the pythian historical A peek inside
treasure receives new life PG.70
Marty Mayer, president & CEO, Stirling Properties
tips for advertising that works pg. 44
Costuming Goes to the Dogs pg. 86
can business s av e t h e c o a s t ? Marty Mayerâ€™s coalition brings industry into the fight. AUGUST 2017
6 Biz August 2017
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 Joseph Briggett, Andrew Canulette, Julia Carcamo, Maria Clark, Pamela Marquis, Ashley McLellan, Chris Price, Kim Roberts, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, Poppy Tooker, Keith Twitchell, Melanie Warner Spencer
Advertising Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan (504) 830-7215 Colleen@BizNewOrleans.com Sales Manager Maegan Oâ€™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 Monique DiPietro, 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€” 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.
8 Biz August 2017
features top stories this month
64 Coastal Crusader Stirling Properties President & CEO Marty Mayer is leading a group of top local businesspeople fighting to save our coast.
70 Past Perfect Built upon a rich history, The Pythian is reborn to fill needs Downtown.
10 Biz August 2017
contents August 2017 | Volume 3 | Issue 11
14 | Editor’s note Plaques and Statues 16 | publisher’s note Safety is No. 1 20 | Calendar 22 | industry news 24 | recent openings 26 | Events
36 | sports Big Fun on the Bayou: With the return of Bayou Oaks’ South Course, golf is swinging at City Park once again.
38 | entertainment Wishing on a Star: Starlight Studios is betting big on a strong future for Hollywood South.
perspectives 50 | healthcare Peddling Protons: Terry Douglass, the man behind the upcoming Louisiana Proton Therapy Center, aims to make New Orleans a destination for cancer treatment. 54 | real estate & construction What’s New?: The latest trends in architecture and design.
in the biz
58 | technology
80 | great workspaces
Risky Business: Is your company
Fit Design: Romney Studios’ simple spaces offer a healthy retreat for clients to sweat it out.
32 | dining
86 | why didn’t i think of that?
Has the Bubble Burst?: New Orleans’ dining boom looks to be coming to an end.
from the lens
Lions and Pirates and Unicorns, Oh My!: New Orleansbased pet costuming company Pet Krewe brings the party to the pooches.
40 | entrepreneurship CapWay Creating a New Way: Local
90 | making a match: businesses and nonprofits Bringing Back the Ninth: Lowernine.org invites businesses to join them in rebuilding the Lower Ninth Ward.
startup is focusing on helping people improve their financial health.
96 | on the job Ariel Gets Aerial — Rivertown Theaters
42 | etiquette Who’s the Boss?: 34 | tourism
Managing up without sucking up
One Meal at a Time: COOLinary
44 | marketing
brings opportunities to discover new favorites.
Five tips to getting advertising that works.
12 Biz August 2017
The Fab Five:
62 | guest viewpoint
on the cover
What Happens When Local Banks Falter?: In the wake of First
Marty Mayer, president and CEO of Stirling Properties and chairman of Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy
NBC Bank’s failure, a look at the basics of FDIC enforcement actions.
Photograph by Greg Miles
On the Web
Beyond the magazine But wait, there’s more! Visit BizNewOrleans.com to watch videos from this month’s issue, including:
Plaques and Statues
ately, it seems like all I do is go to awards ceremonies. First we had the Alliance of Area Business Publishers (AABP) awards June 24 in Dallas — celebrating the best of business publications in the country. I’m very proud to announce that Biz New Orleans took home its first award for editorial, a silver for “Best Recurring Feature” for our monthly “Why Didn’t I Think of That” features, along with a bronze for “Best Daily Email.” If you’re not getting our daily email newsletter and are looking for a quick, easy way to see all the top news affecting Southeast Louisiana today (along with award-winning blogs), sign up now at BizNewOrleans.com/newsletter. Just two weeks later, Biz completely swept the business writing category at the annual Press Club of New Orleans Excellence in Journalism Awards, with Mark Patrick Spencer taking home the first prize for his feature on craft beer last July. Our amazing sports columnist, Chris Price, also walked away with the award for “Best Sports Column.” I’m so proud of all our writers and the work they do to bring you the top stories spanning across all industries in this region. On the note of writers, sadly, last month’s issue was the last for two of our columnists. The first, Peter Reichard, has written our dining column since Biz’s inception and will be deeply missed. We’re excited for him though, as he takes on the role of president of the Utah Foundation. Steven Ellis, vice president of Bellwether Technology, who has been writing our tech column since December 2015, is also leaving due to increasing demands on his valuable time. Both of these men did an excellent job in their time with us and we wish them great success. At the same time, we’re excited to welcome two new columnists. The first, Poppy Tooker, needs no introduction for anyone at all interested in food. We’re thrilled that this is the first issue of her new dining column. We’re also excited to add a new topic to our column section this month — marketing, in which the talented Julia Carcamo will provide you with helpful tips to make your company stand out. I’d also like to add congratulations to last month’s first-ever Biz New Orleans New & Notables winners. It was an honor to present you with your awards — and I have to say, so much less stressful to be on the giving end of these events! Happy Reading,
Starlight Studios Grand Opening Get a look inside the first filming infrastructure created from the ground-up in Louisiana in almost 10 years and listen to Rep. Ray Garofalo and Councilman James A. Gray II speak about its importance to New Orleans East and the region.
14 Biz August 2017
Safety is No. 1
ow that the qualifying is over, campaigning for the next mayor and city council of New Orleans is moving into high gear. It seems that every election these days is regarded as the most important election of our time. There is an overwhelming outcry from those on all sides determined to get it right. The collective state of mind is that we have all these problems and we need a new leader and leadership team to come in and save the day. There are various issues New Orleans is encountering, but I will tell you that the biggest focus I have for the October election is what can we do about crime. I know we have potholes, dissolving streets and many other items to discuss and fix, but to me our right to enjoy New Orleans safely is all I am focused on. When you have genuine and justified fear, as 2017 crime statistics suggests, then potholes do not matter. If you know me, I am one of the most glass half-full, active people around. I am always looking for the opportunity in chaos. So this election I ask all the candidates to focus on the opportunity to make New Orleans the safest it has ever been. Gather the experts, form a great team and hire the most efficient and dedicated police chief and make New Orleans safe. I want to hear not just conversation, but a real plan of action. That leader, the one with the sensible and actionable plan, has my vote. Todd Matherne
16 Biz August 2017
Meet the Sales Team
Maegan Oâ€™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
18 Biz August 2017
New Orleans Chamber of Commerce: Women’s Business Alliance Seminar with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business and NAWBO; “The Power of Negotiating” 4:30 to 7 p.m. Homewood Suites 317 N. Rampart St. NewOrleansChamber.org
St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce: Northshore Young Professionals Pop Up 4 to 6 p.m. Evolve Studio 2963 Hwy. 90, Mandeville StTammanyChamber.org
5-7 Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA): Louisiana Foodservice & Hospitality EXPO New Orleans Morial Convention Center LRAExpo.org
4,11,18,25 New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce: Ladies With Drive Scramble No. 2 5-hole scramble for teams of 4 with 1 coach 5 to 7 p.m. Joseph Bartholomew Golf Course 6514 Congress Dr. NORBChamber.org
9 Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana: Hispanic Business Conference and Trade Show 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Harrah’s New Orleans 228 Poydras St. HCCL.biz
9 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce: August Power Lunch sponsored by Fidelity Bank 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1515 Poydras St. 5th Floor Auditorium NewOrleansChamber.org
12 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce: NOLA Marketplace Expo 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lakeside Shopping Center 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd. Metairie JeffersonChamber.org
16 Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: HCCL and P&N Lunch & Learn “Human Resources Management: A Big Deal for Small Business” 9 to 11 a.m. Delgado Community College Student Life Center, 1st Floor 615 City Park Ave. HCCL.biz
24 St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce: Business After Hours 4:30 to 6:30 Christwood Retirement Community 100 Christwood Blvd., Covington StTammanyChamber.org
24 Small Business Expo: Presented by Rep. Cedric Richmond and Delgado Community College 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Delgado Community College City Park Campus, Building 25 JeffersonChamber.org
24 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce: Young Professionals Networking Event — Summertime Blues 5:30 to 8 p.m. The Shops at Canal Place 333 Canal St. NewOrleansChamber.org
30 U.S. Chamber Foundation: Hiring Our Heroes Military Hiring Fair 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Belle Chasse Civic Center 8398 Hwy. 23, Belle Chasse USChamber-Foundation.org
30 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce: Prosper Jefferson Seminar Series: Social Media 9 to 10:30 a.m. JEDCO Conference Center 700 Churchill Pkwy., Avondale JeffersonChamber.org
30 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce: Chamber After 5 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Fulton Alley 600 Fulton St. NewOrleansChamber.org
18 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce: Business & Breakfast 7:45 to 9:30 a.m. Best Western PLUS Landmark Hotel & Suites 2601 Severn Ave., Metairie JeffersonChamber.org
20 Biz August 2017
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.
311 Baronne St. • (504) 962-6527 publicservicenola.com
752 Tchoupitoulas St. • (504) 581-7101 noshneworleans.com
The Central Business District’s most dynamic community gathering place, Public Service is a casual-yet-sophisticated restaurant which respects the civic spirit of the former New Orleans Public Service Inc. With a menu that honors the Gulf Coast’s hard-working fishermen and farmers, enjoy contemporary cuisine in an open-display kitchen highlighted by a modern raw bar and open-flame rotisserie.
Serenade your senses at New Orleans Social House! Unwind to the tunes of live local musicians while enjoying our exquisite vino, craft cocktails, and progressive culinary creations. As a new concept in the historic Warehouse District of New Orleans, NOSH combines the fun of a music venue, the cuisine of a worldly new restaurant, and the beverages of a high end craft cocktail and wine bar, encapsulating the true essence of a “good time.” From a friendly outing, to a work meet and greet, to a date night, NOSH transforms a social house into a home for all.
Riccobono’s Peppermill Restaurant
841 Iberville St. • (504) 581-1316 deanies.com
3524 Severn Ave., Metairie • (504) 455-2266 riccobonospeppermill.com
Enjoy fresh Louisiana seafood at one of New Orleans’ favorite seafood restaurants. With their deliciously large menu, Deanie’s offers a friendly and relaxed place to unwind in the French Quarter and the original location in Bucktown. Take advantage of their intimate private rooms and courtyard for business events and special occasions.
For over 40 years the Riccobono family has been serving classic New Orleans and Italian fare to locals and visitors alike. Timeless classics like Shrimp Creole, Trout Amandine, Veal Parmigiana, Oysters Riccobono and much more. Consistently rated as one of the top dining destinations of Metairie. Private dining facilities available for meetings and events. Join us for a meal to remember. Open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. BizNewOrleans.com 21
Millennial Awards On July 15, the fifth annual Millennial Awards show — presented by The Spears Group in partnership with GNO, Inc. — celebrated the accomplishments of professionals in 18 categories. Among this year’s winners were: Business: Brandon Rapp, principal consultant at B. Rapp and Associates, LLC Healthcare presented by Tulane Health Systems: April Dupre, founder/ wellness coach at Footprints to Fitness Economic Development: Alejandra Guzman, vice president of program development and strategy at New Orleans Business Alliance Financial Services: Blair DuQuesnay, principal/CIO at ThirtyNorth Investments Hospitality & Tourism: Erin Gremillion, national sales manager at Allied PRA New Orleans
Clean Fleet Awards The Regional Planning Commission’s Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership recognized 24 fleets and organizations in the region that incorporate alternative fuels, fuel saving technologies and innovative transportation programs at the 2016 Clean Fleet Awards, held June 13. The honorees — which included the RTA, UPS and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad as top fuel consumption reducers — set new regional records last year by reducing consumptions by over 3.5 million gasoline gallons equivalent (GGEs) and preventing over 22,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. For a complete list of winners, visit CleanFuelPartnership.org.
Top 10 US Cities Building Websites on Mobile Devices
Ochsner Hospital for Children Ranked Among Top in Country
Today, more web traffic comes from mobile devices (52%) than from desktop computers (48%). The trend of using mobile devices to not only access websites but also build them is also growing, especially in the following cities: St. Louis Detroit
Law: Kevin Patrick Conaway, director at Unglesby & Greenberg and founder at RPM, LLC
Real Estate: Johnice Katz, advisor at Engel & Volkers
For a complete list of winners, visit MillennialsMeet.com
22 Biz August 2017
Pompano Beach Washington D.C. Santa Ana
Tulane Awarded $12 Million to Create a Vaccine Robert Garry, professor of microbiology and immunology in the School of Medicine, (pictured left) and James Robinson, professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine (right) are part of a team at Tulane University developing a drug to protect against both the Ebola virus and the Lassa virus — a virus that causes Lassa fever, a severe and often fatal hemorrhagic illness. Their work has just been awarded with $12 million from the National Institutes of Health. Tulane researchers have been studying Lassa in West Africa for more than 14 years.
In its 11th annual Best Children’s Hospitals ranking, U.S. News and World Report ranked Ochsner Hospital for Children among the top 50 children’s hospitals in the country for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery specialties. The hospital grabbed the 49th spot. It is the only hospital in Louisiana and Mississippi to be recognized and offers the largest pediatric cardiology programs from Houston to Atlanta. The hospital recently opened a 12-bed Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit.
New Orleans is the right fit for Sleep Number based on the service industry talent pool and the state’s support.
Melissa Barra, senior VP and chief strategy and customer relationship officer for Select Comfort Select Comfort’s new support contact center is set to open midAugust in an existing 28,000-squarefoot space in Elmwood (1333 South Clearview Pkwy). It will provide support services for the company’s Sleep Number ® beds and accessory products. The opening is expected to result in 225 new direct jobs with annual salaries averaging $30,000 plus benefits, plus 104 new indirect jobs. To secure the project, Louisiana Economic Development (LED) offered a competitive incentive package that includes a flexible, performance-based grant of up to $800,000 to reimburse the company for lease assistance, infrastructure costs and relocation expenses. Sleep Number will receive the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart®, the nation’s No. 1 state workforce training program. The company also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs Program.
tulane photo by Paula Burch-Celentano/Tulane
220 Decatur Orleans Property, a local real estate development company, has finished construction of the expansion of one of its condo developments and the entire development is now up for sale. The addition is the adjoining building to 220 Decatur — which currently includes 16 residences and ground floor commercial. Orleans Property added 6 luxury condo units and additional commercial space.
