Biz New Orleans July 2017

Page 1

baking in the crescent city p. 32

Surprising Advice from a Billionaire p. 60

beef jerky outlet opens in metairie p. 86

New & Notables

Introducing our first-annual class of business innovators

Jess & Erin Bourgeois, owners of Lula RestaurantDistillery

Greg Latham, founder and director of Intellectual Property Consulting, LLC

Crystal McDonald, founder and CEO of Acrew

JULY 2017

P. 62 1

6 Biz July 2017 7

Publisher Todd Matherne

Editorial Editor-in-Chief Errol Laborde Managing Editor Kimberley Singletary Art Director Sarah George Web Editor Kelly Massicot Assoc. Multimedia News Editor Leslie T. Snadowsky

Contributors Maria Clark, Steven Ellis, Rebecca Friedman, Jeremy Jacobson, Pamela Marquis, Ashley McLellan, Chris Price, Peter Reichard, Kim Roberts, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, Keith Twitchell, Melanie Warner Spencer

Advertising Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan (504) 830-7215 Sales Manager Maegan O’Brien (504) 830-7219 Senior Account Executive Caitlin Sistrunk (504) 830-7252 Account Executive Carly Goldman (504) 830-7225

Marketing Director of Marketing & Events Cheryl Lemoine Event Coordinator Whitney Weathers Digital Media Associate Mallary Matherne For event information, call (504) 830-7264

Production Production Manager Jessica DeBold Traffic Coordinator Terra Durio Production Designers Monique DiPietro, Demi Schaffer, Molly Tullier

Administration Chief Executive Officer Todd Matherne President Alan Campell Executive Vice President Errol Laborde Office Manager Mallary Matherne Distribution Manager John Holzer Subscription Manager Brittanie Bryant For subscriptions, call (504) 830-7231

AABP 2016 Award of Excellence Bronze: Best Feature Layout 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123 Metairie, LA 70005 (504) 828-1380 Biz New Orleans is published monthly by Renaissance Publishing, LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005; (504) 828-1380. Subscription rate: one year $24.95, two year $39.95, three year $49.95 — foreign rates vary call for pricing. Postage paid at Metairie, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Biz New Orleans, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 2016 Biz New Orleans. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The trademark Biz New Orleans is registered. Biz New Orleans is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork, even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in Biz New Orleans are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or owner.

8 Biz July 2017

top stories this month

62 New & Notables Biz New Orleans celebrates 17 professionals you should know in Southeast Louisiana.

10 Biz July 2017 11

contents july 2017 | Volume 3 | Issue 10

14 | Editor’s note Raise Your Glass 16 | publisher’s note 39 and Feeling Fine 20 | Calendar 22 | industry news 24 | recent openings 26 | Events

36 | sports Wave of Prosperity: After remaking the athletics department, Tulane “society” looks to boost funding.

perspectives 48 | banking and finance Pillars of the Community: Online

38 | entertainment

banking vs. brick and mortar locations.

Easy Does It: New

52 | health care

indie comedy draws local stars.

40 | entrepreneurship Put It In Writing: Four legal issues every entrepreneur needs to have covered.

Living by the Rules: What is the difference between a Level 1 and Level 4 assisted living facility? How do regulations differ from nursing homes? A look at the rules behind this booming industry. 56 | law Mediation vs. Arbitration: What differentiates the two and how can both help businesses avoid costly legal battles?

in the biz

from the lens 78 | great workspaces Sweet Dreams: Hairstylist opens cozy, modern, Mid-City salon after 18 years of planning. 86 | why didn’t i think of that? Where’s the Beef?: It’s definitely now in Metairie, with the opening of the Metro’s first Beef Jerky Outlet. 90 | making a match: businesses and nonprofits Big Class: Concerned about the skills of our region’s future

32 | dining The Sweet Smell of Success: A look at what, and who, is baking in the Crescent City.

34 | tourism Get Out of Town: Beyond the Bayou shares the environmental and cultural beauty of Louisiana.

12 Biz July 2017

workforce? Be a part of the solution by partnering with this writing program for under-resourced youth.

96 | on the job

42 | etiquette Crime of Fashion:

Teaching Food to Future Physicians

How to address dress code violations in even the most casual workplace.

on the cover

44 | tech Cyber Insurance: Do you need it and, if so, what kind?

60 | guest viewpoint My Conversation With a Billionaire: Unexpected lessons from the top.

(left to right) Greg Latham, founder and director of Intellectual Property Consulting, LLC; Crystal McDonald, founder and CEO of Acrew; and Jess & Erin Bourgeois, owners of Lula Restaurant-Distillery. Photograph by Jeffery Johnston. 13

Editor’s Note

On the Web

Beyond the magazine But wait, there’s more! Visit to watch videos from this month’s issue, including:

Raise Your Glass


very day I come to work and open my emails and I’m bombarded with news of people and companies doing incredible things in Southeast Louisiana. It’s been such an honor to introduce so many of them to you through the pages of this magazine over the past almost three years. One of my favorite parts of Biz is the “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” feature, where we highlight a creative local business idea and the person or people behind its success. This month, it feels almost like we’ve added an extra 15 “Why Didn’t I” mini features with our first-ever group of Biz New Orleans New & Notables. The 17 people we’ve chosen to honor hail from almost every industry — including dining, technology, biotechnology, trade, medicine, event production and even our local seafood industry. I invite you to learn more about the husband and wife who changed laws to open the first-ever restaurant and distillery, the man helping businesses reach consumers through virtual reality, and the woman who developed a way to help recruiters save time and money by interviewing candidates via video. All of these innovative professionals will be honored at an event at The Jaxson on July 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 and include hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer. For more information, visit Please join us in congratulating them for all of their contributions to our region. Happy Reading,

Dave & Buster’s Opens Take a peek inside the 40,000-squarefoot arcade and restaurant that opened at 1200 Poydras St. on May 22.

14 Biz July 2017

Publisher’s Note

39 and Feeling Fine


ew Orleans media outlets compete every year for the distinction of being named among the best in the local industry. The Press Club of New Orleans awards various organizations and professionals for their impressive published work, including digital media, print news, public relations campaigns, TV and radio broadcasts. This year, as in the past, submissions are sent to Press Club members in different cities throughout the country, who then judge and nominate the best entries from New Orleans in each category. The annual Excellence in Journalism Awards is July 8 and our staff will be present to see what honors we take home. This year, Errol Laborde and his team of editors and art directors have amassed 39 finalist slots in various categories — the most we have ever had in our history. As a matter of fact, this year we have more finalist nominations than any other media company in the city. Outstanding! The entire company is so proud of our editorial team for leading New Orleans in awards for Excellence in Journalism. Producing award-winning content that speaks directly to our readers is what we take great pride in at Renaissance Publishing, which makes this a significant recognition. In the age of media tweets coming to you from all kinds of news sources, on July 8 look for some tweet results from @BizNewOrleans and updates on as the awards are handed out. By the way, we are the finalist to sweep the Twitter category nominations this year: Great work team! Todd Matherne

16 Biz July 2017

Meet the Sales Team

Maegan O’Brien Sales Manager (504) 830-7219

Caitlin Sistrunk Senior Sales Executive (504) 830-7252

Carly Goldman Account Executive (504) 830-7225

Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales (504) 830-7215

18 Biz July 2017


July 6


St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce B2B Networking 8 to 9 a.m. St. Tammany West Chamber Office 610 Hollycrest Blvd., Covington

World Trade Center New Orleans Annual C. Alvin Bertel Award Ceremony & Luncheon Honoring Robert “Rusty” Barkerding, Jr. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sheraton New Orleans 500 Canal St. Armstrong Ballroom, 8th Floor

11 Biz New Orleans’ New & Notables Honoring 17 leading business people 6 to 8 p.m. The Jaxson 620 Decatur Street, #2B, New Orleans

12 Hispanic Chamber of Commerce TriChamber Networking Evening 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Elmwood Self Storage & Wine Cellar 1004 S. Clearview Pkwy, Harahan

12 6th Annual Jefferson Chamber Grand Prix 5 to 9 p.m. NOLA Motorsports Park 11075 Nicolle Blvd., Avondale

21 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Business & Breakfast 7:45 to 9:30 a.m. New Orleans Marriott Metairie at Lakeway 3838 N. Causeway Blvd.

26 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Prosper Jefferson Seminar Series: Sales 9 to 10:30 a.m. JEDCO Conference Center 700 Churchill Pkwy., Avondale


Emerge Summit Young Professional Development Ace Hotel New Orleans 600 Carondelet St.

St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce Cyber Threat Awareness for Business: SBDC Sponsored Seminar 9 to 11 a.m. St. Tammany West Chamber Office 610 Hollycrest Blvd., Covington



13 & 14

The Millennials Awards A Celebration of a Generation 6 to 10 p.m. Civic Theatre 510 O’Keefe Ave.

AMA New Orleans Presentation co-hosted with SMPS/LMA 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Location T.B.A.

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

20 Biz July 2017


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

Tommy’s Cuisine


746 Tchoupitoulas St. • (504) 581-1103 •

752 Tchoupitoulas St. • (504) 581-7101 •

Tommy’s Cuisine is a locally-owned and operated restaurant located in the Warehouse District. Famous for its inspired upscale Creole-Italian cuisine, all perfectly served in an old-world atmosphere, Tommy’s has been the place to meet, eat, and drink for over a decade. Experience a world-class wine menu along with the finest dishes in the city at Tommy’s Cuisine.

Serenade your senses at New Orleans Social House! Unwind to the tunes of live local musicians while enjoying our exquisite vino, craft cocktails, and progressive culinary creations. As a new concept in the historic Warehouse District of New Orleans, NOSH combines the fun of a music venue, the cuisine of a worldly new restaurant, and the beverages of a high end craft cocktail and wine bar, encapsulating the true essence of a “good time.” From a friendly outing, to a work meet and greet, to a date night, NOSH transforms a social house into a home for all.

Ralph’s on the Park

Public Service

900 City Park Ave. • (504) 488-1000 •

311 Baronne St. • (504) 962-6527 •

Ralph’s on the Park is reviving their annual summer special of 3 Appetizers + a Glass of Wine for $33. Now through August, sip and snack on Chef Chip Flanagan’s delectable menu of Miso Tuna 2 Ways, Pork & Beef Pot stickers, Crabmeat & Mango Salad, Crawfish & Shrimp Toast, Alligator Beignets, and more. For reservations, call 504-488-1000!

The Central Business District’s most dynamic community gathering place, Public Service is a casual-yet-sophisticated restaurant which respects the civic spirit of the former New Orleans Public Service Inc. With a menu that honors the Gulf Coast’s hard-working fishermen and farmers, enjoy contemporary cuisine in an open-display kitchen highlighted by a modern raw bar and openflame rotisserie. 21

Industry News



New Orleans Tops in Drawing Millennials

Fifth Annual Millennial Awards Partners with Inaugural Emerge Summit

According to Time magazine, Greater New Orleans ranks No. 5 in the USA for in-migration of millennials. From 20102015, New Orleans saw an 8.5 percent increase in its 25-34 year-old population. The Top 10 regions where millennials are moving: Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC — 16.4% Richmond, VA — 14.9% RiversideSan BernardinoOntario, CA — 11.7% Memphis, TN — 9.5% New Orleans, LA — 8.5% Austin, TX — 6.6% Pittsburgh, PA — 6.6%


Sazerac Company Revamps Southern Comfort Designed to reinforce its New Orleans roots, Southern Comfort is rolling out this summer with a revamped package and label design designating it “The Spirit of New Orleans.” The brand, purchased by Sazerac in 2016, will also once again include whiskey in its blend. Since its founding 140 years ago, Southern Comfort has become a successful global whiskey brand, selling in more than 100 countries. The new packaging will be extended worldwide by the end of this year.

Baltimore, MD — 6.5% BostonCambridgeNewton, MANH — 6.5% Miami-Fort LauderdaleWest Palm Beach, FL — 6.4%

22 Biz July 2017


Delgado and NOLA Motorsports Announce Partnership Starting this summer, Delgado’s Motor Vehicle Technology program will combine its classroom learning with

hands-on training at NOLA Motorsports Park. The partnership was made official on June 1 via a memorandum of understanding signed by Delgado Chancellor Joan Davis and NOLA Motorsports CEO Francisco Christian.

“As the needs in the high performance automotive industry continue to change, programs like this will allow for a funnel of certified technicians to all brands,” said Christian.

“Even hinting at diverting these funds from its original dedication puts meaningful dollars for coastal restoration at risk. We urge the administration to take this into account and confirm the sanctity of this agreement by continuing the funding stream to gulf states.”

Chris John, president of the Louisiana MidContinent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA), speaking about a letter the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA) and the LMOGA issued June 7 to President Trump urging the administration to include the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) in the 2018 federal budget. To read the letter, visit

The Millennial Awards, conceived and produced by the Spears Group, will be joined this year by the Emerge Summit, a two-day annual emerging leadership conference presented by Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) The Emerge Summit will be held July 13 and 14 at the Ace Hotel (600 Carondelet St.) and will feature educational and supportive platforms for personal and career development. The Millennial Awards will follow on July 15 and will honor 18 young professionals. A portion of the proceeds for the awards will be donated to the Urban League of Greater New Orleans Young Professionals. For more information, visit


Idea Village Entrepreneur in Residence Through July 15, The Idea Village is accepting applications for an Entrepreneurin-Residence (EIR). The organization is looking for a seasoned entrepreneur with a strong track record of founding companies, raising capital and working with investors. The EIR will serve as a full-time member of The Idea Village team from August 2017 to April 2018, during which they will assist startups, including through the organization’s IDEAx accelerator program. For more information, visit 23

Recent Openings

NOSH Formerly the home of Tommy’s Wine Bar, 746 Tchoupitoulas St. is now Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts’ newest offering New Orleans Social House, or NOSH. Led by Bar Manager Jay Teichmann and Executive Chef Michael Farrel, the new restaurant pairs world class wines, craft cocktails and local cuisine with live music every night of the week.

