Biz New Orleans Magazine July 2019

Page 1

Bill Masterton Market CEO of LCMC Health

Lydia Winkler Co-creator of RentCheck

New & NotableS 15

july 2019

People doing cool stuff in business p.52

Don’t Fake It Advice from a startup consultant p. 36

Hourly No More? Brent Rosen CEO of Southern Food and Beverage Museum

Legal firms consider fee changes p. 48

Rolling in the Dough Edible cookie dough comes to Lakeview p. 72

2 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

8 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019 / 9

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 Multimedia Blogger Leslie T. Snadowsky Contributors Julia Carcamo, Keith Loria, Pamela Marquis, Ashley McLellan, Chris Price, Jessica Rosgaard, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, James Sebastien, Melanie Warner Spencer, Poppy Tooker, Keith Twitchell 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 Jeanel Luquette Event Coordinator Abbie Dugruise Digital Media Associate Mallary Matherne For event information, call (504) 830-7264 Production Traffic Coordinator Lane Brocato Production Manager Emily Andras Production Designers Rosa Balaguer, Meghan Rooney Administration Chief Executive Officer Todd Matherne President Alan Campell Executive Vice President Errol Laborde Office Manager Mallary Matherne Distribution Manager John Holzer 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.

10 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019 / 11

july 2019 / Volume 5 / Issue 10

contents EVERY ISSUE 16 / 17 / 19 / 20 / 22 / 24 /


from the lens

publisher’s note Editor’s note Calendar industry news recent openings Events

68 / great workspaces

in the biz 28 / dining

Chuck Avery of Melt New Orleans transforms ice into art.

44 / banking & finance

Local finance professionals share their top tips for things to do before sending the kids off to college.

Fashion designer Claudia Croazzo’s boutique and studio on Magazine Street is tailor made to serve New Orleans’ most fashionable women.

46 / healthcare 30 / tourism

New P.O.W.E.R. Palates marketing campaign highlights women in hospitality

Lana Joseph-Ford, CEO of High Level Speech and Hearing Center, shares tips you can take to protect your hearing.

32 / sports

$450 million renovation will keep the Superdome viable for decades to come 34 / entertainment



New & Notables Local professionals following their passions and taking on new challenges in an effort to make Southeast Louisiana a better place for all

By Kim Singletary and Ashley McLellan photos by jeffery johnston

Summer pre-sale passes to the New Orleans Film Festival are the cheapest way to be a V.I.P. this 30th anniversary season.

72 / why didn’t i think of that?

Lakeview’s sweetest new addition, Cookie Dough Bliss brings a new dessert concept to Louisiana.

76 / making a match:

businesses and nonprofits

36 / entrepreneurship

Advice from a veteran startup consultant 38 / etiquette

Videoconferencing is on the rise and there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. 40 / marketing

This sometimes-slow season is a perfect time to look at training and development opportunities.

48 / law

Competition has forced some law firms to reconsider how they bill clients.

Lighthouse Louisiana provides the visually impaired with jobs and hope. 80 / on the job

Business and community leaders joined in mourning Leah Chase, the “Queen of Creole”

on the cover Three of this year’s 15 New & Notables — Lydia Winkler, Brent Rosen and Bill Masterton Photograph by Jeffery Johnston

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 14 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

Publisher’s Note

The Cost of Freedom This month, we celebrate the nation’s birthday

with picnics, barbeques and fireworks. Our family has always been a big celebrator of the Fourth of July. When Andréa and I were first married 30 years ago, we found the love of this day from our family friends the Dantin’s who annually celebrated with a big blow out party at their home. When they ended this tradition we picked it up and continue to carry it on. But on our nation’s birthday month, I want to use this space to highlight the cost of freedom and I do not mean money. In November of last year, we celebrated our daughter Malayne and now-sonin-law Jake’s marriage, through which our family has been introduced to the traditions of military life. Jake is a Navy pilot from a military family and just last month returned from a deployment tour overseas. It was his second deployment and there will be more to come. The cost I am talking about is the separation families go through all over the country with so many of our soldiers deployed all around the world. The cost is the sacrifice the solider feels being away from their family for so long and the family members at home operating a household and praying for a safe return of their loved one. Just think back to January and relive all of what you have done and experienced in life — now imagine doing it without your partner. Jake, welcome home. I know you and Malayne have missed each other greatly and have some birthdays and other events to celebrate that were missed — enjoy. Thank you, and all service men and women and their families, for the sacrifice y’all make for our nation. Todd Matherne 16 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

Editor’s Note

Introducing Our Third Class of New & Notables This issue is one of my favorites every year. It’s tough putting it together — thanks to summer

being a time when everyone seems to be leaving for somewhere cooler — but it’s always worth it when the final product comes together. This is our third year of New & Notables, and while the first year focused a lot on those starting a new business, this year turned out to feature many people moving into big roles, or, as is the case with Bill Masterton at LCMC Health, taking on a newly-created position. He’s a first in his role, as is Tania Tetlow, who became the first female and first layperson president of Loyola University last August. Then we have those that have created something new, like Lydia Winkler and Marco Nelson, whose new app, RentCheck, is quickly becoming a must-have for renters, landlords and property owners, and Todd Wackerman, a former public school teacher whose struggles to find supplies to teach STEM subjects led him to open the STEM Library Lab. We honor husband and wife team Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg of SBP who, after rebuilding more than 1,660 homes across the country, have turned their attention to our affordable housing crisis with the first net-zero multifamily development in Louisiana. Charlie Davis has brought a whole new way for businesses to work together with his company, Moxey, and Matthew Dow continued his family’s nautical legacy by introducing the new City of New Orleans to the Mississippi River. In the culinary realm, we’ve got a successful entrepreneur turned restaurateur, Larry Morrow, and Kyle Brechtel, an established restaurateur who continues to innovate. The popular Southern Food and Beverage Museum is now under new leadership with Brent Rosen and Siobahn Trotter’s new presurgical beverage, SurgiStrong RecoverAid, is changing how doctors prepare patients for surgery. New professionals took charge in almost every arena of our community this past year, including sports and education. The Pelicans are now under the experienced care of David Griffin and Cade Brumley is quickly turning around the Jefferson Parish School System. It’s quite the class this year! If you’d like to meet them, I invite you to join us on Tuesday, July 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Felicity Church as we honor these amazing individuals. Tickets (available at under the “Events” tab) are $30 each and include hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer. Happy Reading,

Kimberley Singletary Managing Editor / 17

18 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019



9 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce JCYP Power Lunch: Featuring Henry Shane 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Location T.B.A.

9 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Power Breakfast 8 to 9:30 a.m. 1515 Poydras St., 5th Floor Auditorium

9 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Alliance 5 to 7 p.m. Vessel NOLA 3835 Iberville St.

13 Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana Mastering Money: Financial Decision Making for Entrepreneurs 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Good Work Network Conference Room 2028 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans

16 Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana Caesars Entertainment Economic Equity Tour — Workforce Development 8 to 9:30 a.m. Harrah’s New Orleans 8 Canal St.

19 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Business & Breakfast 7:45 to 9:30 a.m. Riccobono’s Peppermill 3524 Severn Ave., Metairie

24 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Chamber After 5 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. IBERIABANK Atrium 601 Poydras St., 20th Floor

31 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Prosper Jefferson: Social Media 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. JEDCO Conference Center 701A Churchill Pkwy., Avondale

31 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce JCYP Eats & Edu. — Wine Tasting at NOSH 6 to 8 p.m. NOSH 752 Tchoupitoulas St.

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

Industry News


Louisiana Ranks Poorly for State Economy In a recently released report entitled “2019’s Best and Worst State Economies,” WalletHub used 28 key indicators of economic performance and strength to rank states. Economic Performance of Louisiana (1=Best; 25=Avg.) 42nd in GDP Growth 39th in Startup Activity 47th in % of Jobs in High-Tech Industries 43rd in Annual Median Household Income 46th in Change in Nonfarm Payrolls 31st in Government Surplus/Deficit per Capita 36th in Unemployment Rate


Plans Move Forward for Convention Center Hotel Officials with the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center have moved into contract negotiations to build a 1,200-room headquarters hotel. Part of a five-year plan created in 2017 to modernize the 35-year-old convention center, the proposed Omni Hotel includes 1,200 guest rooms, 150,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, and multiple food, beverage and retail outlets. It is estimated that the hotel’s construction will employ approximately 1,900 people and, when open, will generate an additional 1,900 new permanent jobs for area residents. Enhancements and improvements being made to the convention center include replacement of the building’s 40-acre roof, significant upgrades to restrooms and modernization of the meeting rooms and public areas. tourism


Tourism Numbers Up Again

SBP Offers Free Flood Training for Businesses and Employees


increase in visitors 2017-2018 (18.51 million in 2018)


increase in total visitor spending 2017-2018 ($.1 billion in 2018)


increase in lodging spending 2017-2018 ($2.1 billion in 2018) SOURCE: 2018 visitation study, commissioned by New Orleans & Company and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC)

20 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

Disaster resilience and recovery nonprofit SBP is launching a new initiative in four at-risk communities to educate businesses and employees about the risks of flooding and provide actionable steps to ensure they are adequately protected against future flood hazards. This free, short, interactive training is accessible online at and can easily be integrated into an organizations’ existing learning management system. The training is a tool for businesses to increase employee resilience, as a better prepared workforce has the ability return to work sooner with fewer distractions when their needs are taken care of. Organizations interested in implementing this training should contact

For the full report, visit states-with-the-besteconomies/21697/

“This commonsense legislation will ensure that all of Louisiana’s hard-working citizens have access to ridesharing, whether it be as drivers or riders. We need Uber and Lyft across our state under a statewide plan, and I am thrilled that now more people will be able to earn money driving without confusion when crossing parish lines.” Senator Sharon Hewitt (R-District 1) speaking after the Louisiana senate passed statewide ridesharing regulations (HB575) June 1 that replace the existing patchwork of local regulations.


Goldman Sachs On June 4, more than 85 entrepreneurs representing three cohorts of participants graduated from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at Delgado Community College, bringing the total number of graduates to over 672 from the Greater New Orleans region. This year marks the eight-year anniversary of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses partnership with Delgado Community College, dedicated to helping small businesses create jobs and economic opportunity. The graduates join more than 8,400 business owners who have benefited from the program nationally.


Forbes Recognizes Valero Energy Corporation as one of “America’s Best Employers” In its annual ranking, Forbes Magazine ranked Valero Energy Corporation as one of “America’s Best Employers 2019.” It is the highest-ranked independent refiner on the list. The San Antonio-based company operates a renewable diesel plant in Norco, Louisiana. Valero made the list of 500 top large companies with more than 5,000 U.S. employees based on anonymous surveys of employees across the country.


NOCHI The New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) held the commencement ceremony for its inaugural graduating class on June 14. James Beard Award semifinalist and chef/owner of Coquette Kristen Essig presented the keynote address. Graduates received either a culinary arts certificate or a baking and pastry certificate after completing programs that cover 26 subjects over 100 working days. / 21

Recent Openings

Ochsner Innovation Hub Ochsner InnovationHub, a health and wellness experience that utilizes technology to inform and empower people to lead healthier lives, opened in late May near Macy’s inside the Lakeside Shopping Center. Free and open to the public, the InnovationHub shares health and wellness content through a variety of devices and activities, including tablets, a 3-D hologram and a 9-foot tall, curved, three-sided display from LG Electronics, believed to be the first-of-its-kind in the world. Among the activities is a cell phone cleaner that uses UV light, wellness quizzes and apps and the chance to demo high-tech health products for the home.


Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Construction has begun on Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences at the foot of Canal Street in New Orleans. What was once the World Trade Center tower is being transformed into the city’s first luxury high-rise condominium, first hotel-serviced residential building and first Four Seasons hotel property. In addition to 81 condominiums — which will begin on the building’s 19th floor — the project will feature 22,500 square feet of amenities, including a bar and lounge, children’s playroom, golf simulator room, outdoor 75-foot swimming pool and Four Seasons Spa. Completion is expected in 2020. Sales of the private residences will launch later this year.

Relativity Autonomous Rocket Factory Relativity, the world’s first autonomous rocket factory and launch services leader, announced June 11 that it will build and integrate a pioneering robotic 3D-printing rocket factory and an expanded testing facility for autonomous production of Relativity’s Terran 1 rocket launch vehicles at Stennis Space Center. The agreement with NASA includes exclusive use of 220,000 square feet within building 9101 at Stennis Space Center during a 9-year lease. Through the factory build-out and expansion, the company will create a total of 200 jobs and invest $59 million in the state of Mississippi.


Advanced Technology Center On May 31, Delgado Community College West Bank broke ground on a new Advanced Technology Center for students. The $13 million projects will transform more than three acres of land donated by the Algiers Development District into a center that provides training and education in the fields of engineering, production and maintenance. “Louisiana’s oldest and largest community college is getting larger and I’m excited about that,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards at the center’s groundbreaking.

22 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

Dreamleague Gaming


Louisiana Children’s Museum Construction is wrapping up on the new, $47.5 million Louisiana Children’s Museum at City Park with the grand opening planned for Aug. 31. The 8.5-acre site will include five interactive, educational exhibits, a life-sized interactive checkers board, a 100-foot-long water exhibit, literacy center, parent-teacher resource center, a Dickie Brennan and Co. Café and various outdoor elements.

Headquartered in Pasadena, California, eSports firm Dreamleague Gaming announced June 6 that it has plans to establish New Orleans as the Southern hub for its entertainment leagues. Dreamleague manages live interactive-entertainment events — organizing ticketing, marketing and promotions for video gaming competitions. The company also provides consulting services to universities looking to host live interactive events. The new location will create 25 new direct jobs with an average salary of $52,600 plus benefits.











Wednesday, May 8 | Hilton New Orleans Airport

Thursday, May 9 | Roosevelt Hotel

Wednesday, May 22 | Le Meridien New Orleans

Jefferson Chamber Business Leadership Awards Luncheon

ACG Louisiana Awards Dinner

World Trade Center Bertel Award Ceremony & Luncheon

Patricia Besselman-Main of Besselman Wealth Planners, Kristi Brocato of The Basketry and Cristel Slaughter of SSA Consultants contributed to a panel discussion on what it takes to be a small business owner in today’s economic environment at this year’s event.

This year marked the 12th year of the ACG Louisiana Awards, which recognize growth companies, business professionals and noteworthy transactions throughout Louisiana.

Established in 1967, the C. Alvin Bertel Award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to the Louisiana port community. This year’s honoree was James “Jimmy” M. Baldwin Jr.

1. Christel Slaughter, Patricia Besselman-Main and Kristi Brocato 2. Jennifer Amedee, Julie Couret and Chris Cummins 3. Richard Recile, Kristi Maupin and Joseph Carey

1. Charlie Cox, David Rieveschl and Chris Williams 2. Roger Ogden, Michael Schneider and Eli Feinstein 3. William Andrews, Laura Shields and Sonny Shields

1. Meaghan McMormack, Caroline Castigliola and Lisa McGoey 2. Meg Baldwin, Will Baldwin and Cy Hill 3. Thomas Spiers, Elizabeth Hefler and Erik Johnson

24 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

photographs by cheryl gerber / 25

26 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

Biz columnists spe ak out


Face to face but far away — the dos and don’ts of videoconferencing etiquette

In The Biz dining

A New Iceman Commeth Chuck Avery of Melt New Orleans transforms ice into art. by Poppy Tooker

28 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

quality has a huge impact on your drink. The science behind why is fascinating to contemplate over your next Sazerac. The true magic of ice is in its actual energy, which remains stored until it hits liquid. “Crushed ice creates a quick blast, while large, dense cubes give you the greatest control and flexibility,” says Neal Bodenheimer, owner of craft cocktail lounge Cure and restaurant and bar Cane and Table. Chuck Avery first witnessed the magic of large format ice in 2013 at the Toronto Temperance Society, a Canadian craft cocktail bar. Back at home in steamy New Orleans, he was unable to shake the memory of those glacial boulders. His company, Melt New Orleans began as “a ridiculously small-scale, side hustle,” Avery remembers. Today the burgeoning business is a frozen kingdom of craft cubes and has transformed the former sommelier into New Orleans’ new iceman. Avery first began experimenting with ice cuts using simple woodworking tools. His microbiology degree came in handy exploring the process of freezing New Orleans tap water into pure, crystal clear ice, while his professional background in beverages allowed his imagination to go wild contemplating the possibilities. Eventually, Avery was able to find adequate space for the proper tools of his trade. He acquired his dream machine, the Clinebell, which uses reverse osmosis filtered water to fill double wells of circulating water which, over a three-day period, freeze from the bottom up, achieving perfect clarity in 300-pound block form. Next, Avery traded his woodworking tools for the massive, stainless-steel butcher saw he uses today. Once the engine hoist hustles a heavy ice block onto the saw table, Avery is able to create custom ice for any purpose. Melt’s bestseller is a 2-inch cube, the perfect size for a standard 3-inch double old-fashioned glass, while 4- and 5-inch spears provide the ideal chill for a Collins or highball. Three sizes of spheres are offered, each formed by hand using a ball press. For the creative bartender, whole chipping blocks are available, along

with 10-inch DIY chunks used to hand chip rough-hewn Japanese-style spheres. Avery’s glistening ice forms are so mesmerizing that his services have become a luxe addition to events, where he manipulates cubes into balls and other magical shapes on site. His punch bowls crafted from full-sized blocks are showstoppers. There’s no denying the influence that Tales of the Cocktail has had on Melt New Orleans’ business. Every July, thousands of bar professionals, liquor industry executives and cocktail enthusiasts flock to the Crescent City for an entire week of programming and partying — all requiring a great deal of high-quality ice. Industry wide, the preferred cube measures 1 ¼ by 1 ¼ inch and is only mass-produced by one commercial ice machine, the Kool Draft. As production of Avery’s handmade 2-inch cubes is extremely limited, two years ago, in preparation for Tales, Avery invested in his own Kool Draft machines. Last year, Tales reportedly used 11,580 pounds of Kool Draft ice; Avery and his machines worked around the clock. Bodenheimer holds Melt New Orleans’ services in high esteem, noting that as a New Orleans business owner, standard operating procedures are necessary during the city’s frequent boil water advisories. “It takes over 24 hours for us to have our Kool Draft machines producing again, so Chuck’s deliveries have kept our doors open.” With another Tales of the Cocktail on the way, Melt New Orleans is poised for big expansion. A new, much larger facility will include a walk-in freezer and Avery is giddy over the possibilities a computer-controlled router will bring to his business. With this technology he’ll be able to cut in three dimensions, so he is busy designing the ultimate “Chill Lounge,” a 900-square-foot bar, completely constructed of ice. What could be lovelier in the midst of a hot New Orleans summer? 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 llu st rat i o n by To n y H e a l e y

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

Any cocktail connoisseur will agree, ice / 29

In The Biz to u r is m

Powerful Partnerships New P.O.W.E.R. Palates marketing campaign highlights women in hospitality By Jennifer Gibson Schecter

30 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

cocktails or menu items, and some through direct monetary contributions. The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides direct support to individuals working in the hospitality industry. One of its programs gives crisis grants of up to $2,500 for qualified applicants faced with an emergency out of their control, such as a medical emergency or house fire. The funds can be used for temporary mortgage or rent assistance, payment of medical-related bills, payment of utility bills and funeral service assistance. In a field like hospitality, where so many employees are working without health insurance or paid leave, programs such as this are indispensable. To support workforce development, the foundation also provides grants to organizations for culinary and hospitality education and jobs programs. Broekman says the success of P.O.W.E.R. Palates will be measured by the amount of money raised for Louisiana Hospitality Foundation as well as by the public engagement represented in the number of people who sign up to enter a sweepstakes through which one lucky winner will receive over $1,400 in gift cards to the restaurants that are participating in the campaign, most of which are a minimum of $50. Interested parties can register online and those numbers, as well as those who engage on social media with the hashtag #POWERPalates, will give Broekman a sense of the campaign’s impact. P.O.W.E.R. Palates is meant to highlight all women, regardless of their role in the restaurant. “Maybe they aren’t the restaurant owner or the head chef, but maybe they are the general manager or bartender,” says Broekman, “and we can highlight and acknowledge them and their importance to the industry that is so critical to our region.” To learn more about the campaign and to register for the sweepstakes, visit At the time of press, the participating restaurants and bars include: Bar Frances, Briquette, Claret, Commander’s Palace, Copper Vine, Hippie Kitchen, Mam Momma’s House of Cornbread, Chicken & Waffles, New Orleans Creole Cookery, Pizza Domenica, Ruby Slipper Café, Second Line Brewing, Seven Three Distilling, Slim Goodies, Victory and Whiskey & Sticks. n

i llust 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

New Orleans has been home to some

powerful women in the restaurant industry. The recent passing of Leah Chase, and just over one year before that, the passing of Ella Brennan, have matriarchs on my mind. But both of those trailblazing women ran restaurants with names that evoke men in an industry led overwhelmingly by men. This month, a new marketing campaign has launched to bring a spotlight to the women working in the New Orleans metro-region restaurant industry. P.O.W.E.R. Palates is a campaign by Fidelity Bank that builds on its P.O.W.E.R. Program, or the “Potential of Women Entrepreneurs Realized.” Liz Broekman, director of P.O.W.E.R., says that Fidelity recognized a need in the community to support women in business and female entrepreneurs and created the program to provide financial and networking tools to those businesswomen. She adds that the program also gives participants a platform for their voice. P.O.W.E.R. Palates focuses on women in the restaurant business and has been designed to showcase them. The 26 participating restaurants (as of mid-June) have each nominated a woman from their organization who will be part of a social media campaign and possibly featured in a traditional media campaign as well. Telling their stories is designed to bolster their businesses and continue the conversation about female representation in hospitality. At the 2016 Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Conference in Los Angeles, Jodie McLean, CEO of Edens, provided data that show women make up more than 50 percent of culinary school graduates and 59 percent of food prep workers. Yet, according to, women hold only 21 percent of head chef roles nationwide. The National Restaurant Association reported in 2018 that there are 9,533 eating and drinking locations in Louisiana, and state restaurant sales are estimated to hit $10.3 billion. Restaurant and foodservice jobs make up 11 percent of employment in Louisiana in 2019, equaling 213,400 jobs. With job growth in the sector projected to grow 7 percent by 2029, it is vital that we look for wage and opportunity parity for those working the sector. P.O.W.E.R. Palates will highlight women in restaurants, but it is much more than an awareness campaign. Each of the participating restaurants are donating profits to the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, some via promoted / 31

