Top 10 Business Stories of the Year
december 2019 / Volume 6 / Issue 3
contents EVERY ISSUE 06 / 07 / 08 / 10 / 11 / 12 /
from the lens
Editor’s note publisher’s note Calendar industry news recent openings Events
32 / banking & finance
in the biz 16 / dining
Chocolate toothpaste is real, was created by a New Orleans dentist and does something other toothpastes can’t.
The end of the year is a perfect time to look over your 401(k). Local investment professionals weigh in on what mistakes you can’t afford to make and the changes coming in 2020.
18 / tourism
78 / great workspaces
Satsuma Café’s third location, opened in June, brings healthy, local and organic fare to the Lower Garden District.
Holiday parade returns to draw tourism to New Orleans East.
20 / sports
In the midst of such a winning season, Chris Price reflects on one of the greatest lessons sports teaches: dealing with loss. 22 / entertainment
With audience numbers growing, Preservation Hall launches a new performance series.
Top 10 Business Stories of the Year A look at the headlines that changed business in Southeast Louisiana in 2019 by kim singletary and Jennifer Larino
On the cover: Two large cranes from the Hard Rock Hotel construction collapse come crashing down following a controlled detonation on Oct. 20. AP Photo/Gerald Hebert
36 / education
Want to increase employee retention while creating a more skilled workforce? Education benefits can be a win-win.
24 / entrepreneurship
The world’s first civilization continues to be an entrepreneurial gold mine.
84 / making a match:
26 / etiquette
businesses and nonprofits
Office or work related holiday parties are a potential minefield of gaffs. 28 / marketing
The art of reaching an audience at the perfect time and place
80 / why didn’t i think of that?
New local business Pawlins Total Pet Care is finding quick success offering four-star accommodations for the fourpawed set.
38 / real estate & construction
Exciting projects on the way for 2020.
For former inmates, the first days of freedom are full of challenges, among the biggest is finding a job. That’s where Catholic Charities’ Cornerstone Builders Program comes in, but they need the help of local business. 88 / on the job
Publisher Todd Matherne Editorial Editor-in-Chief Errol Laborde Managing Editor Kimberley Singletary Art Director Sarah George Digital Media Editor Kelly Massicot Associate News Editor Rich Collins Contributors Amy Bakay, Julia Carcamo, Keith Loria, Pamela Marquis, Ashley McLellan, Chris Price, Jessica Rosgaard, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, Melanie Warner Spencer, Poppy Tooker, Keith Twitchell Advertising Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan (504) 830-7215 Colleen@BizNewOrleans.com Sales Manager Caitlin Sistrunk (504) 830-7252 Caitlin@BizNewOrleans.com Senior Account Executive Brennan Manale (504) 830-7298 Brennan@BizNewOrleans.com Senior Account Executive Jessica Jaycox (504) 830-7255 JessicaJ@BizNewOrleans.com Marketing Director of Marketing & Events Jeanel Luquette Event Coordinator Abbie Dugruise Digital Media Associate Mallary Matherne For event information, call (504) 830-7264 Production Traffic Coordinator Lane Brocato Production Manager Emily Andras Production Designers Rosa Balaguer, Meghan Rooney Administration Chief Executive Officer Todd Matherne President Alan Campell Executive Vice President Errol Laborde Office Manager Mallary Matherne Distribution Manager John Holzer Audience Development Claire Sargent For subscriptions, call (504) 830-7231
2016 Bronze: Best Feature Layout 2017 Bronze: Best Daily Email 2017 Silver: Best Recurring Feature 2018 Gold: Most Improved Publication 2018 Silver: Best Recurring Feature 2019 Gold: Best Recurring Feature 2019 Gold: Best Explanatory Journalism
110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123 • Metairie, LA 70005 • (504) 828-1380 Biz New Orleans is published monthly by Renaissance Publishing, LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005; (504) 828-1380. Subscription rate: one year $24.95, two year $39.95, three year $49.95—foreign rates vary call for pricing. Postage paid at Metairie, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Biz New Orleans, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 2019 Biz New Orleans. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The trademark Biz New Orleans is registered. Biz New Orleans is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork, even if accompanied by a selfaddressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in Biz New Orleans are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or owner.
bizneworleans.com / 3
Meet the Sales Team
Caitlin Sistrunk Sales Manager (504) 830-7252 Caitlin@BizNewOrleans.com
Brennan Manale Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7298 Brennan@BizNewOrleans.com
Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7255 JessicaJ@BizNewOrleans.com
Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales (504) 830-7215 Colleen@BizNewOrleans.com 4 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
bizneworleans.com / 5
So Much So Fast New Orleans had a busy fall. In fact, three of our top five stories of the year came about in a very short time. First, The Sazerac House opened on Oct. 2. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the opening gala and was blown away at what a gem this building is for our city. It is such a perfect marriage of New Orleans’ rich historical cocktail culture blended with interactive technology — the best of old and new. Then, only 10 days later, just seven blocks north on Canal Street, The Hard Rock Hotel collapsed, throwing the city, once again, into the national news, but this time in a heartbreaking way. Then, just six days later, with New Orleans still very much in disaster mode, news broke that the airport’s new North Terminal would be open for business in just a few weeks. After four delays and over six years spent under construction, it seemed like such short notice that the wait was finally going to be over. This is the fourth year Biz New Orleans has published a ranking of the top 10 business stories of the year, and every year the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport has made the list. It’s not surprising, as this is a city driven by tourism — more and more so every year. According to D.K. Shifflet & Associates, New Orleans welcomed 18.51 million visitors last year, a 4.29 percent increase in visitors compared to 2017. The city also saw a 3.91 percent increase in total visitor spending of $9.1 billion. The state as a whole welcomed 51.3 million visitors, bringing in $18.8 billion in spending in 2018, representing a 9% and 7% increase, respectively, over 2017. A growing airport — and ours is the fifth fastest growing in the nation — means more new flights bringing more new tourists into the city. It makes us more attractive to businesses operating in this global economy, and it makes us more likely to attract more airlines and service routes — growing the airport even further. GNO, Inc. President Michael Hecht did a great job of succinctly explaining the business side of airports in an email he sent out in mid-Nov where he said: “The business model of airports is structured so that first, airports collect all non-airline revenues, such as parking and retail. Then, the operating costs of running the airport (personnel, utilities, etc.) are subtracted. Whatever is left over is divided up amongst the airlines and charged to them as “cost per passenger.” Basically, airports that make more revenue off an abundance of quality retail and restaurant options, as well as an abundance of parking — all of which our new airport has — are cheaper for airlines to operate in, thus more attractive. More flights to more destinations…as someone with a family that chooses to spend any fun money we have on experiences over stuff, this is good news indeed. Here’s to happy travels in 2020!
6 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
A Year of Celebrations This year has been award-winning for us
at Renaissance Publishing, with numerous awards across many categories from the Alliance for Area Business Publications (AABP), The New Orleans Press Club, International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA) and the international MarCom (marketing and communications) awards. Our titles — Louisiana Life, Acadiana Profile, New Orleans Magazine, Biz New Orleans and numerous custom titles — won “Magazine of the Year,” “Best Magazine” and multiple gold awards, respectively. We are so proud of our team and these great accomplishments. This month also brings a family celebration in my home. Last month, I mentioned that some days are just more special than others, and this month we follow up from our 30th wedding anniversary with another one of those days. Andrea has a milestone birthday and, being the behind-the-scenes person she is and one who does not like to draw attention to herself, we will pass on the big party and celebrate with family at her favorite place for dinner. She continues to be an inspiration to both myself and our family and we cannot wait to celebrate. I look forward to this time of year to celebrate with family and friends for Christmas and the holiday season. I hope you had a great year and look forward to seeing you celebrating as well. Todd Matherne
bizneworleans.com / 7
December 3 New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce 2019 December Member Winter Extravaganza 6 to 9 p.m. New Orleans Jazz Market 1436 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. NORBChamber.org 4 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hyatt Regency New Orleans Celestin Ballroom — 3rd Floor 601 Loyola Ave. NewOrleansChamber.org 5 The Funding Seed Grant Writing for Beginners 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Ashe Powerhouse Theater 1731 Baronne St. TheFundingSeed.com 5 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Holiday Business Card Exchange 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Ramsey’s Diamond Jewelers 701 Veterans Memorial Blvd. JeffersonChamber.org
10 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Member Orientation 9 to 10 a.m. 1515 Poydras St. 5th Floor Auditorium NewOrleansChamber.org 10 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Power Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1515 Poydras St. 5th Floor Auditorium NewOrleansChamber.org 11 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Chamber 101 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jefferson Chamber 3421 N. Causeway Blvd., Suite 203 JeffersonChamber.org 11 St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours at Banner Ford 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Banner Ford 1943 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville StTammanyChamber.org
5 St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce B2B Networking 8 to 9 a.m. Chamber Board Room 610 Hollycrest Blvd., Covington StTammanyChamber.org 9 Loyola University Deconstructing Government Opportunities Entrepreneur Master Class Taught by former World Trade Center New Orleans CEO, Caitlin Cain 6 to 9 p.m. Loyola University Business.Loyno.edu/cecd
For a more complete list of events, visit BizNewOrleans.com. We’d love to include your business-related event in next month’s calendar. Please email details to Editorial@BizNewOrleans.com.
8 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
NOLABA Launches InvestNOLA Program
Louisiana Ranks 10th in Nation for Best Business Climate For the 10th year in a row, economic development magazine Site Selection has ranked Louisiana in the top 10 for “Best Business Climate. Half the score results from a survey of corporate site selectors who are asked to rank the states based on their recent experience of locating facilities in them. The other 50% is based upon an index that includes total new projects year-to-date, both overall and per capita; state tax burdens on new and established companies; and performance in Site Selection’s annual Prosperity Cup ranking. 1. Georgia 2. North Carolina 3. Ohio 4. Texas 5. South Carolina 6. Virginia 7. Tennessee 8. Indiana 9. Alabama 10. Louisiana
West No More
St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce votes to change its name. In a vote held on Nov. 11, St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce — which represents the business community of St. Tammany Parish — voted to remove the “West” in its name.
Trahan Architects Named No. 1 Design Firm in U.S. Based in New Orleans — with design studios in New York City and Chicago — global architecture firm Trahan Architects was named the “No. 1 Design firm in the U.S. for 2019” by ARCHITECT 50, a national ranking of architecture firms published by ARCHITECT magazine. Praised for its skill in “transforming complex conceptual ideas into realized physical spaces,” the firm has built a portfolio with a wide range of building types and scales, including academic, cultural, performing arts, ecclesiastic, residential, athletic, commercial, mixed-use and urban projects throughout the U.S. and overseas. Notable projects include The Coca-Cola Stage at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, The Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, and an important conservation and preservation undertaking at Corcovado National Park in Patagonia, Chile.
“There is strength in numbers,” said an official statement from the chamber on the day of the vote, “and a unified larger voice on issues such as transportation, transparency, collaboration, education and quality of life issues overall, will be more effectively heard.” The newly branded organization also noted plans to elect its first board of directors at the end of November.
10 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
The New Orleans Business Alliance has launched its inaugural cohort of the InvestNOLA program, designed to grow small businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color into enterprises with $10 million in annual revenue. Altogether, 13 local entrepreneurs joined the initiative designed to create significant organic business growth in the city. InvestNOLA is the local version of the national small business growth program, Ascend, funded by a $500,000 investment from JPMorgan Chase & Co. Managed by the Business Alliance, the program connects business owners to public and private sector procurement opportunities through the organization’s new online Opportunities Portal. Over the course of five months, participants will receive business management training encompassing growth strategies; marketing; innovation; sales and marketing trends; financial analysis, forecasting and planning; and operations.
“Local institutions can play a big role in supporting the local economy by shifting their food dollars to local farmers and food businesses. We hope this resolution is a step toward a more equitable, sustainable food system in New Orleans.” Elisa Munoz-Miller, executive director of the New Orleans Food Policy Advocacy Committee. On Nov. 7, the New Orleans City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting local food procurement by New Orleans anchor institutions. The legislation stems from recent efforts by Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation and the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee to encourage local, anchor institutions to shift their food procurement activities to more local, equitable, and environmentally sound food sources. Efforts included a three-year study that found that if only three New Orleans anchor institutions (e.g. hospitals and universities) shifted to 20% local food procurement it has the potential to generate over $2 million in annual economic output for the New Orleans economy. To read the study, visit GoPropeller.org/press
New Orleans Biotech Companies Announce Major Expansions Three biotech firms — AxoSim, Cadex Genomics and Obatala Sciences — are in the process of expansions estimated to create 135 new direct jobs with a combined $9.1 million in annual payroll at the University of New Orleans and the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, a biotech incubator where all three firms launched local startup operations.
AxoSim, a company focused on innovative neuroscience drug discovery, will expand its existing facilities at the BioInnovation Center, and AxoSim projects adding 75 jobs at an average annual salary of $60,000, plus benefits. Cadex Genomics opened a molecular diagnostic laboratory focused on improving cancer treatment at the Advanced Materials Research Institute on
the UNO campus. The company will create 50 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $70,000, plus benefits. Obatala Sciences, which produces biotech tools for improving the speed and effectiveness of pharmaceutical development, will expand at the same UNO institute and create 10 new jobs with an average annual salary of $80,000, plus benefits.
MaryMac’s Doggie Retreat Have an anxious dog? A new company called MaryMac’s Doggie Retreat has opened in the Lower Garden District (1470 Annunciation St.) to cater specifically to fearful pups. The daycare and boarding facility promises a “fearfree” environment, along with grooming services and special events like “Slumber Pawties,” “Day Pawties” and “Bridal Pawties”
Booker T. Washington School In late October, NOLA Public Schools held a ribbon cutting and building dedication ceremony to celebrate the newly constructed Booker T. Washington High School. The original school site, built in 1942, was destroyed by flood waters resulting from Hurricane Katrina. “This $52.5 million facility features more than 198,873 square feet of education space that will provide our students with an academic experience tailored to help them socially and intellectually as they navigate our global society,” said Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr., superintendent of NOLA Public Schools.
Testronic One of the leading quality assurance firms in the digital gaming industry, Testronic will launch a new testing facility for digital games in New Orleans in the New Orleans Exchange Centre, formerly Chevron Place, located at 935 Gravier St. The company is expected to reach full employment within five years, creating 150 direct jobs and an estimated additional 169 new indirect jobs. To secure Testronic’s investment in New Orleans, the state of Louisiana is providing a competitive incentive package that includes the comprehensive workforce development solutions of LED FastStart®, ranked the No. 1 state workforce training program in the U.S. Testronic also is expected to utilize the state’s digital media incentive.
Grace House On Nov. 14, Bridge House/Grace House celebrated the grand opening of its new Grace House facility at 6321 Stratford Place in New Orleans. The only long-term residential treatment center exclusively for women with substance use disorders in the region, the new facility will house 66 women and will provide clinical and vocational-based programs. Bridge House/ Grace House provides long-term residential substance abuse treatment to over 800 homeless, indigent, uninsured, and/or unemployed men and women each year.