Orleans Coffee Orleans Coffee opened its newest location at 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., in June. The coffee house shares space with the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center. The first and only organic roaster in the area, Orleans Coffee will also be offering pastries from local bakeries.
Holiday Inn New Orleans Airport North On July 7, Expotel Hospitality announced the opening of the Holiday Inn New Orleans Airport North at 1300 Veterans Blvd. in Kenner. The hotel features 121 guestrooms, a restaurant and bar, fitness center, outdoor pool and 1,300 square feet of meeting space.
NOPSI Constructed in 1927 as the headquarters for the New Orleans Public Service Inc. (NOPSI), the city’s former utility company and transit operator, NOPSI reopened as a luxury hotel in the CBD on July 6. The nine-story brick building now features 217 guestrooms, a regionally inspired restaurant, a rooftop pool and bar and 14,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space.
Public Service is a casual, yet sophisticated restaurant respecting the civic spirit of the former New Orleans Public Service, Inc. Chef Dustin Brien and team prepare contemporary cuisine in an open display kitchen, highlighted by a modern raw bar and open flame rotisserie.
Good Counsel Apartments Avanti Senior Living of Covington
Mullin Landscape Mullin Landscape Associates, a comprehensive landscape design and build firm servicing the Greater New Orleans area, has opened their new business headquarters at 10356 River Rd. in St. Rose, Louisiana. The new facility combines three properties into one workplace for their staff of over 75 professionals.
24 Biz August 2017
In June, Avanti opened its first residence in Louisiana. The 77,000-square-foot, $15 million community includes 50 assisted living suites and 40 memory care suites, along with a wellness center, a dining platform with fresh meals on demand, restaurants, a salon and spa and a fully-functional art studio.
After sitting vacant for 30 years, the former Our Lady of Good Counsel School at 1215 Louisiana Ave., has been converted into 22 one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging from 600 to 1,200 square feet through the work of Ryan Gootee General Contractors, LLC and historic preservation architects Trapolin-Peer. The project recently received the 2017 Renovator’s Award from the Garden District Association.
LCI Workers’ Comp and LCIA “Opportunities for Contractors in Stormwater Management”
FestiGals Keynote Luncheon (7th Annual New Orleans Women’s Weekend Experience)
Thursday, June 22 | New Orleans Mosquito, Termite & Rodent Control Board
Friday, June 23 | JW Marriott
Architects, landscape experts and city resources were among the speakers at this event, which was co-hosted by the Urban Conservancy and StayLocal.
FestiGals Keynote Luncheon featured guest speaker Linda Alvarado, co-owner of the Colorado Rockies and president/CEO of Alvarado Construction in a presentation called, “Hitting a Home Run in Business & Baseball.”
1. Brenden Folse, Robert Folse, Andrienne Folse and Joe Evans 2. TJ Truxillo 3. Nick Peddle, Meredith Cherney, Dana Eness, Felice Lavergne and Christina Buras
1. Diane Lyons, Kenny Lopez, Linda Alvarado and Andy Black 2. Linda Alvarado 3. Ted Selogie, Stephanie Burks, Beth Terry and Sandra Dartus
26 Biz August 2017
photographs by cheryl gerber
United Way of Southeast Louisiana Annual Meeting
Humana go365 Champ Camp
Wednesday, June 28 | City Parkâ€™s Pavilion of the Two Sisters
Friday, July 14 | Sheraton Hotel
As part of the organizationâ€™s new Blueprint for Prosperity initiative, United Way invested in 88 programs and 7 collaborative partnerships to fight work toward eradicating poverty in Southeast Louisiana.
A fun, high energy day designed to help employers learn how to better engage employers and maximize the benefits of Humana go365, this event featured guest speaker Mark Berger with Higher Power.
1. Alexis Hocevar, Barbara Turner Windhorst and Rick Haase 2. Michael Williamson 3. Christine Jordan, Jennifer Quezergue and Molly Buckley
1. Karen Bourgeois, Rochelle Oatis and Gretchen Seegen 2. Mark Berger 3. Rhonda Bagby, Lindsey Dennis, Lauren Rogers and Lester Love
28 Biz August 2017
photographs by cheryl gerber
in the biz Biz columnists speak out
DINING • TOURISM • SPORTS • ENTERTAINMENT • ENTREPRENEURSHIP • ETIQUETTE • MARKETING
City Park is Swinging The return of Bayou Oaks’ South Course More on page 36
In the Biz d i n i ng
Has the Bubble Burst? New Orleans’ dining boom looks to be coming to an end. 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.
n recent years, New Orleans has seen a restaurant boom unparalleled in its history. From pop-ups to food trucks to brick-and-mortar establishments, there seems to be no end to new, tasty temptations. But surely there has to be a tipping point. How many eateries can the city effectively support? The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the number of local restaurants today to be approaching 1,500. In a city of about 330,000, in order to support that kind of critical mass, New Orleanians would have to dine out almost every other day. Luckily, in 2016, our 10.45 million hungry visitors did their best to help, but it’s no secret that filling restaurant seats, especially during hot New Orleans summers, has historically been a challenge. Consequently, as the summer of 2017 loomed large, the local restaurant bubble began to burst. Some restaurants, perhaps, Ancora Pizzeria and Salumeria did not have sufficient capital directly next door to each other to withstand the seasonal slump. on up-and-coming Freret Street. No more In other cases, the banks made Unfortunately, that pattern shrimp the decision by padlocking doors, tacos from did not hold true for Primitivo Mizado’s leaving surprised employees in Central City. Latin jobless with paychecks owed. Kitchen. They “It used to be that restaurants officially Neither of those scenarios applied closed were an extension of home and July 1. when Adolfo Garcia decided family life,” says Garcia, “but to close his Central City restaurant, today, people regard restaurants as Primitivo, in May 2017. In 2000, Garcia entertainment. A new place opens and was a pioneer in the Warehouse District they come in droves, but three months when he opened Rio Mar. Before long, later, they’re on to the next new thing. he was operating three restaurants in a Garcia says the first year at Primitivo three-block area with the addition of La was great, but the second year he had Boca and A Mano. “I’ve always loved to constantly adjust operations to stay getting in on the bottom floor in new viable. “Finally, it just did not make developing neighborhoods,” he says. sense, fiscally,” he says. It’s a pattern he successfully repeated in The announcement that Mizado, 2011 when he opened High Hat Café, the latest restaurant concept from
32 Biz August 2017
the Taste Buds, would close in June created such panic among faithful fans that the doors stayed open, albeit with new hours. Greg Reggio, co-owner of Taste Buds Management, the team behind Semolina, Mizado and Zea Rotisserie & Bar restaurants, describes the situation he and his partners faced in making those decisions. “Almost 25 years ago we opened our first Semolina at that same location,” he says. “The dining scene was very different back then, with fewer restaurants competing for the same dollar. We did $3 million a year at Semolina, on a check average of just $8. Mizado never matched those numbers, despite considerably higher check averages. Much to our surprise, when we announced the closing, our sales immediately doubled, and we
decided to stay open for the time being, but that trend has to continue if Mizado is going to remain open.” The trend did not continue. Mizado closed for good July 1. Reggio is also concerned about what he sees as a vicious cycle being created in New Orleans’ real estate. “It costs a lot of money to turn what may have been a residence or a retail shop into a restaurant,” he says. “Once the landlord has invested that money, when the first business goes bust, there’s always another guy ready to give it a try.” Garcia owns the former Primitivo site and says he is experiencing that phenomenon right now. Within a few weeks of closing, over 25 prospective new restaurant tenants have made serious inquiries about leasing the property. So, has the burgeoning New Orleans restaurant bubble finally burst? Rising operating costs, labor shortages and small profit margins combined with an unprecedented number of eateries seem to be brewing a perfect storm on the horizon of New Orleans restaurants. 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.
photograph courtesy mizado’s latin kitchen
In The Biz to u ri sm
One Meal at a Time COOLinary brings opportunities to discover new favorites Jennifer Gibson Schecter
ach August in New Orleans, time slows down. The physics behind the phenomenon may not be proved anytime soon and naysayers might argue our imaginations lengthen the afternoons, but those in tune with the season will feel the stretch in each hour. It’s the heat that does it. Thankfully, there is a sure way to maintain our temperature and beat the heat in August. COOLinary New Orleans is an annual monthlong restaurant event organized by the New Orleans at Convention and Visitors Dining Tableau Bureau (NOCVB). This year promises at least 85 participating restaurants, each representing an aspect of the thrilling cuisine available in NOLA today. COOLinary is built on a “restaurant week” model, where restaurants offer discounted prix fixe menus and special menu items to draw diners in during what tends to be a slower month for dining out in general, but especially for tourism in New Orleans. “As families prepare to start the school year, August has traditionally been the slowest month of the year for tourism,” explained Kim Priez, senior vice president of tourism at NOCVB. “COOLinary New Orleans is a great program because it is a wonderful opportunity for locals to try some of New Orleans’ best restaurants, plus it is an economic boost to our favorite restaurants in New Orleans, helping them and their employees until conventions and an increased volume of visitors return.” For locals and tourists alike, COOLinary provides some rare dining opportunities at more budget-friendly prices.
34 Biz August 2017
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.
Because the demand for restaurants is pate, as well as new stand outs like lower, reserving coveted time slots and Josephine Estelle and Public Service. tables at popular restaurants is easier. The restaurants use COOLinary as a Multi-course selections are priced to way to get diners in the door and wow encourage guests to order a signature them with both experimental recipes dish or two from the regular menu, and traditional favorites. or perhaps choose the entire bottle “COOLinary Restaurant Month of vouvray instead of just a glass of is the ultimate program,” said Priez, sauvignon blanc. “offering an amazing dining experience Classic New Orleans restaurants for a greater value than other times like Arnaud’s and Galatoire’s partici- of year.”
During COOLinary 2016 more than 20,000 meals were served, and it’s anticipated that will increase this year. Most restaurants offer lunch and dinner, though some only offer dinner. In 2015, many restaurants added a brunch course on the weekend as well. One of the best aspects of COOLinary is the website, which allows users to search for restaurants in a variety of ways. Search results can be sorted by cuisine, neighborhood or meal offered. Results can then be viewed with beautiful photographs in a grid, a simple list or even a map option to better gauge the location for those unfamiliar with the restaurant or neighborhood. The website also includes special links to book hotel rooms and exclusive deals called Lagniappe Offers. For the uninitiated, in Southeastern Louisiana, “lagniappe” means a little something extra. Think a baker’s dozen or an amuse bouche. This is where deals like happy hours, discounted valet parking, raffle prizes and more will be announced. “From some of the most prestigious and historic restaurants in the country to trendy newcomers making waves in the industry,” said Priez, “COOLinary New Orleans offers a true taste of all New Orleans has to offer.” For more information and to make reservations at participating restaurants, visit coolinaryneworleans.com. n
In The Biz sports
Big Fun on the Bayou With the return of Bayou Oaks’ South Course golf is swinging at City Park once again. 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.
ver the past two decades, City Park has tried to reinvent itself by providing a more diverse range of recreational offerings while balancing income-producing activities. Unlike most park spaces in the country, the park receives no operating dollars from the city via taxes and just 15 percent of its $16.4 million operating budget from the state. That means City Park is responsible for producing nearly $14 million each year just to break even. By the year 2000, Bayou Bayou Oaks at City Park ran four Oaks golf courses and a driving at City Park range that produced about 40 percent of the entire operating budget. During this time, the park developed a master plan to reorganize resources and add additional elements to bring in more money. Plans called for a new tennis center, mini golf course, water park and festival grounds, which would replace the old South Course. Then, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated City Park. Flooding, trees and grounds wind damaged, and overrun by feral hogs in the weeks after the disaster, only the North Course, which sustained the least damage, reopened in 2009, much to the chagrin of local golfers with few affordable public course options. As the park re-emerged, it added the new tennis center and mini-golf facility, redeveloped its amusement park, converted the old South Course into the Festival Grounds and extended Big Lake. The East and West Courses were left alone for more than a decade as open natural space, with the old cart paths
36 Biz August 2017
Bayou Oaks at City Park Green Fees South Course
used by joggers, walkers, cyclists and dog owners. Eventually a plan emerged to open a new, vital economic lifeline. It called for City Park to build a course on the footprint of the combined former East and West Courses. Ground was broken in February 2015 on the Rees Jones-designed facility, and in April 2017, the new $13.2 million, 250-acre, 7,305-yard championshiplevel South Course was completed and opened to the public. Today, Bayou Oaks at City Park’s new golf complex consists of two 18-hole golf courses, a driving range, shortgame green and a clubhouse managed by the Bayou District Foundation. Both courses offer staggered pricing on greens fees that get cheaper on tee times later in the day. Greens fees for the North Course start at $25 to walk the full 18 holes and $12 to walk nine holes Monday through Thursday. Rounds after 3 p.m. cost $12. From Friday through Sunday and on holidays rates go up
an additional $3, and a cart will add $16 to your tab for a full round and $9 for a half round. Seniors receive a $10 discount. South Course green and cart fees for Louisiana residents are $69 for a full round from Monday through Thursday, and $79 Fridays through Sundays and on holidays. Fees drop $10 at 11 a.m., $20 at 3 p.m., and $30 at 4:30. Half rounds on the South Course cost $49 during the early week and $59 Friday through Sunday and on holidays. Non-resident fees are $119 per round, with a $20 graduated fee reduction at midday, twilight and super twilight. The park also offers a seven-day annual pass for $3,000 and a four-day pass good for play Mondays through Thursdays for $2,000. The course is beautiful and gives local golfers a great new facility to play at very affordable prices. For more information on Bayou Oaks at City Park, please contact Head Golf Professional Alex Abbruzza at (504) 784-8467. n
Fri.–Sun. & Holidays
After 11 a.m.
