Page 1 May 2015



May 2015

Editor’s Note


ou are holding in your hands issue number eight of the new Biz New Orleans magazine. For this one, the cover topic was too personal for me not to take on the story myself, and I’m so glad I did because I got to meet seven amazing “mompreneurs” – each taking the business world by storm here in the Crescent City. Every one of them displayed a passion that was infectious – both for their families and their businesses, which, as one of them so accurately stated, is like having another child. I’m what I suppose you would call a “mompreneur” myself – having started my own writing and editing business years ago around the birth of my daughter. It has given me the freedom to be the one that picks her up from school each day, and even to occasionally take a day, no permission required, to spend a warm spring afternoon riding the streetcar to the park to feed the ducks (photo above). Of course nothing is all sunshine and rainbows, but, as I’m sure every one of the moms in this magazine will agree, it’s those kind of moments – and that scary, but empowering knowledge that you’re in control of your own destiny – that make all the harried mornings, long nights, and (OK, maybe just in my case) that time when you were forced to interview a famous musician with a 3-year-old’s fingers up your nose, all worth it. On that note, a very Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there. And a heartfelt thank you to my own mom, who always pushed me to do what I love, and whose free babysitting time is the reason I still can. Happy Reading,


May 2015 May 2015


MAY 2015 | volume 1 | issue 8

Publisher Todd Matherne Editorial Editor-in-chief Errol Laborde Managing Editor Kimberley Singletary Art Director Antoine Passelac Photographer Cheryl Gerber Web Editor Kelly Massicot Assoc. Multimedia News Editor Leslie T. Snadowsky Contributors Suzanne Ferrara, Pamela Marquis, Lucie Monk, Jason Perry, Chris Price, Margaret Quilter, Peter Reichard, Judi Russell, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, Michelle Seiler-Tucker, Melanie Spencer, Keith Twitchell, Bonnie Warren advertising Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan Sales Manager Maegan O’Brien (504) 830-7219 Account Executives Melissa Rehage Quijano (504) 830-7225 Caitlin Sistrunk (504) 830-7252 PRODUCTION Production/Web Manager Staci McCarty Production Designers Ali Sullivan, Monique DiPietro, Claire Geary Traffic Coordinator Jessica Debold administration Chief Executive Officer Todd Matherne President Alan Campell Executive Vice President Errol Laborde Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan Director of Marketing & Events Cheryl Lemoine Administrative Assistant Denise Dean Distribution Manager John Holzer Subscriptions Manager Sara Kelemencky

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 2015 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. 6

May 2015 May 2015







From the Lens

36 Mompreneurs

70 Great Offices

44 Port of South Louisiana

80 Why Didn’t I Think of That?

Seven moms you should know

A draw for overseas business

Morris Bart, CEO of Morris Bart and Associates

Cork: It’s not just for wine bottles anymore.

88 Behind the Scenes


May 2015

Trinity Yachts, LLC.

On the Cover Left to Right: Tabitha Bethune of fashion incubator The Wild Life Reserve, and Cherie Melancon Franz of Thinkerella, a science lab just for kids. Photo by Greg Miles. May 2015









18 Dining Biz

50 Guest View Point

16 Calendar

20 Tourism Biz

54 Maritime & Ports

32 Biz Bits

58 Hotels & Hospitality

74 Biz Person of the Month

62 Banking

86 Around Town – Events

What’s with all the adjectives in our food?

Hotel concierge: How to make sure they know your name.

22 Sports Biz

Departing players are hurting local retail sales.

24 Film Biz

Local actors can now audition from home.

26 Entrepreneur Biz

With brainstorming, it’s the more the merrier.

28 Biz Etiquette

How to network in the modern age

30 Tech Biz


Mobile Pay is catching on fast.

May 2015

How to sell your business

Workforce development

Summer is no longer cause for alarm.

Tips for securing a small business loan.

Upcoming events not to miss

Industry news

Q&A with Frank Quinn, general manager of The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk

Industry gatherings May 2015


Publisher’s Note

One Proud Papa


am honored to be the father of three great daughters. This month, one of them graduates from college.

In May the family will travel to the University of Mississippi in Oxford to attend Miranda’s graduation. She has earned Dean’s and Chancellor’s Honor Roll designations and will graduate with a bachelor of arts in elementary education, with an endorsement in special education and an emphasis in English and social studies. She is also a member of Delta Gamma, and the Kappa Delta Pi and Sigma Alpha Lambda honor societies. As you can tell, I’m extremely proud of her accomplishments and know she’ll make a great teacher, and I’m really looking forward to her return home – she’s a true New Orleans girl. Over the past 10 years, many business, political and civic leaders in New Orleans have made great strides in changing the economic climate. Because of their hard work, there are excellent opportunities for young people to come back home following college. I thank all of them for paving the way for not only my daughter, but for all New Orleans’ young people to return home for a career. I will do whatever I can to continue the mission of bringing our talent home. Miranda, your parents are proud of you. Welcome home. Todd Matherne


May 2015 May 2015


Meet the Sales Staff Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan is a seventh-generation New Orleanian and member of the Mayflower Society, who loves her city with a passion. She is a UNO alum who has more than 30 years of experience in both publishing and the nonprofit sector. Colleen enjoys art collecting, traveling the world and living life to its fullest. She has been known to organize fabulous events, both for herself and many charities in the New Orleans and San Francisco areas. You can reach Colleen at (504) 830-7215 or

Maegan O’Brien Sales Manager, Biz New Orleans Maegan O’Brien was born in New Orleans and raised on the Northshore in Mandeville, La. She graduated from Louisiana State University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in finance, but marketing and advertising are her true callings. She currently lives in Old Metairie and loves traveling, wining and dining, and spending time with family and great friends. You can reach Maegan at (504) 830-7219 or

Melissa Rehage Quijano Account Executive, Biz New Orleans Melissa Rehage Quijano was born and raised in New Orleans. She graduated from St. Mary’s Dominican, attended both LSU and UNO, and received a paralegal degree in 1996. She worked for 10 years as a paralegal in various law firms in New Orleans and then operated her own successful wedding photography business for 11 years. In addition to being on the Biz New Orleans team, she enjoys spending time with her two teenage children, cooking, the beach, 30A, laughing with friends, dancing every day and music. She has a love for shoes and lipstick. Her heart and soul is her children and everything New Orleans. You can reach Melissa at (504) 830-7225 or

Caitlin Sistrunk Account Executive, Biz New Orleans Caitlin Sistrunk was born in New Orleans and raised in Covington, La. She graduated from Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. While attending LSU, Caitlin fell in love with both marketing and advertising. She is ecstatic to begin her career as a sales associate with our new magazine. Caitlin loves painting, hanging with friends and cooking. You can reach Caitlin at (504) 830-7252 or 14

May 2015

Calendar Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

ACG Monthly Meeting 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The Roosevelt Hotel 130 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans

Thursday, May 7, 2015 BNI NOLA Networks Chapter Visitors Day 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Portobello Catering 400 E. William David Pkwy., Metairie Free event, call to reserve a spot (504) 833-8249

Thursday, May 7, 2015 2015 Women’s Business Alliance – Hotel Storyville with Goodwill Industries monthly networking event 5 – 7 p.m. Hotel Storyville 1261 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Day at the Legislature 8:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. State Capitol, Ellender Room, Baton Rouge Advanced registration required

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 ACG Louisiana Awards Reception 6 p.m. Dinner 7 p.m. The Roosevelt Hotel 123 Baronne Street, New Orleans

ABWA Crescent City Connections Monthly luncheon featuring Erica Olsen of Speak Simple 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Heritage Grill by Ralph Brennan 111 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 Prosper Jefferson Seminar Series: Emergency Preparedness 9 – 10 a.m. JEDCO Conference Center 700 Churchill Pkwy., Avondale

Thursday, May 28, 2015 Strictly Biz Night at Leviton® Monthly networking events by Biz New Orleans that bring local business leaders to your venue 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Leviton 334 Carondelet St., New Orleans Invitation only, for questions and to RSVP, contact Sara Kelemencky at

Thursday, May 28, 2015 Wednesday, May 13, 2015 Planning for Voluntary and Involuntary Changes in Your Business’ Ownership Presented by Baker Donelson, Capital One and Chaffe & Associates 4 – 6 p.m. Presentation followed by a cocktail reception Baker Donelson 201 St. Charles Ave., Suite 3600 Register online by May 6


May 2015

2015 Expedia Regional Travel Expo Featuring Hari Nair, President of North American Lodging Partner Services for Expedia 3 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Hyatt French Quarter 800 Iberville St., New Orleans

We’d love to include your business-related event in next month’s calendar. Please email details to May 2015


Columns | Dining Biz

Skim Milk Nation Today’s menus come with a healthy side of adjectives.

G Peter Reichard is a native New Orleanian who has written about the life and times of the city for more than 20 years, including as a former newspaper editor and business journalist.


May 2015

rowing up in the 1970s and ’80s, my idea of salad was a wedge of iceberg lettuce, a slice of tomato and a dollop of Thousand Island dressing. Bread was Bunny and white. Milk was full-fat, and nobody thought to ask whether Old MacDonald’s cows were shooting up recombinant bovine growth hormone. The primitive dietary civilization of my youth began to fracture one day in the late 1970s, when a visitor from a distant land – my little cousin Christopher from Minneapolis – declared, “I don’t like regular milk. I only like skim.” Among my siblings, those words became a catchphrase that represented picky eating. But I’d never even heard of skim milk until that day. It sounded horrible. Looking at the recent data collected by the National Restaurant Association on the culinary trends for 2015, it

struck me: We are becoming a nation of Christophers. Micro-distilled spirits. Heirloom apples. House-made pickles. Gourmet, freshly muddled lemonade. Free-range pork. Locally sourced, grass-fed beef culottes. Ancient grains. Artisanal ice cream. Organic, fair trade coffee. Never have menu items come with so many qualifiers. Someone ordering similar items 30 years ago would have said, “I’ll start with a gin and tonic, then have your salad. I’ll take those little sausages for an appetizer. Bring me a lemonade with my steak and rice. Ice cream and coffee for dessert. Thanks.” Back then, waiters had it easy. I’d hate to be a waiter nowadays. It must take an hour to rehearse the flowery details and socially conscious bona fides of the evening special. Of course, you can’t blame restaurants for giving people

what they want. And some of those things – like doughnuts, which remain popular – are still pretty straightforward. Among the items on a downward trend, you’ll find the strange - insects, flowers and “foam/froth/air” - mixed with the surprising: bacon-covered chocolate. At first glance, this trend toward persnickety dining would appear to spell trouble for old-school restaurants. My mind rushes to certain steakhouses around town, where the only variables on the menu are the cuts of steak and how many ounces they weigh. The “sides” (if that word is still permitted) might consist only of (a) potatoes au gratin or (b) fries. On the other hand, while the nation at large may be getting pickier, a significant number of people probably don’t want to feel like they need a degree in anthropology or microeconomics in order to fully contemplate the menu. In fact, these adjective-laden restaurant menus might drive an audience to restaurants that keep things simple. And the net result to the gastrosphere could be more variety. From a culinary standpoint, who can argue with that? So I guess you can have your cake – and eat your locally sourced ice cream/artisanal cupcake hybrid, too. n

Top 20 Food Trends for 2015 1. Locally sourced meats and seafood 2. Locally grown produce 3. Environmental sustainability 4. Healthful kids’ meals 5. Natural ingredients/minimally processed food 6. New cuts of meat 7. Hyper-local sourcing 8. Sustainable seafood 9. Food waste reduction/management 10. Farm/estate-branded items 11. Non-wheat noodles/pasta 12. Gluten-free cuisine 13. Ancient grains 14. Whole grain items in kids’ meals 15. Non-traditional fish 16. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items 17. Nutrition 18. House-made/artisan ice cream 19. Fruit/vegetable kids’ side items 20. Artisan cheeses Source: National Restaurant Association 2015 Culinary Forecast

Illustration Varijanta

Columns | Tourism Biz

As You Wish Tourists rely on them for advice and assistance, but where do hotel concierges turn to stay informed?


Margaret Quilter is an Australian expat whose tales of adventures abroad have been published in international magazines. Check out her weekly blog, “Tourism Biz” at BizNewOrleans. com.


May 2015

hile there may be no such thing as a genie in a magic bottle, the hotel concierge comes close. “As long as it is moral, legal, ethical and kind, I can do whatever you need done,” says Travis Gilbert, president of the New Orleans Concierge Association and a concierge at Le Meridien New Orleans. “Sometimes I have to get a little creative to figure it out, but if it is illegal like ticket brokering and escorts, I won’t judge you; I just say, I’m sorry it is not legal in Louisiana so I can’t assist you with that,” Gilbert says. He can, however, find a dress on Mardi Gras day for a guest to wear to the Rex ball, even if it means jumping parade barricades to pick the dress up from a concierge colleague at another hotel.

