Biz New Orleans December 2018

Page 1

Tax Tips: 5 Ways to Save Money p. 32

Diaper Drive: An Easy Way to Give Back p. 82

Top 10 Business Stories of the Year pg. 38

december 2018

december 2018 / Volume 5 / Issue 3

contents EVERY ISSUE


from the lens

04 / Editor’s note 05 / publisher’s note 08 / Calendar 10 / industry news 11 / recent openings 12 / Events

in the biz 16 / dining

The New Orleans 2018 Food Scene in Review

74 / great workspaces 32 / banking & finance

Home Away from Home

18 / tourism

Act Now To Cut Your 2018 Tax Bill

78 / why didn’t i think of that?

Bidding Adieu to NOLA’s Tricentennial

34 / real estate &

20 / sports

The Curious Case of Anthony Davis


Commercial Real Estate By the Numbers

Strumming Along 82 / making a match:

businesses and nonprofits

Bundle of Need



Top 10 Stories of the Year A look at the headlines that changed business in Southeast Louisiana in 2018 by topher balfer, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, Kim Singletary and chris price

22 / entertainment

Home for the Holidays 24 / entrepreneurship

The Best and Worst of 2018 26 / etiquette

36 / education

We Need More Physician Assistants

88 / on the job

The Kindows are Coming!

Pants on Fire

on the cover

28 / marketing

Top 10 Business Stories of 2018

3 Tips for Building a Brand

Select illustrations by Gail Armstrong

Editor’s Note

A Year of Rebirth

Publisher Todd Matherne Editorial Editor-in-Chief Errol Laborde Managing Editor Kimberley Singletary Art Director Sarah George Digital Media Editor Kelly Massicot

Choosing the top 10 stories of the year was a bit harder this time around, but for a good

reason. In 2018, we were fortunate enough to have no shortage of big wins on the business front. The top three stories — Avondale, DXC opening, along with other tech companies, and the $9.4 billion Formosa Petrochemical Plant announcement for St. James Parish — are all enormous victories for our region. Any of them could have claimed the No. 1 spot. In the end, however, we decided to go with what we felt was the biggest rebirth story. Avondale Shipyard, once the largest private employer in the entire state — with over 26,000 workers at its peak — is on its way back. This is thanks to eight years of efforts, with hard work from GNO, Inc., JEDCO, the Jefferson Parish Council and, of course, the Port of New Orleans. There is a strong sense of rebirth in the air. Look at our budding tech industry, our much-anticipated new airport, the tourism numbers that keep climbing, the medical marijuana industry that lies on the horizon. As we close out 2018, it is certainly with no shortage of excitement for what lies ahead. Our top 10 stories this year also, sadly, included the loss of Tom Benson and the resultant change in control of his empire. Unfortunately, he was not the only legend claimed in 2018. On the culinary side there was Ella Brennan, Mr. Okra (a.k.a. Arthur James Robinson) and pie and praline master Tee Eva. In music we lost Charles Neville, and in healthcare we lost Dr. John Ochsner. And, on the uniquely New Orleans side, we lost Jonathan Scott, owner of F&F Botanica and Candle Shop and beloved longtime journalist, and someone I was honored to call a friend, Frank Donze. Fortunately, for so many of these beloved New Orleanians, their legacies will live on as their work is continued through those they loved. As we move forward, we honor those that came before us and changed our community forever. Have a wonderful holiday season and see you in 2019!

Associate News Editor Suzanne P. Tafur Social Media Assistant Becca Miller Multimedia Blogger Leslie T. Snadowsky Contributors Julia Carcamo, Gerry Keenan, Hannis T. Bourgeois, Pamela Marquis, Ashley McLellan, Chris Price, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, Poppy Tooker, Keith Twitchell, Melanie Warner Spencer Advertising Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan (504) 830-7215 Sales Manager Caitlin Sistrunk (504) 830-7252 Senior Account Executive Brennan Manale (504) 830-7298 Account Executive Jessica Jaycox (504) 830-7255 Account Executive Sydney Steib (504) 830-7225 Marketing Director of Marketing & Events Cheryl Lemoine Event Coordinator Abbie Dugruise Digital Media Associate Mallary Matherne For event information, call (504) 830-7264 Production Traffic Coordinator Lane Brocato Production Designers Emily Andras, Rosa Balaguer, Meghan Rooney Administration Chief Executive Officer Todd Matherne President Alan Campell Executive Vice President Errol Laborde Office Manager Mallary Matherne Distribution Manager John Holzer Subscription Manager Brittanie Bryant For subscriptions, call (504) 830-7231

Kimberley Singletary Managing Editor

110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123 • Metairie, LA 70005 • (504) 828-1380

Biz New Orleans is published monthly by Renaissance Publishing, LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005; (504) 828-1380. Subscription rate: one year $24.95, two year $39.95, three year $49.95 — foreign rates vary call for pricing. Postage paid at Metairie, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Biz New Orleans, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 2018 Biz New Orleans. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The trademark Biz New Orleans is registered. Biz New Orleans is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork, even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in Biz New Orleans are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or owner.

4 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

Publisher’s Note

2018: So Much to be Thankful For What a year it has been.

This year started off with the New Orleans Saints making the playoffs, followed by our Pelicans doing the same just three months later. Hopefully, next year the playoff run for both teams will be longer and include a ring. Speaking of rings, one of my daughters got married this year with a beautiful ceremony at St. Patrick’s and reception at the American Freedom Pavilion inside the World War II Museum. Andrea and Malayne, you did an outstanding job planning this occasion. I turned 50 and lost 50 pounds in the process. This year we were honored with more editorial and design awards, both locally and nationally, than ever before and I am so proud of our editorial team for these great accomplishments. We created new custom magazines for associations and customers and launched new titles and events with a hard, and I mean very hard working, staff of 38 wonderful people who produced over 150 projects this year. I cannot thank them enough for their dedication and excellent work. I am so proud of them. So, as we end the year and reflect on our success, we plan for new adventures in 2019. I hope you do as well. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. Todd Matherne / 5

Meet the Sales Team

Caitlin Sistrunk Sales Manager (504) 830-7252

Brennan Manale Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7298

Jessica Jaycox Account Executive

(504) 830-7255

Sydney Steib Account Executive

(504) 830-7225

Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales (504) 830-7215 6 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018 / 7


December 4 Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana Foundation Christmas Open House 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 2200 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 200, Kenner 4 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Power Breakfast 8 to 9:30 a.m. 1515 Poydras St. 5th Floor Auditorium 5 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Holiday Social 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dave & Busters 1200 Poydras St. 6 ABWA Crescent City Connections December Luncheon “Does She Have It All Together or is it Just the Dry Shampoo?” With Emily LaBorde, proprietor of BLEU, a Blowdry Bar 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Cannery 3803 Toulouse St. 6 St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce B2B Networking 8 to 9 a.m. Chamber Board Room 610 Hollycrest Blvd., Covington 7 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hyatt Regency New Orleans 601 Loyola Ave. Celestin Ballroom – 3rd floor 7 Cybersecurity War Stories Panel Presented by Universal Data and Arctic Wolf 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. BB’s Stage Door Canteen The National WWII Museum 945 Magazine St.

8 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

11 Commissioner of Insurance Luncheon Presented by Humana 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Beau Chene Country Club 602 N. Beau Chene Dr., Mandeville 12 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Chamber 101 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 3421 N. Causeway Blvd., Suite 203, Metairie 12 East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce Holiday Luncheon 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Northshore Harbor Center 100 Harbor Center Blvd., Slidell 13 AMA New Orleans December Networking Social 7 to 9 p.m. Chickie Wah Wah 2828 Canal St. 13 SCORE Free Small Business Counseling By Appointment Only 1 to 4 p.m. East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce 1808 Front St. 2nd Floor Conference Room Slidell 20 Louisiana SBDC at SELU Free Small Business Counseling By Appointment Only 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce 1808 Front St. 2nd Floor Conference Room Slidell

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


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

Broussard’s Restaurant


819 Conti St. • (504) 581-3866 •

317 Magazine Street • (504) 324-5400 •

Visit a historical Grand Dame restaurant celebrating the tradition of Reveillion since 1920. Conveniently located in the heart of the French Quarter, Broussard’s Restaurant & Courtyard has been serving classic New Orleans dishes with a twist for 97 years. Whether it’s for brunch, dinner or happy hour, choose to dine in the majestic main dining room or in the palatial courtyard. Broussard’s - a local dining tradition since 1920.

Newly Opened Couvant: Classic French Fare, steps from the French Quarter. Couvant brings a fresh perspective to the traditional brasserie serving up simple renditions of iconic French dishes in the brand-new Eliza Jane Hotel. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Social Hour served seven days a week - and Sunday Brunch.

Madam’s Modern Kitchen + Bar

Rib Room

1300 Canal St. • 504.226.2993 •

621 St. Louis St. • (504) 529-7046 •

Plan your next affair with flair! Let Madam’s Modern Kitchen + Bar set the scene to your next party, celebration, social event or business meeting. Public and private dining options are available. Offering group seating and a variety of customized menus and entertainment options to suit every style and budget. Madam’s will make your next event nothing short of unforgettable!

Located on the most fashionable corner of the French Quarter, St. Louis at Royal Street, the Rib Room has delighted locals and visitors alike for over 55 years. However, did you know about their 4 private dining rooms? Over the years, these hideaways have been hosts to many political and business meetings. Each room serves as the perfect setting for small gatherings, business meetings, bridal luncheons and rehearsal dinners, discreetly removed from the main dining room. These rooms accommodate parties of 6-45 guests. Arrangements are handled by a dedicated Private Dining Coordinator. Complimentary valet parking available. / 9

Industry News


Tulane Among Colleges with Sharpest Decline in Admission Rates A new study from found that admission rates from the top 51 colleges in America have dropped nearly 40 percent since 2006. The schools that saw the 10 sharpest declines were: 1. University of Chicago 2. Northwestern 3. Duke 4. Georgia Tech 5. Johns Hopkins 6. Tulane 7. Stanford


8. Rice

LM Wind Power Established New Technology Center at Michoud

9. UC Berkley

On Nov. 8, Denmark-based company LM Wind Power — the world’s leading supplier of blades to the wind energy industry — announced that it will establish its “Technology Center for the Americas” at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans East.

10. Vanderbilt

48 percent

LM Wind Power, a GE Renewable Energy company, will retain 45 jobs and create 100 new direct jobs with an average yearly salary of $52,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 227 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 320 new jobs in Louisiana’s Southeast Region.

By 2018, it had dropped to

The company’s current operations are based at Building 420 on the Michoud Assembly Facility Campus, where it occupies 60,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 20,000 square feet of office space. The new technology center will develop new techniques for designing and building wind turbine blades.

Tulane had a acceptance rate in 2006.

17 percent. Other key findings from the study: In 2006, the average admissions rate was


and in 2018 it has plummeted to


This is a remarkable


decrease in admission rates.

48 of the 51 schools looked at are harder to get into today.

Only two schools were easier to get into today: William and Mary and Syracuse

“We’re excited to provide a new opportunity for high school students to explore a compelling career trajectory, whether it’s a traditional fouryear, technical college degree, or career path. NOCC provides students the foundation in technical training, workbased learning and access to industry partnerships essential to career success.” Claire Jecklin, executive director of the New Orleans Career Center, which opened in August at 2539 Columbus Street. The center currently trains 124 high school juniors and seniors in the fields of allied health, engineering and manufacturing.




Loyola Celebrates Historic Presidential Inauguration

Microsoft Purchases inXile Entertainment

Norwegian Breakaway Begins Service

Microsoft has announced it will be buying video game company inXile Entertainment, which has offices in Newport Beach, California and in New Orleans at 8201 Oak Street. inXile will remain and grow in New Orleans, but now as part of Microsoft Studios, the growing gaming division of Microsoft. Some of inXile’s best known titles include “Bard’s Tale” and “Wasteland.” The company specializes in role playing games (RPG) and virtual reality.

The largest cruise ship to home port in New Orleans left for its first voyage on Sunday, Nov. 11.

“We are thrilled about Microsoft’s decision to acquire InXile Entertainment, and their commitment to remaining here and growing services at the New Orleans studio,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., which brought inXile to New Orleans in 2015. “Having Microsoft in our market is another indicator of the increasing recognition of Greater New Orleans as a world-class technology hub. We look forward to supporting the growth of Microsoft in New Orleans.”

The floating city offers 25 dining options, 22 bars and lounges and a comprehensive water park featuring the fastest waterslide at sea, one of the largest ropes courses of any ship, an option designed for thrill seekers called “The Plank” that allows you to stand suspended over the side of the ship, and an entertainment program that includes “Burn the Floor,” “Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy” and Broadway hit, “Rock of Ages.”

In two days of festivities, Nov. 15 and 16, Loyola University New Orleans celebrated the appointment of Tania Tetlow, J.D. as its 17th president and both first woman and first layperson to lead the educational institution since its founding in 1912. Tetlow is also the youngest woman president to lead one of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Festivities began with a missioning mass, student celebration and inauguration concert on Nov. 15, followed the inauguration ceremony on Nov. 16 that included speeches by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell; Tulane University President Michael A. Fitts, J.D.; retired Xavier University Louisiana President Norman Francis, J.D.; and journalist Cokie Roberts.

10 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

The ship arrived Sunday morning and departed again Sunday evening with approximately 4,000 passengers on its first cruise out of the Crescent City, a 7-day voyage through the Caribbean. Norwegian Breakaway will sail from New Orleans through April 12, 2019, offering five, seven, 10 and 11day Western Caribbean cruises.

Also unique to the Breakaway — which debuted in 2013 — is The Waterfront, a quarter-mile promenade deck with waterfront dining, shopping and entertainment, along with studios designed for solo cruisers.

Recent Openings

Entablature Realty Home builder Entablature Design-Build celebrated the grand opening of its new realty division, Entablature Realty, on Oct. 25. The company is a partnership between licensed realtor Francesca Brennan, developer Scott Logan and builder Chris Kornman. The company is located at 8438 Oak Street, on a corner that was renovated by Entablature Design-Build.

Integra Realty Advisors One of the largest independent commercial real estate valuation and consulting firms, Integra Realty Resources (IRR) opened two new offices in New Orleans and Little Rock. The New Orleans office, opened Oct. 22, is at 643 Magazine Street, Suite 330. Together, the two offices bring IRR’s new office openings in recent months to 17.


Crane Rehab Locally owned and operated therapy specialist Crane Rehab will open its new Center for Behavior, Language and Learning in early 2019 at 3923 Bienville Street in Mid-City. The 6,000-square-foot facility will serve children age 2 to 18 with autism spectrum disorders. The center will include two classrooms and 15 individual therapy rooms, as well as a 1,000-squarefoot sensory gym. Day-long classes will be available for children age 2 to 6, as well as individualized programs ranging from 10 to 40 hours per week for older children.

1016 Canal Street Groundbreaking COMING SOON

Hancock Whitney Center On Dec. 10, Hancock Whitney will move its main New Orleans offices to Louisiana’s tallest office building. Previously known as One Shell Square, the building at 701 Poydras Street will now be known as the Hancock Whitney Center. The financial center the bank has been occupying at 228 St. Charles Avenue will move to the second floor of the 51-story tower. More than 500 associates will move in phases to the new location between December 2018 and February 2019, where they will occupy nine floors in the Hancock Whitney Center.

Riess Lemeux Law Firm Only eight months after it was formed by Michael R.C. Riess and Christopher LeMieux, New Orleans law firm Riess LeMieux has officially moved to the Energy Centre and will occupy Suite 1100. The 13-person firm focuses on the construction industry, including complex litigation, commercial and business advising, bankruptcy litigation, commercial transactions, maritime advice and class action and multi-district litigation.

After being destroyed in a fire three years ago, a historic building on 1016 Canal Street will be transformed into 47 apartments, that will be operated as short-term rentals by Sonder and Quarter Holdings, which broke ground on the $10 million renovation on Oct. 15. Sonder is currently working with developers to revitalize several properties along Canal Street, including 623 Canal Street and 444 Canal Street. The project is expected to take 18 months.


