Biz New Orleans October 2018

Page 1

A n n u a l R e a l E s tat e I s s u e New Lakefront Hot Spot A peek at YNOT Dock p. 70

Money Saving Move

Lacey M. Conway, President/ Principal Broker, Latter & Blum, Inc.Â

real estate’s top 9

The biggest mistake an attorney can make reviewing a lease p. 48

influencers october 2018

4 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018 / 5

6 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

Publisher Todd Matherne

Editorial Editor-in-Chief Errol Laborde Managing Editor Kimberley Singletary Art Director Sarah George Digital Media Editor Kelly Massicot Associate News Editor Alexa Harrison Social Media Assistant Becca Miller Multimedia Blogger Leslie T. Snadowsky Contributors Julia Carcamo, Robert Hand, Pamela Marquis, Ashley McLellan, Chris Price, Jennifer Gibson Schecter, Poppy Tooker, Keith Twitchell, Melanie Warner Spencer

Advertising Vice President of Sales Colleen Monaghan (504) 830-7215 Sales Manager Caitlin Sistrunk (504) 830-7252 Senior Account Executive Brennan Manale (504) 830-7298 Account Executive Jessica Jaycox (504) 830-7255 Account Executive Sydney Steib (504) 830-7225

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

Production Traffic Manager Topher Balfer Production Designers Emily Andras, Rosa Balaguer, Meghan Rooney

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

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

110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123 Metairie, LA 70005 (504) 828-1380 Biz New Orleans is published monthly by Renaissance Publishing, LLC, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005; (504) 828-1380. Subscription rate: one year $24.95, two year $39.95, three year $49.95 — foreign rates vary call for pricing. Postage paid at Metairie, LA, and additional mailing entry offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Biz New Orleans, 110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005. Copyright 2018 Biz New Orleans. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The trademark Biz New Orleans is registered. Biz New Orleans is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork, even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in Biz New Orleans are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or owner.

8 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

oc tober 2018 / Volume 5 / Issue 1

contents EVERY ISSUE


from the lens

12 / Editor’s note

66 / great workspaces

13 / publisher’s note

Fire and Ice

16 / Calendar

70 / why didn’t i think of that?

18 / industry news

YNOT Indeed

20 / recent openings 22 / Events

44 / healthcare

in the biz

What a Difference a Decade Can Make

28 / dining

Foraging For Flavor 30 / tourism

Between a Rock and a Hard Place to Stay 32 / sports

Dome Sweet Dome

48 / law

The Power of the CPI

FEATURE 74 / making a match:

businesses and nonprofits

54 Real Estate’s Top 9 Influencers

Building Homes and Futures

34 / entertainment

I Scream, You Scream 50 / education 36 / entrepreneurship

Teaching People to Dream

New Orleans’ top real estate professionals share what excites and challenges them about the future.

38 / etiquette

Portraits by Jeffery Johnston

40 / marketing

Poised for Success So Many Signs

Schools on the Move

80 / on the job

Build Like a Woman

on the cover Lacey M. Conway, president/principal broker, Latter & Blum Inc., one of this year’s Top 9 Real Estate Influencers. Photo by Jeffery Johnston

Editor’s Note

Looking to the Future Innovation is everywhere. It touches every facet of our economy —

from the ones you’d expect, like technology and banking and medicine, to the ones that have come along more recently, like new software for construction and apps that have transformed how we get around town (Lyft, Uber) and even shop for groceries — Rouses and Whole Foods are now both offering online shopping and home deliveries. How is New Orleans faring in this new innovation economy? Pretty well. Recent ratings have placed us No. 1 for growth in tech and healthcare jobs, No. 2 in the country in terms of the share of women in computer and math jobs (No. 1 is Sacramento), and the No. 3 city in the country right now for young entrepreneurs. We’ve got tech companies like LookFar, zlien and Lucid claiming the top three spots for best places to work in New Orleans (according to Zippia) and this year’s most celebrated newcomer, DXC’s Digital Transformation Center, representing the biggest economic development jobs win Louisiana has ever seen. The fastest-growing tech conference in North America has been held here for the past three years and this spring we celebrated the 10th iteration of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, an event that has been instrumental in our booming entrepreneurial ecosystem. It’s mid-September now as we head to press and I’m excited about two upcoming events. The first is the 39th Annual Tulane Business Forum, which will be held Sept. 21 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. This year’s theme is Digital Transformation: Strategy to Execution. The second is another innovation-meets-business-themed event, the 8th Annual Economic & Real Estate Forecast Symposium Oct. 9 at Loyola University. The theme of that will be New Orleans as an Innovation Economy: Making the Connections. This is our third year partnering with this event to create our annual real estate issue. I hope to see you there! Happy Reading,

Kimberley Singletary Managing Editor 12 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

Publisher’s Note

Half a Century Down I love a journey, and this month my journey

to 50 is here. For the past 49 years I have been focused on family and friends — including 29 years (35 since we met) focused on the love of my life, Andrea, and 25 years focused on our three beautiful girls. All of this has shaped me into the person I am today. Over the past year leading up to the big 5-0, I have been focused on my health. As I look ahead it is with great excitement for the new opportunities that still lie ahead. I am staying committed to my health coach and working at it every week. My girls are doing well, all growing into excellent young ladies who I am so proud of and my wife, Andrea, remains the rock of my life — with words of encouragement and love every day. I could not do anything without her by my side. I am blessed by a supportive family and appreciate the closeness of my friends and colleagues. So as 50 comes in, I look forward to a yearlong celebration and two weddings in the very near future. May God bless me with health and happiness for many more years to come. Todd Matherne / 13

Meet the Sales Team

Caitlin Sistrunk Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7252

Brennan Manale Senior Account Executive (504) 830-7298

Jessica Jaycox Account Executive

(504) 830-7255

Sydney Steib Account Executive

(504) 830-7225

Colleen Monaghan Vice President of Sales (504) 830-7215 14 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018 / 15


October 3

New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Pop Up at Workplace Solutions 5 to 6:30 p.m. 401 St. Joseph St., third floor


New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Alliance 5 to 7 p.m. Messina’s at the Terminal 6001 Stars and Stripes Blvd.


Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Power Lunch: A Young Professionals Exclusive Event Featuring Cookie Rojas, New Orleans Baby Cakes 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Acme Oyster House 3000 Veterans Blvd., Metairie


Professional Women of St. Tammany Monthly Luncheon 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tchefuncta Country Club 2 Pinecrest Dr., Covington


St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce State of Economic Development 7:30 to 9 a.m. Tchefuncta Country Club 2 Country Club Park, Covington


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


Live2Lead Simulcast Event 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pan American Conference Center 601 Poydras St., Suite 1100


Propeller PitchNOLA: Education business pitch competition 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 4035 Washington Ave.


ABWA New Orleans October Luncheon featuring Anna Finch, cofounder of RealDFM “Pivoting from Failure to Power” 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 3803 Toulouse St.


St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce Marketing for the Holidays: SBDC sponsored Seminar 9 to 10:30 a.m. 610 Hollycrest Blvd., Covington


Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Business and Breakfast 7:45 to 9:30 a.m. Copeland Tower Suites & Conference Center Comfort Inn & Suites Metairie 2601 Severn Ave.


Jefferson Chamber of Commerce Prosper Jefferson: Happy, Healthy Workplace Part 2: Company Culture 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Entergy Offices 4809 Jefferson Hwy.


St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce Healthcare Luncheon featuring U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Greystone 935 Clausel St., Mandeville


New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Power Breakfast Sponsored by Gulf Coast Bank & Trust 8 to 9:30 a.m. 1515 Poydras St. 5th Floor Auditorium 16 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

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


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



Bringing a sense of occasion to the French Quarter and excitement to Royal Street, Curio is an experience beyond compare - a place where flavor is the main attraction. Provoking curiosity with its unique take on New Orleans dining, Curio entices the public with its creative spin on classic craft cocktails and Cajun cuisine. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Weekend brunch featuring bottomless mimosas, rosé, or Bloody Marys. Balcony dining available.

From corporate lunches to late night bites, Sala has you covered! Looking for a great happy hour or relaxing night out? Sala offers lots of $5 specials at happy hour Tuesday through Friday and don’t forget on Thursday through Saturday the kitchen and bar stay open until midnight for a late night bite!

Madam’s Modern Kitchen + Bar


Plan your next affair with flair! Let Madam’s Modern Kitchen + Bar set the scene to your next party, celebration, social affair or business meeting. Public and private dining options are available. Offering group seating and a variety of customized menus and entertainment options to suit every style and budget. Madam’s will make your next event nothing short of unforgettable!