“I get to do the fun stuff,” says Gilbert. “Once the guests are all checked in, they come and see me, and I find that memorable experience for them.” It’s often up to the concierge to put forth an array of New Orleans offerings, from the well-beaten path of the French Quarter to jumping on a streetcar to explore a little further. “I look for the tour company that best suits my clientele at the moment, and this changes from hotel to hotel,” says Gilbert. “I had a more upscale clientele at the Windsor Court Hotel, so we booked a lot more private and personalized tours. Here at the Le Meridien, it is more relaxed and I can spread out.” But with so much going on around the city at all times, and so many tourism-related

businesses vying for attention, how do concierges stay on top of all the options? Peter Van Dusen, public relations and social media director at the New Orleans Concierge Association and concierge at the Omni Royal Orleans, says he stays abreast of what is happening around the city in part by constantly reading all available publications. “We do a lot of reading - online and in print,” says Van Dusen. “Networking with concierge colleagues is the greatest resource, though – you never know what you are going to get asked, and if I don’t know, I am sure one of my colleagues will.” Gilbert says that tourism-based businesses looking to get their name and services out in the most constructive way need only reach out to the New Orleans Concierge Association (NOCA) and ask to be a presenter at one of NOCA’s monthly meetings. “NOCA is constantly networking and sharing information on new businesses and places,” says Gilbert. “We have monthly meetings where the first part is educational - I’ll invite three or four local businesses to come and speak, and bring brochures or any information they have. It is a great way for [businesses] to get out there.” Members of NOCA are required to go through a screening process. To join, the concierge must be employed by a hotel for six months or more and be sponsored by a current member of NOCA, someone who can speak on their behalf. A letter of recommendation from their hotel’s general manager is also required. Of the 53 professional concierges who are members of NOCA, 10 are also part of “Les Clefs d’Or,” the prestigious International Society of Concierges. Without NOCA, Gilbert and Van Dusen say their jobs would be much harder. “It has become a very big positive for me,” Gilbert says. “It has been great to have that network and lifeline.” To learn more about NOCA, visit n Photo Thinkstock May 2015


Columns | Sports Biz

No Player, No Sales Local retailers see merchandise sales plummet with each departure.

T 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.


May 2015

he New Orleans Saints entered both this year’s and last year’s offseason millions of dollars over the NFL’s mandated salary cap – a fact that has forced the team to cut or trade away several stars, including tight end Jimmy Graham, running backs Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles, wide receiver Lance Moore, linebacker Curtis Lofton and safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper. The bloodletting of fan favorites has pulled at the heartstrings of the team’s followers, but it has also played havoc with the bottom line of Saints merchandise retailers. At shops across town, inventory of former Saints-related merchandise has been reduced by 50 percent or more. “The value changes in an instant,” says Lauren LeBlanc,

owner of Fleurty Girl, a local retailer whose five shops focus on New Orleans-themed items, none more popular than her line of locally inspired T-shirts. LeBlanc’s business took off when locals supported her after the NFL sent her a cease-anddesist letter regarding her “Who Dat” shirts. In order to make the best of the remaining inventory, LeBlanc says she uses various methods, including social media, to notify fans of an immediate reduction on a recently departed player’s merchandise. “We had Jimmy Graham back stock ready for August preseason games. Now, they’re half off,” she says. “We had to discount them from $30 to $15. We’re hoping for an emotional reaction, which results in a purchase. You’ve got to strike

while the iron’s hot.” And sometimes, you just have to take a loss. “We have to be so careful with inventory, purchasing and printing,” LeBlanc says. “But unexpected trades, cuts and injuries are part of the game and something we have to deal with. We’re still sitting on some Sproles shirts a year after he was traded.” With all of the moves the Saints have made to get under the salary cap while still remaining competitive, many fans wondered about the possibility of the team trading 36-year-old quarterback Drew Brees. But general manager Mickey Loomis gave fans’ and retailers’ nerves a chance to calm when he announced in mid-March that such talk about the greatest Saint was unsubstantiated. Like all diehards, LeBlanc says she’s got faith in the team and the city. While her sales would likely take a hit should Brees depart the Saints, she feels New Orleans would have the most to lose. “We’re glad he’s not going anywhere,” she said. “We love what he does for the city. That’s the most important thing.” n

Illustration Antoine Passelac May 2015


Columns | Film Biz

Hired from Home For local actors, the next casting couch could be their own.


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 and is thrilled to be covering its emersion in her newly adopted home.


May 2015

re you an actor who’d love to audition for a role without leaving your house? Well, keep your slippers on, because you’re in luck. As of April 1, actors in Southern Louisiana can now subscribe to a service that allows them to do just that – find out about local casting calls, access audition lines and tape themselves from an iPhone or tablet. From there, they can just upload footage directly onto the site for filmmakers to see. “Remote auditions have, of course, been done before in kind of an ad hoc way,” says Vinay Bhagat, cofounder and CEO of Hollywood Casting and Film, the company responsible for creating the online audition web portal hometowncast- “People would tape themselves with a camcorder, then send that tape to their agent, who then sends it to the director. This is a very simplified process. We don’t know of anyone else doing this.” Hollywood Casting and Film has been hosting online auditions for California actors since its 2012 founding. Since that time, thousands have paid a monthly subscription fee in exchange for the chance to both audition for roles online and create their own profile, which filmmakers can view. Roles come from local projects, as well as the company’s own production facilities, which have hosted “The Arsenio Hall Show,” and CNBC’s “The Prophet,” as well as programs for The Discovery Channel, Nickelodeon

and a series of award-winning short films. Following its success in Hollywood, Bhagat says the move to Hollywood South was a natural one. “Obviously Louisiana was one of the first markets we looked at when it came time to expand,” he says. “We were looking for areas of the country with a particularly strong makeup of creative people and a good industry presence.” Louisiana was one of five markets chosen for the portal’s debut outside California – the others include Austin, Nashville, Memphis and Atlanta. Southern Louisiana actors have the choice of either a free membership to the site, which allows them to view local casting notices, or a paid membership, where, for a monthly fee of $10 to $16, depending on contract length, they can audition for films. Currently the site is casting for eight short locally- shot titles. Vinay says that all eight films casting through the site are being produced by Hollywood Casting and Film, but the company intends to recruit as many filmmakers to use the service as possible. “A service like this will mean that within just a few hours of a casting call they can start seeing people. They’ll then be able to whittle the pool down to maybe the top 10 percent before ever having to rent any casting space.” With virtually every other industry taking advantage of today’s digital revolution – saving both time and money – its’ great to see Hollywood finally jumping in. n May 2015


Columns | Entrepreneur Biz It Pays to be Social They say nature abhors a vacuum, and entrepreneurs should as well. While it is natural to want to protect your ideas, they will almost certainly benefit from some focused brainstorming with other forward-thinking, innovative people. Plugging in with fellow entrepreneurial types offers you more than just a sounding board for your ideas. You’ll access tips on financing, marketing and other key aspects of launching and operating a business. You may also find opportunities to participate in entrepreneurial workshops, contests and seminars, and you’ll have the support and motivation of people who are experiencing the same challenges, frustrations - and hopefully successes - as you. Local organizations like Propeller and Idea Village are a great source for events and gatherings - such as Entrepreneur Week in March - and other functions that bring together adventurous, enterprising minds.

Which Came First:

the Entrepreneur or the Idea? Group brainstorming sessions create an entrepreneurial mindset ripe for innovation.

S 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 macrobusiness levels.


May 2015

ome people come up with a great idea for a product or service and become entrepreneurs to turn that idea into a business. Others start with an entrepreneurial mindset, then begin casting around for ideas. I’ve been speaking with entrepreneurial types around the country recently, and there are a surprising number who fall into the latter category. One particularly interesting model is a group that includes Patrick Traughber of San Francisco. He and a cohort of fellow entrepreneurs follow running or cycling outings with brainstorming sessions. Traughber worked for city government and a video game company prior to

launching his own business. Both environments promoted innovative thinking and problem-solving, which he says is the genesis of many ideas the group hashes out. “We look for something that solves a problem, or improves on an existing solution,” he explains. “When my partner and I started our business, we made a list of things we wished we had, then began researching from there.” Traughber says he also looks at ways to break down larger problems. “Sometimes finding a partial solution still provides a viable opportunity, which in turn can lead to larger opportunities,” he says. “You might start with a better way to make seat selections on plane

flights and end up creating a new airline.” Traughber emphasizes the positive nature of the group’s brainstorming. “There are always a million reasons why something won’t work,” he says. “We focus on ways to make it work.” Though not formally structured – they don’t even have a name for themselves – most members of the group have known each other for many years. This creates a level of trust that enables a free flow of ideas, Traughber says, noting that there are so many opportunities that there is little concern over competition. Today’s fast-paced world also means that ideas can be tested quickly. “With the technologies we have today, you can build a prototype over the weekend and show it to your friends on Monday,” Traughber says. “If they like it, you pursue it. If not, you drop it.” He notes that the same principle holds true in the marketplace. “Many ideas can be rolled out on a small scale first, and if they don’t work, it doesn’t cost much.” Above all, Traughber and his group maintain a constant level of excitement. “You can build stuff so quickly that can affect so many people,” he says. “This is a really fun time to be creative!” n Illustration Thinkstock May 2015


Columns | Biz Etiquette

First, Put Your Phone Away The do’s and don’ts of networking in the modern age.

F Melanie Warner Spencer is editor of

New Orleans Bride Magazine. Her writing has appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, the Houston Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters. Spencer’s ever-expanding library of etiquette books is rivaled only by her everready stash of blank thank-you notes. Submit business etiquette questions to Melanie@


May 2015

or a lucky few, networking is as natural and effortless a feat as texting is for most, if not all, tweens and teenagers. For others of us, however, it’s a learned skill that requires practice in order to do it with any level of confidence or effectiveness. Business networking is rife with etiquette issues, so much so that there was a time when executives on the rise were commonly sent to etiquette training. While large, well-funded companies continue this practice - at thousands of dollars per corporate seminar and hundreds for one-on-one training - it’s not in the budget for every business. The majority of businesspeople today, in fact, receive little if any etiquette training, business or otherwise. Couple this with the fact that “76 percent of American adults think their fellow Americans are becoming ruder

and less civilized,” (2011 survey by Rasmussen Reports) and you’ve got a veritable minefield of professional calamities. Avoid the pitfalls by keeping in mind a few hard-and-fast rules the next time you network. n Introduce yourself and state your name slowly and clearly to the other party or parties. Be sure to repeat the names of those new to you a few times during the conversation, to help yourself remember them. n Be aware of your body language, especially if you are at a large function. Crossed arms are uninviting, so keep your stance and your arms open and welcoming. n Speaking of language, watch yours. Cursing has become more acceptable both on TV and in real life, but it’s best to get to know the other parties a little better before dropping any four-letter words.

n Don’t interrupt when someone else has the floor. Listen, pause, then respond. Or just listen. Most people rarely feel heard, so a good listener has an advantage over an interrupter. n Don’t look at your smartphone. Whether you are at a business lunch or dinner or a networking cocktail party, your phone should be out of sight and out of mind. If you must make or take a call, excuse yourself and go to another room or outside. Do not, under any circumstances, use your phone in front of your fellow networkers, unless it’s to add their contact information. n Once you have that contact information, be sure to follow up within two days. It’s best to include a link to an interesting article or something relevant to your conversation, rather than just a pitch. This shows the other party you care about more than just your own needs and bottom line and helps build the relationship. n Handshakes are still the proper business greeting in the United States. Make eye contact and keep it firm, but not crushing. A weak handshake is undesirable, so practice if you must, because your handshake is often the first chance you have to make an impression. n Don’t hog the conversation, especially at large gatherings. Be mindful of how long you are talking and of the engagement or lack thereof of your listeners. Nobody likes a bore. Keep it brief and always leave them wanting more. With that last one in mind, eight is enough tips for this month’s column. If you want more, please follow up in a couple of days with an email and do feel free to include an interesting link. Don’t forget to introduce yourself. Happy networking. n

Photo Thinkstock May 2015


Columns | Technology

Time to Leave Your Wallet at Home? Mobile Pay is the future, and the future is here.

