Biz New Orleans January 2019

Page 1

How to Raise Startup Capital Lessons learned from the trenches

p. 40

Consumerism in Heathcare

Michael Hecht, President and CEO, GNO, Inc.

Third Annual Top Business People and

CEO OF THE YEAR january 2019

Ochsner CEO Warner Thomas on industry changes

p. 46

Moved to Create Mandeville mom’s leisurewear company finds success

p. 70

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4 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019 / 5

january 2019 / Volume 5 / Issue 4

contents EVERY ISSUE


from the lens

10 / Editor’s note 11 / publisher’s note 14 / Calendar 16 / industry news 18 / recent openings 10 / Events

40 / banking & finance

in the biz 24 / dining

Classical French fare is booming in Nouvelle Orleans. 26 / tourism

Following up the whirlwind of tourism in 2018



Business People of the Year Biz New Orleans is honored to celebrate these eleven professionals as our thirdannual Business People of the Year. by rebecca friedman, chris price, Jennifer gibson schecter and kim singletary photographs by greg miles

Lumps, dumps and lessons learned in a start-up capital raise. 44 / law

Five tips to help you move from being “just another attorney” to a truly invaluable resource.

66 / great workspaces

Children and education are the focus of the design at the new Jefferson Parish River Ridge Library in Harahan.

28 / sports

Zach Strief reflects on his first year as WWL Radio’s Saints play-byplay announcer

70 / why didn’t i think of that?

30 / entertainment

74 / making a match:

Mandeville mom Cara Joseph is finding success in the competitive athleisure clothing market. businesses and nonprofits

I just may end up living in a school bus someday. 32 / entrepreneurship

5 Entrepreneurial Resolutions for 2019 34 / etiquette

5 business etiquette resolutions to make for 2019 36 / marketing

7 tips for moving from a challenger brand to a market leader.

46 / healthcare

What the consumerism trend means for patients and providers

The New Orleans Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation could use your help in fighting this debilitating disease. 80 / on the job

This Uptown repair shop helps locals make beautiful music.

on the cover 2018 CEO of the Year Michael Hecht, president and CEO of GNO, Inc. Photograph by Greg Miles

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

AABP 2016 Bronze: Best Feature Layout AABP 2017 Bronze: Best Daily Email AABP 2017 Silver: Best Recurring Feature AABP 2018 Gold: Most Improved Publication AABP 2018 Silver: Best Recurring Feature

110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123 • Metairie, LA 70005 • (504) 828-1380 Biz New Orleans is published monthly by Renaissance Publishing, LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005; (504) 828-1380. Subscription rate: one year $24.95, two year $39.95, three year $49.95 — foreign rates vary call for pricing. Postage paid at Metairie, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Biz New Orleans, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 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.

8 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

Editor’s Note

Almost Too Much to Celebrate Top 10 tech market to watch.

Ninth in the country for states with happiest workers and states with lowest startup costs for entrepreneurs. Fifth in metro areas for percentage of African-Americans in digital media jobs. Seventh in the same for women and seventh state in the nation for best place to do business. Number five state in the country for new millennial residents. Third fastest-growing airport of the decade and No. 3 city in the United States for young entrepreneurs. Second for most engaged workers, and percentage of women in tech jobs. Number two state in the South for economic development. Second state in the country for infrastructure investment. Number one city for growth in industries with the best salaries and No. 1 college town in the United States. Number one place to go in the world by both Frommer’s and The New York Times. All of this is just a sampling of the accolades that have been heaped on Louisiana and the New Orleans Metro area…in 2018 alone. Screaming every new win from the rooftops is GNO, Inc., a regional economic development alliance serving the 10-parish region of Southeast Louisiana. For 15 years, this organization has been cultivating relationships, improving the business environment and developing our workforce all in an effort to prove to the world that we are so much more than just a place to have a great time and enjoy some incredible food. Congratulations to GNO, Inc., to its fearless leader Michael Hecht, and to all of our Business People of the Year for 2018. And as my little New Year gift to you, make sure to check out DJElCamino. com. You won’t regret it. Happy Reading and a Happy New Year!

Kimberley Singletary Managing Editor

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Publisher’s Note

Lets get this year started! The start of a new year is like the start of a

new sports season, full of optimism for success and a chance to make good on your past misses. I feel that same way right now as January roles in and I look at all the great things we have in front of us at Renaissance Publishing this coming year. This year I am personally focusing my attention on our wonderful employees and building a year of learning. We are developing a quarterly speaker series to help our staff continue to grow personally and professionally. Last year we spun out a new title under our Acadiana Profile magazine, called Acadiana Weddings and we look for it to continue to grow. This year we are spinning out our Courts of Carnival section from St. Charles Avenue magazine to create a freestanding magazine because of its popularity and growth. A new event is also coming this summer from New Orleans Magazine that will honor the city’s best new restaurants. Separately, in our custom publishing division we added three new projects and look to add more this year. So I am ready for an exciting year filled with professional development and new launches. I hope you have the same at your business. Happy New Year. Todd Matherne / 11

Meet the Sales Team

Caitlin Sistrunk Sales Manager (504) 830-7252

Brennan Manale Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7298

Jessica Jaycox Account Executive

(504) 830-7255

Sydney Steib Account Executive

(504) 830-7225

Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales (504) 830-7215 12 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019 / 13


January 9 St. Tammany Parish Chamber of Commerce 2019 Installation and Awards Luncheon 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Tchefuncta Country Club 2 Pinecrest Dr., Covington

23 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Chamber After 4 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar- French Quarter 208 Bourbon St/739 Iberville St.

10 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Alliance 5 to 7 p.m. The Tasting Room 1906 Magazine Street

25 Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana Baton Rouge Business Luncheon 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center 201 Lafayette St.

15 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce 8 to 9:30 a.m. 1515 Poydras St. 5th Floor Auditorium 16 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Education Seminar with the Ganon Group: One to Two…On You! – Your personal elevator pitch 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1515 Poydras St. 5th Floor Auditorium 17 ABWA Crescent City Connections January Luncheon Featuring Melissa R. Burbank, owner and publisher Natural Awakenings Magazine and NOLA Fitness Magazine 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Cannery 3803 Toulouse Street

29 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce YP Business Card Exchange with State Treasurer John Schroder 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Jefferson Chamber of Commerce 3421 N. Causeway Blvd., Suite 203, Metairie 30 New Orleans BioInnovation Center Networking Event 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. New Orleans BioInnovation Center 1441 Canal Street 30 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Prosper Jefferson: Branding JEDCO Conference Center 701A Churchill Pkwy., Avondale

18 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Business and Breakfast 7:45 to 9:30 a.m. Hilton New Orleans Airport 901 Airline Dr., Kenner 23 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce 2019 Educational Seminar with NOLA SHRM and PL+US: The Competitive Advantage of Paid Family Leave 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Adams & Reese LLP 701 Poydras St., Suite 4500

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For a more complete list of events, visit We’d love to include your business-related event in next month’s calendar. Please email details to / 15

Industry News


New Orleans Named Among Top in Tech New Orleans was named as one of the “Next Top 10 Tech Markets to Watch” in a recent report published by real estate firm CBRE entitled the “2018 TECH-30.” The Next Top 10 Tech Markets include: New Orleans Miami Ottawa Kansas City Tampa Norfolk Sacramento Milwaukee Colorado Springs

Wanhua $1.25 Billion Chemical Complex The St. James Parish community of Convent, Louisiana, will be getting a $1.25 billion chemical manufacturing complex over the next few years according to an announcement Nov. 16 by Gov. John Bel Edwards and Wanhua Chemical Group Co. Ltd. The 250-acre manufacturing site will begin construction this year at the northwest corner of the intersection of Louisiana Highways 3125 and 3214, on the east bank of the Mississippi River.


Ochsner Boosts Minimum Wage Effective January 20, 2019, Ochsner Health System will increase its minimum wage from $8.10 per hour to $12 per hour. The change will affect the pay of approximately 1,200 employees across the health system. The decision is a result of a comprehensive environmental assessment of employee

The project is expected to create 1,000 construction jobs at its peak, as well as 170 new direct jobs with annual salaries of more than $80,000 plus benefits. Construction is expected to be “substantially completed by the end of 2021.”

16 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

needs that the health system conducted in 2017. “Over the last five years, we’ve seen the organization grow tremendously to support the healthcare needs of local communities and patients across the Gulf South,” said Andy Wisdom, board chairman, Ochsner Health System. “It is important to

improve the overall financial wellbeing of our employees, and the board is proud to support this initiative.” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, in 2017 approximately 3.6 percent of hourly workers in Louisiana — nearly 40,000 people — earn at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Jefferson Parish Chamber of Commerce Receives Statewide Award The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) has chosen the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce as its Economic Development Partner of the Year. The award recognizes exceptional leadership by an economic development or business organization. LABI specifically sited the chamber’s help with fighting critical statewide issues including reducing car insurance rates, promoting rideshare companies, calling for comprehensive reform in a constitutional convention and working to advance early childhood education as noted contributions. The award was presented at the annual Free Enterprise Awards in Baton Rouge on Nov. 15.

“Now, we are working with commercial companies that already are — or will be — NASA’s partners in space. Stennis Space Center also is testing the Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engines that will power the new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will carry astronauts on deep space missions and help build Gateway. Soon, we will test the actual SLS rocket stages… With every such action, anticipation grows, and the envisioned day grows nearer when American astronauts launch from this country deeper than ever into space, to destinations no human has ever reached.” Rick Gilbrech, NASA Stennis Space Center director, speaking in response to NASA’s Nov. 29 announcement regarding its new partnerships for delivery of commercial payloads to the lunar surface, one of the first key steps to long-term scientific study and exploration of the Moon, as well as to enabling an eventual missions to Mars. / 17

Recent Openings

Ramsey’s Diamond Jewelers Sixty years after its founding in New Orleans, Ramsey’s Diamond Jewelers opened the largest diamond store in Louisiana at 701 Veterans Boulevard in Metairie. The 8,400-square-foot store featuring over 2,000 rings celebrated its grand opening Nov. 28. According to, 40 percent of couples get engaged between November and February.

Hammond Square Self Storage

French Truck Coffee On Nov. 14, French Truck Coffee opened its fourth café in New Orleans at 2917 Magazine Street, formerly the site of a CC’s Coffee House. The 1,900-square-foot Garden District space includes a courtyard. The local coffee purveyor has already announced that a fifth café will open in the city at 650 Poydras St. in early 2019. French Truck also has locations in Memphis, Tennessee and Baton Rouge.

UMC Food Pantry In partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, University Medical Center New Orleans has opened a Therapeutic Food Pantry at UMC’s Cancer Center. More than 100 patients had signed up to receive food through the pantry as of the beginning of December. In addition to fresh, nutritious food, the pantry will offer nutrition education and cooking classes, exercise classes, massage therapy, support groups, live music, benefits enrollment assistance and social service referrals.

18 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

Clean Course Meals

J. McLaughlin

St. Bernard Parish residents looking to get fit this year now have help with the November opening of healthy café-styled eatery Clean Course Meals and adjoining gym Commit 2B Fit NOLA, located at 1800 East Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette. The café features healthy options for vegans, nonvegans and everyone in between, as well as “grab-and-go” lunches and free internet. The winner of 2018 Startup St. Bernard’s $100,000 grand prize, Clean Course Meals also offers event, corporate and special occasion catering.

American sportswear brand J.McLaughlin has opened its first location in Louisiana at 3954/3956 Magazine St. in New Orleans’ Garden District. The 1,200-square-foot store, housed in an historic Victorian house, will feature a full assortment of women’s and men’s clothing and accessories.

Designed to serve the growing population of Tangipahoa Parish, Hammond Square and Stirling Properties celebrated the grand opening of Hammond Square Self Storage, a 93,902-square-foot facility off the corner of US Highway 51 and West Minnesota Park Road. The three-story building includes 626 climate-controlled units and 15 RV/boat storage units, all with gated access. Stirling properties developed the property and will handle daily management.

