life into blighted, urban core sites, helping shorten commute times and make neighborhoods thrive. We help 15 charter schools and the Recovery School District operate their buildings more effectively. We have also been one of the most aggressive adopters of low-impact development practices that help store and recharge rainwater on development sites, both small and large. And yet, for all these successful efforts, the choices we make as a public, especially our political choices, far outweigh what we can do as one small business. We all have a responsibility to our children to leave this planet in better condition than we found it. We are failing in that responsibility now in Louisiana and Texas (the two states I have called home for most of my life) and we are paying a dear price for it.
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from the lens Southeast louisiana businesses in full color
GREAT WORKSPACES • MAKING A MATCH • ON THE JOB
making a match
Giving Hope Fall is the perfect time to partner with the New Orleans Mission. More on page 94
From the Lens great workspaces
Opening Up AOS expands its downtown offices, transforming the space into a sleek and functional showroom. By Melanie Warner Spencer Photos by Sara Essex Bradley
rior to a recent renovation and expansion, visitors to the 7,000-square-foot AOS offices at 400 Poydras St. would likely have described the space as polished and modern with design elements emphasizing creativity and collaboration. Post six-week renovation and now topping out at 10,280 square feet, however, it’s all of that and more. AOS works with architectural and design companies to create office systems, storage solutions and serve as a resource for products and furniture. For its own renovation and expansion, the company teamed up with Eskew + Dumez + Ripple and Verges Rome Architects. “The average employee spends approximately half of their waking life in the work environment, and I don’t think most spaces are designed with that concept in mind,” says Shelby Russ Jr., president and CEO of AOS. “As employers and owners, we owe them the right tools and technology to get the job done, but we also owe them an environment worthy of that type of time Much like investment.” in a home, the central It’s with this philosophy gathering in mind that the team set space in the newly out to not only expand the space to accommodate the renovated and expanded AOS current size of the company offices is the kitchen and and allow room to grow, but great room. build into it a functional showroom to showcase the company’s myriad office systems and furniture and storage solutions. The most notable change is the color palate. While red and black dominated the former design scheme, white and lighter colors are
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A variety of seating areas are placed throughout the offices so employees can get a much-needed change of scenery.
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the order of the day in the new space, which is further enhanced by the flood of natural light filtering through expansive windows lining the outer wall which offer stunning views of New Orleans. One of the design solutions AOS offers clients is DIRTT (Doing It Right This Time) custom, prefabricated interior construction. AOS showcases the DIRTT system to great effect throughout its space via multiple meeting rooms, private offices and seating areas. The majority of the DIRTT walls are glass and wood, while various metal finishes alternately add warmth and visual variety. Modern, clean-lined Knoll furniture is used throughout the space. “It was time,” says Suzanne Dumez, vice president of business development for AOS. “The space was 16 years old. We kept it fresh by rotating out different furniture pieces and adapting where we
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The DIRTT system allows for easyto-reconfigure space and the flexibility of open, semi-private and private offices.
could with DIRTT changes, but we needed more meeting space, dedicated space for the prefab construction team and to bring the accounting department back.” Dumez says it was challenging to work through the renovation but doing so gave everyone a better sense of what the company’s clients experience during similar projects. They were, however, able to cut down on the renovation timeline by several months. “Doing the prefab interior construction ultimately gave us less down time than most, so we were only displaced for six weeks, as opposed to what would normally be a four month process,” says Dumez. Despite considerable openness throughout the space, the “java center” and “living room” area is so open and well lit, it makes every other spot around the office seem slightly less open. This pièce de résistance of design incorporates a residential look with a long coffee station, sink, counter and cabinet unit facing a high top bar. The great-room-style living or lounge area includes a sofa, benches and chairs grouped around a coffee table. The other side of the “java station” houses the more functional kitchen appliances, including the refrigerator and a wine cooler. A lower portion of the plate glass windows
The renovation included an expansion, taking the space from 7,000 to 10,280 square feet. Natural light from the exterior wall of windows floods the space.
in the living room was removed to continue the view, despite being seated in the low-slung furniture. This area is designed for breaks, casual meetings and networking events, as well as more festive gatherings. “That great room is probably my favorite spot,” says Russ. “We had an internal meeting there about two weeks ago and we discussed some of the space and how we’d use it. I encouraged everyone to use that space and sit there with their shoes off.” The staff conducts meetings with nonprofit groups with which they work or volunteer and the space is also used for other company perks, such as yoga classes. Visually opening up the space went hand-in-hand with physically opening it up. “It’s almost as if we are suspended above the city and that openness reflects our very open and collaborative culture here,” says Russ. “Our team is made up mostly of creatives, and this type of environment is a must for them.” n
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Design elements like the entry signage block some of the natural light in the entry and reception area so the designers incorporated lighting that mimics daylight.