T Jason Perry is Director of the Drupal Practice at Fig Leaf Software. Maybe you’ll see him swiping for a 6-pack at Walgreens, but in the meantime follow him at @jasonmperry


May 2015

his weekend I ran to Whole Foods Market to grab a few things, but this time I didn’t swipe my Capital One credit card. I reached for my iPhone 6 plus, scanned my thumb on the home button, and wham! I was done. The whole process can feel surreal, like something from a futuristic movie.  In many outlets you may notice signs that say “We accept Google Wallet and Apple Pay.” Those retailers have upgraded their purchase terminals with NFC, Near Field Communications.  With NFC you can check out with a phone or watch by holding your device within 7 or so inches of the terminal. The data transmitted over NFC is secure, and both Google and Apple require a thumbprint or PIN to authenticate the transaction. As more banks and retails stores sign on, mobile payments are destined to become the way

we shop at major retail outlets. But think about that statement - major retail outlets. In New Orleans we have a handful of large companies adopting mobile payments - Walgreens, Whole Foods and Winn-Dixie come to mind.  But what about the mom-and-pop stores that line Magazine Street? When will you be able to wave your phone at that bar on Frenchmen Street and pay your long-standing tab? For those companies I’m here to tell you that the barrier to entry is smaller than you think.   Retailers currently pay a fee for every debit or credit card transaction that equals a percentage of the total sale. When a card is not physically present – like for online payments – that fee is typically higher. However, with Apple Pay the fee to the retailer is inline with rates when a card is present (generally around 2 percent of a transaction). Mobile or online purchases made through

Apple Pay online or with apps still charge the higher rate. If you’ve purchased something from a small business or new entrepreneur, you have likely already experienced Square – a card reader that plugs into the headphone jack of a mobile phone or tablet. Square is one of the latest ways smaller merchants have been able to enjoy the benefits of being able to accept credit and debit cards, without the typically high monthly costs or minimums that some cardswiping companies require. Square plans to take the next step and offer a new card reader that also processes mobile payments, such as Apple Pay, later this year. The convenience of mobile pay is an obvious draw for shoppers, but this form of payment can also be more secure, allowing customers to avoid handing over a card that contains a wealth of information. Instead, shoppers use a unique and one-time-only “token” to complete the transaction safely. This way, a shopper doesn’t pass along any information that could be used for identity theft or captured in a large breach like we’ve seen at retailers such as Target and The Home Depot. An Apple Pay token, or unique transaction id, transmits all of the information for a single purchase without using the credit or debit card number.  This makes the transaction much more unique and less traceable.  It also means the actual number is never presented to the retailer. But what does mobile pay mean for retailers? Possibly, bigger sales. It turns out that iPhone users are typically good spenders. According to a digital analytics benchmark by IBM in 2014, iPhone users are three times more likely to purchase mobile goods, and spend close to $21 more per online order.  If similar online purchasing statistics apply to mobile payments, Apple Pay is clearly where retailers want to be. n Illustration Thinkstock May 2015


Biz Bits - Industry News Around town

The rental boon – both locally and nationally – has been fueled by demographic changes like the growing Millennial population and a rediscovery of metropolitan urban cores. -Tammy Esponge, association executive of the Apartment Association of Greater New Orleans, regarding a recently released study by the National Multifamily Housing Council and National Apartment Association, which reported that the apartment industry and its residents contributed $2 billion and supported 21,500 jobs in the New Orleans metropolitan area in 2013.

Medical Students Choosing to Stay Ninety-eight of the 175 graduating LSU medical students who participated in this year’s National Resident Match Program (56 percent) chose to remain in Louisiana to complete their medical training. The LSU Health New Orleans residency programs in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles and Bogalusa matched 207 new residents. Since national studies have found that a high number of physicians set up their permanent practices in the areas where they completed their residency programs, match results figure prominently in Louisiana’s physician workforce. In the midst of a nationwide shortage of primary care physicians, the good news continues for Louisiana – 57 percent of LSU Health New Orleans medical graduates have chosen to go into primary care.

Downtown NOLA Awards Accepting Applications On September 18, the 4th Annual Downtown NOLA Awards will celebrate five honorees who have made a positive impact on the Downtown area. Submissions are due by May 31, 2015. For more information, visit

STEDF Announces Workforce Development Series The St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation (STEDF) will host a seven-part series on area workforce development from April through November. All area business leaders are invited to attend. “We hope this series will increase your knowledge of workforce opportunities, connect you to resources for workforce enhancement and training, and provide insight about the future needs and trends of the workforce in our region,” says Ashley Cangelosi Llewellyn, programs manager for STEDF. All events will be held on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the STEDF conference room. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. Registration is required and is open in the month prior to each event. Remaining events include: May 19: Manufacturing June 23: Digital Media July 14: Construction and Coastal Restoration Sept. 22: Energy, Oil and Gas Oct. 13: Education and Training – Jump Start, Two-Year- and Four-Year-Colleges Nov. 10: To be determined

We’d love to include your business-related news in next month’s Biz Bits. Please email details to 32

May 2015

Biz New Orleans Publisher Named Small Business Person of the Year Todd Matherne, CEO of Renaissance Publishing – publishers of seven local magazines, including New Orleans Magazine, St. Charles Avenue and Biz New Orleans – has been named the “Small Business Person of the Year” by the Louisiana Small Business Association. The award ceremony will take place May 5 at the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge.

Captain D’s Seeks Louisiana Entrepreneurs Captain D’s, the leading national fast casual seafood restaurant (ranked by average unit volume), is seeking entrepreneurs in Louisiana to open 10 to 15 restaurants in the greater Baton Rouge area. The company currently has seven restaurants located throughout the state, and is focusing current expansion efforts on the Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Mary and West Baton Rouge parishes. Captain D’s closed the year by reporting a 4.1 percent system-wide same-store sales increase, marking the company’s fourth consecutive year of same-store sales growth. According to company figures, new restaurants are averaging $1.6 million in sales.

Local Welder Wins Gold Metairie resident Waylin Brandon (center) took home the gold in pipe welding March 6 at the Associated Builders and Contractors National Craft Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Nearly 200 professionals competed for top honors in 15 competitions across 12 crafts in order to be recognized as top professionals in the construction industry. Brandon is employed by River Construction in Belle Chasse.

Recent Opening

Graduates from New Orleans Works Medical Assistant Training Program Now Top 150 On March 3, 24 students completed a four-month medical assistant training program provided through a partnership between Ochsner Health System, Delgado Community College, Providence Community Housing and the Greater New Orleans Foundation. With this class, the total number of graduates now tops 150 since the program’s inception two years ago. In addition to providing graduates with jobs upon graduation, the program is unique in that it offers tuition support, as well as help with transportation, daycare, rental assistance and utilities. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assisting is one of the nation’s fastest growing careers, due to the surge of medical care needed to assist a growing number of elderly Americans.

Legacy Kitchen On April 8, NOHSC Restaurant Groups, creators of Legacy Kitchen, opened the restaurant’s newest location at 700 Tchoupitoulas Street. In addition to enjoying American fare and classic, crafted cocktails, all diners are offered the opportunity to add a donation onto their check to the Better Than Ezra Foundation, which supports music programs in local schools. May 2015



May 2015

The Ultimate Juggling Act 36

May 2015

Photo by Jeff Johnston

From tackling bedtime to increasing the bottom line, local “mompreneurs” do it all. By Kim Singletary


ompreneur: Coined by two leading authorities on womenowned businesses, Ellen H. Parlapiano and Patricia Cobe, during the late 1990s, the term now refers to women who constantly endeavor to balance the demands of motherhood and running their own business. Here in Southeast Louisiana, we have quite a few examples of successful, well-known mom-run businesses, including Fleurty Girl (Lauren LeBlanc), ZukaBaby (Erin Reho Pelias), FuzziBunz (Tereson Dupuy) and The Occasional Wife (Kay Morrison). In fact, the Ruth of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse – founded here in New Orleans in 1965 - was a divorced mother of two when she mortgaged her house to buy her first restaurant. The chain that bears her name now boasts nearly 140 locations worldwide. Nationally, women-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of small business growth – growing at one-and-a-half times the national average. Women currently make up 38 percent of selfemployed workers in this country. However, according to a report last year by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana ranked a dismal 47th out of 50 in its percentage of businesses that are women-owned. In an effort to inspire more women to follow their passion, and in honor of Mother’s Day this month, Biz New Orleans takes a look at local mompreneurs from seven different industries that you may not know, but should. Whether drawn to take on the demands of two all-consuming occupations at once by a desire to control their own schedule, leave a legacy for their children or make a difference in the world (or a combination of all three) all are examples of real wonder women determined to leave their mark on the city they love.

Left to right: Tabitha Bethune of The Wild Reserve and Cherie Melancon Franz of Thinkerella are among a dynamic group of local women juggling the demands of motherhood and owning a business. Photo by Greg Miles May 2015



Nurture Nannies - Nicole Fraser


Founded: December 2011 Business: Nurture Nannies provides families with full and parttime nanny services, as well as regular or short-term babysitting and overnight nannies. Services are also available to guests of local hotels. Success: In 2012, Fraser employed three nannies and grossed under $50,000. Just two years later, the company had grown to 29 nannies, with over 100 active clients and was grossing $250,000. “We’re on a hiring kick right now,” Fraser says. “This year’s going to be even better.” The Journey: A Tulane law school graduate, Fraser intended to return to practicing law after becoming a mother but had problems finding childcare. “We have a particular parenting style – we are vegetarians, I was big on breastfeeding – and I was having a hard time finding a nanny that would respect those choices,” she says, noting she caught one potential nanny sneaking her son a ham sandwich. Frustrated by agencies that “charged astronomical fees just to start a conversation,” it was a conversation with her sister (a nanny) that spurred Fraser to leave law behind and create her own service.

Tartine and Toast - Cara Benson Founded: June 2010 and April 2014 Business: Named for its signature open-faced sandwiches served on baguettes, Tartine is an Uptown New Orleans restaurant that also serves regular sandwiches, salads, soups and breakfast. In less than four years, demand for increased breakfast offerings inspired Benson to create Toast, a bakery and breakfast bar, less than 2 miles away. Success: Just blocks from Audubon Park, Tartine quickly became a popular lunch spot for the nearby universities. “We get a lot of faculty, especially women,” Benson says. After just a few years, business was strong enough to support a second offering. “I signed the lease on Toast and was a bit surprised to find out I was pregnant with my second child one month later,” Benson says. The Journey: Born and raised in New Orleans, Benson is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City. After three and a half years working as a sous chef for Muriel’s Jackson Square, she had her first child. “It was so much harder returning to my 50-hours-a-week schedule,” she says, noting it was her dad that convinced her to take the leap and open her own business four months after becoming a mom. With a mix of savings, help from her parents and a loan, Benson raised the $60,000 it took to open Tartine at the site of a former hair salon. Kids: Teller, age 5 and Louis, age 6 months Finding Balance: “I love taking the kids in to work, and they love it, too. Teller loves the restaurants and I love that he’s seeing what his mom can do.” Lessons Learned: “I’ve found having the two restaurants is actually easier - at least financially - than one. When one’s not busy, the other is.” Advice to Entrepreneurs: “Have enough money to carry you through for a while. I thought I’d make a profit in a month or two – it was more like a year.” The Future: “Eventually I’d love to open more Toast restaurants.”


May 2015

Kid: Jude, age 4 Finding Balance: “I guess it’s ironic that my search for a nanny has actually enabled me to be able to stay home with my child full time,” she says, noting that after two or three phone and in-person meeting with a potential nanny she will commonly bring her son in to help with the process. “I want to see how they interact with a child - how they engage.” Lessons Learned: “A friend of mine advised me early on to keep my overhead as small as I could. Thankfully I did, because that’s all that allowed me to survive that first summer lull.” Advice to Entrepreneurs: “Be cautious, but have no fear. Make

Photos by Cheryl Gerber

sure your bases are covered – the lawyer in me, I guess – but then go for it. The worst thing that will happen is you’ll have to think of something else.” The Future: “I’m extremely hands-on. I do all the vetting and meet with every family. I’m very much invested in every client relationship and I like it that way. Of course that limits growth, but I’m OK with that.”

Finding Balance: Hobley’s daughter, Morgan, now works as a stylist at Ringletts. “She’s the reason I do everything,” Hobley says. “If I make this work, I will have this legacy to leave to her.” Lessons Learned: “With my first salon I was working IN my business but not ON my business. It wasn’t until I took the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses class that I learned the real meat and potatoes of running a business.” Advice to Entrepreneurs: “Failure is going to happen. Through failure you learn. If you can remember that, you got it.” The Future: “I’d like to eventually bring Ringletts, and our express services, to every major city in the country.”