In The Biz s p o r ts

Game Face $450 million renovation will keep the Superdome viable for decades to come by chris price

32 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

i llust 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

Baseball’s two most famous ballparks are Leaders of the Greater New Orleans Sports also its oldest. Boston’s Fenway Park, which Foundation (GNOSF) say the Superdome saw its first pitch in 1912, and Chicago’s upgrades will help keep the city atop the list Wrigley Field, which opened two years later, of championship game destinations. Working are beloved. While both have seen the addition with the NFL, NBA, NCAA, AAU, numerous of modern amenities in recent years, their professional and amateur organizations, WWE, and public and private partners in its 30-year charm lies in their age: They are cherished history, the sports foundation has brought because of their longevity. Football’s most famous venues are generally hundreds of events to the city and turned found on college campuses. But in the pro a $40 million public investment into a $3 ranks, Soldier Field, which dates back to 1924, billion economic impact for Louisiana and and Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Greater New Orleans. Events lured by the which opened in 1957, are subjects of nostalgia, GNOSF are projected to make an economic and the modern venues — like Dallas’ AT&T impact of more than $803 million in the next Stadium, opened in 2009, and San Francisco’s four years, with five major events on the Levi’s Stadium (2014), Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank books or in the bidding process. Super Bowl Stadium (2016) and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium LVIII will likely push that total north of $1.2 in Atlanta (2017) — have drawn the attention billion in total economic impact, including away from the rest of the league. $48.8 million in state taxes. Caught between the old and the new is the “That’s a significant amount of return on Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. investment for Louisiana,” said Jay Cicero, GNOSF president and CEO. “It’s very satisfying Opened in 1975, the dome has outlasted its contemporaries — the Astrodome in Houston to be able to look at the numbers that are (1965), Silver Dome in Detroit (1975) and King generated for these major events and that’s Dome in Seattle (1976). fulfilling the mission of the organization.” To keep from being relegated to the dustbin In recent years, new stadiums have been of history, the state of Louisiana and the New important bargaining chips for cities bidding Orleans Saints, the dome’s main tenant, have to host marquee events such as the NCAA teamed up to keep the 44-year-old building Final Four and the Super Bowl. However, viable. The stadium had a $376 million renovaover the next five years, New Orleans will tion in the years after Hurricane Katrina. In 2016 play host to the 2020 College Football Playoff a $40 million refurbishment, which included National Championship, 2020 Women’s Final end-zone-wide videoboards, was conducted. Four, 2022 Men’s Final Four and the 2024 NFL Super Bowl. If New Orleans wants to stay in To keep up with modern, new stadiums — the game of hosting major sporting events, it the most recent of which topped $1.5 billion in construction costs — the Louisiana Stadium needs to keep its crown jewel sparkling. At and Exposition District (LSED), also known as one-third the cost of a new stadium, this is a the Superdome Commission, is embarking on a great deal. When the state is only responsible four-phase, $450 million renovation to further for $90 million it becomes even better. modernize and upgrade stadium amenities The Superdome is already legendary, and with before the Superdome hosts Super Bowl LVIII in these modern additions it will become iconic. n 2024. A third of the cost, roughly $150 million, will be picked Super City up by the Saints. The LSED is New Orleans is famed as a host of major expected to sell $210 million in sporting events. The following are already in the works: bonds to fund the project and the state would be responsible Event Est. Econ. Impact Est. State Taxes for the remaining $90 million. 2020 College Football $250 million $8 million The first phase will add new Championship food services and remove 80,000 2020 NCAA Women’s $43 million $2.1 million square feet of interior ramps and Final Four replace them with escalators and 2022 NCAA Final Four $168 million $7.3 million elevators. While plans haven’t 2024 Super Bowl $434 million* $15.2 million* been finalized, the renovation Total $895 million $32.6 million could include new standing*Figures based on Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 room-only areas and a tailgating zone outside of the dome. / 33

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

It Pays to Think Ahead Summer pre-sale passes to the New Orleans Film Festival are the cheapest way to be a V.I.P. this 30th anniversary season. by Kim Singletary

34 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

almost five years ago, I’ve taken this space to write about the New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF), which takes place that month. This year, though, I’m getting a jump start on things because it’s a big year for the festival and for movie-lovers like me, NOFS is offering a pretty good deal I thought I’d share. In just a few months, from Oct. 16-23, NOFS will showcase more than 240 films — the work of more than 500 filmmakers. While Downtown’s Contemporary Arts Center will serve as the home base for this event with its two theaters, there will also be screenings around the city at the Prytania Theatre, The Broad Theater, Orpheum Theater and The New Orleans Advocate’s 180-seat theater. While the full lineup won’t be released until mid-August, the New Orleans Film Society (NOFS), is offering a very strong incentive to buy an all-access pass now. Through July 9, pre-sale all-access passes are $240 for members and $290 for the general public — a savings of $50, or $100 off if you’re a NOFS member — and with annual individual memberships for $60 and two person memberships for $100 basically you’re getting a membership for free. So, you save money and get a free membership that gives you more than 15 free, exclusive screenings and discounts on other passes, events and tickets — including on sneak previews of new releases and the popular annual French Film Festival. What does an all-access pass buy you? First, priority entrance into all film screenings and access to a V.I.P. lounge. And then of course, being New Orleans, there are the parties. Purchasing an all-access pass is the only way to attend the parties held every night of the festival. Note: NOFF was recognized as one of the coolest festivals in the world in 2017 by MovieMaker Magazine, in part due to the festival’s nightly parties. As of the latest data I could find (from 2013) there are about 3,000 film festivals in the world. And while we’re not one of the “Big Three” — Cannes, Berlin and Venice — NOFF gets more recognition every year, and for good reason. The festival has a clear eye for quality: Films chosen to open the festival in three of the past eight years

have gone on to win Academy Awards for best picture, including The Artist in 2011, 12 Years a Slave in 2013 and Greenbook in 2019. NOFF has showcased more than 60 films in the past 10 years that have went on to receive Oscar nominations. Our red carpet isn’t so bad either. Lupita N’yongo, Woody Harrelson, Jessica Biel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Patricia Clarkson, Gabourey Sidibe — they’ve all headed down to New Orleans to be a part of the festival. We’ve also hosted world-renowned filmmakers like Steve McQueen, Agnieszka Holland, Julie Dash, D. A. Pennebaker, Peter Farrelly, Taylor Hackford and Rob Reiner. For filmmakers and actors, especially local ones, the New Orleans Film Society and Film Festival represent an invaluable local resource. An example of this was just seen this past spring when native New Orleanian Phillip Youmans, at only 19 years old, became both the youngest and first African-American filmmaker to win for “Best Narrative Film” at the Tribeca Film Festival. His film, Burning Cane, was created with the help of the “Youth Grant” funded by the New Orleans Film Society. For those of us in the seats, however, NOFF is simply a great chance to sit back, relax and immerse yourself in some incredible stories — many filmed in our own backyard. n

i llust 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.

Almost every October since Biz started

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

Day One of Your New Business Advice from a veteran startup consultant by keith twitchell

36 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

on day one.” These are words of wisdom from Jordan Friedman, partner at Bond Moroch and a longtime consultant to startup enterprises. As someone who has started businesses of his own, Friedman has hard-earned insights on where fledgling entrepreneurs should focus their energies, as well as where not to waste time. Not surprisingly, Friedman emphasizes building a business’ identity as a top priority. This includes a “responsively designed” website, business cards for personal networking and similar items that help create a sense of presence for the enterprise. However, he cautions against putting up one of those “coming soon” placeholder websites, as it sends a message that the business is not really operational. “Don’t try to fake it ‘till you make it” is one of his mantras. Friedman also advises businesses to think through the importance of all purchases. “With my first business, I spent a couple thousand dollars printing boxes of stationery, at a time when every penny mattered,” he recalls with a chuckle. “Several years later, I found those boxes buried in a closet.” Social media is, of course, an immediate priority, and Friedman hereoffers clear guidelines for new entrepreneurs. “Keep your posts focused on your product or service and your capacities,” he says. “Your initial objective is to build as many connections as possible, so it is wise to listen more than you talk. And whatever you do, never post anything political on your business or professional page.” If choosing between Facebook and LinkedIn, he recommends the latter as being a more business-focused platform. Underlying all of this, Friedman notes that it is vital to “make sure you can clearly, succinctly and interestingly describe and sell your business. Ask yourself: What is your story? How well can you tell it? Despite the opportunities that communications technologies offer, Friedman still feels that personal interactions have a lot of value. “Networking through professional organizations not only generates business, it can connect you to helpful resources,”

he says. While stressing the importance of one-on-one conversations, Friedman cautions strongly against meeting people for drinks after work. “When you are entertaining, coffee, breakfast or lunch are more businesslike,” he says. “These options are also cheaper. And after a couple of drinks, the conversation can go off track and into areas that are unprofessional and uncomfortable.” While understanding that many entrepreneurs are trying to keep costs to a minimum, Friedman always encourages people to get out of the house and into an office as soon as possible, even if it is a shared space. “If you have enterprise aspirations, working out of your house can be perceived as someone being not really ready for business,” he says, though he notes that sole practitioners can be an exception to this rule. Finally, and perhaps somewhat counterintuitively, Friedman adds that “you are better off turning down business that you are not ready to take on. It is extremely difficult to overcome a reputation of failed work. Most people will appreciate your honesty and be willing to consider you in the future.” Starting a new business is one of the most exciting things someone can do. At the same time, we all know the failure rate for startups tends to be high. Staying focused, channeling your excitement and enthusiasm productively, and mixing passion with patience makes a good recipe for ending up on the success side of the equation. And whatever you do on that first day, don’t keep hitting the snooze button! n

i llust 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.

“ Getting out of bed is a measure of success

In The Biz e t i q u e tt e

The Future is Now Videoconferencing is on the rise and there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. by Melanie Warner Spencer

In the age of remote work, virtual

assistants and videoconferencing, interviews and meetings via videoconferencing apps or software like Skype and Zoom are becoming commonplace. According to a 2017 article from Biz Tech magazine, Wainhouse Research in Arlington, Texas reported, “40 percent of businesses are either ‘very interested’ or ‘somewhat interested’ in integrating streaming capabilities with group videoconferencing systems.” For companies with remote workers or those recruiting out-of-state or internationally, videoconferencing offers an opportunity for face-to-face interaction without the expense and time investment of travel. Research also shows that the practice increases collaboration and saves time. With videoconferences or interviews, all of the same rules apply as with in-person (show up a few minutes early, dress appropriately, turn off your cellphone and so forth), but there are also a few other things to keep in mind. What’s your agenda?: It can be tempting to treat a videoconference call casually, but again, all of the same rules for in-person meetings apply, including making an agenda. Email it to all participants in advance of the videoconference.