After 3 p.m.
After 4:30 p.m. $39
Fees for Louisiana residents, nonresidents add $20
North Course Time
Fri.–Sun. & Holidays
After 3 p.m.
Fees to walk, seniors (55+) subtract $10. Cart add $16 for full round, $9 for half
Driving Range Bucket size
photo by Ian Cotita Cavu Media
In The Biz enterta i nment
Wishing on a Star Starlight Studios is betting big on a strong future for Hollywood South. 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.
here is hope in the film industry. The biggest example of which is the opening of Southeast Louisiana’s newest film studios — Starlight Studios, which opened June 19. In a clear example of “go big or go home,” the $12.5 million studios encompass a 12-acre campus that includes two sound stages, 14,000 square feet of office space, three warehouses (together amounting to over 50,000 square feet of storage space) and backlot spaces. Instead of a takeover of an existing warehouse, Starlight represents the first filming infrastructure created from the ground-up in Louisiana in almost 10 years. The project has been a dream of Starlight’s President, Billy Burk, since around 2010. A real estate developer since 1997, Burk was called on in the early 2000s to work as a consultant for a company looking to build a studio and get into production. The project didn’t’ come to fruition, but it did spark Burk’s interest in the industry. “Around 2010 [the same year Second Line Stages opened] the tax credit for infrastructure was at 40 percent and the need for infrastructure here was really great,” he says. “But it was also hard to raise capital. And then the tax credit went away.” Burk says regardless of the negative headlines that started popping up in 2014, when he was speaking with congressmen he was finding that most had a high respect for the industry. Burk continued to raise capital for his dream, along the way meeting Kevin Murphy, who had experience managing studios in California, Baton Rouge and
38 Biz August 2017
New Orleans. Murphy now serves as Starlight’s COO. In 2015, the same year the tax credit cap hit, spiraling the industry into uncertainty, Burk finally closed on the loan for the studios. And then came the tornado. On February 7 of this year an EF-3 tornado, the strongest ever reported in the city, hit New Orleans East. Wind speeds reached between 136 and 165 miles per hour. Approximately 300 structures were severely damaged, including some on the same street as Starlight, set to open just four months later. During the studios’ grand opening on June 19, visitors drove right by
the torn up neighbor to the gleaming new studios. Burk says despite all this, the timing for the opening has been great. “As soon as we announced, we were booked,” he says. The largest of the sound stages is Stage 1 at just shy of 33,000 square feet. As of the opening, it was leased to a TV production that was also using the largest of the warehouses and all the office space. With either one large production or two good-sized productions, Burk says the studios easily employs north of 200 people. What exists of Starlight now, however, is only the beginning.
Plans are already permitted for phase two of the project, which includes another two sound stages and another warehouse and office building — an investment of about $28 million. The third phase, not yet permitted, will include more stages at a cost of an estimated $55 million. “That still won’t utilize all of the space we have,” Burk says, noting that Starlight owns 32 acres and leases more, bringing the total acreage to what he says is “north of 40 acres, almost 50.” Touring the studios and standing in a real, professional sound stage reaching four stories high, it was easy to see the potential of what it could bring for the industry, and the state. However, it was also hard not to remember back to just a few years ago when I attended the exciting opening of another New Orleans East studio, Filmworks, which also touted the fact that it was booked up before its grand opening. Just two years later, its doors closed for good. Of course things are different now. Changes have been made to the credit system to provide some much-needed stability that will likely help draw production. We seem to be coming out of disaster, not heading toward it. But still, standing in Starlight’s parking lot looking over at the destruction next door was a painful reminder that nothing is ever certain. n
photos courtesy Kevin barraco
In The Biz entrepreneu rsh i p
CapWay Creating a New Way Local startup is focusing on helping people improve their financial health. 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.
o be successful, entrepreneurs need customers. And to be customers, people have to be able to pay for products or services. Therein lies the problem. Not only is poverty a significant issue in New Orleans and across the country, there are astounding numbers of people — even many of reasonable means — who are so disconnected from basic financial systems that their purchasing ability is extremely limited. According to studies by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and others, 7 percent of the U.S. population has no bank account at all. In Louisiana, that number doubles, and among African-Americans, it may be as high as 23 percent. There are also 70 million financially underserved Americans — those that do not have both checking and savings accounts or credit and debit cards. Yet, surprisingly, 32 percent of these financially underserved own their own home. Bringing an entrepreneurial solution to this problem are Sheena Allen and Tim Lampkin, co-founders of CapWay, a startup dedicated to bringing the underserved into the financial mainstream and to financial health. Launched at the beginning of last year, CapWay was among the finalists at this year’s New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Before launching, Allen and Lampkin spent a year researching the problem, including employing focus groups with unbanked and underserved individuals. According to Lampkin, “one of the biggest problems is distrust in financial institutions. There is resentment from
40 Biz August 2017
years of intentional discrimination. There is a lack of transparency regarding banking fees and how services work. Banks need to train their employees on how to explain things like APR and overdraft fees.” Compounding these problems is the fact that 93 percent of bank branch closings in the last five years have occurred in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. “It’s easier to go to Walmart or payday lenders,” notes Lampkin. However, the huge fees associated with many of these sources further erode financial capacity. Recognizing that the scope of the problem is far beyond any single approach, CapWay is focusing on the next generation of earners and spenders, specifically
high school and college students in low-income areas. “Looking at the education system across the country, most don’t require any financial literacy classes,” Lampkin laments. “Even if you get a $60,000-ayear job coming out of college, you are going to struggle if you can’t balance your own budget. We are trying to change that behavior early on, to get people interested and excited about personal finances.” CapWay’s first offering is a mobile phone app. The idea is that most people today have a smartphone, and phones are increasingly being used for purchases. Once people connect to CapWay through their phones (iPhones only at this time), they have access to plain-language articles and videos about
basic financial concepts and can take a financial literacy test. CapWay is also working with colleges and universities, as well as employers and financial institutions, to expand access to both financial information and financial services. All of these entities have vested interests in having their communities be financially well served and sound. Additionally, the firm is working with community organizations and nonprofits to connect to more members of their target population. Once participants have developed a grasp of the financial basics, CapWay’s next step is to provide pre-paid debit cards, which offer more practical, experiential learning. Soon they hope to move on to regular bank-issued debit cards, ideally tailored to individuals who are still developing their financial literacy levels. Eventually, Allen and Lampkin want to move the conversation toward wealth creation, especially in communities of color. “How do we change that conversation, where money is not necessarily something you get frustrated about,” Lampkin says. “We want to help people maximize the resources they do have, to get them truly financially healthy.” For more information about partnership opportunities with CapWay, visit Capway.co. n
In The Biz et i q u ette
Who’s the Boss? Managing up without sucking up
ome bosses are highly organized, communicative leaders who offer direction, feedback and, when needed, correction. At the other end of the spectrum are those who work with their head down, appear forgetful, disorganized and potentially overwhelmed, and from whom advice and constructive criticism is nonexistent. A lot of CEOs, managers and supervisors likely fall somewhere in between, but no matter where your boss is on the spectrum, it’s important to find a way to work effectively with them, while also continuing to learn and grow in your own career. The concept is called managing up. If properly executed, it’s a great problem solver. If done poorly, it can come off as overstepping, gunning for your boss’s job, being manipulative or, at the very least, brownnosing. To effectively manage up, it’s important to do the following: Begin at the beginning: If possible, when you first start a new job, discuss with your boss their preferred method of communication (email, in-person, telephone) and how frequently they’d like to have check-ins and what they see as your priority tasks. Also, ask when you can expect performance reviews, how your performance is measured and what documentation they expect you to provide for your review. Mission Accomplished: Learn the company’s mission and goals, as well as those of your boss, and gear your work toward those goals. Some managers will offer this information, but not all, so if they don’t, be sure to ask. Anticipation: Learn to anticipate your boss’s needs and work to make
42 Biz August 2017
Melanie Warner Spencer is
editor of New Orleans Bride and New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles and managing editor of Louisiana Life and Acadiana Profile. Spencer’s ever-expanding library of etiquette books is rivaled only by her ever-ready stash of blank thank-you notes. Submit business etiquette questions to Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.
his or her job easier, not more difficult. Listen carefully when your boss brings up recurring problems. Find out if they are amenable to hearing opinions from underlings and if so, present solutions. Distraction Techniques: While it’s great to offer your boss solutions to problems, especially solutions that save the company money, this tactic should only be employed if and when
your workload is in tip-top shape. Your boss hired you to do the job you were given and if it’s not getting done, everything else is a distraction. Those distractions could end up costing you your job, so solve your own problems before looking around the company for other people’s problems. Gain Clarity: If your boss often issues vague directives, review the information.
In meetings or in a followup email, simply say or write, “To clarify, you said you’d prefer it if I focus on generating new business this week and switch off to checking in with current clients next week. Is that correct?” That way, if you’ve misunderstood it will get cleared up on the spot. Emailing a quick recap of a meeting or conversation is also a great way to have reference documentation if you have a forgetful boss. I once had a forgetful boss who gave little or no direction and clarification emails were a lifesaver. It caused a complete turnaround for the better in my working relationship with a person that everyone in the company found mystifying and difficult to work with, because they never understood her directives or she’d forget the assign-ment. By documenting it in an email, both of us had a reference point and again, we could clear up miscommunications before any investment in time or effort. Whether you call it managing up or simply good communication, it is a skill that is key to working well with your boss. At the heart of the matter is asking what your boss wants from you, making sure you understand their directives and getting the job done. n
A STUNNING COLLECTION OF 50 TRADITIONAL (AND SOME NON-TRADITIONAL) LOUISIANA RECIPES. AN ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE FOR YOUR KITCHEN, OR THE PERFECT GIFT FOR A LOUISIANA FOOD LOVER.
TO ORDER VISIT
LOUISIANACOOKBOOK.COM Now in its second printing!
In The Biz market i ng
The Fab Five Five tips for getting advertising that works
Julia Carcamo is president
hether large or small, all businesses need great marketing, but when you pay for it, you want to make sure you’re getting the best work possible to help you reach your goals. So, what does it take to get great advertising that works? The formula is simple; you need clear direction from the client and great creative from the agency. Getting there boils down to the following five things:
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.
he would want them to take the extra steps. Agencies are not psychic. When you share your ideas, it can lead to creating something great. We recently worked on developing the identity for a new public relations firm that was passionate about telling stories and engaging people with the stories of their clients. When we brainstormed some concepts, the client said he liked the idea of a “period.” We knew that wasn’t what we wanted, but it was something he liked. That one small thought led us to the development of a logo that told a story bigger than a simple period could ever tell.
Know that your role as the client is to understand the business challenge. I can’t count how many times I’ve said, “Tell the agency what your business challenge is, and let them come up with the graphic solution.” Too often clients fixate on fonts and colors without the graphic knowledge to know the impact “making it yellow” or “bigger” has on the layout. Requested changes can often have a ripple effect on creative. Make enough of these random changes and before you know it, you have an ad that looks like it came out of left field. Trust your agency with your business challenges. Let them give you great creative to solve those challenges.
Realize the danger signs of getting caught in the spiral of revisions. When you’re asking for the 27th revision it’s time to realize you’ve lost your way. I too have been a part of that death spiral. To this day, that experience remains my hallmark example of when a client doesn’t know what they want. When you get caught up in the minutiae of creative details you start losing sight of the business challenge. You start to think tinkering with the ad will make it better. It doesn’t,
44 Biz August 2017
5 but if you trust your agency they’ll get you something creative that feels right for your brand.
Don’t do it yourself. Today anyone can subscribe to creative software, and everyone has an HD video recorder in the palm of their hands. Just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should (or that you really want to). As my coworker used to say, “Let the creative people create.” Agencies have a very specific
job to do. As business owners, we have also have very specific jobs that should include item No. 1, communicating the business challenge.