Briquette features a contemporary, yet casual, restaurant interior marked by our signature open kitchen. Briquette is proud to showcase contemporary and coastal dishes like Snapper Pontchartrain, Louisiana Redfish on the Half Shell, and Peppercorn Crusted Strip Steak. Located in the Warehouse District, Briquette is the perfect place for any business luncheon. Stop by for lunch any time Monday-Friday between 11am-3pm or happy hour any time between 3-6pm!

301 Royal St. • (504) 717-4198 •

1300 Canal St. • 504.226.2993 •

124 Lake Marina Ave. • (504) 513-2670 •

701 S Peters St. • (504) 302-7496 •

Industry News

housing education

New Orleans Falls Short of Affordable Housing Goals

Entergy and Southern University Partner in Engineering Education Entergy and the Entergy Charitable Foundation are providing a $2 million grant to Southern University to support classroom and lab infrastructure improvements, as well as curriculum and faculty professional development for the university’s engineering program. During a press conference on Sept. 11, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a $2 million match. The money will also fund the creation of internship and mentoring programs to enhance and strengthen the relationship between Entergy and Southern University.


$27 Million Loan Closes for Conversion of The Garage UC Funds, a vertically-integrated commercial real estate specialty finance firm, announced July 12 that it has closed a $27 million first mortgage loan for the conversion of an existing parking garage in New Orleans’ Warehouse District. The Garage, located at 848 Carondelet Street, is a four-story structure on a .77-acre site was purchased by Marcel Wiznia, founder of Wiznia Architecture & Development, in 2007. The project qualifies for federal and state historic tax credits and plans are to convert the property into a mixed-use building encompassing 19,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, 51 high-end apartments and 11 luxury condos. The Lemoine Company is overseeing the construction as the third-party general contractor. Construction is set to take 15 months and units are expected to open for pre-sale and pre-lease 10 to 12 months into redevelopment.


Easiest Places in Louisiana to Sell a Home Rank City Avg. Years Avg. with in Home Neg. Equity

Decreasing Avg. Days in Value on Market

Costs as % Ease of Income of Sale

1 Kenner 15.6 2 Metairie 16.3 3 River Ridge 18.1 4 New Orleans 12.9 5 Harahan 17.3 6 Marrero 18.9 7 Harvey 15.3 8 Luling 17.8 9 Destrehan 17.1 10 Gretna 14.6

41.9% 33.9% 23.0% 56.8% 21.5% 41.1% 37.9% 3.4% 3.2% 51.0%

20.5% 19.6% 18.7% 23.0% 17.7% 20.7% 22.3% 18.2% 18.5% 20.9%

7.9% 7.2% 8.0% 10.6% 0.0% 11.8% 11.4% 4.9% 6.9% 10.9%

65.0 73.4 79.8 90.2 95.6 97.4 115.3 120.4 142.0 153.8

87.57 85.88 84.59 82.49 81.40 81.05 77.44 76.41 72.06 69.69

The rankings are part of SmartAsset’s comprehensive study on the healthiest housing markets in the United States. For an interactive map of the healthiest housing markets and more details regarding the study and methodology, visit ulator#Louisiana

18 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

“The secret sauce for personal and business success in today’s marketplace demands maintaining and expanding business and social media connectivity. This is why our theme this year is New Orleans as an Innovation Economy: Making the Connections. We will explore how connectivity impacts the areas of innovation, real estate, tourism and world trade.” Paul Richard, senior associate, NAI Latter & Blum, speaking about the 8th Annual Economic & Real Estate Forecast Symposium, which will be held Tuesday, Oct. 9 at Loyola University’s Roussel Hall from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. The symposium will be followed by a business networking reception from 5 to 7 p.m.

According to the latest report by HousingNOLA — a 10-year partnership between community leaders, and dozens of public, private, and nonprofit organizations working to solve New Orleans’ affordable housing crisis — New Orleans will fall well short of meeting the goal laid out by various public agencies in HousingNOLA’s 10-year Strategy and Implementation Plan of creating 2,500 affordable units by September. The number of units created was 579. As a result, the organization will issue a set of priorities for the mayor and city council to adopt by the end of the year that includes adopting and implementing the Smart Housing Mix Ordinance, which provides for the mandatory and voluntary inclusion of affordable housing by private developers along with necessary changes to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. HousingNOLA is also calling for the current public partner production goal of 1,500 affordable units per year to be reevaluated and to increase the Neighborhood Housing Improvement Fund (NHIF).

Other Recent SmartAsset Findings About New Orleans: #10

New Orleans ranked as the tenth best metro in the U.S. where buying beats renting

1.8 Years

how long it takes for the cost of renting to exceed the cost of buying a home in the city over time / 19

Recent Openings

Picnic Provisions & Whiskey Created in part by New Orleans’ own Ti Martin, Darryl Reginelli, and Chef Tory McPhail, Picnic Provisions & Whiskey is officially open at 741 State Street. The modern corner restaurant will offer dine in, carry out, delivery, catering and cocktails, with a menu that includes Chef Tory’s Crawfish Boil Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich and Basket, The Pig Dip, West Indies Crab Tacos, Pork Debris & Egg Biscuit, and other updated spins on picnic classics.


731 St. Charles Avenue Representatives from the Krewe of Rex were present at the pile capping ceremony July 10 for 731 St. Charles Avenue, a 67-unit mixed-use condominium development being constructed on the former site of what was known as “Carnival Palace.” Previously the Washington Artillery, the building housed an armory, as well as the first Mardi Gras balls, including Rex’s first reception ball in 1873. The project is expected to be completed in late Spring of 2019.

Copper Vine Wine Pub Kyle Brechtel, founder/president of Brechtel Hospitality Group (BHG), owner of Fulton Alley and Bonfire Catering, opened his newest culinary offering, Copper Vine Wine Pub, Sept. 5. Located in New Orleans’ Central Business District at 1009 Poydras Street, Copper Vine features a state-of-the-art wine tap system with 30 familiar varietals on tap, wine flights, local beers on tap and a selection of classic cocktails and premium spirits.

Windsor Court Hotel

Ruby Slipper The Ruby Slipper Café opened its 10th location (and sixth in New Orleans) Aug. 27 at 204 Decatur Street in the French Quarter, across from the House of Blues. Around the same time, owners Jennifer and Erich Weishaupt began renovations on the Ruby Slipper Café located at 200 Magazine Street.


The Fillmore New Orleans Harrah’s New Orleans unveiled plans for what they say is a club that “will set the standard for Southeastern United States music clubs,” The Fillmore New Orleans. The announcement on June 21 featured the largest guitar-shaped cake ever baked in celebration of the six-month countdown to the club’s anticipated December opening.

20 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

The Windsor Court Hotel, located at 300 Gravier Street in New Orleans’ Central Business District, has unveiled a $15 million property renovation that included modernizations of all 316 guestrooms and suites and a refresh to public spaces, including the Club Level Lounge and La Chinoiserie, the 3,700-square-foot ballroom on the hotel’s top floor. Most notable is the addition of the Waterman Poolside Bar, which overlooks the property’s 65-foot saltwater pool. The makeover follows 2012’s $22 million restoration. / 21

Events 1






2018 Hispanic Business Conference and Trade Show

ABWA August Luncheon Featuring Mark Romig

Wednesday, August 8 | Harrah’s New Orleans

Thursday, August 16 | The Cannery

“Doing Busines With the Government” and “Diversity Inclusion Worth More than Gold” were the titles of featured seminars at this year’s Hispanic Business Conference and Trade Show, which also featured roundtable discussions with various area business leaders.

Mark Romig, APR president and chief executive officer of the 2018 NOLA Foundation — the support arm for the city’s Tricentennial — as well as the president and CEO of New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), spoke about the city’s Tricentennial campaign at ABWA’s August luncheon.

1. Mark Samuel, Julia Carcamo and Max Ferrera 2. Rafael Marrero, Mayra Pineda, Dima Gnawi and Evonda Burnside 3. Rocio Valdidiezo, Gabriel Mondin and Maria Dolores Canizales

1. Donna Acardo, Mark Romig, Ana Ayestas and Ginger Mitchell 2. Johanna Martin, Jo Ann Kostik and Caitlin Miner 3. Kathryn Billiot, Abbe Ginn, Allison Herrera and Logan Myers

22 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

photographs by cheryl gerber / 23

Events 1






Women United Presents Louisiana Women Leaders of Change

Blue Cross Blue Shield Annual Business to Business Forum on Healthcare Solutions (B2B Health Forum)

Thursday, August 30 | Hyatt Regency

Thursday, August 23 | Hyatt Regency

Keynote speakers Helena Moreno, Sybil Morial and Susan Spicer reflected on the role women have played in shaping New Orleans over the past 300 years, while looking toward the next 300 at this event sponsored by the United Way of Southeast Louisiana.