Longbranch Pathways Program Outpatient substance abuse and addiction treatment center Longbranch Wellness in Old Metairie will begin accepting adolescent patients this month as part of its newest initiative, the Pathways Program. The first and only program in New Orleans to offer this kind of care to adolescents, Pathways provides after-school, confidential treatment to students dealing with substance abuse through a comprehensive, eight-week program facilitated by licensed mental health professionals. / 19








Wednesday, November 28 | JEDCO Conference Center

Wednesday, November 28 | Harrah’s Casino and Hotel

Prosper Jefferson: Happy Healthy Workplace Part 3: Healthy Business Initiatives

Women’s Business Alliance Panel with Fidelity P.O.W.E.R. Women of First

In the final Prosper Jefferson of the year, JEDCO and the Jefferson Chamber teamed up to provide the opinions of three experts that discussed how to create a successful workplace wellness program.

A panel of business women discussed their inspirations, motivations and challenges in an event that concluded with a networking happy hour and complimentary headshots.

1. Delous Smith, Mary Martens and Jason Fallon 2. Donica Beckett, Angela Mitchell and Lauren Hulin 3. Kelsey Scram and Christy Marino

1. Jennifer Roe, Tracee Dundas and Juli Sholar 2. Katie Crosby, Camille Whitworth, Belinda Constant and Sheena Mannina 3. Liz Broekman, Chris Ferris and AnaMaria Bech

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photographs by cheryl gerber & jeff strout








Tuesday, December 4 | Hilton New Orleans Airport

Friday, December 7 | Hyatt Regency New Orleans

The JEDCO Annual Luncheon

2018 New Orleans Chamber Annual Meeting

More than 50 JEDCO partners, local business leaders and elected officials gathered to celebrate Jefferson Parish’s many wins in 2018 at JEDCO’s annual luncheon.

For the first time, the New Orleans Chamber’s Annual Meeting included not just one keynote speaker, but a panel of three technology-driven experts: Terrell Boynton of DXC Technology, Johnny Culpepper of Accruent, and Kevin Dawson of GE Digital.

1. Laney Chouest, Michael Hecht and Charles Rice 2. llie Baudier, Steve Sawyer and Scott Burton 3. Mike Hoss, Emcee

1. Evie Poitevent, Stephen Reuther and Erin Unger 2. Jennifer Williams, Stephen Antoine, Courtney Davis-Hebert and Sheila Craft 3. Johnny Culpepper, Terrell Boynton, Kevin Dawson and Paige Sensenbrenner / 21

Biz columnists spe ak out


AP Photo

From the field to the microphone — sports columnist Chris Price talks with former New Orleans Saints captain Zack Strief on his new gig as WWL’s play-by-play announcer.

In The Biz dining

French Renaissance Classical French fare is booming in Nouvelle Orleans. by Poppy Tooker

For over a century, New Orleans

restaurant menus often required translation. Offerings of fruit de mer, poisson and viandes sauced with béarnaise, bordelaise and marchand du vin were commonplace in this Francophone city. Today, only Antoine’s menu items retain their original French names, but brush up on your culinary French, as 2019 heralds the return of classical French fare. Couvant The first glimmer of nouveau New

Orleans brasseries arrived in late summer 2018, when Couvant debuted in the Eliza Jane Hotel on Magazine Street. After time spent in the kitchens of Thomas Keller and Alain Ducasse, Chef Brad McDonald is uniquely suited to execute the classics to perfection. A Yazoo City, Mississippi, native, McDonald relocated to New Orleans after several years abroad, enticed by the opportunity to cook classical French dishes in such a French city. His goal, “to cook the ordinary extraordinarily,” is evident from escargot, which is marinated and braised before receiving a warm bath of garlic butter. In McDonald’s hands, what might seem like a simple dish of mashed potatoes becomes a silky puree mounted with an impossibly high potato-to-butter ratio in the style of Joel Robuchon. A lofty puff pastry dome crowns the duck and truffle consomme en croute while a perfectly executed Paris-Brest awaits for dessert.

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.

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Saint-Germain Saint-Germain is the passion project of millennials Drew Delaughter, Trey Smith and Blake Aguillard, whose paths crossed several times; first at culinary school, then at Restaurant August and MoPho before the three decided to pursue the dream of opening their own authentic French eatery. Inspired by Parisian chef Yves Cambeborde, who left behind the Michelin-starred Hotel de Crillon to create a more accessible cuisine some have dubbed “bistronomy,” the ambitious three set out to offer New Orleans something they felt was lacking. “We want to offer high-end cuisine at affordable price points,” said Smith. An extreme work ethic combined with lots of elbow grease have clearly been employed to accomplish that goal at SaintGermain. From the hand-hammered zinc bar to the repurposed Coke machine, where house-made charcuterie hangs, no job seems insurmountable. Saint-Germain’s menu is just as aspirational. To manage costs, virtually everything is done in-house, from bread and pasta to experimental lacto-fermentation. Everything in the kitchen is utilized. Hard bread-crust edges that might normally be discarded are soaked for 24 hours in cognac, and then cooked slowly with fennel creating a sauce that mimics beurre blanc but is much lighter when used to sauce grilled fish. Why are all of these talented, bright young chefs refocusing on classics from their formative days in culinary school? Devillier pointed out that classical French cooking is technique driven. “Basic skills, once acquired, must be practiced like martial arts,” said McDonald, who added that as a chef there’s a “desire to cook this food that feels like a mother’s love.” Whatever the reason, it’s a lot easier to eat like a Parisian in 2019 and never leave the Crescent City.n

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

i l lu st rat i o n by To n y H e a l e y

Chef Justin Devillier’s French Creole-inspired menus at La Petit Grocery and Balise garnered him great acclaim. But Creole takes a backseat to the flavors of an authentic Parisian brasserie at Justine, his latest restaurant in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Filled with mementoes of trips to France, Justine has all the hallmarks of traditional brasseries, from the long zinc bar and banquettes to the pressed tin marquee which once graced an early 20th-century butcher’s shop. That butcher would approve of Justine’s cote de boeuf, sliced tableside, sauced with béarnaise, as well as the petite filet de poivre. While raclette, gougere and pommes frites all make appearances on the menu, Chef Devillier believes the true test of a brasserie is in the onion soup. While remaining traditional in presentation, Justine’s version delivers big flavor.


Both Couvant and Justine are big-budget projects, filled with brass, bright lights and dramatic ornamentation typical of brasseries, but down St. Claude Avenue a charming DIY version quietly opened at the close of 2018. / 25

In The Biz to u r is m

Now What? Following up the tourism whirlwind of 2018 By Jennifer Gibson Schecter

26 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

audiences. Add to that the various radio, TV and print series that ran throughout the year. Consider what a visitor takes away from that all-encompassing, low-key synergy. Even if they can’t pinpoint the exact experience that most inspired them, they will bring home a sense of wanting more. We already boast a majority of our tourists as repeat visitors — 63 percent in 2017. We also benefit from the intangible: As a tour guide friend of mine said recently, “You can’t learn New Orleans. You come here, and then you just know her. As long as your ears are open and you stop looking at your phone for a minute, you’ll just know, and then love her.” Last year offered thousands of events that reminded the nation and the world of New Orleans’ historic contributions to culture at large. We were able to use the anniversary as a citywide platform to share our music, food and traditions in a way that was interesting to the rest of the world without requiring an additional hook to get their attention. Visitors engaged with us as we are now, not just as a 300-year-old city or a community recovering from a storm, but as a dynamic place that creates new stories every day. We will seize on that. 2019 will only be a year of nothing special only if we let it be. Conventions are booked. New cruise ships are scheduled. The new airport terminal will open, and additional airline itineraries are being considered. The Jazz Fest powers that be even saw fit to add a day to the schedule this year to mark the 50th anniversary of one of our premier annual events. We have all the opportunity to create another successful year for the tourism sector. n

i l lust rat i o n by To n y H e a l e y

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

Do you know what 2019 isn’t? It’s not

the New Orleans Tricentennial. While that has some event organizers and copy editors relieved (capital T or lowercase t?), it has many in the tourism and hospitality industry curious about what this year will look like for visitation. We don’t even officially know what 2018 looked like for visitation, and won’t until the study numbers are released in the spring. There was, however, a general feeling of optimism at the end of last year that the numbers will be positive. We were already observing high hotel bookings and increased attendance at some key events. The 2017 D.K. Shifflet & Associates’ research showed New Orleans welcomed 17.74 million visitors who spent roughly $8.7 billion. Industry leaders such as Stephen Perry, president and CEO of New Orleans & Company, formerly the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Mark Romig, president and CEO of New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation, have frequently referred to our year-over-year visitor growth since 2009 and expect the trajectory to continue. All signs point to the 2018 numbers being impressive and a likely measure of success for the industry. Now we have 2019, a year of nothing special. Is this what Olympic host cities feel like when the last of the athletes, news crews and fans fly home? We aren’t staring at an empty swimming pool or colossal unused stadium, but this is perhaps akin to the letdown those civic leaders feel after the final medals have been presented. But that isn’t quite accurate. New Orleans accomplished a lot with the Tricentennial, showcasing our history, vibrancy and modern relevancy as a destination city. That was done not during a few intense weeks of athletic competition and global media coverage; rather, Tricentennial events were spread out over the course of the year. And the Tricentennial was organic. Nearly every local entity used it as a marketing theme in some way, whether it was a small retail shop on Magazine Street calling it out for a $3 discount on purchases, or a restaurant featuring a historically inspired menu. Museums, festivals, lecture series, nonprofit fundraisers, walking tours, art galleries, farmers markets and Mardi Gras parades all seized on a way to interpret the 300th theme and make it relevant for their / 27

In The Biz s p o r ts

From On Field to On Air Zach Strief reflects on his first year as WWL Radio’s Saints play-by-play announcer by chris price

28 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

completed his 12-year NFL career in January, he met with several media outlets to discuss the possibility of becoming a color analyst or recurring contributor for a football-related talk show or news segment. Following a meeting with WWL Radio, the flagship station for Saints game broadcasts, operations and program director Diane Newman told Strief they would try to fit him into some of their established shows as a commenter, but the only position they had open was for the playby-play announcer, which became available when legendary sportscaster Jim Henderson announced his retirement after nearly 30 years behind the mic. Strief, who didn’t have broadcast experience, left hoping something would happen, but then turned right around and went back to the station’s office. “By the time I got to my car, my realization was that job had a lot more attractiveness and a lot more longevity than anything else that I talked to anybody about,” Strief said. “I walked back upstairs, and said ‘That’s the job that I want.’ And they kind of laughed at me.” While several retired players have gone into broadcasting, the former Saints captain realized the station’s reaction was due to the reality that no one had ever really gone directly from playing to announcing play-by-play action. “When I told them that’s what I wanted to do, I didn’t think there was any realistic chance of it happening,” he said. “But I thought it was a really cool opportunity, and I wouldn’t have respected myself in a year if I didn’t try.” Strief asked station management for the opportunity to practice and audition and convinced them his unconventional path to the booth could give the station a unique angle; by pairing him with color analyst and former running back Deuce McAllister, the station would have two Saints insiders on their team who could give listeners a different perspective than a traditional announcer. His plan worked. In July, the station named Strief the new voice of the Saints. “There was a period of about a week where I was like, ‘What did I do?’ he said. “I think that the gravity of that job and what it is and who I was replacing became a little intimidating. At the same time, I was ecstatic. There’s only 32 of these jobs in the world, and I got pretty lucky to have one.” The transition, he said, has been demanding, but fascinating.