Don’t make your agency guess. I recently worked with a client who was unhappy with one of his agencies because of the work they were NOT doing. I asked him if he had actually told them he wanted them to do those things. His answer was no. He wanted them to just know
Be passionate. I know I just told you to take the business role instead of the creative role, but you must be passionate about the messages you’re putting out to your audience. If you’re not, what makes you think your audience will be as passionate as you want them to be when they see or hear your message? Pushing for greatness is not the same as making uneducated changes or pushing just to show who’s boss. When you push respectfully and agencies push themselves, you’re going to get some of the best work you’ll ever see. n
illustration by jane sanders
46 Biz August 2017
perspectives hot topics in southeast Louisiana industries
HEALTHCARE • REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION • TECHNOLOGY • GUEST VIEWPOINT
Peddling Protons A new cancer fighting method is coming to New Orleans More on page 50
Provision Healthcare is making a $100 million capital investment to build the Louisiana Proton Therapy Center
Perspectives H E A LT H C A R E
Peddling Protons Terry Douglass, the man behind the upcoming Louisiana Proton Therapy Center, aims to make New Orleans a destination for cancer treatment. By Andrew Canulette
erry Douglass was a high school student in the early 1960s when the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission made it a nationwide goal to convince a wary public of the advantages of nuclear power. Like most Americans at the time, he knew splitting certain atoms produced energy that could be used in military weaponry. Douglass didn’t consider the full range of nuclear possibilities, however, until a mobile museum called “Atoms for Peace” stopped by his high school in west Tennessee. Exhibits inside the vans typically included things such as radiation suits and also mechanical hands that allowed for safe handling of radioactive materials. “Stepping inside that van changed my life,” Douglass said. “I was a junior in high school and I started thinking about the possibilities of using radiation for peaceful purposes, especially for things like medicine. In fact, I titled my senior paper ‘Atoms for Peace.’” It became my passion.” More than a half century later, it still is. After getting his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee, Douglass spent 15 years at EG&G Ortec (he was CEO from 1980 to 1983) before founding CTI Molecular Imaging Inc., where as president and CEO, he played a vital role in the development and commercialization of positron emission tomography (PET). PET is a nuclear medicine functional imaging technique used to observe metabolic processes in the body. Combined with computer assisted tomography (CT), it became the world’s finest tool in early cancer detection. But as monumental as PET has been to detection, Douglass said he’s even more excited about an enhanced cancer treatment
50 Biz August 2017
that his new company, Provision Healthcare, is expected to bring to New Orleans in late 2019. It’s called the ProNova SC360 Proton Therapy System, and Douglass said it will change the way battle is waged in the war against cancer. Provision and its partners announced in April they will make a $100 million capital investment in the Crescent City to build the Louisiana Proton Therapy Center in the expanding biomedical corridor in downtown New Orleans. The 30,000-square-foot therapy center will be part of a cancer-fighting nexus that will partner Knoxville, Tennessee-based Provision with University Medical Center New Orleans (on whose campus the center will be built) as well as LCMC Healthcare and LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans. The project is expected to create 60 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $100,000 plus benefits. An additional 63 jobs
After helping to create an integral tool for early cancer detection, Terry Douglass’ new company, Provision Healthcare, is bringing a new cancer fighting method to Louisiana.
will be indirectly created as a result, according to Louisiana Economic Development (LED) The Louisiana Proton Therapy Center is expected to be a boon for New Orleans, which would love to further tap into the lucrative “medical tourism” market that put cities such as Houston (M.D. Anderson Cancer Center) Memphis (St. Jude’s Children’s Research Center) and Rochester, Minnesota (the Mayo Clinic) on the medical map. “At LED, we’re always looking for ways to bring quality jobs to our state and this certainly is a great source of well-paying jobs,” said LED Secretary Don Pierson. “But it’s not just good for our economy. This is about saving lives…We’re thrilled to have this project coming to our city and our state…It shows great confidence in our market.” Provision is scheduled to open proton therapy centers in both New Orleans and Orlando, Florida, in 2019, with ground expected to be broken here in the fourth
quarter of 2017. The company also is expected therapy, many patients will feel up to joining to open a treatment center in Nashville, their accompanying family members at area Tennessee, in 2018, joining the company’s attractions, Douglass predicted. initial facility in Knoxville. “There’s what we call a ‘halo effect’ with There are currently 25 proton therapy this,” Douglass said. “About 70 percent of treatment centers in the U.S., though proton patients are self-referred to the clinic in therapy patients report far fewer side effects Knoxville, and we expect similar numbers than those who are treated with traditional in New Orleans. But only 30 percent of radiation, chemotherapy and even surgery. those people are viable candidates for proton The limited number of proton therapy therapy. So a lot of these patients will be in centers is directly linked to the $150 million traditional treatment facilities which already price tag that comes with construction of the are in place there. We’ll combine that with large cyclotrons that move protons at rapid proton therapy and things like immunotherapy speeds to create energy. That positively charged which also has shown tremendous promise. energy is used to treat cancerous tumors. All of these things are tools we can use to That’s where Douglass’s ProNova enters. fight the disease.” His machine is touted as costing half what The Louisiana Proton Therapy Center is older proton therapy cyclotrons do, as well not only for visitors, though. Douglass said as being half the size and one-tenth the clinical trials will make the facility available weight of current systems. Douglass’ device to a larger number of patients across the has been cleared by the FDA and will be in socioeconomic spectrum, many of them from use later this year in the Knoxville facility. the New Orleans area. Approximately 900 That treatment center currently uses the patients are expected to receive proton therapy larger-sized proton therapy cyclotron. in New Orleans annually given proposed The other planned Provision centers will financing for the local center. That number use only the ProNova technology, which could grow as proton therapy becomes more Douglass helped develop after selling CTI affordable, a trend that Douglass wholeheartto Siemens at a market capitalization of edly expects given the promise of ProNova. $1 billion. “(Proton therapy) is a name product that Douglass said Provision decided on New will bring people here,” said Dr. Larry Hollier, Orleans for expansion because of its ability chancellor of LSU Health Sciences Center to host visitors. With an abundance of hotel New Orleans. “Patients that are best suited rooms, restaurants and tourist attracfor proton therapy will receive it, and tions making the Crescent City one we’ll be able to move those who would of the world’s leading destinations, Rendering benefit more from a traditional treatpatients can enjoy ready-made creature ment into the system we already have of the future comforts between treatments (many in place. This is absolutely going to Louisiana of which last anywhere from 30 to make New Orleans a destination for Proton Therapy 60 days.) And because of the fewer cancer treatment.” n Lab side effects associated with proton
Did you know?
At LED, we’re always looking for ways to bring quality jobs to our state and this certainly is a great source of well-paying jobs. But it’s not just good for our economy. This is about saving lives… We’re thrilled to have this project coming to our city and our state…It shows great confidence in our market.
LED Secretary, Don Pierson
What Exactly is Proton Therapy? Proton therapy involves placing positively charged energy directly into a cancerous tumor. Cyclotrons accelerate protons to rapid speeds, which produces energy and because of the positive charge, it can be controlled and precisely delivered into a cancerous mass. Traditional radiations such as x-rays, gamma rays and photons are more “blanket approaches” to treatment, explained Terry Douglass, founder and CEO of ProNova Solutions, LLC, and often inadvertently destroy healthy tissues near the tumors. The more precise proton therapy means fewer side effects and more efficient treatments, which translates to less cost across the board. ProNova takes the same principles of proton therapy and puts it into a more compact and energyefficient package. ProNova’s lower price tag (less than half of the usual $150 million needed to construct previous proton therapy centers) was crucial, Douglass said, given the rate of cancer diagnoses today. More than 1.7 million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year in the U.S. alone and 340,000 of those will be good candidates for proton therapy. But with only 24 such operating centers in the U.S., only 22,100 patients can be treated in America this year. That means that at least 1,700 more proton therapy centers would be needed to meet current demand for the technology. Douglass is undeterred by the challenge. “As excited as I was about PET, (ProNova) has even bigger potential,” he said. “We’ve reduced the cost by a factor of two…This is why I’m here…I believe in providence and I believe this is going to help.”
52 Biz August 2017
Perspectives R E A L ES TAT E & CO N S T RU C T I O N
What’s New? A look at the latest trends in architecture and design. By Kim Roberts
hen it comes to architecture and design, New Orleans definitely has a style all its own that includes influences from the French, Creole and Spanish peacefully co-existing with modern and art deco designs. Sometimes these elements can be found in the same neighborhood, or even the same street, and yet somehow it all works. Curtis Herring of Curtis Herring Interior Design says that while some design trends last decades and others only a short time, in general the lifespan of a design trend is about five to seven years. “New Orleans has always lagged a little behind more progressive architectural cities in traditional terms, especially those cities along the East and West Coast,” says Ryan Gootee, Milne president/CEO of Ryan Gootee Street General Contractors. “I think building that has to do with the size of by Bild New Orleans, our laid-back Design culture and the tremendous amount of historic tax credit projects we’ve seen lately which don’t allow for much change. Since Hurricane Katrina, that design lag has closed a bit and more architects are bringing in more modern design elements, but some things are just non-starters. As an example, many of the materials seen in the West would not be conducive to our subtropical climate.” “Current design trends are now celebrating raw materials and exposed elements such as concrete, brick, wood and steel,” says Wes Palmisano, owner of Palmisano. “Spaces are becoming less formal, favoring a casual, clean and elegant look. Retro looks from the ’50s and ’60s, for example, are popular again. The handcrafted organic feel of this era appeals to the younger, upcoming generation of millennials.” “If by retro designs you mean the late ’60s to early ’90s, I would say we have seen some designers add some retro nuances to their
54 Biz August 2017
overall design lately, but usually it isn’t the overriding concept,” Gootee adds. According to Architect Magazine, material forecasts consider factors such as potential industry growth, economic impact and new discoveries to predict the best innovations for each year. The magazine notes that materials to watch include programmable cement, hardwood cross-laminated timber, solar-harvesting roads, powergenerating textiles, and buildingintegrated bioreactors.” Caroline Larussa, operations director at Modern Market, a furniture and design store in New Orleans, says that nationally the company is seeing a trend toward muted colors and/or lighter woods, mixed and assorted metals, as well as a heavy use of texture. “More and more of our manufacturers are increasing their efforts and products to be sustainably conscientious while promoting eco-manufacturing and the best shipping methods,” she says. “We make a huge effort to vet our manufacturers based on these stipulations as well.” According to Simcha Ward, architect and project manager with Wisznia Architecture
Spaces are becoming less formal, favoring a casual, clean and elegant look.
Wes Palmisano, owner of Palmisano
and Development, another trend prevalent in New Orleans is the use of design to bring people together. “One trend that we are seeing continue to gain momentum globally, as well as in New Orleans, is toward architecture and design features that encourage social interaction amongst people from different backgrounds,” Ward says. “This trend can be observed locally in the explosion of communal tables at our favorite coffee shops and restaurants, as well as in the proliferation of co-working spaces throughout New Orleans.” Ward adds that at the company’s upcoming Two Saints development, they have been intentional about introducing design features that facilitate incidental interaction amongst residents. “One innovative feature is a handicap accessible ramp that winds its way through the building, connecting residences with amenities and providing additional opportunities for residents to have serendipitous social interactions,” Ward says. Environmental consciousness is also a strong consideration.
What is BIM and How Is It Changing How We Build and Design? BIM, or building information modeling, is a type of software — a 3-D virtual model of buildings. To create models, all of the building data is collected and organized into a structure database that is easy to look at both in a visual and a numerical way. A true BIM model consists of the virtual equivalents of the actual building parts and pieces used to build a building. These elements have all the characteristics, both physical and logical, of their real counterparts — everything from walls to columns, windows, doors. The result is something that allows contractors, designers and builders to simulate the building and understand its behavior in a computer environment way before the actual construction starts. With virtually everybody using some form of mobile technology such as iPhones/iPads, utilization of BIM has become more common and easier to use. Clients, building owners and operators are getting more and more access to BIM models through their mobile devices even without the need to install a BIM application first. For local builders and designers, BIM is part of the move toward embracing technology in their fields. “The construction industry has been the same for the last 50 years,” says Wes Palmisano, owner of Palmisano. “We believe that there is an opportunity for the modern-day construction company to move the industry forward through innovation of processes, procedures and technology. BIM is one piece of that puzzle, but the entire solution is much more.” “For furniture design and furnishing project planning, we use multiple technology aids,” says Caroline Larussa, operations director at Modern Market. “BIM has always been an integral part of our office as well as a multitude of other resources.”
56 Biz August 2017
“Eco-friendly designs and materials are more important than ever to design and construction today,” says Palmisano. “Ten years ago, eco-friendly was cutting edge and viewed as an ‘upgrade’ to the building, while today eco-friendly is a given and generally a requirement for all owners.” Further helping things along, prices have also come down for more environmentally friendly options. “For instance, LED light fixtures would now be considered the rule and not the exception,” Gootee says. “Because of the high demand of LED fixtures, the supply over the last few years has caught up to the point where a project can more easily afford them.” In addition to materials and design palettes, there are other things to take into consideration when planning and designing a building project. “Buyers are savvier now and are looking at locations and use of spaces – the best use of a space for their needs,” says Sarah Martzolf of The Martzolf Group. Launched earlier this year by three realtors, The Martzolf Group offers services including luxury real estate, development and interior design. “Buyers understand it is important to have quality materials and unique and timeless items,” Martzolf says. “The idea is to keep an open floor plan and make it timeless and beautiful. She adds that the style of a space can also depend on the neighborhood. We have a good mixture of coastal traditional mixed with historic styles scattered throughout the area.” Byron Mouton is senior professor of practice at Tulane and director of Tulane’s URBANbuild program. He is also a principal at Bild Design. “I’ve been teaching since 1998 and started Bild Design in 1999,” Mouton says. “It’s always worked as complementary studio to what I was doing at Tulane. We focus on designing and building homes around the city. Design/build services are proving appealing to residential clients these days. It allows us to stretch their dollar a bit.” Mouton says the goal of his practice and school program is to introduce to New Orleans a sense of progress. “The projects we do are contemporary Wisznia but with a nod to the past,” he says. “We communal respect our older buildings but don’t necesworkspace sarily replicate them.” Mouton says that mixing the old and the new allows his firm to capitalize on the strengths of both. “For instance, when it comes to keeping homes cool, we’ve got all the advancements we can use — windows are better made now, insulation is better, cooling systems are more efficient and roofing is more efficient,” he says. “But we also pull in the old techniques, like using overhangs and shaded porches, and looking at the placement of trees, and raising homes off the ground to take advantage of air flow.”
Some designers have been working technology into their designs in response to client demand, from alarm systems to a fully programmable “smart house” that responds to voice demands. “Integrating technology into a project depends on the size and complexity of the project, design and contractor,” says Gootee. “We use software in every aspect of our business to ensure the entire project process is tracked and managed properly. We can’t get enough and are always looking to improve and upgrade on the technology we have in place. As with every industry, if you are not proactively managing your technology, you will most likely fall behind.” When working on a construction or design project all the ideas in the world cannot become a reality unless you have the right people in place to execute the work and make it a reality.