5.11 NBA Hall-of-Famer Karl “The Mailman” Malone’s apparel company, 5.11 by Karl Malone will open its second location in Louisiana at 6601 Veterans Memorial Blvd. inside the Lafreniere Plaza Shopping Center by January 2019. Malone will operate the Metairie location, which will encompass 5,070 square feet of men’s and women’s apparel, footwear, bags, accessories and professional gear by 5.11 Tactical, a global brand that provides tactical apparel and gear for law enforcement, first responders, tactical operators and recreational enthusiasts. / 11








Thursday, October 25 | The Standard Apartments

Cox Communications: Smart Home Event

Monday, November 5 - Friday, November 9 New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Louisiana International Trade Week & Jubilee

Cox Communications showcased its New Orleans smart home, “Cox Connected Independence,” in order to demonstrate how internet-enabled devices are helping seniors live independently at home. An automatic pill dispenser, garbage can that creates a shopping list and automatic pet feeder were among the 60 devices featured.

At the second annual celebration of Louisiana’s culture of trade, the Louisiana International Trade Week and Jubilee included events in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge, as well as site and port tours held across the state.

1. Bradley Pipes, Sharon Truxillo and Ben Johnson 2. Matt Freeman and Toby Patel 3. Steve Sawyer and Jason Williams

1. Margaret Diaz-Fugetta and Dr. Syed Ahmed 2. Marik Choina, Lisa Carpenter, Merlin Hymel and Stuart Schmidt 3. Roshanda Johnson and Maddy Fox

12 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

photographs by cheryl gerber








Tuesday, November 13 | BioInnovation Center

Wednesday, November 14 | Crowne Plaza New Orleans Airport

Innovation Louisiana 2018 Conference

State of Jefferson Annual Luncheon

An annual pitch competition, conference and technology showcase, the Innovation Louisiana Conference, hosted by the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, showcases the scientific research being conducted by local startups and universities.

This annual business luncheon focuses each year on the latest activities and developments in Jefferson Parish.

1. Aaron Miscenich, Gov. John Bel Edwards, Jeff Gimble and Pleasant Hooper 2. John Christie and Guanghi Wang 3. Trivia Frazier, Mike Eckert, Sun Young Kim and Lowry Curley

1. Chuck Mutz, Larry Holmes and Bob Hecker 2. Dean Powery, Vance Adams, Mandi Kimbre and Greg White 3. Levar Greenhouse, Sonia Perez and David Aubrey

photographs by cheryl gerber / 13

14 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

Biz columnists spe ak out


AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

The holiday season in New Orleans is packed with entertainment options.

In The Biz dining

The New Orleans 2018 Food Scene in Review This year brought some sad farewells alongside exciting expansions. by Poppy Tooker

A year in the life of New Orleans’ culinary

scene is a lifetime in most ordinary cities. As the year folds in around us, I’d like to take a minute to look at 2018’s gains and losses. Goodbyes to Greats In

May, at the esteemed age of 92, death claimed the life of Ella Brennan, grand dame of the American restaurant scene. This fall, Brennan’s daughter, Ti Martin, her niece Lally and their beloved chef, Tory McPhail, honored her life by hosting the American Culinary and Hospitality Symposium, the largest international collection of hospitality luminaries ever to gather in New Orleans – a fitting tribute to Miss Ella. French chef Rene Bajeux also died unexpectedly in September of this year, at age 61. Beloved since his early days in New Orleans at the Windsor Court’s Grill Room, his last piece of culinary legacy remains at the Palace Café, where he mentored Richard Brennan III, Dickie’s son, in the charcuterie program he had developed there over the last several years. The tandem deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Miami celebrity bar owner John LeMare sent a wake-up call to the hospitality industry in June. One month later, the newly formed Tales of the Cocktail Foundation responded with a new wellness focus at their annual alcohol-fueled event. William Grant & Sons’ opening-night party was alcohol-free, and the foundation debuted “Beyond The Bar.” Hosted at the New Orleans Athletic Club, Beyond The Bar included seminars on suicide prevention, yoga classes, and free HIV and hepatitis C testing. Legacies Continue in Different Ways

16 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

Spreading Out After

opening Saba on Magazine Street in May, Alon Shaya exported his New Orleans take on Israeli modern food to Denver when he opened Safta there in August. Zach Engel, named James Beard’s “Rising Star Chef of the Year” in 2017 while working with Alon at Shaya, is also exporting his Israeli-flaired food from New Orleans. Engel plans to open Galit in Chicago’s Lincoln Park next year. Meanwhile, on Freret Street, the Halal Guys’ franchise closed, perhaps an indication of New Orleanians’ preference for local versus imported chains. Ralph Brennan’s Café B ended a sevenyear run on Metairie Road, while Katrina casualty Barrow’s Catfish, a New Orleans tradition since 1943, finally reopened on Earhart Boulevard in July. Oyster Reinvention In

his recent book, “Creole Italians,” Loyola history professor Justin Nystrom extensively covered the success and influence of immigrant-owned and operated oyster saloons in early 20th-century New Orleans. The standup oyster bar at Pascal’s Manale Restaurant is a remnant of those times. Down on Decatur Street, Tujague’s Restaurant is serving raw oysters for the first time at America’s oldest standup bar there, proving that when it comes to oysters, in New Orleans at least, everything old is new again! n

Catch Poppy Tooker on her radio show, Louisiana Eats! Saturdays at 3 p.m. and Mondays at 8 p.m. on WWNO 89.9 FM.

i l lu st rat i on by Ton y H e a l e y

A native New Orleanian, Poppy Tooker has spent her life devoted to the cultural essence that food brings to Louisiana, a topic she explores weekly on her NPR-affiliated radio show, Louisiana Eats! From farmers markets to the homes and restaurants where our culinary traditions are revered and renewed, Poppy lends the voice of an insider to interested readers everywhere.

The fall closure of the Alois J. Binder Bakery after almost a century in the Marigny caused many to ponder the future of New Orleans’ poor boy bread. Luckily, Sandy Whann’s son, William, has his heart set on continuing the Leidenheimer family tradition into the fifth generation. Restaurant openings continued to outpace closings. Many of the losses however, were notable. The Commander’s Palace family said goodbye to Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar in August. Named to honor Ti Martin’s Aunt Adelaide, when it opened in 2003, the Swizzle Stick became an early

pioneer in New Orleans’ craft cocktail movement. Without missing a beat, Ti and her team opened Picnic Provisions and Whiskey, Uptown on Magazine Street in September. While Uptown had multiple gains this year, it also lost a favorite breakfast spot when Coulis closed in July. The breakfast trend continued to boom, however with New Orleans’ own Ruby Slipper. Established in 2008 by former petroleum engineers Jennifer and Erich Weishaupt, Ruby Slipper now boasts 10 restaurants with six New Orleans locations and satellite spots in Florida, Alabama and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. / 17

In The Biz to u r is m

Bidding Adieu to NOLA’s Tricentennial A year of historic celebration comes to a close. By Jennifer Gibson Schecter

18 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

volunteer engagement; the visit by the king and queen of Spain; major exhibits at the Cabildo, NOMA, the Ogden Museum and The Historic New Orleans Collection; mural art by ‘Bmike Odums’ and Jamar Pierre; cultural expressions such as the Tricentennial Black Mardi Gras Indian suit (which can be seen at the Cabildo), musical works by the LPO, publications such as the LEH Tricentennial book, and the first ever Slave Trade Markers and app, to name just a few; and what I believe is a renewed sense of place and understanding of who we are as a diverse and life-loving people.” As we close 2018, it will be interesting to see how much of the incitation from the Tricentennial celebration carries over into 2019 and beyond, and whether we can sustain and capitalize on the interest of visitors. Romig is optimistic. “We have momentum going into the next 300 years through this past year’s efforts,” he said. “As a city we should be able to build on the enthusiasm and spirit of resilience that we continue to exhibit as citizens with a ‘can-do’ attitude.” A native New Orleanian who just happens to announce games for the New Orleans Saints and serve on numerous local boards, Romig has an intricate relationship with the city as a whole. “To be involved in New Orleans’ Tricentennial has been extremely humbling, personally educational and most inspiring” shared Romig. “I feel most fortunate to have been able to help our city remind the rest of the nation and the world just how uniquely special and authentic we are, and how our city has played a critical role on the world stage as a welcoming and diverse community, constantly sharing our creativity and cultural expressions with all.” The Tricentennial year is nearly over, but the stories generated by the people who live and visit here will continue to be created and retold. n

i l lust rat i on by Ton y H e a l e y

Jennifer Gibson Schecter was once a tourist in New Orleans herself and is now proud to call NOLA home. She also writes the Wednesday Tourism Blog on

From WWOZ’s “Tricentennial Music

Moments” to’s “300 for 300,” the year 2018 has been filled with reminders from every media outlet that New Orleans had a big birthday. Public sculptures, events and museum exhibitions combined to tell the story of the Tricentennial to visitors and locals alike. Mardi Gras floats, Halloween costumes, quirky T-shirts and flags were just a few of the ways people participated in honoring the city’s founding. The annual visitation and visitor spending numbers won’t be released until spring 2019, but it’s safe to say the Tricentennial was a draw for tourists. In January, the New York Times wrote that New Orleans was the No. 1 place to travel in 2018, citing the Tricentennial and calling the city “the ultimate melting pot.” New Orleans was also recognized in 2018 as a city to visit by The Los Angeles Times, CNN Travel, Bloomberg, Travel + Leisure, Thrillist, AARP, TripAdvisor, Fast Company and many more. Mark Romig, president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. and the volunteer president and CEO of the 2018 NOLA Foundation, said, “There is enough evidence to show now that we have seen an increased interest in New Orleans and the region as a destination. The airport and cruise port continue to excel, and our summer activity was very strong.” The 2018 NOLA Foundation is an organization that was created to support the Tricentennial and related activities. In his role there, Romig saw firsthand how the events impacted people throughout the year. “I believe the Tricentennial has enabled citizens as well as visitors to discover a deeper and more intricate city,” said Romig. “The many events and exhibits have also offered the opportunity to not only commemorate 300 years of history but also to study all of our history and in doing so, take away lessons to help build a stronger and more equitable future for all.” The impact of the year is just beginning to be felt, even though the work of the Tricentennial Committee concludes at the end of the year. “The legacy of the Tricentennial will be discussed for many years,” said Romig. “We have a restored Gallier Hall; there’s been a high level of neighborhood and / 19

In The Biz s p o r ts

The Curious Case of Anthony Davis The Pelicans are at a crossroads as the NBA superstar decides whether to stay in New Orleans or chase championship dreams elsewhere. by chris price

20 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

City, there remain lingering questions as to whether or not the Pelicans can attract the talent to build a championship-caliber team around him. Unfortunately for New Orleans, in this era the NBA’s biggest stars’ careers are judged on whether or not they win a championship. Some, like James, have forsaken money for the opportunity to grab a ring. If Davis decides not to re-sign with New Orleans, he can become a free agent in 2020 and take his talents and championship dreams to wherever he chooses. It is worth noting that Davis signed with James’ agent, Rich Paul, this summer; however, for now he is saying he’s focused on winning and will discuss his contract at the appropriate time. “I want to win,” he said in an interview with ESPN. “When that time comes, we’ll get to that point.” For several years, Davis has been mentioned as a trade target for several of the NBA’s prominent teams, including the Celtics, Lakers and his hometown Chicago Bulls. If he chooses not to re-sign with the Pelicans this coming summer, they will have no option but to trade him and try to get someone of value to replace his talent – much like what happened with the franchise’s last superstar Chris Paul, who played in New Orleans for the first six years of his career. But without Davis, questions about the team’s longterm viability in New Orleans will surely arise. Will the team’s fans be willing to support the club if it loses its superstar and has to go through another rebuilding process? If not, would owner Gayle Benson move the team to a larger market with less competition for fans’ entertainment dollars or sell to someone who would? When that time comes, we’ll get to that point. For now, let’s hope the Pelicans show enough promise to keep Davis in place in New Orleans.n i l lust rat i on by Ton y H e a l e y

Chris Price is an award-winning journalist and public relations principal. When he’s not writing, he’s avid about music, the outdoors, and Saints, Ole Miss and Chelsea football. Price also authors the Friday Sports Column at

Anthony Davis believes he’s the best

player in the NBA. His coach, Alvin Gentry, says he’s the most valuable player in the league. With all due respect to LeBron James, Stephen Curry, James Harden and Kevin Durant, Davis and Gentry may be right. At the beginning of this season, the NBA’s general managers voted Davis the best player in the league at two positions, center and power forward. Around the same time, Gentry said there is no other player in the world that he would rather have on his squad. At just 25 years old, Davis is just entering his prime and could get even better. In short, he is to the New Orleans Pelicans what quarterback Drew Brees is to the New Orleans Saints – invaluable. Basketball fans around the world took notice last season as the 6-foot, 11-inch Davis took his game to new heights when star center DeMarcus Cousins tore one of his Achilles tendons in February and was lost for the year. At the time, it appeared the Pelicans’ playoff aspirations were finished. However, Davis put the team on his back and went from averaging 26.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game to 30.4 points, 11.9 rebounds and 3.3 blocks after Cousin’s injury. His improved play led the team to a 20-8 record to finish the season, and swept the higher-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the postseason, giving him his first career playoff victories. The Pels got knocked out of the playoffs in the second round by the eventual NBA champion Golden State Warriors, but basketball experts predicted the Pelicans were on the rise. Then in the offseason, two starters left the team, and many questioned whether New Orleans could match, much less improve, their playoff expectations going forward. That has put Davis and the team in a precarious position. When the season ends in June, the Pels can offer Davis a five-year extension worth about $240 million. Because of NBA rules designed to keep star players in small markets, no other team can offer him the amount of money the Pelicans can. While there is no doubt that the franchise wants their superstar to remain in the Crescent

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

Home for the Holidays There’s plenty to keep busy this month. by Kim Singletary

My family typically travels for the holidays but this year we’re going to be at

home the whole month, entertaining out-of-town family for some of it. Which made me wonder, what are we going to do? So, for all of those like me who are sticking around this year, my gift to you is a (hopefully) helpful rundown of all the fun ways to celebrate the season this month with the ones you love. n Especially Great for Visiting Family and Friends

Sail the Mighty Mississippi

Dec. 9-30. Free Tours by Foot Holiday Tour. Pay what you want for this two-hour walking tour around the highlights of the French Quarter where you learn about the Papa Noel story, traditional catholic creole Christmas observations, Christmas bonfires and what makes a Creole Christmas decoration.

Steamboat Natchez

Nov. 23-Jan. 1 . Celebration in the Oaks. City Park (closed Christmas Eve, open Christmas night). Photos with Santa every night through Dec. 23. Take in a Live Show Nov. 30-Dec. 29. (select dates.) Christmas Belles are Ringing. BB’s Stage Door Canteen. Vocal group the Victory Belles present holiday favorites.

Creole Queen Paddlewheeler Dec. 22 and 23. Cajun Holiday Tea with Papa Noel. Treats, storytelling, face painting, magic tricks, children’s activities and merriment with Papa Noel, Mrs. Noel, Gaston the Gator and other jolly Cajun characters. Hold a real live alligator and each child gets a special present. Dec. 24. Christmas Eve Caroling Down the River. Creole dinner and live jazz band.

Dec. 1, 8 and 15. Holiday Concerts at St. Augustine Church. Between Dec. 3 and 16. St. Louis Cathedral Concert Series. Dec. 16. Caroling in Jackson Square. Candles and song sheets provided. Home Tours Dec. 8 and 9. Homes of the Garden District. Dec. 16. Homes of the French Quarter. Patio Shop Local Artisans Dec. 9 and 16. Piety Street Holiday Market.