“Doing play-by-play for football games on the radio is absolutely a challenge, but, at the same time, I feel like there’s been growth every week, and that’s really exciting for me. It’s something that I have quickly grown a passion for and something I know I’m going to be working hard for a long time to be good at.” The Saints’ success this season — highlighted by a 10-game win streak, the secondlongest in franchise history — has made Strief’s first season on the air more than memorable. “It’s been the greatest transition imaginable,” he said. “I can’t imagine a better opportunity and a better gig than getting to essentially still be a part of the organization in my first year out.” In such a historic season, Strief says there are two play calls that have stood out. The first, of course, was Drew Brees’ 62-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith to break Peyton Manning’s career passing yards record. “For Drew to accomplish that and for me to get to narrate it was special,” he said. “It was something I was really excited I could be a part of.” The second was Mike Thomas’ 72-yard touchdown against the Rams. “I was excited and fired up for them,” he said. “I think that was the most genuinely excited call that I’ve gotten to do, and I didn’t step on any words. I didn’t screw anything up. Those are the things that I worry about now.” Strief said the most daunting part of the job has been replacing the iconic Henderson. He admits he worried about fans accepting him for not only being new, but inexperienced. “There’s people that have been listening to Jim for over 30 years, and he’s an absolute professional,” he said. “I knew that going in, certainly in the first year, that I was never going to make everybody happy. I totally respect that, and it’s okay. It’s part of what drives me to improve and to get better. My play call is not anywhere near where it could be and should be. That being said, 99 percent of people have been extremely positive, and I think they’re enjoying it. We’ve had a lot of really fun games. We’ve scored a lot of points. There’s been a lot of opportunity to be excited.” n

i l lust r at i o n by To n y H e a l e y

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

As New Orleans Saints captain Zach Strief

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

Thinking Tiny I just may end up living in a school bus someday. by Kim Singletary

30 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

can fit in a phone booth’ kind of fascinations,” laughed Maine-native Ken Wright as I stood with him watching people try and file into his 77-square-foot gypsy-wagon-style home, parked for the moment at Slidell’s Heritage Park. During the first weekend in December, I was among those waiting to take a peek at Wright’s miniature living space on the Southeast Louisiana stop of the largest tiny house festival in the country. Wright’s home was one of many on display; all around 200-square-feet of living area or less. Inclued in the array of tiny homes were converted school busses (or “schoolies”), a converted box truck, a converted van and a tiny firehouse. Living this way at first sounds crazy, I mean the average home in the United States is around 2,600 square feet. The average mortgage that comes with it, however, (according to the Mortgage Bankers Association) is just over $300,000 and the average American’s personal debt (outside of a mortgage) is $38,000. The average median income, on the other hand, is just over $59,000. The cost of a tiny house (typically defined as a home measuring under 400 square feet) typically ranges from $10,000 to $40,000. What does that mean? It means that every tiny house dweller I talked to — a group that spanned at least five decades in age — had one thing in common: they spent every day, not at a 9-to-5 job, but pursuing their own passions, free from mortgages, debt and even the necessity of having to stay in the same place. Every day they lived where they wanted and did what they wanted. At a time when affordable housing seems scarcer by the minute and wages frequently fall short of keeping up with the cost of living, the tiny home movement has thrived. In 2014 alone there was the launch of a wide array of TV shows, including “Tiny House Nation,” “Tiny House Hunting,” “Tiny House Hunters” and “Tiny House, Big Living.” Simple living, minimalism…these are ideas that have thrived, particularly with millennials and retiring baby boomers. If you’ve ever dropped a car packed with stuff off at Goodwill you know the feeling it gives you. That lightness, that freedom.

But is tiny house living really do-able? Who does this? Joining me at the festival was a colleague of mine, a millennial who currently lives with her mother and pet chihuahua. Although employed full-time, she’s found herself priced out of not just buying a house in New Orleans, but even renting. A tiny house has become her goal, something she sees as a perfect fit for her lifestyle. And then there’s my parents — semiretired and living on the Northshore, they have already downsized to a 1,600-squarefoot home but have found even that can be more work than they may want. While we toured these structures, with all of their creative storage ideas and sometimes surprisingly roomy spaces , (I loved one of the school busses that featured a full-size stove, tons of wood and windows everywhere) I started wondering, “Do people do this in Louisiana?” The top tiny house-friendly states in the country — looking at things like resources, ordinances and builders — are (in order) California, Oregon, Texas, North Carolina and Florida. Louisiana is not in this group. In fact, we only have one builder, Elite Tiny Homes out of Houma. Formerly a financial analyst in the oil and gas industry, Wade Heyl began creating furniture from cypress and sinker cypress and that love grew into bigger projects. Since 2015, he has built four custom tiny homes. According to Heyl, there are currently no state regulations governing tiny homes, meaning any rules are governed by local jurisdictions. Another tiny home dweller I met confirmed that Louisiana currently has no classification for tiny homes but says she holds out hope for 2019. She noted that Atlanta just last year passed an amendment to its city zoning laws allowing for “accessory dwelling units” of less than 750 square feet if they have their own kitchens. There is still nothing allowing tiny homes to stand on their own property or anything governing homes on wheels, but tiny home advocates have praised the move as a step in the right direction that, while small, can still open up big possibilities. In a city where affordable housing remains a big issue, who knows, maybe some tiny could be in our future? n

i l lust rat i o n by To n y H e a l e 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.

“It’s like one of those ‘How many people / 31

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

Take Two 5 Entrepreneurial Resolutions for 2019 by keith twitchell

Last year at this time, this column

featured a set of New Year’s resolutions for entrepreneurs. A lot of people liked them (we won’t discuss how many actually kept them), so in honor of another new year of opportunity and challenge, herewith a new set of resolutions.


Establish a “News Hour.” Set aside one hour every week to consider something new for your enterprise. This could be improving one of your business processes, upgrading an existing product or service, refining your marketing and communications – anything that might make you just a little more successful. Ironically, a thriving business can be an impediment to innovation, as the time and energy you expend managing operations don’t leave time to explore new possibilities. Setting aside this hour forces you to consider how things can be improved. In different weeks, you can do this by yourself, or with key staff people, perhaps even investors or other business associates. Establishing a regular day and time will help you keep this resolution.


Maximize the productivity of your

As businesses grow, they often squeeze more people, paper and equipment into the same space with only minor changes to the overall layout. Have things become cluttered and claustrophobic in your work space? Or distracting? How is the lighting? Is your space one an impartial observer would find welcoming? Substantially reorganizing your space might take a couple of days, but that investment of time may well be returned in improved productivity. For example, holding on to excessive files – paper or electronic – requires more search time to find what you need. Take a good hard look, ask for staff input, and if there is a real opportunity here, think of it as a creative team exercise.

32 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019


Response time matters. Set a standard

for yourself and your staff for replying to emails and phone calls. A 2018 national survey found that the No. 1 frustration in


Review your pricing. It’s amazing how many businesses keep their prices unchanged for long periods of time. Obviously, raising your prices just because you can may seriously offend important customers or clients; however, if you survey your competition, review your own costs and generally check out the marketplace, you may well find that a price increase is justified and possibly even necessary. If you go this route, be sure to provide a clear rationale to your clientele and be firm about sticking to it. As a corollary, you may also want to review the prices your vendors are charging you.


Does your staff really know how much you appreciate their talents and hard work? Do your family and friends know how much you appreciate their support? Do you congratulate yourself for your successes large and small? Kind words do matter, and that definitely includes being kind to yourself. Say something nice every day.

There is no magical formula for keeping New Year’s resolutions, but if you make them, it makes sense to try to keep them. Writing them down and posting them in a visible place is one good tactic, another is enrolling family, friends and staff in the effort – teamwork is always a good thing. Here’s to a healthy and prosperous new year for all! n

i l lust rat i o n by To n y H e a l e y

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

work environment.

the business world was slow (or even nonexistent) responses, particularly to emails. Even if the reply is just “got your email, will get back to you soon,” at least people know you received their communication. Of course, it is still incumbent upon you to follow up! A possible standard might be that all calls and emails will receive at least an initial response within 24 to 48 hours. Look at it this way: “No” is an acceptable answer, but no answer is not acceptable.

In The Biz etiquet te

High Five 5 business etiquette resolutions to make for 2019 by Melanie Warner Spencer

In 2018, I spoke about everything from

how etiquette can combat harassment in the workplace and foster authentic leadership, to attire (general and when working out at work), the art of rescheduling meetings, networking and navigating conferences and even dealing with new jobs, new hires, and compulsive liars. While deep dives are always interesting (and sometimes even fun) and can uncover the history and philosophies behind a lot of the principles of etiquette, it’s always a good idea to revisit (or learn) the basics from time-to-time. Even etiquette writers need a refresher now and then and what better time than the beginning of the year, when so many of us are committing to new goals or re-committing to old ones and otherwise reveling in everything that the new year will bring? It’s in that spirit that I offer five business etiquette resolutions to commit to in 2019.


Non-negotiables: Be on time, prepared

and express respect and appreciation by saying please, you’re welcome and thank you. Better yet, get into the habit of saying thank you, then following up with a handwritten thank you note. This is a long-used strategy employed by the business world’s most successful CEOs.


Introduction to introductions: Not

only is it important to learn to correctly and confidently introduce yourself, a truly polished professional also knows how to make introductions. For yourself, extend your hand, give a firm, but not crushing handshake, and offer both your first and last name, while making good eye contact. When introducing others, begin by offering the name of the most senior person. For example, when introducing your supervisor to a new team member, say “Jill Franklin, I would like to introduce Harris Rogers.” Always use the first and last name and avoid nicknames.

34 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019


Focus, focus, focus: Turn away from

the computer screen and stop typing (I’m guilty of this one), silence and put away your cell phone and give the person in front of you your full attention. It shows


Clothing makes the man and woman:

Your work attire (and grooming) need not be expensive to be appropriate. No matter where you are in your career (or salary range), dress for success and, most importantly, in the attire suited to your job. Be sure that clothing is in clean and good condition so that the people around you can focus on you, your work and what you are saying. It is also a sign of respect to dress appropriately for every occasion.


The buck stops with you: We all relish it when we are recognized for our successes, but it’s equally important to be a person known for taking responsibility for his or her mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes at some point, but true pros know how to handle it when it happens — apologize and offer a solution to the problem. This is the behavior of people with integrity and strength of character.

While it sounds simple, implementing even just these five principles can push you above the fray and help you stand out in the best possible way in your office or industry. Start by working on one per week, and then challenge yourself to use all of them in the fifth week. Keep practicing, especially the ones that seem awkward at first (introductions and thank you cards seem to give most people the most pause) and they will become a habit. Thank you for reading this column each month and for your emails and questions. May the coming year bring along with it much success, both in your professional and personal life. n

i l lust rat i o n by To n y H e a l e y

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

respect and presence and, frankly, helps you avoid repeating conversations down the line.

In The Biz marketing

What Netflix Can Teach Us 7 tips for moving from a challenger brand to a market leader. by Julia carcamo

Let’s all get comfortable in the “wayback”

machine and go back to a time when we didn’t “Netflix and chill,” to when we used to jump in the car and drive to get our hands on the hottest movie to hit the Blockbuster shelf. Remember that place? While Blockbuster scoffed at the idea that people would sit around and wait to get their movies in the mail, Netflix continued to focus on their vision of being the best resource for home movie entertainment. Today, Netflix has put most of those video rental locations out of business and expanded to become one of the most prolific producers of original programming. Look closely at the company and you’ll discover that, although the underdog for years, Netflix set out to, and continues to operate with the confidence of a market leader. It’s a lesson all businesses can learn from. Regardless of your position in the market today, you can adopt a challenger brand strategy by focusing on your business and operating with a challenger mindset. Author and marketer Adam Morgan mapped out how challenger brands can compete with the first-place brands in his 2011 book Eating the Big Fish and then later with his follow up The Pirate Inside.


Never market for the competition.

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

36 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019


Consider the change you are trying to bring about in the marketplace. For Netflix, it wasn’t merely about getting subscribers to rent from them, it was about changing Be bold in your ambition.


Be intelligently naive. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak thought to bring computers to the masses. Jeff Bezos was a hedge fund manager when he thought perhaps there could be an opportunity in online book retailing. It’s stunning to see how much they didn’t know about the categories they were entering. Intelligent naivety has profoundly changed a number of industries.


I love looking at other industries to see what they are doing right and how I can use the same idea. IKEA’s Guggenheim-inspired store layout is another excellent example of applying an idea from outside the industry. Whenever I have workshops, I always ask for participants to bring ideas from companies they admire so they can discover how they could apply the concept to improve their marketing and operations.


Steal with pride.

Find your religion. What is deep in

the heart of your brand? What does your business stand for? What provides clarity, direction and focus on everything that is done? What is it that will draw others to join you? These answers can guide your vision, mission and strategy.


Get noticed. Challenger brands will

project their beliefs consistently in everything they do. You notice them even if you’re not looking for them. Consider what your brand could be famous for and implement that in your next plan.