“Successful projects cannot happen without successful people running them. You have to recruit people who are either already proven in the industry or show a high level of engagement to succeed,” Gootee said. “Once they are onboard, you must provide them every opportunity to elevate themselves through training and education. When your employees know you are willing to invest in them and give them a chance to succeed, turnover and retention issues will significantly diminish and projects will be streamlined.” “Communication and trust are key to a successful project,” said Larussa. “We believe a successful project happens when the architect, contractor, and interior designer are all on the same page during the entirety of the project. Teamwork makes the dream work.” n
Perspectives T E C H N O LO GY
Risky Business Is your company cyber secure? By Maria Clark
simple swipe of a credit card at a convenience store comes at a risk nowadays. Data breaches have become all too common, threatening the loss of sensitive information regardless of the size of the business. A San Diego-based nonprofit called Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) reported that in the first five months of this year the number of data breaches in the United States increased by 35 percent over the same time last year. ITRC reports on data breaches affecting a variety of businesses and organizations, including healthcare providers, government and businesses. The ITRC reported that by May 30 the number of breaches had hit 698. Dale Pinney is president of Olaf Solutions Inc. in Metairie, a company that provides hardware and software solutions for a variety of small businesses, including veterinarian offices, doctors, garden centers, and HVAC companies. He says there are simple approaches business owners can take to help protect their clients’ sensitive data. Among the options Olaf Solutions offers is 24-hour monitoring of businesses, with reports every 15 seconds if anything in the client directory or files is changed. “The No. 1 problem is that no one thinks they are going to be hacked,” says Pinney. “The concept of security hasn’t hit them in the face yet. It is very important for businesses to understand that it isn’t a matter of if, it is when.” Email usage poses one of the most dangerous threats to user security, says a report from a cyber security firm called Symantec, which noted that approximately one in 131 emails it looked at contained some form of malware. These types of emails target more than 400 businesses every day, at a cost of approximately $3 billion over the last three years.
58 Biz August 2017
According to Pinney, there are two principal ways for business owners to protect their information.
Passwords: Don’t Get Lazy “Weak passwords or passwords that are too complex are a big problem,” he says, noting that in 2015 even former President Barack Obama admitted to having used “password” as his password as well as “12343457” at a cybersecurity summit at Stanford University. In 2014, “password” was the most commonly used password, according to security company SplashData. People also often use the same password on every account. Pinney suggests using a similar password that can be slightly modified for different accounts. For example, using a word like marbles, which can be modified by substituting the “s” for a $. When it comes to the greatest security risk for a business, however, many leaders in the cybersecurity world agree that the problem lies within: the employees.
Think Before You Click Here it’s important that employers create an acceptable use policy. Companies need to provide a written set of rules that helps prevent employees from misusing company computers in a way that puts a business, and its clients, at risk. Clayton Mouney, president of thinkIT Solutions, says that there are two things that business owners frequently overlook when it comes to security. “First, the data or information of a business is the most important part of any business,” he says. “Protect it as you would anything else that’s important. Second, don’t forget to spend money on employee training. The biggest security risk today is an untrained employee with a mouse,” he said.
In 2014, ‘password’ was the most commonly used password.
good to know
Top 3 Tips for Staying Cyber Safe
Internal attacks can be a top threat because employees already have access to sensitive data. Make sure passwords are secure and that there is a best use practice policy in place. If an employee is terminated, make sure to take away their access to the system.
Always be sure to choose a reputable cloud storage company to reduce the risk of data leakage.
Downloading malware can be done unintentionally when an employee clicks on a suspicious link. As Dale Pinney from Olaf Solutions says, “not all emails have to be opened.”
60 Biz August 2017
For instance, ransomware often enters a system through malicious attachments or emails that invite users to click on a URL, or even an ad attached to a web site. It’s all about educating employees on what a potential attack could look like. In May, a global ransomware attack infected thousands of computers in almost 100 countries, including 16 hospitals in England’s National Health Service, which locked doctors and nurses out of patient files unless they paid the ransom. Those attacks were blamed on a piece of malware called WCRY, WannaCry or Wana Decryptor. In total, global ransomware damages are predicted to exceed $5 billion in 2017, up from $325 million in 2015, according to the Ransomware Damage Report published by Cybersecurity Ventures. This type of cyber-attack allows a hacker to infiltrate a computer and make it so that the user cannot read or access files and documents unless they pay a ransom. Pinney estimates that the average cost for fixing a ransomware attack is more than $1,000. The simplest way to avoid or lessen the damage of a ransomware attack is to back up your files, and to do so in a way that is not accessible to cyber thieves, meaning offline and not connected to your desktop system — for example, at home you may use an external hard drive.
Weathering the Storm Business owners also must keep in mind that attacks on data aren’t always going to come from hackers. Here in Southeast Louisiana, we are all familiar with the power of Mother Nature. Businesses must plan solutions to back up and recover their data if they hope to keep going in the event of a natural disaster. “Customers have a difficult time distinguishing between back up and disaster recovery,” says Mike Orban, director of business sales for EATEL Business. “Disaster recovery means getting systems back up and running quickly.” During the 2016 flooding that severely affected the Baton Rouge area, EATEL Business offered a Business Continuity Center within their Baton Rouge Data Center that contains cubicles set aside for customers to work out of if their facility was unreachable. A plan for disaster recovery is all about time. “A business owner needs to consider how long they can keep their business operating without their servers running,” says Orban. “They need to have a recovery time objective when thinking about business continuity.” It’s also important that employees can communicate remotely if needed. For this, some companies, including EATEL, offer a hosted email system and voice service that allows someone to log into their phone and connect virtually. Businesses should also have a backup list of all their vendors and clients if they are displaced and cannot access their office. “Businesses that we work with have written documentation of who their key contacts are,” says Steve Noto, a sales engineer for EATEL Business. “You need to have that.” n
Perspectives g u est V I E W P O I N T
What Happens When Local Banks Falter? In the wake of First NBC Bank’s failure, a look at the basics of FDIC enforcement. By Joseph Briggett
ccording to federal banking regulators, bank failures reached a peak in 2010 before subsiding in the years since. The specter of bank failures, however, remains a significant risk to the U.S. banking system. The recent failure of First NBC Bank reportedly cost the federal government approximately $1 billion. While a relatively small loss for the U.S. banking system overall, it is a reminder of the risks in the banking community, especially among local banks. Local banks, including federally insured state chartered banks, are generally regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The FDIC has supervisory authority over these banks and conducts regular examinations of them. Many members of the banking community have pointed out the regulatory burden of these examinations on small banks in recent years. In an effort to These actions may also be based upon In that enforcement action relating to Park ease these regulatory burdens — including Avenue Bank — an FDIC-regulated financial financial institution examinations — the “unsafe or unsound banking practices,” which is essentially a question of whether a person institution located in New York — the board Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 was proposed of directors affirmed the decision of and has made its way through the House, has acted as a prudent banker would. The FDIC may pursue enforcement Administrative Law Judge Richard which passed it on June 8. actions based upon breaches of fiduMiserendino. The judge and the The FDIC also initiates enforcement action The specter of ciary duty, violations of pre-existing board both found that in order to be against banks and the people who work for bank failures orders, or other written requirewithin the jurisdiction of the FDIC, them when it believes violations of the law an outside lawyer would have to be have occurred. This includes a bank’s officers, ments that may have previously ... remains a been imposed by regulators. in a position to influence the bank’s directors, employees, controlling shareholders significant In a recent decision, the FDIC’s affairs. The board noted that for a and agents, among others. risk to the U.S. board of directors found a limit to bank’s outside lawyer, giving good The FDIC pursues these actions against the banking system. actions against individuals who are faith legal advice does not rise to this aforementioned individuals for a number of not officers or directors. It deterlevel. This decision will likely place reasons that may be based upon violations of mined that the agency’s enforcement a limit on the FDIC’s jurisdiction specific laws, rules or regulations. The FDIC’s division could not pursue an action to pursue actions against outside Statement of Policy indicates that driving against a bank’s outside lawyer in which it professionals like lawyers, accountants and factors include if the individual was engaged alleged the lawyer “knowingly and recklessly consultants. in dishonest conduct or was responsible for participated in improper loans.” the bank’s failure to adhere to laws.
62 Biz August 2017
In addition to the power to pursue enforcement actions against individuals affiliated with a bank, the FDIC has the statutory authority to terminate the deposit insurance of any insured bank. The FDIC may also seek several other remedies against the bank such as entry of an order to comply with certain conditions, or imposing civil money penalties. The FDIC can exercise this authority based upon a specific violation, or if it can prove a bank is in “an unsafe or unsound condition” or engaging in “unsafe or unsound banking practices.” An important part of this enforcement power is to oversee and enforce the proper handling of requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and related statutes, which require banks to maintain reporting intended to detect money laundering and other illegal activities. These complex BSA regulations may lead the FDIC to seek large civil money penalties against banks for noncompliance. While enforcement actions can be pursued at any time, the occurrence of a problem bank status or bank failure certainly increases the risk that the FDIC will pursue additional enforcement actions against a bank or its affiliated persons. When a bank failure results in large public losses of taxpayer money the tendency is to place the responsibility on individuals and attempt to recover losses from them. The amount of actions pursued by the FDIC varies significantly on an annual basis. The FDIC’s statistics reflect that 2017 has been of low activity, with the FDIC as receiver having pursued only six actions against directors and officers nationwide as of late June. By comparison, in 2012, FDIC reached a high point of actions in the wake of the banking crisis, pursuing 369 actions against directors and officers. Procedurally, an enforcement action is commenced by filing a notice of charges by FDIC enforcement counsel with an entity called the Office of Financial Institutions Adjudication (OFIA), headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. Although the OFIA is in the Washington, D.C. area, proceedings are required to be conducted in the jurisdiction of the bank’s headquarters.
Therefore, an enforcement proceeding against a bank or persons affiliated with a bank in New Orleans would generally take place in the federal district court in New Orleans. Administrative actions before the FDIC are conducted in accordance with rules similar to those that are applicable in federal courts. Certain traditional evidentiary rules, however, like the hearsay rule, are relaxed in FDIC proceedings. The proceedings are also generally open to the public, although efforts may be made, and indeed are required to be made, to maintain the confidentiality of sensitive information. The general rule is that the papers submitted to the OFIA, along with evidence, testimony and argument, are publicly accessible. Congress established the OFIA to adjudicate these matters in the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989. In that law, Congress directed the federal banking agencies to “establish their own pool of administrative law judges.” Unlike federal judges, who are appointed by the president and enjoy life tenure, FDIC administrative law judges exist under the umbrella of the federal banking agencies. Ultimately, however, parties may appeal the decision of the administrative law judge to the FDIC Board, and thereafter, to the federal circuit court of appeals. n
Joseph Briggett is an attorney with Lugenbuhl, Wheaton, Peck, Rankin & Hubbard and specializes in commercial litigation and bankruptcy.
64 Biz August 2017
C o a s ta l Stirling Properties CEO Marty Mayer is leading a group of top local businesspeople fighting to save our coast.
Crusader B Y K I M S I N G L E T A R Y W I T H P H OTO G R A P H S B Y G R E G M I L E S
O n June 2, the state legislature passed the 2017 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan. The third revision of the plan since 2007, this version calls for 124 projects to be created that will build or maintain 800 square miles of land. Both the federal and Louisiana state government have declared Louisiana’s land loss a national crisis. According to a study released on July 12 by the U.S. Geological Survey, between 1932 and 2016, Louisiana lost 2,006 square miles of land (plus or minus 171 square miles). While land loss has slowed a bit recently — something the study attributes mainly to the fact that Louisiana hasn’t seen a major hurricane since 2008 — that could obviously change quickly, and thanks to global warming the report notes that sea level change is “expected to increase at an exponential rate.” With so much clearly on the line, back in 2014 GNO Inc. announced the launch of the Coalition for Coastal Resilience and Economy (CCRE), a business-led coalition to serve as a non-partisan voice of advocacy for sustainable restoration efforts. Chaired by Marty Mayer, president and CEO of Stirling Properties, the CCRE has spent the last three years bringing the voices of some of the region’s top business leaders into the discussion. Since its inception, the CCRE has supported the proposed master plan. Mayer praised its passing for creating funding that allows the state to “have a unique opportunity to ensure the stability of our coast and protect our economic assets.” In a recent discussion with Biz New Orleans, Mayer talked more about the CCRE and the role business must, and is, playing in trying to save our coastline.
66 Biz August 2017
We’ve heard over and over about how we’re losing a football field an hour of our coastline, which was just recently amended to a football field every 100 minutes. Is that really true? How would you describe the scope of the problem?
The analogy of the football field is basically an accurate measurement on average and it’s been helpful to convey the problem in a way anyone can understand. Basically, the problem is an existential threat to not only our coastline, but our culture and way of life. I also like to remind people that we have one of the few working coastlines of any state in the country. That’s very unique about Louisiana. What made you want to get involved with the CCRE? Why is it important for business to be involved in this issue?
The idea of this coalition was born out of a dialogue I had been having with Michael [Hecht] and Robin [Barnes] and others at GNO about the importance of raising awareness of coastal issues in business. Certainly a lot of environmental groups are tackling the issue, but the feeling was that there was a vacuum in that there was no non-partisan business group involved where none of us have a vested business interest, none of us benefit from coastal restoration work. The idea of having a business group involved was that we felt we could help in two ways. First we can spread the word. Our goal has been to use our voices and connections in a way that will hopefully protect the funding that has already been earmarked for coastal restoration, for example GOMESA (Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act) gives us royalties from offshore oil and BP fines. Second, we are in a position to advocate for other legislative policy issues that may end up expediting the permitting process of these projects that are designed to help. Do you feel you’ve been successful?
I think we have. In speaking to those in government, we’ve been hearing that they’re happy to see business coming together as a unified voice. Thus far, with support from both our past and current governor, we have protected the state funding. I feel good about that. On the national side, we met with the former Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, and actually took the former Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Shaun Donovan, on a flyover during the
get to know marty mayer Favorite book? I usually gravitate toward historical biographies — most recently Hamilton and Lincoln. One book I go back to regularly and read is “ The Alchemist.” Favorite TV Show? I don’t watch any regular tv shows — occasionally I will binge watch a miniseries. I watched Genius:Einstein last weekend. Who do you look up to? My mom was the person I looked up to the most, and in many ways still do. She always made every person she met feel truly important and special. Biggest life lesson learned? The most important thing isn’t what you do for a living or how much money you make, but rather how many people’s lives you have touched. Best advice ever received? Attitude, attitude, attitude. Hobbies? Biking, swimming and painting in my art studio at home. Daily habits? Meditation Pet peeve(s)? Selfishness What are you most looking forward to in the next year? My youngest daughter’s wedding to a special young man.