Dec. 7-9, and 14-15. White Christmas. Jefferson Performing Arts Center.

Dec. 8, 15, 21, 22. BB Stage Door Canteen.

Dec. 7. Arts Market of New Orleans at Palmer Park.

Dec. 7-23. Meowy Catmas with the AcroCats. Allways Lounge. Real rescued house cats perform acrobatics (and play in a band) for the holidays.

Nov. 25-Dec. 24. The Roosevelt Hotel.

Catch a Movie

Dec. 15, 16 and 20-23. Royal Sonesta.

Holiday Classics at The Prytania Dec. 9 and 12. Polar Express.

Only in New Orleans

Dec. 16 and 19. It’s A Wonderful Life.

December. Audubon Zoo Lights. New this year. Lights, holiday storytelling, arts and crafts, caroling. Open most days in December except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Dec. 23 and 26. Elf.

Dec. 14. Elf.

Dec. 18-23. Broadway’s Elf the Musical. Saenger Theatre.

Nov. 30-Dec. 26. Miracle on Fulton Street. Hourly snowfall, gingerbread display. Live entertainment and photos with Santa on Friday and Saturday nights.

Dec. 19. Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Smoothie King Center.

Dec. 6-9. Luna Fete. Lafayette Square.

Dec. 26. Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. Saenger Theatre.

Dec. 8. Running of the Santas.

Dec. 15. Harry Connick Jr. Tricentennial Celebration Tour. (Will include holiday favorites.) UNO Lakefront Arena. Dec. 15-23. New Orleans Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker. Orpheum.

Dec. 30. New Orleans Saints Vs. Panthers.

Dec. 22-31. Nola Christmas Fest. Morial Convention Center.

Movies on the Mississippi: Free outdoor movies at The Riverwalk’s Spanish Plaza Dec. 7. The Santa Clause. Dec. 11. Gremlins. Broad Street Cider. Finally, Maybe Add a Little Horror to Your Holidays Dec. 7 and 8. Krampus: A Haunting Christmas. New Christmas-themed haunted House. Interactive. Photos with Krampus. 319 Butterworth Street in Jefferson near the Huey P. Long Bridge. Home of New Orleans Nightmare

i l lust rat i on by Ton y H e a l e y

Dec. 23. New Orleans Saints Vs. Steelers.

Dec. 15. Tricentennial Jingle on the Boulevard Parade. Starts at noon. New holiday parade rolls down Crowder Boulevard to Haynes Boulevard, making its way to Read Boulevard, before ending at Lake Forest Plaza.

Watch the Saints in the Dome

22 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

Dec. 24. Christmas Eve Celebration. Dinner buffet.

FREE Holiday Music

Teddy Bear Teas (Book now. Tickets go fast!)

Dec. 15. Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis. Saenger Theatre.

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.

Dec. 2, 9, 16. Cruising with the Clauses. Brunch cruises.

Dec. 24. Bonfires on the Levee. St. James Parish. (Greyhound Bus Tours available). / 23

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

The Best and Worst of 2018 New ventures and successes abound as we still struggle to mature. by keith twitchell

24 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

New Orleans’ place in the start-up world seems to have faded. For example, Wallet Hub recently knocked the city all the way down to No. 54 on its list of best and worst places to start a business. While this seems a bit harsh, perhaps it’s best viewed as an indicator of a maturing local scene. At some point, business growth and expansion need to become focal points, while simply launching new enterprises is less of a priority. As is true every year, the biggest local entrepreneurship event was the Idea Village’s New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. In the interest of becoming more of a community event, NOEW went through substantial changes this year. While the results were mixed, the NOEW team deserves a lot of credit for taking the risks, especially in the name of becoming more inclusive. With longtime NOEW executive producer Victoria Adams Phipps moving on to serve as vice president of programs for the New Orleans Business Alliance and executive director of 504ward, more changes are likely to be in store in 2019. Animals (and their people) were big local entrepreneurial winners this year. To cite just two examples, a company called Pet Krewe offers costumes for dogs and cats, donating 10 percent of each sale to animal shelters. And Dig, “The Dog Person’s Dating App,” helps dog lovers connect, which has to make both person and pet happy. A few other interesting new local ventures: • RentCheck is an app for both tenants and landlords, designed to standardize the move-in and move-out process as a way to protect both sides from issues relating to damage, security deposits and so on. • DigCargo takes one of the city’s oldest industries, shipping, and applies digital technologies to make the complex logistics of freight management easier and more efficient. • Winner of the inaugural New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge, Altergy is a start-up that is developing a wearable, noninvasive, real-time blood

glucose-monitoring and alert system that works with a smartphone application. • Two new dining markets opened their doors in the CBD. The Auction House Market is a former auction house gallery with a lively bar surrounded by a variety of food vendors. More recently, the renovated Pythian building features apartments on the upper floors and food, retail and gathering space at the street level. While there were dozens of other interesting launches this year, these few examples illustrate the extraordinary diversity of fields where entrepreneurship is thriving in New Orleans. And speaking of diversity, 2018 was a breakthrough year in terms of the increase in new businesses launched by women and people of color. Thinking larger scale, a couple of exciting developments were the arrival of the Austin-based tech company Accruent. In addition to its plan to hire some 350 wellpaid employees, by selecting New Orleans for its expansion, the firm definitely helped boost the status of the metro area as a tech hub. On the other end of the business spectrum, Dixie Beer — now owned by the Benson family — announced that it would again be brewing locally, and even opening up a brew pub in New Orleans East. Nationally, it was not such a great year for some well-known entrepreneurs. The Securities and Exchange Commission came down hard on Elon Musk for some ill-advised tweets. The latest Facebook hack reportedly managed to compromise Mark Zuckerberg’s own account. And John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s Pizza, had to resign as the company’s chairman after allegedly making racist remarks. On top of these individual snafus, the uncertainty around global trade posed challenges for many businesses. In Louisiana, industries from soybeans to shipping could suffer if trade issues are not resolved satisfactorily. As we enter the holiday season — which has become highly entrepreneurial itself — it’s time to reflect on successes, failures and lessons learned, and to consider new opportunities in the year ahead. Health, happiness and prosperity to all! n

i l lust rat i on by Ton y H e a l e y

Keith Twitchell spent 16 years running his own business before becoming president of the Committee for a Better New Orleans. He has observed, supported and participated in entrepreneurial ventures at the street, neighborhood, nonprofit, micro- and macro-business levels.

Some of the New Orleans buzz about

In The Biz e t i qu e tt e

Pants on Fire How do deal with a compulsive liar in the workplace. by Melanie Warner Spencer

26 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

than to breed mistrust and, most likely, pity from coworkers and management. If you are dealing with this type of liar, who otherwise seems to do their job and isn’t bothering anyone, it’s tempting to let sleeping dogs, well, lie. But, it’s also hard to tell whether or not the lies are harmless unless they are affecting the perpetrator’s work or those around them lodge complaints. Mistry advises that either way, it’s important to hold the liar accountable for their behavior. “Do not praise the liar,” she writes, cautioning to do this in private. “Tell them that you are aware of it and it is not acceptable. Try to understand what motivates them to lie compulsively. Talk to your supervisor if the compulsive liar at work is creating work-related problems.” Things get more complicated when the liar is your direct supervisor. In this case, Mistry says to “keep records and seek help from your [human resources] department.” From an HR perspective, as always, documentation is key. Mistry says to “confront them in private, and if possible, record the meeting. This will protect you legally if you decide to terminate the employee. If the lying is severe and impacting, let them know that they cannot continue with their behavior if they want to stay employed with the company. While at the same time, document any complaints received from other employees.” It is possible that the person will either quit when confronted with documentation of their lying or get terminated if the behavior doesn’t change. It is also possible that they might become aggressive, which is why it’s important to document and remain in communication with HR as soon as the behavior is discovered. These types of conversations are always primed for awkwardness, but if you proceed with both caution and compassion, it could lead to a better working relationship and maybe to the person getting the help they need. n i l lust rat i on by Ton y H e a l e y

Melanie Warner Spencer is editor of New Orleans Bride and New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles and managing editor of Louisiana Life and Acadiana Profile. Spencer’s ever-expanding library of etiquette books is rivaled only by her ever-ready stash of blank thank-you notes. Submit business etiquette questions to

My first newspaper job was as the

assistant editor at a small community paper in a suburb just outside of Austin, Texas. Not long after I started, my boss hired a new ad sales representative. The rep (we’ll call him Bob) was a large man with an equally large, outgoing personality and a fondness for telling jokes and tales. At first, as over-the-top as some of his stories sounded, my coworkers and our boss got a kick out of Bob’s anecdotes. I think everyone in the office had the distinct impression that Bob was spinning yarns. This was Texas after all, where most of the tales are tall and include a hint or more of exaggeration for effect. No harm, no foul, right? About a month or so into Bob’s employment, however, it became clear that along with the seemingly harmless fables, he was also filling a veritable Pandora’s box with lies. From missed (or potentially never scheduled) sales calls and deadlines and made-up personal dramas to explain away lateness, poor performance and frequent mistakes, to easily provable falsehoods that had seemingly no purpose other than to confuse, disarm or otherwise mislead the other party, Bob’s behavior was becoming increasingly more problematic. It may come as no surprise that our boss fired Bob after a few months. Since Bob was a salesperson, it was easy to illustrate that he wasn’t doing his job because sales numbers were down. Despite everyone knowing about it, there wasn’t a need to bring the compulsive lying into the equation. It’s not always that simple, however, and nearly everyone has dealt with a “Bob” in his or her career. So, what are you supposed to do if one of your employees or a coworker is a compulsive liar? According to a 2017 piece by HR Digest editor Priyansha Mistry, “Compulsive lying is caused by low self-esteem. Lying becomes second nature, and like any behavior, which provides comfort and an escape (for instance, alcohol and drugs), lying feels safe and fuels the desire to lie even more.” Often, this type of liar tells low-risk, seemingly “harmless” lies that have no impact on anyone around them, other

In The Biz marketing

3 Tips for Building a Brand It’s about more than a logo. by Julia carcamo

Many businesses think their branding

begins and ends with a logo, mostly because they think of themselves as a business and not a brand. To some, a brand is Tide laundry detergent, not someone’s body shop or restaurant. Most assume branding is for the big boys with big budgets and a large appetite for advertising. As a result, they develop the best logo they can afford, put it on the sign and open the doors for business. Branding, however, is important for businesses of all sizes. In the long run, it can increase the value of the business by creating trust, improving recognition, delivering a clear message and motivating buyers. The immediate benefit is that it can provide direction for all employees and can make customer acquisition that much easier. Developing your brand can be a great exercise in truly understanding your business. The following three tips will help you.


Know Your Audience There is a reason

this is my No. 1 “Jules Rule.” You want to understand the needs and wants of your target audience so that you can connect with them on an emotional level, beyond the products and services you sell. More than your logo, your brand is how the customer will see you, so you need to make sure you are communicating not only what you want, but what they want to see, hear and feel. This should drive the direction of the development of your logo and brand style guide.


28 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018


Operationalize Your Brand The process of building a brand requires you to not only set a strategy and position but to “operationalize” it. Operationalization is how your brand becomes the culture of the organization. To quote Denise Lee Yohn in her book, What Great Brands Do, “It’s about putting your brand to use as a management tool — and getting the most value out of it.” In the book, Yohn points out that “by limiting the definition of your brand to this external, surface level, you fail to realize its full business value.” The brand becomes the driver of decisions because more than just being communicated to employees, employees have internalized it. In effect, it allows your brand to come to life and enables you to deliver on the brand promise.

Unfortunately, few companies actively align the brand with the operations. Gallup’s recent State of the American Workplace report indicates only 22 percent of U.S. employees strongly agree that their company’s leaders have a clear direction for their organization. Why? Because a small group of executives often decides vision and purpose for the brand. The vision is then “pushed” down to the rest of the organization in a variety of ways, from memos to pep rallies. The intention and hope are that it will become adopted, but the vision rarely achieves the buy-in needed because due to the failure to include a significant number of people as a company shapes its vision, purpose and direction. This is an easy trap to fall into, but just as easy to avoid by bringing key stakeholders and front-line employees into the brand discussion. Do you think you’re done now that you know your customer, found your voice, designed a great logo and developed a strategy for operationalizing your brand? “LOL,” as my nephew says. Remember, your brand is a living being that needs to be continually nurtured and cared for. n

i l lu st r at i on by Ton y H e a l e y

Julia Carcamo is president and chief brand strategist at J Carcamo & Associates, specializing in brand and marketing strategy. She is also the co-founder of espNOLA, a Hispanic marketing and engagement agency. Learn more at and

A great logo is only the start. What you say and how you say it will often be the lasting memory your brand will create. Keep in mind that your voice will come through more than just your ads. It will come to life with every customer interaction, from your website to your on-site customer-service representatives and the policies you put into place. Successful brands speak a unique language. Think about the brands you admire and how their voices ring true and clear. With a deep understanding of your customer and your voice, you will find that your creative partner (whether an Find Your Voice

agency or freelancer) will wow you with logos that resonate. At that point the hard, but nonetheless important, part starts. / 29

30 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

hot topics in southe ast Louisiana industries

perspectives banking & Finance  /  real estate  /  education

Trim your tax bill with the help of these 5 tips.

Perspectives ba n k i n g & f i n a n c e

Act Now To Cut Your 2018 Tax Bill The top 5 things to do now so you pay less. By Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)

created more than 100 new tax provisions — a staggering thought as people begin to prepare for the next filing season. The good news is that these, and some of the surviving provisions, create a wealth of yearend planning opportunities.


Choose the Right Approach to

Deductions Many taxpayers who’ve traditionally itemized their deductions might end up simply claiming the standard deduction for 2018. The TCJA roughly doubles the standard deduction to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married couples. It also suspends personal exemptions and eliminates or limits many of the popular itemized deductions. The deduction for state and local income and sales taxes, for example, is limited to $10,000 for the aggregate of state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes. This could make it difficult to claim enough in itemized deductions to surpass the standard deduction. The choice between taking the standard deduction or itemizing will depend on your individual circumstances. Factors such as the amount of medical expenses could also play a role in the decision.

32 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018



Time Those Big Medical Expenses

The TCJA gives taxpayers with substantial upcoming medical expenses strong incentive to incur them this year. The law lowered the threshold for deducting unreimbursed medical expenses from 10 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) to 7.5 percent for all taxpayers in 2017 and 2018. Next year, though, the threshold returns to 10 percent, making it harder to qualify for the deduction. Qualified medical expenses are broadly defined as the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. Examples include payments to physicians, dentists and other medical practitioners, as well as equipment (including eyeglasses, contact lenses and hearing aids), supplies, diagnostic devices and prescription drugs. Travel expenses related to medical care are also deductible.


if You Can

Offset Capital Gains The strategy

of “loss harvesting” to shield gains from the capital gains tax remains advisable for 2018, particularly for high-income taxpayers. It involves selling underperforming investments to realize losses that can offset taxable gains realized during the year. As a bonus, if the losses exceed gains, up to $3,000 of the excess losses generally can be used to offset ordinary income, which is taxed at a higher rate than capital gains. Any excess is carried forward.


and take an itemized deduction. You can direct the fund administrator to distribute the funds annually in equal increments, so your favorite charities receive a steady stream of donations regardless of whether you itemize every year. Contributing appreciated assets to a DAF (or directly to a charity) can help avoid long-term capital gains taxes (subject to certain limitations) in addition to securing a deduction for the assets’ fair market value. If you’re not using a DAF, you can take a similar “bunching” approach to your donations to accumulate enough charitable itemized deductions to push them over the standard deduction for some years. For example, if you typically contribute to a nonprofit at the end of the year, you can instead bunch donations in alternative years (January and December of 2019 and January and December of 2021). Or you can make several years’ worth of donations in one year. You give the same aggregate amounts as in the past and preserve the charitable deduction.


