Biz New Orleans Magazine March 2020

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PLUS Trahan Architects Takes It Home Collin Ferguson Co-Founder and CEO, Where Y’Art


Vignesh Krishnan Founder and CEO, SampleChain


Patrick Comer Founder and CEO, Lucid

ARTof the

STARTUP Three successful entrepreneurs share their tips

MARCH 2020

Building strong relationships is a big part of who we are. After celebrating 100 years in the banking business, we’ve found that it’s one thing that never goes out of style. That’s why we continue to believe in old-fashioned values and providing the same kind of friendly, personalized service our customers’ expect. In short, you can that our business is building relationship based not just on transactions, but interactions. In these uncertain times, when everything seems to be moving faster and banking seems more impersonal, First American Bank strives to stand out from other financial institutions. It’s our goal to be a stable source of experience, information and support, as well as the bank that is committed to keeping your money safe. We’re a local community bank because we choose to be. And just like you, we believe in the value of strong relationships. Ronald J. Falgoust President and CEO 1-800-738-BANK

25 Offi ces i n Southeast Loui si ana



MARCH 2020

March VOLUME 06 ISSUE 06







IN THE BIZ DINING..........................24

In an age where new and novel is king, the city’s coterie of century-old dining establishments continues to shine.

This year’s hottest trends in new and renovated commercial and residential properties

TOURISM. . .....................26

2020 will be another big year for French Quarter Festivals Inc.

GREAT WORKSPACES.........................................................72

After 25 years in Entergy Center, Eustis Mortgage is enjoying a smaller, more visible space at The Standard at South Market.

SPORTS .. ......................28

Pelicans’ playoff hopes hinge on strong second half of season. ENTERTAINMENT.. ......30

Launching this month, Bazzar marks a special first for both Cirque and New Orleans.


Louisiana ranks last in financial literacy but local companies are trying to change that.


Your company can stand with kids with cancer this month by participating in a St. Baldrick’s Foundation event.



Embracing concepts like economies of scale and design/ build can really benefit a startup.

The Art of the Startup

ETIQUETTE. . .................34

What to do if politics infiltrates your workplace MARKETING.................36

You can’t measure your marketing efforts just in revenue.



WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?. . .....................................74

Launched 12 years ago, Bayou Soap Company is seeing sales surge as bar soaps experience a popularity boost.

HEALTHCARE................ 46

New Orleans experts offer advice on dealing with dementia

MARCH 2020

Want to be the latest local success story? These startup superstars share insight into what it takes.


ON THE JOB..........................................................................80

After 85 years, Aunt Sally’s is still stirring things up

Trahan on top After winning the architectural equivalent of the Super Bowl in 2019, Trahan Architects turns its focus to the $450 million renovation of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

ON THE COVER (Left to Right) Vignesh Krishnan, Founder and CEO, SampleChain, Collin Ferguson, Co-Founder and CEO, Where Y’Art and Patrick Comer, Founder and CEO, Lucid Photograph by Greg Miles



PUBLISHER Todd Matherne

EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Errol Laborde Managing Editor Kimberley Singletary Art Director Sarah George Associate News Editor Rich Collins Contributors Julia Carcamo, Rich Collins, Jennifer Larino, Keith Loria, Pamela Marquis, Ashley McLellan, Chris Price, Jessica Rosgaard, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, Melanie Warner Spencer, Poppy Tooker, Keith Twitchell ADVERTISING Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan (504) 830-7215 Sales Manager Caitlin Sistrunk (504) 830-7252 Senior Account Executive Brennan Manale (504) 830-7298 Senior Account Executive Jessica Jaycox (504) 830-7255 MARKETING Director of Marketing & Events Jeanel Luquette Event Coordinator Abbie Dugruise DIGITAL Digital Media Editor Kelly Massicot Digital Operations Manager Sarah Duckert PRODUCTION Traffic Coordinator Lane Brocato Traffic Assistant Jeremiah Michel Production Manager Emily Andras Production Designers Rosa Balaguer, Meghan Rooney ADMINISTRATION Chief Executive Officer Todd Matherne President Alan Campell Executive Vice President Errol Laborde Office Manager Mallary Matherne Distribution Manager John Holzer Audience Development Claire Sargent For subscriptions, call (504) 830-7231

2016 Bronze: Best Feature Layout 2017 Bronze: Best Daily Email 2017 Silver: Best Recurring Feature 2018 Gold: Most Improved Publication 2018 Silver: Best Recurring Feature 2019 Gold: Best Recurring Feature 2019 Gold: Best Explanatory Journalism

110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123 • Metairie, LA 70005 • (504) 828-1380 Biz New Orleans is published monthly by Renaissance Publishing, LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005; (504) 828-1380. Subscription rate: one year $24.95, two year $39.95, three year $49.95—foreign rates vary call for pricing. Postage paid at Metairie, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Biz New Orleans, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 2020 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.



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Caitlin Sistrunk Sales Manager

(504) 830-7252

Brennan Manale

Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7298

Jessica Jaycox

Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7255

Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales

(504) 830-7215 10


MARCH 2020







RACHEL HALL TARAVELLA Monomin (and Taravella Design-Build) Owner (and Principal) Q: WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST BENEFIT OF BEING A POWER MEMBER? A: “The network of fellow business women is so important. Many of us have the challenges of balancing home life, being a mom and running a business which is a unique set of circumstances that only a few can relate to. So, knowing there are like-minded people like you that you can lean on and be supported by is extremely beneficial.”

startups. Even in the five years Biz has been publishing, the entrepreneurial ecosystem has continued to grow in leaps and bounds. Even just so far in 2020 we’ve already had a few big accolades. In January, Greater New Orleans reached the No. 4 spot of the top 10 most entrepreneurial metro areas in the country, behind only Miami, Los Angeles and San Diego. The website Cloud Kitchens created the rankings based on Census data from 2017 that looked at the number of people in each metro area that are self-employed. Not only do we have a lot of entrepreneurs in our region, they’re younger than in most cities. Last month, another study by LendingTree placed New Orleans in the top spot for youngest entrepreneurs in America. Last year we came in third, but this year we knocked out Salt Lake City and pushed Philadelphia into the third spot with an average age of entrepreneurs at 37.04 years old. More than half the startups in our city are millennials. This month, as a way of celebrating New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, I was thrilled to get to pick the brains of three very successful entrepreneurs in our region. Each has found their own path to success, but all have one thing in common: they took full advantage of the variety of organizations designed to help budding entrepreneurs and encourage others to do the same. Both Patrick Comer, CEO of Lucid, and Trey Trahan, CEO of Trahan Architects, were among our Business Executives of the Year in January and we’re excited to share more about both of their successes in this issue. Speaking of helpful organizations, our nonprofit focus this month is St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an incredible organization that encourages brave souls to shave their heads in order to raise money to fight childhood cancer. I’m proud to say that the writer for this piece — and all of our nonprofit pieces each month, as well as the Labor of Love blog on every Monday — Pamela Marquis really got into her work on an incredible level this time and has signed up to shave her head for the cause on March 21 at Finn McCool’s Irish Pub. If you’re moved to do the same — or donate to an exceptional cause — don’t hesitate. See you at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week!

Q: WHAT DOES POWER MEAN TO YOU? A: “Power to me is about celebrating women entrepreneurs who are lifting each other in a group. Sometimes when you are in your bubble, you can feel very alone. But knowing that we all share the same unique struggles, especially as being women entrepreneurs, it’s a very powerful message and group that I’m proud to be a part of.”



MARCH 2020

Kimberley Singletary, Managing Editor

NOTE: In the Toughest Case profile on attorney Madeleine Fischer in the February issue the text mistakenly said that Fischer’s efforts released more than 30,000 contractors from Chinese drywall claims. It should have read 30. We regret the error.



dependent on the support of her relatives, and that support did March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, not meet what Pasty desired. Patsy wanted to go shopping and and Metropolitan Human Services District (MHSD) is proud to celebrate those who are differently abled, advocating for have nice clothes, to go out with her friends and have fun. inclusion, independence, productivity and employment in their Patsy described those days as being “sad, angry and upset.” communities, for this commonly misunderstood population. Patsy explained, “Once I was connected to my counselor through Living with any type of disability can be MHSD, I felt happy, excited and free. I am difficult and can cause stress on the entire now living on my own, I have made friends family unit. Living with a developmental and I also like acting and singing. MHSD disability is no different. Without an changed my life.” awareness of the available supports, services MHSD cannot do this work alone. We and resources, the person in need and their depend on the concerted effort of our support families may feel alone, without hope. coordinators, community partners, a robust At MHSD, we provide developmental resource coordination unit and people like — PATSY MARTIN YOU, to help us spread awareness about disability services to those living in the parishes of Orleans, St. Bernard and the services available to those living with a Plaquemines. disability. Together, we can advocate for those individuals to I, Donna Francis, Director of Intellectual/Developmental receive quality supports and services, to live their best life. Disability services at MHSD, want you to live your best life. Contact MHSD today at 504-568-3130 or visit MHSDLA. Meet Ms. Patsy Martin, who used to live with her relatives, org to learn more about our intellectual/developmental disability services because MHSD is “Where We Change Lives!” who was not receiving her social security income. She was

Once I was connected to my counselor through MHSD, I felt happy, excited and free.



Quarter and Jazz Fest are up ahead, so March is the month things have to happen. This month Idea Village and the Tulane Freeman School of Business will again co-produce New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) presented by JP Morgan Chase & Co. Now in its 12th year, this year’s lineup looks terrific and many of the business groups I am involved with have partnered with NOEW to host events. Register and check out the full schedule at In government, the Louisiana legislative regular session starts March 9. I hope this year we can come together and help the state fix some old problems that continue to hold us back. I’m sure the real work will wait till May, as the session ends June 1 at 6 p.m. Other events happening this month include: March 3 Jefferson Chamber Legislative Breakfast March 6 Urban Conservancy Urban

Heroes Luncheon

March 11 YouthForce NOLA with JA and

GNO, Inc. Career Expo at UNO

March 13 Tulane Family Business Forum March 19 New Orleans Chamber Women’s

Leadership Conference

March 25 JEDCO & Jefferson Chamber

Prosper Jefferson

The start of spring is March 19, so let the good weather bring everyone out and networking. See you around New Orleans. Todd Matherne



MARCH 2020




March 3 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Power Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1515 Poydras St. 5th Floor Auditorium 3 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast 2020 8 to 10 a.m. Hilton New Orleans Airport Hotel 901 Airline Dr., Kenner 4 AMA and New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Using Targeted Digital Media to Grow Your Business 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 1515 Poydras St. 5th Floor Auditorium 11 St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce Grow with Google 2020: Spring Into Action 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Location TBA 12 Southeastern Louisiana University Biz-Connect 2020 Annual business major-specific career fair 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. R. Norval Garrett College of Business 610 Ned McGehee Dr., Hammond 13 Tulane University Family Business Forum 8 to 11 a.m. New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute 725 Howard Ave. To register: familybiz@tulane. edu or call (504) 862-8482 18 We Are Connect-ED A platform for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals to come together and build real and lasting relationships 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. The Microsoft Store Lakeside Shopping Center 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 18 Good Work Network How to Create a Strong and Authentic Business Brand 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. 2022 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. 16


MARCH 2020

19 New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Power Up Women’s Leadership Conference 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Hyatt Regency New Orleans Empire Ballroom - 2nd Floor 601 Loyola Ave 19 St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce Explore Northshore — Business & Community Expo 4 to 8 p.m. Castine Center 63350 Pelican Dr., Mandeville 24 ACG 6th Annual Louisiana’s Got Talent Expo 2 to 7 p.m. Stewart Center at New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute 5th Floor 725 Howard Ave. 24 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Day at the Legislature 2020 12 to 8:30 p.m. Louisiana State Capitol and Capitol Park Welcome Center 900 North Third Street, Baton Rouge 25 Southeastern Louisiana University Tech-Connect 2020 Annual tech major-specific career fair 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. College of Science and Technology Building 801 N Oak Street, Hammond 25 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Prosper Jefferson: Doing Business With the Government 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. JEDCO Conference Center 701A Churchill Pkwy, Avondale 27 New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce Annual Policy Luncheon 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hyatt Regency New Orleans Celestin Ballroom (3rd Floor) 601 Loyola Ave. 27 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Business and Breakfast 7:45 to 9:30 a.m. Hilton New Orleans Airport 901 Airline Dr., Kenner




Loyola Launches New Cybersecurity Degree

University of Holy Cross and Fletcher Technical Community College Add New Credit Transfer Agreements for Business and Nursing

On Feb. 4, Loyola University New Orleans announced a new undergraduate degree in cybersecurity, a specialization of the school’s computer science degree. The program will launch this fall and addresses information security comprehensively, including storage, transmission, applications and organizational measures needed to preserve and protect sensitive information and systems. Student demand is expected to be high, with median pay for information security analysts hovering around $98,000 a year. Employment for information security analysts is projected to grow 32% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. For more information,

The University of Holy Cross and Fletcher Technical Community College have signed articulation agreements between their business and nursing programs making it easier for students to transfer credits from Fletcher to UHC. Fletcher students will now be able to complete the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Business Administration and transfer credit hours earned in the various concentrations within that degree and apply them toward completion of the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration or Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree at UHC.