The role and value of the employer market in healthcare today, how innovation is improving care, wellness in the workplace, how Blue Cross is addressing rising drug costs and recent changes in healthcare reform were all topics at this year’s Blue Cross Blue Shield Annual Business to Business Forum on Healthcare Solutions.

1. Alexis Tucker, Michael Williamson and Cathy McRae 2. Danica Ansardi, Kim Sport and Beth Terry 3. Helena Moreno, Sybil Morial, Sheba Turk and Susan Spicer

1. Lisa McCoy, Destinie Hammond and Brenda Smith 2. Ben Johnson, Michael Hecht and Michael Bertaut 3. Stephen Waguespack, Michael Hecht and Quentin Messer

24 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

photographs by cheryl gerber / 25

26 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

Biz columnist s speak out


Scout Island Scream Park debuts Oct. 5 at City Park.

In The Biz dining

Foraging For Flavor A look at the woman behind our local produce revolution — Ashley Locklear by Poppy Tooker

28 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

could be found eagerly awaiting the sound of the opening bell at the Crescent City Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. Link always arrived early to see who had the best fresh produce for his new restaurant, Herbsaint. Not happy with the limited local offerings, he began to challenge the farmers he befriended there with packets of seeds for ingredients he’d learned to love in California but couldn’t find here — especially the criolla sella pepper. Mild, sweet, criolla sella peppers are such an important part of Link’s flavor palette that when he travels he packs the ingredient in the form of dehydrated dust. A full decade later, when Link met a woman named Ashley Locklear, he was still in search of a reliable local criolla sella source. A Florida native, Locklear arrived in New Orleans as an AmeriCorps VISTA worker assigned to the fledgling Hollygrove Market in 2008. Her first task there was to develop a community-supported agriculture (CSA) box subscription program with area farmers. Locklear quickly discovered that restaurant chefs with great buying capacity were eager to buy the specialty produce she sourced for the CSA and the market began offering a special opportunity for chefs on Fridays to enjoy first pick of the crops before the boxes were assembled. Chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski — buying for their restaurants, Herbsaint, Cochon and Cochon Butcher — became some of Locklear’s best customers. The young AmeriCorps volunteer says she was ready to move on when a job listing caught her eye. The Spotted Pig, a restaurant in New York City’s West Village, was advertising for a forager. Not quite sure what that meant, Locklear investigated and discovered it was exactly the work she’d become so proficient in at Hollygrove. At the time, there was very little purchasing consolidation among the Link restaurants. Locklear took the job description to Link and Stryjewski, explaining the convenience and economy of scale she could provide for them as an in-house forager. Impressed with her initiative, they gave foraging a try. Locklear was soon scouring the countryside in search of Link’s two greatest requests – quality salad greens and criolla sella peppers. During farm visits, Locklear recruited farmers interested in seed trialing, leaving

behind seed packets with the promise to buy everything that would grow. To date, over 50 varieties have been trialed, accompanied by detailed notes for each seed type grown at each farm. From an original core group of five farms, today, 20 farms work with Locklear on a seasonal basis. Working from New Orleans, she uses the various growing climates available within a 250-mile radius from the city when planning out crops. The Link Group currently invests over $100,000 annually in the local agricultural economy, but success can’t be measured in dollars alone. Having a forager, said Link, has added immeasurable creativity to not just the Link Group restaurants: “Ashley’s exhaustive work has impacted the variety of local produce available for everyone,” said Link. There have been some surprises along the way, such as with Folsom-based farmer Jim Mizell. Mizell was the first local farmer to field grow Italian San Marzano tomatoes, and what success he had! Locklear got the call that 1,200 pounds of tomatoes were ripe and ready to go – all at one time. Luckily, San Marzanos can age well. Locklear also routinely helps farmers connect with other restaurants to make sure nothing goes to waste. Locklear’s influence is evident as well at Compostella Farms in Independence, Louisiana. Madeline Yoste and Timothy Robb had big dreams of growing heirloom tomatoes, along with other rare varieties, when Locklear explained Link’s quest for salad greens. “The available salad mix was too wimpy,” Link said. “I want salad that’s lofty on the plate and delivers some crunch!” Standing orders for over 100 pounds a week from the Link Restaurant Group alone has made salad mix the focus of Compostella Farms’ expanding business today. Link’s empire will expand in April 2019 with the addition of Gianna — an Italian restaurant he’s set to open on 700 Magazine Street with Rebecca Wilcomb, the James Beard Award-winning chef of Herbsaint. With Locklear’s encouragement, Yoste and Robb are experimenting with cellaring radicchio and other chicories to ensure that Gianna’s ingredients will taste authentically Italian, but will always be locally grown. n Catch Poppy Tooker on her radio show, Louisiana Eats! Saturdays at 3 p.m. and Mondays at 8 p.m. on WWNO 89.9 FM.

illustration by Ton y H eale y

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

Almost 20 years ago, Chef Donald Link / 29

In The Biz to u r i s m

Between a Rock and a Hard Place to Stay Short-term rentals in New Orleans by Jennifer Gibson Schecter

30 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

Each one has a different Vacation Rental License Number. A bell rang in my mind and I remembered a story in the spring about one apartment building having multiple short-term rental units. Sure enough, reporter Chelsea Brasted found that Sonder had leased multiple apartments in the 26-unit Mid-City iLofts building at 635 N. Scott St. The building’s website touts a “community” that has shared outdoor amenities such as an outdoor kitchen with a grill, sofas and chairs, as well as basketball, handball, tetherball and bocce ball courts. I shudder to think of the condition of shared spaces when more than half of the building’s “residents” are short-term renters. But prior to being developed as iLofts, the building sat empty with boarded-up windows and served as a canvas for local graffiti artists. The fact that a developer invested in this property is good for the neighborhood, right? The discomfort of it all is in the marketing. Airbnb continues to market itself with the experiences of individual hosts, yet it is very aware of the fact that many of its “hosts” are actually companies that own multiple properties. Stories abound of negligent and faceless landlords who employ people to serve the host function for their STR properties. Airbnb’s growth goals actually rely on such models. There is a limited number of individuals who have the capacity to deal with travelers’ demands, but the amount of companies looking for new revenue models is limitless. That is why we need thoughtful and enforced regulation of STRs. As a traveler, I want the option to book a whole home so I have access to a kitchen and room for my family to spread out. We can’t afford the same square footage in a hotel. But as a citizen, I also want to make sure that the STRs in our community aren’t causing rents to rise and neighborhoods to sit empty between weekends. Change is always uncomfortable, especially in a city like New Orleans that treasures its traditions. The fact of the matter is that the sharing economy and STRs are going to be around for a while, and local leaders need to find the way forward that benefits most. The rules currently in place aren’t doing enough to help short-term rentals do more good than harm. n

illustration by Ton y H eale y

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

When I was 15, my Nana gifted me money

so I could afford a school trip to Spain. It was my first time on an airplane. We traveled throughout the country, but Barcelona stood out as a city that juxtaposed ancient roots with a modern purpose. I remember walking through the Old City and wondering what steps I should make in life so I could end up living in that incredible neighborhood. I never made it back to Barcelona, but I do have something in common with my could-have-been neighbors. We are all frightened that we can’t afford to rent in our beloved cities anymore, due in part to short-term rentals (STRs). The biggest player in the STR sector is Airbnb. It’s estimated worth is $30 billion, with 81,000 cities represented and an annual guest target of 1 billion by 2028. The company is making international news as both a successful business model and one that could be killing the local culture of cities. A few friends of mine are Airbnb hosts. They have been able to make ends meet as artists, pay for private school tuition and travel with the money they made via Airbnb. I also have friends who have been evicted from their homes because their landlords converted their apartments into Airbnbs. The economics are clear – property owners make more money on short-term rentals than long-term leases. The Airbnb website lays it out. When I clicked on “Become a host,” a pop-up window told me I could “Earn up to $1,583 a month hosting in New Orleans.” An entire home for six guests — so in New Orleans speak, a three-bedroom shotgun — has a monthly potential of $2,063. An internet search of two-bedroom shotguns in the Bywater showed an average rent of $1,500. There are over 380,000 guest reviews for New Orleans homes, with an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars. As of press time, there were 20 homes verified as Airbnb Plus and more than 300 homes listed. Some of them were advertised as being part of Sonder, an entirely separate short-term rental company that leases properties directly. They are never anyone’s “home.” A search of Sonder for a two-week stay in September for two people revealed nearly 50 available properties, with 17 of them on North Scott Street in Mid-City. / 31