Contribute to Retirement

Accounts As in previous years, you can shrink your taxes by adding to tax-deferred retirement accounts. Consider the benefit of making allowable contributions to your IRAs and 401(k) plans. Also, keep in mind that because the deadline for certain retirement account contributions is after the end of the year, there may be an opportunity for tax planning into the new year. n

Bunch Charitable Contributions

You can claim deductions for charitable contributions only if you itemize. For that reason, it’s been estimated that the number of households claiming charitable deductions will decline under the new tax law. But those with philanthropic inclinations can reap tax benefits by donating strategically. For example, if you contribute to a donor-advised fund (DAF), you can get an immediate tax deduction. By making multiple contributions to a DAF in a single year, you can get past the standard deduction threshold

Fidelity Bank’s P.O.W.E.R.ful Woman of the Month Courtney D. McWilliams MaryMac’s Doggie Retreat CEO (Canine Emotional Officer) New Orleans, LA

Q: How were you inspired to start your business? A: I was inspired based of a need I had myself. I needed a dog sitter that understood pet anxiety and depression. There was no service like this available in New Orleans outside of trainers and Veterinarians. I knew I wasn’t the only one with this problem.

Q: What were the biggest obstacles and how were they overcome? A: My biggest obstacle thus far has been location. The company started as an in home pet sitting services that has grew tremendously. Now I am in the process of expanding and looking for a new location as my model focuses on small environments.

Q: What local resources have you used? Hannis T. Bourgeois is a premier certified public accounting and consulting firm serving the Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Denham Springs markets. The firm works with high net-worth individuals and privately held and SEC-registered companies across the state providing accounting, tax, audit and consulting services. For more information, visit

A: I have used several local resources such as attending networking groups, Fidelity P.O.W.E.R.ful Program, the Urban League (women in business program), and hiring a business coach.


Perspectives r e al e stat e & co nst ru c t i o n

Commercial Real Estate By the Numbers A look at where we stood this fall with office space, industrial real estate and shopping centers Statistics courtesy the Louisiana Commercial Database, LLC

current statistics


New Orleans



Property Type Listings Asking Lease/Sale TotalAvailable Industrial


$4.83/$85.32 PSF

1.7 million SF



$18.05/$69.02 PSF

2.9 million SF

Retail-Commercial 242

$21.22/$161.02 PSF

1.2 million SF

Shopping Center


$15.42/$35.51 PSF

586,546 SF

Vacant Land


$0.61/$3.01 PSF

47.1 million SF




13,625 SF



(n/a)/106.80 PSF

397,052 SF

New Orleans



At the beginning of each month, the Louisiana

Commercial Database compiles statistics from user-loaded listings and user-reported transactions. The database serves as an online information exchange for Louisiana’s commercial real estate professionals. The LACDB provides data from throughout all of Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The website features a search function, where members can search by property type, keywords or specific addresses, along with information like market statistics and demographics. Membership is open to licensed brokers, agents or state certified appraisers. For more information, visit n

2.3 million sf


commercial space for sale

Property Type Listings Asking Lease/Sale TotalAvailable Industrial


$6.54/$76.91 PSF

98,428 SF



$20.08/173.51 PSF

991,942 SF

Retail-Commercial 59

$20.96/$186.15 PSF

281,486 SF

Shopping Center


$19.55/$200.51 PSF

96,186 SF

Vacant Land


$3.31/$26.33 PSF

605,704 SF



(n/a)/$122.19 PSF

24,675 SF

4.7 million sf

commercial space for lease

1,027 Acres

land and farm for sale

$358.9 million total sales price


summaries for september 2018


shopping center


2.0 million

$15.53 psf


active listings sf available annual lease rate below list

709 days on market

multi-family retailCOMMERCIAL





5.8 million

$5.09 psf


active listings sf available annual lease rate below list

77 days on market

261,408 sf

commercial space for sale

1.3 million sf

commercial space for lease



5.7 million

$17.84 psf


active listings sf available annual lease rate below list

122 days on market

2 Acres

land and farm for sale

$43.3 million total sales price

34 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018 / 35

Perspectives ed u c at i o n

We Need More Physician Assistants The University of Holy Cross is starting a new program for physician assistants in the fall of 2019. Could a PA path be a fit for you or someone you know? Program Director Gerry Keenan provides details on this in-demand field. By Gerry Keenan

Recently, a New Orleans business

roundtable was asked if they had experienced medical care provided by a PA — a physician assistant. Did they know what the medical practitioner, the PA, was and could do? The resounding answer, amid nodding heads and smiles, was yes, their healthcare experience with a PA was positive and high-quality. After 50 years and numerous studies, this is the usual response: Physicians and patients like PAs and the care they provide. What Are Physician Assistants?

Physician assistants are medical professionals who provide a broad range of patient care in all medical specialties and medical settings throughout the country. Even the president of the United States has PAs as part of his medical team. As members of the

36 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

healthcare team, PAs take medical histories, conduct comprehensive and targeted physical examinations and perform a broad range of routine and emergency medical procedures. They order and interpret diagnostic tests, formulate diagnoses and develop treatment plans, including prescribing medications and treatments. Duke University graduated the first PAs in 1965. Military corpsmen and medics returning from Vietnam with the extensive care experience were the first students. Now, PAs typically need a master’s degree from an accredited educational program. All states require physician assistants to be licensed and all states permit prescribing, including controlled substances, except Kentucky. There are about 25,000 PA program applicants each year, out of which

about 8,000 are accepted. Prerequisites for program entrance tend to parallel or exceed those of medical schools. Educated as generalists, PAs are flexible in medical settings. Recent research shows PAs tend to work in more specialties within urban settings. Large health systems are the primary employer. “Your PA Can Handle It,” a national media campaign for the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), was unveiled in New Orleans this past year during the PA association’s national conference to focus national awareness on the career field and remove barriers. A Bright Future for a Growing Field

The profession is often rated first or second for overall job satisfaction, and the average physician assistant

has been in practice for 12 years. The PA profession is projected to increase 37 percent from 2016 to 2026, significantly more than average for all occupations (2018 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Forbes ranked the physician assistant profession as No. 1 for three years in a row, and US News and World Report ranked PA as No. 3 on its top 100 list. The 2018 AAPA Salary Report cites that the US national average starting salary is $105,000. Rural Demand As more Americans move to cities, a specialist shortage persists in rural regions of the country. According to experts, while almost 20 percent of Americans live in rural areas, only 10 percent of physicians practice in those areas. As a result, those patients often face long travel

distances to see a specialist, and may even wait months for an appointment. About 12 percent of all PAs work in rural settings, according to the 2013 Annual Survey of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. PAs in rural areas are more likely to practice in primary care specialties, have a broader scope of practice, and see patients who are uninsured or covered by Medicaid or Medicare. Extensive studies demonstrate the positive effect of PAs on rural health. PAs in rural areas are often the usual care providers for patients with chronic conditions, provide care that is cost effective and safe, and increase access to care. Hiring a PA in rural medical practice can have a salutary economic effect on the business as well as the community. Adjusting to Changing Care An aging population has shifted increased healthcare delivery demands to community-based care rather than institutional-based care. PAs provide a sustainable, proven response to these challenges for all of Louisiana city and rural. According to National Commission on the Certifications of PAs’ (NCCPA) most recent Statistical Report of Certified PAs by Specialty, over 3,200 PAs now work in hospital medicine, a 21 percent increase over three years. PAs are often in charge of patients throughout their hospital stay, with a physician available to see the patient on an as-needed basis. The growing shortage of psychiatrists and increasing need for providers in mental health and addiction is leading to an increase of PAs in the psychiatric field. PAs are increasingly providing mental health services to patients, diagnosing and managing a range of mental disorders in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Dr. Linda Lawrence, former board president of the American College of Emergency Physicians and current NCCPA board member, says she has seen an expansion of PA’s knowledge and skills in recent years. “This has resulted in an expanded scope of practice, making them precious partners in the emergency department,” she says. “Certified PAs will continue to be in high demand in

this specialty to meet the increasing needs of both patients and health systems.” PAs remain a proven response to the nation’s physician shortages and deliver high-quality, team-based medical care. What This Means in Louisiana The bottom line is that Louisiana and the Greater New Orleans are in need of physician assistants. The University of Holy Cross PA program has applied for provisional accreditation to the national accrediting body, Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The program has already received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACSCASI) this past February. The state’s newest developing PA program curriculum provides high quality, procedurerich, technologically competent education guided by experienced, qualified and skilled PA and physician clinician-educators working in interdisciplinary teams, for the 25 students admitted to the inaugural class, which starts in the fall of 2019. It will encompass 28 months and 112 credits of rigorous graduate-level clinical medical training. UHC graduates will locally address national and regional trends in health care delivery as Louisiana healthcare sectors face rising demand, leading to long-term shortages of medical providers. n

PA Gerry Keenan is the University of Holy Cross PA program director and is a professor of PA studies. He is a national board-certified PA with 38 years of clinical and educator experience, as well as a senior fellow with the Society of Emergency Medicine PAs. / 37

38 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

Top 10 Stories of the Year A look at the headlines that changed business in Southeast Louisiana in 2018

Tricentennial Celebrations Honoring the city’s 300th birthday became a theme incorporated into hundreds of events this year. By Jennifer Gibson Schecter


his year New Orleans celebrated its 300th birthday, and the Tricentennial was a through line in official events, as well as informal ones such as Mardi Gras parades. The tourism and hospitality industry seized the opportunity to promote visitation to New Orleans and scored big wins with media coverage and international visits. The year started with accolades from publications naming New Orleans as a “can’t miss” destination. The New York Times ranked New Orleans as the No. 1 place to visit in 2018 on its annual list of 52 destinations. Condé Nast Traveler gave New Orleans the No. 5 spot on its 18 best places to travel in 2018 list. Other media outlets to include New Orleans in their 2018 lists included The Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, CNN Travel, Travel + Leisure, The Globe and Mail and The Irish Times. The Tricentennial was recognized by international leaders as well. In January the mayor of Orleans, France, Olivier Carré, Maire d’Orléans et Président d’Orléans-Métropole, participated in the 10th annual Joan of Arc Parade, joined by French Consul General Vincent Sciama. More than two dozen countries were represented at a ceremony in March by ambassadors, consul generals and military leaders. France and Spain were included as two of the nations that governed colonial Louisiana, and three American Indian tribes were also among the nations represented at the

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ceremony. Then, in June, New Orleans welcomed Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia for that country’s first royal visit in decades. Major Tricentennial exhibitions were premiered throughout the year at The Historic New Orleans Collection, New Orleans Museum of Art, the Cabildo, The Old Ursuline Convent Museum and more. The

restoration and reopening of historic Gallier Hall in March 2018 was also a milestone event. The visitation and visitor spending numbers will not be tallied and available until Spring 2019, but tourism and hospitality leaders anticipate seeing a correlation between Tricentennial festivities and their impact on the sector.

Medical marijuana is budding, but no product yet. Restrictions were removed and growth given the green light, but distribution got pushed back to 2019. By Kim Singletary

Short-Term Rental Controversy Continues One year after short-term rental ordinances went into effect in New Orleans, the debate wages on regarding regulations and impact. By Jennifer Gibson Schecter


efore the zoning ordinances on short-term rentals in New Orleans became official on April 1, 2017, there were already demands to amend them. Those demands informed the community’s vote of City Council members that fall. When the newly elected and re-elected councilmembers took office in 2018, one of their first major and unanimous actions taken in May was to put a nine-month moratorium on short-term rental licenses for whole-home rentals, including renewing existing licenses, in order to make time to conduct a study on the effects of short-term rentals. This was in the wake of numbers released by Airbnb in April, when it announced approximately $6 million in tax revenue and fees generated for the city of New Orleans in the previous 14 months of operation. Working in accordance with the city’s regulations,

Airbnb collected the Neighborhood Housing Improvement fee, as well as hotel and sales taxes, from its community of users. Soon after City Council’s moratorium on whole-home rentals, Airbnb removed the registration system from its website that allowed hosts to apply for a New Orleans city license, making it harder for hosts to operate and more challenging for the city to regulate its ordinances. In September, Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative released its own ordinance to propose new rules for shortterm rentals in New Orleans. The Residents for Ethical and Sustainable Tourism (REST) ordinance looks to increase operating requirements for short-term platforms like Airbnb and Homeaway, limit permits to one per operator, and increase the nightly fee from $1 to $20 to raise more funds for affordable housing. On Oct. 3, the City Planning Commission voted to move a city planning staff study forward to City Council, voicing concern over some of its findings but without making any major revisions. The study proposes eliminating whole-home rentals where the owner doesn’t live on the property, lifting the ban on short-term rentals in the French Quarter, linking permits to New Orleans residency, and creating a ratio at commercial properties between short-term rental and affordable housing units.


edical marijuana has actually been legal in Louisiana for some conditions since 1991, but it wasn’t until the spring of 2015 that legislators set out a framework for its growth and distribution. And it wasn’t until 2018 that things really began to pick up speed. With the first crop originally estimated to be ready in the fall of 2018, lawmakers worked this year to make adjustments to how things will operate. This past April, that included adding another handful of medical conditions to the list of those approved for treatment with medical marijuana, including glaucoma, severe muscle spasms, intractable pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson’s disease. The list also includes cancer, HIV/AIDS, wasting syndrome, seizure disorders, epilepsy, spasticity, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Crohn’s disease and severe autism. Estimates are that this makes / 41

approximately 100,000 Louisianans eligible for medical marijuana. In September, the patient cap of 100 patients for each licensed physician was removed, as was the requirement that patients must see their doctor every 90 days in order to continue receiving the drug. Since marijuana is still a schedule 1 narcotic, it cannot legally be prescribed by a doctor. It can, however be “recommended,” but only by licensed medical providers with a therapeutic marijuana license. Currently, approximately 40 doctors have been approved to recommend medical marijuana in Louisiana. Louisiana will only require this recommendation. There is currently no state registry or medical marijuana card necessary for purchase. Louisiana has licensed nine dispensaries. A 10th license could be granted based on need, but the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy limits are currently at 10. Each of the following areas will have a dispensary: Alexandria, Madisonville, Shreveport, West Monroe, Lafayette, Gentilly, Baton Rouge, Houma and Lake Charles. The drug will be available in medicinal oils, pills, liquids, sprays and topical applications, but cannot be sold in a form that can be smoked. LSU AgCenter and Southern AgCenter are the only two locations in the state permitted to grow marijuana for medical distribution. Both facilities got the go-ahead to start planting midAugust with the idea that the first crop would be available for distribution in November. However, regulatory issues have now pushed that date to 2019, as late as May.

Terminal Waiting Game New $1 billion terminal at the Louis Armstrong International Airport gets pushed back again, but announcement of vendors creates buzz. By chris price


ew Orleans is trumpeting its new Louis Armstrong International Airport. Construction of the $1 billion, 35-gate terminal and 2,100-space parking garage

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is more than halfway complete; however, its expected opening has been delayed a year due to construction issues to May 15, 2019. When it opens, the new terminal, built on the north side of the airport’s property near Veterans Boulevard, will completely replace the existing New Orleans airport near Airline Highway. The crescent-shaped building is expected to have an open, modern design with a glass facade that will let in natural light and give unobstructed views of the airfield. It will have one security checkpoint that will allow ticketed passengers access to three concourses, all of which will feature a mix of local and national food and retail outlets, including Starbucks,

Hotels The New Orleans hotel industry has undergone a year of renovation and rejuvenation as facilities both new and historic receive the modern treatment. By Topher Balfer


his was a big year for hotels in New Orleans. The Windsor Court Hotel revealed its $15 million renovation this year, which included updates to its 316 rooms and suites. Most notable in this update was the addition of the Waterman Poolside Bar. The hotel’s ballroom, La Chinoiserie, also received architectural updates.