Scale Workplace On Nov. 5, Entrescan, the leading provider of additive manufacturing services for businesses and professionals in the Gulf South, opened Scale Workplace, a unique co-working space with a modern industrial aesthetic at 612 Andrew Higgins Blvd. in New Orleans. Tenants of Scale Workplace have access to Entrescan’s additive manufacturing lab and a larger makerspace called “The New Curiosity Shop.” Both fabrication labs are equipped with state-ofthe-art equipment aimed to support manufacturing and product development.
Junior’s on Harrison
Junior’s on Harrison (Junior’s) is now serving lunch and dinner seven days a week at 789 Harrison Ave. in New Orleans’ Lakeview neighborhood. The casual, contemporary, modern American restaurant by restaurateurs Nick Hufft and Lon Marchand of Hufft and Marchand Hospitality is helmed by executive chef Jacob Cureton, a New Orleans native with nearly two decades of culinary experience including stints at Emeril’s Delmonico and Atchafalaya.
Fidelity Bank has announced the intent to purchase the historic downtown building at 353 Carondelet Street, once occupied by the former Union Savings & Loan. The four-story building will undergo a multimillion-dollar restoration, made possible in part by federal and state historic tax credits, before serving as Fidelity’s corporate headquarters and 17th branch location. The renovation is expected to be completed late summer 2020.
junior’s photo byJosh Brasted; Booker t. washington photo by James Rolf bizneworleans.com / 11
Tuesday, October 15 | Loyola, Rousell Building
Wednesday, October 16 | The Roosevelt New Orleans
Tuesday, October 29 | NOLA MOTORSPORTS
9th Annual Economic & Real Estate Forecast Symposium
ACG Louisiana Capital Connections
5th Annual Women Can DRIVE Symposium
Industry heavyweights joined to discuss the present and future of both residential and commercial real estate at this event held in partnership with NOMAR, CID and Loyola University.
Along with networking, educational events, deal making, and access to capital, ACG Louisiana Capital Connection welcomed keynote speaker Frank Abagnale, Jr. Abagnale’s story inspired the Academy Awardnominated feature film, “Catch Me If You Can,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Gayle Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, served as the key speaker at this year’s event, hosted by the the ABWA Crescent City Connections and Fidelity Bank’s P.O.W.E.R. program.
1. Chase Melancon, Rebecca Lombardo and Cameron Lombardo 2. Guy Williams, Paul Richard and Jon Cerruti 3. Toni Thompson, Liz Tardo and Rachel Perkoff
1. Chris Snyder, Allen Frederick and Paul Patrick 2. Nene Glenn, Gianfala Marc Katsanis and Brittney Peraino 3. Nick McDearis, Lisa Wozney and Sean Lelchuk
1. Dana Johnson, Gayle Benson and Liz Broekman 2. Jeanne Bergeron, Amanda Polkey and Cindy Osmer 3. Rachel Nunez, Christi Felder and Amy Landry
12 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
photographs by cheryl gerber
14 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
Biz columnists spe ak out
in the biz DINING / TOURISM / SPORTS / ENTERTAINMENT / ENTREPRENEURSHIP / ETIQUETTE / MARKETING
photo couresty theodent
Poppy Tooker takes a look at a unique stocking stuffer idea for anyone on your list.
In The Biz dining
Chocolate Toothpaste? It’s real, was created by a New Orleans dentist and does something other toothpastes can’t. by Poppy Tooker
16 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
changed all that. Trials have shown it to be 71 percent more effective than fluoride. With the spirit of an entrepreneur, Sadeghpour formulated a proprietary blend of theobromine, calcium and phosphate. Trademarked under the brand name Rennou, it is the active ingredient in his Theodent toothpaste, which he launched on Jan. 4, 2012. Photos taken during double blind studies illustrate Theodent’s effectiveness after brushing twice a day for just seven days. Aside from arresting the development of cavities, restoration of tooth enamel also reduces and eliminates sensitivity. Sadeghpour likens what he calls Theodent’s “disruptive technology” to the invention of the electric car. Unique in the market, Theodent is now available in three varieties; clinical strength, Theodent 300 and Theodent Classic, which comes in a crystal mint flavor and chocolate-flavored Theodent Kid Toothpaste. “Any small child will naturally try to swallow toothpaste,” says Arman, “Theodent is perfectly safe for consumption.” This new standard in oral care is on trend with the popular concept of food as medicine. It’s sure to appeal to today’s consumer who is increasingly interested in what goes into their food and consequently into their bodies. Theodent is currently available at both Harrod’s and Selfridge’s in London, White’s Mercantile on Magazine Street and on Amazon, where it sells for about $16 a tube. Santa baby, I want this kind of chocolate in my stocking this year! 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.
illu st ration by Ton y H eale 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.
It may sound too good to be true, but this
holiday season, chocolate toothpaste could be just the thing for savvy Santas to stuff in stockings. And, instead of being bad for your teeth, this smooth concoction actually rebuilds your tooth enamel, something that has never been accomplished before. New Orleanian Dr. Arman Sadeghpour is the man behind Theodent, which harnesses the power of a relative of caffeine. While working in the research lab of LSU’s dental school overthe summer years ago, much of the research Sadeghpour conducted — along with Dr. Tetso Nakamoto, DDS, PhD — centered on the effects of caffeine, also known as the naturally occurring compound xanthine. Caffeine deteriorates tooth enamel by shrinking the size of the crystals that comprise it. Later, while working on his doctoral thesis at Tulane University, Sadeghpour discovered that theobromine, another member of the xanthine family, had the opposite effect: It could actually increase the crystal size of tooth enamel, effectively re-growing enamel. Theobromine is derived from cacao, the same ingredient that produces cocoa and ultimately chocolate, adding credence to the theory that chocolate is good for you. High-quality dark chocolate contains 3% theobromine, enough to outweigh the decaying effects of sugar. It has bone tissue benefits as well. As tooth decay is the one disease that affects every human, the implications of theobromine’s discovery are huge. For the last century, the only defense against tooth decay was fluoride, a problematic ingredient indeed. Fluoride is highly toxic and not meant to be ingested, which is why toothpaste often comes with a warning to keep out of children’s reach. While fluoride has been proven to help maintain existing tooth enamel, it doesn’t restore it. Aside from caffeine, enamel erosion is also commonly caused by ingesting soft drinks, fruit juice and wine. Bleaching, an increasingly popular practice for tooth whitening, literally strips enamel from the tooth’s surface. Until now, it was believed that once your enamel was gone, it could never be restored, but Sadeghpour’s discovery of theobromine
In The Biz touris m
A Star in the East Holiday parade returns to draw tourism to New Orleans East By Jennifer Gibson Schecter
18 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
Orleans, I can attest to the fact that even in small Midwestern towns, New Orleans has an iconic appeal for tourists that translates through cultural osmosis. I do not recall ever seeing a commercial on television, and there were certainly no targeted ads on social media. Rather, New Orleans appeared in novels, movies and music that told stories of ironwork balconies, streetcars and live oaks blanketed in Spanish moss, encouraging me and my friends to imagine visiting the city one day. What happens though, when the reality of that cultural identity leaves out the richness of the dozens of neighborhoods that make up New Orleans? Most of those stories and images of New Orleans depict the French Quarter, resulting in the creation and continuation of the French Quarter as the epicenter of tourism. Businesses on Bourbon Street stand a good chance a tourist will walk past their windows. The same cannot be said for the businesses on Read Boulevard. That is where the work of business leaders and elected officials comes in. Capitalizing on the holiday spirit, District E Councilmember Cyndi Nguyen and partners are bringing back a holiday event this month for the second annual Jingle on the Boulevard Parade on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 12 p.m. in New Orleans East. Founded by Councilmember Nguyen in 2018, The Jingle on the Boulevard Parade returns with the goal of creating family fun experiences in New Orleans East while enhancing economic development and tourism activities to promote the businesses located in “The E.” “District E has taken a proactive approach to ensure that the community maintains its identity and expands economic development and tourism activities within the city of New Orleans, District E,” said Councilmember Nguyen. “Jingle on the Boulevard is now included as one of the many cultural events presented in the city to improve the quality of life for local residents and ensures a steady flow of tourism into the city.” The parade will be produced for the second year by Versatile Entertainment Inc., a New Orleans-based company that specializes in event planning, artist development,
artist management and marketing. Ryan D. Warner, president and CEO of Versatile Entertainment, said approximately 5,000 spectators watched the parade last year, and this year they anticipate close to 7,000 spectators, many of whom will be visitors. “Our desired outcomes for drawing tourism to the East are improved infrastructure, employment, better quality of life, culture preservation and to increase revenue for businesses,” said Warner. Event organizers are looking at various factors to measure the success of the parade. They plan to track spending at retail shopping locations, on food and beverage, at nightclubs, lounges and bars, on transportation and on lodging. To encourage tourists to stay in New Orleans East, they have created partnerships with Wyndham Garden New Orleans East and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson New Orleans I-10 East. The parade route itself will highlight retailers and restaurants from Crowder Boulevard to Hayne Boulevard, to Read Boulevard, stretching to the site of the former Lake Forest Plaza. While the route is mostly residential, some of the businesses that will get a boost include Whispers on the Lake, PJ’s Coffee, Cajun’s Seafood and Waffle House. The Jingle on the Boulevard Parade will feature floats, dancing groups and marching bands from local organizations and schools. Confirmed participants include Royal Heat Dance Team, Passion Dance Center, BusyBodies Dance Company Inc., Dream Dolls, Friends of King, Encore Academy, KIPP East Primary School, Alcee Fortier Alumni Drum Section, Hott Rodd Productions and Ruff Ryders, with many more groups planned. The parade will also have Santa Clause and holiday characters, and promises surprise celebrity guest appearances as well. Jingle on the Boulevard Parade will line up at Crowder Boulevard and Morrison Road in New Orleans East and rolls at noon on Saturday, Dec. 14. For more details, visit jingleontheboulevard.com. n
illust ration by Ton y H eale 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 BizNewOrleans.com.
As someone who did not grow up in New
bizneworleans.com / 19
In The Biz sports
When a Loss is a Gift In the midst of such a winning season, I’m moved to reflect on one of the greatest lessons sports teaches: dealing with loss. by chris price
20 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
On Mardi Gras night in February 1977, my mom and dad were getting ready to leave her parents’ home to watch the Mistick Krewe of Comus parade on the streets of Uptown New Orleans when they heard a gunshot in the backyard. They found my grandfather with a fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest. He didn’t know it, but my mom was pregnant with me. I was born in the shadow of his death, and his absence cast a pall over everyone he left behind. With his absence, my grandmother looked to fill a lonely void by enjoying sports and forging a tight bond with me. She passed away this past July, days before training camp opened. Mere would have loved the way this season has gone. The Saints found ways to win even though Brees was injured and missed five games. LSU developed an offense and has a quarterback in contention for the Heisman Trophy. And the Rummel Raiders are, again, atop the Catholic League. There have been times this season — after a big win or controversial call — when I expected my phone to light up with a call or text from her, but none came. Initially, that gave me a hollow feeling, but it was soon replaced by a wave of gratitude. One of the greatest lessons sports teaches is how to take a loss, move past it, and try to make yourself better. She did that in life. These days, I share my sports knowledge with my wife and daughters — who watched their first sporting events with their greatgrandmother. I see her mannerisms in them as they react to the action and that always brings a smile. A few days after she passed, I won my third consecutive New Orleans Press Club award for best sports column or blog. She would have been thrilled. Maybe she knew, maybe she didn’t, but she’s a major reason why I am a fan and chose a career as a sports journalist. I don’t know what she would have predicted for my future back in 1977, but I’m thankful for the time we had together, for the games we saw, and for all the dancing we did after the Saints marched in. Despite her pain, she had a solid hand in making me who I am today. She was my champion. For that I am eternally grateful. n
illust ration by Ton y H eale 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 BizNewOrleans.com.
What a year it has been for football! I
don’t know that I can recall another time when Louisiana has been at the apex of both professional and college football for the entirety of the regular season. The winning has been fantastic, but, personally, something has been sorely missing. My earliest football memories are of my mom, grandmother and me huddled in front of the television watching Saints games in the early part of the afternoon and the national game of the week in the later part of the day. At this time of year, Mere, as we affectionately called my mom’s mom, always liked to watch teams play in the snow. I remember her excitement when her teams did well and her vocal disappointment when they didn’t. She was exuberant when the Saints finally became a winner under head coach Jim Mora. So much so, in fact, that she bought a pair of season tickets so that we could be in that number when Tom Benson would boogie after victories on the Superdome floor. When I was in high school, she took a job at Archbishop Rummel, worked there until she was 90, and became a mainstay at Raider games for nearly a quarter century. When I left New Orleans to go to college, she made her way up to Oxford, Mississippi a few times a year to take in my adopted Ole Miss Rebels. In recent years, as I entered adulthood and started a family of my own, we didn’t go to as many games together, but she stayed on top of things. She would call or text asking to help clarify a call or my opinion on a play or game-related issue. When the Saints signed Drew Brees, she cut out an advertisement he placed in The Times-Picayune and put it up on her refrigerator. When the Black & Gold made their Super Bowl run, she saved a month’s worth of newspapers so that I’d have them for posterity. Looking back, I spent a lot of time in my youth watching sports with her. She always seemed willing to take me to a game. We had a unique relationship that sometimes resembled the connection a young man would have with his father or grandfather. Though I recognized it as a youngster, I really didn’t appreciate it until I was an adult.
bizneworleans.com / 21
In The Biz enterta in m ent
If This Hall Could Speak With audience numbers growing, Preservation Hall launches a new performance series. by Kim Singletary
22 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
“We’ve really seen a lot of growth in our audience numbers in the past four to five years,” he said, adding that visitors are looking to hear more than just the music. “If this hall could speak — we hear that a lot from people,” he said. “So, we decided to give people a chance to hear more of the musicians’ stories and call it exactly that.” Instead of the typical 45-minute performance, If This Hall Could Speak performances run about an hour. Rona said the extra time “allows the artists to stretch out a bit. “These artists aren’t just entertainers, they are pillars of the community and casual historians,” Rona said, adding that the musician’s share not just tales of playing for dignitaries and at famous funerals, but sometimes the stories behind the creation of a song and what it was like to grow up in New Orleans during various times in history. “A lot of the groups we host are multigenerational, in fact we’re seeing the third generation of Preservation Hall artists come in now as those in their 70s and 80s are passing the tradition on,” said Rona. “They are an integral part of the history of New Orleans.” If This Hall Could Speak launched Nov. 1 and performances are currently being held Fridays and Saturdays at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The ticket cost is the same as for a regular show, making this an inexpensive, unique and fun option for entertaining visiting family this holiday season. For more information, visit PreservationHall.com.n
illust ration by Ton y H eale y
Kimberley Singletary is the managing editor of Biz New Orleans magazine. A 20-year Southern California veteran, she has been surrounded by the film industry for most of her life.