Parleaux Beer Lab Bywater’s newest craft brewery and taproom, Parleaux Beer Lab, celebrated its grand opening June 3. Located at 634 Lesseps Street (one block from Bacchanal Wine) Parleaux Beer Lab crafts small batch brews in a welcoming, family-friendly setting.

Coming Soon

Louisiana Children’s Museum in City Park The Louisiana Children’s Museum (LCM) broke ground on what will be its new home in New Orleans City Park on May 20. The construction contract for the facility is expected to be awarded this summer and construction is estimated to take approximately 20 months. LCM in City Park will include both indoor and outdoor elements, including sensory and edible gardens, a floating classroom and a restored interpretive wetlands area.

Coming Soon

American Duchess On August 14, The American Queen Steamboat Company will launch service on its latest riverboat, American Duchess, out of New Orleans. The riverboat will be the first purpose-built boutique paddlewheeler offering 166 guests the largest suites on the Mississippi river. Inland riverboat cruising out of the Port of New Orleans grew by 40 percent in 2016 as the port welcomed 21,391 passengers on three home ported paddlewheelers.

Coming Soon

Lakeside Shopping Center Renovation Lakeside Shopping Center has begun a $10 million renovation to the mall’s common area scheduled to take place over the next three years. The renovation includes raising sections of the ceiling, adding skylights, LED cove lighting and Carrera marble column treatments, as well as additional seating. In addition, this fall the mall will welcome Fleming’s Prime Steak House and Wine Bar and popular clothing retailer Zara is set to open in the fall of 2018.

24 Biz July 2017

South Market District – 6 New Retailers A 1920s-style barbershop, farmfresh restaurant, high-end cookware retailer, full-service beauty salon, high-end women’s clothing store and Downtown’s first pet grooming, boarding and retail store will all be operational by the end of this year at South Market District. The Parker (barbershop), The Daily Beet (restaurant), Simplee Gourmet (cookware) and Blanc Beauty Bar are open now. The final two —Zeus’ Place and Lukka Boutique — will open this fall.

parleaux photo by leah and eric jensen; nosh photo by cheryl gerber; south market photo by tim hursley 25

Events 1






ABWA Crescent City Connections Monthly Luncheon

10th Annual ACG Louisiana Awards

Thursday, May 11 | Heritage Grill by Ralph Brennan

Wednesday, May 17 | The Roosevelt New Orleans

The local chapter of the American Business Women’s Association welcomed Brandy Christian, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans at its monthly luncheon in May.

ACG (Association for Corporate Growth) Louisiana celebrated its 10th annual Louisiana Awards in May. The organization presented this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans.

1. Becky Gustafon, Christi Felder and Sandra Dartus 2. Michelle Ganon 3. Valerie Allen, Laura Prottsman and Julie Buhrer

1. Tom Benson and Phil Wittmann 2. Jason MacMorran 3. David Rieveschi and Philip Lapeyre

26 Biz July 2017

photographs by cheryl gerber and jeff strout 27

Events 1






New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce 2017 Annual Meeting:

Louisiana Energy Conference - 2017 “All Things Energy” May 30th- June 2nd | Westin Canal Place Hotel

Friday, May 19, 2017 | Hyatt Regency New Orleans

The New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeeting focused on “The State of Business in Louisiana: A Look at 2016 and What 2017 Has to Offer.” Guest speakers included Don Pierson, secretary of Louisiana Economic Development (LED) and nationally recognized pollster and strategist Dr. Silas Lee.

This year’s Louisiana Energy Conference featured more than 20 panels of industry professionals that discussed key domestic and international developments and issues along with field trips to both offshore Gulf of Mexico and onshore South Louisiana facilities.

1. Clarence Roby, Kelisha Garrett and Michelle Gobert 2. David St. Ettienne 3. Kelisha Garrett and Mayor Mitch Landrieu

1. Antonio Carbone, Rick Rees and Terry Dufrene 2. Stephen Jury 3. Drew Jardine, Annie Colvin and Holly Nichols

28 Biz July 2017

photographs by cheryl gerber and jeff strout 29

in the biz Biz columnists speak out



Tasty Treats to Try A look at the newest must-visit bakeries. More on page 32 31

In the Biz dining

The Sweet Smell of Success

To Do

Have You Tried... Norma’s Sweets Bakery – Latin American pastries, sweets, groceries 3221 Georgia Ave., Kenner 2925 Bienville St., New Orleans

A look at what, and who, is baking in the Crescent City.

Willa Jean – contemporary bakery opened by Chef John Besh, Chef Kelly Fields and Chef Lisa White 611 O’Keefe Ave., New Orleans


ot too long ago, you might have been forgiven for assuming that local stand-alone bakeries were becoming a thing of the past. The mighty McKenzie’s chain had fallen. Memorable single-location bakeries like “Mister Wedding Cake” Lawrence’s in Gentilly had disappeared. National chains and increasingly sophisticated grocery store bakeries seemed to be gobbling up market share. But various boulangeries and patisseries have survived the tides, and a large number of newcomers have washed in as well. One old timer, nearing age 100, is Swiss Confectionery in the Warehouse District; it has supplied generations of New Orleanians with their wedding cakes. Another — among the most legendary of the local bakeries — is Angelo Brocato’s in Mid-City, which doubles as a gelateria. The longtime Brocato’s location on Ursulines in the Vieux Carre has for three decades been home to Croissant d’Or Patisserie. Croissant d’Or has carved out a seasonal niche, selling Buche de Noel; it has also established itself as a breakfast and lunch spot thanks to its blend of savory and sweet. Other French bakeries like Maurice (in Metairie) and La Boulangerie (Uptown) have expanded locations and contracted again. Maurice always keeps an array of Alsatian kugelhopfs at the ready. Some bakeries are more synonymous with birthday cake. Gambino’s remains highly visible behind its landmark signage on Veterans Memorial Boulevard, with another location in Gretna. Gambino’s, perhaps more than any other bakery, is associated with 32 Biz July 2017

Bittersweet Confections 725 Magazine Street and St. Roch Market, 2381 St. Claude Ave. Gracious Bakery 1000 S Jefferson Pkwy. 2854 St. Charles Ave. 7220 Earhart Blvd. New Orleans Cake Café & Bakery 2440 Chartres St. Bywater Bakery 3624 Dauphine St. Shake Sugary 3304 St. Claude Ave. Pure Cake 5035 Freret St.

Cookie dough + vanillainfused milk from Willa Jean

doberge cakes, having bought the original recipe from Beulah Ledner in the 1940s. Few flavors are as redolent of a New Orleans childhood as that of a doberge cake. Newer cake specialists include Pure Cake on Freret Street Uptown and The Sweet Life in Lakeview. Other bakeries are more synonymous with king cake, like Haydel’s, Antoine’s and Manny Randazzo’s. Another bakery increasingly known for its king cakes comes to baking from a unique angle. For nearly four decades, Dong Phuong in eastern New Orleans has blended French and Vietnamese recipes to create muchdiscussed breads and pastries. In recent years, a fresh batch of bakeries has emerged. Norma’s Sweets Bakery, with locations in Kenner and Mid-City, specializes in Latin American confections — tres leches

cakes, flan and a large variety of breads, including Cuban sandwich bread. Norma’s pastelitos go from the sweet to the savory, from pastelitos de queso y guayaba to pastelitos de carne. Among the younger establishments is a crop of swanky places, including Willa Jean and Bittersweet Confections, both in the Warehouse District (Bittersweet can also be found at the St. Roch Market). Sucre, meanwhile, has locations Uptown, in the Vieux Carre and at Lakeside. In a similar vein is Gracious Bakery, with three locations, including a quick service option on Earhart Boulevard. The Marigny and Bywater also have their share of nouveaux patisseries, all founded by recent transplants to New Orleans: New Orleans Cake Café & Bakery, Bywater Bakery and Shake Sugary. Of course, there are the ancient bakeries that supply poor-boy bread and gravy-soakers to restaurants, such as Leidenheimer Baking Co. and John Gendusa Bakery. Alois J. Binder’s in the Faubourg Marigny also has a storefront, from which it sells hot donuts.

And speaking of donuts (doughnuts?) there has been an absolute explosion on that front. There’s Blue Dot in Mid-City, founded wryly by three NOPD officers. There’s the decidedly more hipsterific District Donuts, with locations Uptown, in Lakeview and in Elmwood. The opposite vibe resonates at Daddy’s Donuts in Gentilly. There are a couple of buttermilk drop specialists: Wink’s in the French Quarter and Buttermilk Drop Bakery in the Seventh Ward. (Buttermilk Drop’s Gentilly location recently burned down.) And then, of course, Tastee endures in multiple locations, selling a number of McKenzie’s old recipes alongside their own. The list goes on. Stepping back and looking at the totality, it appears there is an unprecedented effort afoot to fatten New Orleanians up. And that’s saying something. n Peter Reichard is a native New Orleanian who has written about the life and times of the city for more than 20 years, including as a former newspaper editor and business journalist.

photograph courtesy willa jean; opening photo courtesy District donuts 33

In The Biz tourism

Get Out of Town Beyond the Bayou highlights the environmental and cultural beauty of Louisiana. Jennifer Gibson Schecter


ew Orleans is a city unto itself. Locals tend to stick to their neighborhoods and shudder at the thought of leaving Orleans Parish. Crossing a bridge is carefully considered. Is the pho really that much better across the river? Is Mosca’s worth the drive? The answer to both, by the way, is yes. So it’s no wonder that visitors to New Orleans keep to the French Quarter, or think they have truly experienced Cajun culture by sampling hot sauce with a name like “Hebert’s Heatlamp Hot Lava Pepper Passion Mouth Explosion (patent pending).” Thankfully, the tendency of both locals and tourists to stay close to the city has a solution. Beyond the Bayou is disrupting the alligator excursion model by providing curated and immersive experiences that highlight the environmental imperatives and cultural cache of Creoles and Cajuns. Founder Jared Sternberg began Beyond the Bayou three years after first running its international destination sister company, Gondwana Ecotours. Sternberg says that while living in New Orleans he has observed that visitors seem to enjoy the city, but often leave without “any true impression of Louisiana and the depth of its culture and nature.” Sternberg set out to remedy the situation by creating a tour company that did its research, developed relationships with local culture bearers and focused on the authentic beauty of Louisiana and its people. “We take pride in presenting Louisiana as the locals live it, and we

34 Biz July 2017

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

do that by very carefully choosing our guides and activities,” explained Sternberg. “Many of our experiences were created exclusively for our company, like our Cajun cooking class or Zydeco music studio tour. We work with independent local guides who educate guests on what makes the nature and culture here so special.” Sternberg added with a smile, “Anyone can lure a gator to a boat with some chicken or walk you around a plantation, but our guides give you a firsthand account of what it really means to live here and the issues that Louisiana has dealt with in the past and still faces today.”

Beyond the Bayou intentionally keeps its tour sizes small so guests get the most from their experience. Guides are also allowed to share their own personal stories and insights. “We see our tours as a form of cultural exchange,” said Sternberg. “We are not afraid to dive into subjects like coastal erosion and wetlands loss, or the history of slavery and how it impacted our culture today. This provides guests with a well-rounded educational experience that we feel is important when visiting this region.” Beyond the Bayou currently offers six tour packages with an additional tour in development. Options

include various combinations of Treme, the Whitney Plantation, Maurepas Swamp, Cane Bayou, Manchac, Atchafalaya Basin, Lafayette, Nottoway Plantation, Bayou Teche and Avery Island. Time commitments range from half-day swamp tours to the four-day Cajun country trip and are priced accordingly. Tours are meant for two or more guests and families are welcome. “All of our tours are great for families, and we can always adjust our itineraries to suit younger children. Being a smaller company allows us to be flexible and personalize our offerings for each guest,” he said. “Our trips to Cajun Country have tons of fun activities for kids, like visiting an organic pecan farm and meeting the sheep and chickens raised there, learning about Cajun cooking from a local chef, and spotting alligators, rare birds and other creatures on our boat tour of Lake Martin. “We love living here in Southern Louisiana,” he added. “Our mission is to show guests what makes it such an incredible place. Our aim is to send you home having seen and learned much more than you expected.” To learn more or book a tour with Beyond the Bayou, visit n 35

In The Biz sports

Wave of Prosperity After remaking the athletics department, Tulane “society” looks to boost funding. Chris Price is an award-winning


ulane’s director of athletics, Troy Dannen, has injected energy into his department and is looking to cash in on it with the establishment of a new philanthropic program, the Olive & Blue Society. Dannen arrived on campus in December 2015 and right away set about changing the attitude and expectations of the Green Wave’s athletic program. Within his first year, Dannen hired head coaches for the “Big 3” sports — football, men’s basketball and baseball. Just 11 days after his own hiring, Dannen hired Willie Fritz as head football coach. At the end of March 2015, he signed Mike Dunleavy to lead the basketball program. Then, in mid-July of last year, he called upon Travis Jewett to coach baseball. Dannen’s brought back vintage logos, like the angry wave, to fields, helmets and merchandise, allowed teams to wear multiple, hip uniform combinations, and now he’s looking to transform that energy into profit. The Olive & Blue Society will invest in student-athlete welfare, increase recruiting resources and enhance facilities, which the school expects will help catapult Tulane Athletics exponentially. Membership in the group is based on gifts ranging from $25,000 to more than $1 million given over a span of up to five years. Associated benefits to donors include membership in the AD’s Cabinet, naming rights, away game travel and annual events and gifts. “The Olive & Blue Society will be at the cornerstone of our foundation to solidify the external support we desire to build a successful athletics department at Tulane that achieves at

36 Biz July 2017

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

“I’m very pragmatic about where our program was,” he said. “I know from a competition standpoint that we weren’t there. I’ve been able to hire people who will instill a culture that I believe in. Now, we have people who know how to win, who expect to win, and who are going to force everyone to elevate themselves to get to that level of expectation. “The state of Tulane Athletics today is that we’re turning the corner on culture,” he continued. “It’s been a whirlwind, but I have great comfort in where everything is at.” n


Garret Broom

Tulane University athletic director Troy Dannen speaks at a news conference announcing former NBA Head Coach Mike Dunleavy (not pictured) as head coach of the Tulane NCAA basketball team in New Orleans on March 29, 2016.

the highest levels academically, socially and competitively,” Dannen said. The society will function separately from the Green Wave Club (previously called the Tulane

Athletics Fund), which was formed in 1967 as a fundraising arm for Tulane Athletics and collects nearly $3 million annually. When Dannen first took over the Green Wave athletics department, he said he found the culture “broken.” “Winning hasn’t been talked about,” he said. This summer, the pace and tempo around the Wilson Center, Tulane’s sports headquarters, is quicker than it was a year ago.