Thinkerella - Cherie Melancon Franz Founded: March 2014 Business: A science lab for kids ages 3 to 13, Thinkerella offers safe, fun, STEAM-based activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) through birthday parties, scout sessions, workshops, summer camps and after-school sessions for both boys and girls throughout Greater New Orleans. Success: Over 1,500 kids have experienced Thinkerella since its opening last year. ThinkerKids, the company’s after-school pro-


Ringletts Salon - Mindy Porche Hobley Founded: 2005, reopened in 2008 Business: New Orleans’ largest multicultural hair salon, Ringletts’ 1,700-square-foot location includes 14 stylists and 1 esthetician. Success: The salon’s second location is set to open by July. “It’s a partnership with the Hilton Riverside Downtown that connects to the Riverwalk,” she says. “We’ll offer express salon services to locals and vacationers/cruisers with any type of hair that are short on time.” The Journey: A native of Glynn, Louisiana, Hobley came to New Orleans to attend John Jay Beauty College when she was just 17. While in her early 20s with a 3-year-old daughter, she opened her first salon, Elements, in 1997. “I made a ton of mistakes,” Hobley laughs. “I had no plan, no vision and I never looked at my financials.” Three years in, she closed the salon, returning five years later to found Ringletts in Lakeview, just five months before Hurricane Katrina. “We had 10 feet of water,” Hobley says. “It was devastating.” After retreating to Glynn, Louisiana, she says she was soon inundated with calls from clients, now scattered throughout the country. “Three months after the storm I had a lineup of people waiting for me to do their hair out of my father’s garage.” Three years later her old Elements location became available and Ringletts was born. Kid: Morgan Elizabeth Taylor, age 20 Photos by Cheryl Gerber

gram launched this school year, currently includes 23 programs in 17 elementary schools in Greater New Orleans. Franz hires local teachers, both to facilitate these after-school sessions and develop the projects and coordinating lessons. “By the end of May I will have paid out approximately $20,000 in supplemental income to local teachers. I’m very proud of that.” Thinkerella has a storefront for parties in Uptown and just opened its second location in Mandeville on April 11. The Journey: A stay-at-home mom for 11 years, Franz’s muse struck after taking her daughter to a spa-themed birthday party last year. “On the way home I was thinking to myself, that’s not May 2015


really the message that I want to be sending my daughter and her friends. They’re all beautiful, but they can be so much more.” Franz’s husband then challenged her. “What would you do different?’” he said. “By the next day I had the idea, the name and the logo.” Using her $3,000 tax return, Thinkerella was born. Kids: Annabelle, age 12, and Ethan, age 8 Finding Balance: “I’m in the shop everyday while my kids are at school. Then I’m home for homework and dinner,” she says. “Many nights I go back after they’re asleep.” Franz’s children also serve as models for her company’s logos – Annabelle for Thinkerella and Ethan for the male counterpart, Thinkerfellas. Lessons Learned: “If I’ve learned anything through all this it’s that if you treat your employees well, they will do their job well,” she says. “I believe in paying teachers well for the work they do. We also have a Facebook group where they can discuss successes and failures and offer support and ideas.” Advice to Entrepreneurs: “Having a business is like parenting really – you don’t know what you’re doing, so there’s a lot of trial and error. Early on Kay [Morrison, owner of The Occasional Wife] told me, ‘There’s always going to be a fire to put out. Don’t dwell on it. Just learn to roll with the punches.’ That’s so true.” The Future: “I’d like to make Thinkerella a national brand. People think I am already, which makes me think I’m on the right track.”

also a classroom for educating designers on everything from pattern making to manufacturing, its own manufacturing area and a private showroom. Success: Wild Life Reserve has helped launch 16 fashion brands and resurrected three more. In March, Bethune won both the Urban League of Greater New Orleans’ 2015 Women in Business Challenge (and $10,000) and the Downtown Development District’s Downtown NOLA Arts-Based Business Pitch. The Journey: Born and raised in New Orleans, Bethune and her husband, Micaiah, are both designers – Bethune creates dresses and evening gowns, while Micaiah began selling ties at the Freret Street Market in 2008. It wasn’t long before other designers were coming to them for advice. “I’m a designer, but my real passion is for the business side of fashion,” Bethune says. “I believe fashion is about telling stories, and I love to help people to do that.” In an effort to help other designers, the fashion incubator was born. The company’s f lagship location opened in February of last year. Kids: Jasmine, age 15, and Olivia, age 9 Finding Balance: “Every time I travel for work I bring my kids – whether that’s Brooks Brothers in New York, or showrooms and fabric houses. Thursday nights we also set aside to be together. Nothing comes between that.” Lessons Learned: “It’s so important to take time for yourself. I believe that’s one of the most important things I do, both for myself and my kids. Even just to take a moment to be alone can make a world of difference.” Advice to Entrepreneurs: “You can’t do it alone. It’s important to have support. You also need to have a time frame set when you go to accomplish something. If it’s not accomplished, you need to move on to something else.” The Future: “My goal is simple: I just want my girls to be able to look back and say, ‘My mom helped a lot of people.’ I want to teach them to be helpers – people who care.”


The Remedy Room - Dr. Mignonne Mary


The Wild Life Reserve - Tabitha Bethune Founded: 2008 Business: The Wild Life Reserve is a retail and collaborative design space that produces limited and short-run goods, “building brands and protecting fashion.” Located just off the intersection of St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street, the company’s location boasts not just a retail space (which features designs from the company’s lines, as well as local and international brands), but


May 2015

Founded: July 2013 Business: A medical clinic with a spa-like feel, The Remedy Room offers infusion therapies of f luids and vitamins designed to help with everything from the common cold, to hangovers, to boosting athletic performance. “We see a ton of tired moms and executives,” she says. “The basic idea is that you can’t heal the body if it’s not hydrated and nutritionally sound.” Success: In business less than two years, The Remedy Room treated over 2,000 people last year, and business is growing. “It’s pretty much all through word of mouth – people are feeling better, and they’re telling their friends and family,” she says. The Journey: The daughter of Dr. Charles Mary Jr., a pioneer in IV nutrients, Dr. Mignonne Mary grew up personally experiencing the benefits of her father’s work. “When we were sick, that’s how he would treat us,” she says. “Colds, f lus, all of it, and we would get well.” After graduating from LSU Medical School and working as an internist at the family business, the Mary Medical Clinic, Dr. Mary opened the Le Papillon Medi Spa at the Old Uptown Square in 2004. It was the first of its kind in the area – a single location with everything from yoga classes to Botox and laser hair removal

Photos by Cheryl Gerber May 2015


come to work for the company. Dolan was named as one of the 100 most innovative, inf luential and active people in tech and entrepreneurship in Louisiana, by Silicon Bayou News this year. The Journey: Originally from Houma, Dolan was working as an artist and graphic designer when she moved to Los Angeles with her husband in 2008. There, both worked as freelancers – she designing company websites while he wrote the code. “Eventually my husband got so busy that he began teaching me code so I could

- and was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Mary spent the next years focusing more on motherhood before she was drawn again to entrepreneurship - opening The Remedy Room in July 2013. Kids: Lynn, age 14, Eleanore, age 10, and Charlotte, age 5 Finding Balance: “The clinic is like a fourth child for me – it demands a lot of attention, but every night we always have dinner together as a family, that’s our time to really zero in on our kids’ days,” she says, noting that at least one of her daughters has already shown interest in continuing the family business. “My oldest thinks she wants to run the front desk this summer,” she laughs. Lessons Learned: “Having a business is like being on a roller coaster: it’s a ton of fun, but there’s definitely some scary parts. It’s exciting though – a complete rush.” Advice to Entrepreneurs: “Especially for moms, I’d say put your phone down when you walk in the door. I’m not going to lie and say I do this every day, but I try.” The Future: “Right now we’re trying to grow our own line of supplements and recently began offering a 10-day detox program to help those with drug and alcohol problems…Eventually, the goal is to take the company nationwide.”


FauDo and Get Online NOLA - Wendy Dolan Founded: 2010 and 2013 Business: Get Online NOLA specializes in building affordable websites for local small businesses and nonprofits by offering a customizable gallery of web designs. Dolan also offers teaching workshops. “We’ve become a resource. It’s not just a one-time web build and we’re gone,” she says. Success: Working from home, Dolan says she had such little overhead that she was profitable almost right away. From 2011 to 2012 her business grew by 100 percent. It grew by 50 percent last year. In October 2014, her husband was able to leave his job and 42

May 2015

help,” she says. “From there, I was hooked – I used online resources to keep learning. When Dolan got pregnant in 2010, the couple decided to move back to Louisiana, where her husband took a job and she decided to focus on FauDo, a full-service marketing company that she had founded that year. “I soon found that there were all these businesses that really needed websites but couldn’t afford my services, so I thought, ‘I’ll do something they can afford.’” Get Online NOLA was born. Kid: Kai, age 3 Finding Balance: “Working from home, I’ve had to become really strict about shutting off. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. every night I shut off my cell phone and do not check emails.” Lessons Learned: “While the typical gap is 67 cents on the dollar, women in technology are earning more like 95 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. After being surprised by my own love for coding, I’m now passionate about seeing more women consider themselves in different roles.” Advice to Entrepreneurs: “Listen to your clients – to what they want and need. For me, that was so valuable.” The Future: “Our big goal is to expand regionally. We hope to be in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Houma in the coming years.” n

Photos by Cheryl Gerber

a stunning collection of 50 traditional (and some non-traditional louisiana recipes. an absolute must have for your kitchen, or the perfect gift for a louisiana food lover.


to order visit May 2015



May 2015

Photo by Cheryl Gerber



The U.S. leader in cargo volume, the Port of South Louisiana is drawing billions in capital investments from foreign companies, and experts say this is just the beginning. By LUCIE MONK


eadquartered in LaPlace, the Port of South Louisiana stretches across three River parishes — St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Charles — in a Mississippihugging 54-mile stretch between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. But while Louisiana’s three largest ports all experience high traffic— each at a convergence of well-patronized river, road and rail transport — even with its rural posting, the Port of South Louisiana exceeds its big-city neighbors in Baton Rouge and New Orleans in world trade. In 2013, the port ranked No. 6 on a list of Top 10 Global Ports published by Supply Chain magazine, edging out major ports in the United Arab Emirates, Western Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom. A RECORD-BREAKING YEAR In 2014, the Port of South Louisiana set a cargo-volume record: 291.8 million tons passed through the port that year, up from 266.3 million tons in 2013. The port’s previous record happened in 2012, with 278.9 million tons handled that year. The port saw increased activity over 2013 on other fronts as well, including a 12 percent bump in water traffic (measured

by vessel calls and barge movements), a 26 percent increase in exports and a 9 percent increase in domestic trade. “I’m so very pleased and excited about the record-breaking tonnage figures,” says Paul Aucoin, executive director of the port. “They illustrate the port’s vitality and the importance of the port and the river region to our state and our country.” The past year’s numbers shatter not just the port’s individual record but also a tonnage record for the entire country. According to Aucoin, the port currently ranks first in the United States in three

The Port of South Louisiana headquarters in LaPlace.

major categories: largest tonnage, largest grain exporting terminal and largest energytransfer port. “We also have the second-largest foreign trade zone,” says Aucoin. The port’s $48 billion in foreign cargo handled is only bested by the Port of Memphis; Aucoin attributes that ranking to FedEx running its North American operations out of that city. On the whole, grain, chemicals/fertilizers and crude oil lead the increases in the Port of South Louisiana’s cargo, with the most May 2015


Kongsberg Maritime will model its new Louisiana Technical Support Center in St. Rose after the center the company has at its headquarters in Norway.

dramatic spikes in the past two years seen in the exports of crude oil — which experienced a whopping 1,783 percent growth from 2012 to 2014 — and chemicals/fertilizers, which increased during the same time by 753 percent. GIVING BACK According to the Ports Association of Louisiana, one out of every five jobs in the state owes its existence to the state’s port system. Together the 16 inland river ports, 6 deep draft ports and 9 coastal energy ports generate $20 billion in personal earnings dispersed through 400,000 jobs. The Port of South Louisiana, a deep draft port, contributed jaw-dropping numbers to the state’s economy between 2009-2013, according to an economic impact study published by Loren C. Scott and Associates (see chart/pullout). The economic boon created by the port has far-reaching effects. “Imagine an economic pond,” explains Dr. Loren C. Scott, of Loren C. Scott & Associates, which published a recent economic impact study on the port. “If you drop this rock called ‘PSL industries and jurisdiction’ [in the pond], the biggest splash will occur where the rock is — in those three parishes containing the port. But the ripple effects go all out across the state.” 46

May 2015

Specifically, the state can attribute $15.1 billion in sales between 2009 and 2013, along with an estimated 24,506 jobs, to Port of South Louisiana companies. ATTRACTING NEW BUSINESS The mere existence of the Port of South Louisiana draws businesses to the state, lured by the well-established infrastructure and access to international transportation. One such company is Kongsberg Maritime — a Norwegian technology company and offshoot of the conglomerate Kongsberg Gruppen. In January, the company purchased 5.2 acres in St. Rose. Kongsberg intends the acreage, located in the port’s James Business Park, for an 82,890-square-foot office and training facility, with room left over for future expansion. Kongsberg has operated a service facility out of James Business Park since 2003. The company currently occupies 35,000 square feet with 110 employees. According to Kongsberg President Jon Holvik, faith in the Gulf of Mexico market propelled the company to increase its presence at the port, undeterred from the large investment by the dipping offshore markets. “We believe the market will bounce back as it always does,” he says.