Chick-Fil-A, and Shake Shack alongside Ye Olde College Inn, Angelo Brocato’s, Fleurty Girl and Nola Couture. Vendors will be located in the center of the concourse so that views won’t be impeded. When construction began in January 2016, the new facility was originally expected to open in May 2018. It was pushed back to October 2018, then to February 2019, and most recently to May 2019, after contractors discovered they needed to fix approximately 2,000 feet of 12-inch sewer line due to sinking land. All flights to and from New Orleans will immediately switch to the new terminal once it is operational. While airport officials have

The Jung Hotel and Residences also reopened its doors after a renovation that spanned three years and $140 million. The massive project modernized not only the 171 guestrooms, but also included the addition of several floors of apartments. The boutique hotel B on Canal also completed a multimillion-dollar overhaul to its 15-story building. The 155 guestrooms and suites were all updated with designer furnishings, with more than 1,750 square feet dedicated to ballrooms and meeting rooms. A new restaurant, Madam’s Modern Kitchen + Bar, was introduced during the renovation. Also notable for the industry is the 125th anniversary of the Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel, which underwent a full restoration following Hurricane Katrina. The Pontchartrain Hotel was also named the No. 1 hotel in New Orleans in Conde Naste Traveler’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards. The 74-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott and the 105-room TownePlace Suites by Marriott both opened at 1600 Canal St. this past February. This year also saw some exciting announcements of projects scheduled to open in 2019, including The National WWII Museum’s Higgins Hotel & Conference Center, a 230-room hotel that broke ground in December 2017 at the corner of Andrew Higgins Drive and Magazine Street. Hard Rock International also announced it is constructing an 18-story hotel at the site of the former historic Woolworth’s building in the French Quarter. The hotel will include 350 rooms and 62 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units for sale.

not decided on a use for the current terminal, the rental car facility, which was completed in 2011, will remain and the existing parking garages will be converted to long-term parking. Shuttles will transport passengers between the parking garage and new terminal. Moving the terminal from one side of the airfield to the other will require a new $90 million flyover ramp from Interstate 10 at Loyola Drive to accommodate vehicular traffic; however, its construction is not expected to begin until after the new facility opens. Until then, drivers will have to use Loyola Drive to access the airport.

Cruising Along This year the cruise industry’s strong momentum continued with multiple huge announcements. By Topher Balfer


ollowing on the heels of record-setting cruising numbers in 2017 that reached over 1.1 million passengers, on Sept. 27 it was officially announced that Disney Wonder, a 2,700-guest ship, will sail out of the Erato Street Cruise Terminal starting in 2020. With destinations like Cozumel, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Grand Cayman, the highly anticipated cruise sold out of all available itineraries just one hour after going on sale. The arrival of the first Disney Cruise Line to sail out of New Orleans is just one of the achievements announced by the Port of New Orleans and the cruising industry this year, including the fact that this past November the Norwegian Breakaway became the largest cruise ship in length and occupancy to ever sail through the city. Royal Caribbean also returned to the city with cruises to the Bahamas and Mexico. On the riverboat side, American Cruise Lines launched the American Song, the first modern riverboat to sail in the United States, on Oct. 6. At the 2018 State of the Port address, Port NOLA president and CEO Brandy D. Christian noted that the tourism industry has seen great benefit from cruises using the city as a homeport. “Ninety percent of cruise passengers travel from out-of-state, 73 percent spend a day or two in New Orleans either before or after their cruise, and 75 percent report making a purchase in the Crescent City,” Christian explained. “These passengers generate over 306,000 rooms a night in New Orleans-area hotels.” / 43

Benson Empire Loses Its Leader With the passing of Tom Benson, the $3B Saints and Pelicans are now owned by his wife, Gayle. By chris price


he eternal image of Tom Benson will be of him lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy after his New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl XLIV in February 2010. The sight of Benson holding the trophy aloft was seared into memories because so many fans thought it would never happen. When it did, it was because of Benson’s efforts to ensure his team was not only winning, but capable of competing with the NFL’s elite teams. Benson, 90, passed in March at Ochsner Medical Center, after being hospitalized with the flu in midFebruary. Born on July 12, 1927, in the Seventh Ward neighborhood of New Orleans, he became a household name across the Gulf South in 1985 when he bought the Saints for $70 million after learning that the team was on the verge of being sold to parties interested in moving it away from the Crescent City.

In 18 seasons under the team’s original ownership, the Saints were a perennial loser. They won just 30 percent of their games, lost almost 100 more games than they won, and posted a 78-176-5 overall record. During 33 years under Benson, the team won more often than they lost, going 271-256, and was transformed from a doormat into a contender and, ultimately, a champion. Since purchased by Benson, the Saints have earned 11 playoff berths, six division titles and captured a Super Bowl title. In 2012, Benson purchased the New Orleans Hornets from the National Basketball Association for $338 million. A year later, he rebranded the team as the New Orleans Pelicans. Forbes now estimates the Saints to be worth an estimated $2.08 billion and the Pelicans $1 billion. Benson originally planned to pass the teams to his daughter and grandchildren, but after a dispute with family, his wife, Gayle, inherited both teams. In addition to being the only woman to have a franchise in both the NFL and NBA, she owns GMB Racing, a stable that competes in the highest levels of horse racing. In July, Sports Illustrated called her “the most powerful woman in U.S. sports.”

AP Photo/Butch Dill

The Sunshine Project Formosa Petrochemical to build $9.4 billion plant in St. James Parish By chris price


ormosa Petrochemical Corp. announced its decision in April to build a $9.4 billion chemical-manufacturing complex on a 2,400-acre site it purchased in St. James Parish. Dubbed “The Sunshine Project,” it is expected to create 1,200 new direct jobs with an average pay of $84,500 plus benefits, and 8,000 new indirect jobs, according to Louisiana Economic Development (LED), a public agency responsible for strengthening the state’s business environment and creating a more vibrant economy. The state of Louisiana offered an incentive package that includes a $12 million performance-based grant to offset infrastructure costs. Following company performance in building the complex, Formosa will receive the grant in four annual installments of $3 million beginning in 2021, the projected first year for hiring permanent jobs, according to LED. The complex, located just downriver from the Sunshine Bridge, will produce ethylene, propylene, ethylene glycol, and associated polymers that will support a host of plastic goods, ranging from sports equipment and food packaging, to clothing and healthcare and technology products. Pending the completion and approval of permits for the site, Formosa could begin construction as soon as 2019 in what projects to be a 10-year building and development process in two phases. An economic impact study completed by LSU economist James Richardson forecasts the 10-year construction period will yield $362 million in new state and local tax receipts, with an additional yield of $313 million in new state and local taxes during the initial 10 years of operation, beginning in 2025. Through 2035, combining both periods, Richardson estimates the project will yield $4.7 billion in new personal earnings and $18.5 billion in new business transactions. St. James Parish President Timmy Roussel said the plant “will almost double” the parish’s present tax base. Formosa Plastics Group operates three existing Louisiana facilities with 410 employees in East Baton Rouge and Pointe Coupee parishes. / 45

Tech Boom DXC Technology’s opening this year will be followed by multiple other tech companies. By Kim Singletary


warded the No. 2 business deal of the year in America in 2017 by Business Facilities Magazine, DXC Technology’s choice to open its Digital Transformation Center in New Orleans was 18 months in the making. The project — estimated to create 2,000 jobs by 2025 with an average salary of $63,000, as well as 2,257 additional jobs to support operations — cemented Louisiana’s position as one of the fastest-growing software and IT destinations in the United States. Formed in April 2017 by the merger of CSC and the Enterprise Services Division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the Virginia-based, $25 billion Fortune 250 firm officially dedicated its center in the Central Business District’s Freeport-McMoRan building in May. The month before, Indian tech firm iMerit announced that it will be opening its first U.S. delivery center in downtown New Orleans, a project expected to create 100 jobs. In June, Austin, Texas-based company Accruent announced that it was bringing its 250-job tech center to New Orleans. The international business specializes in software and IT products that enhance the real estate, construction, development and facilities management functions of major clients in the retail, corporate, consumer goods, higher education, food and beverage and other sectors. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 350 new direct jobs and 338 indirect jobs, for a total of more than 680 new jobs in Louisiana’s Southeast Region. Accruent will occupy approximately 20,000 square feet of office space in the New Orleans

Avondale Finally Has a Future GNO, Inc., JEDCO and Jefferson Parish celebrate a big win for the region. By Kim Singletary


n Oct. 3, Avondale Marine LLC, a newly formed joint venture between Virginia-based T.Parker Host and Illinois-based Hilco Redevelopment Partners, finalized the purchase of Avondale Shipyard from Huntington Ingalls Industries. The deal was praised as “one of the largest economic development announcements in Jefferson Parish history,” by Jefferson Parish president Mike Yenni. Since before World War II until its closing in 2010, the 254-acre property served as one of the nation’s most significant shipbuilding assets and the largest private employer in Louisiana, boasting over 26,000 workers at its peak. Avondale Shipyard features 8,000 feet of deep-water riverfront access and connection to six Class I railroads. Following its closing, GNO,

Central Business District, in a specific location to be announced at a later date. Commercial operations began in June. Plans are to reach full employment by 2020. In early November, LM Wind Power announced that it will establish its Technology Center for the

Inc. and JEDCO both worked on bringing the site back to life, which included JEDCO and the Jefferson Parish Council structuring a local incentive package. “For over eight years, we have worked with political leaders, economic development partners and private developers to reimagine a new Avondale that would be as impactful and catalytic for our state and region as the shipyard had been for decades,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of GNO, Inc. at the announcement. Avondale Marine envisions the development of a modern, world-class global logistics hub, with plans to redevelop the site’s crane, dock and terminal assets while connecting global waterborne commerce with manufacturing, fabrication and distribution facilities onshore. “Our community has experienced tremendous growth on both the east and west banks of Jefferson Parish in recent years,” said Gov. John Bel. Edwards at the announcement. “The introduction of jobs and investment into this area will have a far-reaching impact on the west bank and across the region, further invigorating our growing economy.”

Americas at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. A GE Renewable Energy company, LM Wind Power will retain 45 jobs and create 100 new direct jobs, with an average yearly salary of $52,000 plus benefits, along with 227 new indirect jobs. / 47


inside the industry


INDUSTRY 2018 Edition


inside the industry

Every December, Biz New Orleans closes out the year with a look at top local businesses in a wide variety of industries. In the following pages, we invite you to learn more about the past, present and future of these industry standouts as each continues to make their mark in the Greater New Orleans marketplace.

Carubba Engineering Cox Communications Dupuy Storage First American Bank and Trust HR NOLA Lalla Real Estate Lambeth House Live Nation Mullin RICHARD CPAs RYCARS

Sensible Meals Southern Oaks Stewart Lodges at Steelwood Thibodaux Regional Medical Center Triton Stone University of Holy Cross What You Give Will Grow Woodward Design+Build Xplore Federal Credit Union DMG Design + Build


inside the industry

engineering Carubba Engineering, Inc.


Since Carubba Engineering, Inc. (CEI) was founded in 1993, it has successfully completed projects ranging from small residential additions to high-rise towers. Thanks to CEI’s comprehensive capabilities as a full-service civil, structural and marine engineering firm, and thanks to its 25 years of experience, CEI has completed over 6,000 projects throughout coastal regions of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas. CEI’s expertise ranges from deep foundation design for industrial, commercial, marine and residential projects, to site development and comprehensive drainage studies, including hydrologic analysis, storm water detention and biological treatment. CEI also provides expertise in structural steel design (industrial,

commercial and marine) along with analysis of special materials, including aluminum and carbon fiber. CEI is also acutely aware of project time lines and budgets—while always maintaining the required technical accuracy. CEI prides itself on providing the most cost-effective designs while maintaining the technical integrity of the project. CEI stewards its clients’ money as its own. This extensive body of experience and business acumen contributed to CEI’s role as the principal engineering firm retained to develop the first permitted petrochemical liquids terminal on the lower Mississippi River since 1971. The project, which will represent a $750,000,000 capital investment, will create many permanent

jobs for the region, as well as be the catalyst for the revitalization of the lower Mississippi River region, driving an industrial renaissance of the lower Mississippi River. CEI is proud of its role in the development, design and construction of this project and the prolific impact it will have on the region. (seated, left to right) Matthew Dauphin, Cherie Callaghan, Roy M. Carubba, R. Alan Harris Standing, left to right: Patrick Ruiz, John Lambertson, Emma Taylor, Remy Rehage 3400 Hessmer Avenue Metairie, LA 70002 504-888-1490 ·



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telecommunications Cox Communications, Southeast


For Cox Senior Vice President and Region Manager Anthony Pope, “smart city” isn’t just a tech buzzword—it’s a phrase that promises new and exciting ways to use physical and digital infrastructure to bring together people and places and to improve the health and well-being of residents while enabling commercial growth. “To create a smart city and region, municipalities, schools, community partners and businesses must work together,” Pope said. Cox is already working to deliver the cutting-edge technologies of tomorrow. By the end of this year, Cox’s 1 gig residential internet service (G1GABLAST) will be available for 85 percent of the Metropolitan New Orleans service area. And Cox won’t stop there—they’ve pledged to make G1GABLAST available to all residential customers.

This work is part of a commitment by Cox to continue to serve as the leader in providing broadband services to the region. The company plans to invest $10 billion over the next five years, with a focus on enhancing and refining customers’ experiences both inside the outside the home. “This means continuously upgrading our Louisiana infrastructure and delivering the best in voice, video, high-speed internet and home security and automation services to homes and businesses,” said Pope. The plan includes continued growth from Cox Media, a full-service provider of multiscreen advertising solutions to clients across Louisiana and Cox Business, which provides superfast internet speeds of up to 100 gigabits, to commercial clients. Cox Business’ commitment to speed for any size of

business, coupled with their cutting-edge technology and business-class support, reflects its dedication to enhancing commercial development in the Metropolitan New Orleans area. With Cox’s commercial and residential drive, next year promises truly amazing, smarter possibilities. (left to right) Cox Southeast Region Senior Vice President and Region Manager Anthony Pope; Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Fran Gladden; and Cox Media Vice President Scott Burton Cox Communications, Southeast Acadiana | Baton Rouge | New Orleans | Florida’s Gulf Coast | Central Florida | Middle Georgia 504-304-8444 ·


inside the industry

warehousing Dupuy Storage and Forwarding


When John Dupuy founded his storage and warehousing company in 1936, he may not have known that he was founding a New Orleans shipping institution—but eighty years and four generations of family ownership later, it’s become clear that that is precisely what he did. Dupuy Storage, which is currently owned and operated by the third and fourth generations of the Dupuy family, has operated in New Orleans for decades—and has expanded its operations to incorporate other Southern port cities, including Miami, Houston, Charleston and Jacksonville. But they remain a valuable partner to the Port of New Orleans, as well as a traditional service provider for the local coffee industry. Dupuy’s history doesn’t stop the company from making cutting-edge advancements; they’re currently making a complete change to a new, state-of-the-art software system to allow the company to offer more complete, informative and timely reports to their customers. This is part of a core Dupuy principle: value-added service. Dupuy consistently goes above and beyond, which has been key in establishing the company as a valuable, even necessary part in many clients’ supply chain. Thanks to their commitment to staffing knowledgeable people, investing in equipment and shoring up infrastructure, Dupuy is showing no signs of slowing down, even after 80 years. They remain committed to their presence in New Orleans—they’re very aware they occupy a piece of New Orleans’ shipping history, and they plan on maintaining and growing that legacy for years to come.