Preservation Hall breaks all the norms
of a popular music venue; It welcomes people to sit on floor cushions and benches, doesn’t serve alcohol — or any food or drink — and you won’t see a single amplifier or microphone anywhere. “It’s like watching a show in someone’s living room,” said Ron Rona, who has served as Preservation Hall’s artistic director for the past 12 years. This is one popular living room, however. Created as a haven for the preservation of New Orleans jazz, it’s hosted the genre’s greats — names like George Lewis and Sweet Emma Barrett. Almost 60 years later, Preservation Hall continues to run five, 45-minute performances a night, 355 nights a year. Audiences of often more than 100 people — from infants to nonagenarians who pay $20 each, or $40 to $50 if they want to be guaranteed a seat — pack into a sparse, small space that appears not to have changed, not only since the venue opened, but since the building was built in 1750. While it may not be big on change in a lot of ways, however, Preservation Hall has its modern elements. It’s definitely embraced social media and is constantly reaching out to the world through its artists. True to its name, the hall is all about sustaining the music and history that make New Orleans a one-of-a-kind destination, and a big part of that continues to be the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. For more than 50 years, the band has featured some of New Orleans’ best jazz musicians, and the seven-members of the current band are busier than ever. “The band’s last two record have featured all original compositions and they’re currently out on a two-month tour of 30 cities,” Rona said. “They play Coachella. They play Bonaroo. They did a two-week “Tuba to Cuba” tour in 2015 and we filmed a documentary of the whole experience. Last year that was released and this year the soundtrack was released.” Rona said from the beginning the success of Preservation Hall has relied on word of mouth, and that has only increased with the band’s recent efforts, the result of which has been felt back at their home base.
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In The Biz entrepreneurship
On the Nile The world’s first civilization continues to be an entrepreneurial gold mine. by keith twitchell
24 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
three weeks in Egypt. The Egyptians established the world’s first great civilization more than 5,000 years ago — and where would civilization be without entrepreneurs? Starting a civilization is a pretty great entrepreneurial achievement in itself, and the early pharaohs established one that ultimately lasted almost 3,500 years. The first pharaoh, Narmer, united the kingdoms of upper and lower Egypt in approximately 3100 A.D. — think of it as the ancient equivalent of a major corporate merger. While the fertile banks of the Nile provided the cradle from which Egyptian civilization was nourished, not everything the people needed could be found or grown within this narrow strip of land. As such, trade was vital, and early pharaohs used trade both as a way to obtain needed goods and to keep the country unified. While the Egyptians did not invent tariffs, they did invent a system of taxes, which enabled the pharaohs to employ a workforce, fund public works projects, and create incredible wealth for themselves and the elite. The more civilization changes, the more it stays the same …. The invention of hieroglyphics was another key to power and wealth in ancient Egypt. First appearing around 2800 B.C., these symbols were used to glorify the pharaohs and record their exploits, both real and imagined. However, they also had the very functional purpose of recording harvests, business transactions, inventories and taxes paid. While painting these elaborate symbols on papyri — or worse yet, carving them into tablets — was time consuming, it probably was not too much worse than dealing with a balky computer. Back to taxes: another great invention of an undetermined pharaoh was what archeologists actually call a “Nilometer.” These were deep holes carved into the bedrock close to the Nile in various places, then connected to the river itself. At the peak of the annual Nile flood, the river level was measured. This projected the quality of the harvest that year, and taxes were set accordingly. Lower water levels meant lower taxes. Rumors suggest that a few Nilometers were sabotaged with
channels to drain off some of the water, evidence of the first tax cheaters in history. The first pyramid was commissioned by the Pharaoh Djoser around 2670 B.C. No, they were not built by aliens; plenty of records exist that detail the process. Ancient Egypt was largely a nation of farmers, but during the Nile flood period, the fields were under water and could not be worked. So, the idle farmers became construction workers during this time, providing the tens of thousands of laborers needed to build the pyramids. On the other hand, having seen some of the monumental temples that were relocated to preserve them from the inundation caused by the Aswan dam, I think they may very well have been moved by aliens. That brings us into present times. The dam is an environmental and archeological disaster, but it provided the government with a reliable source of energy and contained the annual flooding. President Nasser very skillfully played the U.S. and the USSR against each other and got the latter to pay for most of the construction — a great way to access venture capital. With a burgeoning population and paucity of jobs, many modern Egyptians are vendor-level entrepreneurs, and they can be a trifle persistent. However, a very endearing Egyptian trait is a constant sense of humor; for example, in the 108-degree heat of Aswan, one shopkeeper attempted to lure me into his store with a friendly “welcome to Alaska.” Situated at the crossroads of Africa and the Arab world, modern Egypt has its share of challenges. But I left feeling confident that the same entrepreneurial spirit that enabled them to create the world’s first great civilization will somehow help them solve the problems of today as well. n
illust ration by Ton y H eale 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.
This fall I had the privilege of spending
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In The Biz etiquette
Do Not Jingle All the Way Office or work related holiday parties are a potential minefield of gaffs. by Melanie Warner Spencer
26 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
PDA to your significant other. In fact, don’t do anything to draw attention to yourself. Save your impression of John Belushi’s “Animal House” character “Bluto” doing the “gator” during the song “Shout” for your family and friends holiday gathering and keep any and all party tricks under your hat. Ugly Christmas sweaters are usually a pretty harmless choice of attire, but before shimmying into that or any other festive garment, consider your workplace culture. If your office dress code is strictly business and you haven’t received instructions that it’s an ugly sweater party or that the event is casual, opt for a suit and tie or dress. It’s OK to incorporate festive elements into business attire, so for example a suit could be paired with a holiday-themed tie (nothing risqué) or a dress or blouse and pants set can include a bit of shimmer and shine. Whether the event is formal, casual or something between however, always avoid anything too short, too tight, too revealing or too far from what you would normally wear to work. When in doubt, ask your manager or human resources representative for attire suggestions. If you post about the party or share photos on social media don’t say anything negative and avoid images of yourself or others drinking excessively or misbehaving. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to put alcoholic beverages down or hide them in a work photo. At some point during the party or before you depart, be sure to thank your bosses (or whomever paid for the event) and your colleagues who planned it. If you can’t find them, send an email the next day. Finally, business holiday parties are of course an opportunity to see your clients and colleagues outside of work and it’s OK to have a good time, but don’t relax so much that you forget it is a work function. n
illust ration by Ton y H eale 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 Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.
R e c e n t ly, I rea d a g reat t i p o n
businessinsider.com for when you attend a business or business-related event in which alcohol is being served and you’d like to imbibe a little or at least blend in: Order a drink you don’t particularly care for, because you’ll naturally sip and drink it more slowly. Obviously you don’t have to drink at all or appear to drink, but if you do, this is a good strategy. With the holidays upon us, office parties and festive networking events are kicking up and it’s easy to lose track of time and the number of drinks you’ve consumed when kicking up your heels with colleagues and contacts. No one wants to be the drunken guy or gal at the work party, so putting an easy plan in place like this one can offer a little built-in insurance. Drinking isn’t the only thing to watch out for when it comes to the office holiday party. We explored holiday party etiquette in this space in 2014, but it’s never too soon for a refresher. Here are a few other things to keep in mind this season (or any time you are at a work-related party). First, plan to attend your company holiday party, unless you legitimately have another commitment. Your boss will notice if you are absent and so will his or her boss. It’s not enough just to show up however. Rather, it’s important to participate in the festivities. Mix, mingle and use the event as an opportunity to chat up someone you don’t normally talk to at the office. That said, while a little shoptalk is fine, conversations shouldn’t center around business the entire time. Catch up on current events and have a few book, movie or travel conversation starters in your back pocket. This will also help you sidestep the office gossip mill. If someone starts to natter on about a colleague in an ungenerous way, change the subject or excuse yourself. Conversely, do not use the office party as an opportunity to hit on your crush. This is neither the time nor the place and you are quite likely to become fodder for the very gossip mill you are trying to avoid. It’s also unprofessional to show too much
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In The Biz m a rketing
Addressable Geofencing Explained The art of reaching an audience at the perfect time and place. by Julia carcamo
Geofencing is a location-based marketing
approach that marketers use to engage target audiences via their smart devices once they enter a pre-defined geographic location. You can send directed messages to customers while they are at your competition (or another targeted place.) Most marketers are familiar with this tool, having used it or having been the recipient of a geolocation-based message. Car dealerships use this type of advertising to send promotional messages as shoppers pass the dealership or while they are shopping at a competitor location. Airlines use geofencing to upsell passengers as they walk through the airport. Hotels have used it to capture reviews shortly after visitors leave the hotel. Burger King made headlines when they geofenced McDonald’s locations, allowing customers to unlock a penny Whopper offer. As fast as television is changing, geofencing is as well. Addressable geofencing provides a marketer (or advertiser) the ability to serve ads to people in more exact locations (like the homes of your inactive customers) primarily for the use of customer acquisition or reactivation. Geofencing allows you to create a virtual fence and place a message in front of customers whenever they cross into the fenced area. In addition to the message they send while a customer is inside the fenced area, marketers can also continue to send messages for up to 30 days after, providing additional frequency and impressions.
appeal to underage consumers. Think of it like blacklisting Nickelodeon from your traditional television buy. This eliminates wasteful ads. How do you know how well it’s working? You can track efforts by establishing your location as an additional fence to measure the traffic you have created. Additionally, if you used your database to determine the list, you can track actual ROI — something that has historically been unavailable for measuring the success of traditional advertising buys. Proceed with Caution
Some marketers can fall into the trap of not thinking of addressable geofencing in terms of a comprehensive game plan, such as including site retargeting and (perhaps) search. You also want to make sure that once you draw in your audience, you have everything you’ve promised them. Is your website all it can be? Is your product ready to go? While the cost of entry for the advertiser isn’t huge, the price of a dissatisfied customer could be higher. As marketers, business owners and general managers, we are continually asking ourselves how we can target our core audience in much more efficient ways. In this way, addressable advertising can be an excellent tool for your next campaign. n
28 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
illu st r ation by Ton y H eale 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 jcarcamoassociates.com and espnola.com.
The first step is to understand how your company’s current budget is allocated in terms of strategy and goals, who your core audience is and who you want to reach. Once you know that, you can build a campaign to get to your targets. Casinos, for example, can target a specific set of homes: for instance, households with adults over the age of 40 that have a keen interest in casinos. They can then pull an addressable list around their property or in a specific geography (i.e., ZIP code, county or parish, town). Lists and budgets can be created with demographic or psychographic targets, or they can use a file from their database. They can also choose to blacklist apps or websites that
hot topics in southe ast Louisiana industries
perspectives banking & Finance / education / real estate & construction
Is your nest egg growing like it should?
Perspectives b a nking & F in a nce
If you have an active 401(k) with
your company, you’ve probably been contributing money from every paycheck. And because the money is taken out as an automatic deduction you may not have thought about it in some time, but financial advisors say the end of the year is a great time to change that. As you reflect back on the year’s successes and challenges, it’s also a perfect opportunity to reflect on your finances — including your retirement account — to see if you’re on track to meet your goals. If this is the first time you’ve looked at your 401(k) in a while, here’s some advice: Don’t panic. “This has been a crazy year for investments as far as the volatility of the market,” says Michelle Archambault, CPA at Hannis T. Bourgeouis, LLP. The point of a retirement account is to be invested for the long run, so expect some market swings and don’t be scared if you see your investment accounts drop a bit. Whatever you do, “Don’t touch your 401(k),” says Katie LeGardeur, market manager for J.P. Morgan Private Bank New Orleans. “Pulling money out of the stock market can be worse in the long run — it’s more likely that you’ll see your investment grow according to plan if you don’t sell,” LeGardeur says. Scary or not, you do have to look at your account to see what’s working and what isn’t. CONTRIBUTIONS
It’s Goal Time Again The end of the year is a perfect time to look over your 401(k). Local investment professionals weigh in on what mistakes you can’t afford to make and the changes that lie ahead in 2020. By Jessica Rosgaard
32 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
The first place to start is your personal contribution. Most companies provide an employer match, so you’ll want to make sure you’re contributing enough of your own money to maximize the employer matching funds. “You never want to leave money on the table,” says Troy Toups, founder of Toups Wealth Management. “You want to have at least enough going into your 401(k) where you’re capitalizing on that match from the employer. If a company is matching
5% and let’s say someone’s only contributing 3%, then they’re missing out on free money – that’s a 2% match they’re missing out on.” Lisa Calongne, a financial advisor with Edward Jones, says the process of considering your 401(k) contribution is two-fold: Review your budget for the next year and consider increasing your 401(k) payroll deduction. “Have you received a raise this year? If so, you should definitely make an additional contribution into your 401(k),” says Calongne, “especially if you have not been able to maximize the percentage that the employer matches for you.” Jaron Miller, a private wealth associate with Faubourg Private Wealth, says a good rule of thumb is to increase your contributions a little bit every year. “A personal goal might be if I’m contributing 5% to my 401(k) currently, I might try to increase that to 6% this next year. Some people tend to be really good at that; when they’re getting older and they’re getting closer to that retirement age, they tend to really step up... to make sure they have as much money as possible.” But, Miller adds, you don’t have to be close to retirement to increase your contribution. “If you start contributing somewhere between 10 to 15% of your income every single year, that’s going to make a substantial difference as far as how much money you’re going to have at retirement as opposed to if you had only contributed the minimum amount for the match.” ALLOCATIONS
The next thing to consider is what kind of funds your money is invested in. The end of the year is a great time to connect with your financial advisor and review your portfolio allocation. “Reach out to the advisor you have with the plan and sit down to review basically the performance that you’ve done for the year,” says Miller. “How
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have your investments performed, and does it make any sense to make any changes to that portfolio?” Talking about your personal goals for the upcoming year, or changes to your long-term financial goals, will help your financial planner adjust your investments accordingly. “It is very, very important when looking at your 401(k) at the end of the year to make sure that you know what your investment strategy is,” says Calongne. “That means having a goal and understanding how your investment selection and diversification plan will help you achieve that goal.” While your investment selection and asset allocation will help you attain your long-term retirement goal, age and personal risk tolerance also play a role in how to invest your finances. “How comfortable are you with your asset allocation? Because even though you may be in an age bracket where a more aggressive asset allocation might be suggested, you still have to be sure that you are comfortable with that allocation based on your risk profile,” says Calongne. MAX OUT
If you’re a seasoned retirement investor, this is a good time to take a look at what you’ve contributed to your 401(k) throughout the year and see if you can max out your contributions. The IRS sets a maximum 401(k) contribution every year. For 2019, that means you can put up to $19,000 into your 401(k) if you’re under the age of 50; that amount increases to $26,000 if you’re 50 or older. “If your employer allows it and you can afford it, you should see if you can make any additional contributions to maximize not only the tax benefit but also the investment,” says Calongne. CHANGES FOR 2020
Every year the IRS adjusts the annual maximum for a 401(k) contribution — so expect that amount to increase to $19,500 if you’re under age 50, and $26,500 if you’re 50 or older in 2020, and plan contributions accordingly. “It’s basically to keep pace with inflation,” says Miller. “[The IRS] real-
34 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
izes the cost of goods and services go up over time. If we’re going to keep pace with that over time, especially when looking at a future retirement, those limits need to be higher.” The IRS is also making a change to its hardship withdrawal policy. Previously, hardship withdrawals were limited to employee contributions. In 2020, employer match, as well as earnings, will be accessible for hardship withdrawals. Investors are discouraged from tapping into their 401(k)s before age 59 ½ — it is, after all, a retirement account. Early withdrawals are subject to income tax and a 10% penalty. But the IRS recognizes that sometimes people need money to prevent foreclosure, or to pay medical costs — hence the hardship withdrawal. Financial advisors recommend against early withdrawals in almost every case. “I’m not exactly in favor of it,” says Troy Toups, who says the changes “kind of opens the floodgates for people to be able to tap into retirement assets that can’t be replenished. Once you spend it, it’s gone.” While he says a hardship policy “serves its place in a dire situation, it’s also a slippery slope. I would prefer someone get a loan instead; that way you’re paying back yourself and you’re avoiding those taxes and it gives you the incentive to shore it back up, so to speak, as opposed to just liquidating your IRA and those funds.” n
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Perspectives educ ation
have been found to be particularly popular with employees but also advantageous for the employer as they can result in both a more skilled and dedicated workforce. Tuition Assistance and Reimbursement
A Benefit for All Want to increase employee retention while creating a more skilled workforce? Education benefits can be a win-win. By Amy Bakay
Despite today’s competitive job
market, employees often have little hesitation about searching for a new job if they become unhappy at work. The average employee tenure today is 4.2 years, and according to a recent study by SurveyMonkey, 51% of employees would leave their job today if offered another opportunity.