10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Through those efforts, we were able to expedite the permit process for the Mid-Barataria sediment diversion — get that placed on the dashboard. Unfortunately, the Army Corp of Engineering subsequently decided to delay the permitting for two years in order to study the project, so what was a success turned into frustration. How were members recruited?
We really thought strategically when it came to creating the council. We wanted to ensure a diversity of industry and geographic interests so we didn’t really recruit as much as hand pick people. Right now we cover Houma/Thibodeaux, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We’re thinking of going to Southwest Louisiana next. We wanted senior people that were influential in their own fields. What was the most shocking thing you’ve learned while being on the coalition?
I’ll never forget the first seaplane flyover tour I took after starting this role. I’m a native born Louisianan and I’ve heard over and over about the problem, like all of us have, so you know these things in your head but until you see it for yourself it’s difficult to visualize. Immediately after we took off, all of a sudden, we were over marshes that you can tell are dying just on the other side of New Orleans. You can see how close the water has come compared to looking at maps from just 50 years ago. What was the first task of the coalition? How often have you met?
The first task was to educate ourselves. None of us are scientists and we didn’t want to be. Here, we were definitely assisted by partners like the National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund and Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. We did a lot of flyovers and airboat tours to diversion projects currently taking place so we could visualize the progress of work that has already been done. I’d say all of that took up pretty much our entire first year of existence. It was a big job to try and understand the complexity of the problem and figure out where we could focus our efforts to make the biggest impact. When we started the coalition we didn’t have a specific mission, it was formed as we went along.
$19 billion structural protection
$18 billion marsh creation
Breakdown of 2017 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan $50 billion
$6 billion nonstructural risk reduction
$5 billion sediment diversions
$2 billion other types of restoration projects
68 Biz August 2017
Regarding the meetings, from the time we were first formed we realized that the coalition was going to be filled with really busy people. The idea was not to gather a group of people and meet and talk about things, it was to be able to call on these people to use their sphere of influence when it was needed. That being said, we have what we call “non-meetings” three or four times a year and in between Robin [Barnes] and Lacy [McManus] provide periodic updates. What were the coaliton’s biggest challenges?
When we were first formed and going through the education process we were somewhat bombarded by special interest groups who wanted us to take a stand on science that they didn’t agree with in regards to specific projects that they felt would affect their business or industry negatively — basically to take a stand against the master plan. From the beginning we have felt the science used to create the master plan is the best science. Our job is to be advocates for the plan. The second biggest challenge is one we’re still working through. Right now on the national perspective, our president and this administration have prioritized infrastructure, so we’re trying to figure out the best way to communicate the fact that this coastal restoration work also represents one of largest infrastructure projects affecting the entire U.S. Where is the funding coming from for these projects?
It comes from a number of sources, primarily in the next 15 years it will come from the BP settlement — $8.7 billion. Then you have the ongoing revenues we receive from offshore oil and gas —about $100 million year. It’s enough to get some of these projects going. Are there political issues still to be addressed? Locally? Nationally?
Absolutely — every time a budget crisis comes up, which seems to be annually, there’s that temptation to use the funds earmarked for coastal restoration to plug a hole somewhere else. In doing that, all we’re doing is robbing ourselves of a future. In an article by John Barry published in the New York Times a few years ago he talked about how local industry, especially oil, gas and pipelines, has been a “major cause of land loss” and the state has a history of not doing much in the way
of holding them responsible. Is that being addressed in any way?
Funding in Danger In a July 11 letter to President Trump, GNO Inc., the Coast Builders Coalition and 283 leaders of businesses, industry trade associations, municipal governments, economic development groups, civic groups, ports and sportsmen’s organizations called upon the president to withdraw his administration’s fiscal year 2018 proposal to repeal funding to the Gulf States currently mandated by law under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA). In addition to providing figures that describe all the ways in which Louisiana supports the U.S. economy, the letter describes the damage that could be done to the state economy without those funds. Without the funds: Up to $138 billion in damages from each major storm $11.2 billion in business disruptions and loss of assets due to land loss. With the funds: support nearly 60,000 jobs over the next 10 years and $1.4 to $1.5 billion in annual output.
There’s no question that erosion has been caused by a number of sources, but maybe most importantly was when the levees were built after the 1927 flood. They were built to channel the river to protect the surrounding areas and citizens, but they also prevented the river from doing what the river wants to do, which is dump sediment. I think it’s counterproductive to assess blame for past action. Oil and gas have a huge vested interest in coastal infrastructure and they’re currently investing huge amounts in it. I feel it’s preferable to work with industry. They can be a huge asset. Michael Hecht, GNO, Inc.’s president and CEO said the passages of the two plans will also create a new industry, growing the water sector by 22 percent by 2026 and providing close to 36,000 high-paying jobs. Can you talk a bit about this economic opportunity?
Sure. We believe Louisiana can become a hub for this kind of work. Some members of the coalition have gone over to the Netherlands, where they’re doing cutting edge science as far as dealing with water. In addition, the Water Institute of the Gulf in Baton Rouge actually just announced a partnership with the largest nonprofit in the Netherlands to study their work. We’re already being called on for our experience and skills in this area. For instance, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Louisiana companies won reconstruction contracts worth some $225 million. Now that the master plan has passed, what is the coalition’s future role?
Right now we’ve added two more strategic initiatives. One is a financing committee. The goal is to find creative ways to help secure long-term sustainable financing for these projects. Right now the funding has a lifespan of about 15 years, but these projects are going to go on a lot longer than that. They’re generational. We’re working with various foundations in other states as well to find ways to source financing. We’ve also created an education task force that Ben Hales is chairing. The goals of that are two fold. First, we’re trying to educate the general population and certainly future generations about the importance of saving our coast — make it part of our basic curriculum. We’ve been working with schools
and guidance counselors and organizations like the children’s museum. The second goal of the education task force is to coordinate curriculum for the jobs that are going to be created, which are not too dissimilar to oil and gas. These are going to be high skill and middle skill jobs like civil and environmental engineers, welders, pipe fitters and machine operators. It’s a whole new industry for South Louisiana. Finally, regarding Stirling Properties, what can you share regarding recent accomplishments and plans for the future?
There are so many things! More than ever we’re looking at disruptors of industry – things like artificial intelligence, e-commerce, driverless cars. We spend a lot of time thinking about how these things affect us. For instance, we have for a long time been known for our retail and office portfolio, but recently we have begun diversifying into medical development. For instance, we recently bought the Louisiana Heart Hospital in Lacombe, which is going to be opening as a post-acute care hospital operated by a partnership of Ochsner, St. Tammany and Slidell Memorial hospitals. We’re also ready to open an emergency clinic in Laplace and we’re building an $80 million micro-campus and hospital for Ochsner at The Grove in Baton Rouge. We really see this as a growth area for the future. The full text of the 2017 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan can be found at Coastal.la.gov.
Members of the CCRE Justin Augustine, Veolia • Dale Benoit, Print-All, Inc.• Sharon Bergeron, Coastal Commerce Bank • Dickie Brennan, Dickie Brennan & Company • Chett C. Chiasson, Greater Lafourche Port Commission • Donna Fraiche, Baker Donelson’s Louisiana offices, Former Board Member of the Louisiana Recovery Authority • Felicia Frederick, Chevron • Philip Gunn, Postlethwaite & Netterville • Will Hales, Iberia Bank • Tara Hernandez, JCH Development • Merritt Lane, Canal Barge Company, Inc. • Jay Lapeyre, Laitram LLC • Dennis Lauscha, New Orleans Saints and Pelicans • Pat LeBlanc, LeBlanc Butler • G.F. Gay Le Breton, Chaffe & Associates • Marty Mayer, Stirling Properties • Brandon Nelson, Whitney Bank • Dan Pancamo, Phelps Dunbar • Mark Spansel, Adams & Reese • Lizette Terral, JP Morgan Chase Bank • Mickey Thomas, South Louisiana Bank • Hank Torbert, EnergyX Accelerator • Ian Voparil, Shell Deepwater Gulf of Mexico
The Pythian Market The much-anticipated Pythian Market will bring dining and shopping, and so much more, according to Green Coast Enterprises’ Will Bradshaw. The goal? “To be a physical incarnation of our love affair with New Orleans food,” he said. “We want to be a place that residents want to come to hang out after work or grab breakfast on their way. If we achieve that, we know we will also be a place that visitors have to try while they are in town, because of our fresh and exciting array of food offerings.”
70 Biz August 2017
With a wide variety of food vendors and extended hours, the Pythian Market will provide access to affordable, healthy and delicious food for the community, according to Bradshaw. “We want to be a destination of choice for people coming downtown for a night out, and to be able to serve the crowd going to the Pelicans game just as well as the crowd going to the LPO. We want to create a new set of food options for entrepreneurs who may not have the backing to raise the $500,000 one needs to build out
a kitchen and start a place of one's own. We want to create a new gathering place for bike enthusiasts, downtown workers, tourists and everyone else. We want to make people feel welcome, appreciated, that they matter, and have a place that they belong.” Vendors currently include: Frencheeze, Squeezed, La Cocinita, Cleaver and Company, and Laurel Street Bakery. More will be announced soon.
On May 12, co-developers ERG Enterprises, Crescent City
Community Land Trust and Green Coast celebrated the grand opening of their latest venture, The Pythian. An eight-story building at 234 Loyola Avenue, The Pythian will eventually include 69 apartments â€” 25 dedicated to workforce housing, 38 available at market rates and six penthouse apartments. Construction is still underway, but one- and two-bedroom apartments are leasing, as well as six penthouses. The Pythian will also include a community clinic with Access Health Louisiana, a physical therapy center through Magnolia Physical Therapy, and the much-anticipated Pythian Market, featuring food vendors and dining.
Past Built upon a rich history, the Pythian is reborn to fill needs Downtown.
Perfect By Ashley McLellan Photographs by Sara Essex Bradley
Diboll, Owen + Goldstein Arcitects. 7 story Pythian Temple Constructed.
Roof Garden (8th floor and mezzanine constructed).
A long menu of amenities round out the development plan, including: a roof deck with city views, catered event spaces, in-house dry cleaning, dog walking and pet sitting services, off-street parking, bike parking and bike wash facilities, along with a manned front desk and security throughout. It’s an impressive feat, and one that will bring much-needed affordable housing and amenities to New Orleans’ Downtown, but equally as interesting is the location itself. The historic Pythian Building has long been an important piece of the business and community culture of New Orleans.
From Business Hub to Boat Building
n 1908, led by S.W. Green, a former slave and self-made businessman, the Colored Knights of the Pythias of Louisiana built the Pythian Building — then known as the Pythian Temple — as a gathering place and community center. The building soon became the hub of economic culture for African Americans in New Orleans, hosting businesses such as the Liberty Independent Life Insurance Company, the Negro Board of Trade, the Louisiana Weekly newspaper, and a rooftop music hot spot that featured jazz legends, including Louis Armstrong and Manuel Perez. Later, the Pythian Building became the headquarters of Higgins Industries, which designed and built the famed Higgins boats that helped lead the Allied forces to victory in World War II.
Moise H Goldstein Architects. 5 story auto garage constructed.
Moise H Goldstein Architects. Higgins Industries moves into building. Pressed brick removed at theater window and glazing added. Cornice removed. Glazing added at Tulane Ave.
72 Biz August 2017
ast forward 60 years and the Pythian Building’s original exterior had become neglected. The site began to fade from notice until developers at Green Coast Enterprises came along. “When we started the project, we were looking for historic buildings that were around 80,000 square feet,” said Will Bradshaw, president of Green Coast. “Initially, we fell in love with the brick work and the views of the park, but early in our explorations we learned about the use of it by Higgins Industries and its role in helping win WWII. Then we began uncovering the history of the Colored Knights of Pythias and their chairman, S.W. Green, who was born into slavery and became a millionaire. For two generations or more, it was a beacon for possibility and opportunity for African-Americans in this city, and then it served as a headquarters and hiring office for the man ‘who won the war.’ As we moved forward, we knew we had to do something special with this building that was worthy of its roots.”
he vision for The Pythian was two-fold: it had to be beautiful and true to its original design, and, according to Bradshaw, it had to be eco-conscious. “We wanted to make sure it reflected the extraordinary architecture and design sensibility of the original structure,” he said. “Our initial concept plans were 80-year-old photos of the structure. When we brought on the design team, we literally handed them these old photos and said, ‘Please do this.’” Incorporating modern amenities and green building concepts into a historic restoration provided additional challenges, so Green Coast enlisted the help of top New Orleans architectural firm Studio WTA, along with contractors from Landis Construction. “We needed the federal and state historic credits to make the deal work, which comes with its own set of design constraints that Studio WTA had to work within,” said Bradshaw. “We also committed to LEED Silver construction, utilizing the rating system promulgated by the United States Green Building Council as a guide, which puts a different sort of challenge on the design team. Finally, they had to completely remake the interior of this building in a way that modernized it while keeping the original charm and allowing the building to tell something of its own story.” Preserving the past while moving stridently into the future are top concerns as Green Coast, Studio WTA and Landis move forward with the project. Preservation of a unique combination of time periods became the basis for restoration goals, especially for the exterior appearance, original floors and entrances, according to Julie Babin, architect for Studio WTA. “The way The Pythian was built up and altered through history directly informed our approach to its rehabilitation,” she said. “Originally two distinct buildings from two different historic periods, each building had various historic alterations. Determination of the period of significance for each distinct part of the building was critical to establishing moves and insertions that would be sensitive to the historic fabric and character of each.” Through Studio WTA’s conversations with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and the National Park Service [NPS], it was determined that the Loyola Avenue building should be restored to its original 1908 design, while the Gravier Street building should be restored to its 1950s design. “In reality, these distinct versions of the building never historically existed simultaneously,” said Babin,
The Pythian Players Co-developers: ERG Enterprises, Green Coast Enterprises and Crescent City Community Land Trust Architect: Studio WTA Construction: Landis Construction Co., LLC Website: ThePythianNOLA.com
Benson + Riehl w/ R.E.E. DeMontluzin. Aluminum & porcelain 'slipcover'added. Civic Center Building.