Advano Raises $18.5 Million in Second Round of Funding Founded by New Orleanian Alexander Girau, startup tech company Advano announced in January it had raised $18.5 million to fund efforts to create a patented form of powdered silicon aimed at improving the performance of lithiumion batteries. Investors in Advano now include Tony Fadell, the inventor known as the “father of the iPod,” and Peter Thiel, billionaire co-founder of Paypal. Another player is business accelerator Y Combinator, which launched Airbnb, Dropbox and several other major tech companies. Advano is expected to open a 20,000 squarefoot facility near the University of New Orleans this month.




DonahueFavret Contractors Named “Best of the Best” in Renovation

We compete in jobs the way Vanderbilt competes in SEC football; we finish last. Guy Williams, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Bank and Trust Co. and 2020 chair of the board of directors of GNO, Inc., speaking at the organization’s annual meeting on Feb. 7. Williams ended the meeting by stating that Louisiana was the only state in the nation that lost jobs in 2019 and encouraged employers, among other things, to ensure that they are paying competitive wages not just locally, but on a national level.

Brandy D. Christian Named 2019 Propeller Club Maritime Person of the Year

Loyola’s New Triple MBA includes studies in New Orleans, Paris, Munich

On January 29, The Propeller Club of the U.S. Port of New Orleans honored Brandy D. Christian as their 2019 Maritime Person of the Year at its 86th Annual Maritime Person of the Year Gala at the Metairie Country Club. Christian serves as president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans — which set a new container record in 2019 — and CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Corporation (NOPB), is the first woman ever to be honored with this prestigious recognition from the Propeller Club of the U.S. Port of New Orleans. The two public agencies under her leadership have combined annual revenues of $100 million, nearly 500 employees and more than $200 million in capital projects.

This fall, Loyola University New Orleans will welcome the first class of its new triple master’s degree program that allows enrolled students to attain simultaneously a Master of Business Administration (MBA), the French Diplôme Grande École and the German Master of Science in Management. Participating students benefit not only from the experience of three leading economic nations, but also from numerous career services and access to large alumni networks, including contacts at thousands of companies. Students enrolled in the two-year program will take core classes at Loyola and “study abroad” at the other two universities over the course of 18 months, then write an optional thesis during a final semester.

From left to right: Propeller Club President Michael Nation, President and CEO Port NOLA & CEO NOPB Brandy D. Christian and Ex-Officio and Committee Chairman Bill Baraldi.

DonahueFavret Contractors, Inc. has been awarded the “Best of the Best” Renovation/Restoration Project in the U.S. by ENR (Engineering News-Record magazine) for its work at St. Stephen Catholic Church in New Orleans. Founded in 1979 by Jack Donahue, DonahueFavret has revenue of $80 million to $90 million with a staff of 50 professionals. EDUCATION

MARCH 2020




Chuckles Comedy House Stirling Properties has announced that Chuckles Comedy House is coming to Oakwood Center (formerly Oakwood Mall) in Gretna this fall. This marks the third national location for the new-tomarket entertainment concept which will occupy 9,855 square feet of retail space at 197 Westbank Expressway, adjacent to New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co. Chuckles Comedy House features regional and national comedians, as well as a full bar and pub-style fare.

The Club MSY On Jan. 29, Airport Dimensions, a leader in premium shared-use lounges, and local New Orleans partner JCM Management Group, announced the opening of The Club MSY in the Louis Armstrong International Airport. Designed to accommodate travelers’ needs with a range of amenities and conveniences, The Club MSY spans over 4,700 square feet, with an abundance of power and USB outlets; ergonomic, lounge and “privacy” chairs; a dining area and bar; restrooms; and a shower suite. Located on the third level of concourse A, it is available to individuals holding Priority Pass’ membership along with LoungeKey and Lounge Club, which represents a vast number of credit cards, banks and other financial institutions. Travelers can also purchase a day pass online or at the lounge for $40.

SBP 60-Unit Residential Development In partnership with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, the City of New Orleans, and the Louisiana Housing Corporation, SBP is developing 60 new rental units on 30 lots scattered throughout the Lower Ninth Ward. The project will create resilient, energyefficient, affordable, two- and three-bedroom homes for 60 low- and moderate-income veterans and families and build a stronger community for all residents of the Lower Ninth Ward. The first homes are expected to be completed in mid-summer 2020.

Ben Franklin Reopens On Feb. 7, officials with NOLA Public Schools, the Orleans Parish School Board and Benjamin Franklin Elementary Mathematics and Science School cut the ribbon on a newly renovated campus. The 100-plusyear-old building’s renovations include a new elevator and HVAC system, roof and termite damage repairs, a kitchen upgrade, new fire sprinkler system and refurbished wood floors and windows. The $8 million FEMAfunded project is a part of the schools rebuilding program that funded Orleans Parish schools after Hurricane Katrina.

The Westin New Orleans Renovation The Westin New Orleans (100 Rue Iberville) has completed a $30 million revitalization that included major renovations to all guestrooms and suites, lobby/check-in, and 30,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel also features new dining establishments Bistro at the Bend restaurant and Observatory Eleven bar and lounge, as well as new special event space, Riverbend Ballroom.



Kimpton Hotel Fontenot

Jewel of the South

New Orleans’ newest luxury boutique hotel is opening March 13 on the corner of Poydras and Tchoupitoulas streets. Returning to the city after a 15-year absence from the market, Kimpton Hotel Fontenot will include 202 guest rooms, a corner café and restaurant and bar. Part of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) family of hotel brands, San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants operates more than 60 hotels and 80 restaurants, bars and lounges in the United States, Canada, Europe, Caribbean and China.

Bartender Chris Hannah (Arnaud’s French 75) and Nick Detrich (Cane & Table), along with business partner John Stubbs, opened the first phase of Jewel of the South at 1026 St. Louis St. in New Orleans’ French Quarter in March 2019. On Jan. 29, nearly a year later, the trio unveiled the concept in its entirety with a brand-new 40seat restaurant located upstairs and The Grove – an intimate, 32-seat cocktail lounge with booze-friendly bites on the ground floor.














Jefferson Chamber Annual Meeting — Engage 2020


GNO, Inc. Annual Luncheon 2020


St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce Smarter Business Series

One of the chamber’s largest networking events Jefferson Chamber’s Annual Meeting celebrates the accomplishments of the previous year and announces plans for the upcoming year.

CEO Michael Hecht wrapped up the region’s economic wins for 2019 before introducing GNOfuture, the organization’s strategic plan for the next decade.

The chamber’s first Smarter Business Series of 2020 covered topics related to intellectual property law, patents, trademarks, copyright and trade secrets, as well as how to use intellectual property to build and protect a company’s competitive advantage.

1. Ben Johnson, Jeff Teague and Guy Williams 2. Karen Palaez and Nancy Harmann 3. Theresa Wolff, Brandy Boudreaux and Stacy Rhone

1. Halima Leak-Francis, Sheila Gold and Suri Duitch 2. Louis Bartels, Caroline McDonald and Jimmy Dunn 3. Marty Mayer, Maggie Woodruff and Von Hatley

1. Jamie Howard, Karen Romero and Penny Saunders 2. Joel Treadwell, Daniel Carter and Daniel Gabourel 3. Todd Owers, Emily Lippold- Gummer and Paul Myers



MARCH 2020





MARCH 2020


DINING Century-old


TOURISM Festival


SPORTS Pelicans’

playoff hopes



Cirque du Soleil

Managing for efficiency

ETIQUETTE Politics in

the workplace

MARKETING Measure your marketing


The Grand Dames Continue to Grow In an age where new and novel is king, the city’s coterie of century-old dining establishments continues to shine.


astounding rate, the New Orleans dining scene continues to be uniquely populated with an unprecedented number of eateries boasting a century or more of service. How do they continue to thrive locally, when nationally, 70% of restaurants close in the first five years of operation? ANTOINE’S CELEBRATES WITH SOMETHING SHINY



Mark Latter of Tujague’s, the second-oldest restaurant in New Orleans, is investing in the future of the 164-year-old restaurant in what he describes as an “act of preservation” by moving a few blocks up Decatur Street this fall. The decision, he said, was precipitated by the restrictions he faced as a tenant when it came to maintaining and upgrading the aging structure. Latter promises the new address will not be too jarring for its clientele. “We intend to maintain all of Tujague’s traditions in surroundings that will be very familiar to our longtime customers.” CREOLE CUISINE JOINS THE CENTURY CLUB


MARCH 2020

Arnaud’s Casamento’s


Last year, New Orleans’ second-oldest family-owned restaurant, Pascal’s Manale, changed ownership. Asked how his family placed a monetary value on their 106-year-old restaurant, Sandy DeFelice said, “It’s hard to factor in 100-plus years of business. We had to throw conventional thinking out the window and work it out with the seller.” Looking back on the decision, DeFelice said, “It was an honor and a privilege to be part of New Orleans’ historic restaurant scene.”



At Commander’s Palace, historical designation doesn’t hold much weight with Ti Martin. At the time her family purchased the restaurant in 1969, it was believed that Commander’s dated back to 1880. In 2015, it was discovered that the restaurant was actually founded in 1893, pushing it from the third to the fourth oldest in the city. Ti and her cousin, Lally Brennan, celebrated by creating a cocktail they whimsically named “Oops!” Martin doesn’t like to spend much time looking in the rearview mirror. “Creole is all about evolving,” she said. “We’re not looking back. It’s all about what we’re doing now and what’s coming next.” n

The Ammari brothers of Creole Cuisine Concepts are newcomers to New Orleans’ centennial restaurant club. From a single daiquiri shop in Chalmette, opened in 1989, the company has grown and diversified to comprise 25 different concepts, including Broussard’s Restaurant, which celebrates a century in 2020. When the company acquired the historical building in 2014, CEO Catch Poppy Tooker on her radio show, Marv Ammari uncovered what he described as “a “Louisiana Eats!” Saturdays at 3 p.m. and diamond in the rough, with the true feel of classic Mondays at 8 p.m. on WWNO 89.9 FM.




The manner in which century-old restaurants are bought and sold in New Orleans is a fascinating topic. After observing the way Ralph Brennan restored Brennan’s Restaurant in 2015, the Impastato family approached him about purchasing their historic NEW ORLEANS’ landmark, the Napoleon GRAND DAMES House the same year. 1840 Antoine’s “I made a pledge to maintain the traditions that 1856 Tujague’s generations of the Impastato 1877 Bon Ton Café family put their heart and 1893 Commander’s soul into,” said Brennan. Palace The addition of a shrimp 1905 Galatoire’s poor boy to the existing menu is one of the most radical 1913 Pascal’s changes since the Napoleon Manale House purchase, Brennan 1914 Napoleon claims. House

This year, Antoine’s — New Orleans’ oldest restaurant and the oldest family-owned dining establishment in the nation — celebrates 180 years of continuous operation. “Antoine’s is a testament to New Orleans and its legacy of culinary excellence,” said fifth-generation proprietor and CEO Rick Blount. “While Antoine’s may have been the originator of French Creole cooking in America, I think we can all agree it’s New Orleans that keeps restaurants like Antoine’s and so many others relevant to the national and international food scene.” 1918 Blount is celebrating Antoine’s momentous achievement with the 1919 installation of a 21st-century elevator. 1920 Later this year, he plans to balance that modern accomplishment by uncorking a 19th-century cognac, the oldest in the family’s cellar, at a special celebration dinner.

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

New Orleans.” Following a $1 million-dollar-plus renovation, Broussard’s is poised to celebrate its centennial in classic Creole style.




Festival Season is Upon Us A new stage at FQF, a milestone for Satchmo Summerfest — 2020 will be another big year for French Quarter Festivals Inc. BY JENNIFER GIBSON SCHECTER



MARCH 2020

Orleans & Company to support our PR strategy and underwrite our winter event, Holidays New Orleans Style.” FQFI frequently partners with local organizations for event offerings as well. The organization is collaborating with Backstreet Cultural Museum, The Historic New Orleans Collection, New Orleans African American Museum and the New Orleans Jazz Museum on a new initiative they are piloting at FQF 2020, the Louisiana History & Culture Stage. The new stage will provide a platform for local historians and culture bearers to share their knowledge and experience. An important milestone for FQFI this year is the 20th anniversary of Satchmo SummerFest. The annual festival, scheduled for July 31-Aug. 2, 2020, celebrates Louis Armstrong’s birthday and his lasting impact on New Orleans culture and the music of the world. “The festival reminds us of how relevant Armstrong is today and how his legacy continues to inspire new generations of musicians,” said Madero. “To me, a highlight is the annual Satchmo Salute. What makes this parade special is that it brings together groups who normally do not parade together—Zulus, Baby Dolls and different social aid and pleasure clubs. It’s a beautiful tribute to New Orleans culture.” Future generations of New Orleanians are supported by the organization as well. Beyond creative children’s programming at each of the three festivals, FQFI supports young musical artists and their music business education through Ernie’s Schoolhouse Stage at FQF, and a new initiative to provide apprenticeships through the Music Forward Foundation and the Trombone Shorty Foundation, where students will assist production crews and learn skills that will help them pursue industry careers. n