BY THE NUMBERS from 2009 — 2013, the Port of South Louisiana contributed to the regional economy to the tune of: n

$7.2 billion in construction spending


$8.7 billion in operational spending


$10.4 billion in sales


An average of 9,920 jobs per year

$87.6 million in indirect sales taxes for local governments n

In 2013, the Port was responsible for: n Household earnings of $467 million (10.5 percent of the region’s total earnings) n

10,166 jobs supported by capital spending

20,014 jobs supported by operational spending n


$12.2 billion in sales for regional firms

$1.3 billion in earnings from operational spending n

n Average salary of $60,033 (significantly higher than the average Louisiana wageworker’s salary of $43,992)

CHINA IN LOUISIANA Last summer, Yuhuang Chemical announced a $1.85 billion capital investment at the port with plans to erect a methanol manufacturing complex. “That’s the first Chinese company to locate within Louisiana,” says Aucoin. “We’re very proud of that.” At the methanol complex, Yuhuang estimates salaries will average around $85,000, a significant increase over current port salaries, which average between $55,000 and $65,000. Over 400 jobs at the company are planned, with indirect jobs expected to number over 2,300. Following the news of Yuhuang Chemical’s investment, Paris-based company Air Liquide announced a $170 million investment to provide oxygen supply to the complex, installing an air separation unit on the premises to produce oxygen, nitrogen and argon. FERTILE GROUNDS As to why the Port of South Louisiana looms larger in the international market than its riverside neighbors, Paul Aucoin points back toward the Mississippi River. The Port of South Louisiana claims a 54-mile stretch of the stream; 108 miles counting both banks. “There just aren’t as many miles or property at [the Ports of] New Orleans and Baton Rouge,” says Aucoin. “It’s a matter of who has land available, and we do.” The Port also provides its tenants access 48

May 2015

to low-cost natural gas in deep water. “We expect a plentiful supply of natural gas for the next 20 years, if not longer,” says Aucoin. THE NEXT GENERATION Among the thrilling rush of new business and incoming investments, Aucoin allows for a sobering concern: Does Louisiana have the manpower to accommodate this robust growth? To quickly expand the pool of local applicants in the region, the nearby River Parishes Community College and South Central Louisiana Technical College have opted for an educational express lane. “The colleges are working together to start a special program for a P. Tech [Professional Technologist] certification for students who already have four-year degrees,” says Aucoin. “It’s condensed to 16 weeks.” The idea for the “P. Tech Express” was gleaned from SOWELA Technical Community College in Lake Charles. (With the arrival of Sasol North America, a South African energy plant that will invest upward of $70 billion in the Port of Lake Charles, Southwest Louisiana has its own expanse of jobs to fill.) The first RPCC students graduate this month, just as the second class begins. Doty notes the accelerated certification program features instructors sourced from recently retired port employees paired with experienced students. “You’ve got students who have already

Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul G. Aucoin, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Charlie Yao, CEO of Yuhuang Chemical, among the foreign companies that have moved to the Port of South Louisiana..

finished a four-year degree,” says Doty. “They know what has to be done to finish an academic program.” After just 16 weeks (and still earning 38 credit hours), students are primed for a position at the Port. “It costs as much for those 38 credit hours as two years [of traditional schooling],” says Doty, “but you’ll be out in six months earning $25 or $35 an hour at the plants.” A BRIGHT FUTURE EXPECTED According to the port’s recent economic impact study, what we have seen thus far is just the beginning. In calculating the potential investments and expansions on the horizon, the study estimates a total of $12.8 billion in construction capital will be entering the region. “You’re going to find that your ability to provide better roads, better schools [will be] enhanced by these firms coming in,” says Scott. Aucoin hints to stay tuned. “We expect three to five more big announcements in the next year.” n


POWER LUNCH HOT SPOTS Close your next deal at one of these business’ friendly bistros.

Ralph’s on the Park

Heritage Grill by Ralph Brennan

900 City Park Avenue, Mid-City | (504) 488-1000

111 Veterans Blvd., Metairie | (504) 934-4900

At Ralph’s on the Park, the casually elegant dining room overlooking the picturesque lush greens and towering oaks of City Park provides the perfect backdrop for deals getting done, and the warm and comfortable bar is where the results are celebrated. Chef Chip Flanagan’s global interpretations of local cuisine are a guaranteed “bonus.”

Ralph Brennan’s Heritage Grill is Metairie’s go-to power lunch spot for mixing mid-day business with pleasure. Located inside Heritage Plaza office tower, it’s easily accessible from Metairie, mid-city and downtown. Free Parking and wifi, daily specials, comfortable seating, seamless service and Ralph Brennan hospitality.

The Boulé Bistro


326 Lee Lane, Covington | (985) 888-1146

214 Royal St. | (504) 681-4444

The Boulé Bistro, located in the heart of downtown Covington, features contemporary creole cuisine and well-known for perfect steaks and delicious prime rib. The Boulé Bistro offers daily specials for lunch and dinner, with an upscale environment to enjoy your business lunch and treat your client to exceptional food.

Criollo Restaurant, located in the heart of the French Quarter, features a menu that highlights the blended flavors and cultures of New Orleans. Criollo’s ingredient-driven, seasonal menu is designed to offer creative dishes inspired by culinary traditions and an appreciation of today’s contemporary tastes. The open kitchen creates an air of excitement as patrons can watch the chefs creating culinary masterpieces. May 2015


Guest View Point

How to Build Your Business to Sell The biggest mistake owners make is they don’t plan their exit strategy from the beginning.


Michelle Seiler-Tucker is a founder and president of Capital Business Solutions, Better Business Brokers and several other businesses. She is the best-selling author of “Sell Your Business for More Than It’s Worth” and “Think & Grow Rich Today.”


May 2015

here are 30 million businesses in this country, but the reality is that eight out of 10 of them can’t be sold. Sadly, instead of selling for top dollar, securing themselves for the next stage in their life, many business owners end up selling for pennies on the dollar, closing their doors or filing for bankruptcy. The solution is as simple as it is complicated. However, common sense is not as common as it once was. No one ever plans to fail; they fail to plan. In order to build your business to sell for its optimal selling price, you need to take action now on what I call the “Six P’s”: People, Product, Process, Proprietary, Patrons and Profits. 1. PEOPLE - If you do not have an assistant, you are the assistant. As my friend Donald Trump advises, “Surround yourself with people smarter than you.” I cannot stress the

importance of hiring intelligent, loyal and hardworking employees. This is crucial to your business’s worth. 2. PRODUCT - Product uniqueness increases a company’s value immensely. Make sure your product fills a void, offers a niche and creates the highest demand. 3. PROCESS - Process is the key to a buyer’s heart. Create an automatic, systematic, sustainable and seamless process that is proprietary, productive and cost effective. Essentially, the show must be able to go on once you’re gone.  4. PROPRIETARY - The more intellectual property you have, the more valuable your company will be and the more buyers you will attract. Ninety-five percent of businesses are not properly branded. Make sure you’re building your company and personal brand. Ask yourself the following: Is your industry

unique? Do you have a niche? Any patents, trademarks/ trade secrets/recipes, exclusive contracts and/or a healthy database? Brands and databases create big value. They are the reason why Facebook paid billions for Instagram and Whatsapp. The Coke brand alone is worth billions.  5. PROFITS - Many owners have high revenues with very little to no profit. It’s imperative to manage costs, to know your industry standard’s profit margins and to work diligently on increasing your bottom line. It’s not what you make, but what you keep that will entice buyers to pay you more. 6. PATRONS - Customers are the fuel to all businesses without them you’ll run out of gas. It’s imperative to maintain current clients while obtaining new ones. Buyers will not consider a business without a healthy customer base. Know your customer acquisition cost and run effective marketing campaigns to expand your brand. Roll out the red carpet and continue to provide “wow” client experiences. Remember, it’s much more cost effective to keep happy customers than it is to find new ones.     Finally, always inspect what you expect so that you can protect what you do! Delegate to your team; Trust, but verify. Follow up or risk the job falling through.  n May 2015



May 2015

Perspectives A closer look at hot topics in three southeast Louisiana industries

54 Maritime & Ports

58 Hotels &


62 Banking &

Finance May 2015


Perspectives | Maritime & Ports

Now Hiring The maritime industry is booming, but the workforce is not. A look at the efforts to turn that ship around. By Pamela Marquis


teel, coffee, natural rubber, poultry and manufactured goods are just some of the products that make the Port of New Orleans one of the busiest ports in the world. Some 6,000 vessels and 500 million tons of cargo travel up and down the Mississippi River each year, including more than half of the country’s grain exports. Along with impressive cargo figures, the cruise industry is also


May 2015

experiencing success. Last year the port topped 1 million passenger embarkations and disembarkations made from Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Crusie Line and Royal Caribbean. The port’s cargo activities generate 160,000 direct and indirect jobs and $17 billion in spending statewide. In 2012, $399 million in cruise line spending supported 7,548 jobs in Louisiana.

Photo Thinkstock

“So many people don’t really realize what goes on behind the floodwalls and levees. We have so many opportunities here - from longshoremen to accountants.” – Matt Gresham, director of external affairs for the port of new orleans Larger photo by Tracie Morris Schaefer

While all these figures are impressive, this tremendous growth has exacerbated a problem for the maritime industry in Southeast Louisiana – while demand has, and continues to increase, the supply of qualified workers has not. It’s a common problem for the maritime industry, and it may prevent some corporations from relocating to New Orleans. According to a Greater New Orleans Community Data Center report, New Orleans workers need stronger abilities in reading, writing, numeracy and computers if they are to adapt to rapidly evolving industries. Yet 27 percent of New Orleans’ workers lack these skills - a rate higher than most U.S. cities. A recent survey of Louisiana maritime companies showed that many companies hope to hire more than 3,000 workers within the next five years. In an effort to provide well-trained staff for these, and many other positions, the port has been forced to become proactive in finding ways to build a

The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream is the Port of New Orleans’ largest year-round cruise ship. The 130,000-ton ship is one of four cruise ships that homeport in New Orleans.

maritime workforce. “The workforce is definitely aging, and it is not being replaced by the millennials,” says Matt Gresham, the port’s director of external affairs. “So for the past few years, we have had a major outreach program trying to reach out into the community to let the younger generation know what we do here. So many people don’t really realize what goes on behind the f loodwalls and levees. We have so many opportunities here - from longshoremen to accountants.” In October 2014, the port hosted a maritime workforce summit and provided an in-kind match of organizational resources worth approximately $215,000 to the Merritt C. Becker University of New Orleans Transportation Institute. The partnership is focused on promoting economic May 2015


opment throughout the entire maritime community on the Lower Mississippi River by collaborating with stakeholders to enhance community outreach efforts, strengthen the region’s competitiveness and address future workforce needs. One of the projects involved the development of a web-based, K-12 maritime curriculum that educates students about the history of the Port of New Orleans, its current operations and its international economic impact. “The port is a huge part of the city’s culture and landscape,” says Kathleen Whalen, the educational consultant who designed the curriculum. “We thought it was important to expand the knowledge the children and youth have about what an important factor the port is to the economy of their city. By showing them what happens at the port, we will help them understand that there are good jobs there.” Earlier this year, state and local officials also began working on a first-of-its-kind maritime training program in Louisiana, aimed at putting more resources into training people for such jobs as boat captains, deckhands and wheelmen. Delgado Community College is playing a big part in this effort through its Maritime, Fire and Industrial Training Facility. The facility has an international reputation for providing high quality maritime and industrial fire fighting, radar, safety, and U.S. Coast Guard-approved training. “We work with between 8,000 to 10,000 people per year,” says Rick Schwab, director of the training facility. The school provides training to licensed mariners and industry personnel in the maritime, oil and gas, and safety and homeland security fields via more than 30 instructors and over 100 courses. It also provides numerous opportunities for people in the industry to get recertification and helps them retain and renew their licenses. “We work to improve programs for the offshore and inland maritime industry,” says Schwab. “We offer continuing education and help people define clear career paths. We are very proud of our staff. Even with all the state’s budget cuts to education, we remain the preferred choice of vendors. We are still moving forward and I am proud of what we do.” 56

May 2015

A rendering of the state-of-the-art facility Delgado Community College is building in New Orleans East to expand the reach of its Maritime, Fire and Industrial Training program. The facility broke ground April 24.