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

38 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

Cleanup crew: Make a sweep of the room

prior to your call to clean, remove clutter and get rid of anything that might be

Introductions are key: Be sure to introduce yourself if you are video conferencing with people you’ve never met, then identify yourself before speaking if it’s a group videoconference, just like you would on a conference call. This is especially important if you are working in software or an app that allows some members to call in rather than use the video feature. Eye contact 101: This one can be tricky, since most of us will naturally want to look into the eyes of the people on the monitor or at themselves via the tiny screen-in-screen feature. Make it a point to practice looking into the camera when you are conducting test calls. Looking into the camera rather than the monitor or yourself will make it appear as though you are making eye contact with the person or people on the other end of the video call. Share the spotlight and the love: If you

are conducting the meeting or interview and there are multiple participants, give everyone a chance to speak. If you keep in mind all of the meeting and interview etiquette you’ve learned in the past and employ the above, your videoconference calls will be efficient, professional and effective. n

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

If possible, run a quick test on your conferencing software and equipment to make sure everything is in working order. Enlist a friend or colleague to video call you or to be on the receiving end of your video call. This will afford you time to troubleshoot any technical difficulties that could have been avoided. Pay attention to sound, camera angles and lighting. Shut the front door (or at least your office door): Whether you are conducting the call in your office, conference room, home office or living room, be sure to shut the door. Interruptions from coworkers, or when you are at home, family members, roommates, partners and pets, could send your meeting or interview horribly off course. Testing, testing, 1,2,3:

considered inappropriate or too personal. If you don’t have an appropriate home office, ask a friend or family member with a fabulous, or at least suitable, space if you can borrow it for an hour (or however long you think it will take to conduct the meeting or interview). / 39

In The Biz marketing

School’s In for Summer This sometimes-slow season is a perfect time to look at training and development opportunities. by Julia carcamo

40 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

• Self-paced learning is typically prere-

toward living one of our dearest core values: training the marketers of the future. We developed a marketing boot camp, an online training program and customized on-site training. You would never expect training to be one of our capabilities, but most of us have been lucky enough to have been mentored by some greats. We’re paying that forward now. I don’t know about you, but I can’t scroll through my emails without seeing some article telling me that to prepare for the future of my career, I have to be data-driven, strategic, digital and artificially intelligent. Perhaps I haven’t seen that last one, but I’m sure it’s only days away. Then, there are the soft skills we need to have like emotional intelligence and people management. There is no denying that training and development are necessary, but expanding your knowledge base as well as that of your employees is also vital to the health of your organization. Training is one of those line items that we always put on our list to-do list, yet which never seems to make it to the top. The reasons are usually valid. It can be expensive. Employees who are attending training are not working. Alternatively, and worse, no one is asking for training. Proper training cannot only address weaknesses, it can prepare employees for the future of your organization. Employees who are confident and competent are better able to stay on top of their industry and help you maintain (or improve) your market position. Employees feel challenged and appreciated when training opportunities are accessible to them. Productivity and quality of work improve, and turnover is reduced. Google, “How do I...” and you get answers to almost every question, but purposeful learning environments are designed to immerse you in topics and build skills. As a lifelong learner, I have some favorite ways to learn. • Virtual classrooms allow participants to view presentations and communicate with the trainer and fellow participants around the block or the world. This style of learning can be extremely budget friendly as travel is limited to the nearest computer.

corded to allow the participant to work sessions into their work and home schedules and is ideally suited for a lifelong learner. This type of training is very scalable, often providing you with the flexibility to train as many people as you want. • Masterclasses are usually “one-off” and taught by an expert in the subject matter. Because the level of information is specific and well beyond the surface, they are best experienced by students with a genuine interest who ideally already understand some basics before they begin. • Workshops are designed to be interactive and focused on a single topic over a short period of time. Hands-on work is a signature part of this type of training. Smaller groups allow trainers to deliver content through practical exercises and close interactions. • Topic-programmed conferences and seminars can provide intensive exposure to a specific topic or field. Discussions and presentations are provided by multiple experts, thereby giving participants a breadth of information. They can be a great way to gain knowledge for those not interested in reading the latest business books. • Books and podcasts are some of the best ways to learn new things at a personal pace. Whether it’s a marketing lesson or a juicy installment of Serial, I love a good podcast. As a youth, reading was never my “thing,” but now I make reading fiction, non-fiction, and business books part of every day. With summer in full swing, this is the perfect time to create a reading list for yourself. I guarantee you will reach Labor Day with a new (or improved) skill or two. The benefit to all of these types of learning is a renewed energy and motivation. Too often, the daily grind can overshadow the excitement we often had when we started our jobs. Pursuing opportunities to learn and engage with like-minded professionals can lead to increased job satisfaction and productivity for both you and your employees. n

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

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

This year, my company took a big step / 41

hot topics in southe ast Louisiana industries

perspectives banking & finance  /  healthcare  /  law

Are your kids ready for college? Local finance professionals offer tips on making the transition a success for the whole family.

Perspectives banking & finance

College Finance 101 Local finance professionals share their top tips for things to do before sending the kids off to college. By Keith Loria

Student loan debt in America currently

stands at more than $1.52 trillion dollars. That staggering number, combined with the fact that college tuition continues to rise almost 2% each year, is enough to frighten any potential college student and their parents as they save up for a higher education. According to J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s most recent College Planning Essentials Guide, 59% of parents are not confident about meeting college costs. “A few reasons [for the lack of confidence] are not having a plan, starting too late and underestimating cost,” says Katie LeGardeur, managing director and market leader for JPMorgan Chase in Louisiana. “Working with a trusted financial planner is a good step in creating a plan that works for your family and creates confidence for the journey ahead.” Most people realize that saving needs to start early, whether that be a 529 Plan (Congress initiated tax-incentivized savings programs for college tuition) or putting a litte bit away each month. Louisiana also has its own innovative START Saving Program, which allows parents, grandparents and others to work together to establish an education savings account. In addition to deposits made by account owners, the state allocates state matching grant dollars—ranging from 2% to 14% — to eligible accounts.

44 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

No matter the financial situation of the parents, all young people entering college need to do so with some knowledge of the financial pitfalls that can come with their newfound freedom. “Make sure to have a discussion about credit cards and how they work, and make sure they know it’s not just free money,” says John J. Zollinger IV, New Orleans market president at Home Bank. “If you don’t have the money today, you are borrowing from tomorrow’s earnings. When it’s put that way, I think people will think about it differently.” Start in High School

LeGardeur says it’s important to get young people financially prepared for life after high school by helping them develop smart habits that will help them make the most of their money for the rest of their lives. “To help your child learn to stand on their own feet and gain important money-management skills, parents should strongly encourage them to get a job so they learn the value of money, how to manage what they earn with confidence and [to see] how far their earnings will really go,” she says. “They should also help them think about their first bank account and encourage them to save, starting at an early age.” LeGardeur also recommends parents help children build their own credit profile. “Consider adding your student as an authorized user of a family credit card and help them fill out a card application when they turn 18,” she says. “They will likely need a co-signer for approval. Be clear about what expenses they will be responsible for and monitor the card usage online.” Since young people are usually very adept with technology, LeGardeur says getting them to digitize their finances is also a good step. “Sign up for text alerts to notify them when their account balances are low, when withdrawals are made, or when spending in a certain category goes past their budget,” she says. “Alerts will teach them to avoid fees and also protect against fraud.” “Being honest about finances and continuing a life-long conversation about how money works will set your child up for their introduction

to the ‘real world,’” she says. “It’s important for children to understand the differences between needs and wants and what costs are associated with them.” Make a Plan

Paul London, office manager at IBERIABANK’s Mid-City Canal Office, recommends that families have a financial plan, and that both parents and students take care not to overextend themselves. “Each family’s situation will be different,” he says. “Support might mean providing food, housing, or rides for your student, or it could be a monetary allowance. There are lots of ways to help your child. Be realistic, though—whatever type of support you decide on will have a financial impact on your household, and a well-thought-out plan should be in place. “A good way to make sure you’re ready to help support your child is to review your family budget and see where you either have or could have a surplus,” he says. “You’ll want to ensure your finances are stable enough to maintain your necessities before adding another monthly cost.” Zollinger says budget discussions should include the concept of an allowance for the student and a plan to help them live within their means. “They need to think about what’s a need as opposed to what’s a want, and where they can make changes and divert from the budget and the fixed costs where they can’t,” he says. “And just having a budget written down doesn’t means it’s going to work. A budget takes time to get used to and there will be challenges with keeping to it along the way.” Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Sometimes students hearing advice from an outside trusted advisor — like a banker or financial planner — can help affirm the message of financial responsibility. Professionals can also help parents perfect their financial plan. “Talk with [your financial planner] about your plan to determine its viability,” London says. “Make sure they understand your priorities. Be open to recommendations and make adjustments as you see fit.” n / 45

Perspectives h e a lth c a r e

are detected by the patient’s loved ones and not the patient themselves.” With cerumen, an excessive amount of earwax is to blame for hearing loss. Joseph-Ford says cerumen is one reason why it’s important to see an audiologist and for patients to have their ears cleaned on a regular basis. “There are also various over-the-counter carbamide solutions that assist with dissolving ear wax, which can be found at your local grocery store,” she says, adding the warning that Q-tips should never be used to clean the inside of ears. “Q-tips are dangerous and when used incorrectly, may cause injury to your eardrum.” Another Checkup to Add to the List

Can You Hear Me Now? Dr. Lana Joseph-Ford, CEO of High Level Speech and Hearing Center, shares tips you can take to protect your hearing. By James Sebastien

Hearing loss is a widespread problem

in the United States, affecting an estimated 15 percent of America’s adult population (or 37.5 million people), as well as two to three out of every 1,000 children. Dr. Lana Joseph-Ford, CEO of High Level Speech and Hearing Center, and her staff have been serving the Greater New Orleans area since 2016. According to Joseph-Ford, the three most common types of hearing conditions are recurring ear infections, presbycusis (age-related hearing loss) and cerumen (ear wax impaction). Recurring ear infections often affect children age 3 and under, and because at this age most children are unable to effectively verbalize what’s bothering

46 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

them, it’s important for parents to know the warning signs. “Warning signs may include excessive crying, frustration when communicating, pulling on the ears, clear or yellowish fluid forming from the ears and speech language delay,” she says. Presbycusis, however, is a common condition that usually occurs in adults 65 and older. It is caused by damage to the hearing nerves in the cochlear called sensorineural hair cells. “This damage can be a result of exposure to loud noise or ototoxic medication, which is often used to fight cancer, illness or genetics,” she says. “Presbycusis is an invisible condition, meaning most signs

Annual hearing checks are vital as hearing loss can occur gradually, and by having a baseline hearing test a patient’s risk for hearing loss can be more easily identified. “Just like you go to the dentist yearly to get your teeth checked and the eye doctor to get your yearly vision exam, you should also come to the audiologist to have your hearing checked,” says Joseph-Ford. “The sooner a problem is identified, the sooner we can do something about it.” Educating patients and parents about the importance of early intervention is the key, says Joseph-Ford. Joseph-Ford also advises people of all ages to use hearing protection like earplugs or noise-reducing headphones when at concerts or festivals. This is especially true for performers. “With Mardi Gras, for example, as members of the audience we enjoy the loud music for a short period of time; however, the drummers and trumpet players in the band must endure the noise for several hours while marching,” she says. “All musicians deal with the risk of exposure to loud noise.” Last September, Joseph-Ford served as the audiologist for Grammy-award-winning rapper Drake while he was on tour in New Orleans. “It was really important to him that he could hear clearly during the concert, as well as for daily business,” she says, adding, “you see, even worldwide rock stars like Drake understand the importance of getting their hearing checked. If Drake can find time in his busy schedule to get his ears checked, then so can every ordinary person with at least one ear.” n

Did You Know?