Garrett Broom was hired as Tulane’s assistant athletics director of development at the beginning of this year to lead the day-to-day operations of the department’s fundraising initiatives, including the Green Wave Club, Olive and Blue Society and Tulane Letterwinners Association. Broom previously served as director of development at the University of Wisconsin from 2014-16, and assistant director of development at Ole Miss from 2012-14. His focus was on major gift identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship for facility projects, endowments and annual donors for the athletics department. While at Wisconsin, his team raised more than $100 million in three years.

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert 37

In The Biz entertainment

Easy Does It New indie comedy draws local stars.


en Matheny grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast dreaming of breaking into film and television. Six years after graduating from UNO Film School, he is producing and starring in his first feature film. He says he owes it all to the incredible support and infrastructure in place in Southeast Louisiana. “It’s almost Rockwellian, the community that we’ve built here,” Matheny says, speaking about how easy and fun he says it was to find a good crew for his new indie comedy “Easy Does It,” which just wrapped principal photography June 3. Co-produced by EFI Productions and Worklight Pictures — film collectives comprised of UNO film school alum — the film stars Matheny and NCIS: New Orleans actor Matthew Martinez as two best friends who take off on a crosscountry adventure turned crime spree. The friends are chased by two lawmen — “Mad Men” star Bryan Batt and Dwight Henry, who has made a name for himself in films like “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Birth of a Nation,” and “12 Years a Slave.” Matheny is quick to say that, while he’s thrilled with how well the process is working, making an indie film was still no easy feat. “‘Easy Does It’ actually started as a short film that Will Addison came up with back in 2013,” he says. Matheny met Addison, and his entire team at EFI Productions, while attending UNO film school. “Will came to me to help write a feature film version.” In late 2014, EFI Productions paired with Worklight Pictures

38 Biz July 2017

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.

“Easy Does It,” a feature film co-produced by two companies comprised of UNO Film School alum, wrapped principal photography June 3. The film was shot almost entirely within two hours of New Orleans and features movie stars Dwight Henry (bottom left) and Bryan Batt (top right and bottom second from the right).

to make a proof of concept trailer. In 2016, the project ran a Kickstarter campaign to try and secure some funding. “Getting an indie film made is one of the great challenges in life,” Matheny says. “Like drawing a perfect circle. But all the time it took us, we just looked at that as time we could spend strengthening the project.”

Matheny says the real turning point for the film was meeting Alexa Georges through the New Orleans Film Society last year. Georges agreed to serve as executive producer for the project. “Alexa is a natural as a producer,” Matheny says. “She has such deep connections to this community and really helped with getting capital, securing locations and finding actors.” “Easy Does It” was filmed almost entirely within a two-hour radius of New Orleans. “We have characters who are supposed to be traveling from central Southern Mississippi to the California border and we were able to film almost all of it in Louisiana,” he says. “We’re just

taking a road unit out to West Texas for a quick trip to grab a few shots.” Once the film is finished, the next hurdle is distribution. Here, he says, is where having notable actors like Batt and Henry will hopefully help. “Getting distribution for any film is difficult,” he says, “but we’re hoping that having these lovable, recognizable, deeply talented actors will help.” When asked about a timeline for the film’s release, Matheny says he had no answer. “We’re hoping to try out the film festival circuit, but as an indie filmmaker you have to work at the whim of chance,” he says. “I wish I knew.” Matheny is sure of one thing though, he says his choice to come to New Orleans after high school to go to UNO film school was the best decision he could have made. “Being here in a city so full of great artists and actors has been incredible,” he says. “And for me, getting to work on big name projects like ‘American Horror Story,’ when that was filming here, helped give me the kind of hands-on experience that I needed to take the next step.” Matheny says he’s excited for the future. “We’re experiencing a real independent film wave here,” he says. “I think this is just the beginning.” n




LOUISIANACOOKBOOK.COM Now in its second printing! 39

In The Biz entrepreneurship

Put It In Writing Four legal issues every entrepreneur needs to have covered.


n the excitement of conceiving and developing a new idea and launching it into a business, it’s easy to overlook the mundane technical aspects related to a formal enterprise. Unfortunately, failing to do so can cause even the most successful launch to crash and burn. “Every entrepreneur needs to professionalize his operation,” said Scott Schneider, a partner with the Fisher Phillips law firm who has advised many fledgling companies. “If the business takes off, but the entrepreneur has not protected himself, success can turn quickly into failure.” While there are many issues to address, Schneider identified four in particular: protecting intellectual property, managing legal risks, implementing formal agreements, and clarifying partner roles.

Protect Intellectual Property “A lot of entrepreneurs look for folks to collaborate with,” Schneider said, citing partners, financial backers, consultants and even employees. “You have to protect

To Do

Online Options When creating legal forms, a good place to start is online legal services like the following. Just make sure to have a Louisiana lawyer look them over as well.

40 Biz July 2017

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.

yourself from having one of them say, ‘That’s a brilliant idea, I’m going to go out and do it myself.’” Copyrights and trademark registrations are obtained fairly simply, and usually accrue to the originator as a matter of right. Formal registration is advised, and typically costs less than $1,000. Patents are more complicated, but as Schneider pointed out, new businesses are increasingly likely to be about ideas rather than products.

Manage Legal Risks Even more basic, though no less important, are things like non-disclosure, non-compete and confidentiality agreements. Schneider’s position is that every entrepreneur should have standard versions of these and get them signed by everyone who becomes involved in the nascent business. Examples of these and many other business forms are widely available on the internet. “Remember that these are templates,” Schneider cautioned, “and may not necessarily be enforceable in a state like Louisiana, which has its share of quirky laws. Online forms are a good

starting point, but it is probably worth having an attorney review your documents.” Bringing forms you have prepared for review costs less than asking a lawyer to create them from scratch, he added, meaning you get the best of both worlds: affordable documents that you can trust to do their job.

Implement Formal Agreements Other types of initial forms and agreements include things like basic contracts, employment letters and benefits forms. “When you initiate these, it means you set the terms for them,” Schneider noted. One particular type of document Schneider highlighted is invention assignment agreements. “Establishing who owns property invented while working for a company is imperative,” he said. Another key issue is establishing legal and insurance protections. “There are risks associated with starting an entrepreneurial venture,” Schneider observed. “You want to take the necessary steps to protect your personal assets and your business assets.”

On the personal front, this begins with setting up a corporate entity, which shields the entrepreneur’s house, bank accounts and other assets from any type of legal action. Once the corporation is established, business owners should obtain all necessary insurance, including general liability, employment (including workers’ compensation), and others that may be specific to the type of business.

Clarify Partner Roles Finally, Schneider emphasized the importance of partner agreements. “When you’re brainstorming an idea over a couple beers, no one thinks about these things,” he said. “But what happens when partners begin to disagree and decide to go separate ways? Who owns what? How are revenues going to be distributed?” While partner agreements don’t have to be complicated, they should clarify core issues such as decisionmaking protocols, revenue allocation and ownership rights. They should be developed as soon as the partners decide to move forward. Depending on who you listen to, either the genius or the devil is in the details. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that managing these kinds of details up front can keep the devil at bay further down the road. n 41

In The Biz etiquette

Crime of Fashion How to address dress code violations in even the most casual workplace. Melanie Warner Spencer is


f all the business etiquette questions that come up throughout the year, attire is at the top of the list. Dress codes, especially those that are not explicit — think “casual Friday” — can be a mystery to even the most astute among us. Whether your workplace has a specific and well-outlined dress code or a more ambiguous one that simply states “professional attire,” there will inevitably be times when someone or multiple people wear something management would rather not see at the office. When this happens, it’s time for corrective action, which, if not handled properly, can be awkward or embarrassing for all parties. Recently, we had such an occurrence at the Renaissance Publishing offices. The CEO, Todd Matherne, noticed a growing fashion trend adopted by several employees and found it contrary to his expectations for office attire. The action he took was thoughtful, appropriate and effective, so (with his permission, of course) I’m sharing it as a great example of how to tackle this common issue. Below is Matherne’s email, which had the subject line, “Dress for YOUR Success.” “I will try and not make this so formal, but would like to note our office dress code. I know the dress style is different for everyone, but I do not think we should wear clothes that have fashion tears in an office environment. I know some of you have jeans or pants with tears/rips/holes, but that is not for the office. Here is what is in the handbook regarding dress: PERSONAL APPEARANCE Employees are expected to dress appropriately for their position and 42 Biz July 2017

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


Casually Speaking Considering what type of dress code is best for your company’s productivity work environment. If you have any questions concerning appropriate attire, contact your manager or the CEO. For administrative, editorial and in-office staff it is pretty easy — you are in the office all day. But for sales — and for anyone really — I personally feel better when I ‘dress for success.’ You feel as good as you look and looking your best gives you a confident feeling and will help in sales all day long. “If you have any questions, please come see me.” This email hits on all the right points. The subject line is informative and positive. Being positive is important with this type of email, because you don’t want the recipients to open it already in a defensive state. In the intro, his tone fits the “crime,” so to speak. It’s something important, but not grave. Next, he proceeds in a non-accusatory tone without singling anyone out, thereby causing the aforementioned embarrassment. I

also appreciated the acknowledgment that ripped jeans are a legitimate fashion trend (meaning he knows his audience, which is dozens of young, chic and fashionable women) and that the dress code does fluctuate somewhat between the different departments. The part that follows is key: he cites the office handbook. It’s always important to refer to established company policy. Matherne also offers up his personal philosophy on the matter: “dress for success.” This last part is a gift from the career gods because it’s not often that employees are given such direct insight into the CEO’s mind. Meaning, the boss just told you something that he thinks is important to his, and your, success. This is gold. Finally, he avails himself to anyone who needs clarification, which is simply good leadership. Corrective action isn’t something most of us look forward to, but when the time comes, it’s important

Last year, a report in The Miami Herald cited a Society for Human Resources Management 2015 Employee Benefits Survey, which stated that 62 percent of businesses in the United States allowed casual dress once a week, while 36 percent allowed it daily. This was a marked increase over the 2014 numbers of 56 and 19 percent respectively. Many companies are trending toward a more casual dress code, which, depending on the industry, can be an advantageous switch. The article also looked at the book “The Cognitive Consequences of Formal Clothing,” by Mike Slepian of Columbia Business School. Slepian says formal clothing is better suited to higher level, abstract thinking, because it promotes a feeling of power. For companies who want creative, big picture thinking, business attire is the way to go. Conversely, consider a casual dress code if you want employees to think more concretely and less abstractly. According to the article this works well for task-oriented jobs, such as coding.

to be direct, informed, considerate and, if necessary, to offer additional guidance. For the record, there have been no ripped jeans spotted at the office since the email was sent out. n 43

In The Biz tech

Cyber Insurance Do you need it and, if so, what kind?


am not an insurance expert, nor am I qualified to give legal advice, but as someone who thinks a lot about IT vulnerabilities and threats, I believe that every business should evaluate the cost-benefit of cyber insurance to help protect from cyber risk. Such an evaluation starts with a careful consideration of the business’ true exposure to the negative impact of cyber incidents. The next step is to review your current insurance policy to understand any deficiencies in coverage. If unacceptable gaps become apparent, you can likely find a cyber insurance policy to address them.

Steven Ellis has spent the last 16 years working at the intersection of business and technology for Bellwether Technology in New Orleans, where he serves as the company’s vice president.

terms used by a given provider generally relate to universal concepts. In that light, types or aspects of first party cyber insurance coverage (which applies when the policy holder was negatively impacted) include business interruption, data loss, cyber extortion and reputational harm. Types of third party coverage (which applies when another entity was negatively impacted) include privacy liability, privacy event expense reimbursement, and regulatory defense and penalties. Please talk to your insurance professional to decide what is appropriate for your business. n

The Need We constantly read about widespread cyber attacks and system outages in the news, and I hear about smaller, targeted incidents just as frequently. In most cases, the exploited vulnerability is well known by IT experts, as are various ways of addressing it, but knowing is only half the battle. Sometimes closing a technical vulnerability is too inconvenient or impractical or expensive for a business to justify. Sometimes human error or unwillingness to follow proper procedures causes a problem. Sometimes the miniscule odds just aren’t in your favor. Whatever the reason, the risk of a cyber attack or other incident cannot be completely mitigated via technology alone. Cyber insurance can contribute to a good night’s sleep in a world where acceptance of non-negligible risk is a sober reality.

The Response Cyber insurance has evolved in recent years from a niche to a mainstream product offered by

44 Biz July 2017

major insurance providers. General commercial liability policies often exclude cyber events from their coverage. In addition, many businesses’ exposure to cyber risk is significantly different from their exposure to other types of risk, which leads to a need for different limits, deductibles, etc. Consequently, cyber insurance is typically a separate offering.