In The Biz sports

Dome Sweet Dome State officials, Saints exploring renovation of 43-year-old stadium and campus by chris price

32 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

construction is to build new, go big, and load up on amenities and unique experiences. All of that, of course, comes with a cost. Three of the most recent stadiums added to the NFL roster, each constructed within the last decade, all topped $1 billion – AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, cost $1.15 billion; the San Francisco 49ers home, Levi’s Stadium, cost $1.3 billion; and Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium came in at a cool $1.5 billion. By comparison, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints, cost $134 million when it was built in the early 1970s. Part of the genius of the Superdome, conceptualized as a multi-sport arena with moveable field level stands that could accommodate football, baseball and basketball, is that it was built as a stadium inside a steel and aluminum shell. That design has benefitted the Dome over the decades since it opened in 1975; instead of growing outdated, it has allowed for updates and reconfigurations to modernize the building. The Superdome was famously repaired after damage caused by Hurricane Katrina and remodeled in three stages between 2006 and 2010 at a cost of $320 million. The updates have not been enough to keep up with the NFL’s Joneses, however. Although New Orleans had played host to the Super Bowl 10 times, most recently in 2013, The Big Easy lost out twice to other cities with newly constructed stadiums in its bid to host the league championship games in 2018 and 2019. This year’s game was played in Minneapolis at U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened in 2016. Next year’s game will be in Atlanta’s new venue, which opened last year. That prompted state and Saints officials to explore another round of renovations in order to modernize the Superdome, keep New Orleans in the rotation as a host for Super Bowls, Final Fours and College Football Playoff championship games, and add lagniappe to extend the state’s and franchise’s Superdome lease negotiation, which expires in 2025. Word of the renovations helped the city land Super Bowl LVIII in 2024. In March, the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (LSED), the state agency that oversees the Superdome, approved

a $422,000 architectural survey, awarded to San Francisco-based Gensler Sports in May, to determine what amenities could be included in a potential remodel. In late July, the LSED approved $1.83 million in spending for New Orleans-based Trahan Architects to produce a construction timeline; renderings of what the Superdome could become, which will be made public in late 2018 or early 2019; and a cost estimate. The cost is projected to be between $150 million and $450 million, depending on the outcome of the survey, according to Savannah Chamblee, media coordinator for SMG New Orleans, which manages the Superdome and Smoothie King Center. Some of the ideas include removal of the Gate A ramps along Poydras Street, the parking decks between the stadium and Champions Square to allow a green space outside of the stadium, several interior ramps that would be replaced with new concourses in the club-level space between the 30-yard lines, and removal of some seating in the terrace to provide standing-room-only areas. The plan also includes the addition of two street-level entrances at the building’s corners near Poydras Street, field-level suites behind the end zones, and windows added in the terrace, which would provide views of downtown New Orleans. Dennis Lauscha, president of the Saints and Pelicans, said the renovation to the Superdome’s campus could also include the section of Girod Street between the Dome and arena that would provide a better outdoor pregame atmosphere for basketball fans. The project is expected to take place between the College Football Playoff championship game on Jan. 13, 2020 and the Final Four in early April 2022 or Super Bowl LVIII in February 2024, with work performed in the football offseason, except during the annual Essence Festival.n

did you know?

Investing in Championships In the next six years, three of the nation’s biggest championship sporting events are expected to create an economic impact of more than $852 million and create state tax revenue in excess of $30 million. A proposed Superdome renovation estimated between $150 million and $500 million could draw more events and money to the city.

illustration by Ton y H eale y

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

T h e t r e n d i n m o d e r n s ta d i u m / 33

In The Biz e n t e r ta i n m e n t

I Scream, You Scream Scout Island Scream Park debuts this month at City Park. by Kim Singletary

34 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

“Because the mansion is surrounded by cemeteries we are landlocked — there’s nowhere to expand,” he says. “So once people go through there’s nothing else really for them to do. I’ve been trying to figure out a way around that for years.” With Scout Island only six minutes by car from The Mortuary, the hope is that scare seekers will spend a full evening visiting both. To aid in this, Mortuary visitors will receive free general admission to Scout Island, and on the reverse side, Scout Island ticket buyers receive a free VIP upgrade to The Mortuary. “In the future we’ll offer shuttles between the two,” Borne says. “We’re not there quite yet.” Tickets to Scout Island are $15 for general admission, which gets you into all the Fright Zones, sideshows, kid zone and The Kraken Beer & Spirits Pirate Music Club. Carnival rides and larger attractions are available either a la carte — the zombie battlefield experience is $25 for one game, carnival rides are $8 each and the kid-friendly hayride is $5 a ride. All-access passes really seem the way to go with this one. They’re $49 for unlimited access to everything. “Unlike at The Mortuary, you can keep enjoying something over and over if you want,” Borne says. “That’s unusual for an attraction like this.” Borne says the park began grabbing attention months before opening. “Corporate sponsors have already been contacting me and the thought is this could be as big as Celebration in the Oaks for City Park.” For Borne, Scout Island is his effort to continue to build New Orleans as a Halloween destination. “We get a lot of attention, and tourists, during Halloween,” he says. “We see visitors from all over the world who come for things like the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience and for all of our attractions and tours. This is one more thing to add to the list that you can’t get anywhere else.”n

illustration by Ton y H eale y

Kimberley Singletary is the managing editor of Biz New Orleans magazine. A 20-year Southern California veteran, she has been surrounded by the film industry for most of her life.

Jeff Borne is all about the scares.

Twelve years ago, he took a completely gutted 150-year-old mansion on Canal Street and transformed it into a Halloween tradition. Formerly an operating mortuary for about 80 years and surrounded by cemeteries, The Mortuary Haunted House offers an authenticity that naturally attracts adrenalin junkies. In order to keep the revenue flowing year-round, however, outside of the Halloween season The Mortuary operates as Mystere Mansion, an elegant, Victorianstyle mansion perfect for weddings and events of all sizes and clientele, including serving as the home of the wrap party for “Jack Reacher” starring Tom Cruise. Companies and groups of friends and family also visit the mansion year-round to enjoy a unique teambuilding experience in one of the mansion’s five escape rooms. This Halloween, however, Borne is reaching beyond the mansion walls to offer up an experience unlike New Orleans — or he says any city — has seen before. In partnership with City Park he has created Scout Island Scream Park, a pop-up 50-acre outdoor theme park that brings nightmares to life. A year and a half in the planning, Scout Island Scream Park is an immersive experience that includes a variety of attractions, from a haunted fun house to a military-style laser-tag game where participants can hunt live zombies, to something called “Blood Bayou” that honestly scares me enough with the name. Surprisingly, the park is also kid-friendly — at least in part. A dedicated “scare-free zone” features a haunted hayride, face painting, a hay bale maze and bounce house. Located close to Marconi Drive and Harrison Avenue on the west side of City Park, the park will open Oct. 5 and run mainly on weekends through Nov. 3. During that time it will employ more than 250 seasonal workers, along with third-party vendors like security, food, janitors and amusement park vendors. For Borne, Scout Island offers an opportunity to build off of what he’s created at The Mortuary. / 35

In The Biz e n t r e pr e n e u r s h i p

Teaching People to Dream Could Silicon Valleybased nonprofit iDEA help our young people access the business world? by keith twitchell

36 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

to revolutionize technology and make a kazillion dollars. For us in less affluent Greater New Orleans, this may come as a surprise, but according to Rithvik Agastaya, co-founder and director of operations for iDEA, “Silicon Valley has a huge education equity gap. The schools serving mostly lower-income students are not providing a good education, and they offer nothing in the way of business exposure.” iDEA stands for Innovative Development for Entrepreneurs Association, and the organization’s primary focus is to provide young people with the tools to succeed in the business world, especially as entrepreneurs. From Silicon Valley to Saudi Arabia – and many points in between – iDEA targets low-income middle and high school students, and works to show them that they can access real opportunities in the business world. The organization’s programs definitely have a software and coding focus but, as Agastaya noted, the training has “a strong business orientation. We teach in a way that applies these skills in the real world.” Entrepreneurial training is a strong subtext for this. For many young people in impoverished areas, accessing the mainstream business world is actually more difficult than launching their own enterprises. Combining tech skills with entrepreneurship opens up paths to business success that require a bare minimum of capital investment. In addition, many small tech companies operate exclusively via the internet, which eliminates the handicaps that may be inherent in one’s living environment. This is all relevant to the New Orleans area because iDEA is in a rapid expansion mode and is in the early stages of developing partnerships with local entities. As Agastaya explained it, iDEA creates basic curricula for its programs and has a core operational strategy, “but local individuals and organizations have flexibility in terms of the specific classes they choose to offer, based on the needs of their society. Teachers can incorporate their own lessons and experience.