Statistics on Hearing Loss Those age 60-69 tend to show the highest amount of hearing loss. Men are almost twice as likely as women to have hearing loss. Non-Hispanic white adults are more likely than adults in other racial/ ethnic groups to have hearing loss. Non-Hispanic black adults have the lowest prevalence of hearing loss among adults aged 20-69. Five out of 6 children experience ear infection (otitis media) by the time they are 3 years old. Roughly 10 percent of the U.S. adult population, or about 25 million Americans, has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year. About 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids. Source: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders / 47

Perspectives l aw

Hourly billing has traditionally been

Could Hourly Legal Billing Someday Be a Thing of the Past? Competition has forced some law firms to reconsider how they bill clients. By Jessica Rosgaard

48 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

the most common way lawyers charge for their time and expertise. That hourly rate is often broken down into partial hours — as little as six minutes — to charge for a task like answering an email. But competition in the market is changing the way law firms bill their clients. “It’s a simple function of supply and demand,” says Julie Quinn, founding partner at Quinn Alsterberg. “There’s a lot of competition for the dollar and for legal clients, and there’s a lot of lawyers out there, so clients are able to demand more efficient billing.” More efficient billing can mean any number of alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) — payment systems that differ from the traditional billable hour — and they’re growing in popularity. The same way a mechanic can only provide an estimate on repair costs before he gets under the hood to see what’s wrong with your car, a lawyer can only estimate how much time they’re going to spend on a case before they dig in to the work. Hourly billing can make it harder for clients to budget for their legal fees. “Clients don’t want an open-ended situation where they have to keep cutting a check for $6,000 or $10,000 every month on legal bills,” Quinn says. “They want an idea what their risk-reward is.” That’s where AFAs come in. Steve Boutwell is the chief operating officer at Kean Miller. He says the first AFA he saw in his 30-year career was a simple volume discount, where a client is given a cheaper hourly rate because they’re doing such a large amount of business with a firm. “Suppose a client sends you 1,000 hours of work a year,” he says. “They wouldn’t pay your regular fee of $300 an hour; they might pay you $275 an hour because they’re sending you a large volume of work.” Another type of AFA is what’s referred to as a “success fee,” where a firm gets paid a bonus for winning the case, but less than their full rate if they don’t win. “The client might say, ‘I want you to bill me at 75% of your standard hourly rate and if the deal closes, you’ll earn a premium of 125% of your standard hourly rate,’” explains Boutwell. “That’s / 49

an example of a success fee where a client is asking a firm to take on some of the risk as well.” Fixed fees are a popular form of alternative fee arrangements, especially with trademark applications. “No matter how long it takes you or how little time it takes you to get that trademark you’re paid a flat fee,” says Boutwell. “Clients like that because there’s certainty in the price.” But fixed fees come with some risk for the firm, he adds. “If the law firm is highly inefficient, under that scenario of $300 an hour, let’s say the firm takes 10 hours to do the trademark project. You’d think the time they have invested in that project is $3,000 but they’re only getting paid $2,000 because of the agreement with the client.” Boutwell says fixed fees can force law firms to become more efficient in how they provide legal services. A more complicated AFA is budgeting a fee with what’s known as a “collar.” The collar protects both the lawyer and the client and keeps the charges within a certain range. “Say my client and I agree to $10,000 for an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charge, and when I add up all of my hours at my rate, it ends up being $15,000,” says Leslie Ehret, an employment lawyer with Frilot, L.L.C.. “The client only pays whatever my agreed-upon percentage is of the difference. We agree that if I go over budget, I’m only going to get paid 50% of the overage.” Not surprisingly, Ehret says, “collars” make a lot of work for the accounting department, but they also allow clients to keep their legal fees within a targeted budget while providing lawyers with some flexibility to spend the time necessary to work on a case without losing money. “Collars and flat rates give law firms more of an incentive to manage a case so that there’s not litigation overkill,” says Ehret. Finally, a lot of firms bill what’s referred to as a “blended rate” — a type of flat rate that takes into consideration the difference in pay for work done by a partner, an associate and a paralegal at the firm. Essentially, the client pays one hourly rate, no

50 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

matter who puts in work on the case. This provides some security for the client and requires the firm be judicious with its resources. “It prevents a law firm from having a partner, billed at $400 an hour, look through documents just to get the $400 an hour,” says Ehret. “If you get the blended rate you would tend to push the work down a little more: An associate, at $200 per hour, can look through those documents.” Boutwell says smart lawyers will see AFAs as an opportunity to build a relationship with a client. “You’re able to demonstrate that you can do great work and still make money doing it,” he says, while cautioning, “If you don’t manage the AFA internally, it can get out of control.” Firms need to make sure attorneys understand the economics of the arrangement so they don’t put too much work into a matter and lose money. Quinn says there are many pros to AFAs — they allow the client to relax and trust that the lawyer isn’t overbilling them by the hour, and they enable the client to budget. AFAs also incentivize lawyers to be more efficient and focused in their work. Quinn says, however, that the other side of the coin is that clients might be limited in the amount of time that a lawyer can devote to their case. “It’s possible that you’re not going to get as much of a deep-dive on an issue as you would otherwise,” she says. “Honestly, a lawyer is going to pay more attention to the files that are going to pay him or her more,” adding that there is a risk that lawyers might lose money. Ultimately, she says AFAs are something that will take time for the industry to figure out. “This phenomenon is going to continue to play itself out and refine itself just like any other evolution until everyone finds a happy medium that works for both sides,” she says. “I think once some other geographic areas really embrace this alternative fee arrangement and we see that it works, I think more firms here in Louisiana may be more open and willing to try it.” n / 51

and IT

takes a lot of courage to leave what you know behind and take a leap into the unknown. For some, change comes in the form of a job offer they never could have imagined. For another, a simple idea may spark a creation, which, before they know it, leads to a new business venture and a million new things to learn. In this, Biz New Orleans' third class of New & Notables, we are proud to honor local professionals who are following their passions and taking on new challenges in an effort to make Southeast Louisiana a better place for all.

written by Kim Singletary and Ashley McLellan portraits by Jeffery Johnston

new / 53

bill masterton Market CEO/ LCMC Health After serving for two-and-a-half years as president and CEO of University Medical Center New Orleans (UMC), on Jan. 1, 2019, Bill Masterton was promoted to a newly-created position — market CEO of LCMC Health. In this role, Masterton oversees the operational and financial performance of the system’s four adult hospitals: UMC, Touro Infirmary, West Jefferson Medical Center and New Orleans East Hospital. “The goal is for LCMC to evolve into more of a system than a holding company of hospitals,” says Masterton. “This means we need the hospitals to complement each other and we need to consolidate our resources and coordinate our strategy.” Masterton has spent more than 20 years working in healthcare. Prior to serving as CEO

of UMC, he was the CEO at Piedmont Medical Center and Coastal Carolina Hospital — both in South Carolina —and chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Atlanta Medical Center. In addition to helping LCMC evolve from a company made up of individual hospitals to a system with multiple care sites, Masterton says his other main focus is on improving patient safety. “We want to increase our service levels, which will lead to a better patient experience,” he says, adding that all hospitals will continue to meet their community’s needs. “That won’t change,” he says. “What we’re doing is a bit of a nuanced concept, but I think it’s the right one. I’ve definitely seen it work in other systems."

MAtthew dow M

Assistant Marine Operations Manager / New Orleans Steamboat Company / Gray Line Tours

att Dow grew up keeping time using the whistles blowing from his family’s steamboats in Lake George, New York, and with the music of his family's New Orleans Steamboat Natchez’s calliope in his soul. Dow’s father, Bill Dow, founded the New Orleans Steamboat Co. in 1972 and was responsible for building Steamboat Natchez. The family business has since grown to include Gray Line Tours and Visit New Orleans. Following in his father’s footsteps, over the past few years, Matt Dow served as the project manager for the renovation of the new City of New Orleans. Previously a casino boat from Peoria, Illinois, the boat was purchased in September, 2016 and towed to its current location in February, 2017. It began offering trips on the Mississippi River from New Orleans this past January. While the City of New Orleans fulfills the company’s need for a boat with more dining space and gaming machines and offers more entertainment options for visitors, for Dow, the project has been about much more than a business opportunity. “For me, this is a coming of age project,” he says. "It has taught me a lot about what it takes to do work down here in New Orleans, helped me build onto existing business relationships and establish new contacts for future projects. Most importantly, it has taught me a lot about myself and what kind of leader I am, and what kind of leader I want to be. For me, personally, she will always be a physical embodiment of a pivotal time in my life. She is also a beautiful boat and will be a jewel in the tiara that is the New Orleans waterfront.”

54 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

“I never imagined myself as a university president until Loyola came looking,” she says. “But I’m honored to be here. In fact, my grandfather attended Loyola on a football scholarship in 1928 and every member of my family has either lived, taught or worked here.”

tania tetlow, j.d. President Loyola University New Orleans Last August, New

Orleans native Tania Tetlow was announced as the new president of Loyola University New Orleans. She is the 17th president in the university’s 107-year history, and notably the first female and first layperson president. Before accepting the position, Tetlow worked as the senior vice president and chief of staff at Tulane University, where she also held the title of Felder-Fayard Professor of Law.

Since becoming president, Tetlow says the university has invested further in the quality of education, diversified its revenue, told its story better and increased enrollment. In 2018, the incoming class was 762 students. This year it’s 840. “We’re also ending the fiscal year with a surplus,” she says. “There’s real momentum here.” Tetlow says since joining Loyola she has become more aware of the university’s importance to Southeast Louisiana. “More than onequarter of our student body are the first generation in their family to go to college,” she says. “With our hands-on teaching, learning by doing, and individual coaching and mentorship, we prepare students to be extraordinary people who contribute to our local economy.” / 55

david griffin Executive VP of Basketball Operations New Orleans Pelicans

As excited as the Pelicans are to have someone like Griffin, Griffin says he’s equally thrilled to be in New Orleans.

An NBA Championship

is coming to New Orleans — at least that’s the plan. And step one in making that happen, as far as the New Orleans Pelicans are concerned, was the hiring of David Griffin as the team’s new executive vice president of basketball operations.

Before he joined the team this past April, Griffin worked as both the vice president and general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2010 to 2017. In that time, the franchise took three trips to the NBA finals and won its first championship in 2016.

56 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

“People in my position tend to spend a vast majority of their career trying to find their perfect owner,” he says. “Not long after meeting Mrs. Benson, I knew I had found mine…I made a lot of outrageous demands during the process and she not only met them, she was excited to meet them. Her commitment to doing what it takes to compete in the here and now is just incredible.” Griffin says among his first goals is to continue to make sure the team collects the right talent, something that will be helped by the fact that the Pelicans beat the odds this year to secure the No. 1 draft pick. “Winning here, when we do win, is going to mean so much more than it would elsewhere,” says Griffin. “And getting to do it with the bandwidth of the Saints behind us is almost like having a cheat code.”

Cade brumley Superintendent / Jefferson Parish Public School System

Previously the superintendent for six years of DeSoto Parish Schools in Northwest Louisiana and the president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents in 2017, Brumley accepted this new position knowing the challenges — Jefferson Parish has struggled with low scores (the system has a C rating), a low graduation rate and problems with teacher retention. He says his goal is to achieve an A rating by 2024. “Our academic outcomes are going in the wrong direction and we’re trying to flip that as soon as we can,” he says.