Make sacrifices. We’ve all heard the

famous Steve Jobs quote about being as proud of the things Apple said no to as he was of the things the company said yes to. Consider what messages and programs will give you the best return and which will not. Finding your religion will also tell you what you should say no to. You don’t have to do all of these to act like a first-place brand, just start with one and you’ll be on your way to acting like the market leader until you are. n

i l lu st r at i o n by To n y H e a l e y

Although we’ve all seen brands compare themselves to others, great brands play up their strengths rather than giving their competition free advertising. Naming your competition in your communications can elevate your competition into the consideration of those who may not have heard of them. Change your view from a state of the marketplace to a state of mind by shifting from WHO you are challenging to WHAT you are challenging. Think about Walmart challenging prices or Dove challenging the view women have of themselves. In each case, they became the answer to the WHAT rather than comparing themselves to a competitor.

the way people would rent movies. That was a bold ambition indeed. / 37

38 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

hot topics in southe ast Louisiana industries

perspectives banking & Finance  /  law  /  healthcare

A local entrepreneur discusses his experience with raising capital and what mistakes you should avoid.

Perspectives banking & finance

The Capital Raise Quandary Lumps, dumps, and lessons learned in a start-up capital raise. By Jay Taffet

You can take any word associated

with entrepreneurship that excites you, like opportunity, growth and success, and completely remove any pleasure it arouses simply by adding the modifier “capital.” At least, that’s how it felt to me over the past year. I had spent several years creating what I considered to be the perfect plan to disrupt a high-profile, established industry with a long-term solution that required minimal capex, virtually no overhead and immediate start-up viability. It was one of those “holy moly” moments once it all came together in narrative and numbers. In fact, it was so compelling, I had friends and family asking to invest from the moment I revealed what had just emerged from my incubator! But the friends and family capital component — my first generation “angel investors” — only got me a few strides into the $700,000 capital raise. I had to identify the non-related angel investor prospects and $500,000-range venture capital/private equity groups to solidify the project capital piece. I started the canvassing full of enthusiasm and, nine months later, I’ve kicked over every pebble on the beach without successfully finding that pot of gold. So, here are some thoughts and conclusions on my seemingly interminable capital raise that I hope will

40 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

help you, my fellow entrepreneur, if you’re pursuing your own raise right now or planning one soon. Maybe, more importantly, this might be a valuable script and Rx toward a healthy outlook on the process from day one. Compulsion is King

I am extremely meticulous and thorough when it comes to business planning. I appreciate the value of the “story” as much as the financial model that validates the plan. Both pieces — the narrative and the numbers — are equally important, and there is no shortcut to creating a viable business plan without both spheres. So, if you’re not a right-brain/ left-brain kind of entrepreneur, but you have the “killer” concept that

deserves its day in capital court, then you need to recruit the participants that can complete your plan. It’s your choice if these participants will be consultants or team members in the venture, but you can’t overlook the importance of having all the requisite skill sets at the table from the start. Why? Well, as you might know from experience or assumption, you only get one chance in front of a prospective investor. Either you tell the “whole truth and nothing but the truth” at your initial inquiry or you’ll be filed away quickly. That is to say, if your lead-in pitch doesn’t fully answer the core questions of “opportunity, management and exit” in your first reach, most prospective investors have enough project depth on their bench to simply move on without asking why.

Defend assumptions, not omissions

So, what is that complete package to entice a prospective investor? It’s a compendium of assumptions, narratives, models and exhibits with more heft than a doctoral thesis, but boiled down to five or less pages that can be digested in three minutes. Pretty tall order. You start with a detailed narrative of the why, how, where, when and who, and reduce that to a one-page summary that hits the highlights from each section. You build a financial model that looks like it was prepared on Wall Street, complete with a summary of assumptions, capital budget, capex burn schedule, year one-to-three income statement (cash and accrual), balance sheet and cash flow model (by months), and / 41

boil that down to a one-page financial highlight that is encapsulated on the one-page narrative summary. Next, you attach all relevant exhibits that underpin the full venture plan, including your résumé, vendor agreements, the proposed entity operating agreement, collateral samples, and applicable industry research that validates your assumptions. And then you reduce this entire soufflé to a separate slide presentation that hits the highlights from every component of the venture plan, giving the investor a format choice in the review process. Finally, you take all these dishes you’ve just prepared and wrap them in professional branding and graphics (yes, hire a designer if it’s not your forte), and add a link to a professionally designed website (and intro video, if applicable) that tells your “post-capital raise/now a business” story to your customer. Finally, you put all these components — the full business plan, the financial model and the presentation — in a Dropbox folder that you can share via link in your initial email inquiry. So, that’s the Full Monty of a promising venture plan that might make it to the review stage with an investor. The key here is not to be asked to create something by a capital prospect. Demonstrate at the introduction that you are the most meticulous entrepreneur on the planet who has thought of everything! Let the rejection be based on your conclusions, not because you appear to be half-baked. Better yet, make your conclusions so air-tight and the plan components so complete that the only rejection a prospective investor can offer is that the venture is too small, too early and/ or outside their target industries. In the world of start-up capital, that’s a very loving rejection.

on investment range and target industry — but why should that limit you? Your plan just might be the compelling platform that makes an investor prospect widen the scope and take a chance on something new. But, even if you don’t convert an incongruent investor prospect, the most important reason to cast the biggest net you can is that every target is a potential referral source. That’s right, even if your venture is sub-$1 million, pre-revenue and in an outlier of an industry, you should still go after the private equity firm that advertises its investment preference at $2 million to $5 million in revenue, growth capital and focused on industries remote from yours. You have to remember that people comprise these seemingly unapproachable investment firms, individuals who may be struck by the creativity and ingenuity of your plan and willing to pass your information on to someone who is a better fit. In my experience over the past year, my most interested prospects originated from referrals, not my direct reaches. Finally, gratitude. Every investor prospect that answers your email with a polite rejection and possibly a referral deserves a hearty thank you. But, take it one step further: If a prospect refers you to another potential investor, regardless of the outcome, you need to express this gratitude on a grander scale, like a hand-delivered gift basket or something along those lines. Gratitude is your calling card to the investor community. It’s not your plan or your pitch. It’s your confidence to say “thank you” for the opportunity to share your idea. That’s what people will remember well beyond the potential of your plan. n

Convert rejection into referrals

Unless your venture is in the sweet spot of tech — code and connectivity that dominates the investment capital world today — it’s most likely going to be a long, challenging road to the promised land. Thus, you’re going to have to canvass like a grassroots political campaign, going door to door in search of your supporters. Sure, there are formulaic approaches to the capital raise — identifying the angel investors, venture capitalists and private equity based 42 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

Jay Taffet is an entrepreneur, consultant and pilot. He lives in New Orleans with his wife and two daughters. / 43

Perspectives l aw

value has been charged. It is critical to the development of long-lasting relationships to consider the value of the tasks for which you are billing. By limiting billing for trivial tasks, you may encourage clients to reach out on a regular basis. This more consistent communication can assist in predicting issues far in advance for the client which will often generate cheaper solutions. Additionally, such calls will also generate new work for the attorney. This genuinely generates a win-win situation for all involved while avoiding awkward billing conversations which only strain a relationship.

Attorney 2.0 5 tips to help you move from being “just another attorney” to a truly invaluable resource. By keith j. naccari

5 By focusing on a more global

perspective with respect to clients, attorneys can grow beyond a useful tool that is interchangeable and sensitive to price into a trusted advisor and counselor for clients. Such growth benefits the client by providing a vigilant eye whose purpose is the unique success of the client regardless of how success is defined. Additionally, the attorney is more likely to develop lifelong clients who depend on their advice and knowledge. Below are five tips to develop a proper mindset to best serve clients and your law firm.


Develop trust.

The more a client trusts their attorney, the more forthcoming they will be concerning important decisions and events in both the life of the business and its owner. In order to develop this trust, it is important to take a genuine interest in both your client’s business and the individual. Developing a genuine interest in the business and the individual will facilitate more topics of discussion outside of the current project and encourage the communication necessary for trust to blossom. Often what embarrasses a client or what clients have trouble expressing are the issues needing the most attention.

44 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019


Understand your client’s goals.

At the end of the day, what is generally most important to a client is achieving the goals they set. Consistent alignment with client goals is pivotal in ensuring those goals are achieved in an efficient manner. An attorney should make an attempt to understand the 30-day, 60-day, 90-day, one-year, three-year, and five-year goals of the client to ensure the work performed helps accomplish such goals. When looking at the goals of the client, it is important to consider both the business goals and the personal goals of the individual owners. By looking at both, an attorney may identify conflicts in the goals previously overlooked and assist in properly prioritizing the goals that will guide both the decisions of the company and its owners and the legal support needed. If an attorney is truly serving as a counselor to the client, the attorney has an obligation to not only generate documents requested, but to also constantly analyze the situation for any protection, structures, or strategies necessary to optimize the client’s potential.


Understand your client’s risk tolerance.


Remember, not everything is billable.

Return on investment is a function of risk and every individual’s tolerance for risk will be unique. The risk tolerance of the owners of a business will often bleed over into the business and is one of the most influential factors in decision-making — determining areas such as insurance, growth strategies, financing strategies and investment strategies. While an attorney should explain the risks involved with varying strategies and allow the client to make the business decision, understanding the client’s taste for risk will allow an attorney to prioritize strategies and avoid recommendations for strategies deemed too risky for some clients or enable an attorney to become more creative with strategies for clients with little risk aversion.

Nothing alienates a client like the feeling they get when they open a bill filled with charges for a 10th of an hour for leaving a voicemail, or scanning documents, or a quick phone call. None of these items provide any measurable value to the client and yet a definitive dollar

Look beyond the specific project or task.

Look up. Too often, attorneys become buried in achieving hourly targets and simply generate the requested documents needed for a particular project without a full analysis of the position of the client. While stuck in the grind, it’s easy for an attorney to miss the opportunity to provide helpful advice that the client is not even aware they need. While it’s important to always exceed client expectations, we must recognize an obligation to keep a keen eye out for what clients may not see coming. Providing additional insight beyond the tasks assigned differentiates a counselor from a run-of-the-mill attorney. n

Keith J. Naccari is a partner at Sternberg, Naccari & White, LLC. His practice areas include mergers and acquisitions, business transactions, business counsel, tax strategies, and tax controversies. He may be reached at or (504) 324-2141. / 45

Perspectives h e a lt h c a r e

Healthcare Changes: What the consumerism trend means for patients and providers By Warner Thomas

consumer connectivity, learn how to digitize the patient journey and listen to what the consumer really wants. Competition for healthcare providers

Early adopters in a variety of industries (ie. Amazon, Apple) are vying for patient loyalty in the healthcare space, an area traditionally owned by health systems. Additionally, retailers like CVS, Walgreens and Walmart are adding healthcare services and clinics to connect with retail customers beyond their bricks-and-mortar stores. This disruption has prompted healthcare organizations to engage with patients in real time while

improved clinical outcomes for individual patients as well as to better health of population segments. It enforces a proactive approach to care delivery, as opposed to the reactive approach of years past.