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


began 37 years ago as a nonprofit group that organized the annual French Quarter Festival (FQF), planned this year for April 16-19. And while its main role is to produce that festival, FQF is just one piece of the effort the organization makes to attain its mission — to produce events that showcase the culture and heritage of New Orleans, contribute to the economic well-being of the community and instill increased pride in the people of New Orleans. The nonprofit actually produces three annual festivals — FQF, Satchmo SummerFest and Holidays New Orleans Style. FQFI President and CEO Emily Madero said that each of the three festivals celebrates New Orleans culture and those who create it. “Over our 37-year history, we have remained committed to our heritage and culture bearers,” said Madero. “This year, we will raise over $500,000 to hire exclusively local talent. Our events provide a platform for rising talent to connect with our vast audience. Each year the music schedule includes dozens of debut acts. Plus, our audience can experience performances by important New Orleans musicians and living legends like Ellis Marsalis, Irma Thomas, Little Freddie King and Monk Boudreaux.” The audience at the festivals is indeed vast. FQF alone drew 825,700 attendees in 2019. According to a study by the University of New Orleans (UNO) Hospitality Research Center, 60% of those attendees were from out of town. Madero says the hyper-local focus of the festival attracts both locals and visitors alike. “It’s a successful formula: By hiring local musicians and providing a platform for dozens of restaurants on our culinary lineup, we generate an economic impact that stays in our community and make a massive contribution to New Orleans’ tourism industry,” Madero said. “Our estimated economic impact in 2019 was over $190 million and many of our partners in the French Quarter report that next to Mardi Gras, French Quarter Festival is their biggest weekend of the year.” With a small staff and big goals, FQFI has turned to strategic partnerships within the New Orleans tourism and hospitality sector. “We rely on our partners to support our production needs and to amplify our message,” said Madero. “We work closely with several hotels, especially our official hotel, the Omni Royal Orleans, to support our production needs — from hosting stages to providing space for media and housing talent and production staff. We also lean on our partners like New


Time to Take Flight Pelicans’ playoff hopes hinge on strong second half of season. BY CHRIS PRICE



MARCH 2020

It would also be nice to see a bit of an increase in production from the shooting guards. Josh Hart is scoring 10.6 points per game, and E’Twaun Moore is averaging 9.9. Playing time may be a factor in influencing those figures, but producing is the name of the game. With the All-Star Game in the rearview mirror and the NBA Finals ahead, this team is poised to make a qualifying run for the playoffs. With Williamson’s extended injury some might be willing to give the team a pass this season, but the Pelicans would really make a statement by climbing into the top eight in the conference and making a post-season appearance. I don’t think anyone is willing to say this team is ready to compete for the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy, but finishing strong and qualifying for the post-season would be a major step in announcing to the world that the Pelicans are coming. That’s something they couldn’t regularly accomplish with former stars Chris Paul or Anthony Davis. If they do it now, with their superstar having missed the first few months of the season, they’d really make a statement. n


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


had to wait with bated breath. The debutant party began on the night of the NBA Draft Lottery, when the Pels got lucky, receiving the No. 1 overall pick. There was no doubt they’d pick Duke phenom Zion Williamson, the most anticipated player to enter the league since LeBron James, when head coach Alvin Gentry exclaimed “F*%k, yeah!” as the Pelicans’ ping-pong ball was the first to be displayed. Unfortunately, the 6-foot, 6-inch, 284-pound power forward missed the first 44 games of the season after undergoing surgery in October to repair a torn meniscus. With their star player sidelined, the Pelicans struggled through the first half of the season. They’ve floated around 11th place in the Western Conference standings, three spots out of the coveted top eight who qualify for the postseason. Williamson finally made his debut on Jan. 21. Since then, he’s begun to fulfill the excitement and expectations of the reputation he’s built. By early February, he was averaging 19.6 points and 8 rebounds, and converting 55 percent of his shots. He’s also had some highlight reel exploits, namely a jaw-dropping alley-oop against the Houston Rockets. Guard Lonzo Ball launched the ball three-quarters of the length of the court, where Williamson caught it in stride and slammed it home in a demonstrative display of what the team is capable of achieving. The pass, reception, and score was the basketball equivalent of a long TD pass from Saints quarterback Drew Brees to receiver Michael Thomas. The play was magic. It planted the seeds of belief and has Pelicans fans asking, “What if?’ as in, “What if this team continues to jell and improve? What’s in store?” Now whole, the team will be put to the test over the final two months of the regular season. There is reason to be excited. While Williamson demands attention, he’s not a one-man team. Brandon Ingram has had a superb start to the season. As of the beginning of February, the All-Star is averaging more than 25 points and 6 rebounds per game. Williamson is adding 19.6 points and 8 rebounds. Jrue Holiday, who was crowned the team’s leader before the season, is averaging 19.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists and almost 2 steals per game. Sharp-shooter J.J. Redick has 15.2 points per game. If there is any obvious area for improvement, it is at center; Derrick Favors is averaging 9.5 points per game, Jahlil Okafor is at 8.3 and Jaxson Hayes has 8.1. While the team doesn’t want to clog up the middle of the floor, the big men need to do more.


Cirque du Soleil is Back in Town and Making History Launching this month, Bazzar marks a special first for both Cirque and New Orleans. BY KIM SINGLETARY



MARCH 2020

company spent an estimated $2.5 million in the city — and that was with a smaller cast of 51 and employing 50 locals. Corteo marked the sixth North American premiere in New Orleans. According to a February 2018 article on BizNewOrleans. com, “Cirque du Soleil’s six show launches since 2012 have accounted for more than $20 million in spending in the state and 450 Louisiana resident jobs created, according to [Louisiana Economic Development].” In addition to being notable for its launch location, Bazzar marks a change for Cirque on the artistic side. “This show was created as a return to classic Cirque,” said Taylor. “Over the years, we’ve moved to artistic, stage-driven performance, and more modern dance and theatrics, but Bazzaar is true Cirque du Soleil.” The performance channels the colorful chaos of an Indian or Middle Eastern bazaar. “The show was built to go to India — to go overseas — and we did that,” said Taylor. Bazzar was the first show to trave; to India when it debuted Nov. 14 2018 in Mumbai. It then traveled to Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Dominican Republic. A fan of Cirque since seeing my first show, Mystere, in Las Vegas not long after it debuted in 1993 — it’s the company’s longest-running show — I bought tickets to Bazzar in January. I’ve taken my daughter to Cirque before, but it was in a giant arena. I can’t pass up a rare chance to be so close to the performers without shelling out the big bucks. After all, it took New Orleans 17 years to get its second big top show. Who knows when the next will be? For those looking to join me, and the more than 190 million people around the world who have enjoyed the magic of Cirque du Soleil, tickets are available at n


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.


based company was formed by 20 artists back in 1984, Cirque du Soleil has chosen a city other than its hometown to debut a big top show to North America — and that city is New Orleans. From March 25 through May 10, New Orleans’ Shrine on Airline will play host to “Bazzar,” the company’s 43rd original production. It also marks the seventh North American premiere of a Cirque show in New Orleans One of the largest live entertainment groups in the world, Cirque currently employs more than 4,000 people globally, including 1,500 at its headquarters, in more than 100 types of occupations. In 2015, stilt walker and fire breather-turned Cirque founder, Guy Laliberté, sold the majority interest in the company to private equity firm TPG Capital for a reported $1.5 billion. Cirque’s relationship with New Orleans began in 2003, when it brought its first big top show to the city. Since 2007, seven arena shows have followed. According to Finn Taylor, senior vice president of touring shows for Cirque, the company has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with not just New Orleans, but multiple cities in Louisiana. “We love Louisiana,” he said. “The weather here is so great, especially in the winters, and there’s the access to the port, and of course the tax benefits are a great incentive. We do a lot of pre-production here, as well as shows in arenas in Baton Rouge and Shreveport.” Unlike an arena show, big top performances are designed to be intimate affairs. “This is not going to be a situation where we have 20,000 seats to fill,” said Taylor. “We only have 1,600 seats for each show, which means no seat is more than about 30 feet from the stage. When you’re that close to these amazing acrobatic feats set to live music — I can tell you I’ve seen the show dozens of times and it still makes me nervous. It’s really incredible.” A small seating capacity also means there will be plenty of shows — about 45, with tickets starting at $45. For the city, that means almost two months of Cirque du Soleil booking hotel rooms and buying meals for its 80 cast and crew members. The company also plans to employ up to 100 locals during its stay in New Orleans. While Taylor wasn’t sure of an estimate in terms of expenditures for Bazzar, when another Cirque show, Corteo, made its North American premiere at the Smoothie King Center for just three days in March 2018, the


Managing for Efficiency Embracing concepts like economies of scale and design/build can really benefit a startup. BY KEITH TWITCHELL



MARCH 2020

Noland cited a recent study from Penn State University that demonstrated that construction projects using the design/build approach on average cost 6% less and were completed 33% faster. While the cost savings are useful, finishing construction and launching operations in one-third less time is truly significant. “Many project owners will sit down with architects or contractors separately to chart the course for a project, only to learn that it would have been more time- and cost- efficient to have everyone together at the outset,” continued Noland. “Using the design/build approach, the true cost of the project is established much earlier, and this reduces the chance of costly design changes, code compliance challenges and other related problems.” While many people think of design/build as something that applies only to larger projects or new construction, Noland disagrees. In fact, his firm is currently working to convert an existing space into a new restaurant for a prominent local chef, using the design/ build approach. Any renovation, remodeling or build-out is likely a good candidate for this method. Running a startup or small business can feel like an endless game of Whack-A-Mole, given the myriad operational components that must be managed successfully. Looking for these kinds of synergies can make your company more efficient from both a time and cost standpoint. Plus, you get the satisfaction of whacking two of those moles at the same time! n


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.

F O R M O ST S M A L L B U S I N E S S O W N E R S ,

economies of scale are difficult to achieve because whatever an owner is not doing his or herself (or doing in-house), is typically being contracted out to another small, local businesses. This creates obvious financial disadvantages compared to larger businesses and especially to chain operations, where everything from advertising to legal services to accounting is typically done on a combined basis. Some merchant associations, however, are able to provide assistance in certain areas, like marketing or insurance. If you are not a member of your local merchant association, it is definitely worth looking into. Small business support organizations like StayLocal can also offer some valuable help here and there. Given the need to keep expenses as closely controlled as possible, this situation challenges entrepreneurs to combine the management of their business needs for maximum efficiency and savings. One obvious, yet frequently overlooked opportunity is the connection between marketing and sales. These are NOT the same thing, as any salesperson will tell you (loudly). Creating a marketing campaign – even as basic as building a website and generating electronic newsletters — without talking to your sales person/staff/consultant can increase costs while reducing impact. “In every aspect of your business, you have to make sure your left hand and right hand know what the other is doing,” said Jordan Friedman, partner at Bond Moroch. “This is true even when they are both your hands.” Another aspect of business where you may be able to save time and produce better results relates to financing your operations. Many entrepreneurs have both investors and lenders helping to fund their business, yet it is surprising how rarely these two sides of the equation are brought together. A lender who is confident a business is well capitalized might be able to offer a lower loan rate. Conversely, a potential investor might feel more comfortable backing a business if s/ he sees that a lender has already vetted and financed you. Perhaps the ultimate example of this comes from the construction industry, where the design/build concept is becoming ever more popular. According to Ryan Noland, principal at local general contractor NFT Group, “Taking a design/build approach means having both the architect and the contractor at the table right at the very beginning of a project, working in close collaboration.” This applies whether they are from the same firm or different ones.


Red, Blue or Red, White and Blue? What to do if politics infiltrates your workplace BY MELANIE WARNER SPENCER


eight months away, political cheers, jeers and jabs are already at a high point and will only get more heated in the coming months. While it’s important to be civically engaged and exercise your right to vote, talking politics at work can lead to awkward or even unpleasant situations with your colleagues. On the one hand, stating your choice of candidate be known can deter unwanted discussions from opposing camps; on the other, it can spur divisiveness. It can also be difficult to discern where someone lands on the issues, candidates or political spectrum as a whole. The following are a few strategies preventing political conversations from happening at the office or, when all else fails, handling the situation if unwanted dialogue comes your way.


In many companies, it’s difficult to know who is red or who is blue and it’s possible that the bosses like to keep it that way. In that case, if you are excited about the election and want to participate and engage, the safest bet is to stick with simply being red, white and blue. Urge coworkers to get registered, recommend nonpartisan resources for candidate information and debunking false claims, remind people to vote and offer rides to the polls. There’s nothing controversial about good citizenship, encouraging and assisting others in getting out to vote and getting excited about the country’s democratic process, as long as we don’t get in the way of others doing the same. n


Frankly, if you don’t want to talk politics, just don’t. It is entirely possible to go through your entire life without ever having a political discussion. Not bringing up the election or any of the surrounding political theater (or circus, depending on your perspective) can often be the key to avoiding it. If, despite your best efforts, a coworker or group of coworkers insists on talking politics near or with you, politely excuse yourself. It’s fine to say, “I don’t talk politics, so I’ll leave you guys to it.” Or you could make light of it by pulling out the old adage: “My mama always told me not to talk politics or religion, and I always listen to mama.” PROCEED WITH CAUTION

That said, perhaps you are the armchair quarterback sort and you enjoy the spirit of debate without any real stake in taking sides. Keep in mind that a lot of people do take sides, however, and might perceive your “friendly debate” as argumentative or even offensive (particularly if you’re debating for the other side). It’s no secret that many Americans are taking politics personally these days, so if you jump into the fray, do so with caution, tact and respect. Keeping a calm demeanor and steering clear of name-calling are both key. READ THE ROOM



MARCH 2020


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

Meanwhile, if you have claimed a party or candidate and are wearing their campaign swag loudly and proudly, be prepared for potential backlash — unless, of course, you work in an office where everyone is clearly on the same political page. In that scenario, it’s possible that you are the odd man out. If so, it might be best to lay low.