Benson + Riehl w/ R.E.E. DeMontluzin. Garage demolished (except rear wall). 9 storey building constructed with aluminum & porcelain 'slipcover.'
“but restoration is about bringing a structure back to its most significant period which resulted in a single building that showcases two very distinct and important periods of significance.” Babin and the Studio WTA team worked carefully to identify architectural features which were key for preservation, while bringing the building up to modern standards. “Identifying elements that contribute to the historic character of a structure is key to preservation work,” she noted. “When the owner purchased the building there was very little original fabric remaining. After extensively surveying and documenting all the historic elements that remained, we took great care and craft in preserving or restoring each element within the renovation project. This included elements such as barrel vault ceilings from the original dance hall, built-up and riveted steel angle columns, and an ornamental exit stair.” Because the building did not historically contain residential units, Babin said they felt the insertion of the new lofts should be modern and contemporary. “This enabled us to reinforce and showcase the historic elements, strengthening their authenticity, while allowing the new program elements to be reflective of their own time,” she said. Interior design plans are still in the works, but the developers and designers involved envision unique displays reflecting the building’s history spread throughout the building. “We want to tell the story through our interior design, art work, and decoration,” Bradshaw said. “This is all still in flux, but will likely include at least a mural, a sculpture, an interpretive timeline, and an audio recording that showcases music that was made in the building. As a tribute to that musical history, we have named every unique design after a musical pioneer that would have played in the building at some point.” Thanks to the history of the building and the hard work involved with its restoration, the Louisiana Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, is designating the building as a historic landmark. A permanent plaque,
to be located across the street in Duncan Plaza, will be sponsored by Plessy & Ferguson Foundation, ERG Enterprises, Green Coast, Crescent City Community Land Trust, Landis Construction, and Studio WTA.
A Vital Future
beacon of historic business ingenuity, as construction is completed on The Pythian, the building will once again reflect the community of the city, providing more than just housing and office space, according to Bradshaw. “The Pythian will create a community that is more sustainable, more inclusive, and provides a greater array of activities than most similar buildings,” he said. “At The Pythian, you can live, eat, go to the doctor, get married, experience our unique culture, hold a meeting, fix your ailing back, and wash your bike. We will have hammocks on the rooftop and music on the ground. And all of this will be in the heart of downtown New Orleans — home to the Saints and the Saenger. Where you can walk to hundreds of restaurants, tour one of the oldest neighborhoods in the country, or listen to the best music in the world. We believe The Pythian provides an extraordinary place to live an extraordinary life in this extraordinary town.” Green Coast hopes the renovation of The Pythian, and the use of green building design, will continue an important revival of the downtown neighborhood, along with the Saratoga, the Troubadour, and soon the Oil and Gas building. “We hope that people follow our lead in helping sustain the economic diversity of our neighborhoods,” Bradshaw said. “Development can be a tool for achieving this, but it requires thoughtful public and private collaborations that require trust and goodwill that is all too easy to break. But we believe that our development team can help create a new paradigm for collaboration between public and private actors in a way that can push the conversation about how we need to consider all of our residents in our development patterns and choices.”
LEED Silver Designation 2017
Repair & replacement of damaged and missing ornament, brickwork. Envelope tightness restored
74 Biz August 2017
The LEED program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an initiative of the U.S. Green Building Council to encourage sustainable design and construction.
According to USGBC, to be awarded LEED certification, building projects must include: Construction activity pollution prevention // Development density and community connectivity considerations //
Public transportation access // Bicycle storage and changing room // Low emitting and fuel efficient vehicle access // Sufficient parking capacity // Maximize open space // Restore habitat // Stormwater
design consideration // Light pollution reduction // Water efficient landscaping // Water use reduction // Minimum energy performance // Storage and collection of recyclables
timeline courtesy studio wta
Thank you to our honorees, guests and sponsors!
2017 New & Notables: Erin and Jess Bourgeois, Cailtlin Cain, Bill DiPaola, Ronnie Evans Jr. and Philip Moseley, Alejandra Guzman, Molly Hegarty, David Holtman, Greg Latham, Crystal McDonald, Nicholas Pashos, Andrew Petersen, Alex Reed, Greg Rhoades, Cleveland Spears III and Benjamin Swig
Biz New Orleans hosted its first annual New & Notables event, presented by Fidelity Bank, July 11 at The Jaxson on the River. Honorees and guests enjoyed fabulous food, cocktails and live music.
New& Notables Presented by
76 Biz August 2017
1. Terry and Lane Sistrunk, Jackie Bryant and Jeff Janusek 2. Liz Broekman and Tammy O'Shea 3. Lori Pausina and Glenn Michael 4. Gloria Smith, Crystal McDonald and Rhesa McDonald 5. 2017 New & Notables 3
78 Biz August 2017
from the lens Southeast louisiana businesses in full color
GREAT WORKSPACES • WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT? • MAKING A MATCH • ON THE JOB
why didn’t i think of that?
Purrfectly Dressed Cats and dogs are joining in on the costumed fun thanks to growing business Pet Krewe. More on page 86
From the Lens great workspaces
Fit Design Romney Studios’ simple spaces offer a healthy retreat for clients to sweat it out By Melanie Warner Spencer Photos by Sara Essex Bradley
hen Erin Romney-Cazes envisioned the look of her third incarnation of Romney Studios, she imagined a retreat with clean lines and lots of light. The approximately 4,000-square-foot, narrow, white, three-story building at 5619 Magazine St. in Uptown was a collaboration between Romney, her husband Hunter Cazes, who is in real estate and investment, and father Brian Romney, an architect for the University of Utah. Offering a variety of workouts, including Pilates, yoga, RIDE, Megaformer, boxing and BARRE, the boutique studio has a simple design that puts the focus on fitness. “I wanted to create an environment that was not distracting,” says Romney, who designed the interior with the help of Ann Holden, of Ann Holden Design Firm, on color choices and other finishing touches. “Growing up, I was always going with my dad to houses and buildings and have always been interested in interior design. I wanted it to be modern, fresh, bright and clutter free.” It was important to Romney to keep the design and materials eco-friendly and nontoxic, so she says while it’s not certified, the studio is built to LEED standards. She also worked with Rashia Bell of The Romney Cristalline, a New YorkStudios opened based design and crystal in 2012 at 5619 Magazine St. healing company. in Uptown. “We put crystals under Owner Erin the floor to balance out Romney had a the metal,” says Romney, clear vision for the design of elaborating on the feeling of the space. Zen she worked to cultivate in every aspect of the space. “We want people to feel comfortable. If they are comfortable, they relax and move with fluidity and ease. Feng shui can really help people get in a good mood if you have the right elements.”
80 Biz August 2017
The Pilates room (or Zen room, as Romney calls it) is bright with tall ceilings and plate glass windows. Romney wanted it to be a comfortable room, so clients can relax their muscles for greater fluidity.
The space on each floor is put to maximum use, which and Karen Laborde. Romney has also contributed her own artistic flourishes with an installation of gold leaf is most evident on the ground level. Upon entering the butterflies in the second floor Pilates room and a wall building, visitors are greeted by a white reception desk, covered with lights in the shape of tree branches in the created by GoodWood design and fabrication firm. nearby Megaformer room. To the left is a diminutive retail space The Pilates room is open and bright with stocked with workout gear, as well as a refrigerator filled with various juices and tall ceilings, expansive plate glass windows and We want people to feel other beverages available for purchase. To a wall of mirrors. The Pilates machines are comfortable. If they all blonde wood, blending in with the light the right, a hallway with a succulent wall colored flooring. Three ficus trees potted in leads to the RIDE cycling room, which are comfortable, they tall, white pots are perched upon a massive features a conceptual street map mural relax and move with of New Orleans created by a client, as wooden chaise lounge which doubles as a fluidity and ease. well as a word wall by Dan Akerley, an bench at the entrance of the room. architectural and digital designer and In contrast, the Megaformer room with fabricator. its massive black machinery has low ceilWork by local artists — many of whom are friends ings, tree branch lights, a ledge filled with candles and twinkle lights. Romney says her aim was to balance out and clients — is showcased throughout the space, the intimidating machines with softer, lower lighting. including pieces by Allison Stewart, Raine Bedsole
82 Biz August 2017
(Left) Artwork by friends and clients is employed throughout the space. A piece by Karen Laborde with Soren Christensen Gallery adds a pop of color to the stairwell. (Right) “We put crystals under the floor to balance out the metal,” says Romney, elaborating on the feeling of Zen she worked to cultivate in every aspect of the space.
The building was designed by Brian Romney, Erin Romneyâ€™s father, an architect for the University of Utah. It is approximately 4,000 square feet and while not LEED certified, it employs all of the elements of a certified, ecofriendly space.
The third floor is dedicated to boxing, BARRE, yoga, Mat Pilates, BOSU (a balance ball workout) and roll and release. The open room has a bar, mirrors and access to a patio that overlooks Magazine Street.
84 Biz August 2017
The third floor is dedicated to boxing, BARRE, yoga, Mat Pilates, BOSU (a balance ball workout) and roll and release classes. It features one open room with mirrors on one wall and an equipment shelf on the opposite wall and overlooks a patio with views of Magazine Street. While the current studio opened in 2012, Romney says she modeled much of the atmosphere after her former studio at 3601 Magazine St., which became a refuge of sorts for many clients post-Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “When we opened [the former location] back up after Katrina, people really didn’t want to go home,” she says. “They needed that social support. I put out tea and candles. I knew I really needed to create a retreat. That has kind of been my mission. I see the effect a nice space can have on someone.” n
(Top) Concrete at the entrance of Romney Studios is embossed with the word “Relax” to invite clients in and set the tone for the space. (Bottom) The RIDE cycling room on the first floor features a conceptual street map mural of New Orleans that was created by a client, as well as a word wall by Dan Akerley, an architectural and digital designer and fabricator.
at a glance
romney studios Company Name: Romney Studios Address: 5619 Magazine St. Completed: 2012 Square footage: Approximately 4,000 square feet Biggest challenges: Constructing the building to the specifications of the neighborhood and making the resultant narrow space feel open. Standout features: The overall minimalist design, as well as the bright, airy feeling of the spaces, especially the Pilates room.
From the Lens wh y d i dn ’ t i th i nk of that ?
Lions and Pirates and Unicorns, Oh My! New Orleans-based pet costuming company Pet Krewe brings the party to the pooches. By Kelly Massicot Portrait by cheryl gerber
t’s Halloween. You and your family or group of friends are dressed as the cast of the “Wizard of Oz,” but there is a problem. There are not enough people to fill out each costume and you are left without a cowardly lion. What do you do? More people are beginning to answer this dilemma by dressing up man’s best friend and bringing them along — especially millennials. Millennials love their pets. In 2015, a report by London-based market research firm Mintel reported that three-fourths of Americans in their 30s have a dog. With this generation marrying, buying homes and starting families less than and later than generations before them, it seems their attention, and expendable income, is often going instead to their four-legged friends. According to reports from the Washington Post, 76 percent of millennials said they are more likely to “splurge” on their pets than on something for themselves and Americans spent 11 billion on pet-pampering alone in 2015. Local entrepreneur Allison Albert is capitalizing on this trend with her New Orleans-based pet costuming company. Since it’s inception in August 2015, Pet Krewe has become the go-to place for pet owners looking to incorporate their cat or dog into costumed festivities, or just a typical day in New Orleans. Albert’s first creation, a lion mane for cats and dogs, Pet Krewe is became the best-selling pet led by local entrepreneur costume in the country in Allison Albert. the company’s first year in business, reaching No. 1 in
86 Biz August 2017
online sales on multiple e-commerce platforms and selling over 23,000 units. Albert’s designs are created to be both appealing and entertaining for humans and comfortable for animals. Quick release technology allows pet owners to easily remove the costume from an animal that may not be enjoying the moment. In her first two years in business, Pet Krewe’s offerings grew (now including six different costumes for cats and dogs) and Albert has managed to position her company as a musthave partner for large retail giants. Chewy.com is currently Pet Krewe’s biggest online retailer, but Albert recently secured partnerships with Amazon, Walmart, Overstock and jet.com. Locally, costumers can find her designs at Petcetera and Pet Asylum in the French Quarter. This month, Albert is releasing her latest creation, a unicorn costume for both dogs and cats. She says she will be the only retailer, both online and in stores, with this costume option. The unicorn costume is the For everyone first in what will be Pet Krewe’s buying new line of fantasy pet wear that will include mermaids Pet Krewe and fairies. “People like the from out-ofidea of fantasy,” says Albert. town, it’s an “It’s really popular and they like their dogs to be a part of invitation to whatever group theme they be a part of are doing.” our culture. In addition to her online and in-store relationships, Albert recently received a partnership opportunity that she is hoping will skyrocket her company to the next level. After having her lion mane featured in OK Magazine last Halloween, Albert received a call from the company that produces the VIP and nominee swag bags for the Golden Globe Awards. Noting multiple requests from attendees to include more pet-friendly items that didn’t resemble a bedazzled collar, the Golden Globe represented said they wanted to include Pet Krewe in the swag bags for the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, which typically contain a multitude of items from handbags and clothes to makeup and hair products. Not only are the bags handed out to every nominee, presenter and celebrity in attendance, but countless style and fashion blogs, websites and magazines list the products in print and online in the days following the awards. It’s the kind of exposure every small business longs to receive.
Did you know?
Pet Paraphernalia Brings in the Bones In the biggest e-commerce acquisition in history, this past April PetSmart acquired chewy.com, an online pet retailer, for $3.35 billionâ€“ $50 million more than Walmartâ€™s purchase of jet.com. Millions of Americans will spend an estimated $69.4 billion on their furry friends by the end of 2017.