36 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
With a low unemployment rate, the competition to attract and retain talent is intense. As such, companies have turned to offering additional paid time off, sign-on bonuses, flexible hours and a range of other perks in an effort to fill jobs and keep employees productive. Among the benefits an employer can offer, those related to education
With this benefit, employers pay for a predetermined amount of continuing education credits or college coursework to be applied toward a degree or trade school. These programs are intended for employees looking to advance their education as it relates to their current career track, offering the chance to increase their industry knowledge and develop advanced skills. Conditions for reimbursement sometimes apply and should be reflected in an employer’s policy. Many employers require that the courses or degree sought be applicable within their company. Another common condition relates to the level of cost that the company will take on. Most employers have an annual cap on what they’ll cover. The IRS allows $5,250 per year to be written off for an employee’s education costs, so anything above that will imply additional tax expenses for the employer. Lastly, many companies adopt a “grade policy,” — reimbursing 100% of only courses where an employee earns a grade of “C” or better. The Society of Human Resource Management’s 2018 Employee Benefits Survey report found 51% of organizations now offer undergraduate educational assistance and 49% offer graduate educational assistance. Organizations that are diverse, inclusive, and offer financial wellness and development opportunities have higher employee retention rates and lower turnover rates. This results in a better bottom line for everyone. Student Loan Assistance or Forgiveness:
With this benefit, employers pay back an employee’s student loans at a predetermined amount per month. This option has recently grown significantly in popularity as many employees come into a job having already reached their
desired education level, and at a greater cost than ever. The Federal Reserve reports that more than 44 million people in the U.S. collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loans. About 65% of that debt belongs to people under 40. Seven out of 10 new college graduates owe an average of $37,172. Student debt, however, is not just for the young. 6.8 million student loan borrowers between 40 and 49 owe $33,765 each, on average, and the debt is likely to grow. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that $1.27 trillion in new federal student loans will be added between 2018 and 2028. Internal Training and Development
Outside of higher education supportive programs, many employers prefer structured on-thejob education, or internal training and development. These types of programs allow a company to strengthen specific skills in order to increase efficiency. Employers can provide internal continuing education courses with existing teams; or work with outside consultants to customize programs for staff. Compared to the average employer investment of $1,800 per employee for an in-house training program, the average costs of employee turnover for someone earning $10 hourly is $4,291. For many companies that’s an easy decision. n
Amy B. Bakay, SHRM-SCP, is the owner and principal consultant for HR NOLA, a human resources outsourcing and consulting firm headquartered in New Orleans. She is the current president of the board of directors for the NOLA Society of Human Resources Management. She may be reached at email@example.com.
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Perspectives re a l estate & construction
This economic growth, he noted, has continued to fuel housing demand. “Prices rose in nearly every parish,” he wrote in a report published on NOMAR.com. “Within the eight parishes of the Metro area the typical price increase was between 2% and 10%.” Low interest rates in 2019 also served to help bolster sales. “I believe we will continue to experience low rates,” says real estate broker Delisha Boyd, who formed Delisha Boyd, LLC, in May 2014 to service Greater New Orleans. “They are a welcomed bonus in our real estate market and increase a buyer’s purchasing power. In addition, the lower interest rates help counteract the current higher home prices. They are a true catalyst to home ownership. It is now cheaper to own a home in New Orleans than it is to rent.” The following is a look at some of the projects currently being completed or on the way for 2020. Housing Projects in Marrero and Uptown
Coming Soon Three local realtors and developers share the commercial and residential projects that have them most excited for 2020. By James Sebastien
38 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
According to a recent market
statistics report by Wade Ragas PhD, MAI, entitled “Single-Family Housing Price Trends New Orleans Metro Area January to June 2018 and 2019,” New Orleans has been in a strong period of economic growth since July 2017. Ragas noted that in the first five months of 2019, the New Orleans economy gained 6,900 jobs while the state gained only 1,900.
While she works to sell the last home among 17 in a small subdivision called Three Oaks in Marrero, developed by Hacienda Construction, Boyd says she’s also excited about a new condominium project currently in the permitting stage that is being developed by Neighborhood Housing Services and Green Coast Enterprises at 4528 Freret Street. The development will include 10 one-bedroom units, 10 two-bedroom units, eight studio apartments and first-floor commercial businesses. “Once we establish a price point, we will begin presales in the spring of 2020,” she says. “We are anticipating the completion [at] year end 2020 or during the first quarter of 2021.” Medical & Higher Education Growth
Full-service general contracting and construction management firm The Lemoine Company has several projects underway, including The Garage Condominium in Downtown New Orleans, where a 70-year-old five-story parking garage is being transformed into apartments, condos and retail space.
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Lemoine is also working on the Children’s Hospital New Orleans campus expansion and renovation, which includes a 600-vehicle parking garage, a surgical/ICU tower, expansion of the Central Utility Plant, a two-level public circulation concourse and the renovation of the center and west towers, research building and ambulatory care center. At the same time, Lemoine has taken on the West Jefferson Medical Center campus expansion, which will include renovations to the surgical department, along with renovations and additions to the existing emergency department, south wing patient tower and ambulatory surgery center. Looking ahead, Lemoine has multiple projects in planning and preconstruction, including the new Cohen College Prep, Downtown UMC parking garage, Northshore Cancer Treatment Facility, Shell Chemical, and the Delgado Community College Nursing, Allied Health, Culinary and Hospitality campus. “Most are fully funded and expected to break ground by no later than end of first quarter,” says William Lemoine, the company’s vice president of east market New Orleans and healthcare. “We are confident in a strong 2020 with a great deal of activity expected in the medical and hospitality sectors, which we believe will carry into 2021 and beyond,” he says. “In addition, we continue to see new activity and expansion of both the lower and higher education building markets, as well as commercial building in industrial and chemical plants.” Housing Demand Continues in St. Tammany and Plaquemines Parishes
Outside of Orleans Parish, David L. Waltemath Interests is leading ongoing developments in St. Tammany and Plaquemines. Owner David Waltemath has over 35 years of experience in real estate planning, development, construction and project management. Waltemath developments include the Bedico Creek Preserve community, a 1,000-acre property that has been transformed into a conservation community development where 60 percent of the land is dedicated to parks and green spaces.
40 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019
“We have a collection of neighborhoods ranging from $275,000 to $1 million plus,” Waltemath says. “We just opened Bedico Trail — a collection of lots and new homes priced from the $300,000s — which features an amazing island peninsula next to our second pool and park pavilion.” Waltemath also has two developments located in Belle Chasse: Parks of Plaquemines — a high-end neighborhood of 225 home sites — and Cypress Park, which has 50 completed lots and 65 under construction. “Both West St Tammany and Plaquemines parishes are in high demand with homebuyers,” he says. “With a shortage of supply in competing neighborhoods, plus our beautiful green space and amenities, we are expecting another great year.” Anticipated Challenges for 2020
Despite low interest rates, Boyd says a gap still exists between buyers and lenders. “We have a growing pool of entrepreneurs, as well as young millennials, that don’t have a lengthy work history,” she says. “If lenders are not willing to work with and/or accommodate non-traditional buyers, we will have a growing inventory of homes available.” Another challenge area is the rising costs of goods and services, which affect a project’s budget, and ultimately its viability. “We see this having an effect on the actual number of multifamily and hospitality projects that might make it to market in 2020 or 2021,” Lemoine says. Like so many industries, the real estate and development industries also suffer from workforce development issues. “Skilled labor forces who are adept in building knowledge and performing safely continue to be a growing concern,” Lemoine says. “With the high levels of construction activity there is a strong need for the builders and trade partners in our market to strengthen our positions on recruiting and training skilled workers, while also standing strong on not sacrificing safety, quality and other standards to meet pricing.”
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TOP 10 BUSINESS STORIES OF THE YEAR
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1 The Wait is Over!
Six years after plans were finalized, New Orleans’ new airport has arrived. By Kim Singletary
Since we published our first “Top 10 Business Stories of the Year” in 2015, the airport has made the list every year as news of its progress over the past six years has continued to top headlines. It’s No. 4 spot in our 2015 ranking centered on that summer’s groundbreaking of the New North Terminal, the plans for which had been announced by the New Orleans Aviation Board in April 2013.
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In that first writeup, the North Terminal was going to have 30 gates, cost $826 million and open in May 2018. Then, in 2016, the airport grabbed the No. 1 spot when, after 34 years without a non-stop flight to Europe, the airport welcomed both Condor Airlines — offering non-stop flights to Germany — and the really big win, British Airways, offering non-stop service to London. Earlier that year, then-New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu was quoted in a Jan. 2016 article on BizNewOrleans.com stressing the importance of the new airport, noting the projected $1.7 billion in economic impact from construction and $3.2 billion in expected annual economic impact on tourism. “As the most transformative project for New Orleans since the Superdome, the new North Terminal project will create new jobs and unmatched business opportunities for the people of New Orleans and southeast Louisiana,” he said. “For over 40 years, people talked about developing an airport that was reflective of our city, yet for decades there was little action and minimal collaboration.” Action continued on the airport in 2017, when news of its expansion to 35 gates and now February 2019 opening date pushed it to our No. 2 story of the year. In 2018, the now $1 billion North Terminal slid to the No. 7 spot as the “Terminal Waiting Game” continued. As of that December, the airport was about half finished and the opening date had been pushed, yet again, to now May 2019 due to the need to fix 2,000 feet of sinking sewer lines. Instead of an opening, this past May marked the highest number of passengers the airport had ever served in a single month — a record-breaking 1.28 million (7.4 percent higher than May 2018). For the fourth consecutive year Visitors enjoy in 2019, the airport continued to post refreshments during record-breaking passenger totals. festivities for the opening of the new Then, it happened. Late on a Friday Louis Armstrong New afternoon on Oct. 18, news came that Orleans International the new airport would open in just Airport in Kenner, La., on Nov. 5. two-and-a half weeks. On Wednesday, November 6, measuring 972,000 square feet, with 35 gates and 40 food, beverage and retail locations, the airport finally opened to the world — making national headlines. …And now the wait begins for the next addition — the $125.6 million I-10 flyover, currently anticipated for the end of 2022.
AP Photo/Gerald Herber t
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2 The Battle of the Papers Ends
Advocate owners John and Dathel Georges Purchase the Times-Picayune By Kim Singletary
On May 2, 2019, after seven years spent as home
to two local papers — the 182-year-old TimesPicayune and 177-year-old Advocate — New Orleans learned it would be returning to one paper, and it would serve as an amalgamation of both. On that day, John and Dathel Georges, owners of The Advocate since 2013, announced they had purchased The Times-Picayune and its associated website, nola.com. Serving as New Orleans’ newspaper since 1837, The Times-Picayune had a long and “storied” history. Early on, the paper broke ground as the only major newspaper in the United States run by a female owner — Eliza Jane Nicholson, who served as publisher from 1876 to her death 20 years later. In the early 1900s, the Times-Picayune counted William Faulkner as one of its writers: The paper published some of Faulkner’s first forays into fiction writing. It was its coverage of Hurricane Katrina, however, that the Picayune’s work garnered the attention of the world, as well as 19 Pulitzer Prizes. Just seven years later, in 2012, the paper celebrated its 175th birthday, but it was struggling financially enough that Samuel I. Newhouse — whose New York City-based company Advance Publications had owned the Times-Picayune since 1962 — decided to drop production of the daily paper to three days a week. Nearly half the newsroom, almost 200 workers, lost their jobs.
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Seizing on an opportunity, that same year The Advocate expanded into New Orleans, snatching up many former Picayune writers and launching a bureau in the city to offer Two large cranes a home-delivered daily paper. from the Hard Rock Hotel construction As the years followed, the T-P collapse come continued to suffer losses, while crashing down The Advocate expanded. In 2014, the following a controlled detonation T-P closed its production plant on on Oct. 20. Howard Avenue to begin printing in Mobile, Alabama. More than 100 jobs were lost. Meanwhile, in 2015 The Advocate On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 12, just after 9 opened a brand new 48,000-square-foot building in a.m., tragedy struck on Canal Street when the top Baton Rouge to serve as its corporate headquarters. floors of the 18-story, half-built Hard Rock Hotel In 2017, The Advocate’s New Orleans team also collapsed, killing three workers and injuring 30. received a new home on St. Charles Avenue. That More than 100 workers were on site at the $85 same year The Advocate purchased St. Tammany million job at the time of the collapse. Parish’s weekly paper, The Farmer. In April 2018, For the following eight days, streets and busiNew Orleans weekly alternative paper The Gambit nesses surrounding the area were closed as workers became the latest acquisition. searched for missing people below two precariLess than a month after winning its first Pulitzer ously perched cranes hanging hundreds of feet Prize, The Advocate reported news of the purabove them. chase. Sadly, the merging of the two papers left After two delays, the cranes were toppled Oct. 161 people, including 65 journalists, without a 20, allowing most businesses to return, with one job. Approximately 10 have since ended up with notable exception: the adjacent Saenger Theatre. jobs at the new version of the paper. On Nov. 5, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced that the site would be demolished with the bodies of two of the three workers still inside. Reporting on the financial implications of the collapse, a Nov. 6 article on Nola.com reported that cleanup, infrastructure issues and emergency personnel had cost the city $6 million in just the first two weeks, with damage to Rampart Street estimated at $1.2 million and damage and lost revenue costing the Saenger, which is owned by the city, at close to $850,000. On Oct. 21, Hard Rock International chairman Jim Allen was quoted on Fox Business that the tragedy could delay the hotel — which is also planned to feature 62 condos — for two years. The hotel was originally supposed to be completed in the spring of 2019, but was pushed to this coming spring. Partners on the hotel project also include real estate development and management company Kailas Company, which owns the land; the project’s general contractor, Citadel Builders; and All-Star Electric. All three companies are based out of Metairie. By the end of October, 11 lawsuits had been filed — all but one claiming negligence on the part of Citadel Builders and numerous subcontractors. As surrounding businesses continue to deal with lost revenue from the disaster, the United States Small Business Association announced Nov. 5 that Tragedy Strikes Canal Street it would be offering low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2 million to those affected. The Three dead and dozens injured Louisiana Greater New Orleans and Bayou Region in collapse of anticipated Hard Rock Hotel Small Business Development Center also stepped By Kim Singletary in to offer free, personalized counseling.