Delgado is currently expanding its training program by building a modern state-of-the-art facility. On April 24, the college broke ground on the $5.8 million, 20,000-square-foot building designed by Sizeler/Thompson/Brown Architects. It will be constructed by Lemoine Company at 13200 Old Gentilly Road. “With this new building, we are excited to be reinvesting in New Orleans East,” Schwab says. “We are doubling the size of our classrooms, adding state-of-the-art equipment, like marine simulators, expanding the school’s fire field with additional offshore and radar labs, and adding a conference center.” The efforts the port has made with UNO and Delgado will likely begin to increase the workforce, but in the meantime, smaller businesses are benefiting where they can. Ricky Green, president of Green Marine & Industrial Equipment Co., which has been serving clients in the marine, offshore and shipbuilding industries since 1961, has found other companies’ layoffs to be his company’s gain – eagerly snapping up the best candidates. “Green Marine is quite fortunate because we have a loyal and hardworking group of employees who are dedicated to the industry,” he says. “We’ve seen this type of downturn in the past, and we’ve been able to stay strong and persevere during slides in oil prices. Our workforce knows that this industry is very cyclical and has its upturns and downturns.” The goal for all is that, once again, working at the port will be seen as an obvious career choice. “As in many industries we see an aging workforce, but we want people to know that this is a good industry to be in,” says Schwab. “A motivated deckhand can become a captain in five years, and the wages for a captain are very good.” n

Rendering courtesy of Delgado Community College

Perspectives | Hotel & Hospitality

No More Summer Slump Local hotels beat the heat by drawing visitors with a wide range of creative promotions. By Judi Russell


ew Orleans hotels are no longer singing the summertime blues. Thanks to stepped-up room-rate promotions, coupled with a full slate of festivals and activities, the city’s hotels and restaurants are now almost as popular in hot summer weather as they are in spring and fall. The clientele isn’t limited to tourists, either; summer is a time for lots of locals to be tourists in their own hometown. “Summers are gradually picking up, and our leisure business is a high point,” says Kent Wasmuth, director of sales and marketing at the Hotel Monteleone. “It’s not the doldrums it used to be 20 years ago. We sell out just about every weekend.” 58

May 2015

Keeping hotels and their restaurants rolling all year long is important to the city’s economy. According to the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, more than 9.5 million visitors came to the Big Easy in 2014, spending a whopping $6.81 billion. This success doesn’t happen by accident, Wasmuth points out. “We do a fair amount of regional advertising from May through September.” The ads target Houston, Birmingham, Nashville and other cities within driving range of New Orleans. In addition to traditional ads, the Monteleone keeps active on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media sites. Last summer, a sweepstakes offer brought in more

TOP: “As part of our marketing campaign for the summer, and to keep busy, we program opportunities at the restaurant,” says Miguel Solorzano, general manager of The Hotel Modern. The hotel’s restaurant is Tivoli & Lee; the circle where Gen. Lee’s statue now stands was once home to a carousel and was called Tivoli Circle.

than 6,500 entries and earned the hotel almost 9,000 Facebook followers. The Monteleone participates in a variety of citywide summer promotions, Wasmuth says, including New Orleans Wine and Food Experience and Tales of the Cocktail. It also benefits from big-draw festivals, such as Essence Festival in July. Once they attract visitors, hotels can’t let Photo courtesy of The Hotel Modern

“We sell out just about every weekend,” says Kent Wasmuth, director of sales and marketing at the Hotel Monteleone. Wasmuth credits a variety of summer promotions with the hotel’s steady successs.

up on their efforts. “You have to take care of them,” Wasmuth says. The Monteleone encourages restaurant traffic by taking part in special promotions like the NOMCVB’s “COOLinary” prix-fixe meals. Location also gives a boost to business at The Hotel Modern, on St. Charles Avenue near Lee Circle. The hotel, which recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation, is close to many museums, art galleries, restaurants, shops and the Warehouse District. “Visitors may only know the French Quarter or Lower Garden District,” says General Manager Miguel Solorzano. The hotel offers packages with the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Contemporary Arts Center, for example, and its “Park and Play” package offers free valet parking. “As part of our marketing campaign for the summer, and to keep busy, Photo courtesy of Hotel Monteleone May 2015


we program opportunities at the restaurant,” Solorzano says. The hotel’s restaurant is Tivoli & Lee; the circle where Gen. Lee’s statue now stands was once home to a carousel and was called Tivoli Circle. Tivoli & Lee’s Sunday brunches have been written up in many publications, Solorzano says. On Thursdays throughout the summer, the chef creates special dinners highlighting different distilleries; diners get a four-course dinner with whiskey pairings for $65 a person. “It’s a chance to mingle and meet other people and learn a lot more about whiskey,” he says. Other promotions include a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar at brunch. “People are going crazy for it,” Solorzano says. Wednesdays have all-day happy hours with half-price bottles of wine. The hotel’s bar, Bellocq, is also a big drawing card, Solorzano says. Inspired by the Storyville red light district in the early 1900s, the bar prides itself on expertly made cocktails including “cobblers” – a drink


May 2015

TOP: The Omni Riverfront’s convenient Downtown location — near the convention center, cruise ports and casino — helps the hotel keep capacity high. BOTTOM: Loews New Orleans Hotel on Poydras Street has recently undergone a renovation: Rooms and suites were completed last September and Cafe Adelaide last October. Summer promotions like the “Girlfriend’s Getaway,” along with multiple restaurant offers, help keep guests coming in.

made with crushed ice, fruit and juices, and either an aperitif wine or digestif liqueurs. Tourism operations like the New Orleans CVB, along with many nonprofits, do a bang-up job of filling summertime with fun things to do, says Ramon Reyes, general manager at the Omni Riverfront. “Summers used to be dismal,” he says. Now, the Satchmo Summerfest, White and

Photo courtesy of Omni Riverfront and Loews New Orleans Hotel

Dirty Linen nights and the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience act as magnets to both tourists and locals. “I don’t think we could survive without the locals,” Reyes says. He also credits the Omni Riverfront’s location for helping the hotel fill up on a regular basis. The hotel is just a quick walk away from many museums, including the Ogden (Roger Ogden is an Omni Riverfront investor) and near the cruise ports. And, of course, Harrah’s Casino and the convention center are also right nearby. The Omni’s brand loyalty program, Select Guests, is an effective way to attract families looking for value, Reyes says. The program is free, and includes free morning beverages, complimentary upgrades and free wi-fi. The hotel now has a three-meal restaurant and the Fulton St. Bar. Once mainly a mecca for adults heading to Bourbon Street, New Orleans now has a growing roster of destinations attractive to youngsters, such as the Louisiana Children’s Museum and the Audubon Insectarium, Reyes notes. His hotel seeks to lure family traffic by offering attractive room packages, which use lower rates to sell out the hotel’s 202 rooms. The nearby Outlet Collection at Riverwalk is also

“Summers used to be dismal…I don’t think we could survive without the locals.” – Ramon Reyes, general manager of the Omni Riverfront proving to be a hot spot for those looking for good deals on upscale purchases. Hotels have to use their imagination to come up with unique packages to fill their rooms. Loew’s New Orleans Hotel, for example, has a “Girlfriends Getaway” that General Manager Loris Menfi says has been very popular. The package includes a large room with two queen-size beds, drinks at the Swizzle Stick bar, martini setups in the room and a “recovery kit” for the morning after. Other specials include “Park and Play,” with free valet parking and drinks at the Swizzle Stick bar; “Sprout Dream Stay Package,” with free meals and other goodies for children; and “Third Night’s a Charm,” with a 20 percent discount for stays of three nights. The offers, coupled with local fests and concerts, mean summer business at Loew’s is healthy, says Diane Riche, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. Loew’s, located on Poydras Street, has been recently renovated. The rooms and suites were completed in September, and Café Adelaide, the hotel’s restaurant, was spiffed up in October. “It’s a fresh new look, and our location is lovely,” she says. “There’s lots to do in our neighborhood.” Summer winds up with Restaurant Week in September, during which Café Adelaide offers specials like “Wine and Dine for $39” and “Happier Hour.” And ladies (or men) who wear hats to so-called “Brunch with Hat-itude” receive martinis for 25 cents. The café is part of the Commander’s Palace family of restaurants; the lounge is named for the gold swizzle stick Adelaide Brennan wore. Tourism is expected to continue posting record numbers, boosted in part by increases in the cruising industry. All in all, it’s clear that even as temperatures heat up, tourism in the Crescent City shows no signs of cooling down. n May 2015


Perspectives | Banking & finance


The Art and Science of Business Banking Local financiers share tips on how and where entrepreneurs can bankroll their dream. By Chris Price


May 2015

Illustration Sergey Nivens


or the better part of a decade, New Orleans has experienced an economic renaissance that has made it a magnet for business opportunity. Financing has been readily available, but with the distribution of disaster recovery money beginning to cease and oil prices dropping by nearly half over the past year, local experts say the bullish local economy may begin to show the first signs of slowing in nearly a decade. While that could lead to entrepreneurial money becoming harder to find, local lenders say funding options remain open to those who have the right plan, but not the capital to launch or expand a business. May 2015


us predict whether or not we have a good chance of being repaid.” In order to best position themselves for a loan, entrepreneurs must have a detailed business plan that includes a market analysis, understanding of the industry, realistic projections for business growth and evidence of positive cash f low for existing businesses or the ability for a new company to have net income as soon as possible. “A lot of times approval comes down to the owner(s)’s skill sets, drive and knowledge of the industry that’s going to provide confidence that they can do what they’re saying they can do,” Jongbloed says.

Ripe for New Business Growth While the rest of the country struggled through the Great Recession, the Crescent City remained relatively immune from much of the negative economic impact. Instead, New Orleans has emerged as one of the best places for business in the United States. Forbes magazine has thrown many laurels New Orleans’ way over the past two years - ranking the city No. 1 in the country for increase in the number of college graduates between 2007-12 - a 25.4 percent increase. It also named Louisiana “America’s New Frontier For Business Opportunity.” U.S. Census Bureau data shows New Orleans among the fastestgrowing cities in America. The Kaiser Family Foundation says one in nine current New Orleans residents were not living in the area prior to Hurricane Katrina. The new New Orleanians represent a demographic of people who are more likely to be younger and better educated, further contributing to the city’s recovery and reform. How to Get Financed While opportunity certainly exists on the “new frontier,” seeking business financing can still be a daunting task, especially if a potential entrepreneur is ill-prepared. Still, lending is available for those who are prepared to show they can repay their debts. “If you show up with an idea sketched out on the back of an envelope, you’re probably not going to get approved,” says David Crumhorn, president and CEO of Heritage Bank. “A successful business plan has to be well thought out. We want to see that you’ve done your homework on the industry, market and competitors and know what you are doing so that you’ll have staying power. But we also want to know about your personal financial situation, cash reserves and how you are positioned in case your business plan doesn’t pan out as you had hoped.” Qualifying for a business loan can be a difficult process, especially for startups that don’t have a history of doing business or an established cash f low. “We’re in the business of predicting probability of being repaid,” says Brad Jongbloed, of Fidelity Bank. “There’s a bit of an art and science that goes into it. No two banks will look at it exactly the same way, but we’re all looking for some common things that help 64

May 2015

SBA Assistance When entrepreneurs can’t get traditional commercial financing, the Small Business Administration provides a number of financial assistance programs that have been specifically designed to meet key needs. These include debt financing, surety bonds and equity financing for starting, acquiring and expanding a small business, financing for major fixed assets, (such as land and buildings), disaster recovery, export assistance, and veteran and military community and special purpose loans. The SBA guarantees that these loans will be repaid, thus eliminating some of the risk to partner lending institutions. However, SBA-guaranteed loans may not be made to a small business if the borrower has access to other financing on reasonable terms. Commercial Lending “Going Gangbusters” The continued return of former residents and inf lux of newcomers has made for an unreal real estate market. An unexpected part of the city’s recovery has involved commercial retail and housing expansion in previously economically depressed areas of the city, including Freret Street, along Claiborne Avenue in Central City, St. Claude Avenue around the refurbished St. Roch Market and on established commercial corridors, including Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie and highways 190, 21 and 22 on the North Shore. Additionally, single-family home speculation building is following growing retail areas. Uptown and Lakeview are booming, while St. Bernard is beginning to emerge as a growing speculation market. Commercial real estate has been so good that it has drawn Jefferson Financial Credit Union into the field. “Credit unions usually don’t do a lot of commercial lending, but it’s going gangbusters. It’s one of the best things we ever did,” says company president and CEO Mark Rosa. Rosa says Jefferson Financial began commercial banking as a result of increased retail banking competition from “big box” national banks. “In the last year, we’ve grown the department from one employee to four,” he says. “Last summer I may have had $2 million in commercial loans. I have $20 million now. That’s all in nine months.” He credits the growth to his company’s ability to provide loans when larger banks decided to stop offering them in an effort to limit potential liability.