88 Biz August 2017
The Beginning Albert’s desire to sew for animals was something she developed in childhood. Growing up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Albert attended a Mennonite school where learning to sew was a necessary skill. While other classmates were sewing practical household items, however, Albert was making sure her pets had appropriate outfits to wear. From dresses and collar accent pieces, to plenty of holiday outfits — think bunnies, turkeys and even a Santa outfit — her cats and dogs had garb for every occasion. In 2011, Albert moved to New Orleans and her love of the city took strong roots. She briefly moved away in 2014 while working as a forensic accountant, but after a year away she decided it was time to move back to the city. In March 2015, Albert was involved in a tragic car accident that broke many bones in her body. After six weeks of being unable to work and live the life she wanted to lead, Albert decided to do something drastic — she bought a one-way ticket to Peru. The country was a favorite of her grandma, who visited over 120 countries before her death, and Albert planned to spread some of her ashes on Machu Picchu. While at a retreat center in Peru, Albert says she had a dream about the homeless dogs in the local community. In her dream the dogs were dressed in costume, bringing joy to the people in the city. Ultimately, the dog’s costumes helped them find homes. Albert knew she had to bring her dream to fruition and, with the help of another friend at the retreat site who happened to run a successful online swim cap business, Pet Krewe was born.
when it comes to certain trends — which leaves her with a large potential future market.
The Company Working out of her New Orleans Home, Albert is a fierce one-woman show, who makes it her mission to employ the help of other local female entrepreneurs when seeking needs like photography and assistance with social media and branding. She says her typical day varies depending on the month, with September through November considered her “no sleep zone.”
trending in the world in general — which currently includes an obsession with mermaids and unicorns. Though she outsources her manufacturing to Asia, Albert creates all of her designs and prototypes here in New Orleans. Each prototype is sewn by hand by Albert and size matched to industry standard sizes for dogs and cats. In addition to her quickrelease technology, as she continues to develop new designs and prototypes, Albert will be implementing drawstrings to ensure the correct size and comfort for bigger dogs because she feels, “big dogs are often left out on the fun of costuming.”
Giving Back Albert has made efforts to ensure a win for Pet Krewe is a win for animal shelters. The designer takes her outfits to shelters like the Jefferson SPCA and Zeus’ Place and uses their adoptable cats and dogs as her models. The shelters then get to use the images as the pet’s adoptable photo on their website. Albert shared the story of Lopez, a three-legged pitbull, who was considered to be unlikely to be adopted. After the picture of Lopez dressed in the best-selling lion mane hit the SPCA website, he was placed in a good home within a week. With each pet costume purchased from PetKrewe.com, or any of the company’s online retail partners, Albert gives 10 percent back to local animal shelters around New Orleans. So far she has donated close to $15,000 to local shelters.
Albert’s current goal for Pet Krewe is to get more of her costumes in actual brick and mortar stores, including Though she outsources her manufacturing to Asia, Albert creates all of her national chains like Walmart, Party designs and prototypes here in New Orleans. Each is sewn by hand by Albert Market City and PetSmart. As she grows and and size matched to industry standard sizes for dogs and cats. expands, Albert says she is trying to build the company to be turn-key so One would think that New Orleans, with its love of costuming, would be one of Pet During those months, Albert spends her days she can eventually sell. Krewe’s main markets, but instead Albert says sales are checking her online listings — ensuring her designs For Albert, Pet Krewe has always been about biggest in the suburbs of New York and Los Angeles. are not being hijacked by other companies during the sharing her adopted home’s love of costuming with New Orleans does, however, have the kind of peak Halloween season — and cranking out social the world — be they two-legged or four-legged. reputation that Albert says draws buyers in. media posts and promotions on her Facebook, Twitter “Whether you’re in a Barkus parade with thousands “For everyone buying Pet Krewe from out-of-town,” and Instagram pages. She also creates new deals for of people watching you or you’re at home in LA she says, “it’s an invitation to be a part of our culture.” the “off season” after Halloween and spends time having a canine carnival or feline fiesta,” she says, Outside of the US, however, the trend has yet to brainstorming her next big design ideas. “Pet Krewe wants to invite everyone to unleash their really catch on. “Pet costumes are interesting in that Her ideas, Albert says, come from what’s trending own parade.” n it’s really an American phenomenon,” says Albert. currently. She looks at the best sellers nationally for Europe, she says, is always a few years behind America men, women and children’s costumes, as well as what’s
From the Lens maki ng a match: b u s i nesses and nonprofi ts
Bringing Back the Ninth Lowernine.org invites businesses to join them in rebuilding the Lower Ninth Ward. By Pamela Marquis PHOTOS by jeffery johnston
n a lush backyard in the heart of the Lower Ninth Ward, people are gathered for a monthly celebration. The breeze is cool, the music is lively and the food is delicious. The partygoers are laughing and shouting with glee each time another one arrives; there are hugs and kisses all around. Frisbees are being tossed, and children and a few young adults are running about participating in an impromptu game of tag. This party was held in honor of volunteers, neighbors and homeowners. It was thrown by the staff of lowernine.org in a neighborhood that hasn’t had a lot to celebrate. A 2016 Data Center report found that the Lower Ninth Ward, which incurred the most damage from Hurricane Katrina’s wrath, currently is home to less than half the population it had prior to the storm. The population return is only 36.7 percent. “Many of these residents are new and moving into the historic Holy Cross section where property values have risen,” said Laura Paul, executive director of lowernine.org. “Those prices are keeping pre-Katrina residents out of their own community. There are still many people who want to return home. We have 36 families on our waiting list and we have calls every week The home of Calvin from families interested in Alexander moving home.” is among those Volunteers who saw the need receiving to transition from the imme- Post-Katrina diate disaster recovery volunrepairs. teer work they had been doing into fixing homes founded lowernine.org in 2007. They used unskilled volunteers along with skilled supervision to rebuild and restore storm-damaged homes.
90 Biz August 2017
The nonprofit’s mission was, and sadly after all these years still is, to help rebuild and revitalize this historic neighborhood. Because of its proximity to the Industrial Canal levee breaches of August 29, 2005, 100 percent of the homes in the Lower Ninth Ward were declared uninhabitable. “Prior to Katrina, many residents owned their homes outright,” said Donna Lednicky, lowernine’s volunteer grant writer, who also lives in the neighborhood. “People lost jobs, the insurance companies did not pay or underpaid, and people (Left) Executive simply had no money to Director Laura Paul rebuild.” and (right) According to the orgaVolunteer nization’s website: “The Director Lower Ninth Ward was Emily Stieber. (bottom) the first neighborhood in Volunteers working New Orleans where Africanon one of Americans were allowed to the many own land. According to 2004 lowernine.org projects. U.S. Census Bureau records, 36 percent of the Lower Ninth Ward’s residents lived below the federal poverty level — despite this fact, the Lower Ninth Ward had one of the highest rates of African-American home ownership in the nation, many occupying homes that had been in their families for generations.” “Rebuilding in the Lower Nine has been behind other neighborhoods because of poverty and local, state, and federal government inaction,” said Paul. Additionally, the neighborhood was the first to deal with toxic mold, toxic Chinese drywall and crooked contractors in the wake of the storm. “Much of the work we’re doing now is to correct what already had supposedly been fixed,” said Emily Stieber, lowernine’s volunteer director. Lowernine’s labor is offered for free, but homeowners must pay for materials. “But we often can get some materials donated or at a reduced price,” Lednicky said. “We’re fortunate to get help from some businesses such as James Hardie who helps with cement board and Atlas Roofing with roofing materials.” Through the use of volunteer labor and private donations, returning home becomes a much more affordable option for neighborhood residents.
“Without our help, homeowners must hire contractors on the open market, which many just cannot afford,” Lednicky said. “As it is, our families save up some money and we get some work done. Then they have to save up more money before the next work can be started.” As of January 2016, the organization has completed 83 full rebuilds and more than 200 smaller home rehab and renovation projects.
Volunteers continue to be the backbone of this organization and they come from all over the world. Jonathan Criswell, a United States Marine who finished his service in November, is from California. He decided he needed to take a road trip before beginning college so he started from Portland and headed to New Orleans. “I wanted to make my trip productive,” he said, “and I wanted to pick up some marketable
Rebuilding in the Lower Nine has been behind other neighborhoods because of poverty and local, state and federal government inaction.
SUCCESS OF SERVICES 83 homes rebuilt
200+ homes with smaller repair and renovation projects completed The nonprofit has brought back more residents to this area of the city than any single service organization.
9,000+ volunteers worked with lowernine.org since 2007 Volunteers have come from all over the U.S., as well as from 37 different countries.
Ways a company can partner with lowernine.org Encourage employees to choose lowernine.org as their charity of choice every time they make Amazon purchases by using smile.amazon.com. Get a group together to help with a rebuild. Companies can come volunteer and have a fun-filled and meaningful experience. No
construction skills or experience required.
Calvin Alexander is a historic district landmarks commissioner. He’s also the board president of the Lower 9th Ward Center of Sustainable Engagement and Development, a Holy Cross Neighborhood Association board member and a Lowernine.org board member. This lifelong Lower Nine resident also lost his home to Katrina.
Help provide food, drinks or supplies for the monthly thank you barbecue for volunteers, staff and neighbors. Donate building materials. Hold a tool drive — encourage people to donate tools they don’t use.
skills. So far I’ve learned all about drywall, painting and tiling. I love interacting and meeting locals and seeing them light up with the work we’ve finished for them. Meeting and helping the families has been awesome.” One volunteer so enjoyed A Good Match her first visit she raised funds FOR with a GoFundMe account COMPANIES WHO… so she could return. Have a “In March I was blessed calling to with the opportunity to go for help bring a week through lowernine.org families and volunteer in the Lower back to the Ninth,” said Kirstie Juenger of area of New Orleans New Paltz, New York. “I was hardest assigned to a house and helped hit by make it habitable after damage Hurricane Katrina. due to Hurricane Katrina. It was the most amazing and meaningful week of my life.” Lowernine.org uses approximately 850 volunteers a year. With at least seven projects going at one time, there’s always something to keep people busy. “Our big months are March, during spring break and in June, when most of our younger volunteers are out of school,” said Stieber. “We are also always looking for local volunteers. If your business participates in a volunteer day we are perfect for that. We are also always looking for in-kind building materials and food to feed our volunteers, which is a big part of our budget.” Weekdays are spent working on various rebuilding, construction and neighborhood beautification projects, all located in the Lower Ninth Ward. Volunteers tackle tasks such as
92 Biz August 2017
“I’ve lived here for 40 years and this organization helped me get into our home,” he said. “It took insurance five years to act on our claim.” The damage to his two-story house on Caffin Avenue was extensive. “The bottom flooded and the roof blew off,” he said. “We couldn’t have managed without the help of Lowernine.” Errol Joseph inherited his house on Forstall Street in 1981. He came home to take care of his parents.
framing, roofing, drywall installation, “Such things as the fact that the flooring installation, trim work, siding, Army Corps of Engineers wants to (Top) Calvin widen the Industrial Canal,” said Paul. painting, etc. Alexander “If you don’t have construction skills, “That’s going to be especially hard (Bottom) no worries,” said Stieber, “we’ve taught Errol Joseph on low wealth black families. It’s also thousands of volunteers the skills they important to learn about the ongoing need to assist in the rebuild process, inaction from all phases of government and we are sure you’ll learn them too.” in order to truly help this neighborhood. And Paul said another important way business if our mission speaks to you, we guarantee you professionals can help is to educate themselves we will find a way for you and your business about the problems in the Lower Ninth Ward, to contribute. There still is so much that learn the issues, and be an advocate for the needs to happen, so much opportunity and neighborhood. so many families to finally bring home.” n
“There was no debt on the house,” he said. “My wife and I were on track to retire.” Then the storm and levee breaches destroyed everything. “We had insurance but it didn’t even pay a nickel on a dollar.” With the help of Lowernine.org the Josephs got back in their house in 2008 but are still adding finishing touches. “Without Lowernine we would not be anywhere,” Joseph said. “It’s been 11 years, two months and 19 days.”
lowernine.org Mission Lowernine. org, located in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana, is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to rebuilding homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina and the levee breaches of 2005. Eleven years later thereâ€™s still work to do! Website lowernine.orgÂ Location 6018 El Dorado St. New Orleans, 70117 504-344-4884 firstname.lastname@example.org Annual Budget The estimated 2017 budget is $203,045.88 Ongoing Partnerships Home Depot, James Hardie (cement building products, siding/tile backer), Atlas Roofing,
Maze Nails, Benjamin Obdyke Housewrap, Aerosmith Fastening, Keller Family Foundation, Singing for Change Foundation, The Wisner Fund, Tulane Philanthropy and Social Change Class, Louisiana Delta Corps, Bike & Build Current Needs Any tools that people have lying around in their sheds Long-term relationships with building materials suppliers, especially flooring, drywall, paint and lumber Electricians and plumbers willing to donate labor Funding to purchase materials/pay subcontractors for specific projects
Volunteers able to work weekdays Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Skilled crew leaders willing to lead unskilled volunteers on jobsites Food/grocery gift cards to feed our long-term volunteers (a surprisingly large part of our budget) Volunteers willing to commit at least one day a week on a regular basis Major Fundraising Event Lowernine.org does not have a major fundraiser at this time, but the organization does generate a lot of donations via their yearend campaign each year and occasionally participates in crowdfunding.
PUBLISHERâ€™S NOTICE: All real estate advertised herein is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Ace and the Louisiana Open Housing Act, which make it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination. We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. For more information, call the Louisiana Attorney Generalâ€™s Office at 1-800-273-5718.
94 Biz August 2017
From the Lens ON THE JOB
Ariel Gets Aerial Photo by Cheryl Gerber
n July 23, Rivertown Theaters closed out its 2016-17 season with Disney’s The Little Mermaid, starring local actress Christian Tarzetti. The theater’s sixth season kicks off Sept. 8 with the first performance of Guys and Dolls, which runs until Sept. 24. Artistic/Managing Director Kelly Fouchi says the theater is stronger than ever. “Season tickets are at an all-time high,” she says. “Shows are selling out and the feedback from our audiences has been so enthusiastic.” RivertownTheaters.com n
96 Biz August 2017