Allan Colley, President Janet Colley Morse, Vice President (504) 245-7621



inside the industry



First American Bank and Trust

First American Bank and Trust is a community bank with 25 locations across Southeast Louisiana. For over 100 years, First American Bank has served the financial needs of its communities. Operations began in St. James Parish in 1910 and have expanded to 11 parishes including Jefferson and St. Tammany. Today, First American Bank has total assets of $890 million. The size of the bank puts First American in a unique position to help both consumers and small businesses. We handle a large amount of construction loans for individuals, as well as contractors. After construction is complete, a large percentage of those residential loans are maintained in our loan portfolio, providing our customers with exceptional service from local employees. Additionally, we provide the small businesses in our community with loans as high as $20 million. Through the first 9 months of 2018 First American Bank originated $164 million in loans for its customers. Besides being a great source of loan funding, First American Bank maintains a strong capital base for its customers to deposit their funds. From online bill pay to mobile check deposits, First American Bank offers the latest in banking technology to provide the best possible services for its customers. Let First American Bank take you where you want to go. We are here to assist you with your construction loan, home purchase, business loan, or whatever financial service that you need while providing you with the latest in banking technology from knowledgeable and customer-friendly employees. First American Bank and Trust, A Banking Tradition Since 1910 — Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.

Ronald J. Falgoust, President and CEO

2785 Highway 20 West, PO Box 550 Vacherie, LA 70090 225-265-2265


inside the industry

Human resources


“The best time for HR is before you think you need it.” So goes the mantra for HR NOLA, a locallyfounded firm that provides access to HR services for companies of all sizes. Amy Bakay, SHRM-SCP, founded HR NOLA after a career spanning more than 20 years in the HR field, during which she provided services to a variety of companies and industries. Bakay saw a need for a custom, quality HR services provider after her board leadership roles with the local nonprofit NOLA SHRM. She identified a particular niche: a company that could provide much-needed HR services while avoiding the fulltime overhead burden that was too much for small companies. Since HR NOLA’s inception in 2017, the company has blossomed to fill that niche and to explore the market beyond—they now service clients locally and nation-wide with remote and on-site help. HR NOLA’s initial intention was to provide small to midsize markets (employers with 25-100 employees) with crucial access to HR services, but they soon realized that New Orleans’ entrepreneurial mindset and startup culture also had need of their services. Their full-level compliance and culture risks audit allows them to create a unique tactical and strategic business plan for startups and midsize companies alike. The company, which is staffed with consultants whose primary backgrounds are in human resources and business management (and who are SHRM certified), focuses less on traditional HR of managing rules and policies, and more on creating a work environment that encourages employees to want to come to work each day—while also avoiding the non-compliance and toxicity that can cost a company millions. Amy Bakay, Owner/Founder

318 Harrison Avenue # 101 New Orleans, LA 70124 833-HRNOLA-1 ·




inside the industry

real estate


Lalla Real Estate focuses on transparency and compassion for their clients and a love for real estate—and the friendships and referrals that those values generate? Well, that’s all lagniappe. Leo Lalla honed his real estate skills working with an international real estate firm in the Pacific Northwest, but his New Orleans roots (as they do to so many) called him home. Lalla returned to New Orleans after Katrina to be closer to his parents and siblings—and to play a part in revitalizing the city he will always call home first. Lalla’s father, who owned and ran the family business, Natco, also had a true passion for real estate—a passion he passed on to his namesake. Lalla and his agents are dedicated to the personal interactions that are necessary but often absent from many real estate transactions—listening, guidance, support and compassion, particularly one-on-one, face-to-face. It’s a winning combination in a unique area like New Orleans, where personal relationships and providing that extra time are foundational to residents both new and existing. Lalla Real Estate doesn’t ignore the value or convenience of the internet or contemporary selling tools, but each agent understands that their focus is ultimately on the people and families they help navigate the market. For Lalla’s agency, finding a house is far beyond an internet transaction: they’re helping people find their homes. And after the storm and family called Lalla back home, he’s again proud to help the city continue to rebuild toward its Tricentennial this year. In his own words, “I’m happy every day I wake up because I love helping people and I love real estate. Otherwise, what’s the damn point?”

Leo Lalla, Broker/Owner Louisiana Real Estate Commission Equal Housing Opportunity

734 Amethyst St., New Orleans, LA 70124 (C) 504.975.2554 · (O) 504-324-9515 ·

Lalla Real Estate


inside the industry

Aging services


Since opening its doors as a registered continuous care retirement center in 1998, Lambeth House has grown considerably. What was once a center that offered both independent and assisted living spaces along with nursing care has now grown into a community encompassing a Wellness Center, service expansion and cutting-edge technological service and study. After 2011, when Lambeth House combined with St. Anna’s Residence in the lower Garden District, and 2013, when it underwent a $17 million expansion to increase its capacity for assisted living and nursing care, the organization has strived to grow their mission: to provide high-quality care for seniors and to help bridge the generational gap. The Wellness Center, a 20,000 square foot complex that embraces a holistic approach to aging, is one way that Lambeth House has expanded its services. The Center provides an art studio, interfaith chapel, meditation room and a fitness center with an indoor salt-water pool. The Fitness Center is free to Lambeth House residents and memberships are available to nonresidents age 55 and over. The Center even added a casual dining café to serve residents and the public while building intergenerational relationships. Lambeth House’s relationships stretch beyond personal and into professional. They recently began a 12-month pilot study in partnership with Ochsner Health System to learn more about how telehealth can effectively help seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia while also potentially reducing care burnout on a staff level. Equipped with iPads and FitBits to help staff communicate with and understand each individual’s unique challenges, health workers are able to provide medical services to their patients more efficiently—and, potentially, more effectively.

Lynn Swetland, Chief Financial Officer; Scott Crabtree, Chief Executive Officer; Jere Hales, Chief Operating Officer 504-865-1960 ·

Lambeth House



inside the industry

entertainment Live Nation


Live Nation Entertainment is, by the numbers, a massive, sprawling enterprise. The global entertainment company is the single largest producer of live concerts in the world. They operate 222 venues in 12 countries; manage over 500 artists; produce over 29,500 concerts across 40 countries; and maintain and grow a network of 86,000,000 fans across the globe. The company produces film documentaries and movies (such as the recent hit A Star is Born), manages artist careers, creates and builds music venues and drives economic impact for cities and regions. But despite their size, Live Nation is focused on investing in specific cities and regions around the

country—including New Orleans. Live Nation New Orleans was established in 2014 with a goal: to increase entertainment content in the city and the region. One of the Live Nation staffers helping to promote that development is Madison Saltalamacchia, Venue Sales Manager, who said it’s her job to provide exceptional customer experiences. “My clients know they can come to me at any time for a smooth, VIP and hassle-free process to acquire the best Premium Seat and Luxury Suite experience for the greatest shows in the city,” said Saltalamacchia. That attention to the client and exceptional service for the customer is on display at Live Nation’s new

venue The Fillmore. Housed in Harrah’s Casino in downtown New Orleans, The Fillmore is already booked to play host to several marquee acts, including the Foo Fighters and the Avett Brothers (among many more). The Fillmore represents one of the continual and evolving ways that Live Nation is investing in New Orleans and the region.

Madison Saltalamacchia, Venue Sales Manager

504-561-7011 ·


inside the industry

landscaping Mullin


Chase Mullin’s small weekend business was booming. “I was fortunate enough to work for someone who quickly became my mentor,” said Chase Mullin, founder and President of Mullin. “He really helped me to develop in my career, spending countless hours imparting his horticultural knowledge to me.” But when Chase realized he was booked for ten weekends in advance, even with a friend helping full-time, he knew he was on to something big. That weekend business grew into Mullin, a sprawling residential and commercial award-winning landscaping business—but one that never lost touch with its roots. “One of the things that stuck with me from the early days was a client who told me how different

I was from anybody she’d ever used—I showed up when I said I would, called when I said I’d call, did what I said I was going to,” Mullin said. That consistency remains a hallmark of Mullin today. Mullin has found a sweet spot: large enough to handle a range of projects, but focused enough that no project gets lost. The company focuses on maintaining a level of attention for each of their clients (and employees), bringing the sophistication and professionalism of a larger company down to a personal level of detail a client would expect from a smaller operation. As Mullin expands their commercial operations, Chase Mullin has emphasized that residential projects remain an area of dedication for them. “We’re going to grow our commercial business but also stay committed to where we started,”

said Mullin. “We’re going to continue providing high-end, high-value projects to every client we work with.”

(front row) Wheeler Graf; Kelly Casey; Martin Romero; Leah Temple; Mycah Schexnayder; Lindsey Mayo; Laura Mullin; Chase Mullin; Nubia Gutierrez; Cecilia McNab; Caitlin Gagliano; Eric Tournet (back row) Ryan Graffagnini; Matthew Quitzau; Stephen Rust; Jonathan Swanson; Devin Mullin; Christina Simpson; Kurt Garris; Mathew Dreiling

10356 River Road St. Rose, LA 70087 504-275-6617 ·



inside the industry



Personal service never goes out of style when conducting business. That philosophy is a cornerstone for RICHARD CPAS. Founded in 2017, RICHARD CPAS offers a wealth of skills, thanks to the partners’ depth of experience – Staci brings more than 15 years to the table, Todd more than 20 and Joey more than 40. They each have experience in public accounting and commercial company work, including financial services, insurance, manufacturing and governmental and non-profit organizations. RICHARD CPAS provides financial statement audits, reviews, and, compilation services in addition to client accounting services, and outsourced CFO/ Controller services. The Company is growing the

latter two services in particular, which allows the partners to fully immerse themselves in their client’s business. They can offer professional services with the background and experience of a larger firm and business combined with the environment of a smaller firm. Their clients work directly with the partners, who are the decision makers. Staci, Todd and Joey focus on complementing their depth of experience with a strong customer service approach. Each client works with a RICHARD CPAS professional who has a blend of expertise, allowing the partners to propose solutions for their commercial and nonprofit clients while taking their day-to-day responsibilities into account.

The partners focus on translating their long-term, in-depth experience to serve clients in a specialized, focused fashion. RICHARD CPAS remains committed to supporting their community through participation in non-profit events, support of the local chambers of commerce and involvement as a volunteer board member for several nonprofit organizations within the metro New Orleans region. Todd Tournillon CPA, Joey Richard CPA and Staci Richie CPA 3421 N. Causeway Blvd., Ste. 403 Metairie, LA 70002 504-289-8125 ·


inside the industry

commercial roofing RYCARS Construction


RYCARS Construction, LLC, is a prime example of homegrown entrepreneurship. The company, which today is a locally-owned multi-state commercial roofing enterprise, began in the Burks’ family home. Presently, RYCARS is capable of responding to any commercial roofing project task set before them. They’ve created their own fabrication facility for sheet metal with expert craftsmen. Their workers are skilled in carpentry, commercial roofing, sheet metal fabrication and installation, along with other abilities. The company takes its position as a family business in the Greater New Orleans area seriously. Aside from the jobs created by their company, they support several charitable non-profits around the city. Son of a Saint, an organization that focuses on mentoring

and developing fatherless boys, is a particular focus for them—and in 2018, Ryan Burks was appointed as one of the nonprofit’s board members. Stephanie Burks is the President of the Ballet Resource and Volunteer Organization (BRAVO), which is the main and largest fundraising contributor to the New Orleans Ballet Association. RYCARS is committed to the community, a value that is exhibited through their quarterly volunteering in and around New Orleans. The company focuses on community service efforts that create the most good for the city. RYCARS works to serve the local community in partnership with volunteer organizations such as Second Harvest Food Bank and Ozanam Inn.

D RYCARS strives to remain true to its mission— and to its commitment to future growth. In 2019, the company plans to expand its office operations to Texas and Florida. After sixteen successful years, RYCARS has laid a solid foundation that will keep them around for decades to come.

(left to right) Arielle Burks- PR & Marketing Manager/ Project Manager, Ryan Burks-President, Stephanie Burks- Vice President 503 Coleman Place Kenner, LA 70062 504-305-5309 ·


inside the industry

Meal prep/weight loss


“Diet is about doing it right most of the time and having fun some of the time.” So says Ingrid Rinck—and she should know. Rinck is the creator of Sensible Meals, the largest meal prep company in the country. Based in Mandeville, Rinck built an eight-figure business from her home. She worked as a personal trainer for twenty years, but her emphasis on nutrition came from her family: in 2014, her son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Rinck pored over every fact she could find on nutrition. Out of that dedication came Sensible Meals, a company focused on helping its clients reach optimal health. Sensible Meals has grown from a one-kitchen operation to a six-kitchen business with a preparation facility and over 1200 employees. The packaged meals created there are freshly prepared and preservative-free. The food produced is healthy and good fuel for bodies. Rinck is a socially-conscious woman—both her business and philanthropy focus on helping others. Rinck founded the Leading Ladies League, two groups of “ladies that lunch,” located in Mandeville and New Orleans. The women dress up to a theme set for a once-monthly lunch, and all proceeds generated by the group’s lunch are donated to a women’s charity. Last but not least, Rinck teaches at her studio, Built by Ingrid Rinck, where the classes of free of charge but donations are encouraged. The money raised at the studio goes to Type 1 diabetes-based charities, as well as funds to send children to diabetes camps each summer.

Ingrid Rinck, CEO Contact on Facebook, Instagram

Sensible Meals


inside the industry

wedding venue


Southern Oaks Plantation

Southern Oaks Plantation doesn’t fall short on accolades—they’ve been named a top wedding venue and placed in “Best of Weddings” for several consecutive years across several industry publications. But Bobby Asaro doesn’t let the awards make him complacent. According to Asaro, a one-time radiologic technologist and wedding photographer, the industry is ever-changing, and he and his wife, Sue, along with the cast at Southern Oaks Plantation, are adapting to the changes day to day. Southern Oaks began as Asaro’s goal, thanks to his time as a wedding photographer. He knew there was a niche market for elegant, high-end reception venues that needed to be filled, and he had just the plan to fill it. He got Sue involved from their first date, drawing his plans out on a napkin and dreaming of Southern Oaks. Between his strong attention to detail (developed when he was working in radiology) and Sue’s innovative thinking and impeccable taste, Asaro knew that they were on to something big. After 31 years in the venue market, Southern Oaks is bigger and better than ever, thanks to the Asaros’ continuous drive for improvement. Asaro’s high standards for every aspect of his business play a huge role in Southern Oaks’ success. According to Asaro, he treats each client as though they’re the most important person that has ever walked through the door. Between raising the bar for customer service, crafting strong vendor relationships and elevating exceptional cuisine, Asaro and his wife have created an experience that leaves only happy customers in its wake.