Photo Thinstock

“The big banks turned off their lending unless you had an “A” credit rating,” Rosa says. “We were able to help those who had a “B” rating or below. We just had to be careful who we approved and made safe bets.”

The Unknown Oil Factor Even though the local economy has diversified over the last 30 years, there is concern that slashed oil prices experienced through the beginning of the year could impair sectors of local economic growth. “Oil affects everything because when it’s booming it pumps so much into so many parts of the economy, but when it slows down it has the opposite effect,” says Guy Williams, president of Gulf Coast Bank & Trust. “Companies, especially in the oil field, have been pushed to reduce costs. We’re seeing an increasing number beginning to lay off people and slow down in equipment purchases…It’s just beginning to be felt. We don’t know how long it’s going to last, but it’s certainly real. Last year all of it was booming.” According to, on April 1, light sweet crude oil traded on the New York Mercantile Stock Exchange at $50.09 a barrel, down 44.6 percent from $90.36 a year earlier. U.S. rig counts were down a corresponding 43.5 percent from 1,818 at the beginning of April 2014, to 1,028 at the beginning of April this year, according to oil field supplier Baker Hughes. “The good thing is that it’s not like it was in the ’80s,” Williams says. “In those days, we had a serious concentration in oil and gas and it was absolutely devastating. This time around, we’re feeling it, but it won’t be crippling.” For more information on business financing, including a Business Loan Checklist, visit the Small Business Administration at n

Photo Thinstock May 2015



May 2015

Photo courtesy of Chase Marshall Architects and Thinkstock May 2015


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.


May 2015



E S T A T E May 2015


Great Offices

That’s Not All Morris Bart, CEO of Morris Bart and Associates, gives Biz a peek into his private space, where he proves there’s so much more to him than a catchphrase. By Bonnie Warren | Photography by Cheryl Gerber


May 2015


call, that’s all.” You might know these words from the commercials of Morris Bart, the lawyer who set the benchmark for TV advertising in New Orleans. “Look,” Bart says, pointing to an old, framed newspaper, “I am only following in the footsteps of President Abraham Lincoln, who advertised his law services in the Springfield, Illinois, Daily Illinois State Journal newspaper in April 1857 — four years before he was inaugurated president of the United States in March 1861.” Today, Bart presides over a regional staff of 200, including 75 lawyers in his 13 offices in four states. His local offices in the First Bank & Trust Tower take up three floors of the building. Bart’s 1,300-square-foot personal perch on the 20th floor includes a corner office with a perfect view of the New Orleans skyline, an adjoining private conference room and a reception area. “My conference room is special for me because it is where we have settled some amazing million-dollar personal injury lawsuits over the years,” he says. Why did Bart decide to pursue personal injury law? “I like the excitement of going into court, and I like the risk/reward of handling cases on a contingency basis. If we win, we are paid well; if we lose, we get nothing. “We are no longer the only attorneys advertising on television, yet our ads still dominate the airways, and I have the second-largest personal injury law firm in the country.” Bart called in architects John Chrestia and Sandy Staub of New Orleans’ Chrestia Staub Pierce to design his office when he moved into his present location in 1994. “I enjoyed working with John and Sandy,” he says. “They know I like an eclectic look and to be surrounded by family photos and career mementos, and they gave me exactly the warm and friendly spaces that I wanted.” His office and conference room aren’t pretentious spaces at all. Most of the furniture — armoire, credenza, side table and conference table — were made by Glen Armand, a well-known furniture maker in Alexandria, and the handsome art of Lafayette artist Francis X. Pavy hangs over the sofa across from Bart’s desk. Sixty-three other pieces of original Louisiana art hang in the hallways, reception areas and offices of the law firm, including works by Ida Kohlmeyer, Robert Gordy, Shirley Rabe Masinter, Allison Stewart, George Rodrigue, and even a John James Audubon. “I am a promoter of all things pertaining to Louisiana,” he says. “I am extremely proud of my collection of Louisiana art.” There is plenty more eye candy to get your attention in his two-room office and reception area, like signed boxing gloves personally given to him by heavyweight champions Mike Tyson, and Ken Norton. “Norton filmed a public service announcement with me and then signed and gave me the boxing gloves as a gift,” Bart says. Bart points out a framed photograph of Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger flanked by Bart’s wife of 33 years, Cathy, and Bart himself. But “nothing is more important than this photo of my only grandchild, a healthy grandson,” he adds, holding up a photo of himself holding a baby. LEFT PAGE: Morris Bart’s 20th-floor office — located at the First Bank & Trust Tower on Poydras Street — boasts unobstructed views of the New Orleans Central Business District skyline. Bart’s TV ad slogan, “One call, that’s all,” has helped keep business strong. May 2015



Yes, there is a story that goes along with everything in view. While Bart may be known for his personal injury work, he would also like to be thought of as a doer of good deeds and promoter of worthy causes. “Be sure to mention the colorful desk that was painted by art students at McDonogh 42 Elementary Charter School and given to me for my Bart’s Flight School Project to promote scholarship at the school,” he says. Another gift desk is on display in his reception area. His offices are filled with evidence of his philanthropic work. “Here’s one of my favorites,” he says as he holds up a glass award from New Hope Baptist Church for allowing the church to use one of his prominent billboards to promote a church sign reading “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” a slogan popularized by the New Hope’s late pastor, Rev. John L. Raphael. A plaque from the New Orleans Police Department’s 2nd District thanks him for funding the remodeling of its Magazine Street headquarters. “I believe in giving back to the community,” Bart says. “And nothing 1 satisfies me more than the philanthropic work I have been able to do.” Other beneficiaries include the Contemporary Arts Center, University of New Orleans and Loyola University law school (both are alma maters), Jewish Community Center, , and Louise S. McGehee, Metairie Park Country Day, and Isidore Newman schools. For many years Bart has also given away hundreds of turkeys and gift cards during the holidays. The busy lawyer has also found the time to produce three fulllength feature movies filmed in New Orleans between 2005 and 2008. The wall of his reception area displays a movie poster for “Shooting Gallery.” The other two films were “Factory Girl” and “Kill Theory.” “I liked the excitement of making movies; I liked the glamour and the people I worked with,” he says, and then adds with a laugh, “what I didn’t like was losing money.” Jumping to the subject of sports, he says, “I love our NBA basketball team, now the Pelicans, and I was one of the people who fought hard to keep the team in New Orleans when there was an indication it may leave,” he says. He lives near Tulane University and says he loves its new home. “I am pleased to be a supporter of Tulane’s new stadium,” he adds. It’s amazing what the slogan, “One call, that’s all,” has meant to the Knoxville, Tennessee native, who grew up in New Orleans. Look around his office and you’ll see a man devoted to his community service. Walk around the halls and you’ll see employees hard at work. Check out his call center, which fields the calls generated by his TV ads, and you’ll marvel at Morris Bart’s success story about one man who, if he hasn’t done it all, has done a lot. “I am very excited about the future,” he says. “We are growing rapidly, expanding to new markets and hiring lots of young, smart, motivated attorneys. After all these years, I still get ‘juiced’ going to work. Looking back on my life’s work, I feel a huge sense of pride and accomplishment.” n

1: “Buddy, I bit him,” reads a pair of signed boxing gloves by Mike Tyson. 2: Another pair of boxing gloves, given to Bart by Ken Norton after the boxer filmed a public service announcement for him, sits on display. 72

May 2015

1: A lover of local art, Bart displays some favorites, including a painted desk gifted to him by students of McDonogh 42 Elementary Charter School. 2: Favorite photos include one with his wife and Mick Jagger, and another with his grandson. 3: A thank you from New Hope Baptist Church — Bart allowed them to use one of his billboards to promote the “Thou Shalt Not Kill” campaign. 4: A little-known fact: Bart has also produced three full-length feature films.




2 May 2015


Q&A - Biz Person of the Month

Stores include popular high-end favorites, along with first-to-market stores including Neiman Marcus Last Call Studio, Tommy Bahama Outlet, Puma and Kenneth Cole.

Walk This Way Frank Quinn, general manager at The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, discusses the economic impact of the nation’s first upscale outlet center in a downtown area. By Jennifer Gibson Schecter - Photos by Cheryl gerber


May 2015


hile the mighty Mississippi has always been a source of commerce and entertainment for New Orleanians and tourists alike, The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk has changed the face of life along the riverfront. Celebrating its first anniversary this month with 100 percent of its space leased and more than 75 retailers and restaurants, Riverwalk has transformed over the past year into a destination that has welcomed more than 3.5 million shoppers and diners, 58 percent of which were locals. While preparing for the outlet center’s first participation in French Quarter Fest, General Manager Frank Quinn took a moment to speak with Biz New Orleans to share his enthusiasm for hospitality and to remind us of those convenient parking spaces. Biz New Orleans: What does a typical day look like for you?

Frank Quinn: My day starts off early in the morning by making sure the center is clean, safe, secure and ready for the day. We welcome 25,000 visitors on weekends. We’ve had a lot of spring break visitors for the last few weeks, and with conventions we get even busier. I also help make sure all the merchants have what they need. There was a real need in New Orleans for additional retail space. The city wasn’t on many retailers’ radar in 2011 and now almost every indicator is up, our population and airport numbers are up, and cruise ships, the convention center and New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation are all doing a great job of bringing people to the city. I try to get out in the food court and greet visitors at lunch time. It’s been a great surprise to us to see the number of locals who are visiting. It wouldn’t be surprising if we saw 90 percent tourists, but it has been wonderful to see locals make up 50 percent of our visitors. Of course with limited access to the riverfront, we feel Riverwalk also provides some of the best views and experiences along the river. Biz: How are you celebrating your one-year anniversary?

FQ: It’s Memorial Day weekend and we are doing different events all weekend long. We are working on a “Locals Appreciation Day” where we will offer complimentary parking to all visitors. The idea is to show locals that parking is both convenient and available. There are over 3,000 parking spots with one easy validation system, and visitors get $7 off the parking rate on a normal day. We want more locals to experience it and see how easy it is to park. We are also partnering with the New Orleans Film Society to show “Jaws” outside at Spanish Memorial Plaza at Sunset on May 24. Everything we do is to support our retailers. We are also working with them to highlight and push out all the sales they will have using social media channels and our website. Biz: Looking back, what have been the biggest challenges?

FQ: I think the biggest challenge was going from being completely closed for a year and being a construction site to being all of the sudden open without any soft opening. We did a big grand opening weekend last Memorial Day and it was the first time we had visitors into the center in over a year. Getting the stores and our vendors everything they needed was a challenge and one we were able to meet thanks to a huge amount of support from our corporate office. May 2015


Biz: Over the past year, what have you done the best? What did you do that you can improve upon?

FQ: The best was the successful transformation of the center and welcoming locals back to the Riverwalk. When I first got to the mall in 2008, we were only 30 percent occupied and it had somewhat of a failing feel to it. When Howard Hughes Corporation took over in 2010, we immediately thought this site had incredible potential. In working with our leasing and development team, we pitched to retailers and worked with the city to redevelop the site. We got it done and 100 percent leased with retailers - almost all of which made their year-end goals. We are really proud that we were able to welcome national brands that didn’t have a presence in New Orleans, and we helped bring first-to-market stores including Neiman Marcus Last Call Studio, Tommy Bahama Outlet, Puma and Kenneth Cole. I think something we can really improve 76

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on is taking Spanish Plaza and making it more a part of day-to-day life for locals who work and visit Downtown. The plaza doesn’t host nearly the number of events and festivals that it could. We did Bastille Day last summer and we look forward to having it again this summer on July 11. Biz: With 100 percent occupancy, are there plans for the Riverwalk to grow and expand?