AP Photo/Gerald Herber t
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4 New Orleans Continues to Battle Aging Infrastructure
Confidence in local infrastructure remained low amid street flooding and the discovery of a vehicle clogging a key drainage culvert. BY Jennifer Larino
Street flooding and clogged drainage canals. Potholes
and power plants. New Orleans’ aging infrastructure continued to generate headlines in 2019 as officials worked out a deal to fund improvements. Infrastructure funding talks among Gov. John Bel Edwards, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and tourism leaders lasted through the spring. A deal reached in May gave $50 million in immediate funding to the cash-strapped Sewerage & Water Board, money cobbled together from Ernest N. Morial Convention Center coffers and unspent state disaster funds. It also OK’d $26 million a year in new, recurring funding to be used to fund infrastructure needs. That part of the deal will be funded by higher hotel taxes among other sources. Concern over the city’s drainage system colored an otherwise low-key hurricane season for the region. Residents in the Central Business District, Mid-City and Uptown waded through knee-high water after a July 10 deluge flooded streets citywide. In late August, locals watched as S&WB contractors pulled a whole vehicle from a watery pile of debris blocking a drainage culvert near the Lafitte Greenway in Mid-City. An Aug. 26 line of thunderstorms sparked another bout of citywide flooding just days after the car removal operation. Debate over the future of the city’s electric grid is poised to continue. In February, the New Orleans
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City Council agreed to allow Entergy New Orleans to build a controversial A free musuem, $210 million natural gas-fired power corporate offices, plant in New Orleans East, a decision distillery and event space, The that was later challenged in court and Sazerac House remains in legal limbo. (Entergy was opened Oct. 2. fined $5 million by the council for a 2018 scheme in which paid actors posed as plant supporters at public meetings.) In July, the council inked a solar deal that green-lights a new $42 million solar power plant in New Orleans East and the purchase of power from solar plants in St. James and Washington parishes. Together the gas-fired plant and solar improvements are expected to add about $7.30 to the monthly bill for the average Entergy New Orleans customer. In late 2019, the council sought to lower the profit Entergy is allowed to make from its activities, a move that would save customers $3 a month. Entergy CEO Leo Denault criticized the adjustment as unreasonable. It was still under negotiation as of mid-November.
5 There is a House in New Orleans
The Sazerac House becomes New Orleans’ latest one-of-a-kind attractions. By Kim Singletary
AP Photo/Gerald Herber t
Second only in terms of pomp and circumstance to the opening of the airport’s new North Terminal, which followed barely a month later, The Sazerac House threw open its doors on Oct. 2 at the corner of Canal and Magazine streets. “With our origins dating back to 1850 here in New Orleans, the Sazerac Company has long wanted to create a homeplace here in this city,” said Sazerac House General Manager Miguel Solorzano in a feature in the October 2019 issue of Biz New Orleans. Solorzano was also recognized in the July 2019 issue as a Biz New Orleans “New & Notable.” “We have created similar homeplaces for several of our other distilleries, including our flagship Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. We were so pleased when the opportunity finally presented itself in such a fortuitous location, just 350 yards from the original Sazerac Coffeehouse.” The six-floor, 48,000-square-foot building functions as an interactive museum that explores the history of New Orleans through its cocktails, as well as rye and bitters production, tasting rooms, 3,500 square feet of event space and office space. The company held two job fairs — one in May and one in July — to fill 45 new positions within the company. The offices are home to 60 employees. Since construction began in 2016, the project has also employed hundreds of workers through local firms including Trapolin-Peer Architects, Ryan Gootee General Contractors and Solomon Group. The Sazerac Company’s ever-expanding spirit portfolio includes Buffalo Trace, Pappy Van Winkle, Eagle Rare, Blanton’s, Southern Comfort, Fireball and of course, Sazerac Rye and Peychaud’s Bitters, among more than 300 others. In 2016, Sazerac purchased Southern Comfort and Tuaca. This past summer, the company rolled the former out with a revamped look that declared it “The Spirit of New Orleans.” The Sazerac House is already home to its own exclusive gin. Sold exclusively at The Sazerac House through spring 2020, Henry Ramos Gin — named for an 1870s New Orleans bartender — launched in early November with the goal of making the ideal gin for the Ramos Gin Fizz Cocktail. While the private company does not share economic data, Sazerac is believed to employ roughly 2,000 people across 112 countries and generate annual revenues of around $1 billion.
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Luxury Investments Lead Continued Hotel Growth New Orleans added hotel rooms, from boutique historic renovations to trendy new builds. BY Jennifer Larino
Hotel openings in Downtown New Orleans seemed to occur every other day in 2019, and more are on the horizon. Hoteliers are bracing for a softening in hotel room rates, however, as they wait for the city’s next major event — Super Bowl 2024.
New properties ranged from historic renovations to new builds. Hotel Peter & Paul generated buzz with its renovation of the old Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in the Marigny, earning the 71room property a best new hotel nod from Travel + Leisure. The Art Deco-inspired Higgins Hotel & Conference Center opened in December, adding 230 rooms steps from The National World War II Museum’s downtown campus. The luxury hotel market remained hot in 2019, with The Ritz-Carlton receiving a $40 million renovation, and the team behind the Ace Hotel introducing Maison de la Luz, a boutique guest house designed to appeal to well-heeled world travelers. The 67-room Maison de la Luz opened in the historic City Hall Annex building on Carondelet
The Hotel Peter & Paul includes four buildings: the church and rectory â&#x20AC;&#x201D; both designed by noted New Orleans architect Henry Howard â&#x20AC;&#x201D; as well as the school and convent.
Street in May. Construction continues on the Four Seasons Hotel, which will bring 341 high-end hotel rooms and 81 luxury condos, as well as meeting space, dining and private gardens, to the former World Trade Center site. The property is set to open in 2020. In the Warehouse District, billionaire Richard Branson and Mayor LaToya Cantrell broke ground in May on a new 14-story Virgin Hotel on Baronne Street. The 225-room property will open in 2021. In addition, a $557 million Omni Hotel at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center was approved in June as part of an infrastructure deal for New Orleans. Convention Center leaders aim to start construction on the 1,200-room hotel in 2021.
Photo sara essex bradley
7 Affordable Housing Remains a Top Concern
The tax exemption proposal flopped, but new rules for short-term rentals were approved. BY Jennifer Larino
The debate over how best to encourage affordable
housing in New Orleans continued to simmer in 2019, with voters rejecting an October ballot measure that would have allowed the city to exempt small apartment buildings from property taxes. It was a step
Mayor LaToya Cantrell and other supporters hoped would encourage investment in affordable units. Opponents of Amendment 4 were concerned about giving the city unbridled tax exemption authority. They also questioned the wisdom of cutting or freezing taxes given the state of local infrastructure. Just 36% of votes were cast in favor of the measure. Housing affordability remains a concern, however. The Data Center estimates that more than half of renters in New Orleans face unaffordable housing costs, spending more than a third of their income on housing. (The average apartment rent in New Orleans was $1,170 in September 2019, according to RentCafe.com, which tracks rents nationwide.) The nonprofit HousingNOLA projects the city needs to add 33,600 affordable units by 2025 to keep pace with demand. In September, the group found the city had lost 183 affordable housing opportunities over the previous 12 months despite a goal of adding 1,500 per year. It attributed the bulk of the loss to fewer available Section 8 housing vouchers. In August, the New Orleans City Council passed tougher rules on short-term rentals, which many blamed for crimping the local housing supply and inflating rents citywide. The rules, which took effect in December, limit short-term rentals to owneroccupied properties and ban them entirely in the Lower Garden District and much of the French Quarter. However, the council stopped short of requiring large-scale rental operators to include affordable housing in their developments. Other long-term solutions have been elusive. In March, the New Orleans City Council approved an inclusionary zoning rule that will require developers to build affordable housing alongside market rate units in certain parts of the city. The move was precautionary, preempting the threat of statewide ban on similar policies.
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8 Taxes funding teacher pay boost, parks get business support Voters approved raises for Jefferson Parish public school teachers and city funding for New Orleans City Park. BY Jennifer Larino
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Two tax ballot measures — one boosting teacher
pay in Jefferson Parish and another divvying up recreation funds in New Orleans — became reality in 2019 thanks in part to widespread support from the local business community. Voters in Jefferson Parish agreed in May to raise property taxes to generate another $28.8 million for its public school system. The district, which serves nearly 50,000 students, is the largest in the state, but its teacher pay was among the lowest in the region, a factor many blamed for its middling performance in state rankings. Teachers received a $3,300 raise on average as a result of the property tax hike, which added $79 for every $100,000 in home value. New Orleans voters approved a measure that will divert city funding to the 1,300-acre City Park for the first time ever. The vote centered on a millage the Audubon Commission has used to pay off
bonds secured to update and expand its facilities, which include Audubon Zoo and the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Voters agreed to extend the tax another 20 years starting in 2021 and split it four ways. The tax will now fund Audubon and City Park in addition to the New Orleans’ Parks and Parkways Department, and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission. The promise of funding comes as City Park prepares for a big bump in visitors. In mid-May, the New Orleans Museum of Art unveiled a 6-acre expansion of its Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. The $15 million addition, which was privately funded, opened with 26 new works by contemporary artists. The new $47.5 million Louisiana Children’s Museum campus in City Park opened over Labor Day weekend. The 56,000-square-foot museum and Acorn, the museum’s kid-friendly cafe, are expected to draw 225,000 visitors a year.
9 10 Workforce Development Offerings Expand
This fall brought a wide array of new programs. By Kim Singletary
In July, Business Facilities magazine ranked LED (Louisiana Economic Development) FastStart as the nation’s No. 1 state workforce training program for a record 10th consecutive year. As workforce development remains a top concern throughout almost every industry, local colleges and universities stepped up this year in a big way. This past fall, Delgado Community College launched 23 “Minimester” or compressed classes that offer full credit, along with 55 online Minimester classes, including 21 courses in accounting, business administration, management and marketing. The university also launched the only health coach certificate program in New Orleans, partnered with Café Reconcile to offer Café Reconcile participants and alumni a free College and Career Readiness class that started this fall at Café Reconcile, and began offering a new suite of internet technology courses designed to equip locals with the necessary skills to advance their careers. On Oct. 1, the inaugural Jefferson Parish-based Manufacturing Summit took place — a partnership between the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) and Delgado Community College River City Site & Advanced Manufacturing Center. The event offered training programs, educational resources and tax incentives at every level across the state to support manufacturing growth. This year, Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement (SoPA) saw a 50%
increase in enrollment following the first year of its new, updated digital design program with concentrations in graphic design, interactive design and game art and animation, along with the launch of three new computer labs. The Tulane School of Architecture received a $2 million gift to establish the Saul A. Mintz Global Research The new, $47.5 million Louisiana Children’s Studios, a new program that will Museum opened in give students an opportunity to City Park to sold-out work internationally on critical crowds on Aug. 30. global issues, and the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University teamed up with the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and UC Berkeley School of Law’s Startup@BerkeleyLaw initiative, to shine a spotlight on the South’s startup ecosystem with The Port of New Orleans spent 2019 coping VC University LIVE in the South from September with ongoing federal tariffs as the Trump admin19 through September 21. istration’s trade war with China stretched into a A new Mechatronics Apprenticeship prosecond year. It’s not yet clear whether new federal gram opened this year as well, in which GNO, tariff hikes will arrive in 2020, though the port Inc., Nunez Community College, Delgado and announced it will be raising its own tariff rates Northshore Technical Community Colleges in the new year. partnered with Elmer Chocolate, Laitram and The port ended 2018 with record-breaking conZatarain’s for a two-year commitment to enhance tainer volume (up 12.3% from 2017), but break-bulk and prepare apprentices for careers in manufacturbusiness has slowed considerably as tariffs squeezed ing technology. steel and agricultural products like soybeans, a key export crop in Louisiana. The pressure continued this spring when President Donald Trump raised tariffs on $200 billion in goods. In June, representatives with the port, which handles 60% of the export grain from the Midwest, joined hundreds of groups that headed to the nation’s capital to ask for tariff relief. Specifically, the port asked that tariffs be lifted for two 100-foottall gantry cranes it was set to receive from China. This fall, the Port of New Orleans Board of Commissioners approved plans to raise the port’s tariff rates on container and breakbulk cargo by 2% in 2020. Separate from the federal tariffs, these taxes apply to the amount companies pay for specific services like wharf cleanings and terminal use. The port is also introducing several new fees, including a $2,500 charge on fuel distributed to ships and a new tariff for U.S.-China Trade War Continues film and event permitting. to Squeeze Port of New Orleans Port officials said the tariff increase is an effort to bring rates more in line with the rest of the Port announces it will be increasing market and are not related to the U.S.-China trade its tariff rates by 2% in 2020. war, which appeared to be easing as 2019 came to a close. The new rates go into effect Jan. 1, 2020. n BY Jennifer Larino
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INSIDE THE INDUSTRY
INDUSTRY 2019 Edition
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INSIDE THE INDUSTRY
To close out 2019, Biz New Orleans is taking a look at a few of the top local businesses across the many industries in our region. In this section, we focus on some industry standouts by learning more about their company, future endeavors and their bigger impact on the Greater New Orleans market.