Types of Risks Common cyber risks and the types of insurance that mitigate them are divided into the categories of network security and privacy liability. Network security threats include system failures and cyber crimes such as crypto attacks, cyber extortion and

funds transfer fraud. Exposure to network security incidents includes the direct costs of responding and recovering, as well as the cost of business interruption. Privacy threats include theft, employee misuse, and employee mishandling of protected, confidential information. Exposure includes the direct costs and loss of reputation due to lawsuits, regulatory fines and other costs, as well as the cost of response, which could include notification, data recovery, legal and PR fees, and credit monitoring.

Could these scenarios apply to your business? If they do, are you covered? A cyber attack (crypto) renders IT systems unusable for days or longer. An employee clicks on a link in an email, which sends malware to everyone in his address book. A vendor sues for defamation in response to an employee’s Facebook post.


A targeted social engineering attack leads to fraudulent wire transfer.

Although the industry language can vary when describing types of cyber insurance coverage, the specific

An unencrypted laptop with third party personal information is stolen from an employee’s car.

Chairmen Celeste and Curtis Eustis Lauren and Bryan Fitzpatrick

Pre-View Party Wed, October 11 6-8pm View 25 Extravagant Tablescapes Created by Local Designers, Enjoy Culinary Delights, & Cocktails, Music & Live Auction

Presented by

Luncheon Thurs, October 12 11:30am – 1:30pm Enjoy a 3-Course Lunch with Wine Seated at one of the Elaborately Decorated Tables

– Seating is very limited!

Info & Tickets at

Sponsored by:

Aucoin Hart Jewelers; Patricia and Vernon Brinson; Celeste and Curtis Eustis; Lauren and Bryan Fitzpatrick; Michele and Lamar Villere; Liz and Peyton Bush


of all ticket sales and proceeds will benefit Bastion a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is an intentionally designed neighborhood in New Orleans for returning warriors with lifelong rehabilitative needs and their families. The community is designed to foster informal neighboring and enduring relationships.

perspectives hot topics in three southeast Louisiana industries



Mediation vs. Arbitration How both can save your business money. More on page 56

Perspectives banking and finance

Pillars of the Community Online banking vs. brick and mortar banks. By Ashley McLellan


ake a tour through the CBD and you will find that some of the oldest and grandest historic buildings in town were originally built as banks and banking institutions. This rings true not only for New Orleans, but most metropolitan areas across the United States. These brick and mortar shrines to commerce were constructed to provide banking services while also instilling confidence and security for banking clients and investors. These days, however, those grand old buildings — as well as many sleek, newer bank construction projects — are taking on new life, slimming down to provide only essential services or being repurposed as apartment buildings, restaurants and hotels. In today’s world, online technology and smartphone apps have rapidly transformed the need for traditional face-to-face banking. Yet, while these bold physical transformations continue, the real question many individual consumers and small business owners have is how person-to-person banking professionals and services will continue to be an integral part of the health of small businesses and communities.

Empty Buildings “We often see people come in when they open an account and then not much more after that,” says Guy Williams, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Bank and Trust. “We are seeing a reduction in the amount of bank branches. You don’t need the

48 Biz July 2017

Common security terms and precautions: Encryption the process of scrambling private information to prevent unauthorized access. To show that your transmission is encrypted, some browsers display a small icon on your screen that looks like a “lock” or a “key” whenever you conduct secure transactions online. Avoid sending sensitive information, such as account numbers, through unsecured e-mail. Passwords or personal identification numbers (PINs) should be used when accessing an account online. Your password should be

unique to you and you should change it regularly. Always carefully control to whom you give your password. For example, if you use a financial company that requires your passwords in order to gather your financial data from various sources, make sure you learn about the company’s privacy and security practices. General security over your personal computer such as virus protection and physical access controls should be used and updated regularly. Contact your hardware and software suppliers or

Internet service provider to ensure you have the latest in security updates. Read key information about the bank posted on its website. Most bank websites have an “About Us” section or something similar that describes the institution. You may find a brief history of the bank, the official name and address of the bank’s headquarters, and information about its insurance coverage from the FDIC. Protect yourself from fraudulent websites. Watch out for copycat websites that deliberately use a name or

web address very similar to that of a real financial institution. The intent is to lure you into clicking onto their website and giving your personal information, such as your account number and password. Always check to see that you have typed the correct website address for your bank before conducting a transaction. Verify the bank’s insurance status. To verify a bank’s insurance status, look for the familiar FDIC logo or the words “Member FDIC” or “FDIC Insured” on the website. Source FDIC,

same branch numbers per customer as before. Where you might have needed one branch for every 2,000 customers, now you need one branch for every 3,000 customers.” While many branches are shrinking in size, some are closing altogether. According to Williams, this poses new problems for building owners. “Another unfortunate problem is what will happen with all of those bank locations,” he said. “For example, many FNBC locations are located near or next to a Whitney branch. What will happen to all of those closed branches? The landlord will have to find another tenant or use, such as a restaurant, for those locations simply because there is not as much demand.” For customers, convenience is key, and while having bank branches nearby is important, having access to banking at your fingertips has become increasingly a way of life for everyday transactions. According to a Federal Reserve Board 2016 survey of mobile financial services, 87 percent of the U.S. adult population has an internet-enabled mobile phone, and with that number, the adoption of mobile banking continues to grow. Mobile banking has risen each year, since the Federal Reserve Board began surveying in 2011, to the current rate of 43 percent of all mobile phone owners with a bank account stating they had completed a mobile transaction in the previous 12 months. Chris Ferris, executive vice president and chief retail and operations officer of Fidelity Bank, notes the advantages of online banking are increasing, providing a more immediate and current snapshot of a customer’s banking profile. “Online banking offers a secure 24/7 platform that allows a client to bank on their time,” he says. “The addition of mobility means a client can check their balance before a purchase, thus avoiding errors and even pay a friend back immediately for lunch. Using a bill pay service saves time, money and is good for the environment. Most bill pay providers even offer a ‘pay today’

Common Sense Banking Online and mobile banking is a safe and secure way to handle your finances, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow some common-sense guidelines. Greg Hassell, Chase Bank communications director for Louisiana, shares some tips on keeping your account safe: Keep your passwords and account information safe. Don’t give out financial information such as checking account and credit card numbers—and especially your Social Security number— on the phone unless you made the call and know the person or organization you’re dealing with. Don’t give that information to any stranger, even someone claiming to be from your bank. Don’t reply to an email, phone call or text message that does the following: Threatens to close or suspend your account if you don’t take immediate action; Tells you your account has been compromised, then asks you to give or confirm your personal or account information; Tells you there are unauthorized charges on your account, then asks you to give your personal or account information; or Asks you to confirm, verify or update your account, credit card or billing information. If you have questions, call the toll-free number on the back of your credit or debit card, or visit a branch. If you ever suspect there is a problem with your account, call your bank quickly. Be careful to create secure PINs and passwords. Don’t use birth dates, parts of your Social Security or driver’s license numbers, your address or your children’s or spouse’s names, for example. Someone trying to steal your identity probably has some or all of this information.

feature, which allows many clients to better manage their funds.” Ferris says he recommends using a bank’s bill pay system rather than having the funds drafted from an account. “When you use your bank’s system, you are still in control of the payments and can direct when they are paid,” he says, “and you are also 49

able to maintain all your payment records in one spot.” While online banking can improve immediate access to account information, Ferris advises consumers remain cautious with their finances, and to employ bank resources to their fullest. “Because online banking is readily accessible, sometimes people become overly confident and do not review their accounts on a regular basis,” he says. “It’s important to regularly log in and monitor your activity. Also, the addition of chat models via online banking can help guide the client through areas where they may stumble, but for a more complicated and sophisticated transaction a visit to our Fidelity Bank branch — where the client can discuss their needs with a trusted expert face to face — is recommended.”

When Online Isn’t Enough While online banking continues to improve and grow, the need for a personal relationship, face-to-face, remains critical for many consumers, especially small business owners or those with unique banking issues. For those customers, experienced bankers, like John Zollinger, senior vice president and New Orleans market president of Home Bank, suggest coming in to a brick and mortar branch. “It’s very important to have a relationship with your bank,” he advises. “Small business and niche business will have expertise in whatever their business is. They then rely on a circle of services to provide them with what else they need to do business. Our bankers bring all of their years of experience to the benefit of the small business owner.” Zollinger notes that the needs of small business owners change, and often quickly, requiring a banking professional to adapt. “We have the time and energy to care,” he says. “Big banks get hampered by their bigness. As a small bank, we know all of our people and our customers. We deal with them one on one. We have the

50 Biz July 2017

ability to adjust to the client. It’s very important for a small business to have a relationship with their bank, especially because you never know when you are going to need them. And when you need them, you really need them.” In addition to small business owners, most regular banking customers will at some point have a need for personal banking help. “We recommend people come into a bank when they are having a complicated problem,” Williams says, “like if you are applying for a business loan, or beginning retirement planning. Come in and speak with a representative who can give you their experience and knowledge. We are still a small bank, and people know they can call us and we can solve their problems almost instantly because we know them.” While local small banks can provide all of the same online access and amenities of the larger banks, personal services are something Williams touts as a unique advantage. “For example,” he says, “we recently had a customer who lost his wallet while on vacation in Europe. He called us and we were able to FedEx him a replacement card, which he had within 24 hours. Other establishments weren’t able to do that for him.” Online banking will undoubtedly continue to be the wave of the future, and local small and national large banks will continue to adapt and provide additional features, apps, access and security for consumers. Branches will become smaller and more efficient, and will adopt technology of their own. According to Ferris, however, physical banks will always be an important part of a community. “Over time, we expect visits to your neighborhood branch will become less transactional and more consultative,” he says, “but the physical presence in the community is still vital.” n 51

Perspectives HEALTH CARE

Living by the Rules What is the difference between a Level 1 and Level 4 assisted living facility? How do regulations for these facilities differ from nursing homes? A look at the rules behind this booming industry. By Kim Roberts


ccording to the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), almost 1 million people currently reside in assisted living and other forms of resident-centered care options around the country. With so many assisted living communities to choose from, state regulations necessarily exist to protect the rights of residents to voice grievances and suggest changes in policies and services to either staff or outside representatives without fear of restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal. Regulations require assisted living providers to have a formal process for receiving and responding to grievances in a timely manner. “Regulations vary state by state,” explained David Schonberg, owner and operator of Schonberg and Associates. However, there are not national regulations for assisted living communities, only for nursing homes. While basic regulations must be met for every community in Louisiana — established by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals — there are also many aspects that vary from community to community based upon the number of residents and the care level that is needed.” Assisted living communities are regulated by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals under the “Adult Residential Care”

52 Biz July 2017

To Do

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Things to consider when searching for an assisted living center. In addition to looking at things like where a community is located, the types of care and residential services they offer, the size of the apartments, the range of rents, the amenities, and, most importantly, the “feel” you experience when you take a tour, Daniel Ritter, executive director of Inspired Living at Kenner, suggests getting answers to some important questions, including: Hidden fees: Are all the care charges ‘a la carte’ or inclusive? Is medication management included? Does the facility have nursing staff 24 hours a day? Are they actually in the building or just “on call?” Do they offer ‘anytime dining,’ or are meals available during set hours? How many daily options are there for dining? Should you expect rate increases or do they offer ‘forever’ pricing where you can lock in your rate?

licensure classification, which includes personal care homes, shelter care homes and assisted living communities (with individual apartments/units for residents). Assisted living residences typically offer different levels of care at different costs. Residents may have to move to a higher level of care if the assisted living residence can no longer permanently meet their needs. Residents and/or families pay for services and according to the Department of Health and Hospitals: no financial assistance is available in Louisiana at this time. “In Louisiana, we have state specific training requirements, especially for dementia care — eight hours per year,” said Daniel Ritter, executive director at Inspired Living at Kenner. “Caregivers do not need to be certified in the state of Louisiana, although we prefer it. 53

Residents — as we like to call them, not patients — certainly do have rights and they are laid out in our state regulations. “Currently, the way our state regs are written, we do not have a staffing ration to follow like the nursing home industry,” Ritter continued. “Our regs are sort of grey in that area, stating that we simply must provide adequate staffing. Assisted living facilities in our state are not even required to staff a nurse, believe it or not, unless the facility is passing meds, meaning that the family contracts with a third party for their medication administration and management.” Ritter explained that medication services can range from $300 to $400 a month. “Until August 2015, when our regs were finally rewritten, we couldn’t even pass medications, even though we staffed a nurse,” he said. “The Legislature and DHH finally gave in and rewrote the regs in our favor, to where our nurses can pass out meds if we choose, or we can continue to use a third party.” There are many requirements that go into developing an assisted living facility. According to Schonberg, some of the most important ones include becoming licensed by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, and ensuring that the building meets all coding requirements and all the necessary programming and procedures are in place. According to standards governing Adult Residential Care Providers (ARCP), under the Department of Health and Hospitals, there are four levels of adult residential care, and these levels differ in the services they are licensed to offer and the physical requirements. Level 1 is an ARCP that provides adult residential care for compensation to two or more residents but no more than eight who are unrelated to the licensee or operator in a setting that is designed similarly to a single-family dwelling. A Level 2 ARCP provides care for compensation to nine or more residents but no more than 16 who are unrelated to the licensee

54 Biz July 2017

or operator in a congregate setting that does not provide independent apartments equipped with kitchenettes. A Level 3 is an ARCP that provides care for compensation to 17 or more residents, under the same aforementioned requirements, while a Level 4 ARCP differs only from a Level 3 by its inclusion of intermittent nursing services. Located on the Northshore in Covington, Christwood’s Longleaf is licensed by the Department of Health and Hospitals as a Level 3 and Level 4 Adult Residential Care Provider, offering a full range of assisted living support with a focus on memory care. The company’s services range from assistance with bathing and grooming to medication administration, along with a memory care program. “Our designation as a Level 4 Adult Residential Care assisted living provider — having a licensed nurse onsite 24 hours a day and staffing levels that exceed state regulations — assures that our residents receive the best possible care and service,” said Tami Perry, Christwood resident health services director. “We also have a nurse navigator who works with our residents and their families to achieve the best possible outcomes and quality of life.” In addition to minding a host of regulations, Ritter said facilities are looking toward an increasingly competitive marketplace. “At the end of the day, more and more assisted living facilities will be popping up, due to the high demand to meet the needs of the baby boomers,” Ritter said. “With that being said, the newer communities are going to offer better amenities and cutting-edge technology, better dining options, fixed/all-inclusive pricing options, and better staffing models. Older assisted living communities will have to spend quite a bit of money to remain relevant and compete in what is going to be a very competitive industry.” n 55

Perspectives law

Mediation vs. Arbitration What differentiates them and how can both help businesses avoid costly legal battles? By Maria Clark


he notion that a legal dispute could be resolved anywhere besides a courtroom is surprisingly new. Over the past three decades, the legal profession has evolved with the idea that not all conflicts require a courtroom to reach a settlement. Sometimes a simple negotiation monitored by a neutral third party is enough to help two parties resolve their problem. This is called mediation. In the mediation process, both parties are present with their lawyers. Unlike a judge or an arbitrator, the mediator does not determine the outcome of the case, but they aid communication. Gregg Collins, an attorney who runs his own mediation firm — Gregg Collins Mediation Arbitration — has worked as a mediator since 1992 and has been practicing law since 1979. He says that it can be useful in a variety of contexts such as personal injury cases, business disputes and family law cases. As

Breaking it Down Mediation — the use of a neutral third party to assist with negotiations between two parties. Both sides must agree in order to reach a resolution. Arbitration — similar to a court process but less formal. Parties provide testimony and give evidence that ends with an arbitrator handing down a judgment. Arbitrators are not required to have any formal legal training.