Just as consumers expect to book a hotel room or check in for a flight on their phones, they also expect healthcare to be accessible from the palm of their hand. In healthcare, technology can encompass a variety of areas—infrastructure, electronic health records, clinical integration, mobile apps and telemedicine. This evolution must be informed by strategic insights that are meaningful—such as convenience, access to care and ease of information use—to patients, providers and employees alike. Employers are also recognizing this change and are building relationships

Healthcare across the United States

continues to experience monumental change. Providers face enormous pressure to accommodate this change, from the restructuring of payment models to the upward trend of healthcare consumerism. Meanwhile, increased transparency, expanded access to information, evolving technology, and other industry pressures are fundamentally altering the healthcare landscape. Through this evolution, healthcare providers who embrace technology will connect their patients by delivering an experience that is more conversational and affordable. Like customers in other industries, such as retail (Amazon), entertainment (Netflix), and transportation (Uber), consumers of healthcare feel empowered and are reacting to the desire and need for on-demand access. With the expansion of the Internet of Things, mobile capabilities and big data, the ability to transform operations and keep pace with the explosion of digital applications is a market differentiator, especially for patient care. The pace of transformation is only accelerating. To keep up, leaders of health systems and medical groups across the country need to shift from the traditional models of care and develop new ways to implement effective technology. To be successful, they must enhance

46 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

leveraging data analytics to gain insights into their choices. If healthcare organizations do not evolve and improve patient connectivity, these early adopters will make the change for us. The shift from “fee-forservice” to “values-based” payment models

Progressive providers have steered away from the fee-for-service payment model, which rewards physicians based on the number and type of procedures and treatments they prescribe rather than on the health outcomes they achieve, to a value-based model. Experience has shown that benefits accrue to healthcare systems that embrace value-based care, which is directly linked to high-quality service and

Factors that drive today’s healthcare consumers

Today, patients have higher expectations and are more interested in engaging in their own health and wellness. The developments in technology and demand for expanded access to information and services online are affecting the healthcare industry.

with health systems who have these capabilities and are adopting these technologies. By offering online appointment scheduling, communicating via text message, and employing devices that patients already use every day, hospitals are better positioned to engage and interact in ways that help patients take control of managing their own health and wellness, ultimately meeting their expectations of convenience and on-demand access. This is an area in which Ochsner has made investments and has resulted in more than 400,000 online appointments. This approach is a game changer in the way healthcare decisions will be made in the future. / 47

How hospitals are meeting demands

As part of Ochsner’s patient-centered culture, the voice of customer drives our efforts around convenience. Whether it’s through offering online appointments and messaging via MyOchsner patient portal and same day access with locations close to home, or introducing telemedicine and digital medicine programs, these efforts enable an opportunity to revolutionize healthcare. Ochsner has deeply integrated technology into our healthcare ecosystem, making significant investments in this area to support our position as a national destination center for the most complex patients. We have shifted from digitizing health records in 2011 to integrating adopting new technologies that use data to create population wellness management programs, predictive modeling and patient-centered solutions. We’ve increased transparency through Open Notes so that patients have the ability read their physician notes within their electronic medical record. More importantly, we explore ways to ensure that the needs of our patients and staff are met to simultaneously improve operations, address pain points and rethink the patient experience. We created innovationOchsner (iO), an innovation lab which concentrates on solving some of the most pressing healthcare challenges we face. In the last few years, iO has designed interventions and digital medicine programs that focus on improving the outcomes of our patients. We have taken on chronic disease – including hypertension, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). For example, with more than 4,000 patients enrolled in our Hypertension Digital Medicine Program, blood pressure was successfully controlled in 71 percent of previously uncontrolled patients within the first 90 days including demonstrated improvements in diet, patient engagement and satisfaction. These diseases affect our families, our friends and our neighbors every day. As the largest health system in the Gulf South, we must be relentless about solving them. We are utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to predict patient dete-

48 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

rioration in some units outside of intensive care. During a pilot program in those units, we’ve seen a 44 percent reduction in adverse events. Regardless of the expansion in technology occurring and the impact it has on the industry, innovative healthcare systems such as Mayo Clinic, Kaiser Permanente and Ochsner must continue to serve as pioneers in developing new care delivery options. We are catalysts for increased innovation in the healthcare space through investment, support, and an environment in which to experiment with new options. Other health systems must take up the effort as well by exploring innovative opportunities, strengthening strategic partnerships, and expanding telemedicine to deliver increasingly robust offerings. We all must continue to disrupt ourselves and proactively integrate innovative change before we get disrupted by others. In doing so, we are leading the future of healthcare so that patients can benefit and live happier and healthier lives. n

Warner Thomas is president and CEO of Ochsner Health System, Louisiana’s largest non-profit academic health system and its largest private employer. Under Thomas’ leadership, Ochsner has expanded across Louisiana and the Gulf South to 40 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and specialty hospitals and more than 100 health centers and urgent care centers. Ochsner employs nearly 25,000 employees and over 4,500 employed and affiliated physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties, caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 60 countries worldwide each year. / 49

Business People of the Year 50 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

2018 was a year of beginnings — a year where we began building upon our region’s strengths across so many industries at one time that one can’t help but be excited for what 2019 will bring. And leading that charge into the future are these eleven professionals that Biz New Orleans is honored to celebrate as our third-annual Business People of the Year.


ithin this group are leaders seeking to grow our recordsetting tourism numbers even further by transforming our downtown landscape, giving our airport a $1 billion facelift and creating an anniversary celebration felt across the globe. In healthcare and biotechnology, we’ve got young entrepreneurs bringing exciting new ideas to the market aimed at not just improving quality of life, but saving lives in ways no one has seen before. In sports we saw the loss of our beloved Tom Benson, but thanks to his wife, Gayle, his legacy is continuing as strong as ever. We saw one of this country’s fastest-growing business schools open a $35 million expansion, one of our top tech companies go public and Jefferson Parish celebrate its most successful year in decades. ¶ Finally, just over four years after gracing our first cover as “Mr. Business,” we welcome Michael Hecht back as our CEO of the Year. Continually stepping up his game to bring Southeast Louisiana to new heights, he and GNO, Inc. were integral in bringing our region its two biggest successes of the year, projects whose impacts will continue to ripple outward for generations to come. ¶ Here’s to our “Elevating Eleven,” and to a very prosperous and exciting new year.

by rebecca friedman, chris price and kim singletary photographs by greg miles

“I’m actually in a slight panic

about what we’re going to do in 2019 as an encore,” said Jerry Bologna, president and CEO of JEDCO (Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission) when asked about the organization’s success this past year. Bologna has every right to be nervous. Jefferson Parish has had an incredible year, arguably the best since Bologna took over as JEDCO’s CEO in 2000. The most high-profile win for the parish being the successful purchase of Avondale Shipyard, Biz New Orleans’ business story of the year for 2018. “Since the closure of the shipyard was announced [in 2010], GNO, Inc. and JEDCO were working in tandem to find a purchaser,” said Bologna. “Once a potential purchaser surfaced, JEDCO negotiated the local incentives that made the acquisition possible. There were so many jurisdictions and approvals and parties involved. We acted very much like a concierge to put it all together.” Avondale was just one among almost too many wins to count. Among the highlights include that in March, Fuji Oil announced it was investing $70 million in a new processing facility adjacent to Avondale Shipyard, and in May, U.S. Foods announced that it was tripling the size of its facility in Marrero to create a new distribution center and adding an estimated 83 jobs. JEDCO has also been working on two big projects throughout the year. The first is the redevelopment of the 100-acre Elmwood Center, which has already seen new retail tenants. The 10-year phased construction of this mixed-use development will include 500 apartments, pedestrian paths and enhanced infrastructure. This year also marked the start of an extensive master planning process for the Churchill Technology and Business Park, a 480-acre site on the West Bank. “It is a point of pride for our team, which has been hard at work alongside global design and architecture firm Perkins+Will all year to develop a plan that really fits within our vision for the future of Jefferson Parish,” said Bologna. Speaking of team, Bologna is quick to praise JEDCO’s staff of 18, which he calls “one of the most dedicated economic development staffs in the country” and “one of the few accredited economic organizations in the state.” How do you follow such a successful year?

“I’m actually in a slight panic about what we’re going to do in 2019 as an encore.”

by KIm singletary “The positive momentum we’re seeing in our schools, in workforce development, that’s all just going to continue,” he said. “We’re going to keep experiencing a shift in industrial and warehouse to the Westbank and we’re going to continue to look at areas like Fat City and Terrytown in terms of housing and neighborhood revitalization.”

Jerry Bologna President and CEO JEDCO

52 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

Chris Meaux

how hard it is to set yourself apart, to grow your business. Waitr has been a catalyst to help them find new customers.” As a publicly traded company, Waitr has plenty of room to grow and access to capital to enable that expansion. Meaux said his vision for the company extends beyond food delivery to creative technology solutions for restaurant and food service operations.

Despite Waitr’s rapid growth, Meaux is committed to maintaining the company’s Louisiana roots (its headquarters are in Lake Charles). One clear sign of this commitment? This fall, Waitr partnered with Tony Chachere’s to include a lagniappe packet of seasoning blend in its New Orleans delivery orders.

by rebecca friedman

Founder and CEO Waitr Holdings

Chris Meaux won’t soon

forget November 28, 2018, which he began by ringing the Nasdaq opening bell in New York, surrounded by Waitr colleagues. “It’s kind of the pinnacle for entrepreneurs, to go public and ring the bell on the stock exchange,” said Meaux. “It was one of the highlights of my career by far.” Meaux’s career has been on a steep upward trajectory — the most recent bump spurred by the $308 million acquisition of Waitr by Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta, owner of the Golden Nugget Casino, the Houston Rockets and Landry, Inc. (which counts restaurant chains including Landry’s, Morton’s and dozens of others in its portfolio), along with Landcadia Holdings. “We thought it was important to go public, and we have the right partners to do that with Tilman Fertitta and Landcadia,” said Meaux. Meaux launched Waitr in 2015 as an on-demand platform to connect local restaurants and consumers. Since its inception in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Waitr’s services have expanded to 40 markets and 235 cities. In 2017, the company took more than 4 million orders. Today, Waitr has more than 400 corporate employees and 9,000 total employees, including drivers. Meaux said he is proud of the impact the company has had on their lives, as well as those of Waitr’s 7,700 restaurant partners. “In some cases, we are 25 percent of their business,” said Meaux of their restaurant partners. “Waitr gives them access to tools they’ve never had before. At one time in my career I was a restaurateur. I know

“It’s kind of the pinnacle for entrepreneurs, to go public and ring the bell on the stock exchange. It was one of the highlights of my career by far.” / 53

Through commemorative

patches and helmet stickers featuring the initials and a silhouette of Tom Benson doing his signature Benson Boogie, the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans continue to honor the memory of their late owner, Tom Benson. But no one is honoring his legacy more than his wife, Gayle Benson, who became owner of both teams when he passed away in March. With franchises in two of the world’s most popular professional leagues and a horse-racing stable competing at the highest levels, Sports Illustrated recently named her “the most powerful woman in sports.” In April, Benson saw the Pelicans sweep the Portland Trail Blazers to win their first playoff series sweep in franchise history and advance to the conference semifinals. In May, her horse, Lone Sailor, made a “Run for the Roses” in the Kentucky Derby, and later that month, she led a delegation aimed at awarding New Orleans the 2024 Super Bowl. Her fellow owners needed just 60 seconds to unanimously award the event. In August, she announced the return of Dixie Beer to New Orleans with an 80,000-squarefoot brewery, tasting room and museum in New Orleans East. In October, she was ranked No. 298 on the Forbes 400 list, an annual ranking of the wealthiest Americans. The magazine ranked the Saints as the world’s 48th most valuable sports franchise with a value of $2 billion and valued the Pelicans at $1 billion. With an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion — equal to media powerhouse Oprah Winfrey — she is the lone Louisianan to make the Forbes list. In addition to the teams, Benson owns three local automotive dealerships — Best Chevrolet, Cadillac of New Orleans and Mercedes-Benz of New Orleans. Alongside all of her responsibilities, the renowned philanthropist is continuing to contribute to the local community in the health and wellness, education and arts sectors, most notably through the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center at Ochsner Medical Center. “This year has truly been a blessing and I could not be prouder of what we have accomplished,” Benson said. “The Saints claimed the 2018 NFC South title for the second year in a row and the

54 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

Gayle Benson

Owner New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Pelicans

Pelicans are in the thick of the hunt for another playoff berth. “Our farm in Paris, Kentucky continues to be a leader in the thoroughbred breeding business, selling one of its Quality Road yearlings at the Keeneland Sale for over $1 million,” she said. “As I look back on all of our accomplishments this year, I am inspired to achieve even greater things for our fans and community while continuing to give back to the community as much as possible. With success comes the responsibility to invest in our community and to make a lasting impact on those around us.”

by chris price “This year has truly been a blessing and I could not be prouder of what we have accomplished.”

Tulane’s A.B. Freeman School

“More and more highly qualified young women and men are coming to New Orleans to study business.”