“In each location, our partners start their own iDEA chapters,” Agastaya added. “This in turn helps them have their own entrepreneurial experience.” As an example of the latitude local organizers can have, Agastaya cited his work in Saudi Arabia. “They have a huge gap between rich and poor in education, which includes real world skills beyond business and basic learning,” he said. “One thing we saw was that students in low-income schools were never trained on how to take tests, which meant they never scored well enough to get into better higher education schools.” iDEA worked with its local partners to develop test preparation classes for these students. Not surprisingly, the students began scoring much higher on their tests; the percentage of low-income students getting into the best Saudi colleges and universities rose significantly, and some of their cohorts were even able to attend schools in the United States. Given the dramatic inequities in education quality and test results in New Orleans, this program might be a prime candidate for replication here. And even though we are making progress on the underrepresentation of women, people of color and people from low-income backgrounds in entrepreneurship, there is still a lot of ground to cover. Every entrepreneur starts with a vision, with a dream. Yet so many young people in our society live in circumstances where the vision is simply survival and dreams are an impossible luxury. A partnership between local organizations that have the reach, credibility and experience with our disadvantaged – but no less talented – young people, and a group like iDEA that offers proven tools for succeeding in the business and entrepreneurial realms, could open up new worlds to these individuals. Once you actually begin to dream, then there is a chance your dreams can come true. For more information about iDEA and potential partnership opportunities, visit

illustration by Ton y H eale y

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

Not every Silicon Valley start-up is out

In The Biz e t i qu e t t e

Poised for Success Create a new hire orientation based on professionalism, support and making people feel at ease by Melanie Warner Spencer

38 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

of my career was at a large daily newspaper. A Hearst-owned property, it had a robust local human resources arm that was reinforced by additional support at the headquarters in New York. New hire orientation began in the HR department with a meeting to fill out paperwork and discuss compensation, benefits, vacation and leaves of absence, as well as company policies and procedures. Next, I received a tour of the building and my department from my editor, which also included introductions to department heads and other new colleagues, as well as a quick training session on software and other technology tools. Finally, for anyone who was new to the company that day, HR arranged a screening of a documentary on the history of Hearst from its start by George Hearst — with a large portion paid to the accomplishments of his son, William Randolph Hearst — to the company’s present-day incarnation as a corporate media powerhouse. If memory serves, coffee and cookies were even on offer in the screening room — bonus! At the end of the day, these orientation processes made me feel primed and ready to do my job and as though I was not only part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newsroom, but also of something bigger than myself. Due to its immense resources and powerful company history, Hearst was (and still is) able to plan and execute an ideal first day on the job for its new hires by anticipating the needs of the company and the needs of the new employee. But, what if you are a medium-sized or small business without the big budget and huge HR department? With a little forethought and preparation, any company can create an orientation process that makes new hires feel comfortable and gets everyone started off on the right foot. While the biggest priorities of orientation are perhaps to complete essential paperwork and meet legal requirements, this is also the opportunity to set the tone for a new hire’s tenure. Making new employees feel supported (information and training), included (company history, tour of the building and introductions

to coworkers), appreciated (treats!) and equipped to do the job efficiently and effectively is a step in the right direction toward loyalty and retention. Putting together a new hire welcome packet that includes tax, insurance and benefits forms, an employee handbook, as well as key cards or building codes is a polished and professional way to deliver this information. Getting everything filled out and signed on the first day will positively reinforce that the company has a proactive culture. This is also a good opportunity to promote company pride. Place a few logo items (mugs, koozies, T-shirts, pens, etc.) in the packet as lagniappe. If it wasn’t discussed during the interview process — either during the welcome packet meeting or while giving the tour — be sure to cover the company’s dress code and computer and telephone use in detail. Training sessions should also happen during the first week, if not on the first day. This will help the employee feel secure in his or her duties and will decrease lags in productivity. It might not be feasible to produce a slick company history video, but a brief presentation covering how the company started, where it has been, where it is going and any other mission and goals statements are just as effective. The objective of orientation is to familiarize your employee not only with their job and the tools the company uses, but also — if planned well —a good orientation envelops them in the company culture and quickly elicits a feeling of ease in an otherwise unfamiliar situation. What better way to accomplish those objectives than to give new hires the tools and training they need, introduce them to the new workspace and their coworkers and share the company’s history and values? The coffee and cookies are of course optional, but quite effective. n illustration by Ton y H eale y

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

The best first-day-on-the-job experience / 39

In The Biz marketing

So Many Signs In a sea of competition, how can residential realtors stand out? by Julia carcamo

40 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

than 2,600 homes for sale in the New Orleans area. A small fraction is for sale by owner, with the vast majority of home sales handled through realtors. A similar search indicates there are more than 900 realtors in the area. This is a crowded marketplace if you’re on the agent side. So, how do you stand out? The process of buying or selling a home can be daunting. Some studies show this time can be one of the most stressful in a person’s lifetime. Buyers and sellers both want to work with someone they feel they can trust to make their sale as smooth as possible, someone who can understand them even when they don’t have the words to explain their desires and hopes. The challenge here for realtors is existing, long-standing, well-known competition in the New Orleans real estate market, so much so that the players can all start to look the same. As a realtor, branding yourself is more than designing a great logo or coming up with a catchy tagline. Successful branding is about a coherent message that speaks to the wishes of your clients. It’s also about meaningful differentiation, built over time through content, media and engagement with your target audience. I believe brands are built from the bottom up, so your first step is to understand who you want to be. You must also be able to articulate your position BEFORE you get started. I recently chatted with Ben Tarantino of WiseMove Real Estate — an upstart, disruptive real estate outfit making waves in the New Orleans market. He says he saw a way he could be different and meaningful. “The first thing we did was ask ourselves, ‘How do we compete with the established realtors?’ he says. “We knew that there was a segment of the market that was looking for guidance in their real estate transactions. They felt the existing commissions were too high, but they also didn’t want to go the for-sale-by-owner route. We knew that if we could construct a salary-based realtor model with realtors that were dedicated to the practice FULL-time, we could be a different kind of broker.”

As part of its brand strategy, WiseMove makes an investment in the realtors (so that they will be dedicated to the work as a full-time job). Additionally, they developed a flat-fee structure that recognizes that many buyers are taking on a traditionally significant realtor task, narrowing the search historically done by realtors by using a wide variety of web-based search engines. “The days of showing buyers 30 to 40 houses before making a purchase decision is pretty much over,” he says. “We based our brand on that premise.” The next step is a strong understanding of a buyer’s persona. Knowing your target audience — whether it’s first-time home buyers, constant relocators, or life-stage migrators — will help you hone in on which experiences and benefits will resonate. You need to anticipate their needs. In many ways, emotions can often rule the day because, while we have very logical reasons for purchasing a house, it’s the heart that always decides when it’s a home. Once you understand the things that will support your brand, the logo and ads are a little easier if you remain focused on these things. They will serve to telegraph your brand and expectations. Who sells the everyday home? Who sells the McMansion? Who sells the estate manor or urban chic condo? Ask yourself: What are you saying with your sign? n

illustration by Ton y H eale y

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

A search today on Zillow shows more / 41

42 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

hot topics in southeast Louisiana industries

perspectives healthcare  / law /  education

Why the surge in senior living options lately? An industry insider explains.

Perspectives h e a lt h c a r e

Glenn Barclay is the co-founder

of Blake Management Group, a privately held senior living operator formed in 2007 that currently manages 13 properties in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina. BMG will open two more properties (expanding into Tennessee and Virginia) and start construction on four more all by the end of this year. The company’s properties in Louisiana include The Blake at Lafayette, The Blake at the Grove (Baton Rouge) and The Blake at Bossier City, which just opened in July. Next fall, BMG will open its first property in the New Orleans area, The Blake at Colonial Club in Harahan, which will include 70 assisted living and 48 memory-care apartments. A native of Shreveport with 20 years of experience in the healthcare and senior housing industries under his belt, Barclay spoke with Biz New Orleans recently about the trends he sees in his industry.