56 Biz July 2017

Did you know?

What’s In a Name? Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) can be applied to a variety of dispute resolution processes that help people resolve issues without having to land in court. Common ADR techniques include neutral evaluation, where a third party with expertise in the matter can review the strengths and weaknesses of each side of the case to help the parties reach a settlement. Negotiation is another frequently used method in ADR, where two people sit down and work out a problem without the need of a neutral third party.

a mediator, Collins says he must play devil’s advocate. “I find that sometimes lawyers can have a difficult time telling their clients the flaws in their cases. A neutral third party can step in and help people identify those problems,” he said. He said that lawyers see it as a beneficial process because it means significant cost savings and time savings. “I will see cases that have been filed in court that won’t be tried for three to five years,” he said. “As a mediator, I have been able to resolve a case in three to five hours.” The preparation process can also be very time-consuming. Collins said that parties involved in a dispute can set up so that their case can be mediated and end up saving a lot of money. “The satisfaction level of people involved in mediation is significantly higher,” he said. If the case requires more than a neutral third party to resolve the issue, cases will land in what is called arbitration. This form of alternate dispute resolution is so commonly used that arbitration is a requirement for many construction deals. “Arbitrators decide, mediators facilitate,” Collins explains. In the arbitration process a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, hears arguments and evidence from both sides of the dispute to discuss the outcome. The process is less formal than a trial. The arbitrator would still present the case like they would in court. 57

Benefits for Employers Alternative dispute resolution can also apply to a variety of different settings and is by no means exclusively used in the legal field. Employers are increasingly turning to ADR as a solution to resolve employee conflicts, labor disputes and discrimination complaints in the workplace. This method can be used to quickly resolve disagreements and common workplace issues to avoid relying on attorneys and the courts. “Alternative methods of dispute resolution are being used in more and more contexts in the public,” said Gregg Collins, an attorney who runs his own mediation firm called Gregg Collins Mediation Arbitration. The firm was founded in April 2016. “Mediation and arbitration are now part of the core curriculum for any law student.”

“Mediation is a step to see if you are going to settle the case on the way to either arbitration or the court. It is a voluntary process. Arbitration can be costly,” said Bruce Shreves, the head of the construction and surety group for Simon, Peragine, Smith Redfearn law firm in New Orleans. Shreves has 43 years of experience working in construction law. In the case of a binding arbitration the parties would accept the arbitrator’s decision as final. In a nonbinding arbitration where the decision is not accepted, the case can be taken to trial. “Arbitration certainly takes the burden off the courts. The process settles cases where it would otherwise take courts days and weeks or sometimes months in litigation. If you have an arbitration panel that is familiar with the process it can move along a lot quicker,” said Shreves. Sometimes clients are faced with no other choice than going to arbitration if there is a business dispute and their contract requires it. “If your contract says you must arbitrate then you don’t have to go to court,” he said. Of course, there are certain cases that require more than a neutral party to reach a settlement.

58 Biz July 2017

“There are times where there is so much animosity among the parties that negotiation and mediation cannot be done,” said Shreves. “The process can take months to settle. However, maybe I am optimistic, but I don’t think there is any case that can’t be settled.”

The Origins of ADR The notion of “fitting the forum to the fuss” is widely credited to Frank Sander, a Harvard University law professor. In 1976, he spoke about “The Causes of Popular Dissatisfaction with the Administration of Justice,” which many in the legal field say was a turning point in the development of alternative dispute resolution. Sander felt that the traditional litigation system was only suitable for resolving certain types of disputes effectively. He questioned whether there wasn’t the possibility of developing a method to screen complaints with the aim of matching the case to the most appropriate form of resolution. The aim of this would be to take the burden off the court system and result in cost savings for clients. The development of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques was based on Sander’s conclusion that not all disputes have to end up at court, which ends up being both costly and time consuming, according to Trippe Hawthorne, a partner with the Baton Rouge office of Kean Miller. Hawthorne’s practice focuses on construction law, ADR and business litigation. “He (Sander) saw that we had ended up with a one-size-fits-all method for dispute resolution,” Hawthorne says. “It was around that time that the concept of mediation and adapting arbitration came to more prominence.” n 59

Perspectives guest VIEWPOINT

My Conversation With a Billionaire Unexpected lessons from the top. By Jeremy Jacobson


couple of years ago, I was invited to attend a due diligence meeting at one of the largest and most respected U.S. companies in order to learn more about their company, process and products. I was expecting to be one of thousands of people crammed into a room for 15 hours listening to monotonous business jargon. Ready to decline, I asked how many people were attending. “There are nine of us throughout the country and each one gets to invite five others,” I was told by the company’s representative, “You’re my fifth choice, do you want to go?” Forty-five people total? Yes, please. I have been beyond fortunate in life and have been able to meet some incredible people. Many of these people have become clients and friends. In this case, I was set on going to the meeting to see if I could meet the founder of such a successful and esteemed company. I just wanted to say “Wow” and shake the person’s hand (no, not to take a selfie). I did some research, called the person’s office, and left a voicemail. Three days later, I received a phone call from the executive assistant saying, “Sure, is 45 minutes enough?” After years of long, drawn-out, unproductive business meetings and post-game talks coaching little kids baseball, I have learned that the best meetings are short. “Ma’am,” I said, “I don’t need 45 minutes with him and I know he doesn’t need 45 minutes with me. I will take 30.”

60 Biz July 2017

I had a month to prepare for the meeting. I wrote down all the questions I could think of. I was telling my oldest son, who was 7 at the time, about daddy’s big meeting and was curious what questions he would ask. “Daddy, you mean like ‘Shark Tank’?”

he said. “Yeah buddy, kind of like ‘Shark Tank.’ After a few seconds my son responds with, “Ask which products to buy.” Kids are amazing. The following are the billionaire’s answers that most impacted my life.

Q: I’m curious what hours do you work? As the founder and CEO of your company, are you at work 24/7? A: 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and weekends are for family.

Q: No one has an office, even you; everyone is in open cubicles. Is it true that you change office floors every year? What makes you do that? A: Yes. I find that if you only work on one floor you only really know the people on that one floor. I like to meet everyone and see what they are working on. I like them to see what I am working on. Changing floors allows me to meet everyone. Q: What’s the deal with the casual dress code? A: We are going for the Google effect. We want our employees to come in focused on what they are doing, not worried about what they are wearing. Besides, we are in the performance business. If our performance isn’t there, it doesn’t matter what we are wearing. Q: Is it true that you encourage your employees to take sabbaticals every few years? What makes you do that? A: We want our employees to feel rested and refreshed. Taking that time off allows them the opportunity to travel. This way when they are back at work they feel good and are ready to get back to work. Q: Hindsight 20/20, if you were me, what advice do you wish someone would have given you?

then commute home at who knows what time, leaving little if any time for our family? And what about time for you? Focus on your health: This is the culture we are creating at our company. We’re not ready for the paid sabbaticals yet — maybe one day. Our company does offer unlimited vacation time. Be off if you want to be off, travel, live life. Our employees know what they need to get done. And guess what? Sometimes they can’t wait to get back to work on Monday. Your assistants, employees, receptionists, cashiers, and the person that greets a client or prospect when they walk into the office are the first thing a client feels. Not sees but feels. If the front line of a client experience is stressed, overwhelmed, dealing with multiple tasks at once, how do you think the client feels when that employee answers the phone? Our company pays a gym membership for the employees and encourages exercise. Yes, I know that we live in NOLA and there is always a reason to throw a parade, but rather than a happy hour cocktail or meeting, try replacing it with yoga, a walk, or an exercise class. Men: try yoga, it’s amazing. Treat yourself to a massage. n

A: Focus on your health, then your family, and last your business. Be patient. It will come. If this is the mindset of the founder and CEO of one of the largest companies in the U.S., can you imagine how the employees feel? This is the culture they created. I assure you these were not the answers I was expecting. I was expecting some sort of jargon that I couldn’t relate to or even come close to understanding. I still think about that meeting and the impact those words have had on my life. How many of us run ourselves into the ground at work,

Jeremy Jacobson is the founder

and president of The RBI Group, a firm focused on retirementbased investing. Since 2001, Jeremy has helped hundreds of Shell Oil employees between New Orleans, Houston and Mobile, Alabama. He can be reached at 61

portraits by jeffery johnston

The following 17 professionals are daring to try something new — developing a business and taking it to the next level. We honor their efforts as Biz New Orleans’ first-ever...

New& Notables

Jess & Erin Bourgeois Owners, Lula RestaurantDistillery What better time to launch the city’s first restaurant-distillery than Mardi Gras, when spirits are top of mind for many? That’s especially true if your establishment occupies a prime spot along the St. Charles Avenue parade route. For Lula Restaurant-Distillery’s owners (husband-and-wife team Jess and Erin Bourgeois along with coowner Bear Caffery), this year’s February 13 opening was a long-awaited step in the challenging journey to bring something new to the city’s drinking and dining scene, which has seen an uptick in breweries and distilleries, but no restaurant-distilleries. After encountering similar concepts while traveling out West, Jess Bourgeois recalls thinking, “Why not New Orleans?” It took nearly three years to bring this vision to life, during which the couple had to push for a new state law to permit a restaurant/ micro-distillery. “It was on the last day of the legislative session [in 2015] that they approved our bill,” says Erin Bourgeois. “That was a nail biter!” With that hurdle cleared, the team transformed the former Halpern’s Furniture store in the Lower Garden District into a full-service restaurant and distillery, where they produce their own vodka, rum and gin using Louisiana sugarcane products. Lula does not distribute its liquor, but bottles are available for purchase onsite. Chef/distiller Jess Bourgeois — veteran of the Commander’s Palace kitchen as well as a restaurant group in Birmingham, Alabama — oversees the restaurant operations, while Erin handles public relations, marketing and private dining. “We have a unique product,” says Jess Bourgeois. “It’s a lot of hard work, and it looks like it’s paying off.” - Rebecca Friedman

Ronnie Evans Jr. & Philip Moseley Owners, Blue Oak BBQ Ronnie Evans Jr. and Philip Moseley met on the playground at Holy Name of Jesus School in Uptown. Although they went to different high schools and universities, over the years the grammar school friends kept their dream of one day opening their own restaurant. Following their dream led them to live with their parents after college, sleeping in their cars to balance getting up at daybreak to cook for their catering business and first commercial location in Grit’s, a late night bar with a primetime from midnight to sunrise. A year later they moved to Canal Street music club Chickie Wah Wah. Nights in the city’s hot spots helped the pair test recipes and techniques as they prepared to open their own place. “It was our test kitchen as we prepared for the big show,” Moseley said. “We got better and improved, took R&D trips to Texas and the Carolinas.” On April 22, 2016, the pair finally achieved their dream of opening their own restaurant at 900 North Carrollton Ave. — Blue Oak BBQ. This past April, Blue Oak BBQ took home Hogs for the Cause’s coveted Ben Sarrat, Jr. Grand Champion Title. “We thought we knew what we were doing; in hindsight we had no clue what we were doing,” said Moseley of the duo’s launch. “We didn’t have a clear plan on paper, but everything has fallen into place. It’s kind of unbelievable how it all worked out and how quickly it’s happened.” After jumping around the city for a while, Moseley said he and Evans finally feel settled in the Parkview neighborhood. “It’s been a lifelong goal for us,” he said. “When I walk in every day, it’s very surreal, weird that everything is Ronnie’s and mine.” -Chris Price