What Really is Driving Your Business? You can’t measure your marketing efforts just in revenue. BY JULIA CARCAMO



MARCH 2020

business, you make an average of $1. Now you know you need 10 people to walk in the door to make $10. Based on past marketing efforts, you know that you need to talk to 10 people for one to convert and walk in your door. You realize you need 100 people in your audience to reach your revenue goal. You now have a point of reference to understand what you could spend to build the audience you need to generate the target revenue. From here, it’s easier to manage your marketing budgets. Additionally, reviewing web analytics suddenly has more of a story for you than just traffic. How many new visitors are you getting to your website (building your audience)? Are you tracking earned media placements in relation to traffic to your site in addition to the traffic you’re driving through emails, social and paid online media? Are you using unique URLs for your media efforts? There are several things you can measure in each media category. It’s essential to understand which ones are linked to your business. Once you start measuring, you can begin to understand what is and what isn’t driving your business, allowing you to concentrate more on the drivers and less on the efforts that aren’t making a bottom-line impact. It’s time to think of media efforts as business drivers and not just brand enhancers. n


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


media in two forms: paid advertising and free PR. Today’s modern marketer understands that we have to look at media in four categories: paid, earned, shared, and owned — PESO for short. As little as a dozen years ago, most marketers only needed to concern themselves with paid and earned media, even though other forms existed. We “owned” our websites, but we didn’t think of it as media, and for many, shared social was more fun than anything else. The changes to how consumers make decisions have forced all of us to look at and consider shared and owned media with the same, if not more, careful eye and value. We now need to look at all forms of media in terms of how they influence the purchase journey, ultimately creating a sale. The notion of a sales funnel (though arguably the bane of the existence of many marketers) is probably the easiest to consider. Envision your sales funnel as audiences on top, leads in the middle, and customers at the bottom. As a casino marketer, I deal with the sales funnel all the time. Consider the foot traffic on a Saturday. We know that a good Saturday night means that we will have approximately X number of people come through the door to get us to a targeted revenue amount. If we fall short of that foot traffic number, we will probably already know we’ve missed revenue before we look at any reports. Conversely, if we exceed that foot traffic number, we will start counting the seconds before we can get our hands on the flash report (because we know it’s going to be great). That foot traffic is the middle — our leads, or everyone who comes through the door, who may or may not spend money. Our jobs, as marketers, is to develop a large enough audience (top of the funnel) to generate enough leads (middle or people coming in the door) so that operations can convert some, most or all into customers. If we measure our marketing efforts purely in terms of revenue, we would measure it all wrong because we would only measure the result at the bottom of the funnel (the operations side) rather than at the top (which is where marketing builds the audience). So, the question becomes how do we measure our efforts at the top of the funnel? ROI is a simple formula — net profit divided by total investment. Now, let’s think about a very simplified situation. Let’s say you want to make $10 this quarter. Your analyst has reviewed all the data, and she tells you that for every person that comes into your



renovated commercial and residential properties

BANKING Louisiana ranks last in financial literacy but

local companies are trying to change that

HEALTHCARE Experts offer advice on dealing with Dementia in family members


Real Estate Desires Changing Fast This year’s hottest trends in new and renovated commercial and residential properties BY KEITH LORIA


estate—be they residential or commercial— would occur in 15-year cycles, with designs and desires for popular amenities changing slowly over that time period. But in 2020, when new designs constantly appear on Pinterest and HGTV’s popular building shows, trends are cycling in and out much more quickly. DRIVEN TO DOWNSIZE

One of the big commercial trends is a move toward smaller spaces. “The analytics capabilities due to technology and the smart phone have made change happen much faster,” said Snappy Jacobs, founder of commercial real estate firm Real Estate Management, LLC. “Rising construction costs and retail business analytics — through use of technology — have resulted in retail spaces that are fewer, smaller, smarter and more efficient in terms of size and access.” Jacobs said many office renovations are now dominated by downsizing and pursuing smaller footprints on a per employee basis. “Remote working via technology, outsourcing and digital file storage have transformed what used to be file and administrative space to flexible, open and collaborative workspace,” he said. “Companies want flexibility in their spaces and leases in order to be adaptable to changes in their respective industries.” BRINGING HOME TO WORK

Caroline Hayes, vice president of marketing for AOS Interior Environments, an interior design firm that works on commercial properties, says a big trend is designing offices for efficiency and collaboration. “There’s a term—‘resimercial’—that is describing a shift in types of materials and



MARCH 2020

Remote working via technology, outsourcing and digital file storage have transformed what used to be file and administrative space into flexible, open and collaborative workspace. Companies want flexibility in their spaces and leases in order to be adaptable to changes in their respective industries. Snappy Jacobs, founder of commercial real estate firm Real Estate Management, LLC

the way that spaces are being designed now,” “If someone is on social media and sees a new bathroom design or plumbing fixture, she says. “Design is bringing in more of that residential or hospitality home-like feel, with it’s almost like they want it now,” he said. softer seating and living room setups. A lot When it comes to home renovations, Silbernagel said many homeowners look of offices are no longer hiding breakrooms in the corner, they’re bringing them into the specifically to redo their smallest spaces middle of the office space.” — half-baths and powder rooms — with luxury in mind. SMALL IS BIG IN RESIDENTIAL TOO “There are new types of painting, lacquer Charles Silbernagel, founder and principal and faux-finish painting we can use,” he of ClS Architects, said time is of the essence said. “And some of these half baths are getting complete mural walls. A lot of the in the residential world.



vanities are being custom made. These rooms are becoming little jewels within the house.” When it comes to master baths and kitchens, considered the “big ticket” rooms in real estate, Silbernagel noted a trend of free-standing tubs and walk-in showers, along with a desire to replace kitchen sink fixtures. Lighting fixture replacements throughout a home are now common, which, Silbernagel said, was not commonly seen only five years ago. Not only are homeowners looking to deck out their smallest spaces, they’re looking for smaller homes in general. “On new construction, we are seeing smaller designs,” Silbernagel said. “Instead of clients wanting 3,500-square-foot homes, they now want 2,500-squarefoot homes.” The effort required to fit everything a homeowner wants into a smaller plan has led to open floorplans. “That’s a popular trend because it provides clean lines and a larger feel.” FINDING FOCUS

Debbie Lewis, broker associate with Burk Brokerage, says a big residential trend is focal points created with architectural elements. “It could be a beam on the ceiling or some wood on the wall,” she said. “It could also be an interesting tile backsplash or a tile floor in a laundry room.” Gigi Burk, broker-owner of Burk Brokerage, noted wallpaper is also coming back into fashion, used as an accent wall or in a powder room. “We’re also seeing brash finishes on hardware or fixtures — a lot of gold color being used,” Burk said. “Black or navy cabinets with white countertops and gold hardware are also big, as are open shelving in kitchens.” Lewis said today’s buyers expect the absolute latest when it comes to trends. “We have had people turn down houses for having finishes that are only five years old,” she said. “Something like tinted glass in showers has already come and gone. It was very popular after Katrina, but we don’t see it at all anymore.” Two features you won’t coming back anytime soon are carpeted floors and formal spaces, according to Shaun McCarthy, associate broker for Metairie-based Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “How people are living now is changing,” he said. “People building new houses or renovating no longer feel like they need a formal living room,” he says. “In some cases, people feel like they don’t need a formal dining room if they’re only going to use it a few times a year.” Overall, Delisha Boyd, a real estate broker with Delisha Boyd LLC, said she’s seeing a huge demand for doubles, either to be used as owner occupancies with a rental income or transformed into a singlefamily home. “If you are approved to purchase a home and are buying a double, the lender is able to count up to 75% of the projected rental income to your total income for the year, which gives you some more buying power,” she said. n



MARCH 2020




Another Kind of Financial Deficit Louisiana ranks last in financial literacy but local companies are trying to change that. BY JESSICA ROSGAARD


that looked at 17 key metrics, Louisiana ranks last for financial literacy. What is financial literacy? It’s everything from understanding the difference between a credit card and a debit card, to retirement and estate planning. STARTING YOUNG

Financial literacy, an undoubtedly valuable skill, hasn’t been adequately covered in schools for a while — if it was taught at all. “In Louisiana it used to be a requirement as part of the civics class and when [schools] got away from teaching civics, financial literacy fell by the wayside, too,” said Ron Samford, president and CEO at Metairie Bank. But that has recently changed. In 2018, the Louisiana Legislature passed a bill that requires every student entering the ninth grade after July 2019 to receive age-appropriate instruction regarding personal financial management. In 2019, the law was amended to specifically require instruction about obtaining student loans to fund college. “The Louisiana Bankers Association was particularly active in lobbying for this legislation,” said Samford, “because financial literacy is a key factor in community enrichment, which is good for the community and for bankers.” COMMUNITY OUTREACH

To help bridge the financial literacy gap among adults, local banks are engaging with the community through a variety of programs and basic resources. “On the basics, Metairie Bank works with our commercial customers — sitting down and understanding what they’re after,” Samford said. “If they’re trying to add capacity and buy a new facility, or they need more equipment, or need to increase their inventory levels — we look at how best to finance whatever their needs are.”



MARCH 2020

In Louisiana it used to be a requirement as part of the civics class and when [schools] got away from teaching civics, financial literacy fell by the wayside, too. Ron Samford, president and CEO at Metairie Bank

Private customers at Metairie Bank can also get help balancing their checkbook in the bank lobby or learn more in-depth financial tools at events in the community. “We do seminars, we’ll invite people into the bank, go to churches, schools, community colleges, or even middle schools and sometimes grade schools,” Samford said. Steven Dugal, general agent with Northwestern Mutual, said the company has advisors throughout the state holding various financial seminars for adults. “We start with a document covering 25 areas of financial life,” he said. “From there, we build out a basic plan for debt reduction to the more complex.” One of the biggest financial areas where people tend to need assistance is with loans. In this arena, Jefferson Financial has partnered with another company. “When somebody’s running into a loanrelated problem we have a company we use called BALANCE,” said Jefferson Financial CEO Mark Rosa. “Customers can call and speak directly with counselors there so we don’t have to stand in the middle of it and know more about their financial life than we have to.” But, Rosa added, the first — and most important — step is reaching out for help. “We have outside vendors that have done seminars here — estate planning, tax planning, what are annuities, investments. They’re usually very sparsely attended,” Rosa said. “A lot of people don’t think about their financial

literacy level and they’re going on just fine until something happens and they’re in the deep end of the pool.” EMPLOYEE EDUCATION

In addition to community banks, at least one local business is getting involved in financial literacy education for its employees. Gallo Mechanical is a mechanical construction company that provides plumbing, pipe fitting, HVAC — everything between the walls on large-scale construction. The company employs about 400 people, including its home office in New Orleans and satellite offices in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Florida and North Carolina. “We have a lot of first-generation people on our team,” said Maria Pote, director of special projects at Gallo Mechanical. “The first that have even thought about buying a house and first to have their children graduate from high school.” Through a partnership with Hancock Whitney, Gallo offers its employees financial literacy assistance programs on topics like opening a bank account, understanding your credit, and how to buy a house and save for education. The program includes small informational seminars that take place at the Gallo office on weekends and after work. It’s available to employees and their family members. The program just launched in January, and for now the seminars are only available in New Orleans. But Gallo plans to eventually roll out the seminars in their satellite offices. n




Dealing with Dementia New Orleans Experts Offer Advice BY RICH COLLINS


Organization, approximately 50 million people worldwide have dementia — a general term that refers to the severe decline of mental function. Alzheimer’s is the most common type, and its symptoms, which start gradually and get much worse, include memory problems, poor judgment and, ultimately, physical problems such as difficulty swallowing and incontinence. Researchers have a long way to go before they understand what causes dementia, but there is a consensus on how to care for people with the diagnosis and the behaviors that can help delay the progression of symptoms. STEP ONE: GET EDUCATED.

R. John Sawyer II, PhD, a neuropsychologist and the co-director of Ochsner’s Cognitive Disorders and Brain Health Program, said it’s important for patients and families to prepare themselves for what’s coming. “They need to learn what the diagnosis means and understand the course of the illness,” said Sawyer. “That involves accepting the full dimension of what it’s going to be.” “Another important thing is not to buy into crafty web ads about certain diets or oxygen treatments or whatever,” said Sawyer. “If there was a cure, everyone would know about it by now. “There are two things that can slow decline or keep patients more functional for longer,” he added. “One is making sure your diet is really good — a Mediterranean-style diet most days of the week. The other is working out quite a bit and staying mentally active.” At any point in the process it’s also a good idea to reach out for professional help for the whole family. “Find out all the resources available and learn everything you can about dealing with someone with dementia,” said Joni Friedmann of Dependable In Home Care, a family-owned company that provides caregivers for people of all ages. “The Alzheimer’s association has



MARCH 2020

In the beginning, family members are trying to make the person with dementia do things according to their schedule, but you can’t do that. So you use redirection. Never ever confront, never argue. Joni Friedmann of Dependable In Home Care

many resources available. It’s an excellent way to find other people in your situation.” Glenn Barclay, co-founder of The Blake network of assisted living and memory care facilities (opening later this year in Harahan), said families need to emphasize socialization and exercise. “When families go for answers, they’re thinking of medicine — what can the doctor do?” said Barclay. “But social interaction keeps older adults sharper for longer and decreases anxiety and depression. It’s a vicious cycle because memory loss can cause anxiety and depression and those two cause the disease to progress. STEP TWO: LEARN TO REDIRECT AND VALIDATE

One common symptom of dementia is unpredictable and often oppositional behavior. This can take a toll on families who are already anxious about what the future holds. It’s important for family members to interact with a patient in a way that will reduce that anxiety.