What a Difference a Decade Makes Senior housing and healthcare industry veteran Glenn Barclay talks about how expectations have changed, what his properties are bringing to Louisiana and why we’ve seen a surge in senior living options in the state in recent years. by Kim Singletary

44 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

Biz: On BMG’s website you talk about how the needs of seniors today are evolving. Could you elaborate on the changes you’ve seen since entering the marketplace? Glenn Barclay: Things are changing almost faster than we can keep up with. For example, when we launched our first development 10 years ago, something like internet speed was not something people asked about. We would have classes for our residents on things like how to set up a Facebook page, but now people are coming in wanting to know who our provider is and what our speed is. This is a group now that doesn’t want to have to give anything up, including living space. For example, in 2008 we offered studio apartments and we didn’t even have two-bedrooms. Now the studios are all phased out and we have two bedrooms, plus balconies and porches.

Biz: Baby boomers seem to be looking not just for a place to live, but a lifestyle. What kinds of things are really in demand right now? GB: Boomers are looking at places both for their parents and also for themselves, and the focus here is really on the experience. The residents aren’t our only clients, it’s the families too. Our focus has been on providing more of a resort-level experience. We focus not on what they’re giving up, but what they’re getting, and that is a housekeeping- and maintenance-free environment, plus transportation services if they’d like, and an activity program that is full-time, seven days a week. Today’s seniors like to stay busy and active so we offer trips to the ballet, the symphony, restaurants, dancing, casinos. We still offer things like bingo and crafts, but that’s not the core anymore. Just like you’d expect at a high-end resort, we also offer amenities like an on-site theater, spa and salon. It’s all about lifestyle. It’s great, actually, because we see residents really thriving in a more social, active environment — things like decreases in depression and memory care. The routine, the opportunities for therapy and the better nutrition, it all helps. One of the biggest things we have seen, though, is the demand for quality culinary options. We offer multiple different kinds of dining options — from bars and lounges to restaurants with dedicated servers. People want choices and they want quality and creativity. I’m really proud of our culinary team. What we’re doing in this arena is really setting us apart. Biz: What would you say is the biggest challenge facing your industry right now? GB: It’s definitely finding and retaining good people. Unemployment is low right now plus we’re in the middle of a healthcare shortage. Of course, staffing / 45

has always been an issue in this industry. Fifteen years ago, I’d sit in on seminars at senior living conferences where they’d talk about the problem but there were never really any solutions that came up. I think now we’re at the point that we need to start thinking outside of our industry, more to hospitality and even companies, say, like Chick-fil-A. It sounds funny, but that’s a company that has been able to duplicate the same level of service regardless of the location. As a company, we’re really focused on culture and recruitment. We’ve developed a mission plan that I think includes two very unique values: joy and fun. You don’t see that a lot in this industry. We measure our retention and turnover every month and we sit down frequently and talk about how we can do better. It’s a constant effort. Biz: Louisiana has seen a bit of a boom in senior living options over the past few years, and of course BMG has been a part of that. You just opened one community this year and are opening another next year. What’s the sudden draw? GB: Well I grew up in Louisiana and my family is still here, so I have a real love for this area, but I’ll also tell you that the regulations changing about three years ago made a real difference. Up until then, assisted living facilities were required to use a third-party provider to distribute medications. It was not an ideal situation for residents or their families because you couldn’t just receive a medication whenever you needed it. Since that regulation changed, we can now have nurses that are on-site all the time administer medications. There’s no waiting. This is how it already was in most other states. As a senior living provider, it meant that now we could go and provide the same level of care as we do in our other properties. Biz: It sounds like BMG is on the higher end of senior living options. Are you focused on the high-end customer? GB: Actually, our rates are as competitive as anyone else in our marketplaces, thanks to economies of scale. People are realizing this and there’s been a huge response. We have over 50 people on our waiting list in Lafayette — we had 30 to 40 when we opened. I can tell you that is not the industry standard. I think the Gulf Coast is a niche for us. We live here, and we know the people and the culture. Our model fits here. n

46 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

Did You Know? Approximately

47 million

seniors live in the United States. A 2014 census estimates that about

14.5 percent

of Americans are age 65 or older. By 2060, the senior population is expected to double, reaching nearly

100 million Americans.

People who reach the age of 80 live an average of another

8 to 10 years

according to the CDC. The leading cause of senior death is injuries and falling down. North Dakota has the highest number percentage of residents over the age of 100. According to the AARP, the average baby boomer takes

4 or 5

trips a year. About

12 percent

of seniors use dating apps or dating websites. Source: / 47

Perspectives l aw

The Power of the CPI This is the biggest mistake your attorney could make when reviewing your lease. by Robert Hand, MBA, CCIM, SIOR

Whether you rent space in Class A office towers,

a warehouse to store inventory or just enough room for your coffee shop, your lease probably includes unfavorable terms your attorney overlooked. Even small mistakes can be very costly unless your lease language is clear on every detail, and the most common mistake is simply overlooked by attorneys reviewing your lease. Most Leases Include Price Increases Tied To The Consumer Price Index (CPI) The history of linking

rent payments to inflation became strategic in the days of high inflation in the 1970s, when the OPEC oil embargo caused oil prices to skyrocket. When higher oil prices later combined with the wage-price spiral, there was an overnight jump in inflation from 3.2 percent in 1972 to 11 percent in 1974. This caused landlords to realize that rental income did not retain its purchasing power — the economic theory that a dollar in the future should buy the same amount of goods as it does today. Today, it is common practice for leases to include CPI language to protect landlords, but the problem is that there is more than one consumer price index and there are different ways to calculate each. Most legal advisors are not aware of how significantly this language can affect your pocketbook. Make Your Lease Clear What CPI Is Used To

Here is an example of the lease language used by $2.6 billion market cap Regus PLC in 3,000 locations:

Adjust Rent

8.7- If this agreement is for a term of more than 12 months, the provider will increase the monthly office fee on each anniversary of the start date. This increase will be by the local Consumer Price Index or such other broadly equivalent index where a consumer price index is not available locally.

48 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

This Regus lease language leaves lots of room for dispute, because the consumer price index has four ways of being calculated. The CPI index is produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, under the United States Department of Labor. The four types of consumer price indices are:


Consists of all urban households in Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and in urban places of 2,500 inhabitants or more. Non-farm consumers living in rural areas within MSAs are included, but the index excludes rural nonmetropolitan consumers and the military and the institutional population. All Urban Consumers (Current)


Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers

(Current) Consists of clerical workers, sales workers, protective and other service workers, laborers, or construction workers. More than one-half of the consumer income has to be earned from these occupations, and at least one of the members must be employed for 37 weeks or more in an eligible occupation.


All Urban Consumers (Chained) The urban

consumer population is deemed by many as a better representative measure of the general public because 90 percent of the country’s population lives in urban areas. It utilizes a basket of goods and services that are measured changes

from month to month, much like a daisy chain. If the cost of a certain form of transportation goes up, people might switch to another kind and this kind of “substitution” is part of what is factored into chained CPI.


Average Price Data Calculated for specific

items such as, household fuel, motor fuel and food items. Average prices are best used to measure the price level in a particular month, not to measure price change over time.

The most common CPI Index is the All Urban Consumers Index, but it has two methods used to calculate the numbers: One uses the base period of 1982-1984 as 100, and the other method uses a base period of 1967 as 100. Most leases make the mistake of not being clear about which index is used. In addition, the data can be seasonally adjusted or not seasonally adjusted (which is released faster). You can design your table data at the Bureau of Labor website, and if your property is in New Orleans, you can even produce a local consumer price Index. Make Your Lease Clear How The CPI Is

Here is lease language for a medical property that makes the CPI data source very clear: Calculated

Consumer Price Index: It is further understood and agreed by and between lessor and lessee that, commencing with the first day of the second year of lease, the monthly rental as set forth above will be adjusted upwards at the beginning of the second lease year, and every year thereafter until expiration or termination of the lease using the all urban consumers (CPl-U) United States City Average, All Items, (1967=100) published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor (referred to as “Consumer Price Index”). How CPI Adjustments Affect Property Value

Our economy today is driven by a different wage/ price spiral which causes low inflation. This helps borrowers but hurts landlords and savers. One strategy utilized is to build in a fixed-rate adjustment in addition to a CPI adjustment because the challenge for landlords is that the CPI since 2012 has averaged 1.3 percent, which doesn’t keep up with 3 percent average annual medical care increases. One strategy that benefits landlords is to include lease language stating the rent adjusts based on the CPI or a fixed rate, whichever is higher. Comparing an average 1.3 percent annual CPI to a fixed rate of 3 percent with rent income of $100,000 would increase rent by $95,399 in year 30, which at an 8 percent cap rate adds $1,192,486 more market value to the property. Remember, simply overlooking lease language can be costly. n