Ira Solomon Dean, A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University

by rebecca friedman

of Business, one of the country’s fastest-growing business schools, welcomed 2018 with a bang: the opening of a $35 million expansion that includes 80,000 square feet of new and renovated space on Tulane University’s Uptown campus. The expansion was designed to address a range of strategic goals. The physical plant accommodates what Solomon calls the “tremendous, unprecedented demand for business education” the school has seen over the last six to eight years, while its design reflects the vision for a contemporary learning environment built upon openness, collaboration and community. Solomon and his colleagues are continually refreshing the school’s curriculum to ensure “a Tulane and Freeman School difference” designed to set the school apart from other top programs and offer students leading-edge business learning. They have accomplished this in part through programs that tap into the city’s unique offerings. “Connectivity to the New Orleans business community is in our DNA,” said Solomon. “Our students get out into the city and it provides a wonderful learning laboratory.” One example is the Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which helps students develop the skills to be successful entrepreneurs and nurtures the city’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. “More and more highly-qualified young women and men are coming to New Orleans to study business, many of them with ideas about being entrepreneurs, and this gives New Orleans a chance to capture them longer term,” said Solomon. The Freeman School recently finalized a partnership with Idea Village to co-lead New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), which will give students a new way to explore entrepreneurship in real-life settings. In early 2019, the Freeman School will expand its footprint with the Stewart Center CBD. Co-located with the New Orleans Culinary Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) the facility will offer several customized programs, including: entrepreneurial hospitality, designed to help students develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in industries (hotels, restaurants and beyond) that rely upon customer experience; an executive MBA; and non-degree educational programming to serve local startups or established businesses. Solomon’s outlook for 2019 is nothing but positive. “It’s a wonderful time for Tulane and the Freeman School.” / 55

“When problems go undiagnosed, they can create learning and selfesteem issues.”

This month marks Lana Joseph’s

third year of running her own business, and in that time, she has experienced a level of success that the Marrero native never could have expected. Noticing a clear need for hearing services in her home town, the audiologist opened the first location of High Level Speech and Hearing Center on Jefferson Highway in January 2016. In its first year, her business took in $300,000 and served over 5,900 patients, approximately 5,000 of which were from Orleans Parish. Joseph said that quickly made her realize she needed a second location in New Orleans. In 2017, her revenue grew to $1.5 million, providing her with the momentum to take action. On January 15 of this year, High Level Speech and Hearing opened its second location at 4219 Magnolia Street. Through both locations, two doctors of audiology and 12 speech therapists, the company served approximately 20,000 people this year, increasing revenue to around $2.3 million. An estimated 40 million Americans have trouble speaking or hearing due to a communication disorder. For Joseph, one of the biggest ways she sees her company making an impact is with pediatric patients. “A huge portion of our work is with children and we’ve really been focusing more on partnering with schools, especially in disadvantaged areas,” she said. “When problems go undiagnosed, they can create learning and self-esteem issues.” Joseph learned the need for speech and hearing services at a young age. A speech disorder resulted in years of teasing until she was successfully diagnosed and treated in the seventh grade. Now, her company frequently partners with schools, daycare centers and nursing homes, bringing screenings to those who need them most. Personally, Joseph had a big year as well, which included being named to Gambit’s “40 Under 40,” becoming a finalist in the 2018 Millennial Awards and inducted into the inaugural class of Next Up NOLA, a New Orleans-based talent research program. As a little icing on the cake, she also got to serve as rap superstar Drake’s audiologist at his concert in September.

By Kim Singletary Joseph’s real reward, however, she says lies with creating satisfied customers. “All of the five-star reviews on Facebook, Google and, that’s what we value,” she said. “That feels so good.”

Lana Joseph

CEO High Level Speech and Hearing Center

During the citywide year-long

celebration of New Orleans’ Tricentennial, it would be possible to think just for a moment that Mark Romig had cloned himself. As president and CEO of the 2018 NOLA Foundation, in addition to his “day job” of president and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), Romig was in every curve of the city attending and speaking at a range of events. From Mardi Gras royalty to actual royalty, Romig worked with hundreds of people to represent our city’s 300th birthday. “There are many women and men in our community who should be recognized for passion and focus in their respective careers, and to be considered even close to any of them is very humbling,” said Romig. “This honor challenges me to strive to continue learning and growing each day that I am lucky to be alive.” In 2018 there were three specific projects that Romig found the most meaningful. The first, he said, was creating a partnership that should achieve results in early 2019 with 504HealthNet to help promote healthcare services to hospitality workers. 2018 was also the planning and execution of the visit to New Orleans by the king and queen of Spain as part of the Tricentennial. Romig was also part of the introduction of the New Orleans Slave Trade app and marker project. With 2018 filled with external events, Romig hopes 2019 will bring opportunities to focus inward and hone his team. He said he plans to “continue to find ways for the team at NOTMC to grow and develop their skills and experiences…and to be the best mentor and advisor I can to my team.” Romig sees that happening by continuing to focus on creating opportunities for the diverse businesses in the tourism sector and advancing the growth of the economy. As a native New Orleanian, Romig’s commitment to and advocacy of New Orleans is ceaseless. He credits his parents, Jerry and Janice Romig, for demonstrating the importance of community and follows their examples by serving on numerous boards and commissions. “I love my city and I love what I do,” he said. “I feel very lucky to be from New Orleans, and it hits home with me how important families are to our culture of hospitality. Growing in the shadow of my family, especially my mom and dad who have given so much to New Orleans, has been the best leadership training ever.”

Mark C. Romig

President and CEO New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation President and CEO 2018 NOLA Foundation Stadium Announcer New Orleans Saints (as well as the Allstate Sugar Bowl and Bayou Classic)

I love my city and I love what I do. I feel very lucky to be from New Orleans, and it hits home with me how important families are to our culture of hospitality,”

by Jennifer gibson schecter / 57

Ready Responders and its

mobile approach to healthcare have traveled a long way since winning New Orleans Entrepreneur Week’s “Big Idea” competition in 2017. Following that early recognition, major Silicon Valley investors such as Founders Fund — the venture capital firm whose portfolio includes the likes of Facebook and Airbnb — have also backed the company, serving as an encouraging vote of confidence. According to co-founder and CEO Justin Dangel, Ready Responders offers “the equivalent of a house call within a matter of minutes anywhere in New Orleans,” and the uptake has been strong. The startup treated its first patient in June 2018, and in December alone, treated close to 3,000 people across Greater New Orleans. The idea for the company was developed by Dangel and co-founder Ben Swig in response to a problem plaguing health systems across the country, that of people calling an ambulance or heading to an emergency room for non-emergent issues, clogging ER capacity and costing health systems and insurers millions annually. Ready Responders dispatches a trained medical professional to a patient’s home, and includes access to a doctor via video chat. If the patient requires further attention, Ready Responders can refer them to the next point of care. This approach not only reroutes nonemergent cases from emergency channels, it also offers a convenient option to those who might not otherwise access care at all. “We have great hospitals here in New Orleans and a great EMS service and clinics, but not everyone can get access to care when they need it,” said Dangel. “It turned out there are a lot of people excited to get care at home.” To reach more patients, Ready Responders has partnered with health insurance payors including UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Louisiana Health Connections, and developed relationships with healthcare organizations like Ochsner and New Orleans East Hospital. Today, patients in Greater New Orleans area can access Ready Responders by calling 211. Dangel says access will continue to grow in 2019 as the company expands through partnerships with new payors and hospital systems and launches in three cities outside Louisiana. “We are excited to continue to grow,” said Dangel, “and build what we think is a new paradigm for prehospital care.”

58 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

Justin Dangel Co-Founder and CEO Ready Responders

by rebecca friedman

“We have great hospitals here in New Orleans and a great EMS service and clinics, but not everyone can get access to care when they need it. It turned out there are a lot of people excited to get care at home.”

In an airport that served

“We will be delivering an image of a proactive, modernthinking community and region to folks visiting.”

Kevin Dolliole

Director of Aviation Louis Armstrong International Airport

by rebecca friedman

approximately 12.8 million travelers in 2018, the impending opening of a brand-new terminal (scheduled for May 15) is big news. With a $1 billion price tag and 972,000 square feet of space, including 35 gates, the North Terminal will welcome travelers to a modern facility befitting one of the country’s fastest-growing airports — a major departure from Armstrong’s existing terminal, portions of which date back to the 1950s. Kevin Dolliole joined the effort in mid-2017 equipped with expertise developed over the course of a career in the aviation industry. This experience included overseeing airports in St. Louis and San Antonio and serving as a consultant to airports across the country. With the North Terminal, Dolliole has confronted challenges ranging from a sinking sewer line to traffic flow issues but has kept the project’s many constituencies focused. In 2018, the airport was able to secure $35 million in additional project funding, including a $20 million grant from the FAA. These funds allowed them to address challenges (including the sewer line) and make functional improvements, such as expanding the international concourse. Dolliole has also focused on keeping the cost of operations low for airlines, an important factor in increasing the airport’s ability to serve a growing market. In 2018, the airport offered 53 nonstop flights, up from 39 just a few years back, and Dolliole is hoping for more. Residents and visitors alike are counting the days until they can enjoy the new facility’s benefits, which include improved pickup and drop-off flow to reduce curbside congestion, increased parking capacity, and an array of retail and concessions, both local and national, that will be accessible to all travelers beyond one central security checkpoint. “The first impression you get of a community is the airport facility you fly into,” he said. “We will be delivering an image of a proactive, modern-thinking community and region to folks visiting.” Dolliole said he especially looks forward to sharing the new facility with locals. “It’s great for visitors,” he said, “but I’m more excited for our local citizens to have something like this that they can utilize in a more convenient fashion and that will continue to grow air service here.” / 59

“I struggled to find a job here after grad school, so bringing biotech jobs to the city is a personal mission.”

by kim singletary

Lowry Curley Co-Founder and CEO AxoSim

Lowry Curley was our cover feature back in August.

At that point, on the heels of a $100,000 grand prize win at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week that March, Curley explained how his company’s invention, Nerve-On-A-Chip — a 3D cell-based model that mimics living tissue in form and function — was allowing pharmaceutical researchers and scientists to monitor the potential effects of drugs on humans more quickly and cost effectively than traditional methods. At the time, the company had seven full-time employees and was working

with three pharmaceutical companies. Moving at the fast-paced speed of tech, just four months later, AxoSim has grown to 12 full-time employees and signed two additional international pharmaceutical companies. “I’m also excited to report that we have received two new small business grants,” said Curley. “These grants are allowing us to develop applications to be able to test new, non-addictive opioids. We’re also working to automate our testing which will hopefully allow us to produce 10 times the output we have now, which will help us expand faster.” Spurred by a personal experience with a neurological issue he battled while in college, Curley said he was “intrigued by the development of new and better biomedical tools.” But in addition to his focus on helping to discover the best drugs to treat neurogenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, ALS and multiple sclerosis, Curley has had another goal in mind from the beginning: to help create a thriving biomedical district in New Orleans. “I struggled to find a job here after grad school,” he said, “so bringing biotech jobs to the city is a personal mission. Four months ago, Curley was recruited to be a member of the Biodistrict Board of Commissioners, which is working with biotech companies and universities to create a strategic plan to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce. He is also a member of Krewe de Nieux, a collection of local entrepreneurs devoted to solving some of the growth issues within the sector and “promoting a modern workforce.” “What is being done here right now is really exciting,” he said. “And it’s only going to get better.”

“A decade of delivery.” That’s

what Michael Sawaya promised when he took the helm of New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in February 2018, fresh off assisting San Antonio with a $325 million expansion. Less than a year in, he’s already delivering for New Orleans. This past June, (the same month Sawaya was featured on the cover of Biz New Orleans) the governing board of the convention center approved a $558 million, five-year capital improvement plan to allow for the development of the Convention Center Headquarters Hotel. Described by Sawaya in June as the “first order of business,” as a headquarter hotel is something most tier 1 destination cities like New Orleans already have, the planned 1,200-room Omni Hotel (operated by Omni Hotel & Resorts) recently received an independent analysis that projected the hotel would create an additional 172,000 room nights into the market annually, resulting in an additional $208 million in spending and create 1,900 new permanent jobs. The result of all of this would be an annual total economic impact to the city of $282 million, including $18 million in new taxes for the city and $6 million for Louisiana. Sawaya says negotiations for the hotel began in December, with construction anticipated to begin around the end of next summer and completion in 2023 in time for the Super Bowl. June’s capital improvement plan also included the approval of a 7.5-acre pedestrian park that will span the length of the convention facility along Convention Center Boulevard. The pedestrian park will include a transportation center connected to the building via a covered walkway, as well as outdoor entertainment spaces, seating areas, public art and water features. Construction on Convention Center Boulevard began in September with expected completion in the summer of 2020. “A hotel has to have more than just a convention center to support it, so in 2019 we will be busy aggressively planning to add more activity around the area,” he said, “which will include entering into development with various mixed-use, residential and retail components, as well as creating a strong entertainment district. Sawaya can see it all in his mind, and it’s incredible. “I’d like to live over there,” he said. “Wouldn’t you?”