“You have to retrain your brain,” said Lisa Rabito of Home Instead — an international network of franchises providing in-home care for seniors. “Everything you think you want to do, it’s the opposite. If the patient says she is looking for her late husband it does no good to tell her that he’s gone. Instead, you say, ‘I haven’t seen him in a while, but why don’t we go get something to eat?’ You redirect quickly and remove the trigger. Friedmann agrees. “In the beginning, family members are trying to make the person with dementia do things according to their schedule, but you can’t do that,” she said. “So, you use redirection. Never, ever confront, never argue.” Christian Rabito, Rabito’s son and the Home Instead director of marketing, recalled a success story. “We had a client not drinking enough, so she was getting dehydrated and her family was getting concerned,” he said. “But you can’t just tell her, ‘You have to drink more water.”

One member of our team tried a different approach. She’d take a glass of water, say ‘Cheers,’ and take a sip. After a few times, the client started taking sips herself. It triggered a response.” Glenn Barclay at The Blake said using a technique called “validation” helps reduce anxiety and depression in memory-care residents. “It means not trying to convince the resident to come into your reality but instead going into their reality,” he said. “You’re avoiding power struggles when you can and when you can’t, you redirect them to something that is soothing.” Barclay said it also helps to know as much as possible about a patient. “If she enjoys knitting, it might help just for her to have a ball of yarn in her hands,” he said. “It’s like we are now with our phones. I swear, in 25 or 30 years, we’re going to have baskets of cellphones in our facility, and we will be picking them up just to have something in our hands.” STEP THREE: TRY TECHNOLOGY

All the experts we talked to described technology that’s helping patients and caregivers deal with dementia. “Technology is developing rapidly to allow people to stay in their homes,” said Friedmann. “Not just the little pendants around their neck but camera devices, voice-activated machines and medicine dispensers. We have a client who has a hard time taking her meds, so her family has a machine to dispense medicine once a day. They also installed a camera in the kitchen so they can see if she takes it or not,” she said. “And they can prompt her through a device to remind her.” Home Instead offers a free app called the Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias Daily Companion that contains hundreds of tips to deal with situations caused by dementia. Another device, called the GrandPad, is basically an iPad with easy-to-use controls that’s designed to keep users connected with their family and friends but safe from spam and scammers. Barclay said The Blake uses motion detectors in some patients’ rooms to prevent falls and improve response times. The facility also has an interactive digital system called It’s Never 2 Late. “It’s a huge interactive 70-inch screen,” said Barclay. “They can paint on it or simulate driving a car, riding a bike, walking down the street. It has all kinds of memory and sequencing and puzzles we can use.” Meanwhile, Ochsner Health System and Lambeth House are using iPads and Fitbits as part of a yearlong “intervention study of dementia management with interactive technology.” They hope to gather data to help devise future treatment plans. STEP FOUR: STAY HOPEFUL

To be certain, a dementia diagnosis is life-changing. But it doesn’t mean the patient and his or her family can’t enjoy life. “It’s a sad diagnosis to get but if you keep healthy and stay on top of things it doesn’t have to be a totally sad journey,” said Rabito. “There are lots of positives.” “Yes, there are going to be good days and bad days,” said Barclay. “Treasure those moments and don’t get discouraged. You may have a bad day or week and wonder if there is ever going to be another good day. There will be, and there are ways of increasing them.”n 48


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There are two things that can slow decline or keep patients more functional for longer. One is making sure your diet is really good — a Mediterraneanstyle diet most days of the week. The other is working out quite a bit and staying mentally active. R. John Sawyer, II, Ph.D., neuropsychologist and the co-director of Ochsner’s Cognitive Disorders and Brain Health Program




ARTof the



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Want to be the latest local success story? These startup superstars share insight into what it takes.

RTUP IN HONOR OF THE 12TH ANNUAL NEW ORLEANS ENTREPRENEUR WEEK, March 23-27, Biz New Orleans reached out to three successful products of our entrepreneurial ecosystem to learn more about their story. What was their biggest challenge? What is the best advice they've received? Is the support finally here to take startups in this region to the next level?

Just like you'd expect in an area known for its friendliness and hospitality, these pros were eager to share their thoughts — all with the goal of maybe helping someone else turn their dream into a profitable reality. by Kim Singletary Portraits by Greg Miles


in New Orleans in 2000 to attend Tulane as an undergrad studying business marketing and management. After moving away during Hurricane Katrina, she returned in 2010 and started her own company called Birds of a Feather NOLA, creating costume pieces like feather headdresses. Securing wholesale accounts allowed Ferguson to grow her business quickly enough that other artists quickly took notice and began asking for business advice. A few years later, searching for other ways to connect local creators, Ferguson teamed with fellow artist Catherine Todd and formed Where Y’Art in 2012. At the time, the company was solely an online platform where local artists could sell their art. Where Y’Art has since grown to become an art solutions-based business that includes art consulting for hotels and hospitality clients. All of these “satellite galleries” created at local businesses are smart exhibitions, enabling visitors to can scan a QR code with a cell phone and learn more about the artist, the story behind that piece of art and where else the artist is selling, as well as direct message with the artist.



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“At the heart of everything we're doing is we're trying to make artwork more accessible,” said Ferguson. Aided by five employees, a network of subcontractors and an art gallery on Royal Street in the Marigny, Ferguson is making that dream a reality. Business Plan “We never did a formal business plan, but I’d say we had one. [With] the incubator platforms that we worked with, you had to have a framework that was kind of like a business plan of what you wanted to do, and then they helped you refine what you were doing.” Finding Funding “We got funding kind of two ways: One was we threw in personal savings, but we also entered pretty much every pitch competition that you could imagine, and we won a fair amount of them. Through pitching, we also gained a lot of brand awareness in the entrepreneurial chain. People knew who we were and what we were trying to do.” Using Local Resources “Idea Village and Propeller and all of these different incubator places had just recently started operating in the city and we applied for Propeller and got in as one of the fellows in 2013. Suddenly we had a sounding board. It wasn't just two of us with our unique skillsets trying to figure everything out. Their pro bono network is really amazing because it allows you to have the support that an established business would have even if you're at this early stage without paying the high professional fees. We were introduced to everything from web developers to marketing to accounting to legal advice. We launched in Propeller, then we moved on to the Idea Village to the VILLAGEx program. That was a huge step... really redefining what we were doing, the possibility of scaling. At the same time that we were in the VILLAGEx program, we also were in the Catapult Fund Program, which is put on by the SBDC, Jazz and Heritage Foundation, and Capital One.” Scariest Part “People have asked us why we think we were successful and I’ve always said, "Well, it's kind of like we sailed to the island and burned all the ships." We literally put all of our money into this. So it had to work. I wouldn't necessarily suggest that that's how someone starts a business, but that's what we did. We went all in and had to figure out a way to make it work, which I think has made us nimble and made us more willing to pivot where we saw opportunities.” When I Knew I Was on the Right Track “I think one of the major realizations of knowing that it was going to work is when we started working with commercial clients to source artwork for large commercial spaces. It was just kind of an aha moment where yes, you can sell people artwork for their living room, but you can also sell artwork to people for buildings. Artists may know how to sell art at a market or how to get into a gallery, but how to get 200 pieces into a hospital or 50 pieces into a hotel is one of the things that is kind of unknown to them. Now the commercial side is almost 85% of our business.” Best Advice “Be very open that your business will change and pivot and that doesn't necessarily mean that your original business plan wasn't right. It just means that you might not have realized all of the opportunities that were there when you started. Don't be afraid to pivot.”


REIMAGINED HOW LOCAL ARTISTS DO BUSINESS. Collin Ferguson, Co-Founder and CEO of Where Y’Art




Patrick Comer, Founder and CEO of Lucid







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While just in his early 20s, Comer jumped into the dot com boom while living in New York City, serving as chief of staff for a company called GovWorks that raised $65 million in 1999. The party was short-lived, however, as the dot com bubble burst in late 2000. Comer decided at that point to go back to school, graduating with an MBA from Columbia Business School in 2003. He then headed out to Los Angeles and began work at another startup, OTX Research, the first online research company. In 2008, Comer and his wife, a native New Orleanian, moved to New Orleans after learning they were expecting their first child. Two years later, when OTX was sold, Comer decided to create his own market research company called Federated Sample, which later became Lucid. Lucid has been at the center of this transformation in the market research industry for the past 10 years. With almost 500 employees in 11 offices around the world, In 2019, Lucid became the first New Orleans-based tech company to reach $100 million in revenue.

Using Local Resources “When I realized that I was going to move to New Orleans, I sought out everyone who was doing entrepreneurship in the city. Then I started a company at 643 Magazine, where Launch Pad was originally, Idea Village was originally. TurboSquid moved there. I started Lucid at a desk at Launch Pad with Idea Village across the hall. I actually pitched in one of the very first idea pitches and lost. Getting Funding “Often founders or entrepreneurs think they're seeking out investors and what they need to realize is that it's the opposite, investors are seeking them out. If your project, your startup is hitting its milestones and metrics, you will have no trouble raising money.” Biggest Challenge “Convincing myself to be a founder again because the stress and emotional toll of starting a company is big. I knew how much it would take. We were starting a company in 2010 when my daughter was 18 months old and I had a son that was going to be born in eight months. I had to ask myself, ‘Are you willing to take on that burden?’ With that burden comes a high risk of failure. I know the odds of success.” When I Knew It Was On the Right Track “I was really lucky as a startup founder that the timing was right. We did over $1 million in revenue in our first nine months of existence and we did more than $6 million in our second year. That's super rare. The business model thesis I had was correct, and not only was it correct that market research was going to go through this transformation, but the timing was right. You don't always know if your timing is right for your startup, even if your idea is good. We knew we had something really good in the first two years, and we knew we were going to be special within the first four or five.” Best Advice “There's an experience and skills gap as a new entrepreneur, that's why it's so challenging. You also don't know how important it is to do one activity or the other, so prioritizing your time and your day is really challenging because you will get advice from tons of different people. It's like having a baby. But, like having a baby, you can't know how to be a parent until you actually are one. In that way I’d offer the same advice I'd give to parents and founders — just keep it alive. As long as you’re growing, you've done a good job. Also, I think people misunderstand the emotional roller coaster of entrepreneurship. My advice is don't take the highs too high and don't take the lows too low because it's going to be a marathon, not a sprint.” Final Thoughts on the Entrepreneur Ecosystem in Southeast Louisiana “The ecosystem in the community is so much more mature than it ever has been before. Not that it's 'easier' — easier is the wrong word. It's not easier to do a startup, but the likelihood of success is far greater than it's ever been. We're now creating experience and talent in entrepreneurship at all levels of a company, so the next founder who says, 'Yes, I'm going to start a company,' they likely have startup experience and they can hire people with startup experience. What that means is that the next wave of companies, the probability of success and the speed of success [are] dramatically improving.





Business Plan “I did have a business plan, but it wasn’t a full 20- or 30-page plan. It was more of a business summary. There are some tools out there that people can use, like the Business Model Canvas, which help you think about what you're going to do basically and convey that to the outside world.” Finding Funding “It's important to look at how much can you do or how far can you go with the least amount of resources. That being said, you want to start those conversations [with potential funders] as early as you can. Be as proactive as possible. I left Lucid in September and October was [SampleChain’s] first check. Another thing is I definitely wanted to put skin in the game as well. I invested some of our own money as well, my wife's and mine. I think that also shows commitment.” Using Local Resources “I went through the Idea Village’s VILLAGEx program in the spring of 2019, and I would say that it helped in a few big ways. One is the network. Just from a human perspective, you're seeing other people going through the process that you're going through. The thing that surprised me the most probably is the loneliness of the job. There's a thousand details, a thousand situations, a thousand aspects that you simply do not have the capacity or time to share with somebody else. It’s lonely in that sense. So, it's good to know that, 'Hey, someone else is sitting right next to you doing the same thing.' "The startup ecosystem here is very supportive. You know that when you get a 'no' from a client or you get a 'no' from an investor, you have that support to handle it and people who will help you think through other options and opportunities and share their stories. "The second thing is the help they provide on all the logistics, like creating a business plan and providing opportunities to meet investors. That’s important because you never know what you don't know. It’s cliché to say, but it’s true." Scariest Part “I think it’s walking into the unknown for sure. There’s so many firsts— first time talking to an investor, talking to a client, etc.” When I Knew I Was On the Right Track "I would say probably the fourth or fifth client because you can sort of convince your way into one or two or three, but when we got the fifth or sixth, it was like, "Well, they believe in it, it's working now."

in 2010 to get his MBA and ended up joining a startup called Federated Sample, now known as Lucid. For eight and a half years, Krishnan helped researchers at the company procure survey data for brands like Adidas and Nike before he saw the need for what he calls a “complimentary business model,” a data management platform that would help companies like Lucid filter out fraudulent data. Krishnan left Lucid and started SampleChain in September 2018. While he works at an office at LaunchPad, in just over a year Krishnan has grown enough to take on five employees — all work from home locally or remotely, some from as far away as Asia.

Best Advice “It's all about people. Leverage the people you know, whether it's friends in the industry, friends who are investors, friends who are supporters of some kind. Whatever your tech or product, if you don't have people who want to support it and support you personally, then you have nothing. "I have such an incredible group around me. To get to this point, it takes a village, and it takes a village staying up all night.”