American Red Cross Atmosphere Enterprises LLC “Atmosphere Movers” Caraway LeBlanc LLC Benny Cenac and Main Iron Works DMG Design + Build First American Bank and Trust Jefferson Financial Federal Credit Union Lambeth House Major Services Inc. Notre Dame Health System Shirley “Toni” McCord, CPA, APAC Susco Solutions Stewart Lodges at Steelwood Riverboat CITY of NEW ORLEANS University of Holy Cross West Jefferson Medical Center Westaff / Remedy Intelligent Staffing Xavier University of Louisiana Your CBD Store
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INSIDE THE INDUSTRY
ACCOUNTING Shirley “Toni” McCord, CPA, APAC
Since Shirley “Toni” McCord started her accounting career in 1988, she has become the sole owner of Shirley “Toni” McCord, CPA, APAC, a Professional Accounting Corporation. The firm, which still serves clients of the original owner, is currently an all-woman team of accounting professionals dedicated to assisting individuals and small-to-medium size businesses throughout the Greater New Orleans region. 31 years of experience have provided comprehensive knowledge in areas from tax planning and return preparation to tax problems resolution and IRS representation. They get to know their clients’ needs, challenges and desires, and apply smart strategies to help them achieve their personal and professional goals. The McCord team delivers
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national expertise with an exceptional, boutique experience. And McCord doesn’t stop at challenging norms with just her clients—she also works to challenge the idea that traditional CPA firms are “high-stress sweat shop environments”. McCord believes no one should have to choose between a great family life and a wonderful career. The firm cultivates an environment that recognizes a positive work ethic, and fosters support and flexibility for their employees. The McCord firm also supports the community— firstly, through helping small and medium businesses thrive financially, and secondly through membership in professional organizations, including the Louisiana Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
From left to right: Lesley-Anne Franklin; Terry Vial; Toni McCord, CPA; Cheryl McGovern; Babette Griffin; Melanie Ferguson
2908 Hessmer Ave., 2nd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 504-888-8333 · ToniMcCordcpa.com
INSIDE THE INDUSTRY
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE Your CBD Store
Crystal Nugent knows what it means to struggle with anxiety. She battled with general anxiety and acute anxiety attacks since her teenage years, working with personal management and medical treatments to try to find the right balance for her and not quite finding it—until she met Rachael Quinn, founder of Your CBD Store. Quinn explained to Nugent exactly what highquality cannabidiol is and how Your CBD Store extracts it from high-quality specifically-sourced organic hemp from Colorado. Once Nugent tried it, she never looked back—and, after her personal success, she knew she needed to bring it to her community to help other people too. Nugent and Your CBD Store opened three local locations, joining the nation-wide brand growth
that saw the stores passing the 500-location mark. Your CBD Store’s status as the largest CBD brand nationally stems from the approach that Quinn stressed to Nugent: the high quality of the product helps guarantee satisfaction and trust from the store’s customers. The stores work with SunMed for their products; because the marketplace can be unregulated, Nugent acknowledges the importance of working with a provider, like SunMed, that offers the highest level of transparency and quality testing. Aside from their work providing relief with high-quality CBD products, Your CBD store also focuses on philanthropic endeavors. Nationally, they have given $10,000 to Veterans Initiative 22 and $25,000 to Bahamas Hurricane Relief. Locally,
Nugent has helped raise donations for ALS research and for the New Orleans chapter of the National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Crystal Nugent; owner, Your CBD Store
3613 Magazine St. New Orleans, LA 70115 6824 Veterans Blvd. Metairie, LA 70003
Cit y Name New Orleans • Metair ie
1818 Manhattan Blvd. Harvey, LA 70058 1-888-775-4515 · YourCBDStoreNola.com
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INSIDE THE INDUSTRY
AGING SERVICES Lambeth House
Cutting-edge research and technology have always been at the forefront of aging services at Lambeth House, a continuous care retirement community in uptown New Orleans. Scott Crabtree, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Advances in technology will provide more opportunities to live fuller lives as we age.” In late 2019, Lambeth House and Ochsner Health System will complete a 12-month pilot study demonstrating how telehealth can effectively aid in the treatment of seniors with Alzheimer’s or other dementia related illnesses. Each resident is equipped with iPads and FitBits from which information is gathered to help staff communicate with and understand each individual’s unique challenges.
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Healthcare providers are then able to provide medical services to their patients more efficiently— and, potentially, more effectively. The study also evaluates ways to reduce caregiver burnout at a staff level. The plan is to continue the study for an additional year as it is providing invaluable information for Lambeth House Memory Care residents and their families. Along with research and technology, wellness is paramount to the company’s commitment to healthy aging. Lambeth House hosts a 20,000 square foot Wellness Center in addition to its services for independent living, assisted living and nursing care. The wellness complex encompasses an art studio, interfaith chapel, meditation room, café and
a fitness center with an indoor saltwater pool. With active aging always at its core, the company’s mantra instructs residents and community members to “move well and move often!” With determination and focus, Lambeth House presents aging in a whole new way.
From left to right: Lynn Swetland, Chief Financial Officer; Jeré Hales, Chief Operating Officer; Scott Crabtree, Chief Executive Officer 150 Broadway St. New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-1960 · Lambethhouse.com
INSIDE THE INDUSTRY
BANKING First American Bank and Trust
For over 100 years, First American Bank and Trust has been a community bank that prides itself in customer service with 25 locations across Southeast Louisiana. First American Bank originated in the town of Vacherie in St. James Parish in 1910. Since then, the bank has expanded to 11 parishes including Jefferson and St. Tammany. During most of that expansion, First American Bank was led by J. B. Falgoust during his 63-year tenure of employment until his retirement in banking in 2016. He instilled a great work ethic into First American employees. His initiative to provide exceptional customer service continues to be a driving force of First American Bank. Today, First American Bank has total assets of $921 million. The size of the bank puts First American in a unique position to help both
consumers and small businesses. As of September 2019, First American Bank has $649 million of loans. The vast majority of their loan portfolio consists of mortgage loans for homeowners in Southeast Louisiana, as well as small business owners located within the 11-parish footprint of First American Bank. In addition to helping individuals purchase or build their dream home and helping small businesses with their growth and expansion, 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 banking services for its customers.
First American Bank and Trust, A Banking Tradition Since 1910 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.
Ronald J. Falgoust, President and CEO 2785 Highway 20, P.O. Box 550 Vacherie, LA 70090 225-265-2265 Âˇ fabt.com
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INSIDE THE INDUSTRY
Change waits for no one—as one of the leading IT service providers in New Orleans, few people know that better than Major Services, Inc. (MSI). From technical change to generational change, MSI has embraced it all, as this year the company passes the baton from founder Bobby Major, Jr., to his children Brittany Major (President and CEO) and Bobby Major, III (Vice President). Whether the project is large (network administration, programming and project management) or small (direct support by PC technicians), MSI has the tools, experience and personnel to handle it. Their base of 35 employees offer a wide range of services for private and institutional customers and MSI’s access to extensive additional resources means it can deliver solutions customized to its clients’ needs. Because of its reputation for integrity and an uncompromising regard for delivering high-quality service, MSI retains and has developed long-standing customers and a reputation as a top IT provider, growing from their initial specialization—working with local government agencies—to new heights, including financial systems, information processing and business consulting. As the new owners of MSI, Bobby III and Brittany are committed to operating the company with the same vision and laser-focus on growth as in the decades before. MSI, a company owned by a family of New Orleans natives, is committed to betterment and advancement of the city they and their employees call home. They are family first and New Orleans first—and with their focus on generational growth and their goal-oriented mission, both family and city will continue to prosper.
Brittany Major, President and CEO, and Bobby Major, III, Vice President
MAJOR S ERV I C E S
504-488-1300 · firstname.lastname@example.org
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Major Services Inc.
INSIDE THE INDUSTRY
SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT Susco Solutions
M Many companies think of software as a simple means to an end—input, and then result. But Neel Sus, founder of Susco, sees software as much more important than that. For Susco, intuitive business software enables its users to contribute in more meaningful and fulfilling ways. Great software, Susco believes, makes great business possible. Sus was working at Avondale Shipyards in 2001 when he developed the company’s first electronic work order system. While he expected management to be impressed with the efficiency gains from the system, he was deeply moved by the positive impact it had on all the end-users, and he couldn’t help but fall in love with software development. Until 2005, his dream was to become a “VP of Process Improvement” for a defense contractor —but all of that changed, as so much did,
after Katrina. Sus decided to try to be part of the “new” New Orleans, and opened his own company—Susco— in May of 2006. Operations took off in 2010 as they became the first mover in Louisiana for mobile application development. Susco developed the ElectionHub app, LSU Football’s first app, and FQ Task Force, an app dedicated to stemming crime in the French Quarter. With their team's deep specialization in C#.NET (Microsoft) application development, Susco refocused on internal business software development and mobile workforce apps in 2013. They continue to help high-growth mid-market companies (100-2000 employees) replace their legacy systems and digitally transform their business processes. They enable IT leaders to deliver high quality software at a faster
rate than their internal teams can do alone, creating great financial returns for the business… and much happier end-users. Meet the core Susco team: David Day, Brent Kelly, Robert Murrell, John McCawley, Sean Thompson, Brian Mulhall, Daniel Whitmore, Nolan Sherman, Jessica Guillot, Tyler Hardy and Neel Sus.
710 Papworth Ave., Suite 100 Metairie, LA 70005 504-264-9343 · suscosolutions.com
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INSIDE THE INDUSTRY
CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY University of Holy Cross
The University of Holy Cross got its start in 1916 under the auspices of the Marianites of the Holy Cross, an order of nuns founded in 1848. The Marianites—and, therefore, the university—are rooted in educating those who will grow to educate others, and in the philosophy of cura personalis: enlightenment of the whole person, mind and soul. The University of Holy Cross, which is a fully-accredited Catholic university and the only university on the West Bank, offers more than fifty undergraduate and graduate programs to its 1,100 students. These students benefit from the low student-to-faculty ratio (13:1), which provides them a personalized academic experience that encourages them to explore spiritual values and service opportunities. These smaller classes help cultivate and
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refine UHC’s values-based atmosphere and provide students with a strong footing as they graduate from the university and enter into the world to, as the school teaches, “do good and do well.” The university opened its first residence hall in August 2018 and plans to continue development on that front, as well as on their new health sciences center, which is slated to open on campus in January 2020 and will act as a home for classes and meeting spaces in the health care programs. Alumni of the university can be found in most any profession, giving back to their community and volunteering their time as they put into practice the University of Holy Cross’ central tenet: that true success comes from service to others.
Dr. Stanton F. McNeely III, President
4123 Woodland Dr. New Orleans, LA 70131 504-394-7744 · uhcno.edu
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DISASTER RELIEF American Red Cross
D Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. In fact, every eight minutes, someone is affected by a disaster in the U.S. This year, the Red Cross and its partners helped thousands of people whose lives were upended by disasters across the country, including here in Louisiana after the impact of Hurricane Barry. Hurricane Barry made landfall in Southeast Louisiana on July 13th as a category 1 storm. Residents across much of the state experienced a significant amount of rain, strong winds, tornadoes and storm surge inundation along the coast. Through the help of more than 300 volunteers, the Red Cross mobilized thousands of supplies and provided shelter to 185 individuals seeking refuge from the storm. After the storm had passed,
those same volunteers provided care, comfort and assistance to more than 650 residents who sustained impacts to their property and lives, including serving more than 10,200 meals and snacks and distributing more than 4,800 relief items like gloves, trash bags and brooms. Additionally, disaster health and mental health volunteers tended to the physical and emotional needs of those impacted. Donations are key to saving lives because they fund nearly 100 percent of these disaster relief activities. Donations of time are also critical, as volunteers comprise of more than 90 percent of the Red Cross’ humanitarian workforce. The commitment of donors and the compassion of volunteers not only prevents and alleviates human
suffering in the face of emergencies, but also provides the ever-important offering of hope to communities faced with rebuilding after a disaster. Red Cross disaster worker Hugo Adams chats with Sakoiya who is helping her mom, Jaimie Broussard, clean up with her new Red Cross gloves. The Broussards’ home was damaged by Hurricane Barry which made landfall in July.
Find us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook at ARCLouisiana. 504- 620-3105 · redcross.org/gift
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FINANCIAL CREDIT UNION Jefferson Financial Federal Credit Union
Jefferson Financial Federal Credit Union knows what it means to put member service first— one of the benefits of existing as a member-owned, not-for-profit financial institution. Initially chartered in 1966, Jefferson Financial FCU now has more than 53,000 members and a dozen locations across south Louisiana as well as two locations serving six counties in Alabama—not bad for a financial institution that started on the second floor of a floral shop. As an institution that began to serve employees of the Jefferson Parish Public School System, their mission continues today by growing its offerings to include Business and Community Partners alike across its service region. A leader in the credit union industry of Greater New Orleans, Jefferson Financial is the second-largest credit union in the state, and they don’t plan to stop growing any time soon. Not even the recession could hold them back: even as many financial intermediaries pulled back on lending, Jefferson Financial made a commitment to not only continue service, but to also expand its offerings. Thanks to its partnership with Coastland Federal Credit Union, Jefferson Financial was able to expand its presence in Orleans and St. Charles Parish, and have since established operations in St. Tammany as well. Jefferson Financial plans to continue serving members while growing offerings that include Share Savings and Checking Accounts, services from Online Banking, Auto and Personal Loans and more. Those interested in becoming a member of Jefferson Financial can discover more through their website, JeffersonFinancial.org.
Mark Rosa, President/CEO
7701 Airline Dr Metairie, LA 70003 800-259-2471 · JeffersonFinancial.org
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EXPERIENTIAL MEETINGS Stewart Lodges at Steelwood
“Customer experience” is the hot buzzword of the hospitality and business industry these days—but for the Stewart Lodges, which has been providing experience-driven meeting content for nearly two decades, it is an established part of Stewart Lodge culture. Employees under the Stewart Lodges umbrella share one common core value: to offer value-oriented, value-driven care to their customers, other employees and suppliers. In the Stewart Lodges philosophy, everyone deserves to be treated with time, care and quality consideration. The company practices what’s known as “experiential meetings”: meetings, conversations and gatherings that are focused on the experience of spending time together, whether on a golf course
or beside a roaring fire. This treatment creates a relationship—and a lifetime customer. As the clients of the Stewart Lodges can attest, organizations can see a higher retention and customer referral rate following experiential meetings. The Stewart Lodges specializes in experiencedriven meetings. For gatherings large or small, the Stewart Lodges provide interactive meals and events for the whole team, and their serene environment encourages interaction—whether in impromptu intimate conversation on the porch or by the lake, or in one-on-ones out fishing on the lake or golfing on the greens. When companies invest in their people with time, knowledge and passion, the people return that investment tenfold.
At the Stewart Lodges, business is connection; business is people. As a place where people connect, the Stewart Lodges brings out the best of your team. Come and see why they are “the South’s best-kept secret.” Jennie M. Campbell, CMP, CMM, PMP CEO, President
32311 Waterview Dr. East Loxley, AL 36551 251-602-1300 · stewartsteelwood.com
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HIGHER EDUCATION Xavier University of Louisiana
Since its inception in 1925, Xavier University of Louisiana’s fundamental vision stands upon the education of students who would become agents of change in society, government and the church. Xavier’s students prepare themselves to lead and build a greater and more evolved national and global community. Xavier is recognized as the national leader in minority science education, ranking first in the nation in producing African-American graduates who complete medical school, as well as graduates who achieve PhDs in the life sciences. Xavier’s College of Pharmacy nationally ranks among the top four colleges, graduating 25% of all AfricanAmerican pharmacists. As the only historically Black, Catholic HBCU in the country, the University’s core curriculum is rooted in the liberal arts and offers
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almost four dozen majors in undergraduate, graduate and professional degree levels. Xavier is committed to increasing scholarships for deserving students, as well as continuing to foster excellence in teaching and research on campus. Their graduate network stands over 20,000 members strong worldwide in all walks of life. Xavier took first place in the South in a Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education special report measuring career preparation—the highest score of over 1,000 universities. Xavier is a valuable economic engine in its community, generating more than $320 million in economic activities, with $115.6 million of that number going to household earnings in the Greater New Orleans region. One of the area’s leading
employers, it provides over 4,200 jobs in Orleans Parish. Communities hoping to foster a more robust, diversified economic climate will find HBCUconnected investment a critical component of this effort. From left to right: VP of Student Affairs Mr. Curtis Wright, Senior VP of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Anne McCall, President Reynold Verret, VP of Administration and Chief of Staff Ms. Patrice Bell Mercadel. 1 Drexel Dr New Orleans, LA 70125 504-486-7411 · XULA.edu @XULA1925
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HOSPICE Notre Dame Health System
Continuum of care—it’s a phrase that the Notre Dame Health System uses often, and with good reason. It’s one of the best, most accurate ways to convey the breadth of the spectrum of care the post-acute healthcare ministry provides to patients from all walks of life in the Greater New Orleans Community for more than 40 years—all sponsored by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The continuum includes independent and assisted living services, skilled nursing, home health, private duty home care, Medicaid waiver services and more. These services are provided through a range of health care centers, including Chateau de Notre Dame, Wynhoven Health Care Center, Our Lady of Wisdom, Notre Dame Home
Health, Notre Dame Hospice and Notre Dame Home Care. Notre Dame Hospice service began in 2010 with a license originally owned by Slidell Memorial Hospital. It has grown into a comfort care hospice service for patience for whom curative care is no longer an option. They work with people suffering from terminal illness with a life expectancy of fewer than six months. The emphasis in any Notre Dame Health System service is the patient. Patient-centered care, delivered dependent on patient need, helps provide patients and their families with choices that support quality of care and quality of life in the least restrictive environment possible. Now, as
baby boomers live healthier and longer, the health system is in an ideal position to provide services for the lowest cost to the large generation as they continue to age.