FQ: We are looking at opportunities, whether they are inside the center or ways to improve our footprint. We don’t have anything to announce just yet, but we are always looking to improve the center and make it a better destination. Many of the retailers we have own multiple brands, so if one of their stores is doing well, they are looking to bring their other concepts in to the center. Biz: What has been the economic impact on the city?

FQ: It’s been great. The sales tax numbers are up citywide. We expected to do over

Celebrating one year in business this month, The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk is at 100 percent occupancy and has welcomed more than 3.5 million shoppers - 58 percent of which were locals.

$100 million in sales in our first 12 months, which translates to well over $4 million in sales tax that goes directly to the city. We employ over 1,000 people - combining our staff and all the retail staff. That number is even higher during the holidays. We really hope it encourages locals to shop Downtown. We hear about the nostalgia factor of shopping Downtown on Canal Street and when you combine us with Canal Place and other stores there is really enough density for people to get what they need without driving to the suburbs. That has an enormous impact on tax support for our police and fire departments. Currently, there is over $1 billion of retail spending being lost to neighboring parishes. May 2015


Riverwalk now boasts more than 75 retailers and restaurants - a draw for both locals and tourists, including from the booming cruise industry.

Biz: Have you worked with the city on the ferry service?

FQ: We stay in close contact with the RTA. We love having the ferry at our front door. We are one of the most touched public transportation locations in the city, thanks to the streetcar lines, ferry and buses. It really benefits us and the RTA to keep a close working relationship and do everything we can to support each other. Biz: How did your partnership with French Quarter Fest and Harrah’s come about?

FQ: We have been inquiring for five years if the Fest needed more space and with last 78

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year’s record attendance, this year they took a look at it. We couldn’t have been more excited when they invited us to join the Fest. Harrah’s is co-sponsoring with us. This is the first time the French Quarter Fest has expanded outside of the French Quarter. We are thrilled to have them at Spanish Plaza and to be able to have one parcel upriver. French Quarter Fest is one of the best ways for locals and tourists to experience the French Quarter during the day and we couldn’t be happier about the partnership. Through our renovation we made Spanish Plaza more event-friendly. We

improved power and lighting and put in new landscaping with lower growth for better sight lines. The ramp provides easier load-in and load-out and we cleaned up the entire arcade and applied new stucco, signs, lighting and signage. We didn’t replace the historic marble donated from Spain to the City of New Orleans, but we did fill in the holes to make it a smoother surface. It’s the same plaza but it’s much more event-friendly and a more pleasing environment. n May 2015


Why Didn’t I Think of That? | Creative Businesses Taking Hold in Southeast Louisiana

The Queen of Cork


May 2015

Sales of Amanda Dailey’s unique cork creations are popping sky high with French Quarter tourists and locals alike. By suzanne ferrara - photography by cheryl gerber


our guides will stop right in front of our store, and tourists hop out of their carriages and they literally buy up the place. That’s because another tourist brought home our one-of-a-kind designer cork handbags and showed it off, and they had to have one, too.” Amanda Dailey is co-owner of Queork, a unique French Quarter store that sells high-quality cork merchandise, primarily handbags, made from imported cork fabric. Queork is the only cork store of its kind in America, one that deals with, not wine cork, but quality cork material. “We are the ‘firstof-a-kind’ store of just cork,” says Dailey, “which says a lot for New Orleans’ tourism industry when it comes to offering unique shops that are beyond art galleries.” The Product Soft and pliable, the cork Dailey uses for her merchandise comes from the bark of cork trees in the forests of Spain, Portugal,

Italy and southern France, where it is gently stripped from the trunk. A sustainable product, harvesting cork from a tree actually helps the tree live longer. While durable as leather — a common fabric for purses and personal items — unlike leather, cork is both stain- and water-resistant. “The thing about cork fabric is that 88 percent of it is air,” says Dailey. “Under a microscope, it looks like a bunch of balloons. A leather handbag already weighs 5 pounds with nothing in it, but a cork bag weighs less than a pound and is comfortable as you walk.” To create cork fabric from the raw material the cork must be hand-laid — a tedious process that adds to the cost of the fabric, and which, while not cheap, is still affordable enough that items can be created for any price point. At Queork, merchandise ranges from $30-$40 dog collars and iPhone cases, to pricier purses that still come under the $200 mark. Queork’s website carries a few higher priced purses, topping out at $279.

The unique nature of the products is enough to draw both locals and tourists into Queork, where they are greeted by affordable price points — with products starting around $30.

Customer Base Ninety-five percent of Dailey’s business comes from American customers. “I’d be rich if I could have 10 more cities like New Orleans to sell my cork designer handbags,” she says. “Location is everything; it means the difference between making it and not making it.” The remaining customer base for the store comes from regional and international sales (5 percent). Overall, 90 percent of Queork’s clients are women over 50. “They want something different, unique and are passionate about small businesses like ours,” she says. “A lot of people think we go after the vegan market, but the fact is they are not even 5 percent of our business. “ Dailey says she’s recently begun expanding her reach by going after the male market. “Men come in here and say, ‘I am so upset you don’t have more things for men’,” she says. “Men drag women in our store and say, ‘You have to get one of these bags’.” Dailey May 2015


says she believes males are attracted to the cork fabric because it is wood and has a bit of a masculine look. “I just got a shipment of men’s shoes and in just a week I’m almost sold out!” she says. Birth of Queork Dailey, who has an extensive background in building construction and real estate, says she never dreamed she would be in retail, much less designing and selling cork fabric products. She recalls the first time she was introduced to novelty cork items overseas, a moment which ignited her new passion. “I was in Portugal, the top producer of cork fabric, and I walked into a gift shop and touched a belt and hat made of the soft fabric, and I was mesmerized by it,” she says. “I loved the fabric but didn’t like the product, and I wanted to make something along the lines of what I would wear. I thought, ‘If I can get hold of this fabric, I can have things made that I like’.” And that she did. Her first taste of retail began at the Freret Street Festival in 2012, where she sold all 36 of her personally designed basic cork bags within the first three hours. “I never looked back after that festival, and despite the fact that I was born and raised in real estate, I just 82

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left it all,” she says. Her designs, and the location of her wares, have both come a long way in the past few years. What began as a 12-by-12-foot back room in a shop on Dumaine Street back in December 2012 is now 838 Chartres St., a high-traffic store that features a window display with the power to stop tourists in their tracks. “Families come in and they are blown away, and they often say this is the coolest store I’ve seen during my visit here,” laughs Dailey. “You would be surprised how many people don’t know where cork comes from. Once we educate them, they transform from someone who admired it, to someone who has to have it, and that is what I think is fantastic!” Craftsmanship The craftsmanship of her designs has evolved from a basic bag to a variety of highend fashion handbags that are both unique and functional. “All the bags in the store are a collaboration of what people were telling me they like and need,” she says. Dailey’s top seller is the ‘Flapper’ bag, which can hold an iPad or Kindle and has two rings to hold a notepad. It can also be transformed into an evening clutch bag and is a perfect multi-

Unlike leather, cork is both stain- and waterresistant, as well as antimicrobial and even a natural insect repellant. The company’s purses are most popular with women over 50.

use travel bag. “If all I had to do is sell this particular bag the rest of my life, I would be making a good living because I sell over 1,000 of them a year.” Due to the popularity of her products, it wasn’t long before Dailey began thinking about what else she could design that would please her eager customers. Her merchandise then expanded to things like shoes, umbrellas and wallets that can float. “We have new things all the time, and each piece is fantastic,” she says. “We have it down to a science.” The Name “My business partner, Julie Araujo, whose parents are from Portugal, where I was introduced to cork, started calling me the ‘queen of cork’ as a joke,” recalls Dailey. “So I decided to put the words “queen” and “cork” together, and came up with Queork. I absolutely love it. My business card reads the ‘Queen of Cork’ as my title! People think it is interesting and clever and want to know how it is pronounced, and they think it is French because of the ‘Que’.” May 2015


Sales Growth Since opening in 2012, Queork’s sales have increased by 400 percent. “And we expect at least another 200 percent increase this year,” Dailey adds. From 2013 to 2014, the company’s online sales increased by a whopping 800 percent, a spike which Dailey attributes to publicity from tourists who return home and show off their cork items. Booming sales have had another effect as well: Once sporting a staff of one (Dailey herself), Queork now has a team of seven employees who design, order and sell. The Continued Struggle One challenge Dailey continues to face is the struggle to find manufacturing companies who will create smaller inventory orders. “I buy fabric wherever someone agrees to make it, and we are constantly trying to find a manufacturer to make our products,” she says. But Dailey is hoping the company’s increase in sales will help her cut costs and end the ordering struggle. She says large manufacturers will easily agree to make 5,000 pieces a year – a number she expects to hit soon. “It is by far the reason we have a cork store and no one else does,” she says. “We have lucked out in that we 84

May 2015

have a relationship overseas, and they see us face-to-face on a regular basis.” The Future Building on the success of the French Quarter store (which she says will always be her No. 1 sales producer), Dailey is strategizing her third Queork location (she has a second store in Santa Rosa, Florida, which she opened October 2014). She says she hasn’t decided exactly where the new location will be, but she does know it must be a touristdriven locale, like a Santa Fe, Key West or Napa Valley. Dailey also intends on selling wholesale to wineries and boutique retail. “I want to take it to places we can’t drive to overnight,” she says. “But location is so important - you can’t be located one street over from the main street, so we are just waiting for the right place to lease. The rule in business is the faster you sell it, the more money you make, and so that’s the strategy of reaching into different markets.” For Dailey, Queork is about so much more than just making money, it’s about doing what she loves. “If I won the lottery today,” she says, “I would buy more cork fabric to make more stuff.” n

Due to the popularity of her purses, Dailey’s merchandise has expanded to everything from shoes and iPhone cases, to belts and dog collars. A men’s line is forthcoming.

A different cork from that found topping wine bottles, Dailey uses the bark of cork trees in Spain, Portugal, Italy and southern France. May 2015


Events The JEDCO Challenge March 23, 2015

Crimestoppers 30th Annual Awards Luncheon

Hyatt Regency New Orleans

March 26, 2015 Hilton New Orleans Riverside

InnoGenomics Technologies, a local company focused on using innovative genetic testing solutions to solve crimes and save lives, won the 2015 JEDCO Challenge. The pitch competition was held during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week and highlights entrepreneurs with ties to Jefferson Parish.

In addition to presenting a series of awards, including the James J. Coleman Sr. Corporate Partner Award to Laitram, Darlene Cusanza, president and CEO of Crimestoppers GNO, provided a “President’s Report” highlighting the successes of the organization.







1. Jack Brancewicz, Bryan Miguez, Maygan Miguez and David Gelman 2. Sudhir Sinh and Jonathan Tabak 3. Kelsey Scram, Fred Beebe, Jerry Bologna and Ray Seamon. 86

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1. Sheriff Newell, Normand and Chief Michael Harrison 2. Darlene Cusanza 3. Sheriffs Mike Tregre, Marlin Gusman and Jack Strain Photos by Cheryl Gerber

HBA of Greater New Orleans March General Membership Meeting

The Art Of a Great Pitch: How New Orleans Became a Destination for Entrepreneurs

March 31, 2015

April 9, 2015

Little Gem Saloon

Loyola University

This event featured guest speaker Kurt Weigle, president and CEO of the Downtown Development District.

Part of Loyola’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development’s Local Innovation Guest Lecture Series, this free lecture by Tim Williamson, co-founder and CEO of The Idea Village discussed the critical elements of a great entrepreneurial pitch.







1. Alexis Brown, Nicole Dupre and Bridget Joseph 2. Kurt Weigle 3. Jon Luther, Max Ward and Michael LeCorgne

Photos by Cheryl Gerber

1. D’Elia Majoria, Elena Bueso and Felipe Massa 2. Tim Williamson 3. Sharita Williams, Luke Joachim and Cami Thomas May 2015


Behind the Scenes

Trinity Yachts

An inside look at Hull No. 62 – the latest superyacht under construction at the 43-acre New Orleans shipyard of Trinity Yachts, one of only two companies currently building custom superyachts in the U.S. After two years of construction, the 193-foot yacht’s approximately 7,000 square feet of custom interiors – all crafted in Italy – are finally being installed. Hull 62 will be completed by the end of the year. 88

May 2015

Profile for Renaissance Publishing

Biz New Orleans May 2015  

Biz New Orleans May 2015