Bobby Asaro, Owner/Operator

7816 Hayne Blvd New Orleans, LA 70126 504-230-0556 ·



inside the industry

strategic planning


Stewart Lodges at Steelwood

Business is connection. Business is people. The Stewart Lodges took these concepts to heart when they created their unique environment— an environment built to create “the customized experience” for their clients, particularly those clients in New Orleans. “As business owners, the most cost-effective and profit-driven decision a CEO can make is to invest in their people,” said Jennie M. Campbell, CEO/ President. Campbell, along with investor Frank B. Stewart, Jr. created the Stewart Lodges to help other organizations experience the value of the connections between their employees and their business. The Stewart Lodges, located just 15 minutes from Mobile, Alabama, provides a luxurious environment full of natural pleasures that allow clients to unwind and connect with each other in a stress-free environment. The Lodges cultivate this atmosphere in myriad ways, beginning with their 200-acre stocked fresh water lake. They also offer a pool, cabana and entertainment space—all connected to the two fully-furnished lodges with private rooms and baths, complete with screened-in porches, TVs, fiber-optic Internet and rooms with pool tables and games. Guests are also invited to take advantage of exclusive private amenities, including a driving range, fishing, fitness center, tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course. The Lodges have worked with leading businesses throughout the Greater New Orleans area, providing services to help grow the leadership teams contributing to the city. Campbell recognizes the importance and effectiveness of a natural environment. “The value the Stewart Lodges creates for our customers is an experiential environment that allows a leader to create a meaningful connection with the people that are responsible for implementing the company’s vision, values and culture,” said Campbell. Jennie M. Campbell, CMP, CMM, PMP, CEO, President 251-602-1300 · 866-580-4343 (toll free)


inside the industry

HOSPITAL Thibodaux Regional Medical Center


Thibodaux Regional Medical Center is an award-winning healthcare facility with more than 250 physicians on the medical staff, 1,300 employees and 180 beds. It’s come a long way from St. Joseph Hospital, founded in 1929, with 26 beds in an old rectory building—but it serves the same purpose today as it did then: to provide service, help and healing for the people who come through its doors. It may have begun as a rural local hospital for Thibodaux, LA, but as it stands now, Thibodaux Regional is a state-of-the-art medical center that serves people from all around the region. One of the newer expansions at Thibodaux is more focused on preventative care: the Wellness Center,

which focuses on improving health and wellbeing through prevention, fitness, education, rehabilitation and focused sports and wellness services. More than 5,000 people have already begun to reap the benefits of the Center’s Fitness Center. Thibodaux Regional has carefully integrated a significant amount of health care services within the Wellness Center, resulting in complementary care and a real clinical-based orientation toward health and wellness. Thibodaux is also preparing to break ground on a brand new, state-of-the-art cancer facility that can accommodate the growth that Thibodaux is experiencing while furthering the hospital’s status as a leader in the field of cancer care. The new Cancer

Institute, a five-story 100,000 square foot building, will allow the hospital to continue providing exemplary care and service and explore more treatment options, arming the region in the fight against cancer for years to come. (standing) Katie Richard, MA, BSN, RN; Laura Chauvin, MD; Ellen Matthews, BSN, RN-BC, MBA; Eric Greber, MD; Dori Murphy, PT, DPT (seated) Darius Coleman, Greg Stock, CEO, Elyse Pitre, RN, PCCN 602 N. Acadia Road Thibodaux, LA 70301 985-447-5500 ·



inside the industry

Stone/marble distributor Triton Stone


Creativity, quality and service—these three assets have lifted up Triton Stone, a family company opened in 2006, and built a brand that currently operates 16 branches and three distribution yards. The female-owned company has consistently grown through the years since its founding, staying on top of changing market trends and introducing new and innovative products to their customers. Triton, a staple in the New Orleans community, has work that ranges from Julia Street to the Westbank to the Northshore. Thanks to their numerous customer sales representatives, they’re able to tackle a wide variety of projects while still ensuring that each client is worked with on a detailed and personal level.

Client service and satisfaction is a cornerstone of the Triton Stone brand; for Triton, customers are a part of the corporate family from the moment they enter a Triton store. Triton’s position as a locallyowned family company allows them to form tight bonds with their customers—and this bond, in addition to their reputation for excellent product quality, has ensured that Triton Stone is the first stop for New Orleanians working on any stone project, large or small. This supportive mentality also encourages a culture of outreach and giving back within Triton. Through internal initiatives and their community outreach program, Triton Cares, the company chooses a cause or project for each branch to focus on for a quarter

of the year. For the fourth quarter this year, the company is focusing on donations for the homeless community in the area. The company stays true to its local small-business roots through its philanthropy— they remain dedicated to lifting up the community in which they work.

Katie Peralta and Rachel Jones

6131 River Road Harahan, LA 70123 504-738-2228 ·


inside the industry

Higher education University of Holy Cross


The University of Holy Cross encourages students to do good and to do well. The fully-accredited Catholic university, which serves more than 1,200 students with over 154 faculty members spread across more than 50 graduate and undergraduate programs, was founded in 1916. The Marianites, the founding order of Holy Cross, believed that it is the commitment of the University to enlighten the “whole person”—to ensure that their students were educated in their hearts and their minds, carrying the goodness of their education out into the community around them. Thanks to their smaller class sizes, students receive more personal attention from a team of professionals across the university, which fosters an environment

of collaboration, entrepreneurship and excellence. Students are encouraged to explore their spiritual values and expand their knowledge and skills through both classwork and service opportunities. The university is also launching a new program for Fall 2019: The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. The demanding course of study will produce medical practitioners who deliver exceptional healthcare in a complex and evolving healthcare system. The (PA) program allows the university to build on the robust platforms provided by its distinctive programs in Nursing, Health Sciences, Business, Education and Counseling. But the student body’s expansion isn’t only in their minds. Thanks to an influx of students, the

University is expanding its campus this fall with the addition of a newly-finished residence hall on campus that will house both local and out-of-state students. The hall will accommodate up to 150 students when fully occupied and is the first university residence hall on the West Bank.

Gerry Keenan, PA-C, Professor and Director of Physician Assistant Studies and David M. “Buck” Landry, PhD, President 4123 Woodland Dr. New Orleans, LA 70131 504-394-7744 ·



inside the industry

NON-profit What You Give Will Grow

W What You Give Will Grow began in 2014 thanks to Thomas and Lauren Morstead and their dedication to helping the New Orleans community and beyond. The organization, which has to date given over $2,500,000 to a myriad of causes and encouraged countless volunteer efforts, has spread through the city and the Gulf South community and hopes to spread further. What You Give Will Grow excels at inspiring excellence and generosity in the people around them, and then turning to a charity in need—of funds or volunteers—and giving an answer to that need. Thanks to a high level of expertise among the leadership team, all of whom donate their time, the

organization sees a titanic rate of return on their work with only a 4% administration cost. The foundation plans to continue their annual event, Prom of Hope, which provides teens with cancer, blood disorders or both with a prom night that they’ll never forget. What You Give Will Grow, which already has a relationship with Louisiana’s nine pediatrics hospitals and Child Life departments, also plans to expand their mission to areas where they see a need for assistance. After Morstead’s on-field actions led to national attention and a donation surge in 2017, the organization sees it as their mission to grow their services and reach in a meaningful way to allow them

to create the largest impact they can—and to inspire people to give in as many ways as they can. What You Give Will Grow will help any donation, whether financial or a donation of time and effort, find the perfect way to grow and blossom.

Thomas Morstead and other volunteers visit and deliver gifts to patients in the hospital for the holidays

1340 Poydras, Suite 1720 New Orleans, LA 70112


inside the industry

commercial contracting Woodward Design + Build


Woodward Design+Build was founded in 1923 on the principle that to achieve the best result, architect and builder must have a meaningful partnership. Nearly one hundred years later, the firm, named after its founder Carl E. Woodward, remains an industry innovator dedicated to collaboration and new ways of thinking throughout the building process. To maintain their reputation of delivering the best results for their clients, Woodward’s team is of paramount importance. This team is built and fostered by CEO Paul Flower and President Ken Flower. Since 2016, Ken has focused on improving his team and the firm’s delivery to customers. He led the firm through a leadership reorganization, which developed the roles of Vice President of Pre-Construction Services and Senior Vice President of Operations. They work to ensure each project is designed, planned and executed in a detailed and efficient style that has come to be a Woodward hallmark. The firm, which includes design, engineering, construction managers and craftspeople, is deeply invested in developing its current staff as well as recruiting high-potential talent through various local workforce development initiatives, internships, local universities and HBCUs. Woodward leaders believe encouraging diverse perspectives in both the office and the field is key to providing high-quality start-to-finish service for their clients. Currently, Woodward’s largest project is renovating the World Trade Center into the Four Seasons New Orleans Hotel & Residences. This project provides the opportunity for Woodward to engage with local, minority and disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) in an innovative, meaningful way. Woodward will continue to partner with qualified DBE subcontractors, ensuring these vital businesses access to opportunities for growth.

(clockwise from top) Lauren Marshall (Director of Diversity and Inclusion), Ken Flower (President), Riley Kennedy (Director of Organizational Development), Lane Louque (Sr. Vice President of Operations), Sean Tynan (Chief Financial Officer), and Chris Michel (Vice President of Preconstruction) 1000 South Jefferson Davis Parkway New Orleans, LA 70125 504-822-6443 ·



inside the industry

federal credit union Xplore Federal Credit Union


Xplore Federal Credit Union, rich in a more than 70-year tradition of personable banking service, continues to stay progressive in the Grater New Orleans financial institution marketplace. With an increased portfolio of commercial banking services, an entire range of commercial lending products, and the recent hire of a commercial lending director, Xplore is well-positioned to be the local source of financing for Orleans and Jefferson Parish businesses. “For the last two years, we have been adding to our credit union’s foundational hallmark of personable service by introducing a robust commercial department that fully meets the needs of business owners,” said Rafael Rondon, President/CEO.

With more than 15 years of leadership in the industry, Rondon was hired to lead Xplore in February 2017. Six months later, Rondon brought on Chuck Romano as director of commercial lending. Romano previously offered consulting services to more than 1,400 commercial clients for close to 30 years. “Xplore has opened the doors of tremendous flexibility for our corporate clients,” Rondon said, “We have low competitive rates, extremely flexible terms and conditions, and an experienced consultation team to help business owners better compete, thrive, and grow.” Federally chartered in 1947, Xplore serves more than 9,000 members in the Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. Xplore offers a full gamut of consumer and

business financial products. Credit cards, Checking, Savings, Mortgages, Home Equity loans, Auto loans, Boat loans, Personal loans, and e-services are all part of the extensive list of products that Xplore offers. Through share branching, our members have access to over 80,000 surcharge free ATMs and over 4000 branches nationwide. (from left to right) Rocio Cuevas; Todd E. Pereira; Rafael Rondon; Amethyst Craft; Pany Taylor

5500 Veterans Memorial Blvd Metairie, LA 70003 888-U-Xplore ·


inside the industry

residential contracting DMG Design+Build

Ryan McCroskey, CEO / Lead Project Manager


The customer’s contractor” is a label DMG Design+Build has worked hard to earn. Ryan McCroskey, the company’s founder, saw a need for what he described as a “boutique experience” in the Greater New Orleans area—a single place where a team of professionals can take a customer’s vision from conception to completion. Thanks to years of carefully selecting the right professionals for their team, DMG has fulfilled that need. “We understand our customer’s desires, needs and the value of their time,” said McCroskey. He defines a project’s success based on how happy and satisfied a family is with their final product.To that end, DMG offers a 24/7 remotely-accessible Customer Portal, which allows clients to view and track photos of the construction progress, check on their build schedule and daily logs and access important documents—

all at the click of a button. The portal offers not only a layer of transparency but also a way for customers to communicate with DMG whether the client is at work, on vacation or at home. DMG’s values— communication, teamwork and accountability—all came to bear on the portal, which provides clients with a true sense of satisfaction thanks to the collaborative nature of any renovation, remodel or new construction project from beginning to end. As the CEO of DMG, McCroskey knows that investing in qualified and professional local craftsmen is critical. New Orleans, like many markets, is facing a decline of quality craftsmen across construction trades. Because of this, DMG has been and will continue to actively pursue ways to promote, train and retain quality craftsman for the benefit of generations to come.

504-275-6664 ·

(facing page, left to right) Casey Neely, Operations Manager; Aren McCroskey, General Manager; Ryan McCroskey, CEO / Lead Project Manager; Justin Fredricks, Lead Designer / Estimator; Maureen Donahue, Controller


inside the industry

Southe ast louisiana businesses in full color


Children’s Hospital New Orleans has a beautiful new place for families receiving care thanks to Hogs for the Cause.

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

Home Away from Home Hogs House Family Center at Children’s Hospital provides respite for families with children in treatment. by Melanie Warner Spencer photos by sara essex bradley

There are few, if any, situations more stressful

for families than having a child sick in the hospital. The good news is that families outside of New Orleans with children receiving treatment at Children’s Hospital New Orleans now have a cozy, welcoming place to stay right on the hospital’s State Street campus. Hogs House Family Center at Children’s Hospital is a 7,000-square-foot, 13-room refuge made possible by a $2.1 million donation from Hogs for the Cause. Hogs for the Cause was founded in 2008 by Becker Hall and Rene Louapre and raises money for

74 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

pediatric brain cancer outreach. The annual Hogs for the Cause barbecue and music festival is the primary fundraiser for the nonprofit organization. Hogs House is one of the historic cottages on the campus. Children’s Hospital worked with Eskew + Dumez + Ripple architectural and design firm for the restoration of the circa-1938 former maintenance building. “We wanted it to be calming and soothing and serve as a place to relax,” says Amanda Rivera, architect and senior associate at Eskew + Dumez + Ripple and Hogs House project manager. “We

anticipated that children would be staying here too, so a lot of the colors and patterns have some whimsy.” Upon entering the building, guests are greeted on the right by a happy and bright lounge area decorated with cool colors, furniture covered in soft, warm, plush fabric, dark wood flooring and light streaming in from the French doors. Everything has a residential look and feel, including the reception area to the left. Pig figurines, artwork and other elements are placed throughout the building as a nod to Hogs

for the Cause and the various teams who volunteered and donated. In many cases the teams themselves came in and added touches to the interiors and funded certain areas. Down the hall, guests can use the kitchenette with pantry food items made available by Children’s Hospital employees. The space has marble countertops, gray cabinets with clear Lucite pulls featuring brass accents and a stainless steel refrigerator. The circa-1938 Hogs House at Children’s Across from the kitchenette, a dining Hospital was a former room with three glass-top tables maintenance building. offers a place for families to dine, Eskew + Dumez + Ripple architectural and design participate in craft projects and firm transformed it into otherwise gather. Each table has a 13-room housing bright pink patterned chairs topped facility for families with bird and flower centerpieces. who have children in treatment at the hospital. There are rooms of varying sizes It features bright colors on both the first and second floors and whimsical patterns, and each has a private bathroom with countless pig figurines — a nod to the Hogs for industrial-style shower hardware the Cause teams that and fixtures as a nod to the former helped decorate — and industrial use of the building. Some other residential design elements created with rooms have a queen-sized bed and a commercial-grade day bed. The smallest room features materials. one queen bed. The brick walls were left exposed whenever possible and painted with calming colors. On the second floor, a reading room and play area are located at the top of the stairs. Metal and wood shelving units flank each side of the room and open upon a little playhouse. There is a deep blue, velvet sofa on each side and small pig stools. Legos, plastic animals, books and other toys line the shelves. Mural wallpaper with a relaxing coastal scene and photos of the Hogs for the Cause teams decorate the walls. Guests can access the second-story porch, which overlooks a green space and large oak tree in front of the building. Hogs for the / 75

The second-floor reading room offers space to play, read or relax. Calming murals with coastal scenes are repeated on both walls and pig stools roam freely about the room, offering a fun spot for little ones to sit, bounce or “ride” while enjoying a few minutes or hours of downtime. The room leads out to a balcony that overlooks a large oak tree and sprawling green space.

“We wanted it to be calming and soothing and serve as a place to relax. We anticipated that children would be staying here too, so a lot of the colors and patterns have some whimsy.” Amanda Rivera, architect and senior associate at Eskew + Dumez + Ripple and Hogs House project manager

Cause plans to eventually build a playground in the open space. There is also a laundry room in the building stocked with toiletries and other supplies, in case a guest forgets something or runs out during their stay. Rivera says the windows and doors are all original to maintain historical integrity, but that the project was challenging architecturally because certain fire safety and Americans with Disabilities Act rules have to be followed when dealing with a non-residential building. The team worked hard to conceal those elements whenever possible or folded them into the industrial design elements. Light fixtures with 1930s appeal and other schoolhouse industrial features blend seamlessly with the homelike touches for an overall look and feel of a boutique hotel or large, comfortable house that’s sure to ease the strain for so many families during their stay. n

At a glance

Hogs House Family Center at Children’s Hospital Address

Children’s Hospital Campus at 210 State St. Project completed

September 2018 Architect

Eskew + Dumez + Ripple Interior Designer

Eskew + Dumez + Ripple Furnishings

Primarily Anthropologie, West Elm, Restoration Hardware, some wall coverings by local artist Amanda Stone Talley. Square footage

8,200 square feet (First and second floors are 7,800 square feet and the porch and balconies are 400 square feet). Main goal

Convert historic maintenance building into 13-room housing for patient families. Biggest Challenge

Fitting so much program into such a small building floor plate. Integrating new stair and elevator components to comply with current life safety codes and ADA regulations, while maintaining the historic architectural integrity of the building. Keeping the interiors residential and comfortable in style and feel, but specified to have a commerciallevel durability. Standout Feature

Original, circa-1938 doors and windows and original center grand stair.