Michael Sawaya President and General Manager Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

by kim singletary

“A hotel has to have more than just a convention center to support it, so in 2019 we will be busy aggressively planning to add more activity around the area.” / 61

CEO of the year

by kim singletary

Michael Hecht

President and CEO Greater New Orleans, Inc.

62 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

When Biz New

Orleans was preparing to launch its first issue in October 2014, Michael Hecht was a natural for the cover. His business, after all — and that of the organization he leads — is to sell the city, and since joining the organization in June 2008, he has racked up an impressive set of wins, including more than 77 new companies drawn to the region and $30 billion in new investment. In addition to helping to rewrite national flood insurance and bringing the first nonstop flight from New Orleans to Europe since 1982, GNO, Inc. played a substantial roll in both 2018’s No. 1 and No. 2 stories of the year — the purchase of Avondale Shipyard and the opening of DXC Technology, the biggest economic development jobs win in Louisiana’s history. Under Hecht’s leadership, GNO Inc. has formed a truly comprehensive plan for the region’s economy, including work on coastal restoration and managing water resources, reformation of the state’s tax and budget structure and tackling criminal justice reform. So, on the heels of his 10th anniversary leading GNO, Inc., and with this year being the 15th anniversary of the organization, Biz New Orleans is honored to celebrate Michael Hecht as our 2018 CEO of the year.

O n finding his perfect career

“As a child, my favorite pastime was to build cities with my Legos and Lincoln Logs. That passion has been a part of my entire life…Taking this job was a chance to come home and a chance to build a better New Orleans region. This is where my lifelong passion lives.” None of our wins would have been possible without the remarkable partnership and trust that exists between our parish, region and state allies. This partnership is almost always cited by companies as a key reason why they choose the New Orleans region. On the power of a team approach

On his management style

“I believe in structural autonomy, meaning individuals are given goals and a specific vision of what success looks like but it’s up to them to determine the best possible path. Leadership exists to help, if or when needed, but there’s no micromanaging.”

On his side gig

“I’ve been DJing for about 20 years now…My specialty is electronica and ‘90s hip-hop, but I’m definitely more of a gourmand than a gourmet. I do a lot of fundraisers. The plan is actually to release my first album in 2019. On that note I’m excited that one of our special projects this year will be the New Orleans Music Economy Initiative (NOME). Led by former GNO, Inc. board chair Tara Hernandez, we’re working to create a full music business here, including agents, publicity and managers, much like Nashville has.”

On New Orleans

“We’ve reached a level of

economic success in this region that wouldn’t have been thought possible in the weeks following Katrina, or, quite frankly, in the weeks before it.”

O n his staff

“Our staff of 20 individuals is one of the most talented, energetic and dedicated in the country, I’m sure of it. I feel lucky to go to war with such a happy band of soldiers.” / 63

Southe ast louisiana businesses in full color


The colorful, state-of-the-art, 10,500-squarefoot Jefferson Parish River Ridge Library in Harahan was designed by Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects.

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

Reading Rainbow Children and education were the focus for the design of the new Jefferson Parish River Ridge Library in Harahan. by Melanie Warner Spencer photos by sara essex bradley

Orange, blue and yellow butterfly sculptures

dangle overhead, providing even more color among the blue, green and orange accent walls at the new, 10,500-square-foot Jefferson Parish River Ridge Library in Harahan. The state-of-theart library features multiple meeting and study rooms, a self-checkout and children’s room, as well as 26 computers and a host of other technology for members of the community. Designed with children’s services in mind, Jefferson Parish officials worked with Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects on the $3.4 million project, which was completed in the spring of 2018. “The Jefferson Parish Library director expressed a love of color and butterflies,” says Brian Faucheux, principal-in-charge at Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects. “Color and butterflies became a theme for the interior design and artwork. This can be seen in the three large butterfly sculptures suspended from the lobby ceiling crafted by artist Matthew Placzek of Placzek Studios, as well as playful graphics on book shelving end panels in the children’s area. Bold color is used throughout the interior to identify program areas around the library.” For the exterior design, Faucheux says the team took inspiration from traditional Louisiana residential architecture, such as Creole cottages, employing a sloped gable roof and covered porches. “The primary building materials that were selected reflect the traditional inspiration for the design and are traditional construction materials — face brick, cast stone masonry, stucco, glass,” says Faucheux. “…It’s really the interplay of the various materials that create the exterior’s appeal.” The open interior floor plan, which allows for reconfiguring the space if needed, mirrors

66 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

At a glance

Jefferson Parish River Ridge Library Address

8825 Jefferson Highway, River Ridge3. Office completed

March 28, 2018 (construction completion) Architect

Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects; Brian Faucheux, AIA - Principal-InCharge; Ken Zito, AIA - Project Manager Interior Designer

Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects; Julia Stefanski Furnishings

By Owner

Square footage

10,500 square feet Budget

$3.4 millon (Total Project Cost) Primary goal

“To create a modern library that would provide the parish and River Ridge with state-of-the art amenities while ‘fitting in’ comfortably with its surrounding residential and commercial neighborhood.” Biggest challenge

Working with a narrow and deep site with limited frontage and close proximity to the Mississippi River.

“For this neighborhood, the parish wanted a single-story, easily accessible facility with an open, flexible floor plan to accommodate future reconfiguration,” says Brian Faucheux, Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects principal-in-charge. / 67

“Color and butterflies became a theme for the interior design and artwork. This can be seen in the three large butterfly sculptures suspended from the lobby ceiling crafted by artist Matthew Placzek of Placzek Studios, as well as playful graphics on book shelving end panels in the children’s area.” Brian Faucheux, Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects principal-in-charge

the open exterior, which Faucheux says was important to parish officials who The design employs bold color wanted the entrance façade throughout the to encourage visitors to interior, which helps come inside. Faucheux says identify the various uses of each area. the team also committed to The open floor plan “a green, sustainable design allows flexibility in approach utilizing recycled the configuration of the space, should materials where possible, the need arise. with energy efficient operFor the exterior ating systems, equipment design, Faucheux says the team and appliances.” He says took inspiration parish officials requested from traditional low-maintenance, energy Louisiana residential architecture, such efficient lighting, maximizaas Creole cottages, tion of natural lighting and employing a sloped control of sun and glare, as gable roof and covered porches. well as a low-maintenance roof design. The project wasn’t without challenges, however. “The site was relatively narrow and deep, with limited frontage on Jefferson Highway,” says Faucheux. “…We ultimately proposed a site plan that located the library close to the highway (with no parking in front) for maximum visibility. A challenge during construction was the proximity of the site to the Mississippi River; any subsurface site work had to be scheduled based on the flood stage of the river. When the river was high in the spring, no digging or excavation could be done.” The final result is a welcoming, vibrant space that reflects a focus on children and education, but is at the same time sophisticated and appealing to all ages. n 68 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

The Children’s Room is one of the many ways the design team fulfilled parish officials’ desire to keep the focus on children and education.

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

Moved to Create Mandeville mom Cara Joseph is finding success in the competitive athleisure clothing market.

MoveMe’s Core Collection features nine versatile pieces ranging in sizes from XS to L, with a color palette inspired by shades of New Orleans architecture. Each piece is specially designed to be comfortable and quick dry to suit extreme humidity and a warmer tropical climate.

by Ashley McLellan photos by sara essex bradley

Brand-new NOLA-inspired activewear

company MoveMe is taking on fitness fashion with a line of clothing as colorful as the city that inspires it. Launched in August of 2018, MoveMe has hit the ground running. The company created 850 items for its first collection and has sold more than half in its first four months. For owner and creator Cara Joseph, a Mandeville native, MoveMe’s mission is to perfect clothing performance and product in a field that is full of competition, while fulfilling her passion of combining fashion and business. While there are hundreds of activewear companies on the market, Joseph said she wasn’t worried about there being room for one more brand. Joseph attended LSU where she studied costume design, and carried her passion for the craft, as well as her personal love of fitness, beyond her school years. Additionally, Joseph worked in sales and marketing positions at Aramark and a private business banking software before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her four children. “I simply wanted to do something that I was passionate about; something that would fulfill my love of design, fitness, sales and business,” she said. “The urge to start was so strong for me that I walked into a friend’s party, left 10 minutes later and started to design. I then walked into my first trade show two months later. I was determined to make contacts and began research on how to accomplish my idea.

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Definition Merriam-Webster defines athleisure as “casual clothing — like yoga pants, sweat pants, and hoodies — that are designed to be worn both for exercising and for doing (almost) everything else.”

MoveMe is part of a growing trend both nationally and globally, with more and more mainstream clothing and accessory brands, such as Coach, the Gap and shoe designer Steve Madden developing fitness wear lines. According to an April 2018 report by the NPD Group, activewear currently makes up 24 percent of all clothing sales, with forecasts of even more growth projected for 2019. Designed by Joseph and headquartered in Mandeville, MoveMe fashions are locally inspired and are 100 percent madein the

“I simply wanted to do something that I was passionate about; something that would fulfill my love of design, fitness, sales and business Cara Joseph, owner and creator of MoveMe

United States, a goal that was particularly important to Joseph. “I researched U.S. manufacturers and was determined to find the best,” she said. “Again, persistence paid off as I had to bug them to work with me. Production began immediately, then I started receiving product samples, and lastly photos.” Joseph says the fact that all of her products are made domestically sets her company apart. The pieces are made by a small team of seamstresses located in the Northeast with fabrics that are shipped from Taiwan. “I have met the women who sew each piece,” she said. “I have stood over their shoulders and watched them sew. My headquarters are in my hometown of Mandeville, Louisiana, in between my storage unit, my car and my home. It’s not glamourous. Trust me. I spend a lot of time in a quiet storage unit; counting, separating, wrapping and packing my products.” Currently MoveMe is a solo effort by Joseph, although she is hopeful that with the line’s promising sales, she will be able to expand. “What I’ve learned is there are no rules in active wear apparel,” Joseph said. “Next, I am making three new pieces; a new legging with a pocket, a loose tank, a sleeveless duster, and re-making a few pieces from The Core Collection.” Customer feedback and an all-inclusive approach to her target buyers contribute to Joseph’s designs. MoveMe’s Core Collection is currently available online, with plans for new additions throughout the spring and summer, but Joseph has seen tremendous value out of getting into the community to sell her wares as well. “Since launching, I have attended pop-ups or festivals weekly to sell my pieces,” she said. “This has been great for me to talk to my audience about what they want and receive valuable customer feedback. [My target audience is] any woman. All shapes and sizes. I have younger customers mostly buying crops [tops] and I also have older women purchasing the leggings and long sleeves for travel and swim.” Currently featuring nine different pieces available in the Core Collection, available in sizes extra small to large, MoveMe is designed to fit and flatter while keeping wearers cool. / 71

MoveMe’s Core Collection will get a boost in 2019, with several new pieces, including leggings with a pockets and a loose-fit tank, are already in the works.

“For my first collection, I wanted to fit most body types, but I also wanted a sexy line of activewear,” Joseph said. “I think a high neckline and a high-waist legging is flattering on all women. I was also inspired by the climate of our state... I chose a lightweight fabric with UPF and quick-dry, wicking technology to be able to be worn all day. I also wanted this line to have an athleisure vibe. I was going for a true gym-to-street collection.” Inspired by New Orleans’ unique architecture and style, Joseph said MoveMe provides a refreshing fashion alternative. “New Orleans is a colorful city. When you walk through most residential areas, every home has a vibrant color block,” she said. “I wanted to start with a lot of color, not just black. I wanted my brand to loudly say, ‘Hey I’m here and I’m big, bold and sexy, and your new favorite brand, created out of this awesome city!’ Its buttery softness and cool, naked sensation are perfect to wear in this warm, humid climate.” While Joseph acknowledges the overwhelming popularity and presence of active wear, for her, MoveMe is a personal business venture that she hopes will inspire others, especially her own family.