Robert Hand, CCIM, SIOR, MBA is president of Louisiana Commercial Realty, a top-rated commercial real estate firm with offices in New Orleans and Hattiesburg, Miss. / 49

Perspectives e du c at i o n

Schools on the Move Expansions, moves, name changes — a look at New Orleans schools welcoming more than just students. by Biz Staff

International School of Louisiana

A tuition-free, public charter school the International School of Louisiana (ISL) serves 1,411 students in K through 8th grade out of three campuses in Orleans Parish —Dixon, Uptown and Westbank. ISL’s Dixon campus opened in 2017 after the school acquired the former Bethune building at 4040 Eagle Street and closed its Jefferson Parish campus. At that time, the Uptown campus was restructured to serve grades 3 through 8. The school’s Dixon campus serves 399 students in kindergarten through 2nd grade (French and Spanish immersion); the Uptown campus serves 689 students (French and Spanish immersion), and the Westbank campus serves 323 students (Spanish immersion). “We are excited to be a part of the Hollygrove-Dixon neighborhood,” said Melanie Tennyson, head of school for ISL. “The neighbors and the neighborhood association have been welcoming, and our families and students are enjoying their new school building.” Opened in Hollygrove

Audubon Charter Name Change and New Location Audubon Schools, formerly Audubon Charter School, is a newly formed charter management organization in New Orleans. Audubon Schools currently operates two schools on three campuses that are all located in New Orleans: Audubon

50 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

Charter School – Uptown and Audubon Charter School – Gentilly. Audubon Charter School – Uptown, known as “Audubon Uptown,” is an elementary school that features two programs, Montessori and French. Audubon Uptown is an affiliate member of the American Montessori Society and is the only public elementary school in Louisiana accredited by the French Ministry of National Education in Pre-K through 8th grades. In response to what the school said was “overwhelming demand,” Audubon opened a new school, Audubon Charter School – Gentilly, August 22 at the former Gentilly Terrace school site. Audubon Gentilly

opening John F. Kennedy High School Welcomes First Class in 13 Years This fall John F. Kennedy High School (6026 Paris Ave.) finally reopened to students since its closure following Hurricane Katrina. The school was previously known as Lake Area New Tech Early College High School.

features a Montessori French Immersion academic model. Students receive instruction from a Montessori-certified head teacher and a French-speaking co-teacher. There are currently 170 students enrolled in grades Pre-K(4) – 2, with plans to add a Pre-K(3) program in the coming weeks. The school will add one grade level per year until it serves over 400 students in grades Pre-K(3) – 8. Audubon Schools focuses on cultivating the “whole child” through individualized learning, multicultural and language exposure, and an emphasis on arts education. Students are taught to be actively and purposefully involved in their education. / 51

Lycee Francais de la Nouvelle-Orleans

French charter school Lycee Francais de la Nouvelle-Orleans purchased the historic Alfred C. Priestley Junior High School building at 1619 Leonidas Street in 2015 to be the future of home of the school’s upper grades. The school currently serves Pre-K through 8th grade at two campuses — Pre-K through 2nd grade at 5951 Patton Street and 3rd through 8th grades at the Johnson Campus at 1800 Monroe Street. The school will be adding a grade level each year through t12th grade. It will be the first open enrollment French Pre-K-through-12th-grade public school. Graduating students will have the opportunity to earn both a Louisiana high school diploma and a French Baccalaureat. Construction on the Priestley campus, which has been shuttered since 1993, is will possibly begin next year and will be led by architectural firm Eskew+ Dumez+Ripple. to Start Construction

University of Holy Cross Expands with New Residence Hall The University of Holy Cross (UHC) expanded this fall with the addition of a newly built residence hall on campus for both local and out-of-state students. The $14 million, 60,000-squarefoot residence hall, located on the east side of campus on Woodland Drive in Algiers, began construction in late summer 2017 with a move-in date of August 12, 2018. The residence hall, built by The McDonnell Group, can accommodate up to 150 studentresidents when totally occupied. This is the first newly constructed building on UHC’s campus since the A&P lab in 2004. The building offers fully furnished single private rooms with a bath, as well as several two-and four-bedroom units with a kitchen and living area. Students living in the single rooms provide their own mini refrigerators, but a full-size refrigerator is provided in all other units. All areas have keypads that restrict access to residents. The residence hall also houses two study halls and a community kitchen, living room, prayer and meditation room, fitness center, laundry, and mailroom facilities. UHC’s residence hall is the first university residence hall on the Westbank in New Orleans history. n

52 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

opening Delgado Community College Opens New Campus When Delgado Community College cut the ribbon to open a $27.3 million workforce-education campus in Avondale in August, the west Jefferson Parish location became the seventh for the 97-year-old New Orleans institution. Enrolling more than 20,000 students, Delgado is the largest public college in Louisiana. However, efforts are underway to increase the college’s enrollment because Delgado’s leaders believe the need for affordable, accessible, accredited postsecondary education in the region is stronger than ever. While faculty and staff development have been challenging during 10 consecutive years of the state’s lean higher-education operational budgets, facilities improvements have continued due to funding availability for capital projects. At the flagship Delgado campus on City Park Avenue, the past five years have seen the opening of a state-of-the-art library, a business-focused learning center and a workforce education center. To the east, a campus to replace and expand the Katrina-ruined Sidney Collier location opened in 2014, and an award-winning international maritime and industrial training center opened in 2017. As Delgado grows and improves, so does the opportunity for residents and employers to benefit from “Education that works!”— the college’s slogan and mission. / 53

P O R T R ait s

b y

j e f f er y

j ohn s ton

New Orleans’ top real estate professionals share what excites and challenges them about the future.


nterest rates remain low, the economy is doing well, home prices in New Orleans rose by 8.6 percent in the first half of this year and we continue to see a boom in new construction on both the residential and commercial side. There is, indeed a lot to celebrate about our local real estate market. In this, our fourth annual real estate issue, Biz brought together some of this area’s key players in a wide array of real estate specialties and asked them to share their successes and their concerns as we finish up this year and head into 2019. Among their answers are a celebration of the redevelopments of areas like the Central Business District (CBD), the Bywater and Mid-City, along with the continued urbanization of our downtown corridor. There are also exciting changes in the works for popular retail spaces like Elmwood Center, and construction-based software solutions are bringing companies more firmly into the digital age in a way that allows them to stay connected and responsive to the needs of their clients. Among these triumphs, however, lie many challenges and uncertainties. Among the biggest questions are: When will this wave we’re riding crash? How should we address the declining affordability of our city? What can we do to combat the decline we’ve seen in skilled labor workforce? And how can we retain the talent we have in the face of growing competition from other states? Real estate is about the land, sure, but it’s the people that will lead us into the future.

INFLUE r e a l

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New Orleans icon since 1916, Latter and Blum is a full-service real estate brokerage operating in greater New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Alexandria, Lake Charles, Houston and southern Mississippi. Over 3,000 agents are part of the Latter and Blum family. The company’s first sale was a home at 938 Esplanade that sold for $8,400 in 1916. At the end of 2017, Latter and Blum’s total sales volume reached $4.5 billion. The company is currently ranked as the 34th largest real estate broker in the United States. What are you most excited about in the coming year? On a personal note, I am excited to join the growing list of women in executive leadership in New Orleans. I am surrounded

Lacey M. Conway President/Principal Broker, Latter & Blum, Inc.

by a dynamic leadership team that is challenged with taking a 100-plus-year-old company into the next 100 years. What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today? Similar to other traditional real estate brokerages in the country, one of the biggest challenges we face is staying on pace with technology and remaining relevant to our clients in the process of buying and selling homes. Declining affordability and decreasing disparity in the marketplace has been, and continues to be, the biggest challenge for the residential real estate industry today.

NCERS / 55


he New Orleans BioInnovation Center is a nonprofit incubator dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship and supporting Louisiana innovators as they develop lifesaving new technologies by providing lab and office facilities, free businessconsulting assistance, educational events and a low-cost capital program. Tenants and clients of the center include over 150 startups developing new medical devices, therapeutics, diagnostics, digital health platforms and clean technologies. The center works with independent innovators and researchers from institutions including Tulane University, LSU Health, Xavier University and the University of New Orleans.