64 Biz July 2017

Alejandra Guzman Vice President of Program Development and Strategy, New Orleans Business Alliance Alejandra Guzman has a passion for creating positive social change, and the Crescent City is benefiting from her seemingly endless drive. Guzman is on the board of Fund 17, which works to combat opportunity inequality in the 17 wards of New Orleans by providing financial and educational tools to entrepreneurs who otherwise would not have access to the resources and knowledge necessary to grow their enterprises. She was also part of the Young Leadership Council’s COP NOLA program, which earned $5,000 in seed money to develop a free workshop series to help NOPD applicants in the application process and preparing for Civil Service exams. While these examples would be a career for many, they are just two of her extracurricular activities. As vice president of program development and strategy at The New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), she has been working to reposition New Orleans’ brand as the ideal intersection of commerce and culture. The ProsperityNOLA program is a comprehensive economic development plan and catalyst for economic transformation, which builds upon the city’s economic cornerstones — its people, innate culture and geographic advantages — to create jobs and wealth for all New Orleanians. Additionally, she is involved in the development of a holistic talent cultivation and management strategy to attract the best and brightest to the Crescent City, and to engage and retain them and their families. “The No. 1 reason a business decides to relocate to a region is the availability of qualified talent,” Guzman said. “Talent attraction and retention are extremely important for economic development because the better equipped a community is to attract skill and retain talent, the better it will fare in attracting businesses.” -Chris Price 65

Andrew Petersen Lead Developer, Bluefin Data

David Holtman When he left the Northeast after graduating college, David Holtman looked for the best place to find opportunity and found his way to New Orleans. Since then the serial entrepreneur has found almost everything he was looking for in the Crescent City. “After college, I was looking around for opportunity, and the film industry down here was really blossoming,” Holtman said. “I did some research and found that New Orleans was getting strong for entrepreneurs, and that’s something I always wanted to do.” In his eight years here, Holtman has been involved in startups in industries that have benefited from state tax credits, including solar and film. He was director of operations at PosiGen Solar — Louisiana’s fastest-growing company in 2015 — and worked in the moviemaking business before the state cut the businesses’ initiatives. Holtman is now the managing partner of R&D Design, a New Orleans marketing agency with a satellite office in Virginia, that specializes in developing and producing enhanced consumer communications that utilize the latest technology — virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI)— for local businesses to engage their customers and stakeholders. Holtman has contributed his talents in the VR, AR and AI realm to many local organizations, including the Red Cross, Young Leadership Council’s Wednesdays at the Square, French Quarter Fest, Bayou Boogaloo and Dirty Linen Night. “These are awesome events,” he said. “They’re great ways to have fun and benefit the community.”

Andrew Petersen is not afraid to make a bet. Before his current role, he was a professional online poker player. Now, as leader of Bluefin Data, he’s bringing technology to commercial fishing that could revolutionize the way government regulates the industry. In March, Bluefin Data took home $10,000 as the first place winner of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week’s Water Challenge, a pitch competition for entrepreneurial ideas to protect coastal environments, improve urban water management, and create jobs in the local water economy. “We are creating a culture within the seafood industry that helps improve the quality of life for animals and humans,” said Petersen, lead developer of Bluefin Data. “We’re doing it through software and collecting information about what comes out of our waters and where it goes.” When commercial fishermen come in to sell their haul, Bluefin Data’s VESL “hook to database” software platform captures information on the catch, such as when and where it was caught and what bait was used, along with environmental data about the trip, who is buying, how much and at what price. State regulators require the data, but it has previously been captured on paper and then entered into a computer, a process which is not always precise and can be cumbersome and costly. Petersen sees the software as a tool to help gather information on trends in seafood availability and health, which will assist the state, fishermen and businesses related to fishing make critical business decisions as they prepare for and go through fishing seasons. “We’re a third party that’s a bridge between commercial fishermen and the government,” he said. “The seafood industry is an industry that technology just hasn’t been to yet. We’re hoping to get better and more accurate data so that we can provide benefits to both sides.”

-Chris Price

- Chris Price

Managing Partner, R&D Design

66 Biz July 2017

Crystal McDonald Founder and CEO, Acrew Job seekers need every advantage when looking for work, and employers are looking to find the best candidates as easily and quickly as possible. Crystal McDonald has created a solution that satisfies both parties via an on-demand video interviewing platform. Her idea won $100,000 this past March at The Coulter IDEApitch during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. McDonald’s firm, Acrew, connects employers and job seekers using brief, first-impression videos, each about three to five minutes, to screen candidates and save recruiters time and money. Employers can post an opportunity with the job description, requirements and as many as five customized interview questions. Those looking for work can then record their answers to the questions using the video camera on their smartphone, tablet, or computer and upload it to Acrew’s website. There, employers view responses and decide if they want to move forward with an in-person interview. “We focus on the higher turnover industries that employ the hourly-wage job market — retail, hospitality, food service, health care, construction,” said McDonald. “It gives an employer an additional snapshot of motivation, fit and performance.” Originally from Houston, McDonald came to Louisiana to study finance at Dillard University. She “met a New Orleans boy” and has been anchored here ever since. “I love New Orleans. There’s just no place like New Orleans,” she said. “I feel like the city reflects entrepreneurialism and resilience at its core. It’s got 300 years of history, culture and food. And we’ve got a growing and thriving ecosystem of like-minded folks who want to see the city progress and support businesses to a national level. There’s a sense of community and connectedness that folks have. It’s a great place for young talent. I’m excited about the opportunities here.” - Chris Price 67

Caitlin Cain CEO, World Trade Center On January 17, Caitlin Cain became the new CEO of the World Trade Center (WTC), a nonprofit organization with over 1,000 members dedicated to promoting international trade in Louisiana. Cain’s more than 15 years of experience in governmental and organizational leadership includes serving as the regional advocate of the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy for Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, as well as director of economic development for the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission. Cain oversaw the WTC’s first Future of Trade Summit on May 9 in Baton Rouge, which Cain called an important achievement for the organization. “We were able to bring together the different stakeholders and combat the negative narrative regarding international trade that we keep hearing,” she said. Cain says the WTC’s biggest challenge is to keep up a constant dialogue with members. “Our goal is to keep creating relevant programs that provide our members with what’s happening at the 10,000-foot level and bring it down to the local level while providing relevant programs and technical assistance,” she said. Among the WTC’s new program offerings was a two-hour informational session on doing business in India on June 26. On July 19, the WTC will present its annual C. Alvin Bertel Award honoring a person who has made significant contributions to the state’s port economy to Robert “Rusty” Barkerding Jr., president of Admiral Security Services. “We want them to stay current and engaged,” she added. “It’s important that everyone has a voice, and I see our job as amplifying that voice.” - Kim Singletary

68 Biz July 2017

Cleveland Spears III President and CEO, Spears Group New Orleans native Cleveland Spears III launched his own strategic communications and public relations firm nine years ago. Since then, Spears Group has assisted some of the most well-known companies and organizations in the region — from Ochsner, Entergy and Cox to Habitat for Humanity, Centers for Disease Control and the NBA, who hired Spears Group this past year to lead local, regional and national media relations for the NBA All-Star Weekend. When it comes to showcasing the firm’s event production skills, however, Spears has also taken things a step further by creating and producing his own events. Among the firm’s creations is last year’s inaugural Fried Chicken Fest. Held in Lafayette Square on September 25, 2016, the festival’s popularity was beyond anyone’s expectations, drawing over 40,000 attendees during the ninehour event. This year, Spears says they’ll be meeting demand with a bigger space — Woldenberg Park, five times larger than Lafayette Square. The festival will spread to two days, and include an estimated 35 vendors, two music stages and a cooking demonstration stage, celebrity chefs and a kid’s pavilion. Attendance for the planned September 23 and 24 event this year is expected to reach over 100,000. In addition to the Fried Chicken Fest, Spears Group is also behind Le Diner en Blanc, a pop-up elegant dining event that celebrates its fifth year this year with nearly 4,500 diners. Continuing with the experiential dining theme, Spears Group launched Savor in March, a four-hour, six-course dining and cocktail experience that sold out to a crowd of more than 220. This month the firm’s fifth annual Millennial Awards will be held alongside GNO Inc.’s inaugural Emerge Summit for young professionals. “The goal is always to find ways to bring people together,” says Spears. “And we’re not done yet. Expect another new event to be announced later this year.” - Kim Singletary

Greg Rhoades Marketing Director, Leviton Security & Automation “Alexa, turn off the lights!” Smart electronics are taking over the way homes and businesses function, and Greg Rhoades couldn’t be happier. Rhoades is the marketing director for Leviton, a global electronics manufacturer with a thriving security and automation business unit based in New Orleans. Leviton came to town in 2012, when the company acquired New Orleans-based Home Automation, Inc. (HAI). Rhoades’ own New Orleans history was a bit longer – he arrived in 2002 to study at Loyola and worked as a concert photographer and social media developer before joining HAI, where he helped build the company’s brand. When Leviton acquired HAI, says Rhoades, “it was really with the intent of leveraging the talent and the creativity that was down here in the Silicon Swamp… they use our talent for all of their apps and cloud development.” Leviton’s approximately 40 local employees have been based in New Orleans East, but the company is relocating to the Warehouse District this fall, where they plan to create an engineering and marketing facility. Leviton chose that area because of its proximity to the company’s three-year-old ‘experience center’ in the CBD, where the company can show customers their products in ‘real’ working environments. No longer limited to the ultrawealthy, the market for Leviton’s smart products continues to grow as price points drop and the company partners with companies like Samsung, Google and Apple to launch new products. By offering products like smart light switches for as little as $50, says Rhoades, “we’re trying to make every house a smart home.” - Rebecca Friedman 69

Alex Reed Co-founder and CEO, Fluence Analytics Imagine a system that could monitor a manufacturing facility in real time. Instead of a company pulling a sample of a product every hour or two for quality control, every single product is checked, every single second. It would be a game changer for manufacturers, and it’s exactly what Fluence Analytics has done. The company’s monitoring system has been in use in companies including BASF, Dow and ExxonMobil. Alex Reed is the son in the father-and-son duo behind the company (formerly known as Advanced Polymer Monitoring Technologies since its founding in 2012) whose products are used by biopharmaceutical and polymer industries. Working alongside his father, Tulane physics professor Wayne Reed since he was 12 years old, Alex Reed says the two “help create the products that make modern life possible.” In May, Fluence Analytics announced they had received Series A funding led by venture capital firm Energy Innovation Capital (EIC). The company operates out of a 6,700-square-foot facility at 1078 South Gayoso Street in Gert Town. On the biopharmaceutical end, the Reeds have developed a lab instrument capable of measuring the pharmaceutical stability of therapeutic proteins. “The pharmaceutical industry is one of rapid growth and change and there are a lot of knowledge gaps when it comes to how a protein behaves when not in the body,” says Alex Reed. “What happens to a drug when it’s in transit? How is it affected by banging around in a truck? We can provide answers to these types of questions and help a company engineer a more robust formulation.” - Kim Singletary

70 Biz July 2017

Greg Latham Founder and Director, Intellectual Property Consulting, LLC Intellectual Property Consulting, or IPC, as it’s known, was a one-man firm from its launch in 2007 until 2015. Since then, founder and director Greg Latham has focused the boutique law firm exclusively on intellectual property services — patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Since 2015, the firm has grown sixfold. It is the largest boutique law firm offering specialized IP services along the Gulf Coast, from Houston, Texas to Jacksonville, Florida. “Patent, trademark and copyright law is almost exclusively federal law, so the laws don’t change, for the most part, when you go from state to state,” Latham said. Growing up in the small, central Illinois town of Clinton, Latham thought he’d eventually practice law in Chicago, but after a few months at Tulane, he changed his life’s plan. “I was in my first year of law school and knew I wasn’t leaving New Orleans,” he said. “The culture, the music, the food — I was one of those people who just easily got sucked in.” The growth of technology-related industries in New Orleans gives Latham reason to be excited about the city’s economy. “There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic. The last five to six years have been incredible, not only the growth of the business structure, but you can see the excitement from young people moving into the city and the young people staying here after they graduate,” he said. “New Orleans is getting national recognition in publications and continuously ranking in the top 10 in various economic and technology based surveys and polls. I’m very excited, very optimistic.” - Chris Price

Benjamin Swig Ready Responders In Israel, the threat of terrorism has created the need to deploy rapid critical care in response to attacks of mass destruction. Those who are injured worst are routed directly to hospitals’ emergency departments, while those with less serious ailments are routed to other care providers, allowing trauma teams to focus on those most in need. With an injection of technology, Benjamin Swig thought the idea could be built upon to help ease congestion in New Orleans’ crowded ERs. His company has been described as the “Uber of EMS.” Ready Responders are nationally and state certified EMTs trained in advanced first aid and immediate lifesaving interventions who work in partnership with New Orleans’ municipal emergency medical services. They are deployed via a smartphone app in non-life threatening medical situations. “A majority of calls to 911 aren’t acute emergencies,” Swig said. “The goal is to reduce unnecessary ambulance and ER usage. We use a location-based routing system to identify the right resource, at the right time, at the right place, to provide the right care. “If you look at best practices and innovative approaches to medicine, we have a chance to build on this model and save a lot of money in the health care system by providing patient navigation resources to get them to appropriate care.” Ready Responders’ plan to establish mobile integrated healthcare won $25,000 during “The Big Idea” contest during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. The company is currently meeting twice a month with the Mayor’s Office and the city’s Emergency Medical Services to launch the program. “We’re making really good progress,” Swig said. “It will improve access to care in some of the places that are farther away from the core services that the city offers.” - Chris Price 71

Molly Hegarty Founder and CEO, RDnote

Dat Dog has had two big announcements so far this year and both are due to the work of Chief Operating Officer Bill DiPaola. The popular hot dog restaurant opened in 2011 on Freret Street and within four years added three more locations on Magazine Street, Frenchmen Street and at Lakeside Mall. By 2014, “things had flatlined,” says DiPaola. “They brought me in to see what I could do about it.” DiPaola’s resume included work at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Copeland’s and Brennan’s. “I had done a significant amount of franchise work and I realized that nobody had really weaponized the hot dog,” he says. DiPaola is committed to doing just that by propelling Dat Dog to new markets. Starting late this year, Baton Rouge will receive the first of three new Dat Dogs thanks to the restaurant’s first wave of franchisees, local lawyers David Halpern and his nephew, Teva Sempel. In May, news broke that Houston too would become part of the expansion, with 25 restaurants planned within the next 10 years through a partnership with B&G Food Enterprises, the first of which is set to open next year. A born and raised New Yorker, DiPaola says living through Hurricane Katrina solidified his love for the city. “I lost everything I had and what I learned here will never leave me. What we have here — the food, the music, the lifestyle — it’s a special thing. My ultimate goal is to use our expansion to tell the story of South Louisiana anywhere on earth that welcomes us,” adding, “and I’d like to know of a place where a good hot dog, burger and chicken sandwich won’t work.”