at a glance
AOS Interior Environments Address: 400 Poydras St., Suite 1700 Office completed: August 2017 Architect: Eskew + Dumez + Ripple and Verges Rome Architects (The two firms teamed together) Interior Designer: Eskew + Dumez + Ripple and Verges Rome Architects Furnishings: Knoll Studio, Nucraft, Alias, Coalesse and misc. other pieces Square footage: 10,280 Primary goal: To expand the space and freshen up the interior of the office, as well as create a functional DIRTT showroom Biggest challenges: Conducting business during the renovation and expansion Standout feature: The “great room” with expansive views of the city, “java center” and chic, comfortable seating area
From the Lens maki ng a match: b u s i nesses and nonprofi ts
Hope for the Holidays With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, now is the perfect time to make plans to join the New Orleans Mission in caring for the least fortunate among us. By Pamela Marquis Photos by cheryl gerber
ixteen hundred and twenty-six — that’s how many men, women and children are living on the streets of New Orleans on any given night according to 2016 data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 2010, that number was much higher — closer to 5,000 — but while significant strides have been made to reduce the number of homeless in the city, they remain a population desperately in need of help, and the New Orleans Mission represents a vital lifeline. “Many of the efforts to help the homeless focus on simply rescuing them,” said David Bottner, CEO of the New Orleans Mission. Lunch at “We, however, are also about helping them the New Orleans recover and reengaging them to the life they Mission were created for by God.” Founded in 1989, the New Orleans Mission is the largest Did You Know? care provider for New Orleans’ Dying homeless community. The nonprofit organization provides the Young on the Streets city’s homeless with shelter, clothing, access to free medical According to an services, job training and spiri- article in The TimesPicayune published tual guidance. this past February, “Food and clothing are the 44 homeless people tools, the means for survival, so died on the streets then the real change can happen in 2016, the first time and positive futures can be lived,” data of this kind had been tracked. said Bottner. “Our core value is The average age at about changing lives and leading death was 47 years people to a loving relationship old; the youngest was 28. with Jesus Christ. We do this through a variety of programs
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New Orleans Mission
SUCCESS By the numbers 2015-2016
2,342+ unique individuals helped
361 of whom were veterans
276,000 + meals served
371,091 bottles of water given out
5,594 hygiene kits distributed
14,849 articles of clothing distributed
500 annual eye exams offered
570 pairs of eyeglasses provided
700 Christmas presents given out to children
1,274 patients treated by clinics offered by LSU and Tulane
30,000 men and women aided in transitioning from a life of hopelessness to one of hope
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and services that are designed to holistically meet the mental, David physical, social and spiritual Boettner, needs of the individuals we CEO of serve.” the New Orleans The mission itself, however, Mission is having some issues with its home. Headquartered at the former A. Levitan Furniture Store on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in Central City, the 30,000-square-foot building was built in the early 1900s and has long been in need of repair and renovation. To answer this need, the mission began a $6.6 million “Raise the Roof ” campaign last summer to address many of the building’s problems. There have already been improvements to the roof and to the building’s structure, and the next phase includes new interior walls, paint, ceilings, flooring, lighting fixtures, offices, security cameras and a key entry system. The contractor for the project is Robert Wolfe Construction with architectural plans by Blitch Knevel Architects. “This project will improve our ability to offer assistance to our city’s least fortunate while enhancing the four-block area around our facility,” explained Bottner. The New Orleans Mission’s services include “Road to Recovery,” a rehabilitation program for those struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, veteran assistance, case management, a women’s center, a discipleship program that allows guests to help others and comprehensive transitional counseling services for the formerly incarcerated through the “Ex-Offender Re-Entry” program. Two years ago, the mission moved its men’s 24/7 discipleship program to Lacombe. The Giving Hope Retreat sits on 58 acres of rural land and provides spiritual and vocational programs to about 40 men now living at the facility. In all, the organization includes 25 paid staff and 10,000 volunteers. As the mission’s website states, “You don’t need to leave the U.S. to lend a helping hand to hurting people.” “We could not function without our volunteers’ efforts,” said Bottner. “Many of the people we serve have felt unworthy and have felt shame. If you only knew what their hearts have been through. By being involved, you can set in motion a wave of compassion that will touch many lives. You can change the world.”
INDUSTRY STEPS UP
A Home For Everyone The New Orleans Mission is a favorite cause for local realtors. The New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors (NOMAR) recently launched its homeless initiative, “Hope to Home.” The organization plans to match its more than 5,000 members of the residential and commercial real estate community with homeless providers around the city. “We want to become an advocate for the homeless by partnering with existing homeless providers dedicated to supporting homeless people with children, and to advocate and assist in the development of permanent supportive housing in New Orleans,” said Paul Richard, NAI Latter & Blum. Of particular note is the work NOMAR will be doing with the New Orleans Mission and Grace House Bridge House. The Commercial Investment
Division (CID) of NOMAR will assist the New Orleans Mission with the development of housing units for homeless women with children in cooperation with the Open Architecture Collaborative. The project is focused on mission-owned land on Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. at Clio Street. Gardner Realtors has also been lending its support to the New Orleans Mission for some time. Through the company’s Gardner LOVE program, volunteers set tables and serve dinner to the mission’s clients. “I’ve never seen the dining room empty,” said Mary Spivey, who works in Gardner Realtor’s home relocation department. “Sometimes we even serve two meals. We clean up and start it all over
again. The last time I was there, we served a man who that day got a great job offer. It was so good to see him so happy and proud.” Gardener also recently purchased a building, now named The Gardner Cottage, which expanded the mission’s women’s center from 16 beds to 32. Working to eradicate homelessness in the city is a natural fit for the real estate industry, said Richard. “The Realtor community is all about housing,” he said. “We should all care enough to help the homeless find a home, to build a better life and to again become a contributing member of our community.”