Preparing to Go It Alone “You need money to start a business. That's just a given. So certainly that's the first step. But I also think that preparing the path and the journey is also part of the step, thinking about what the product is going to be … and what is the requisite effort you’re willing to make both professionally and personally to be successful. Because it's a risk. Maybe you've given up a pretty decent salary to do this. So, I think there's a mental preparation for sure that needs to come with it.”

Views on the Startup Scene "I see support here now for companies moving from the startup to multimillion-dollar level. If you asked me that question 10 years ago, I would have probably said no. I actually do think it's there. I would agree that it's not to the level of some of the other big cities for example. But I certainly think it's there and even though it's smaller, it's more concentrated and sometimes a concentrated ecosystem is better than the larger, more dispersed ecosystems. n


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SUCCESS. Vignesh

Krishnan, Founder and CEO of SampleChain





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TRAHAN After winning the architectural equivalent of the Super Bowl in 2019, Trahan Architects turns its focus to the $450 million renovation of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. ARCHITECT TREY TRAHAN’S SANCTUARY IS ABOUT A

30-minute drive from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, depending on the time of day. It’s been years since he visited, but on a recent weekday Trahan talked about the Kimbell Art Museum’s Kahn Building like an old friend, recalling the deliberate curve of the folded steel handrails and the powdery light that diffuses through plexiglass skylights into its concrete vaults. “It’s so truthful. Everything in it is with tremendous purpose,” Trahan said. The tears in his eyes catch him by surprise, pulling him back to the clean, crisp conference room at the Trahan Architects office in New Orleans. He pauses. It’s rare to find a structure so honest and without ego, Trahan observes. It’s a telling reflection for a man whose firm now ranks among the top in its field, with design offices in New York and Chicago, and dozens of projects stretching from Zhengzhou, China, to St. Amant, Louisiana. Architect Magazine, the American Institute of Architects’ journal, named Trahan Architects the top design firm in the nation in 2019. It’s the first time a firm headquartered in Louisiana has ever topped the list. Among the firm’s projects, judges highlighted the renovation of the Coca-Cola Stage at Alliance Theater in Atlanta, praising the interior’s curving millwork as “dramatic, sumptuous and well-detailed.” Locals may recognize Trahan Architects as the designer on a high-profile project closer to home: the $450 million renovation of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints. Trahan prefers not to dwell on accolades. The work, he says, is not about him, his firm or even the buildings. It’s about creating spaces that evoke feeling, that encourage kindness.


For Trahan, the Superdome renovation is an opportunity to embrace that outlook. The project has conditions that, in his view, enable good architecture — a rigid budget, a need for functionality and a deep sense of place informed by its community (in this case, fans). “They have appreciation for the city, they have an appreciation for the building and for the past,” said Dennis Lauscha, president of the New Orleans Saints. “They really take that into account when they’re doing their work and bringing solutions to the table.” Work will include removing the 80,000-squarefoot ramp system, currently located on the stadium’s sidelines, adding end-zone field boxes, and overhauling back-of-house areas, including food service and kitchen spaces. The ramp system will be replaced by three new, naturally lit, vertical atriums — “vertical neighborhoods,” as Trahan describes them — on three of the stadiums four corners. Work will continue until 2024, when New Orleans is set to host the Super Bowl. “I’m hopeful 10, 20 years from now someone walks in the building that doesn’t have that historical knowledge



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of what was original and what was altered, and can’t decipher between the two,” Trahan said. THE MAN BEHIND THE BUILDINGS

Trahan, born Victor F. Trahan III, but known to most by his nickname, grew up in Crowley exploring rice fields and playing in the region’s clay pan prairie soil, the remnants of prehistoric shifts in the Mississippi River’s path. He was the kind of kid who requested power tools for Christmas, curious and kinetic. His mother, Valerie, was a teacher and encouraged him to pursue art in school. His father, Victor F. Trahan II, held a degree in geology, but thrived on a good business deal, buying up land and farms, auto parts stores and even owning a chain of groceries. To this day, Trahan phones his father when he’s close to closing a big deal. To be rooted in place and people is a core tenet for Trahan and his firm. It can be found in the attention that goes into considering materials for each project. In his thinking, building materials — whether wood, metal or concrete — convey a building’s context on a

visceral level, not just where the building is located, but who we are and who we hope to be. Take, for example, the Trahan-designed Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches, a $12.6 million project fronting the Cane River Lake. More than 1,000 cast stone panels were used to shape the interior, which curves and twists, echoing the watercarved rock that defines the region. The natural white stone walls seem to be both waiting for and tunneling toward the next chapter of history. “We love visiting Europe or Asia and coming across that building that’s hundreds of years old, where the copper has patina. Where it appears that hundreds of thousands of people have walked on the stone, and now the stone has gone from this orthogonal block to a soft pat of butter,” Trahan said. “It’s not so purposeful. To me that’s beauty.” At the Alliance Theater, Trahan’s team sought a unique but cost-efficient way to unite the building’s lower and balcony levels. The approach built on feedback from members of the African American community who

LEFT Trahan Architects is the designer of the $450 million in renovations coming to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome between now and 2024. TOP Atlanta's Alliance Theatre features balconies crafted by steam-bent strips of reclaimed white oak. Photo by Greg Mooney BOTTOM Trahan designed the Arrival Garden and Moody Pavilions at The Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria in Austin, Texas — winner of the 2019 AIA Louisiana Merit Award.

A peak at an urban mixed-use development Trahan Architects is currently working on in New England. The 707,000-square-foot, 20 level building will feature extensive granite cladding elements sourced from Fletcher Granite, one of the last quarries operating in the Northeast.



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noted the theater, opened in 1968, once had segregated seating. Trahan worked with Brooklyn sculptor Matthias Pliessnig, as well as millwork experts, to steam-bend hundreds of strips of reclaimed white oak, forming waves of wood placed along the interior guardrails and balconies of the 650-seat auditorium. Laser imaging technology was used to place each strip with acoustics in mind; the ribbons diverge at points intended to absorb sound and converge at points to direct sound to specific seating. The result was “an elegant blend of ancient and modern fabrication techniques applied to a functional, economical, and stunningly beautiful space,” according to the AIA jury, which awarded the project a 2019 Innovation Award. Over the years, oils from the hands of patrons will leave markings and warm the wood as they touch it coming and going to their seats, Trahan noted. “For me, it was about ecology, performance, community, a space that by the use of wood feels natural… It’s an authentic response to all these conditions,” Trahan said. “Its beauty is beyond expression. There are performative levels of beauty, there are ecological levels of beauty. There’s depth to its beauty.” He added that it was important the project be economical, adding that design suffers in a world of overblown budgets. “Too much money will rob a building of an editing process that achieves authenticity,” he said. “It will have layers of frivolous additions that are for aesthetic expression, that are only relevant for a certain amount of time.” He recalls interviewing for a design contract for a well-funded community center project in upstate New York. The developer asked what issues he foresaw. He replied, “Money.” She laughed when he clarified that her budget was not just enough, it was far too much. Trahan Architects landed the project. BATON ROUGE BEGINNINGS

Trahan Architects started as a two-person shop in Baton Rouge in 1989. Trahan, then 29, had graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in architecture a few years earlier and was picking up whatever work he could scrounge up, from warehouses to restaurants. “We were looking to eat and keep the lights on,” he said. Today, Baton Rouge remains home to some of his most prized work, as well as his toughest professional challenges. There’s St. Jean Vianney, the firm’s first church design and what Trahan describes as a turning point for the firm. The project, completed in 1999, gained national recognition, winning an AIA Honor Award. Trahan smiles when he recalls the Rev. Donald Blanchard, the church pastor who regularly took Trahan up on his offer to drop by the office anytime. “It became a project that taught us about materiality, church doctrine, community, equality, diversity, connections to community… The priest asked so much of himself that you

felt significantly less if you didn’t ask the same of yourself in contributing,” he said. There is also the River Center Branch Library in downtown Baton Rouge. In 2012, Trahan Architects was among the firms that bid on the competitive project, a process that turned contentious when a competing firm sought to point out similarities between Trahan’s design and a rendering for a proposed library in the Czech Republic. Trahan stood by his work and officials found no evidence of wrongdoing. Still, the project went to another firm. At the time, Trahan told 225 Magazine that he loved Baton Rouge, but the experience had him “thinking differently” about the city and the work he pursued. The firm moved its headquarters to New Orleans in 2013. SPEAKING OUT ON HISTORIC RENOVATIONS

On a recent weekday, Trahan noted Louisiana has a deep inventory of beautiful architecture that has not only withstood the test of time, but elevated it. He worries unbridled efforts to cling to that past may hurt more than help. New Orleans redevelopments have spiked in recent years spurred by the availability of federal and state historic tax credits. Many of the high-profile projects have been focused on converting century-old office buildings and warehouses into hotels. Trahan agrees with the historic tax credits and thinks they should be protected, but said he opposes projects that use credits to shoehorn cookie-cutter lobbies and hotel rooms into the husk of a centuries-old building. Along those lines, he rejects new designs that seek to replicate historic design with modern materials. On that note, he said he would like his firm to take on more historic renovations. But he thinks people view his firm’s contemporary work as a disadvantage. “They think we do not have the sensibilities to restore a historic building and we do,” he said. Trahan said contemporary architects are adept at weaving modern-day conveniences into buildings in a seamless way, installing radiant heating and cooling systems, which emit heat or cold through the walls, or hiding light switches underneath plaster. Few things undermine the integrity of an historic building more than an air conditioning vent slapped on an otherwise beautiful wall, he said. “I think all the architects in this community are looking for the clients that embrace who we are today and are not looking to create a faux version of something hundreds of years old,” Trahan said. “How do you design a response that has real dignity, real integrity?” For his part, Trahan’s mindset is increasingly global, turning to issues like climate change and equity (he points out that 10 of the firm’s last 20 hires have been women, a start, he feels, toward addressing the white male-dominated world of architecture). In 2014, Trahan purchased a 570-acre farm in southern Chile. The land, named Fundo Tic Toc, is tucked amid millions of acres of untouched property owned by Doug

Tompkins, founder of North Face and a noted conservationist, who set it aside as Corcovado National Park. Tompkins, who died in 2015, was a personal friend of Trahan’s and entrusted Tic Toc to him. Trahan is hesitant to talk openly about the farm — he doesn’t want it to sound like a rich man’s land grab — but lights up when he discusses its potential to serve as a shared gateway to experience the wild in its rawest form. He said he wants to test sustainable design concepts there and invite artists to create works that contribute to biodiversity or measure climate change, perhaps even politicians who are interested in learning more about conservation. For now, the land is a place where the natural forms that influence his design reveal themselves. “How do you maintain the pristine quality, but share?” he asked. A LONG HISTORY WITH THE DOME

The Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District voted to approve the $450 million makeover of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in November. The vote came just a week after Trahan Architects was announced as the nation’s top design firm. The Superdome has been one of Trahan’s longest-running clients; the firm has been overseeing updates there since renovations post-Hurricane Katrina. Trahan said he relishes the opportunity to renovate the stadium at a time when many cities are tearing down old stadiums for the second or third time to build edgier, flashier structures. The Dome, designed by Curtis & Davis Architects, was completed in 1975. New Orleans “is still enjoying the privilege of having done it really well the first time,” he said, noting the stadium’s bones, its trusses and colossal columns, are enduring. The first $100 million phase of the project, which focuses on adding alternate exits and updating food service areas, is starting now. Lauscha and Trahan agreed the biggest challenge is getting the work done while also keeping the stadium safe and operational. Lauscha, who referred to Trahan as the project’s “quarterback,” is confident the job will achieve that balance, in execution as well as the finished product. “They really focus on making smart changes that last a lifetime,” Lauscha said. If Trahan Architects does its job right, the feeling of walking into the Dome on game day will be just as intense, Trahan said. Eventually, you may forget he or his firm even touched it. He’s OK with that. “The most important thing for us is to remain reverential to the original architectural work, and not allow our egos to become misplaced,” Trahan said. In that way, he keeps chasing the truth he discovered years ago at the Kimbell’s Kahn Building — a space quiet, enduring, and made not for one, but for all. Where sentiment transcends architect. A space without ego. n





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THE CASE FOR CORE VALUES What they are and how they can transform your company culture


t’s no secret that core values are living and breathing within Entrepreneurs’ Organization — each chapter of the worldwide peer-to-peer organization is guided, motivated and inspired by principles that dare them to fearlessly transform their respective businesses and communities. But core values aren’t exclusive to EO, and they can be put to use in any company or organization. EO Louisiana Chapter President Erik Frank explains that core values are a list of themes, priorities and ideals that serve as the backbone of everything a company — and in turn, a company’s employees — do on a daily basis. “Once you have core values, they live in your organization,” Frank says. “You use them in how you recognize, how you reward, how you hire, how you fire and how you promote.” It’s not enough to simply have core values, though. As Frank explains, those values must be shared by every team member in order for them to effectively influence a company’s growth. They should be more than a list of words on a wall: they should serve as a compass in each action and decision a team or individual makes. “If your values don’t live in your organization, you might as well not have them,” Frank says. “If I go up to the newest hire, or an employee who’s been there for years, and they can’t tell me what your core values are, then they aren’t living in your company.” When core values are truly at work, they have a direct impact on motivation, growth and even retention. As Frank explains, when a company has clearly stated values and missions, it becomes immediately clear which employees are a good “fit” for the organization’s culture, as each individual’s missions should align with those of their employer. Ben Gootee, owner and operator of Gootee Construction, says his company is a testament to

the power of core values. Working together with an accountability partner from PetraCoach, a company that helps businesses set and achieve their goals, Gootee Construction began the discovery process of identifying and implementing core values. First, the entire company worked together to find mutual values that would serve as the keystones of their operations. “The discovery and implementation process was a fun experience for us,” Gootee says. “We used the ‘Mission to Mars’ exercise by Jim Collins, which asks that you imagine you’ve been tasked with recreating the best version of your organization on another planet, but you only have room to take 5 to 7 people. Who would you take, and why? We had a wall covered with sticky notes. We put all the attributes into categories and condensed the list to 5 core values. One reason we fell in love with our core values is because they ended up being actions in lieu of individual words.” After that, Gootee says that the effects of core values on his company environment were immediate and astounding. “Once we unveiled our company core values, we quickly found that these were the right values for us,” Gootee says. “Our employees immediately started using them in the conversation and identified and gave appreciation to each other when they were being displayed and lived. It was unbelievable to see this happen. If a business leader hasn’t had the opportunity to go through this exercise, I highly recommend it. My experience is that it was great for our organization and created rallying cries for our whole Gootee Construction family.”