Wayne Plaisance, President & CEO
1000 Howard Ave., 10th Floor New Orleans, LA 70113 504-227-3600 · notredamehealth.org
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HOSPITAL West Jefferson Medical Center
In April of 1960, the first community hospital on the Westbank of Jefferson Parish opened its doors to residents, becoming the first and best choice for healthcare in its region. Now, as West Jefferson Medical Center approaches its landmark 60th anniversary, it has firmly established itself as a prestigious community landmark and leader, with a broad economic and social footprint and national accolades. With a staff of more than 430 physicians and 1,530 employees caring for patients, the 419-bed medical center also encompasses six primary care locations and two fitness center locations. Brain and spine care, cancer care and emergency care—are among a wide spectrum of other services offered—West Jefferson
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Medical Center is actively fulfilling its goal of creating a healthier future for its community, complete with compassionate and world-class care close to home. The hospital continues to expand by partnering with LCMC Health to begin an $86 million renovation that will focus on some of the most critical healthcare areas, including the Outpatient Surgery Center, Endoscopy, Emergency Department and main hospital entrances. In July of 2019, they welcomed a new president and CEO, Rob Calhoun, who has a deep appreciation of the hospital’s legacy while keeping his vision towards the future. Thanks to the partnership with LCMC Health, the executive team sees a clear pathway forward to expanding access to healthcare in the community
through innovation and technology. With strong leadership and great collaboration, the hospital staff is coming together to celebrate sixty years of progress, growth and a history of unique care on the Westbank. From left to right: Dr. Robert Chugden, Chief Medical Officer ; Monica Bologna, Chief Nursing Officer; Robert Calhoun, President and Chief Executive Officer; Dodie McElmurray, Chief Operating Officer; Dean Roy, Vice President of Physician Services and Business Development 1101 Medical Center Blvd. Marrero, LA 70072 504-347-5511 · wjmc.org
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MOVING AND STORAGE Atmosphere Enterprises LLC
Atmosphere Enterprises LLC, better known to the Greater New Orleans community as Atmosphere Movers, was founded in the mid-nineties by Chat Stockstill, owner, who still runs the moving, packing and storage company today alongside his wife, Tiffany. Since their humble early beginnings, they’ve expended to a 10,000-square-foot warehouse and two recently-purchased additional properties which they intend to develop into an upscale private storage space for items that require utmost care, from vintage cars to antique pieces. Thanks to their years of experience, Atmosphere Movers is equipped to take on any size job—local or out of state, single specialty item to entire school systems. They’ve worked with clients from the Jefferson Parish School Board to Federal Move “Road
Home to Recovery”—and even for ancient Egyptians, via a mummy they helped relocate for Tulane University. The company’s motto—“get you moved into a better tomorrow”—shows their dedication to treating every client like their only client. Their flat-rate prices guarantee no hidden fees, and they guarantee equal treatment and priority for any client, no matter the job. The company also gives back to its community, through donation of services to Coach Ogeron’s Basket of Hope, Childrens Hospital and others in need across the region. As a locally-owned and veteran-owned company, Atmosphere Movers is primed to both help Louisiana’s economic growth in the coming years and to expand from it, offering the most trusted, reliable
and reputable transportation, packing and storage solutions to clients now and for years to come. From left to right: Todd Morzan; Jaremy Jones; Warren “Chat” Stockstill; Sam Sanders
1840 Highway 59 Mandeville, LA 70448 1615 Poydras St., Suite 900/100 New Orleans, LA 70112 985-626-7600 · 225-248-0444 · 504-566-1919
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MEDICAL MALPRACTICE DEFENSE
Caraway LeBlanc LLC
Caraway and LeBlanc met in the 1980s during their time working in radio and television broadcasting, forming a strong friendship that continued as the two enrolled in law school at the same time. Over the course of several late nights in law libraries—they kept their media industry jobs while in school—the two entertained dreams of a far-away day when they would be able to open their own law firm. That day came on February 27, 2007, when the friends finally opened Caraway LeBlanc LLC after years of cutting their teeth and expanding their experience at mid- and large-sized law firms. Thanks to their experience in communications as well as their hard-won legal expertise, they have been able to provide a fresh approach in their legal practice: individuality. To Caraway LeBlanc and their growing team of associates, their clients aren’t just a case—they’re individual people with their own unique needs that deserve their own unique legal solutions. The staff of Caraway LeBlanc has made a name for themselves thanks to this hands-on, personalized and experienced approach that they bring to bear for all of their health care clients, new and existing alike. The firm also understands that their clients come from a community, and that support for that community is instrumental in delivering the best legal services. Caraway and LeBlanc both volunteer legal services to a number of nonprofits, and have sat on boards for a myriad of organizations that provide benefits to the Greater New Orleans area.
Ann Marie LeBlanc & Katy Caraway
3936 Bienville Street New Orleans, LA 70119 504-566-1912 · Carawayleblanc.com
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STEAMBOAT Riverboat CITY of NEW ORLEANS
Captain William “Bill” Wilson has seen his share of riverboats. He would have had to, considering he began his career with the New Orleans Steamboat Company in 1978 as the captain of the Cotton Blossom. In the following decades, Captain Wilson served as the captain of the Riverboat President, Vice President and General Manager of the company and finally as the Marine Operations Manager. In this vital role, the captain assumed oversight of a new jewel in the New Orleans Steamboat Company’s crown: the newly renovated perfect complement to the NATCHEZ, the Riverboat CITY of NEW ORLEANS. Beauty, function and technology have been brought together under the oversight of dozens of local master craftspeople to form the Riverboat
CITY of NEW ORLEANS from the initial shell of the Rock Island Casino boat. The new riverboat, which will provide harbor and dinner cruises as well as private parties and large charters, has been refitted stem to stern to provide a unique and contemporary event space that truly captures the beauty of being on the waters of the Mississippi. Captain Wilson indeed lives the mission of the New Orleans Steamboat Company where we re-create part of our American Heritage every day… the Steamboat Era! In a city where tourism is often dominated by large corporations, this company is family-owned and operated, begun in 1972 by the Dows, pioneers of riverfront development in New Orleans. Looking to the future, the captain is turning his attention to managing a renovation
of the historic Steamboat NATCHEZ after 45 continuous years of service.
Captain Bill Wilson, Marine Operations Manager
400 Toulouse St. New Orleans, LA 70130 504-569-1401 steamboatnatchez.com/ riverboat-city-of-new-orleans-tours
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Benny Cenac and Main Iron Works
For some, shipyards evoke thoughts of time gone by: craftsman using their hands and skills to bring together marine vessels of all kinds, designed to float and sail across waters great and small. For Arlen “Benny” Cenac, Jr. and the staff of Cenac Marine Services, that time is still very much now. Main Iron Works LLC sits fifty miles into the Intracoastal Waterway in Houma, a contemporary shipyard specializing in the construction, repair and repowering of marine vessels and barges. Founded by Arlen “Benny” Cenac, Jr.’s maternal grandfather, Horace “Jack” Guidry, in 1947, Main Iron Works has been providing shipbuilding and refurbishing services to the Houma area for over seven decades. Today, the historic shipyard serves as the home to a major building enterprise, building its first steel boat on Bayou Terrebonne and growing into a leader in the tug construction industry, providing push boats, tugboats, specialty boats and fishing vessels for marine transport companies. Main Iron Works, which was acquired by Arlen “Benny” Cenac, Jr. and the Cenac Group in July of 2015, operates as an independent entity under the wide umbrella of the Cenac Group. They have continued their progressive construction and design growth, expanding its services to include a full-service machine shop.
Arlen “Benny” Cenac, Jr. Expands Main Iron Works The new machine shop, certified with the American Bureau of Shipping, offers general machine work as well as specialty work including (but not limited to) propeller shaft construction and repair, steering components, specialized pump and prop repair and water jetting of parts. The shop is housed in a brand-new building, complete with two 10-ton overhead hoists and four 5-town overhead hoists. Their machinery is state of the art and includes five manual lathes, a shaft-straightening press, a waterjet cutting table, two double head sub-arc wielding machines as well as various support machines from mills and drills to saws and more. Thanks to Benny Cenac’s investment, facilities and operations within Main Iron Works have been modernized to keep the tradition of quality and innovation as set in place by Guidry over seventy years ago. The combination of
the Cenac Group’s resources and the core mission of other Cenac companies—including Cenac Towing—has made an ideal dynamic duo with Main Iron Works. Since Arlen “Benny” Cenac purchased Main Iron Works, the shipyard has transformed from a historic, classic shipyard to a state-of-the-art facility, complete with four dry docks, construction slips, warehousing, barge building and repair facilities, and painting and blasting facilities—all covered, ensuring on-time delivery for projects regardless of weather. Benny Cenac and Main Iron Works plan to expand their reach nationally, designing and building vessels for inland, lake and river systems across the nation. They’ve invested heavily in the physical plant’s capabilities, technology and human resources, and are set to see a hearty return on that investment—the shipyard is now equipped to build almost any vessel used in the sector nationally. This national investment fits with the Cenac Group’s strategic plan—in the upcoming years, the group is preparing to qualify for and participate in government contract work, a natural extension of their current capabilities. Arlen “Benny” Cenac, Jr. is always looking to find more ways to expand his business and his ever-growing pool of employees. Benny Cenac treats his employees like family, making sure that they all take pride in their work and in the company. He understands that the most important thing is making sure Houma is a thriving community and a great place to live. That’s why Benny Cenac does so much to give back to that community. His local philanthropy goes hand in hand with his efforts to move Main Iron Works into the future and continue to build a company that his ancestor would be proud of.
Main Iron Works / 148 Old Ferry Rd. Houma, LA / 985-876-6302 · mainironworks.com Cenac Marine Services, LLC / 742 LA-182, Houma, LA / 985-872-2413 · cenac.com
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RECRUITING AND STAFFING Westaff / Remedy Intelligent Staffing
The first franchise of Western Temporary Service-Westaff was opened in New Orleans in 1958 by industry pioneers Grace and Robert Hagen. Their son Larry Caldarera joined them in the business in 1990 and he purchased Westaff from them in 2001. In 2018, he purchased Remedy from founder Suzanne Sehon and merged the two brands. Westaff and Remedy are both franchise divisions of EmployBridge, the nation’s largest industrial/ technical staffing company. This affiliation provides them with access to industry leading recruiting and assessment tools in an industry where technology and experience matter. Customers and employees benefit from their national scale, in-depth local knowledge and highly experienced team of recruiters. Combined, Westaff and Remedy are a one-stop shop for administrative, industrial, technical and professional personnel. They offer contract, temporary to permanent and direct-hire employment solutions to business and industry across the entire metro New Orleans area, including the River Parishes and Northshore. Westaff takes a creative approach in developing customized solutions for each client. According to Larry Caldarera, “We think outside of the box; at Westaff and Remedy, there is no box. We believe that staffing is a relationship business where no two customers are alike. People are an asset to the organization, not a commodity. Every year we connect thousands of people to the best employers in New Orleans. Our customers want and expect the best.” With initiatives like their Better Work Life Academy and most recent initiative with Delgado Community College to develop industry-specific mini modular training, Westaff plans to make a big difference in the local labor market by up-skilling people to meet the future needs of local employers. Larry Caldarera, President & CEO
111 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 720 Metairie, LA 70005 504-832-7237 · Westaffneworleans.com
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RESIDENTIAL CONTRACTING DMG
Ryan McCroskey founded DMG with a focus on the customer—and in the years since its inception, that focus has paid off exponentially. In 2019 alone, the team has been honored as Remodelers Top 550, number 1 kitchen remodeler for General Contractor Magazine, an Inc 5000 company and recipient of two prestigious Chrysalis awards, not to mention McCroskey’s recognition as one of PRO Remodelers 40 Under 40. “We understand our customer’s vision, their 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, McCroskey has made it his mission to have customer service be pervasive in
every aspect of DMG’s work. From the moment a potential client contacts DMG, care is taken to truly listen to what the customer wants and communicate with them how DMG’s process works. Throughout the design & build process, DMG’s core values— communication, teamwork, and accountability— keep customer service as a top priority. Every client has one point of contact who is available to answer questions and provide updates on the team’s work throughout the project. DMG aims to provide clients with a true sense of satisfaction thanks to the collaborative nature of the project from beginning to end. The design+build model, a start to finish collaborative involvement between DMG and the
client, has been proven very successful. This success is evidenced by DMG’s abundance of diversified awards and the overwhelming satisfaction of their clients.
From left to right: Justin Fredricks, Blueprint Designer / Estimator; Madeline Comeaux, Interior Designer; Ryan McCroskey, CEO; Aren McCroskey, General Manager; Brett Richman, Project Manager
2345 Metairie Rd. Metairie, LA 70001 504-275-6664 · DMGnola.com
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Southe a st louisiana businesses in full color
from the lens GREAT WORKSPACES / WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT? / MAKING A MATCH / ON THE JOB
Just opened in September, Pawlins Total Pet Care brings 18,000 square feet of luxury pet boarding to River Road.
From The Lens gre at workspaces
Breakfast (and Lunch) Club Satsuma Café’s third location, opened in June, brings healthy, local and organic fare to the Lower Garden District by Melanie Warner Spencer photos by sara essex bradley
When the first incarnation of Satsuma
Café opened in 2009, owners Peter and Cassi Dymond set forth to bring healthy, locally sourced, organic breakfast and lunch options to Bywater. In 2012, the restaurant opened its second location in Uptown on Maple Street, and this past June, a third location of the café opened in the Lower Garden District inside the Framework development, bringing with it the involvement of Guy Nasser, a new member of the ownership team. While the LGD café boasts a decidedly more modern design, the fast-growing company’s philosophy has stayed the same. “Since Satsuma started, I think what has made it work has been the laid-back coffee-juice shop atmosphere serving great and healthy breakfast and lunch,” says Peter Dymond. “I think each one of our cafes are in great locations and interesting spaces with outdoor seating.”
The newest location of Satsuma Café is at the Framework development in the Lower Garden District. The Satsuma team worked with architect Julie Babin and project manager Daniel Kautz, both from StudioWTA for the design, with furnishings and carpentry by Matthew Holdren. The café’s exterior metal sign was made by Marty McElveen.
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The new space takes modern elements found in the interior of the other two locations to the next level. Concrete floors, floor-toceiling windows, tile and metalwork are softened by wooden tabletops and other wood accents. Coowner Peter Dymond counts the outdoor seating area as one of his favorite features of the new Satsuma Café.