Success Stories Devon Black is an important part of the mission’s team as he oversees its successful media department. Black came to the mission in 2015. “I had no job, no network of support, I’d burned every single bridge,” he said. Black said coming to the Mission was a turning point in his life. “I saw that I was finally going to make the right change because I was in the right place and it was the right time.” Black was one of the first of the mission’s clients to begin using videos and social media to get the word out about the organization’s mission. “Our goal is to engage our funders and we also reach out to potential funders,” he said. “We didn’t know how to even work the video camera back then but we just turned it on and began learning on the job.” Black says (Top) he has greatly enhanced his resume Christina with valuable skills and strengthened Kosinski his network of support. For the first (Bottom) Devon time in a long time, he plans to have Black Thanksgiving with his family this year. Christina Kosinski’s young son had just passed away and she’d lost custody of her daughter when she hit rock bottom. “I was very lost and broken and beaten down by life,” she said. One night, after having her drink spiked, she says she somehow ended up at the bus station without a phone and it was then that she broke down, “I just said, ‘I’m just done. God, now what?’” Someone suggested that the mission might be able to help, so she took the chance. “I just knew there was more to life,” she said. Kosinski has since received her GED and is building a firm foundation for her new life. She’s now working full-time as the mission’s development coordinator and also runs the children’s ministry for her church. “I see what God is painting for me and I’m letting God make my decisions,” she said. She hopes to be reunited with her daughter soon. n
A GOOD MATCH
FOR COMPANIES WHO… Are looking for an opportunity to volunteer as a group and make a difference. Groups are welcome to help organize and serve dinner at the mission year-round, but the holiday season is an especially popular time to give.
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During the New Orleans mission’s Great Thanksgiving Banquet, companies are welcome to help serve 700 to 1,000 Thanksgiving meals to hungry men, women and children, as well as assist with outreach to the community. A Christmas dinner will also be served. For dates of upcoming holiday dinners, visit NewOrleansMission.org.
The NEw Orleans Mission Mission: The purpose of the New Orleans Mission is to “help hurting people” see that there is hope, whether they struggle with addiction, homelessness, hunger, health concerns, mental illness or a lack of education. Website: neworleansmission.org Location: 1130 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans Phone: (504) 523-2116 Giving Hope Retreat 31294 Hwy 190 Lacombe 985-218-9599 Annual Budget: $2 million Major Fundraising Event: The New Orleans Mission’s 5th Annual Gala, “Changing the Face of Homelessness” December 8, 2017 | Hyatt Regency The event’s special guest this year will be nationally acclaimed Christian music artist Jonny Diaz, known for his top-20 hit single, “Breathe.” It will also feature Ron Hall, author of The New York Times best selling novel and soon-tobe-released movie, “Same Kind of Different as Me.” The mission also has a wide variety of fundraising opportunities throughout the year, from custom car shows to motorcycle runs.
Companies can also invite customers or clients to support the mission by displaying one of the mission’s table tents in their establishment. The display offers the opportunity to make a contribution and receive a “Card of Hope.” The card can be given to a homeless person in lieu of cash to be redeemed at the mission for one
day of food, clothing and shelter.
10-oz. and 16-oz. Styrofoam cups
Sanitary napkins and tampons
For more information, contact Lulu Peterson at (504) 914-3474 or volunteer@ neworleansmission.org.
Allergy and cold medication
The mission’s most pressing need is raising $1.4 million to finish its “Raise the Roof” project. Ongoing needs include the following:
55-gallon and 30-gallon trash bags Fabuloso, Pinesol and bleach Carryout containers Dish washing liquid Heavy-duty foil Plastic wrap Body wash
Plates, forks, spoons and napkins Unwrapped toys for boys and girls ages 1 to 13 They also have an ongoing need for G.E.D. instructors, data entry and phone help.
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PUBLISHERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NOTICE: All real estate advertised herein is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Ace and the Louisiana Open Housing Act, which make it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination. We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. For more information, call the Louisiana Attorney Generalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office at 1-800-273-5718.
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From the Lens ON THE JOB
Rollin’ Along “
n two minutes less than two hours Tuesday afternoon the five-story brick white female ward building at Charity hospital was moved 162 feet without spilling a brick or a piece of cornice.” That was the first paragraph of an article published in The Times Picayune on June 5, 1935. The story covered the hospital’s move to make way for Louisiana State University’s planned 15-story dental and pharmacy school. Following the successful move, “there was a two minute din made up of applause from the crowd and the pounding of workmen’s hammers on steelwork.” n
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The Charles L. F ranck S tudio C ollect ion at T he Histor ic New Orleans Collection A cc. no . 19188.8.131.523