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“There are hundreds of yoga leggings a combination of fitness, fashion, design, out there,” she said. “All of them contain sales, marketing all in one. Everything I spandex, all of them worn day to night, in love, and a combination of all my previous multiple colors, fitting all shapes and sizes,” experiences.” she said. “To me, it’s the perfect clothing By developing an extended group piece. MoveMe is different because it is of fellow business owners and sharing started by a mom whose primary goal is information and experiences, MoveMe to inspire her children throughout this has moved beyond a living room idea business. I want my daughters and to a reality, according to Joseph. son to learn by example through “I have always been a people moveme me just as I did through my father.” person and enjoy the hustle of Joseph has always been inspired sales, and the fulfillment of dayFor more by by-the-bootstraps success of to-day business,” she said. “I never information, visit her father, Jim Bennett, a south sit still, I am always on the go Louisiana real estate developer and every spare moment I have is and owner of a local athletic club committed to educating myself to with more than 8,000 members. better my brand. I hardly say ‘no’ Persistence, work ethic and networking to an event or function where I feel that are just some of the ways that Joseph cites I can learn something or meet someone her success. new in any business, not just fashion or “I was raised by an entrepreneur and fitness. A reward for me is when I also absorbed the ins and outs of small business help out, inspire, or give advice to another at a young age. My dad and my uncles small business owners. I have made a lot started their businesses from nothing. of inspirational friends in this business It was the best education I could have in the past two years, who I am forever asked for,” she said. My passions are in grateful for.”n fashion and fitness. I have discovered that this career is everything I have always loved, married into one. This business is

style success

Trendsetter. com’s top 11 activewear brands to watch in 2019 1. Lululemon 2. FP Movement by Free People 3. Fabletics 4. Adidas by Stella McCartney 5. Vie Active 6. Pins to Kill 7. Sweaty Betty 8. Huntr 9. Outdoor Voices 10. Olympia Activewear 11. Live the Process / 73

From The Lens m a k i n g a m atc h: b us i n e s s e s a n d n o n pr o f i ts

Aching for a Cure The New Orleans Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation could use your help in fighting this debilitating disease. by Pamela Marquis photos by jeff strout

When native New Orleanian Kelly Massicot

was a child, she did cartwheels, played all kinds of sports and was by all accounts an active and thriving child. In her teens, however, things began to change. She was constantly exhausted, her joints ached and her active life ground to a halt. Just putting on her socks became a painful endeavor. At age 19, after many misdiagnoses, she finally heard the verdict: She had rheumatoid arthritis. “At first I thought I was making it all up in my head,” said Massicot, who’s now 27. “I mean, I couldn’t have arthritis. Because like most people, I thought it was something only older people got.”

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According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America — more than 54 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. In Louisiana, it is estimated that 923,000 struggle with this disease. Arthritis is called a “disease” as an umbrella term for a very complex illness that includes more than 100 forms. The most common form in the United States is osteoarthritis (affecting more than 30 million adults) followed by gout and rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis is responsible for more than 100 million doctor visits and 7 million hospitalizations nationwide each year.

Local teams gather to support the New Orleans Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation at its annual Jingle Bell Run each December. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States.

“My arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, is an autoimmune disease,” said Massicot. “Usually a healthy immune system is protective. It generates internal inflammation to get rid of infection and prevent disease. But my immune system mistakenly attacks my joints, which causes inflammation and pain. It’s exhausting. One day the pain is in my pinkie, the next it’s my thumb or ankles or knees. Just opening a jar or buttoning my clothes is sometimes almost impossible and I never know what my future holds for me.” For 70 years, the Arthritis Foundation has focused on finding a cure as it funds

cutting-edge scientific investigation to places such as Office Depot in order to discover more about arthritis — what help patients find different ways to cope causes it, what affects it, what can stop with this disease and be better informed.” it — and what can keep it from developing Nationally, the foundation raises money in the first place. It is the largest funder through multiple events — from walks to bashes and balls — but it is their Jingle of research on the disease — over half a billion dollars since its inception. Bell Run that garners most of the The New Orleans chapter of the attention. Nationally, the event Arthritis Foundation closed for 10 began in 1984 and has grown years following Hurricane Katrina, to become the largest holidayNot just a disease for relaunching in 2015 with the help the elderly, almost themed 5K race for charity. of New Orleans rheumatologist two-thirds of adults On Dec. 8, at Audubon Park, with arthritis are berunners, friends and family Dr. Madelaine Feldman. tween the ages of 18 “We offer trusted information, and 64. More than 54 donned their most festive health tracking tools and ways to million adults and costumes and tied bells to their connect with others,” said Neil 300,000 children in shoelaces to participate in New America have some Duplantier, an orthopedic surgeon form of arthritis. Orleans’ third annual Jingle Bell with The Bone and Joint Clinic Run. It is currently the only fundin Gretna and foundation board member. raiser run by the New Orleans chapter. This “The foundation works with health care year more than $30,000 was raised and 100 providers and other partners to strengthen percent went to the Arthritis Foundation. our educational offerings. We also have “I am so thankful for all the volunteers an online effort so people with arthritis who helped out,” said Duplantier, who is also the chair of this event. “The staff can customize their personal experience and find local resources. We also offer provides all the leadership behind the such things as educational seminars at scenes and they did a terrific job.”

The foundation also focuses much of its efforts on advocacy. People with arthritis face unique barriers to care: high costs of treatment, difficulty accessing medications, scarcity of specialists and more. “It’s hard for one person to fight this battle alone,” said Massicot, who is also on the foundation’s board of directors. “But the people leading our advocacy effort address key issues on both the state and federal levels with lawmakers and insurers.” One of the main things Massicot works on is getting the word out about arthritis. She wants people to understand that arthritis makes everyday tasks painful and

A Good Match

FOR COMPANIES WHO… Have a healthcare focus or who have employees that suffer from arthritis. The annual Jingle Bell Run also provides a fun way to encourage employees to give back in a way that also promotes their own health.


Arthritis foundation Mission

The Arthritis Foundation’s mission is to boldly pursue a cure for America’s No. 1 cause of disability, while championing the fight against arthritis with life-changing resources, science, advocacy and community connections. Nationwide for 70 years, in one community after another, the Arthritis Foundation has taken colossal steps to conquer this crippling disease. info

National Office: 1355 Peachtree St. NE Suite 600 Atlanta, GA 30309 (404) 872-7100 Local Contact: Sara Morthland (337) 540-0615 smorthland@ Money Raised

$23.4 million from 120,077 supporters, The Walk to Cure Arthritis, Jingle Bell Run and other major fundraisers brought in a quarter of the Arthritis Foundation’s total funding for research and resources. Ongoing Partnerships

Include TamaFlex, Amgen USA Inc., Eli Lilly & Company, Pharmaceuticals Bristol MyersSquibb, Genentech Inc., Novartis Pfizer Inc. and Sanofi Genzyme/ Regeneron. / 75

More info

Success of Services (nationally and locally): Nationally Arthritis Foundation advocates engaged in 163 bills in 39 states, resulting in 17 new laws that benefits people with arthritis. Sponsored 26 major research projects worth

$30 MILLION to pursue a cure for arthritis


participants learned selfmanagement skills.


people called the 24/7 Arthritis Foundation Helpline, which provides assistance — from physician referrals to paying for medications and more. 1,800 campers went to 42 camps around the country In Louisiana


people living in Louisiana used Arthritis Foundation digital tools.


individuals in Louisiana received a Better Living Toolkit.


people in Louisiana are subscribers to Arthritis Today magazine.


often impossible to do at all. And just because most people don’t show any visible signs, they still are struggling almost daily with this malady. “I didn’t use to share about my condition but I talk about it all the time now,” she said. “The public needs to understand that arthritis is a lot more serious than many think. Sometimes the effort of just getting ready to go out and have a good time wears me out so much I end up not even going out. I went to the African American museum recently, a trip I was looking forward to, and I ended up with burning pain and swollen joints, I took eight Advil and lived with an ice pack for days.” Nationally, the Arthritis Foundation’s goal is to help ease the burdens of those living with this disease. It recently started The Live Yes! Arthritis Network a support group meant to empower people to live their best life. Some groups have brought in doctors to speak and hosted activities like yoga that are arthritis-friendly. A New Orleans version of Live Yes! is still in the works. “We are here to help people that live with arthritis on a daily basis and take great pride in connecting people through our “Live Yes” network,” said Kelly J. Maliska with the Arthritis Foundation. “When people are first diagnosed, they sometimes feel isolated and we try not only to educate them, but welcome them with open arms into a community of people who are fighting the same battles.” Advocates

Matt Iseman, arthritis sufferer, host of American Ninja Warrior and winner of NBC’s season eight of “The New Celebrity Apprentice selected the Arthritis Foundation as his charity of choice. The Arthritis Foundation was the recipient of $978,000. “Seeing a celerity speak up about their arthritis is inspiring and helpful to all of us,” said local arthritis sufferer and board member of the New Orleans chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, Kelly Massicot. “Getting the word and getting the exposure is so helpful to our efforts.” n

children with juvenile arthritis received a JA Power Pack in Louisiana.

76 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

did you know?

Economic Cost of Arthritis

“Usually a healthy immune system is protective. It generates internal inflammation to get rid of infection and prevent disease. But my immune system mistakenly attacks my joints, which causes inflammation and pain. It’s exhausting. One day the pain is in my pinkie, the next it’s my thumb or ankles or knees. Just opening a jar or buttoning my clothes is sometimes almost impossible and I never know what the future holds for me.” Kelly Massicot, Arthritis Foundation board member

Almost two-thirds of adults in the U.S. with arthritis are of working age (18-64 years). Arthritis, and other non-traumatic joint disorders, are among the five most costly conditions among adults 18 and older. Total medical costs and earnings losses due to arthritis were estimated to be $303.5 billion in 2013, nearly 1 percent of the gross domestic product that year.

Jingle Bell Run participants delight each year in dressing up in festive attire and running the 5K in teams to support the New Orleans chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. It is the chapter’s only fundraising event.

how to help

What Your Company Can Do Volunteer – whether it’s board members, day of event volunteers or even just someone to speak to JA (juvenile arthritis) families. Sponsor an event, such as New Orleans’ annual Jingle Bell Run, or encourage employees to form a team. Invite speakers to come and talk about arthritis to promote awareness of the disease and encourage support to any employees that may be affected.


Major Fundraising Events: The next fundraising event, Walk to Cure Arthritis, will take place for the Baton Rouge chapter on May 11, 2019 at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 6400 Perkins Road. New Orleans’ annual Jingle Bell Run is typically held during the second Saturday in December. For more information on any events, contact Sara Morthland at (337) 540-0615 or smorthland@ Other events include: Arthritis Bike Classics, galas and other social events.

Offer products that make arthritis sufferers’ lives easier. For example, clothes that are easy to put on. Allow employees with arthritis time off to tell their stories to legislators and help the Arthritis Foundation champion the fight to make sure that those with arthritis have access to the best medicine, healthcare and research possible. Create your own fundraiser. Find ideas and help at living-with-arthritis/ tools-resources Share the Foundation’s Helpline: 1 (844) 571-4357 / 77

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

78 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

Beverly Hobbs Shea

Consulting Realtor High Road Properties, Inc. 504.669.8826 Whether you’re buying, selling, or considering a real estate move and need advice, consider utilizing Beverly’s 43+ years in the business. Her experience, reputation, and results speak for themselves. It’s no wonder her candor and results consistently make her a leader in client satisfaction! Call the Broker who listens (and talks) and gets results. Beverly is also available for speaking engagements, workshops, break-out sessions and consultations. / 79

From The Lens ON T H E JOB

Strange Guitarworks This Uptown repair shop helps locals make beautiful music. photo by cheryl gerber

New Orleans native Benjamin

Strange and his business partner, Aaron Younce (seen here) have owned and operated full-service guitar repair shop Strange Guitarworks since 2012. First located on Cambronne Street, the shop moved to 1122 Dublin Street in 2015 and is now where the duo spends their days doing everything from restringing and modifications to full restorations on not just guitars but all stringed instruments (except orchestral). For more information, visit n

80 / Biz New Orleans / january 2019

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