Molly Hegarty was working as a nutritionist for offshore oilfield workers in the Gulf of Mexico in 2014 when she decided to use her engineering background and computer skills to launch RDnote, a digital health startup based in the New Orleans BioInnovation Center. The startup has developed a patent-pending software that helps connect hospitals to patients’ medical records and clinical information. It also provides customizable interventions and decision-making support to physicians to help them determine dietary and nutrition recommendations for patients with, or at high-risk for, chronic disease. In February, the Lafayette General Foundation awarded RDnote $250,000 in seed investment through its subsidiary Healthcare Innovation Fund. The funding is allowing RDnote to develop a pilot program in partnership with Lafayette General Health System. “We’re trying to change healthcare through nutrition and technology,” Hegarty said. The software has the potential to improve quality of care for patients struggling with chronic conditions, including congestive heart failure and diabetes. “It helps translate to improved patient outcomes, better care coordination, and less time spent charting,” she said. “It’s giving doctors the right information at the right time.” Hegarty hopes to expand the program to other hospital systems in the region. Originally from Connecticut, Hegarty earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering and a master’s degree from Bastyr University’s School of Nutrition and Exercise Science. She lived on the West Coast before moving to New Orleans for a dietetic internship at Tulane University’s School of Public Health. “I was supposed to be here for 10 months,” she said. “That was seven years ago. I absolutely love it here, both in the city and around Louisiana.”

- Kim Singletary

- Chris Price

Bill DiPaola President and Chief Operating Officer, Dat Dog

72 Biz July 2017

Nicholas Pashos Founder and CEO, BioAesthetics Nicholas Pashos is not quite finished with school yet — he will be defending his Ph.D. thesis at Tulane University this summer — but he has already formed a company around a biomedical innovation he created to revolutionize reconstructive options after mastectomies. Pashos’ product is a tissue-engineered nipple-areolar complex (NAC), put plainly, he has created a way to generate nipple and areola grafts that can be attached via reconstructive surgery. The grafts then serve as a building frame for the patient to regenerate their own nipple and areola. In April, Pashos’ company, BioAesthetics, was selected by San Francisco-based seed biotech accelerator IndieBio to receive a $250,000 investment and participate in an intensive four-month accelerator program at IndieBio’s lab facility. The program is the world’s largest seed biotech accelerator and funding. Pashos is currently taking part in the program in San Francisco. “We’re taking the graft through safety and efficiency trials and on to FDA regulations.” Pashos says the expectation is to be using his innovation on people in 12 to 18 months. A native of New Hampshire, Pashos came to New Orleans to attend Tulane’s bioinnovation Ph.D. program in 2012. After working with Dr. Bruce Bunnell, Ph.D., professor and director of the Tulane Center for Gene Therapy, for a year and a half to regrow a lung outside the human body, Pashos said he watched a documentary about mastectomies and ended up staying up all night learning everything he could. “I came in the next day and told Bruce I had this idea,” he said. “He told me it sounded good and that I should talk to a plastic surgeon to make sure there was a need for my idea. I did, and it all went from there.” -Kim Singletary 73

Join Us Mix and mingle with Biz New Orleans’ New & Notables. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer— courtesy of The Jaxson.

Meet our New&Notables Tuesday, July 11 from 6 – 8 p.m. at The Jaxson­—620 Decatur St.

2017 New & Notables: Erin and Jess Bourgeois, Cailtlin Cain, Bill DiPaola, Ronnie Evans Jr. and Philip Moseley, Alejandra Guzman, Molly Hegarty, David Holtman, Greg Latham, Crystal McDonald, Nicholas Pashos, Andrew Petersen, Alex Reed, Greg Rhoades, Cleveland Spears III, and Benjamin Swig

Tickets Get yours for $30 at New&Notables

Presented by

Hosted by

from the lens Southeast louisiana businesses in full color


making a match

Big Class Would your company like to help the next generation of our workforce improve their writing skills? More on page 90

From the Lens great workspaces

Sweet Dreams Hairstylist opens cozy, modern Mid-City salon after 18 years of planning. By Melanie Warner Spencer Photos by Sara Essex Bradley


he first time Andrea Arcuri Hoover wrote out paychecks to her staff at Sweet Olive Salon she cried tears of joy. The stylist turned salon owner has been doing hair for 18 years and gave herself 10 to become owner and operator of her own space. At about the 10-year mark, Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. That, along with the desire for more time to learn the business side of the profession, prompted Hoover to set the dream aside for another eight years. In January of 2017, along with her husband, Richard Hoover, who works in film and TV in the camera and electrical departments, Andrea Hoover opened the orange doors at Sweet Olive. The salon comprises 1,000 square feet on the left side of a two-unit bungalow on Broad Street in Mid-City. It is an airy, homey space that was years in the making. “We wanted it to look really clean and more modern,” says Hoover. “We thought it would pair well with the old New Orleans style of the house. We also thought it would be easy to clean.”

Andrea Arcuri Hoover has been a stylist for 18 years. In January, she realized her dream of opening her own salon. The 1,000-square-foot space is housed in the left side of a charming Mid-City bungalow on Broad Street and features airy, modern design.

78 Biz July 2017

Hoover worked with Chris Reed of 330 Design and Fabrication to build the “floating” stations, which feature easy-to-clean steel tops. Pine floors run throughout the space.

The couple turned to local artists, artisans and film industry friends to bring their design concept to fruition. Kristin Lekki, graphic designer and art director for commercial businesses, as well as film and TV, designed the logo and helped the couple plan the space. Lekki’s work has been featured in “Fantastic Four,” “The Big Short,” HBO’s “True Detective” and CBS’ “NCIS: New Orleans.” Tattoo and hand-painted sign artist Jamie Ruth of Treasure Tattoo created the salon’s sign. Chris Reed of 330 Design and Fabrication built the front desk and “floating” stations, which are all fitted with steel tops.

80 Biz July 2017

Mixed media photos with hand embroidery by Hannah Joyce adorn the wall adjacent to the succulents. Hoover plans to swap out the artwork throughout the year to spotlight the work of different local artists.

at a glance

Sweet Olive Company Name: Sweet Olive Address: 1230 Broad St. Office completed: January 2017 Furnishings: Chris Reed designed, built and installed the front desk with built in record player, and “floating” stations; Kristin Lekki did branding and graphic design; Jamie Ruth Dehlin of Treasure Tattoos hand painted the sign. Square footage: 1,000 square feet Primary goal: We wanted the space to feel welcoming and relaxing with clean lines. Biggest challenges: Getting the financing for the buildout. We were introduced to Iberia Bank through a personal and professional friend. Once that part was established, it was a big worry off our shoulders. Iberia Bank has been so great to work with. The other challenge was dealing with contractors ever changing time lines. We just had to be patient and it payed off. Standout feature: Standout features would be the living wall and the front desk. The living wall was made from wood from my family barn in Laplace. We made them for centerpieces for our wedding and repurposed them for the wall. It reminds me that we are all growing and deserve attention and care. The front desk rocks! Chris [Reed] knocked it out the park with this one. He incorporated the record player that I’ve always dreamed to have in my salon. I like a dance party and music is so important for inspiration. 81

The interior is primarily white with natural wood floors, columns and trim. Pops of color throughout break up the white.

82 Biz July 2017

“I’m so pleased with how [Reed’s] cabinetry and the stations worked out,” says Hoover. “They have soft closing drawers and hooks. They are so easy to clean and look so pretty.” The interior is primarily white with natural wood floors, columns and trim. Pops of color throughout break up the white. “When looking at the colors of yellow for the reception desk, there was one called Bling Bling,” says Hoover. “Of course I had to have the Bling Bling.” The reception desk has a Carrera marble top and a spot custom made for a turntable. Records, which are cued up throughout the day, as well as some of the salon’s products, are housed in shelves built into the desk. Among the many homey touches are elements Hoover incorporated from her past, including old telephone pole transistors from

Hoover’s favorite design element is the reception desk designed by Reed. It has a Carrera marble top and a spot custom made for a turntable. Records, which are cued up throughout the day, as well as some of the salon’s products, are housed in shelves built into the desk. The color of the desk is “Bling Bling” yellow by Behr. Hoover is originally from LaPlace and implemented many personal, homey touches to the design of the salon. Jo Morris recently graduated from John Jay Beauty College and enjoys giving clients vintage looks. Elizabeth Carr is the salon’s esthetician and used to work with Hoover at another salon, before Sweet Olive came to fruition. McKenzie Ziegler is a stylist, colorist and makeup artist who went to school for esthiology and cosmetology and trained in New York until moving to New Orleans in 2011. 83

her uncle’s collection. A wall of succulents sit on shelves made of wood from her father’s Civil War-era barn in LaPlace. “My grandmother recently passed away and she was so excited about the salon,” says Hoover. “So, I feel like there’s a lot of her spirit here. She taught me how to welcome people. I wanted people to feel comfortable and at home here. It’s not just a salon, it’s a welcoming space.” Mixed media photos with hand embroidery by Hannah Joyce adorn the wall adjacent to the succulents. Hoover plans to swap out the artwork throughout the year to spotlight the work of different local artists. Weary of the ubiquitous rectangular mirrors employed in many salons, Hoover opted for round to break up the sharp lines in the rest of the space. An olive green sofa with a tufted, circular back in the reception area and vintage, rounded olive green chairs in the room where the stylists wash client’s hair also serve as a contrast to the more linear aspects of the design. Hoover says the chairs, sourced at a set decoration sale, were the first things the couple bought after deciding on a name for the salon. While on vacation, they were brainstorming and decided to use a name that was on a list of potential child names compiled before learning they couldn’t have children. “We were thinking, ‘we aren’t going to use that name,’ and sweet olive is one of my favorite smells in New Orleans,” says Hoover. “This is our baby.” n

Kristin Lekki, graphic designer and art director for commercial businesses, as well as film and TV, designed the logo and helped the couple plan the space. Tattoo and handpainted sign artist Jamie Ruth of Treasure Tattoo created the salon’s sign.

84 Biz July 2017

The “living wall” of succulents features wood made from Hoover’s father’s Civil War-era barn in LaPlace. They were originally used as centerpieces at Hoover’s wedding to Richard Hoover, who also is part owner of the salon. 85

From the Lens why didn’t i think of that?

Where’s the Beef? It’s definitely now in Metairie, with the opening of the Metro’s first Beef Jerky Outlet. By Kim Singletary PHOTOS by cheryl gerber


’ve had at least a few people walk in and tell me they saw the sign from the road and were so excited they almost caused an accident,” says Bonnie Armstrong, co-owner of Beef Jerky Outlet, which had its soft opening April 27 on Veterans Boulevard near Lakeside Mall and its grand opening June 10. A celebration of all things jerky, Beef Jerky Outlet is the first beef jerky franchise in the U.S. Founded in 2010, the company is headquartered in Kodak, Tennessee, and, as of early June includes 100 franchises spread across the country with another 102 listed as “coming soon.” Metairie’s Beef Jerky Outlet brings the company’s presence in Louisiana to four stores, joining outlets in Bossier City, Gonzales and Monroe. For Armstrong and her husband, Jason, New Orleans natives who reside in Metairie, the franchise ticked all their boxes.

Metairie’s new Beef Jerky Outlet is a family affair, run by Bonnie and Jason Armstrong, pictured here with their children, Brennan, 2, and Christopher, 22.

86 Biz July 2017

Beef sticks provide an easy, on-the-go, high protein, low calorie snacking option that are helping to fuel the current jerky boon.

two years ago started looking into different franchise opportunities.” The search ended not long after Armstrong says she saw a Fox News segment about the company and was intrigued. “I called the company and started asking questions,” she says. “We both love jerky and we wanted something that would allow us to give back to the community. This was it.” Armstrong says the company’s reputation was definitely a factor in their decision, citing that Beef Jerky Outlet recently grabbed the No. 72 spot in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2017 Franchise 500. “They’ve helped us every step of the way,” she says, noting that the buildout of her store took only a few days. “They have this down.”

Taste All You Want

In addition to jerky, the Beef Jerky Outlet carries a long list of proprietary items, including hot sauces, pickled products and jellies and gourmet popcorn and nuts.

“Jason has worked as a district office manager at Analytic Stress for over 14 years and I worked for about 9 years in a pediatric dentist’s office before becoming a stay-at-home mom with our 2-year-old daughter,” Armstrong says. “We’ve always wanted to go into business for ourselves and about

The main thing that sets Beef Jerky Outlet apart from buying jerky anywhere else is the astounding variety of products. With over 100 varieties of jerky, the goal is to have something for every palate, from sweet, to smoky, to jerky with a little something extra, like the company’s Bootlegger series — jerky infused with alcohol to create flavors like bloody mary, moonshine and bourbon. There’s also certain flavors that sell better in some markets than others. “Crawfish is definitely one of our top sellers,” Armstrong adds. Then there are those palates that are looking for a bit of punishment. For them, Beef Jerky Outlet offers The Reaper jerky. “It’s super hot,” says Armstrong. “To give you an idea, a bell pepper is rated at 200 Scoville units. The Reaper rates at 2 million.” There’s no need for Armstrong to explain the taste of a product

inside the store, however, as all shoppers are invited to taste all they want via samples housed on the top of wooden barrels positioned around the store. “This is a high quality product,” says Armstrong, who has visited the company’s meat distributor in Tennessee but has yet to make it to the other one in Michigan. “We know that once people taste it, they’ll like it.”