After just a little over a year on the job, Brumley has already accomplished a lot. Jefferson Parish finally has one curriculum that is being standardized throughout and the school system recently won a $2 million grant from the state, along with a $2 million mental health grant, and is launching a new English Language Arts program. Six new principals have been hired for the upcoming school year and, for the first time in 10 years, Jefferson Parish teachers are receiving a pay raise — an effort designed to help with retention. “Two years ago, there was an effort to provide raises and it failed,” Brumley says. “The fact that it passed by 72 percent this time is a reflection, I think, of the energy we’ve created with the aggressive approach we’ve taken to turning things around.”


hen new Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB) CEO Brent Rosen is pressed to name what his last meal would be, his answer reflects the time he has spent across three states (Missouri, Alabama and Louisiana), embracing southern food ways and traditions. “I’m going with the classic meat and three — it’s got to be fried chicken; I do love a biscuit, some collard greens, some field peas.” Rosen and his wife, Carolyn, have become the new dynamic duo among New Orleans food and drink enthusiasts since their return to the city in 2015 (both received their undergraduate degrees from Tulane University in the early 2000s). Carolyn Rosen became the new CEO of Tales of the Cocktail in February 2018, and Brent Rosen joined the rebuilding team at BRG Hospitality as director of hospitality before taking over as CEO of SoFAB this past April. Founded in 2004, SoFAB moved to its current space on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in 2014. A museum dedicated to the celebration of food and drink in the South, SoFAB includes the Museum of the American Cocktail, a culinary research library boasting more than 11,000 items and an on-site restaurant — Toups South. In addition to exhibits, the museum regularly hosts lectures, tastings and cooking classes and also runs the Paul C.P. McIlhenny Culinary Entrepreneurship Program. Rosen’s goals as SoFAB’s new leader include increasing fundraising efforts and communication with the community and moving beyond a traditional museum model. “We have so many community resources,” he says. “For me, it’s about the big picture and execution matters. Finding partners and thinking creatively, that’s the fun part.”

brent rosen

With nearly 50,000 students, the Jefferson Parish Public School System is the largest school district in Louisiana, and on March 26, 2018, it received a new leader — Cade Brumley.

CEO / Southern Food and Beverage Museum / 57

Co-creator RentCheck There is no shortage of new apps flowing into the market, but one in particular stands out from the crowd. RentCheck, an app designed to simplify and clarify the residential rental process, took home more than $100,000 in winnings from business competitions in the past year, including the top prize and $50,000 at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, as well as the $35,000 top prize at the 19th annual Tulane Business Model Competition. The app is the creation of Lydia Winkler, a graduate of Tulane Law School, and Marco Nelson, a Tulane MBA student, who met during orientation at Tulane’s business school.

Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg coo and ceo / sbp (originally St. Bernard Project) 58 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019


ack Rosenburg and Liz McCartney were among the tens of thousands of people who flocked to New Orleans to help the city following Hurricane Katrina. It was an experience that changed their lives forever. The couple (now married) went home to Washington D.C. determined to raise some money and come back and make a difference. They did just that, launching the St. Bernard Project in March 2006 with the goal of helping communities recover from, and become more resilient to, disasters. The organization has since gone national, rebuilding homes for more than 1,660 families throughout the United States and Puerto Rico with the help of more than 180,000 volunteers. Rebranded in 2016 as SBP, the organization’s latest project seeks to help address New Orleans’ lack of affordable housing, while also serving as an example of efficient construction. SBP broke ground in January on the first net-zero multifamily development in Louisiana, an affordable housing project aimed at veterans. “We want to provide affordable and market-rate housing for our area veterans,” says Rosenburg. “So, we’re constructing 50 one- and two-bedroom units — less than a mile from the new V.A. —29 of which will be low-income and 21 market-rate. Thanks to a generous grant from Entergy, this will be an energy-efficient project on steroids, which means if tenants follow our recommendations they will be paying virtually nothing in energy bills.” Tenants are expected to begin moving into the project in mid-November. “Hopefully this will serve as an example of what can be done,” says McCartney. “We look forward to building more projects like this in New Orleans and other communities.”

When they met, Nelson was an app developer and a landlord looking to create a product and Winkler was in the process of suing her landlord for her security deposit. After extensive market research in which they found 45 percent of renters experience disputes with their landlord, they created an app that launched in April 2018. RentCheck provides a guided walk-through of a move-in inspection, including the ability to take time-stamped photos. It is currently in use in 40 states and seven countries and available free of charge to anyone with a smart phone. Winkler says so far 60 percent of the app’s downloads are landlords and property owners. “We’re in the process now of building and scaling the company in New Orleans,” she says. “Right now we’re really focused on honing in on our exact market and getting the app in the hands of as many tenants and landlords as possible.”

lydia winkler / 59

Business and

nonprofits in New Orleans now have a new way to buy and sell products and services — it’s called Moxey. Launched in Baton Rouge almost two years ago, Moxey is a digital platform that encourages businesses to barter in a very organized, technologically savvy way. “Say you’re a restaurant and you have empty tables for lunch — that’s an expiring asset. When lunch is over that opportunity for revenue is gone forever,” says Charlie Davis, president of Moxey. If the restaurant is a member of Moxey, however, he explains, it could fill its empty tables with other Moxey members in exchange for something else the restaurant might need, like help with landscaping. More than 4,000 businesses stretching from Lake Charles to the Mississippi Gulf Coast currently

charlie davis President Moxey

60 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

trade using Moxey Money, and Davis says the goal is to expand that number exponentially. This past April, New Orleans became the company’s first new major market. “We want New Orleans to become the Moxey flagship community,” he says. He adds that joining Moxey also helps expand an organization’s reach. “It’s $195 to join and immediately we start advertising the new member,” he says. “Plus, we give them a Moxey credit card to start spending with other members.” While the technology is new, Davis says the overarching concept of Moxey is one businesses have been using for centuries. “It’s all about businesses working together and supporting each other,” he says. “We’ve just built upon the best practices we’ve seen of smallbusiness owners working together around the world.”

todd wackeman Founder and Executive Director STEM Library Lab

larry morrow

What do Slinkies, hula hoops, magnets and boxes of flashlights have in common? For math and science educator Todd Wackerman, they are some of the key items and instruments for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning, and many are missing from teachers’ classrooms due to budget, time or space constraints.

Owner / Morrow’s restaurant / Larry Morrow Events


arry Morrow is a born entrepreneur who has been learning from family members his entire life. “My family is a family of entrepreneurs: my mom, my grandmother,” he said. “I grew up watching them, through good times and bad times, and how they handled each situation.” Among the many hats he has worn are event curator (think festivals, concerts and big names such as Drake and Meek Mill), book author (“All Bets on Me: The Risks and Rewards of Becoming An Entrepreneur”), and, most recently, restaurateur. Morrow’s restaurant, which he opened in April, 2018 in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood along with his mother, chef Lenora Chong, is just another expression of his vast résumé of business experiences. The restaurant features the cuisine of New Orleans, with a twist. “I wanted [it] to be good food, but also more than just food — an experience,” he says. Morrow’s menu includes traditional local flavors, such as poor boys, shrimp and okra stew, red beans and rice, and craft cocktails, but also includes Asian items from his family’s Korean roots, such as Korean BBQ and the bibimbap rice bowl. While Morrow says he’s constantly at work, he doesn’t mind a bit. “I enjoy what I do," he says. "I work seven days a week, 365. I am always working, networking. Conversations are all a part of growth. I learn from others and they can learn from me as well. An entrepreneur jumps off a cliff and makes a plan on the way down. That’s the way I work.”

A former public school teacher in New Orleans and Brooklyn, Wackerman created the STEM Library Lab (SLL) in 2018 after personally struggling to stock his own classroom with the tools he needed to teach. Those tools, from the common household items like calculators, to the obscure, like a box of primate skulls or Bunsen burners. All are items that teachers from all levels need and may not have due to budget or access restrictions.

a tentative move in the works later this summer to a location in Gentilly), SLL currently provides classroom resources to member educators at 16 schools across Greater New Orleans, with the capacity to supply many more. Teachers who visit SLL are able to receive training on various equipment and check out items when needed. They can also receive free items at SLL’s series of giveaway events. “Our goal is to have 25 to 40 schools signed up,” Wackerman says. “We just would like to get the word out and reach as many as possible.” Wackerman says his next goal is to bring learning tools directly to educators. “We are piloting a delivery service," he says. "It’s all about knocking down barriers to learning and giving teachers what they need, even if it’s just more time to teach.”

Currently housed in Bricolage Academy’s Esplanade campus (with / 61

miguel solorzano General Manager Sazerac House Designed to be the first true “homeplace” for the Sazerac Company, makers of the worldfamous Sazerac cocktail (created in Louisiana), Sazerac House plans to welcome over 150,000 visitors to its new, six-floor building on the corner of Canal and Magazine streets in New Orleans during just its first year.

siobahn trotter, dnp


CEO and Founder SurgiStrong

nybody who has ever had a surgical procedure knows the rules — no food or drink allowed, typically for 12 hours before surgery. “The thing is, that way of thinking is actually not backed by research,” says Siobhan Trotter, DNP. A nurse practitioner, Trotter specializes in preparing patients with cancer for surgery and treatment at Ochsner’s Benson Cancer Center. In 2014, while attending a conference in Europe, she was introduced to research that proved that patients who carb load before a surgery fare better, including a reduction in muscle mass loss. At that point, she says, inspiration struck. Shortly after the conference, outside of her day job, Trotter began working with a surgical oncologist in Santa Barbara to formulate a special pre-surgical beverage. SurgiStrong RecoverAid began commercial production in June 2018. The beverage, which can be consumed up to two hours before surgery, has been a quick success. It is already being used by physicians in the Gulf Coast and parts of Canada and California, as well as at Ochsner. “I’ve been approached by people in home health and hospice that want to distribute it as well,” says Trotter, who says the plan is to roll the drink out through hospitals and doctors' offices, although it is for sale to the public on SurgiStrong’s website. “Surgery is hard on your body, just like running a marathon,” she says. “It just makes sense to prepare your body by fortifying it beforehand.”

62 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

A mix of an interactive museum, rye distillery, event space and company offices, Sazerac House is set to open to the public at the end of October under the leadership of General Manager Miguel Solorzano. A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Solorzano is a veteran of hotel operations

with more than 20 years of experience in guest relations and training and development with companies like Westin Hotel Fort Lauderdale and Sonesta Hotels. As general manager, Solorzano’s job will be to lead his team in creating memorable guest experiences. "With the Sazerac House, we will bring a new take on New Orleans history to the heart of the Central Business District," he says. "Our guests will experience the legends and legacy of New Orleans through our signature cocktails, taking an immersive and delicious journey designed to entertain all their senses."

greatest mentor, his grandmother, one of the first Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse franchisees.

kyle brechtel President & CEO Brechtel Hospitality Restaurateur and

entrepreneur Kyle Brechtel is the mastermind behind Brechtel Hospitality, a restaurant group that includes Fulton Alley, Vintage Rock Club and Copper Vine wine pub. The latter two of these businesses opened within the past year. Vintage Rock Club, a new event space in the CBD situated above Walk-Ons Bistreaux and Bar, opened last October. The upscale, 3,000-square-foot space features a 1,000-squarefoot wraparound balcony on Poydras Street and a 185-inch video wall commonly used for vintage music videos and concert footage.

“Novelty inspires me: having new experiences, visiting new places and meeting new people,” he says, adding, “we strive for interesting, but not intimidating experiences.” Brechtel is currently looking to expand his current property at Copper Vine, as well as grow his burgeoning catering business, Bonfire Catering & Events. “We are also in the middle of design for the next phase of development at our Poydras property, which will include a renovation and expansion of WalkOns and adding event space to Copper Vine,” he says. “My original plan for Copper Vine included a six-room inn, so I am trying to fit that in as well. That should keep me busy for the next 18 months or so.”