EO Louisiana Chapter President






EO Louisiana members share stories of core values at work in their organizations MATT SLACK

President, RED Group

My core values: Communicate Honestly / Care Strive for Excellence / Team

My core value: Quality

One night, I received a call that no owner wants to get from their team, especially at 8:30 p.m. ‘I just dropped our client's brand-new projector from the top of a 12-foot ladder.’ He continued, ‘It was an accident, but I will pay for it out of my coming paychecks.’ At that moment, I couldn't have been prouder. Our technician was living by all of our core principals in the same moment. Thanks to his quick thinking, our client experienced no downtime during the process, had a new projector within days and frankly wouldn’t have even known anything happened had we not told them (our values apply to everything we do, not just internally). His honest communication, engaging team members for help and drive to take care of the customer turned a potential catastrophe into a non-incident for our client. Needless to say, our technician did not need to pay for the projector. After 15 years of AV service in more than a thousand meeting rooms, we have a 95% client satisfaction rate not because of what we do, but because of the values lived by our team members daily.


Founder, Benefit Administration Group VP of Corporate Benefits, NFP My core value: Commitment to Continuous Learning Our company exists to help employers navigate the maze of employee benefit choices, with health insurance dominating that conversation. Because of that, we also work with tens of thousands of employees trying to make sense of, make decisions around, and/or actually use those benefits to manage their care. With challenges to and clarifications of the Affordable Care Act still happening today, change has become a constant. My company has always valued a commitment to continuous learning for our team members. For me personally, I always want to surround myself with smart and curious people that love solving complicated problems. And, with the changes we have seen, we don’t have to look far for an opportunity to learn something new and provide someone valuable assistance. Now, we could just us a few extra hours in each day!



MARCH 2020


President, AV Solutions CXO

An example of decision-making relating to the ‘Quality’ core value is when a project nearing completion is up against budget constraints. While budget is managed closely and is important to us, just as it is to any business, budget will never trump our core values. If our Project Managers or Engineers have to make a decision between cost or meeting our quality standards, they understand that the commitment to our core values is more important than any other budget or project constraints and can confidently make the decisions necessary to maintain that commitment.


CEO, MKG Marketing My core value: Uphold the MKG Standard Our team recognizes that we have set a standard for the caliber of work with our clients. They come to expect certain quality standards because — you guessed it — we set that standard for them! One example of this standard is our focus on over-communicating with clients. We want them to have the full, accurate story at all times. This goes for both positive and negative news. Last year, we had a few examples of sharing negative information with clients. Instead of sugar coating, abbreviating or altering the truth, we simply told them what was happening, what we planned to do about it, and when we wanted to check in with them next. This shows our clients that the standard they should expect when receiving negative news is a) you will hear it from us first, and b) we will arrive with a pointed description of what is going on, along with a plan outlining the actions to take next. That is the commitment we make to our clients. And that is the commitment they expect from us in the way that we do business together.



EO Louisiana members share stories of core values at work in their organizations



CEO, Hynes Charter School Corporation

CEO, Omega Concierge Services

My core value: Inclusive and Positive School Culture

My core values: Excellence / Ethics / Education

We focus intentionally on the social-emotional and cognitive growth of faculty, staff and students in a safe school environment. Relationships are at the heart of all we do. We value celebration and recognition of our entire school community. On Tuesday, January 7th, we enacted our school lockdown procedure for 6 hours while NOPD pursued two perpetrators in the Lakeview neighborhood. We had strong systems in place to secure the school, inform the parents, and maintain communication with law enforcement agencies. Our teachers set a calm and secure tone within their classrooms and continued to teach students and provide a normal school day within our classes. The level of trust and respect were a direct result of this embedded core value.


CEO, Susco

My core value: Growth By ‘Growth,’ we mean the continuous improvement of the company, our clients and our employees. No matter how hectic things are, every month we make time for a soft skills lesson done individually, and then followed up on by a team meeting to discuss what we learned. This could be around leadership, managing conflict or how to effectively coach. Another way we live this every day is the way we process mistakes. If we overrun on a task, when analyzing what happened, our focus is less about blame and more about how the mistake was made and what process can be modified so that it isn’t made again. Sometimes it’s a training process, sometimes it’s a checklist, and sometimes it’s a necessary hard conversation — but regardless, we turn mistakes into corporate knowledge and move on.

The work that Omega does is on behalf of the client. So, when a hospital or business trusts Omega, they need to be able to trust us to represent them. We have to be ethical and excellent every single time — you can’t do it once and say you’re excellent! Education is also a big deal for us. We have a program where we provide our employees with books about growth and leadership, and they write a one-page report on how they can implement what they’ve learned in their personal life. If they participate, we give them a $50 bonus for each book they read. We put our money where our mouth is, as we want our people to prioritize growth. When you leave Omega, we want you to be bigger and better than when you came in.


CEO, Search Influence My core value: Hungry Though we didn’t know it at the time, Search Influence was founded on Hungry. When we launched in 2006, no one was talking about SEO, let alone doing it at a professional level. In the time since, we’ve been ahead of the curve in Paid Search and Facebook Advertising and are now thinking deeply about engagement through the customer journey. The way we’re showing we’re “Hungry” now is thinking about how we can move that contact to become a customer. Recently, while working with a higher education client, we discovered through our investigation that we knew more about the platform they were using than their internal experts. By not taking “No” for an answer, and with our experience in other systems, we were able to both get the job done and show our client a new way to manage their business.

As the world’s only peer-to-peer network exclusively for entrepreneurs, EO helps transform the lives of those who transform the world. For membership information visit or email Mark Lewis at




Senior Solutions THE BLAKE Slated to open in the fall of 2020, The Blake is a resort-style senior living community. Their campus on Jefferson Highway in Harahan is still under construction, but once completed The Blake will offer seniors and their families a unique senior lifestyle option. Providing only the highest levels of technology, apartment design and recreation, The Blake will offer a fullservice coffee shop, restaurant and lounge along with expansive courtyards, a media theater, a chapel, full-service salon and spa, outdoor fireside seating and an unmatched activity program. Their dining program is staffed by an executive chef and dedicated servers, providing residents with restaurant-style meal options with three courses at every meal. Alongside their state-of-the-art hospitality services, The Blake offers a broad continuum of wellness and personal care, from 24-hour nurse staffing and housekeeping to transportation, on-site primary care health services, home health and outpatient rehabilitation facilities.

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rom seniors looking to continue to live at home to those who are seeking a community to suit their medical and social needs, New Orleans-area businesses offer an abundance of options. These businesses run the gamut from in-home general care to facilities with complete around-the-clock medical staff and wellness centers, all with the aim of helping aging adults and their families live full, active lives. Discover some options for yourself or your loved ones from the following senior care specialists. MARCH 2020

HOME INSTEAD SENIOR CARE Home Instead Senior Care offers seniors and their family the opportunity to have a full, cared-for life in the comfort of their home. Their CAREgivers℠are provided with exemplary resources, education and training so they can offer highly personalized care at home for seniors with a wide array of care needs. These caregivers allow seniors and their families to maintain their day-to-day lives and to focus on their relationships, rather than their stress. Home Instead provides the benefit and depth of international resources with all of the familiarity and comfort of a home-grown, home-run business. Lisa Rabito, owner of the New Orleans-area franchise, opened her doors in 2000 and has spent nineteen years creating a locally-based business that caters to the needs of New Orleans-area seniors and their families. To learn more about Home Instead Senior Care’s services, visit or call 504-455-4911.


INSPIRED LIVING Inspired Living Kenner offers a resort-style community designed to allow seniors to thrive regardless of care needs. The purpose-built community provides both assistance and empowerment to its residents, creating the ideal environment for a vibrant, happy lifestyle. Its features offer leisure and hospitality while providing care services for seniors who need assistance with activities of daily living and beyond, from those who need “just a little” care to full, specialized help. Thanks to their popular rate-lock plan, seniors and their families can set in a rate that works for them for Inspired Living Kenner’s services from personalized care plans and management to personal care and select nursing services. They also offer specialized memory care services, bringing an in-depth understanding of the unique emotional and physical needs of each individual living with dementia. To learn more about Inspired Living Kenner’s services, call 504-313-6600.

LAMBETH HOUSE Lambeth House is a luxury Life Plan Retirement Community offering LifeCare, which guarantees residents access to on-site assisted living and nursing care as they need it. Their focus on holistic wellness guarantees that Lambeth House residents benefit from all of the amenities the community offers, from a vibrant community to a state-of-the-art fitness center, a meditation room, an art studio and more. Lambeth House offers 118 independent living apartments, 61 assisted living apartments and 72 private nursing care rooms, 16 of which offer memory care support. For members of the public 55 and older, Lambeth House also offers a fee-based fitness center membership to allow the public access to their luxury health and wellness facilities. For more information, call 504-865-1960 or visit NOTRE DAME HEALTH SYSTEM Steeped in rich, Catholic-based tradition, Notre Dame Health System provides a continuum of healthcare services including home care, independent care, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, memory care, home health and hospice care. Community and home-based care is available in the Greater New Orleans area. Hospice services are offered in several

areas of Louisiana, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge, as well the Mississippi Gulf region. Their spectrum of services allows them to tailor care for all. They pride themselves on employing the most talented and dedicated teams of healthcare professionals, administrative personnel, volunteers and support staff. To learn more, visit their website: PATIO DRUGS Patio Drugs has a full-service retail pharmacy including compounding and medical equipment services. Seniors in our community benefit from the services offered in their long-term care pharmacy. In business since 1958, Patio Drugs has a unique awareness of their customers’ needs and gear their services accordingly. Free prescription delivery is offered in certain areas. They offer unit dose medication and multi-dose drug packaging cards to assist patients with remaining adherent and independent with their drug therapies. With their medication synchronization program, they coordinate with patients to have all their prescriptions filled on the same day, avoiding running out of medication or forgetting to call in refills. Patio Drugs pharmacists offer a comprehensive medication review with patients to discuss any questions about medications, diet, and overall health. Their team works collaboratively with your physician to ensure you are receiving the highest quality care and the clearest understanding of your medication therapies. POYDRAS HOME In the fall of 2019 Poydras Home forged a new partnership with Southern Rep Theatre to launch a "Care For Creatives Drama Club." The program was designed to engage a select group of 13 residents living with dementia and their supporting family members in six weeks of flexible, improvisational theatre exercises designed to stimulate communication. Poydras Home Director of Memory Support and Day Program Elena Cambre describes the program as potentially transformative for persons living with dementia serving to strengthen connections with their caregivers. "The techniques the team uses offer participants' care partners new tools for coping with the day-to-day challenges of communication. Drama and improv are about

meeting a situation in front of you, taking what is given with an honest connection and making something new together.” To get in touch for more information, visit or call 504-897-0535.

VILLE STE. MARIE SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY Ville Ste. Marie Senior Living Community sits in a lush environment just moments from the scenic Mississippi River. Inside the community, the staff at Ville Ste. Marie has built a vibrant and active home for all senior lifestyles, from independent to assisted living. They offer the ability to create a custom living plan that works best with a resident’s needs while enhancing quality of life and empowering freedom of choice. Their combination of Southern charm, old world flair, love and dedication creates an environment that encourages community, independence, dignity and care for seniors. Their personalized living plans provide packaged and a la carte services as needed, allowing residents to accommodate all the myriad changes of life. To learn more about what Ville St. Marie has to offer you or your loved ones, visit or call 504-834-3164. VISTA SHORES For attentive, detail-oriented care in a tightknit community, look no further than Vista Shores, a private luxury assisted living and memory care organization. They pay attention to detail to allow their residents to relax and enjoy themselves in the knowledge that someone is always close by if they need help. Residents can come home to Vista Shores—a safe, secure, worry-free environment. Residents of Vista Shores enjoy chef-prepared meals in the community’s bistro and dining rooms, coffee and cocktails in the lounge and vibrant sunsets from the wraparound porch. Vista Shores offers three “neighborhoods” for residents, bringing together people with shared abilities to promote greater socialization and personalized care. The staff offer personalized care plans to ensure that each resident is equipped with the care and environment they need to thrive—even an environment with a beloved pet. Vista Shores is also home to Lakeview’s only Alzheimer’s support group. To learn more about Vista Shores, visit or call 504-288-3737. BIZNEWORLEANS.COM




MARCH 2020


WORKSPACES Eustis Mortgage


NONPROFIT St. Baldrick’s Foundation

ON THE JOB Aunt Sally’s



Eustis worked with The Global Office of Architecture & Taste (aka GOAT) on the design of its new, 7,000-squarefoot space. The open-office concept extends through several departments and a handful of private offices line the perimeters of the open areas.