Growing market The snack industry in the U.S. is a $120 billion industry and growing, and beef snacks are the fastest growing snack category. According to market research firm IRI, from 2009 to 2015 sales of beef jerky increased 46 percent, with Americans purchasing $2.8 billion worth of the savory snack in 2015 alone. In 2015, Hershey purchased the only company in its history that doesn’t sell sweets, buying up the meat snack brand Krave for $300 million. In the next year, sales for the company rose 71 percent to $38.3 million. Why the surge? One easy place to look is the rise in the paleo diet, which encourages people to eat as early humans did — no grains, mainly meat and vegetables.

Did you know?

Chew on This Fun Facts about Jerky Jerky has traditionally been the No. 1 favorite snack of the military, and since 1996 NASA has sent it into space with astronauts. The word jerky came from the Quechua word charqui, which means “to burn (meat).” This South American tribe — part of the Incan empire — invented the food around 1550. June 12 is National Jerky Day. It takes 3 pounds of meat to make 1 pound of jerky. 87

“All our jerky is made in the USA and gluten-free, except for the terikayi flavor,” says Armstrong. The high protein snack is also low in calories and fat. Add that to the fact that it’s extremely portable — easy to throw in a purse or backpack and keeps well after opening for three days, lasting another week or two in the fridge — and you have a diet-conscious snack for people on the go.

88 Biz July 2017

Armstrong says she’s been surprised at the range of shoppers that have already come through her door. “We thought we’d attract mostly men, but it’s actually been more 50/50, with just as many women coming in,” she says. “And kids love it too. My 2-year-old is a big fan.” Beef Jerky Outlet’s supporters also include the stores neighboring retailers. “This is such a great location,” Armstrong says. “The Trader Joe’s

staff loves us, and we also have employees coming in from Party City and Mellow Mushroom, and then of course there’s the new Triumph Krav Maga workout place.” Just barely open, Armstrong says the couple is already thinking bigger. “We’d like to eventually have three locations: one on the Northshore, one in Slidell and maybe one in Elmwood,” she says.

The Wildest of the Bunch Every franchise owner likes to think that their location is special, but in the case of the Metairie Beef Jerky Outlet, it is breaking company ground. “We’re the first store to have a wild game section,” says Armstrong, who says she’s proud to offer buyers something a little more exotic.

“They can also just buy a bag to donate. It’s a nice way to do something kind for our troops.”

More than Just Jerky “If it has a name, it’s a pet. If not, make jerky out of it.” That phrase is written across one of Beef Jerky Outlets t-shirts, for sale at the back of the store. “People really like the funny shirts,” Armstrong says. “If someone spends $100, they get a free t-shirt and get to ring the cowbell.” In addition to every kind of flavor of jerky, Beef Jerky Outlet has a wide variety of other products. For the do-it-yourselfers, the store offers grow your own pepper plants and kits to help you make your own jerky. There’s also gourmet popcorn and peanuts, various pickled products and jellies, as well as granola, dried fruit, wasabi peas and pork rinds. For the more adventurous, there’s also a collection of spiced worms, crickets and scorpions. “I haven’t done it yet,” says Armstrong when asked if she’s tried the crickets. “Customers can spin our wheel up at the front for the chance to win a prize, and one of the sections is ‘eat a cricket’ so I’ve definitely seen people do it, but I’ve been avoiding it so far.” She says she’ll happily eat the hottest of the peppers, but insects are something else. “I know I won’t be able to avoid it forever,” she adds. “I’ve heard they taste like burnt sunflower seeds.” n

(Left) Sample bins abound at the store, encouraging customers to try the store’s more than 100 varieties of jerky. (Right) Metairie’s Beef Jerky Outlet is one of 100 franchises currently operating around the country. It is the first to feature the company’s wild game offerings.

“We’ve got elk, bison, kangaroo, alligator, ostrich, venison and salmon. They’re selling really well.”

Giving Back In addition to a toddler, the Armstrongs also have a 22-year-old son who has Down Syndrome. Bonnie is on the board at Magnolia Community Services for special needs. “It’s an organization that is near and dear to our hearts so

I’m excited at the opportunity we will have through the store to give to them,” she says. At the store’s grand opening a portion of the proceeds went to Magnolia. Sitting prominently by the register is another way for customers to give back by buying jerky for American servicemen and women. “People can donate whatever they would like and when we have enough for a bag of jerky we add it to the collection,” she says.

Top 4 Selling Jerky Flavors at Beef Jerky Outlet Metairie Crawfish Prime Rib Teriyaki Cherry Maple Beef 89

From the Lens making a match: businesses and nonprofits

Big Class Concerned about the skills of our region’s future workforce? Be a part of the solution by partnering with this writing program for under-resourced youth. By Pamela Marquis PHOTOS by cheryl gerber


n April 29, Nia Gates, a teen intern with Big Class, a local youth writing program, traveled to Washington, D.C., for the 2017 People’s Climate March. Gates read her original poem, “Hold Your Seats, The Tree Speaks” to an audience of 200,000. “Having the opportunity to travel to D.C. and share a part of my world with the rest was an absolutely amazing experience,” she said. “I would have to say my favorite part of the day was the chance to meet the fellow artists and speakers who also stepped onto the stage either before or after me. I am an 18-year-old girl from New Orleans and I was able to travel hundreds of miles to march and perform with people who see a future of liberation just like myself.” Gates was afforded that opportunity, in part, because of her involvement with Big Class. The writing program began in 2010 at Lincoln Elementary School in Marrero when Doug Keller and Heather Muntzer facilitated a series of successful writing projects for 43 first-grade students. Word of these projects soon spread throughout New Orleans and other teachers began reaching out to Keller to do the same kind of work in their classrooms. “We were doing writing projects that helped give under-resourced youth opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills through project-based learning and volunteer support,” said Keller.

90 Biz July 2017

Some of the team behind Big Class: Ashley Teamer, program manager; Doug Keller, executive director and cofounder; and Kyley Pulphus, program director.

In the fall of 2014 the idea took flight, as Big Class entered into chapter development with “826 National,” a network of creative writing and tutoring centers that shared many of Keller’s ideas about how to get children excited about writing. Internationally acclaimed author David Eggers and awardwinning educator Nínive Calegari founded 826 National, which through its seven other centers

helped 30,000 students discover their voices last year. “My son, Hector, was a tentative writer until he started at Big Class in second grade,” said Katy Reckdahl, a local parent. “After working with the volunteers at the Big Class afterschool program, his writing became fearless and strong, like him.” Today, Big Class offers a wide variety of free, innovative programs for children ages 6 to 18. It also helps

Local children age 6 to 18 — including students like third grader Armari Pierre — are becoming engaged writers thanks to Big Class.

GET INVOLVED Give money to Big Class’ capital campaign. Naming rights are available Throw a pizza party that features the children’s poetry Sponsor a book fair of Big Class’ young authors’ books Offer scholarships for poets in your company’s name Offer a volunteer training at your place of business and then volunteer by working one-on-one in schools, leading a workshop after school, or copyediting a publication Find ways to get the children’s poems seen. For example, if you’re: A retail business, add a poem with a purchase A restaurant, add poetry to your tables A business that sends out a newsletter, add a poem to your publication Current Needs Cash and in-kind donations toward the new building Notebooks Folders Pens

(Left to right) Kiara Geiger, Terr’nique Delair, Jordan Claiborne and Tommy Nguyen (front) at the publication party at Cafe Istanbul for “History Between These Folds” a book by eleventh graders at Carver High School.

teachers get their students engaged in writing. Services are structured with the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. “The process of writing helps youth learn to think critically and find their voices,” said Kathleen Whalen, Big Class board member and project director for Safe Schools NOLA. “We live in a time when these are essential skills. Having spaces where youth can learn to think, create and express their ideas is not just good for youth, but an essential building block for democracy.” One of the organization’s most visible endeavors is its Pizza Poetry Project, which celebrates National Poetry Month in April and the power of youth voices. Poems are collected throughout the year from the program’s school and community-based workshops. They are then published, placed on pizza boxes and delivered around the city. Participating restaurants also donate 20 percent of their profits to Big Class. Other Big Class programs include an in-residence program that cultivates year-round writing and in-school projects which engage students over several weeks as they work toward a final project that is then shared with the community. Big Class also runs “It’s LIT,” a mobile youth writing center and sno-ball stand. The center invites youth to connect with writing in new ways: they can collaborate with chefs and write about food; they can write about water next to the river; they can trick or treat and write about zombies; and they can attend art exhibits and write reviews. Recently, It’s LIT set up for Bayou Day and youth wrote about water in exchange for popsicles. Big Class’ long-term writing projects are also finally blossoming into books. The organization’s spring releases include a collection of personal narratives written by 91

SUCCESS OF SERVICES Since 2010, Big Class has served more than 3,500 youth through dynamic, innovative, free writing programs.


volunteers have supported the young writers’ efforts

In 2015-2016 alone:

1,200 +

served by Big Class


publications have featured their writing




of their students identify as writers, even though over half of these students stated they did not consider themselves writers before participating in our programs


of students across all programs report an increase in their confidence in writing


of students in out-of-school programs reported that Big Class helped them improve their ability to think of new ideas


of parents in out-of-school Programs reported positive impact in their child’s grades


of students reported feeling high levels of engagement in their learning

92 Biz July 2017

11th-graders and a book of trickster tales written by third-graders. “All of our programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently and in his or her individual voice,” said Keller. Big Class is growing; recently the organization signed a 10-year lease for a youth writing center in the 7th Ward that is scheduled to open in late 2017 on St. Bernard Avenue near Claiborne Avenue. The center will serve as a hub for literacy and host students, teachers and community members year-round, offering programs during and after school, as well as weekend and summer programming.

Architect Charles Jones with One to One Design is working on the 4,000-square-foot project. “We are a contemporary practice and we like working with contemporary, forwardthinking clients, so Big Class is a perfect fit for us,” he said. Big Class will open as a retail space. Following 826’s award-winning model, the storefront will provide a unique portal for Big Class students as it also serves as a source of revenue. To comply with a commercial zoning regulation, when 826 National started its center in San Francisco, it opened as a pirate storefront. It sold eye patches and pirate hats up front while young writers did their wordsmithing in the back.

Big Class’ storefront will be The New Orleans Haunting Supply Co., which will supply all manner of ghostly supplies, including scary costumes, T-shirts, and other goods and services celebrating the non-corporeal. The rest of the space will include offices, meeting rooms, classrooms, and radio and video facilities. Kyley Pulphus, program director for Big Class and one of its teachers, says that the beauty of Big Class is that it offers children a sense of control over their future. “This program is teaching our kids how to use words in a way that can affect change,” said Pulphus. “Now they are becoming the powerful ones because reading gives you access, but writing gives you power.” n

Eleventh grader Anginique Andrews does a reading at the publication party for “History Between These Folds” at Carver High School.



Big Class


Mission Big Class’ mission is to cultivate and support the voices of New Orleans’ writers ages 6-18 through creative collaborations with schools and communities. Big Class Values We believe that creative writing encourages students to break down barriers and imagine the full range of what is possible. We believe in facilitating and amplifying youth voices, particularly those most marginalized by current social conditions. We believe that powerful youth become powerful adults. We believe in the creation of safe, supportive spaces for black, brown, and queer youth. We believe in collaborating with students, families and communities in developing learning environments inclusive of multiple ways of being and knowing. We believe in cultivating a sense of possibility that allows for creativity, joy, humor, and weirdness. Website

Big Picture on Big Class Major Fundraising Event: A Dark & Stormy Night, a spirited evening of cocktails and ghost stories where local mixologists compete for the best haunted cocktails in New Orleans. It features music, food and fun. An exact date has not been set for this year’s event but look for it in October around Halloween.

Location 532 Louisa St. 504-308-1423

Nia has been in Big Class’ Youth Advisory Council for the last two years. She recently was invited to read her poem “Hold Your Seats, The Tree Speaks” in Washington D.C. She’s attending Morgan State University in the fall. Akilah started with Big Class when she was 10. She’s now 14 and a freshman at NOCCA. She just won two Scholastic Gold Medals for her poetry. Kentrell has been published in multiple books since starting with Big Class two years ago. Alaila has been in Big Class programs since 2012. She’s been published in two Big Class books.

(Top and Bottom) At the publication party at the Jazz & Heritage Center for “Down by the Crawfish Party” a book by third graders at Phillis Wheatley Community School, students Josuan Flores (Top) and Melvin Bennet (Bottom) enjoy seeing their work in print.

Annual Budget 2016-17 Big Class budget is $300,000 Ongoing Partnerships Participated in Big Class’ fourth annual Pizza Poetry Proect: Reginelli’s, Theo’s Pizza, Pizza Delicious, Mid City Pizza, G’s Pizza and Garage Pizza Boh Brothers Construction Company donated orange cones for a project called Pot-hole poetry.

A Good Match

FOR COMPANIES WHO… Are passionate about our region’s future workforce, especially in regards to the ability to communicate effectively. No business is too big or small. 93

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.

94 Biz July 2017


real estate 95

From the Lens

Teaching Food to Future Physicians Photo by greg miles

The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University holds the honor of being the first dedicated teaching kitchen housed at a medical school. The 4,600-squarefoot facility opened in August 2014 and is now led by Program Director and Chef Leah Sarris, who, in addition to teaching culinary medicine to medical students, offers community cooking classes.

96 Biz July 2017