Just steps away, offering the only outdoor patio seating on Poydras Street, Copper Vine wine pub opened last summer on a site that served as home to Maylie’s Restaurant for 110 years. The bar, dining area and courtyard feature more than 30 wines on tap and regularly host wine tastings and a dinner series. Brechtel says his goal is to create unique restaurant experiences, a dream inspired by his / 63


Dillard University


Continuing Education Continuing higher education is often the doorway to enhanced opportunities, growth and potential for many businessmen and women—but it can seem difficult to go back to school while balancing the demands of work, home life and free time. Thankfully, more and more universities in Louisiana are providing access to certificates, graduate degrees and undergraduate programs that are built to help working people continue their education without sacrificing other parts of their schedules. This coursework allows students to invest in themselves—and graduates from these programs can see the benefit in their careers for years to come. Whether you’re a manager looking to gain the skills to earn your next promotion, a worker looking to transition to a new field, or just an employee who wants to diversify your portfolio, the schools in this section have options that will fit your budget and your lifestyle. The University of New Orleans offers continuing education aimed at helping business professionals learn more skills, adapt to changing environments and enhance abilities they’ve already honed, whether through undergraduate training or time spent on the job. Their Human Capital Management Noncredit Certificate program is designed to help human resource staff. This certificate gives students a strategic foundation

64 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

that allows them to advance within the ever-evolving human resource profession. Students develop new skills and hone existing abilities which help them boost their job performance and provide greater future career opportunities—all through a non-credit, non-degree certificate program. Students who have graduated the program have found success, with one student saying, “The Human Capital Management certificate offered at UNO is a great resume add-on for

recent graduates seeking career advancement.” The University of New Orleans designed these courses to work seamlessly with the lives of on-the-job professionals: the four-course, eight-evening timeline provides a full 24 hours of instruction with two class meetings per month for three hours each. Instructors meet face-to-face with students, providing them with applicable, personalized lessons. UNO also offers an executive-track MBA program, which isn’t only for those with a business undergraduate degree: the program has built-in foundation courses and tutorials that have allowed the university to build a program that benefits students from diverse industries and functional areas. Their unique hybrid format works over 15 and a half months to allow students to learn and immediately apply lessons in their day to day work. The cuttingedge curriculum includes courses from international finance to digital marketing and project management. In the words of a student who successfully graduated the program, “I could immediately apply the lessons learned in the classroom to my professional life, making me a more successful manager and a better colleague. The professors and administrators worked tirelessly to ensure my classmates and I successfully completed the program while truly learning and retaining the concepts from our coursework.” For more information contact Aundrea Kloor, Director, at 280-3215 or A degree from Dillard University is rooted in broad based learning and comes


with a wealth of knowledge. It’s signature programs of Film and Physics are leading the industry in producing successful graduates who are making their marks in their respective industries. The highly selective and competitive Nursing program continues to be one of the most sought disciplines at the University. The award winning Pre-Law program consistently prepares students for top law schools with several receiving scholarship offers to cover their expenses. For the non-traditional student, Dillard’s Evening Program offers courses from Criminal Justice to Accounting and Business Administration. These bachelor’s degree programs are structured with the belief that learning is a lifelong process and should be cost-effective. With a blend of online, evening and weekend classes, these courses are designed to fit into a working professional’s busy schedule. Celebrating 150 years, Dillard University, located in New Orleans at 2601 Gentilly Blvd., is a private four-year liberal arts historically black institution with a history dating back to 1869. For more information, please visit Providing students from all walks of life with access to a rigorous, high-quality education is an integral part of Xavier University of Louisiana’s mission. To help

Xavier University

scholars develop new skills and abilities relevant in today’s workforce and economy, Xavier’s smaller course offerings allow faculty to provide students with more resources and time. Whether you’re a high school graduate or a working professional seeking additional certifications, Xavier courses purposefully enhance the learning experience of all its students. Some of Xavier’s newest academic programs include a

University of Holy Cross

bachelor of neuroscience, a masters of public health, a masters in speech pathology and a doctorate in education programs. Xavier also offers certifications in several more disciplines ranging from entrepreneurship to data analytics. Xavier’s course offerings are tailored to educate and develop leaders who meet and exceed the demands that exist in today’s workforce – and to, in turn, become a generator of economic prosperity and build a more just and humane society. For adults looking to return to school for graduate or doctoral degrees, the University of Holy Cross offers several options across a wide spectrum of topics. Many of these programs are built to offer flexibility for those students who maintain a full-time job and active family life but still want to expand their skill sets. The university’s program list includes graduate degrees for Biomedical Sciences, Catholic Theology, Counseling, Educational Leadership, Management and Teaching & Learning. They also offer two doctoral programs in Counselor Education & Supervision (PhD) and Executive Leadership (EdD), and they plan to begin a Physician Assistant Studies program in the fall of 2020 (pending SACS approval). The university’s small campus helps to promote a nurturing, growth-based environment grounded in academic and spiritual values, and their size allows for one-on-one personal attention from faculty members. / 65

Southe ast louisiana businesses in full color


Clothing designer Claudia Croazzo talks about the work that went into creating her new Magazine Street boutique.

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

Couture in Store Fashion designer Claudia Croazzo’s boutique and studio on Magazine Street is tailormade to serve New Orleans’ most fashionable women. by Melanie Warner Spencer photos by sara essex bradley

Anyone who has walked past Claudia Croazzo on

Magazine Street has likely noticed its eye-catching window displays. Minimalist, yet bold and often cheeky, the displays feature wigged mannequins bedecked in Croazzo’s daring creations. The 1,570-square-foot boutique and fashion studio opened in September of 2018 and was designed with the help of architect Lindsey Woolf at Woolf Architecture and Interiors. Croazzo, 26, offers New Orleans women her take on sleek, sophisticated and stylish couture designs, which are made on site. “I want someone to feel sexy, but still sophisticated,” says Croazzo. “Never uncomfortable.” Croazzo opened the first incarnation of her eponymous fashion house in her hometown in Lancashire, England in 2016. The young designer obtained a degree in Fashion Design and Styling at the University of Salford in Manchester, England and wasted no time launching her own line. She created original designs while working at another fashion house Claudia Croazzo’s boutique and and, according to Lancaster fashion studio by Life magazine, quickly caused the same name a stir at London Fashion is located at 4214 Magazine St. It Week’s closing showcase features couture events and red carpets during clothing made on her first year in business, site. catching the eye of editors at British Vogue and Elle. “I had more of a working studio where people would come by appointment,” says Croazzo of her former space. “We’ve always had an online presence, [but] always said we need to have a storefront.” That opportunity presented itself after Croazzo moved to the United States with her husband, who

68 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

Croazzo worked with architect Lindsey Woolf at Woolf Architecture and Interiors to achieve the minimalist design of the showroom, changing lounge and workroom. Light wood flooring, bright white walls and racks made of Lucite rods suspended by gold chains define the space. / 69

is from Louisiana. After viewing spaces in Baton Rouge, Croazzo turned her attention toward New Orleans and ultimately decided it was a better fit, saying, “I think some of my pieces were a bit out there for Baton Rouge!” The space at 4214 Magazine St., is the former home of Bonjour Lingerie. Despite having already served as a retail spot, it required a variety of design changes and updates to match Croazzo’s vision and brand. The renovation lasted from March to September, 2018. Woolf redesigned the storefront, painting the exterior white with black trim and larger windows. The interior was also painted white and light wood flooring replaced the former mix of dark wood and speckled, dark beige, Terrazzo-style tile. The minimalist aesthetic of the window displays is carried over into the interior with clothing is hung on a limited number of Lucite rods suspended by gold chains that are bolted to the ceiling. “I don’t like to walk into a store and feel claustrophobic,” says Croazzo. “That’s why it is minimalistic. I want it to be open, so you can see everything.” The hanging racks contain a mix of swimwear, branded T-shirts and other casual, ready-to-wear, as well as cocktail attire and samples of Croazzo’s formal gowns, which tailored to client’s measurements and preferences. Handbags and other accessories are housed on a shelf near the gowns. A bar cart topped with an ice bucket and champagne beckons shoppers to sip and relax on plush, white sofas in the lounge and dressing room area just beyond the retail showroom. Each dressing room features two mirrors facing one another so that clients can view back details on the gowns. A fabric wall in the corner of the dressing room area is chock full of fabrics Croazzo has sourced from buying trips to the United Kingdom, Milan and Paris, some of them bespoke creations by the designer for her brand. Croazzo’s staff includes two sales assistants and three seamstresses and her hiring strategy is to find “people she can see herself gelling with.” “It’s a fun atmosphere,” she says. “I look forward to coming to into work.” To date her biggest challenge has been brand awareness in the U.S. — having come from the U.K. — and trying to get collections out for each season. For now, she’s focusing on sales, branding and keeping a steady flow of traffic, with the goal down the line of opening another location. The workroom where Croazzo designs and her seamstresses construct the gowns is flooded with natural light from an expanse of windows that open to a backyard and via the viewing window, where clients can watch designs come to full realization. “Everything in my store is designed by me on site,” says Croazzo. “I want it to be an experience, for [clients] to see how everything is made. I offer design consultation and help women dress for their figures and empower them.” n

70 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

Croazzo says to date her biggest challenge has been brand awareness in the United States —having come from the United Kingdom — and trying to get collections out for each season. For now, she’s focusing on sales, branding and keeping a steady flow of traffic, with the goal of opening another location in the future.

At A Glance

croazzo’s Location

Magazine St. Date of Opening

September, 2018 Size

1,570 square feet Number of Employees

Two sales assistants and three seamstresses Person in Charge

Claudia Croazzo / 71

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

Rolling in the (Cookie) Dough Lakeview’s sweetest new addition, Cookie Dough Bliss brings a new dessert concept to Louisiana. by Ashley McLellan photos by sara essex bradley

Local franchise entrepreneurs Gina

LaRose and her husband Chad have moved the joy of eating cookie dough out of the dim light of the late-night kitchen into a bright and airy new cookie dough and dessert café on Harrison Avenue. Cookie Dough Bliss opened on March 9 of this year to a sugar-crazed crowd of 1,200 customers. Since that date, the business continues to cook. The dessert restaurant offers a variety of cookie dough flavors served by the scoop like ice cream, such as chocolate chip, sugar cookie, red velvet and oatmeal raisin. The cookie dough has been specially prepared for food safety, according to LaRose, with vegan and gluten-free options available for those with special dietary concerns. “All of our cookie dough is 100 percent safe to eat unbaked,” she says. “We use heat-treated flour and a pasteurized egg product. We do have a vegan option; our vegan cake batter cookie dough is dairy free. We also offer a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough.” In addition to cookie dough, the café is a dream for those with a sweet tooth, offering ice cream and various sweet treats, such as shakes, sundaes and cookie dough sandwiches. Prices start at $4.75 for one scoop to $8.25 for three. While all the flavors have a following, LaRose notes a stand-out among her customers. “The most popular flavor is the traditional chocolate chip cookie dough and the

72 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

Cookie Dough Bliss looks like a typical ice cream shop, but has a sweet twist. Customers can select scoops of their favorite cookie dough flavors — such as chocolate chip, brownie batter and oatmeal raisin — along with a wide array of toppings.