Eustis Mortgage LOCATION

Mortgage Leader Finds Its Own Forever Home After 25 years in Entergy Center, Eustis Mortgage is enjoying a smaller, more visible space at The Standard at South Market

798 S. Rampart St. at The Standard DATE OF OPENING

Late 2019 in the new space SIZE

7,000 square feet NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES





MARCH 2020

Kate deKay, CEO

Center for 25 years. Near the end of 2019, the 64-year-old company moved into a new space at The Standard at South Market, a mixed-use development designed by architect Morris Adjmi. “We started considering new spaces because that space was dated,” said Eustis Mortgage CEO Kate deKay. “It was a very ’80s, law office vibe. I wasn’t a big fan of the layout. We had a great view, but all of the offices were shoved up against the glass, so we were really spread out.” The 11,000-square-foot Entergy Centerbased office included considerable storage space for old files that needed to be reviewed and purged. Also, according to deKay, collaboration and communication were difficult and a lot of space wasn’t being utilized. “We have a lot of people who work remotely,” she said. “We find it very [efficient]. It’s rare that we have every seat taken.” Eustis worked with The Global Office of Architecture & Taste (aka GOAT) on the design of the company’s new, 7,000-squarefoot space. Located at street level, it offers greater mobility for employees and enjoys increased visibility with passersby. “Visibility for our customers was really important,” said deKay. “It’s a more collaborative and friendly environment for the employees. I’ve noticed people going for a walk or to check out the area.” The open-office concept extends through several departments, and a handful of private offices line the perimeters of the open areas. An employee lounge overlooks the street and a large kitchen sits in the middle of the space. The new space is not without its challenges and growing pains, however. “Reminders on things like others’ personal space, meaningful collaboration versus what could potentially be an interruption and using your inside voice [and so forth] are all things that you may not pay attention to in a closed-door environment,” said deKay. “Opening the doors was a better fit with our culture, with the reminder to be mindful.” Transparancy, fun and family culture are priorities for the company, said deKay, and all are elements that influenced the design of the Eustis’ new home. “It was important to me to keep my office open to create inclusiveness,” said deKay. “You don’t find many companies that people join

“It was important to me to keep my office open to create inclusiveness,” says CEO Kate deKay, whose office has only one back wall and is otherwise enclosed in glass, with doors opening into the conference room and the open office area on the other side. There is an employee lounge overlooking the street and a large kitchen in the middle of the space.

because they want a forever home. We have people who have been with us for 40-plus years, and it’s because the family culture is the core of our DNA. [We] keep it fun. One reason we moved is we were ready for an update from the stuffy office environment. Take time for yourself, go out and get fresh air, and enjoy the wonderful amenities in The South Market. It feels friendly and welcoming.” n

The Eustis Mortgage sign in the entrance is the only item the company saved from its former location in Entergy Center..




Raising the Bar Launched 12 years ago, Bayou Soap Company’s sales are surging as bar soaps see a popularity boost. BY ASHLEY MCLELLAN PHOTOS BY SARA ESSEX BRADLEY

Bayou Soap Company founder William Terry is the creator of a full line of handmade soaps that are all-natural, environmentally friendly and packaged with little waste, making them in line with today’s ecoconscious cosmetics trends.


William Terry is known for two things: being a Grammy Award®-winning saxophone player and musician, and running Bayou Soap Company, his unique line of handmade, eco-friendly soaps that have recently seen a resurgence in popularity. Launched 12 years ago, Terry fell into the soap-making business by accident, one that has since paid off for him both financially and artistically. “The original intention was to make tinctures, salves and other herbal infusions,” he said, adding that initially he began experimenting with improving liquid soaps from the dollar store by infusing them with herbs. “A salon owner friend — unbeknownst to me — was actually using it [the liquid soaps] on customers and put in a request for a large order.” At that point, Terry said he realized that in order to lower the price point and be able to control the manufacturing process, he needed to learn how to really make soaps from scratch. After several trials, tests and starts, Terry transformed his hobby into an art form and a business. “It took about five years to perfect the line,” he added. Now it includes between 14 and 17 varieties of the environmentally conscious and plant-based bar soaps. “I use olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, as well as clays, resins, and plants for coloring and fragrance, and essential oils and extracts for scents,” he said. “I like to use plant oils because they scent better.” The line also boasts little to no packaging waste, a trend that is currently transforming the personal care industry. Bar soap sales in general are also on the rise, making a comeback after years of consumers preferring body washes and liquid soaps (see sidebar) dominating the market. Ethical packaging, along with cruelty-free products, rank high among consumer preferences. Fashion- and beauty-forward websites are also starting to tout luxury bar soaps as en



MARCH 2020



of women over the age of 35 say purchasing eco-friendly beauty products is important to them. …AND THE INDUSTRY IS TAKING NOTICE. “L’Oreal is aiming to make


of its packaging reusable, refillable, or compostable by 2025, and aims to source

50 %

of that packaging from recycled material. The company says it has already increased the percentage of recycled plastic in its overall packaging by


in 2018 compared to the previous year.” SOURCE: FORBES, JUNE 2019 QUOTING A HARRIS POLL; NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, APRIL 2019.

vogue. The simple bar soap already comes packaged in an eco-friendly way, creating a ready-to-go product that fulfills consumer’s wishes. Leading the bar soap revolution is international retailer Lush. Boasting 240 stores in the United States and Canada, the company recently launched shampoo bars and, according to a 2018 article in Allure magazine, sold 12,000 bars in the first 48 hours. Bayou Soap has always been a natural fit for consumers looking for something organic and eco-conscious, according to Terry.

“Bar soap goes hand-in-hand with package reduction because bar soap won’t sell if it can’t be smelled and to do so requires little to no packaging,” he said. “Most of us makers just use a simple [paper] band to show name and ingredients. My exfoliating soaps have quinoa, grits, coffee, ginger, and celery seeds so they don’t pollute the environment.” Terry says inspiration for his scents come from varied sources, with small batches created seasonally.

“I go with the standard scent lines you see in stores like floral, mint, and options that are more herbal and earthy,” he said. “I also get inspired when walking down the tea aisle. I come up with a color I think the fragrance might ‘look’ like.” Current Bayou Soap Works scents and soaps include: African Black Soap and African Shea Butter, Almond Cocoa Butter, Blue Hawaiian, Cool Citrus Basil, Frankincense and Myrrh, Ginger Exfoliator, Lavender, Mango/Grapefruit and Oatmeal, Coconut Milk and Honey. Produced locally out of Terry’s New Orleans home, Bayou Soap Company is mostly a one-man job. “To keep up with demand I have to produce at least 200 to 300 bars a day,” Terry said. “I produce for a few weeks and then start to divvy them up into who’s got what. That covers all three outlets — vending, online, and store orders. It’s never ending. I take little breaks in January and August.” Bayou Soap can be found at Whole Foods stores across the city, purchased online through the company’s Facebook account, or at events such as Wednesdays at the Square, Bayou Boogaloo, Essence Festival and others that are announced via Facebook. The business is divided evenly among these outlets. “This way if one starts to fall off it can be shored up by another,” Terry said. n

THE BATTLE OF LIQUID VS. SOLID According to an August 2019 study from U.K.-based research group Kantar, sales in that country of liquid soaps have slumped in favor of the more eco-friendly bar soap alternatives. “Shoppers spent £68.6 million [$89.89 million] on bars of soap, up 4% on the year before. Meanwhile, shower gel is rising at just 1.1%, and liquid soap sales are actually declining 4.5% year on year.” Additionally, “Kantar found that 44 % of respondents reported being ‘more concerned’ about single-use plastic, and 70 % said they plan to shop more sustainably, using alternatives or buying less.”




Be Brave, Geaux Bald Your company can stand with kids with cancer this month by participating in a St. Baldrick’s Foundation event. BY PAMELA MARQUIS PHOTOS BY CHERYL GERBER


The St.Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer- and donor-powered charity committed to supporting the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.


Finn McCool’s 3701 Banks St. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Largest St. Baldrick’s event in Louisiana Contact: FaceBook@ FinnsStBaldricks SUNDAY, MARCH 22


of 17, New Orleanian Vijay Anand Hassan Nagendra lost his valiant six-year battle with brain cancer. “He was a geek,” his father, H. V. Nagendra affectionately said. “He was into electronics and computers. And he was a comedian, always ready with a joke. He was also passionate about supporting efforts for more cancer research and often participated in St. Baldrick Foundation’s fundraising events.”



MARCH 2020

St. Baldrick’s Foundation is the world’s largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants. The main way the organization raises funds is from people volunteering to shave their heads in exchange for donor support, including in the New Orleans area. “It’s like any ‘a-thon’,” said Dean Arnett, a long-time volunteer with Baldrick’s Foundation’s efforts in New Orleans. “You contact your friends, family and coworkers, telling them what you’re doing and asking

Deutsches Haus 1700 Moss St. 3 p.m. - 6p.m. Contact: FaceBook@ StBaldricksNewOrleans SATURDAY, MARCH 28

The Crown & Anchor Pub 200 Pelican Ave., Westbank time TBD

them for donations. Then you show up at the event, wait in line... when it’s your turn, you jump in the chair and do it.” Every year Vijay looked forward to participating at Tulane University’s St. Baldrick’s shave day. He often had his head shaved, and he even shaved a few heads, too. “They were very brave people who let him shave them,” says his mother, Mary Nagendra. “The type of cancer he had affected the part of the brain that controls coordination. But he loved doing it, and he always got the job done without injury.” St. Baldrick’s head-shaving started with one event in 2000. Today, more than 560,000 heads have been shaved at 13,000 events worldwide. Events take place in pubs, restaurants, schools, parks, malls, military bases, firehouses and any other place you can (left) Volunteer imagine. barber Jacob The first St. Baldrick Taylor shaves event in New Orleans was Jeremy Corbett. (right) Board held in 2003 at Parasol’s, Lanay Stockstill, an Irish Channel neighMichelle borhood bar. A shave at Standige and Deutsches Haus started Dean Arnett soon after; their efforts have raised around $800,000. Last year the Finn McCool’s shave broke $1 million raised over 10 years. Some shavees also donate their hair. “This year, I’m hoping to give 17 inches to Wigs for Kids,” said Jeff Durlak, a private contractor courier for Coram/Omicare Pharmacies. “I think a lot of people live under the false notion that you have to be wealthy in order to be a philanthropist, but that’s just not true,” said Marigny DeMauriac, team captain of Ladies for the Fight and CEO of DeMauriac, financial and wealth management. “A lifetime of small gestures can turn into something truly impactful, and this is one of the small gestures I can make.” NOTABLE LOCAL SHAVEES

• Thomas Morestead, Saints punter, and Garrett Hartley, placekicker, have both shaved their heads for the cause. • “NCIS-New Orleans’” Mobtown Props team is one of Finn McCool’s biggest fundraisers, often raising $24,000 with at least 10 people going under the clippers. • Friedrich’s group, Team AMAZE-balds, usually participates every four years, and has raised between $8,500 and $10,500 each year that they’ve participated. • Phil Martin has participated every year since 2013 on Team Rolling Elvi. Over

the years, he’s raised $8,768. He also created a gimmick with the help of a hairstylist: Last year he dyed his hair in flames. “That was the most I ever raised in one event — $1,986.” • Ben Franklin High School also hosts a shaving event. “This year we hope to raise $15,000 for St. Baldrick’s,” said Darren Eady, math and computer science teacher at the school. “On average we raise around $9,000 per year.” SOME OF ST. BALDRICK’S PROGRAMS AND GRANTS

• Yearlong research projects and cooperative research grants • Stand Up to Cancer, a four-year, $14.5 million grant to cure some of the most hard-to-treat pediatric cancers. • Infrastructure grants to help institutions treat more children on clinical trials. • Supportive care research grants to improve the management of patients’ symptoms during treatment. • St. Baldrick’s International Scholars brings pediatric cancer research expertise to low- and middle-income countries. A GOOD MATCH FOR COMPANIES WHO…

Want to put together a team and participate at Finn McCool’s or Deutsches Haus’ shaves. Peter Mayer Advertising has been raising funds since 2013. “We get about six or eight people to shave,” said April Hirsch, executive assistant at the agency. “We’ve raised as much as $20,000.” Want to honor a colleague with a fund where the money raised will be credited and from which grants can be named. Participate in an icon program. Customers purchase paper St.Baldrick’s icons showing that they gave. The icons can then be displayed at a business. n

BY THE NUMBERS More children are lost to cancer in the United States than any other disease— in fact, more than many other childhood diseases combined. Before they turn 20, about

1 in 285

children in the U.S. will have cancer. Every

2 minutes

a child is diagnosed with cancer worldwide. In the U.S.,

1 in 5

children won’t survive, and those who do often suffer long-term effects from treatments too harsh for their developing bodies.



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.



MARCH 2020




Hey Good Lookin’ After 85 years, Aunt Sally’s is still stirring things up PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER


in 1935, Aunt Sally’s Creole Pralines has grown to include an international ecommerce presence and two retail stores in New Orleans. One of the things that hasn’t changed in all those years? The copper pots. Using original family recipes and quality ingredients, pralinières stir up one of New Orleans’ favorite sweets fresh every day. Stop by either location (810 Decatur St. or 750 St. Charles Ave.) and you’ll see — and smell —the cooks in action.For more information, visit n