At A Glance
Satsuma Café Location
1320 Magazine St. Opening date
June 2019 Size
2,100 square feet Number of Employees
16 (as of mid-Nov.) Person in Charge
Brogan Latil, general manager
Wood and metal tables and chairs, a service counter with a mixture of wood and tile, and an expanse of wooden, built-in cabinets, juxtapose floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook an Astroturfcovered courtyard and poured concrete patio. The Satsuma team worked with a collection of talented friends, including architect Julie Babin and project manager Daniel Kautz, both from StudioWTA (design); Matthew Holdren (furnishings and carpentry); and Marty McElveen (who created the café’s exterior signage). “I like the fact that we hired friends who own their own local businesses,” says Dymond, who describes the average Satsuma customer as, “pretty much anyone looking for bright flavors from carefully sourced ingredients, whether vegan or omnivore.” “We have high school and college students, artists, musicians, businesspeople and really a wide range of guests that come daily,” he says of Satsuma’s clientele. “[We also get] people visiting New Orleans looking for a healthy break from all the great indulgent meals they’re having here.” The LGD Satsuma currently employs 16 staff members, and Dymond says he strives to cultivate a positive atmosphere for employees so that when customers visit the new location, their takeaway is “that the space is welcoming and warm with great service, food and drinks.” n
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From The Lens wh y didn ’ t i think of th at ?
Barking Up the Right Tree As pet spending reaches historic heights nationally — $72.56 billion in 2018 alone —new local business Pawlins Total Pet Care is finding quick success offering four-star accommodations for the four-pawed set. by Ashley McLellan photos by sara essex bradley
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This past September, Pawlins Total Pet Care
opened the doors of a new 18,000-square-foot facility on River Road dedicated to bringing a new level of quality and service to the local pet-boarding market. The company is the creation of husband and wife team Mark and Laure Starring (Baton Rouge and New Orleans natives respectively), born of what they saw as a lack of quality options for boarding their own pet. “Mark and I love to travel, and we love our dogs,” said Laure Starring. “If we were able to stay in a four-star hotel, why couldn’t they?” What does a four-star experience look like for a dog? At Pawlins at least, it starts with gourmet snacks, nutritional supplements and a home-like environment where pets are welcome to sleep on beds and couches, and continues to a level of opulence that borders on unbelievable. “Everything makes us different,” she said. “Because first impressions are indelible, our lobby looks like a luxury hotel with a concierge who greets and opens the door for you with a warm welcome to Pawlins.” The company’s selection of suites ranges from the top-of-the-line Royal Suite ($70 per night) to the upscale standard Pawlins Classic ($52) and Petite Suites ($49). Daycare is included in the price of boarding, as well as baths for dogs after three days of boarding. “Our Royal Suites are our most luxurious spaces — appointed with chandeliers, flat-screen televisions, stereo speakers with soothing music for nap time, comfy Kuranda beds, a large window and full access to [each animal’s] own private yard,” Laure Starring said. “There are 4G cameras so that pet parents can watch their pups 24 hours per day from our website. The dogs get to watch DOGTV’s patented programming which was designed and developed with world-leading pet experts to support a dog’s natural behavior patterns.” Add-ons include organic gourmet treats from local restaurant Hippie Kitchen and frozen peanut butter filled Kong toys. Multiple pet boarding is also available. The facility offers its boarding and daycare facilities for both dogs and cats, in fact. Cats are boarded in a separate dog-free area “with luxury condos and a playroom with kitty perches and climbing areas and lots of toys,” according to Laure Starring.
to $69.51 billion in 2017, an increase of over 4%.” This report encompasses “pet spending in the market categories of food, supplies/over-the-counter medications, veterinary care, live animal purchases and other services.” Add this tendency to spoil to the fact that a January 2019 survey by Wakefield Research found that millennial pet owners find it more stressful to be separated for a week from their pet (65%) than from their cellphone, and you have a market very well suited to the idea of luxury pet boarding. In fact, less than two months after opening, Pawlins reported a growing client base, with more than 750 dogs attending day care, boarding or grooming services as of late October. Pawlins currently has the capacity to handle 165 pets at one time. Promising peace of mind
“Some people may think I’m crazy, but I know many people who feel just like I do and want hotel-like accommodations for their pets too,” she added. “Everyone I know treats their pets like family members.” More than just “like” family members
This year millennials officially overtook the baby boomer generation as the largest population group in the United States. Now at one quarter of the population, these 83.1 million millennials (vs. 75.4 million baby boomers) are largely putting off marriage and having children, and many are turning instead to pet ownership. According to Zulily, three-fourths of Americans in their 30s have a dog, and over half own a cat. Describing millennials as “pet obsessed,”
Zulily noted that “92% of millennial pet owners purchase gifts for their pets, such as toys, clothing and treats, with more than half (51%) purchasing a gift for their pet at least once a month.” Many millennials have no problem spoiling their pets. According to cultural strategy and trend forecasting company Cassandra in a May 2019 article by Business Insider, over the last year, 14% of millennials bought a luxury item in pet-care category. The same article highlighted millennials spending more than $400 on designer dog clothes. According to a March 2019 report by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), “Pet care spending in 2018 reached a recordbreaking high of $72.56 billion compared
(Left) Pawlins Total Pet Care owners Mark and Laure Starring launched the full-service pet care business after failing to find a four-star boarding experience for their pets in the area. (Above) Luxury and an eye for detail were essential when developing the new facilities, says Laure Starring. “Because first impressions are indelible,” she says, “our lobby looks like a luxury hotel with a concierge who greets and opens the door for you.”
But more than just luxury, the Starrings are also selling a high level of safety and security. Doggie day care is a big part of the pet care menu that Pawlins offers, with a variety of packages and full- and half-day stays. A standard full day is priced at $32. Created with the same eye for detail that makes up the boarding facilities, the day care yards and indoor areas were designed with all dogs, and their safety, in mind. “We have four large separate, climatecontrolled indoor play yards with hospitalgrade, bacteria-resistant rubber floors to reduce noise and protect a pup’s joints,” said Laure Starring. “Since there is no concrete at Pawlins, the floors will not absorb any smells or contaminants, so that dogs go home smelling fresh and have a healthy environment, like at home. We also have an air exchange system that changes the indoor air with fresh outdoor air every six minutes.” Pawlins even features a water park designed especially for dogs that the Starrings have named Pawchatrain Park. “Pups can play in freshwater all day, so there is no need for chemicals that could irritate dogs’ skin and eyes,” said Laure Starring. Outdoor play is a big feature at Pawlins. “All of our outdoor play yards have K-9 Grass that has been specifically designed for dogs,” she said. “The grass is easy to sanitize and keep clean, so our pups never get muddy and [it is] soft enough for dogs
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to run hard and tackle safely, providing the best play available. We offer loads of play equipment and toys to keep the pups busy and their minds stimulated.” The company also boasts a full-service veterinary practice — River Road Veterinary Hospital exists under the same roof. “We wanted to make this the most convenient pet care facility available in New Orleans,” said Laure Starring. “Our primary focus is on the safety, happiness and wellness of the pets that have been entrusted to our care,” added Mark Starring, who previously ran a medical device company, which he grew from three employees to 130 in 26 years. “Every aspect of the building was carefully designed, including using materials that are easily disinfected and extremely durable, making our operations more efficient, which is important in a business like ours. We have multiple doors and gates to minimize the risk “Our Royal Suites of pet escapes, as well as our exterior are our most fencing, providing the safest place luxurious spaces for pets. We have the leading fire and — appointed with security monitoring systems, as well chandeliers, flatas a generator, so we are always up and running.” screen televisions, Staff members at Pawlins are also stereo speakers required to have an exceptional level of with soothing experience and training, with company music for nap time, policy including a course with “The comfy Kuranda Dog Gurus.” “[The Dog Gurus] is a thorough training beds, a large with a philosophy of building a strong window and full bond between our staff and the dog, access to [each which teaches how to read dog body animal’s] own language and how to best handle group private yard.” play,” said Laure Starring. “All of our staffers must complete multiple levels of training and are observed through Owner Laure Starring group play to ensure the highest safety for our pets and humans.” The company already has plans to include even more education and pet care play. “We are working to build a Pawlins community with monthly educational seminars presented by veterinarians from River Road Veterinary Hospital, as well as basic obedience training, puppy educational classes and “yappy” social hours,” Laure Starring said. “We want to be a resource for the community. As part of these community services, we just started offering an hour each afternoon when a veterinarian is available in our lobby to answer any questions our clients and guests may have. We are also partnering with Take Paws Rescue and always keep one of their rescues at Pawlins to help them find a forever home.” n
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From The Lens m a king a m atch: b usinesses a nd nonprofits
Now What? For former inmates, the first days of freedom are full of challenges, among the biggest is finding a job. That’s where Catholic Charities’ Cornerstone Builders Program comes in, but they need the help of local business.
After 23 years in prison, Danielle Metz found a new life giving back thanks to Catholic Charities’ Cornerstone Builders Progaram.
By Pamela Marquis photos by cheryl gerber
In 1993, Danielle Metz received three life
sentences plus an additional 20 years for conspiracy to distribute cocaine. For 23 years, she fought for clemency and on August 30, 2016, Metz was granted her freedom and joyously reunited with her three children. Instead of becoming one of the 34% of former inmates in Louisiana that return to prison within three years, within the same year of her release, Metz received the Joseph Massenburg Memorial Award for Excellence in National Service for her exemplary commitment to service in the New Orleans community as a Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans (CCANO) Americorps member. Metz was able to successfully transition from prison life to a life of service with the help of CCANO’s Cornerstone Builders program — a reentry program for formerly incarcerated men and women based on rehabilitation through service. The program acts as the foundation of a transformative experience designed to benefit not only the individual, but the families and victims of crimes, as well as society. “It was a starting point for my new life,” says Metz. “The program gave my life new meaning coming back into society. It was like a launching pad to become successful in everyday living.”
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Major Fundraising Event: NOLA to Angola Every October, more than 50 cyclists participate in a three-day ride that spans 170 miles — from the corner of Tulane Avenue and Broad Street to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. The event raises between $50,000 to $60,000 each year from sponsorships and pledges to support the Cornerstone Builders’ Bus Project. Other Funding Cornerstone receives money through private donations, grants and foundations, and from CCANO, St. Vincent DePaul and The Sisters of the Holy Family. Annual Budget: $250,000
The first program of its kind release are crucial, which when it was created 12 years ago, is why, in conjunction with Contact Cornerstone Builders uses the the Louisiana Department of 2022 Saint Bernard AmeriCorps model. Safety and Corrections, CornerAvenue “Instead of tapping college stone Builders provides help Ronnie Moore students, however, we take on email@example.com connecting people with job (504) 451-8351 formerly incarcerated people,” resources, emergency housing says Program Director Ray Moore. and immediate employment “We focus on leadership to persons within the first 72 training,” he says. “More than just helping hours of release from local correcfolks get off drugs or helping them to get tional facilities, including the option a job, we challenge them to do more than of serving in Catholic Charities’ Food just pay back but to become a part of the for Families/Food for Seniors program, leadership structure. They become the service which delivers monthly food boxes to leadership in the community working side low-income elderly individuals. While by side with the operators of the systems, performing this service, participants such as the churches and universities that receive a modest living allowance, provide services to the community.” an educational award and workforce When it comes to lowering prison development services to help them recidivism, the first few days after find permanent employment.
Program Director Ray Moore
Supporting Children — Cornerstone Kids A mentoring program for children ages 5 to 18 who have at least one incarcerated parent, Cornerstone Kids relies on community volunteers to provide support and encouragement to children. Mentors develop a positive relationship with the mentee through one-on-one activities and group meetings. “Youth with an incarcerated parent experience trauma and stigma that negatively affect their mental health and wellbeing,” says Moore. “And it increases the likelihood of their living in poverty.” Advocating for Systemic Change
Other Cornerstone Builders Programs Include:
“Participants are able to earn an income and receive intensive case management while looking for a job,” Moore says. Studies have shown that immediate employment and shelter assistance within this crucial period of time greatly reduces the likelihood of recidivism. In Louisiana, 43 percent of ex-offenders are likely to be back in jail within five years. However, if released prisoners are able to find and hold a job for three years, that rate drops by more than 50 percent. Moore says Cornerstone relies on local businesses to help by being open to hiring formerly incarcerated individuals. “We hope that business owners can look at these people as assets rather than liabilities,” says Moore. “Too often we make the assumption that because they engaged in crime or that they were poor and they lack talent and that is not always the case.”
Connecting Families — Bus Project Cornerstone Builders’ Bus Project travels to all 13 state correctional facilities and connects hundreds of family members with incarcerated loved ones each year. Since 2007, Cornerstone has been coordinating free bus service for New Orleans families who have loved ones in Louisiana detention facilities. The organization offer 17 trips: one each month and the remaining on major holidays. “It provides a means of regular visits for many family members who cannot drive or who can’t afford to make the journey,” says Moore. The goal is to promote healthy relationships, encourage a network for family support, provide an incentive for good behavior by inmates and inspire better cooperation between inmates and prison officials.
How Businesses Can Help Outside of Writing a Check: Be open to hiring a formerly incarcerated individual. Allow Moore and/or participants in the program to speak at a staff meeting. Encourage employees to become tutors to the formerly incarcerated or go behind walls to help inmates receive their GEDs. Attend the Annual Symposium for Systemic Change.
Every year, Cornerstone Builders hosts a symposium that concentrates on systemic change in the criminal justice system. Government officials, nonprofit leaders, religious clergy, local business owners and formerly incarcerated individuals come together to discuss strategies to end mass incarceration. Another goal is to abolish the death penalty in Louisiana. “A major emphasis of ours is on the revision of sentencing laws and re-entry bills,” Moore says. “Louisiana has the most legal restrictions on employment for ex-prisoners of any state in the nation. We are seeking to heal the damage that widespread incarceration has inflicted on our community.” Syrita Steib-Martin is the executive director of Operation Restoration, a nonprofit that supports women and girls impacted by incarceration. Cornerstone and Moore often refer women to her organization. “He is so knowledgeable and nonjudgemental and he helped navigate me through the system,” she says. “You know, they don’t tell you in prison about the barriers you’ll find when you’re released.” Metz believes Cornerstone’s focus on giving back to the community was essential to her success. “It makes others in the community know that they aren’t forgotten and that others care about their lives and existence.” n
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PUBLISHERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NOTICE: All real estate advertised herein is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Ace and the Louisiana Open Housing Act, which make it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination. We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. For more information, call the Louisiana Attorney Generalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office at 1-800-273-5718.
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From The Lens ON T H E J O B
Gifting Local Made Easy Owner Kristi Brocato has been
hard at work crafting the perfect curated gifts since opening The Basketry in 1995. Through its retail store in Luling and distribution center in Place St. Charles, The Basketry’s approximately 15 employees specialize in taking the stress out of giving for both individuals and businesses. The company’s website allows you to search by occasion or gift type for options, but unlike many other retailers, The Basketry can also customize a gift for any budget, and even deliver the same day. “We are proud to work with so many local vendors and we hand deliver,” Brocato said. “We offer that personal touch that others don’t.” Among Brocato’s current favorite corporate gift options are wine, local gourmet snacks and locally crafted hand-painted wine glasses and cutting boards. For more information, visit TheBasketry.com. n
88 / Biz New Orleans / december 2019