confetti cake batter dough,” she said.” My favorite thing on our menu is our Bliss brownie; it is a triple-chocolate baked brownie with chocolate chip cookie dough in the middle and topped with chocolate ganache. Coming in a close second for me is our seasonal strawberry cheesecake cookie dough that we are offering right now.” Cookie Dough Bliss is headquartered in North Carolina, with franchises in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, as well as Minnesota, Texas and Florida. LaRose’s location at 241 West Harrison Avenue in Lakeview is Louisiana’s first and only franchise location for the company, and one of the premiere locations in the United States. “I wanted to open a business that was new and different, something that we didn’t have in New Orleans yet,” LaRose said. “I loved the concept of a cookie dough shop and after some research found that Cookie Dough

Bliss was the first to franchise. Being only the seventh franchise in the U.S. market and the first in Louisiana was very appealing.” Although LaRose and her husband are first-time business owners, they felt strongly about taking on the business in a burgeoning part of New Orleans. “I have my bachelor’s degree from LSU in elementary education and taught for eight years,” LaRose said. “Most recently, I have been a stay-athome mom to my three daughters (ages 8, 5, 3). My husband, Chad, has a career in medical sales. Although neither of us has a background in business, we have had a shared goal of wanting to be entrepreneurs and own our own business. This new dessert shop was the perfect fit for me, from the products to the aesthetics of the inside of the store.” The shop’s location on a newly developing area of Harrison Avenue has been received well by both / 73

sweet selections

Corporate Dough

Cookie Dough Bliss offers fun options for corporate events, client gifts and fundraising. Options include: Cookie Dough Tasers • 2 oz. cookie dough scoops – choose up to 6 flavors of dough • $2 each/minimum 12 count or $1.75 each for 48 or more Bliss Party Pack • 4-pint jars of cookie dough with cups and spoons • Serves up to 15 people • Choose up to 4 flavors of dough and 3 toppings • $49.50 each or $46 for 2 or more party packs Ultimate Bliss Party Pack • 4 pint jars of cookie dough with cups and spoons • Serves up to 15 people • Choose up to 4 flavors of dough and 3 toppings • 12 Bliss Dough Pops • 8 baked cookies • $89.50 each or $86 for 2 or more party packs

Cookie Dough Bliss’ café is located in a newly busy and developing section of Harrison Avenue in Lakeview. It offers room for afternoon treats and a party space dedicated for birthdays and celebrations.

customers and surrounding businesses alike, according to LaRose, and has drawn visitors from across the city to the area. “The other businesses in our area are very welcoming,” she said. “These specific two blocks of West Harrison are a mix of longstanding businesses, but with several other new ones opening soon. Lakeview is an amazing neighborhood, and we are getting lots of support from the neighbors and people that live here. I’m also proud to say that a lot of our customers have been from other areas of the city; from

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Uptown to Destrehan. We are happy to bring people to our neighborhood.” In addition to the café, Cookie Dough Bliss offers event and party catering, along with an in-store party room for birthdays or other events. “We have a party room in our store that is super fun for kids of all ages,” LaRose said. “Each participant at the party gets a scoop of dough in a mixing bowl and adds unlimited toppings, such as M&Ms, chocolate chips, rainbow sprinkles and whipped cream.”

The catering menu offers 2.5-ounce cookie dough mini cups, party packs with dough, cups and spoons, and a staffed Cookie Dough Bliss cart rental for parties, corporate events, weddings and more. While the business has had a strong start this spring and into summer, LaRose notes that educating her customers on the notion of edible cookie dough has been a challenge. “We encourage them to taste as many samples of cookie dough as they want,” she said. “I’m sure any first-time business owner will agree that there are lots of unexpected things that pop up when the business is so new. For me, I understand that Cookie Dough Bliss is the first to offer edible cookie dough and that means educating our customers on what we offer. The momentum from that has continued, with new customers coming in the store every day, as well as returning customers.” n

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

A Light in the Darkness Lighthouse Louisiana provides the visually impaired with jobs and hope. by Pamela Marquis photos by cheryl gerber


Lighthouse Louisiana Mission

Empower people with disabilities through services, employment and advocacy. CONTACT

123 State Street New Orleans (504) 899-4501 2773 N Flannery Road Baton Rouge (225) 275-1200

When a group of businessmen came

together in 1915 with the primary goal of providing meaningful employment for the blind, one of the first things they settled on producing was sturdy brooms. Since those early beginnings, the organization — formerly known as Lighthouse for the Blind — changed its name to Lighthouse Louisiana and now operates three modern manufacturing locations in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Gulfport — employing more than 166 people. Its product lines include custom-printed cups, single-fold paper towels, mess trays, plates and deck swabs. “We even translate documents into braille,” says Anthony Gonzales, braille coordinator for Lighthouse Louisiana. “We do taxpayer forms, menus for restaurants and we just did the Jazz Fest brochures.” Lighthouse Louisiana’s services have grown to include the visually impaired, hard of hearing and deaf, and individuals with other disabilities. Each year, approximately 12,000 services are provided to more than 1,200 adults and children with disabilities in Southeast Louisiana. Lighthouse Louisiana’s New Orleans location occupies almost a full city block on State Street and houses administrative offices, classrooms, a retail store and stateof-the-art manufacturing facilities. The organization ships more than 6,000 orders each year to federal and commercial customers, produces about 43,200 cups in a single hour, makes products for U.S. military worldwide, and has service contracts with the Veterans Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.

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Annual Revenue

$24 million

Current Needs

Volunteers for the organization’s many events, field trip opportunities for campers in Lighthouse’s summer camp, food for events, classes and camp, help raising awareness about all the products and services, job offers to persons with disabilities, including those who are blind, vision impaired, deaf or deaf/blind. Employees are trained by Lighthouse and come with job coaches.

Renee Vidrine, executive director of Lighthouse Louisiana

“The federal government is our largest customer through contracts with the General Services Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, and relationships through federal dealers and military base stores,” says Stephanie Benedetti, vice president of sales and marketing. The Lighthouse Industrial Manufacturing program is designed to create competitive employment opportunities for people with disabilities, provide a training ground for learning job skills and educate the sighted community about the exceptional level of performance that can be achieved by people who are blind or visually impaired. Lighthouse Louisiana takes pride in its employees’ abilities to not only operate industry standard equipment, but to do so with precision and efficiency that allows them to be price competitive.

“When I got a job at the Lighthouse, a whole new world opened up for me,” says David Green, paper towel boxer and advocate. “It was a world of independence, it was a world of opportunity, and it was a world of fulfillment. I felt like my life had new meaning.” With training and the aid of job coaches, Lighthouse clients can do almost any job a business might need. “Lighthouse Louisiana encourages businesses seeking to diversify their workforce to partner with us and create a bridge to employment for people with disabilities,” says Executive Director Renee Vidrine. “I love this job because of the people,” says Sibyl Mikell as she cheerfully prepares bright yellow sponges to be vacuum sealed. Legally blind, Mikell has been with Lighthouse for 35 years.

With the revenue generated by Lighthouse’s social enterprise and its powerful economic engine, the organization provides a multitude of services that help individuals regain and maintain their independence. If someone’s vision is changing but ophthalmalogists can’t offer further treatments, Lighthouse steps in to help. Its Low Vision Clinic helps people cope with and maximize their ability to use their remaining vision. The clinic is staffed by occupational therapists who help patients maximize their remaining vision through the use of magnification, visual aids training and adaptation. Through its New Vision Program, Lighthouse provides hands-on assistance to help people develop the basic adaptive techniques necessary to function independently with vision loss. Skills taught include things like meal preparation, money management and home organization. The organization also introduces clients to useful gadgets, such as a glass disk that,

to begin training to become a certified Orientation and Mobility (O&M) instructor. O&M helps those who are vision impaired develop the skills needed to travel safely and independently within their homes and communities. “I left one passion for a new passion,” he said. Lighthouse also offers programs for high school youth, including individuals who have cognitive and learning disorders, have limited levels of speech or are non-verbal. “Some of them may never work, but that doesn’t mean they can’t improve and increase their independence,” said Victoria Perodin, one of the program’s trainers, who shared a story of a student who had always been kind but had never really spoken much. “Finally, after five months of training, he addressed me by name and verbalized that he wanted me to come to see his work. I wasn’t even sure he knew my name. He high-fived me after I told him he’d done great on that task I assigned him. From then on, he always greeted me by name.” “When people who are vision impaired, blind, deaf or have other disabilities first arrive at Lighthouse Louisiana, they come with different talents, skills and abilities,” said Benedetti. “Most often, all they lack is hope. The person who has hope has the confidence that goals will be achieved and a set of different strategies in hand to reach their goals. Put simply: Hope involves the will to get there and different ways to take advantage of the opportunities that others take for granted. Lighthouse Louisiana gives so many that hope so that they can continue to live independent lives.”n

when placed in a pot of water, begins to rattle when water is boiling. Otistein Johnson lost her sight due to complications from diabetes several years ago and suffered a deep depression until she completed New Vision’s training. “This program made me live again,” she says, tears in her eyes. “I can do everything now. My life is renewed. I am just so thankful.” Former WWL-TV weathUpcoming Fundraising Events: erman Carl Arredondo, who was recently diagnosed with SPRING A putt-putt tournament is held every spring at City Putt in City Park. Designed for all ages, players a rare genetic disorder called who are not visually impaired wear blindfolds while Retinitis Pigmentosa, is also playing. Hole sponsorship opportunities are available. adjusting to his vision loss. Late spring brings Soiree de Lumiere. This year’s event, Arredondo was already held June 13, included a five-course dinner prepared by serving on the organizathe chefs at Arnaud’s and hosted by the Casbarian family. tion’s board, but he’s now FALL Held every fall, Light Up The Night includes looking forward to raising food, cocktails and dancing in celebration of awareness of his particular Lighthouse’s patrons. Sponsorships are available. disorder, issues surrounding WINTER This year Dining in the Dark is on November 7 at vision problems, and offering the LSU Conference Center. This unique event includes live music, an auction, cocktails, food and spirits with the option to sensitivity training to busiparticipate in blindfolded tastings. Tickets are $100 per person. nesses. He’s also going

Anthony Gonzales, braille coordinator for Lighthouse Louisiana

by the numbers



services are provided annually to more than 1,200 adults and children with disabilities in Southeast Louisiana


services were offered to children with disabilities last year. They include summer camp, in-school interpreting for the deaf, in-school visits to children who are blind and educational programs for teens with disabilities who are transitioning into the work world.


services in rehabilitation, education and occupational therapy were offered to persons with disabilities in 2018, including those who are blind, vision impaired, deaf or deaf/blind,


local business professionals received sensitivity training and workplace awareness last year. / 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.

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From The Lens ON T H E J OB

A Royal Sendoff Business and community leaders joined in mourning Leah Chase, the “Queen of Creole” On June 1, chef, cookbook

author and restaurant owner Leah Chase passed away at the age of 96. As word spread, so did the outpouring of sadness from throughout the community. “Her contributions to the New Orleans tourism industry will leave an impact on our great city for future generations,” noted President and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation Mark Romig. “A legend, an icon, an inspiration,” said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “‘Mrs. Leah,’ as she was known to all who knew her and many who didn’t, was a true leader,” said Loyola President Tania Tetlow. Here’s to you Mrs. Leah, you truly perfected the recipe for success. n

80 / Biz New Orleans / July 2019

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