76 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

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

Strumming Along ReStrung Jewelry recycles guitar strings into wearable art that’s struck a chord with retailers nationwide. by Ashley McLellan photos by sara essex bradley

In a city that embraces Jazz Fest,

sidewalk buskers and brass bands any time of year, ReStrung Jewelry, the brainchild of local artist Naomi Celestin, has struck a chord with music- and jewelry-loving New Orleanians and beyond. A clever idea to recycle and repurpose used guitar strings has helped ReStrung Jewelry grow to include hundreds of retailers nationwide since launching in 2011. Online retailers currently include Uncommon Goods and Let It Shine; the company’s national outlet is the House of Blues, along with more than 500 retailers from Alabama to Wyoming and Canada. ReStrung uses social media in an innovative way and has a business model that embraces philanthropy both locally and in its sister location in Puerto Rico. “We are still a pretty small business, but we generate anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000 per month,” says Celestin. “It really fluctuates depending on the season and what shows we are doing.” She adds that the majority of the company’s revenue comes from its wholesale business, which has grown to include hundreds of retailers nationwide. “We also sell six nights a week at Palace Art Market,” she said. Celestin, the company’s founder and “chief visionary officer,” earned a minor in metalwork in college. She says she launched Restrung after a light-bulb moment at a music club. “I got the idea to make pieces with old guitar strings,” she said. “I figured,

78 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

ReStrung Jewelry combines local artist Naomi Celestin’s love of crafting fun and fashionable jewelry pieces with her love of music, for a product that is local, stylish and sustainable.

performers just throw these away, so why not repurpose them into wearable art?” Celestin said the whole venture started very simply. “In the beginning, I thought it would be a fun side hustle, and I spent many nights at shows in NOLA, waiting for musicians to take breaks so I could ask them to save strings for me. The music community was so supportive, and they helped spread the word to get more strings donated.” Celestin soon launched the company with a local market location and hasn’t looked back since.

“In April of 2012, I got accepted to sell at The French Market, and that’s when things really took off,” she said. “In a few short months, I was working every day, and I realized I had a good thing happening, and so I shut down my graphic design business and devoted myself to building ReStrung into a business. It was a risk, making that kind of change, but I had a good feeling and I loved doing it, so I took the plunge and I’ve never regretted it.” Musicians from around the world donate their strings to ReStrung. That, along with contributions from manufacturers

outside New Orleans, provide Celestin with a majority of her raw materials. Jewelry pieces are fashion forward and affordable, ranging in price from $20 to $60. “It’s fun to receive those packages [of strings] and read the stories that come with them,” Celestin said, noting one story in particular. “A few years ago, the president of Sfarzo Strings, one of the largest string manufacturers in the U.S., was vacationing in New Orleans and he happened upon our booth at The French Market. He offered to donate their factory second strings, and we now get a 10- to 12-pound box of strings sent

from them each month. That’s a lot of strings that would otherwise get scrapped, but for us it’s like getting a box of gold.” Celestin relies on a tight-knit team of professionals and artists at ReStrung, with an emphasis on providing leadership roles and productive employment for women. “It pretty much grew organically,” she said. “I had no idea what I was doing from a business perspective, no real plan, no background in the accessories industry. I just enjoyed making jewelry and knew I wanted to keep doing it. After about six months of making jewelry for 40-plus hours a

Recycled strings are donated from musicians around the world, making the company a truly green-friendly enterprise.

Gifts for good

Other New Orleans Products (and Gifts!) That Give Back Glitter Box New Orleans

1109 Royal Street

This trendy French Quarter boutique run by and for women showcases female artists and 10 percent of profits are donated to the Heymann Foundation, which provides assistance to South Louisiana residents through a variety of “diversified social programs.” Bonfolk Collective

Fun designer socks inspired by South Louisiana, with themes such as “Mardi Gras,” “Oyster,” “Jazz,” and “Gator.” For each pair of socks purchased, another pair is donated to a shelter or organization that works to provide resources to homeless individuals. Bow Shoeshoe Designed in New Orleans and handcrafted in Lesotho, Bow Shoeshoe is a line of stylish bow ties with proceeds going to empower villages and educate workers while providing a clean source of income for men and women. Team Gleason Team Gleason’s line of New Orleans Saints tees, socks and jewelry designed by local artist Sarah Ott celebrate former Saints player Steve Gleason while also raising funds for and awareness of ALS research and support for people with neuromuscular diseases or injuries. Goods That Matter

5706 Magazine Street

This carefully curated boutique shop provides eco-friendly, made-in-America products and gifts such as cards, bath products, linens and more. Ten percent of profits are returned to partner causes around the world to support community health. / 79

A Day in the Life of Naomi Celestin

Less art, more business. “As much as I’d love to spend all day creating new pieces, the business of running a business often takes precedence. On a typical day, I’m managing our social media and marketing work, including designing our catalogs and organizing photo shoots. I might also be looking into new systems for CRM and checking pieces for quality control (very un-artistic pursuits, but necessary for growth). The bulk of my time this past year has been devoted to developing and training our team in Puerto Rico. I also coordinate the industry shows at our permanent showrooms in Las Vegas and Atlanta four times a year. That’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun, as the shows force me to push myself creatively to design new collections each season.”

week and then selling out on weekends at the French Market, I knew I needed help. About six years ago, I contracted with our first sales rep, Tara Rodgers, who happened to have a background in jewelry production. Tara is still with us, making jewelry from home while raising her daughter.” Expansion would come next for the business, and Celestin found a ReStrung Jewelry is comprised of dedicated and motivated resource a tight-knit team of workers, with everyone learning of professionals as they went along. and artists, with an emphasis on “I began thinking of expanding providing leadership to other retail markets, and I was roles and productive also getting more interest from employment for women in both wholesale customers, which meant New Orleans and we would need more help to keep the company’s new up with everything. I hired staysatellite location in Puerto Rico. at-home moms, and several musicians and performers who needed extra work in between performing. Before I knew it, I had a fledgling company on my hands — and a lot to learn. Today, I’m proud to say that we have a diverse team of a dozen women who are all so talented and good at what they do. I’m immeasurably grateful for each and every member of our ReStrung krewe.” The Puerto Rico Connection

Headquartered in New Orleans, with administration offices and a studio located in the 80 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

initiative is with the New Orleans Musicians’ Assistance Foundation, which supports the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic efforts to provide health and wellness to local musicians. Five percent of the company’s profits are donated to these efforts annually. Bywater, ReStrung Jewelry recently established “[Our efforts] mean making a difference in the communities that we care about,” Celestin a satellite office in Rincon, Puerto Rico. “I wanted to keep everything handmade by said. “From the start, I decided to donate a women in the U.S., and about a year and a portion of our profits to the New Orleans half ago, I took a trip to Puerto Rico,” she said. Musicians Clinic, as they have helped so many “I fell in love with Rincon, and met several of my friends through the years. Music is the heartbeat of New Orleans, and NOMC keeps jewelry makers there. Rincon is a surfing town, our musicians healthy and performing. We also where work is seasonal, and so the women I met were very interested in working with us. donate to the Roots of Music, an organization I rented a place and came home with plans to that works with inner-city youth, training start a production team there ASAP. future generations of musicians. Our mission is ‘Be Kind. Do Good. Have A few weeks later, Hurricane Maria devastated the island. The storm Fun,’ and donating to these worthy ReStrung Jewelry derailed our plans for months, but causes helps us fulfill that mission.” Celestin has big plans for ReStrung, as a New Orleans native, I’ve been with new lines on the way to expand through my share of storms, and I her customer base. knew how much the island would “Our fan base is widespread, from need help. Maybe it’s a little crazy to run two operations in hurricane zones, but millennial trendsetters to hip moms who love that’s what we are doing. Hurricane Maria music, fun fashion and eco-friendly jewelry with a worldly boho aesthetic,” she said. “In the brought back so many memories from Katrina, but it also bolstered my resolve to work with upcoming months, we will be launching new product lines that tie into our Louisiana and these women, and we now have a growing Caribbean connections, including sustainably team of production assistants there, as well sourced materials, as well as a men’s collection as my daughter who moved there full-time and a signature line of one-of-a-kind pieces. in January.” It is my personal vision to continue building It’s Celstin’s attitude of reaching out that our brand as a woman-owned and operated is ReStrung’s other main business mantra – company that does good work and gives creating a beautiful, recycled and repurposed back to the community, and I’m grateful piece of jewelry while also providing work to artists and contributing funds to local each day that I get to do what I love while helping others.”n community projects. The company’s main

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From The Lens m ak i n g a m atc h: bus i n e ss e s a n d n o n pr o f i ts

Bundle of Need Through the Junior League’s Diaper Bank, businesses can help give local families the gift of health and peace this holiday season and year-round. by Pamela Marquis photos by cheryl gerber

Go to any baby shower and you’ll see a gift table

that likely includes a cute faux cake made out of diapers or diaper teddy bears and maybe even two or three plain cartons of diapers. Adorable onesies and cuddly stuffed lambs are sweet, but all mothers know the three important things needed to raise a healthy baby are love, food and diapers. Babies need six to 10 diapers per day, which easily adds up to $70 to $80 per month. For those who can’t afford to buy a package of diapers, that can mean having to ration, keeping a baby in the same diaper from dusk to dawn. According to “Diaper Need and Its Impact on U.S. Families,” a report done by the National Diaper Bank Network, one in three U.S. families (or 36 percent) continues to be in diaper need, or struggles to provide enough diapers to keep a baby or toddler clean, dry and healthy. Diaper banks around the country help meet the diaper need by providing diapers to more than 250,000 infants and toddlers each month. Meredith Duke, Locally, the Junior League of Elizabeth Joint New Orleans (JLNO) has taken on and Taylor the charge of assisting low-income Burgmon parents with their diaper needs with an effort the organization has created as part of its focus on advancing the wellbeing of women. In 2014, its first year running a diaper bank, JLNO distributed 90,000 diapers. It has since exploded in growth, distributing 95,000 diapers just this past August. Since 2014, the JLNO Diaper Bank has distributed more than 1 million diapers; It’s currently on track to hit that same number in 2018 alone.

82 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018


Junior league’s diaperbank Mission

To provide diapers to local families who cannot afford them. Leveraging the strength of its entire membership, JLNO will raise community awareness of the diaper need, host diaper drives, buy diapers at a highly discounted rate, provide volunteer support for sorting, packing and distributing diapers, and store diapers.

JLNO’s Journey to Diapers

In 1923, 10 New Orleans women dedicated to improving Metropolitan New Orleans recruited like-minded volunteers and joined the Association of Junior Leagues International. JLNO now counts approximately 2,200 provisional, active and sustaining members, making it the eighth-largest league in the world. Its platform of volunteerism goes way beyond providing diapers for families. JLNO members have given their time and talents to organizations including The Parenting Center at Children’s Hospital, Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, Parkway Partners and the Louisiana Nature and Science Center.

“Having a baby is stressful and challenging under even the best circumstances, so anything that can be done to support parents and babies is not wasted.” Alice Franz, JLNO president

One in three families in the United States struggles to provide enough diapers to keep their child clean, dry and healthy. Since 2014, JLNO Diaper Bank has distributed more than 1 million diapers to local families. The organization is on track to hit the 1 million mark again just for 2018.


JLNO Headquarters 4319 Carondelet Street 504-891-5845 How Individuals and Businesses Can Help

Donate Diapers. Drop off disposable diapers of any size, including open packages, at JLNO Headquarters (4319 Carondelet Street, New Orleans — open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or at any collection location. For a list of drop-off sites, visit community/diaper-bank/ diaper-drive-locations. Host a Diaper Drive. Motivate your school, business, church or social group to collect and purchase diapers. Purchase from JLNO’s Amazon Wish List. Visit Amazon and search for “Junior League of New Orleans Diaper Bank” to buy and ship directly to the organization. Donate Dollars for Diapers. Make a financial contribution on the organization’s website or by mail to JLNO Headquarters. Share Information. Use social media or other digital platforms to share facts about diaper need and raise community awareness. / 83

More info

Did You Know?

65 percent

of families are unaware that diaper banks offer diaper assistance in their respective community, even though the number of diaper banks has grown to more than 300 from 40 in recent years.

3 in 4

The impetus for starting a diaper bank started in 2013, when a JLNO member read an article about a mother who was struggling to provide diapers for her baby. Learning about diaper banks, she proposed that JLNO start one in New Orleans. The organization’s project development committee, along with members of its board of directors, researched diaper need and diaper banks and determined that JLNO was well equipped to address this need in the Greater New Orleans area. A Domino Effect

“One small thing really does make a big difference,” said JLNO President Alice Franz Glenn. “A sufficient supply of diapers helps the entire family, and their lack has a profound and complex impact on families, including health risks like rashes and urinary tract infections for children and mental problems for parents and children.” The lack of such a simple supply can have a wide range of negative outcomes. Without diapers, babies cannot attend childcare or participate in early childhood education, and without childcare, parents cannot go to school or work to further their education and provide for their families. Of families in diaper need, three in five parents (or 57 percent) miss work or school due to a lack of sufficient diapers required by child care, day care or early education programs to care for a baby or toddler. As a result, parents experiencing diaper need missed an average of four days of work or

84 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

school in the past month. It’s a debilitating cycle. “I’ve been a supporter of the Diaper Bank since its inception, but having my first child in 2016 really crystalized for me the critical importance of having all the essential supplies you need to keep your baby healthy,” said Glenn. “Having a baby is stressful and challenging under even the best circumstances, so anything that can be done to support parents and babies is not wasted.” JLNO donates diapers to a wide range of organizations, including Access Health, Covenant House and the St. Thomas Community Health, along with daycare centers including Giggles Child Development Center, Cuddly Bear Child Development, and Rainbow Academy and Preschool. Rainbow Academy and Preschool, a Seventh Ward daycare center, works with 100 infants and toddlers daily and monthly receives 40 to 50 cases of diapers, all sizes, from JLNO Diaper Bank. “That donation of diapers is a tremendous help to us,” said Tomika Suarez, the center’s director. “Childcare is very expensive for parents, and after they pay tuition or partial tuition, they still have to come out-of-pocket for diapers. These donated diapers bring joy to the parents and joy to me. It means I can relieve them of that burden. It’s one less financial strain on them. That puts them in a better place because they have less stress and because of that, they can have a better and healthier relationship with their children.” n

families in need also identify as experiencing economic hardship (defined as the inability to pay reasonable and necessary living expenses including rent or mortgage, utilities, food, transportation, healthcare and basic needs).

73 percent Local businesses looking for a way to give back this holiday season can host a diaper drive or take donations to purchase items off of JLNO Diaper Bank’s Amazon wish list. The diaper bank operates year-round to serve local families.

of all families feel they’re not being good parents when their children are left too long in dirty diapers, while onein-three households in need experience feeling stressed or overwhelmed by diapering always or often.

31 percent

of infants and toddlers with at least one parent who works full-time live in low-income families.

47 percent

of all births on average in the United States are covered by Medicaid.


government programs provide diapers as a basic need for babies. / 85

PUBLISHER’S NOTICE: All real estate advertised herein is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Ace and the Louisiana Open Housing Act, which make it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination. We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. For more information, call the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-273-5718.

86 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018

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From The Lens ON T HE J O B

The Kindows are Coming! photo by cheryl gerber

Project Superintendent Banjo Herron

finishes some caulking on one of 12 “Kindows” at what will be the new Louisiana Children’s Museum. The special kid-sized bay windows were invented by the project’s architects to create special spaces for children to read or hang out while enjoying views of the surrounding City Park. Construction began on the new Louisiana Children’s Museum in August 2017 and is expected to finish in the spring of 2019, followed by exhibit installation. The new 8.5-acre museum, complete with gardens, play areas, a café and a 100-foot-long water table mimicking the Mississippi River is expected to open to the public in late summer of 2019. For more information on the Louisiana Children’s Museum, visit n

88 / Biz New Orleans / DECEMBER 2018