Aaron Miscenich President, New Orleans BioInnovation Center

56 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

What are you most excited about in the coming year? Charity Hospital continues to show progress and promises to be a cornerstone in the development of a lifescience economy in the region. The Spirit of Charity district can help the universities, medical institutions, business community and city government focus on a coordinated effort that enhances our capabilities in research, destination healthcare and entrepreneurship. What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today? In terms of the commercialization of research, growth and retention continue to pose great challenges to the development of a biotechnology economy. New Orleans — and Louisiana as a whole — face strong competition from other markets (Boston, San Francisco, Research Triangle Park) and we have to do more to provide the resources necessary to give our startups business reasons to stay and grow in our city.

Charles Ward, Jr. Partner and Vice President, Rozas Ward Architects


ozas Ward Architects is a firm that specializes in healthcare, education and commercial design, but the company’s portfolio reaches across all industries. Notable projects within the past few years include: The Kalorama Condominiums (700 Magazine Street); 640 Magazine Street Apartments; 425 Notre Dame Condominiums; The Saxony Condominiums; 2424 Tulane Avenue Apartments; and Meril Restaurant.

What are you most excited about in the coming year? I am excited to assist in the continued development of the CBD, Bywater, Mid-City and other areas of metropolitan New Orleans. We are looking at several adaptive-reuse, historic-renovation and new construction opportunities across the entire city. I look forward to the further growth of our city and how our projects can enhance the experience of the community. I see several exciting opportunities for the future of New Orleans and I am thrilled to assist our clients and our community. What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today? I feel the biggest challenge for our industry is striving for creativity and technical competence in the pursuit of efficient design and construction. It is vital that we balance our client’s programmatic needs with the right design and cost efficiency. I enjoy the challenge of assisting in the development of projects that can be realized and executed by our clients. I will strive in the coming year to continue to implement an innovative vision while focusing on exceptional service for our clients. / 57


n accomplished agent in both Atlanta and New Orleans, LaTanya LaBranch has held several leadership roles in the industry since 2008 and founded LaBranch & Associates in 2011.

What are you most excited about in the coming year? Becoming the first African-American female president of NOMAR — the largest real estate board in the state of Louisiana. This organization was chartered by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in 1915. I’ll become the 105th president this year, breaking the glass ceiling and making it possible for my peers to know that it is possible! Our mission and vision is to be the trusted advocate and resource for the real estate community and a model of excellence among REALTOR® associations. We are an association that’s dedicated to our members. We have some exciting projects that we are working on to offer even greater member value!

LaTanya LaBranch Broker/Owner, LaBranch & Associates Realty and Design 2019 President, New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors (NOMAR)

58 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today? Unlike most other states, Louisiana does not have a statewide MLS. Instead, each local area manages their own MLS. NOMAR owns Gulf South Real Estate Information Network (GSREIN), which is the largest MLS operation in the state. Right now, we’re dealing with the fact that there is an active move toward developing one statewide system and there has been a lot of opposition — a lot of people who don’t want to see this change. Our challenge at NOMAR is how can we create a statewide service instead of having brokers going out on their own. We’ve been trying to do this amicably since last year and things seem to just be getting hotter and hotter. Our goal is to make sure that our realtors have the necessary tools available to effectively run their business and provide elite service to their clients. To me it’s all about the clients’ experience!


auricella Land Company is a commercial real estate developer whose biggest project currently is the Elmwood Center in the Elmwood area of East Jefferson. It is the largest open-air, retail-focused project in Louisiana at 1 million square feet. Elmwood began with little fanfare in the mid-70s and has gone through multiple ownership and operational cycles – some down, more up. Today Elmwood Center is 100 percent owned by Lauricella Land Company, on quite stable footing and facing a bright future. What are you most excited about in the coming year? We’ve just completed a major exterior renovation to Elmwood Center and will be seeing a slew of new and better retailers and restaurants coming to Elmwood along with the announcement of a significant residential component. This residential piece of 250 apartments in Phase 1 will offer the finest apartment living in East Jefferson amidst all that Elmwood Center has to offer. It was created in response to a trend in our industry to create “town centers,” which offer all components for a “live, work, play, shop” experience. Elmwood Center already offers several major lifestyle anchors in Ochsner Fitness Center and AMC Theater, and we will be upping our game in the next year with new, higher-quality retailers including Banana Republic Factory Store, Express Factory Outlet, Torrid – as well as others with whom we are in discussions. Also, expect us to introduce a grocery component to our mix along with some new restaurants — Boulevard American Bistro will locate in our most prominent location and La Madeleine

Louis Lauricella Managing Member, Lauricella Land Company, LLC

will open in an entirely new location. Along with all these upgrades, we are looking to improve much of our common space with more landscaping, greater walkability, improved drainage, better lighting and signage. In short, we are remaking Elmwood into something that simply does not currently exist in the New Orleans market. What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today? There is no question that the biggest challenge right now is trying to figure out where retail is going in the future. The current thinking is to create “town centers” that are more equally weighted with retail, restaurants, experiential components and residential/office. In the meantime, every developer needs to look very carefully at those companies with whom they are looking to sign leases. Never before have developers looked more carefully at the future viability of brick-and-mortar retailers in the face of the onslaught of online retail presence. Simply put, the threshold question we ask ourselves when considering a retailer is, “Will they be around in five years?” / 59


orse Homes is a family-owned business licensed to do both commercial and residential projects in the state of Louisiana. The builder has been involved in the highend, luxury home market for the last 30 of its 40 years in business and specializes in providing a complete construction service, including plan development, interior design and layout, as well as high-quality products and service. Morse Homes uses online programs to maintain constant communication with clients, no matter where they are in the country, which allows the company to stay connected during construction, and as long after as need be. What are you most excited about in the coming year? Our excitement about the upcoming year is due to the increased activity of new construction that has been evident in the New Orleans metropolitan area since the beginning of the year for both residential and commercial projects. As we move into the third quarter, we are realizing that the current momentum of the industry will carry our company well into 2019, allowing us to continue our success and growth.

What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today? No doubt, labor shortages, new regulatory requirements and increased costs seem to come from every angle today, and it is imperative that we stay on top of any that may affect us in the future. Additionally, by being actively engaged through membership in the Homebuilders Association of Greater New Orleans, Louisiana Home Builders Association, and the National Association of Home Builders, Morse Homes is updated daily on any and all issues or regulatory changes that may be coming in the future, which includes lack of qualified construction labor for the various trades.

Frank W. Morse, Jr. President, Morse Homes, Inc. President, HBAGNO (Home Builders Association of Greater New Orleans)

60 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

Ryan Gootee President/CEO, Ryan Gootee General Contractors, LLC


yan Gootee General Contractors currently has three projects underway at the Sazerac House, Fillmore Theater NOLA by Live Nation, and The Rendon. Built in two 1850s-era buildings on Canal Street, the five-story Sazerac House will have a unique exhibit experience, event space, corporate office space and a penthouse on the roof. The completion date is set for spring 2019. The Fillmore Theater will be the first venue built on the second floor of Harrah’s Casino, will accommodate up to 2,900 people, and will open early next year. On The Rendon, I am wearing two hats, developer and contractor. We are historically restoring the old McDonough 31 School in Mid-City into 26 apartment units with a completion date of year-end. What are you most excited about in the coming year? The momentum of the construction and real estate industries and New Orleans in general. I think everyone’s been wondering and worrying when the 13-year wave we’ve been riding will flatten out, but it just seems to keep rolling. National economists have been predicting for years that 2019-20 will be the next big downturn, but I’m still optimistic for NOLA. I was driving around downtown

this week and realized there are more tower cranes in the air spread over several major projects than I have seen in years. There are many multimillion-dollar projects just starting, on the cusp of starting or in planning that will spur other developments in surrounding areas. What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today? The declining skilled labor workforce still remains our biggest issue but is also amplified by the high expectations of owners to complete projects as quickly as possible. With the technological advancements over the last 15 years, people expect things almost immediately. Aside from big box stores, fast food, pharmacies and such, most construction projects are serial No. 1 which inherently takes more time. To offset the highpaced demand and shortage of labor, we are fighting technology with technology. Many construction-based software and hardware solutions have come to market over the last few years that have been highly beneficial, but the industry is still behind. We need to stop complaining about our labor woes and start doing something to turn it around. For example, last week we had unCommon Construction, a NOLA nonprofit, speak to the entire company about their efforts to get high school students engaged through actual hands-on training in building a house. / 61

What are you most excited about in the coming year? We are looking forward to the continued development and redevelopment activity as a result of the improving national economy and the catalyst effect of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. The improving economic fundamentals, plus government incentives, such as the Opportunity Zone feature of the recent Tax Cut and Jobs legislation, provide a platform for prudent development and investment. We anticipate investors will unlock trillions in stock and closely held companies’ capital gains in order to reinvest in historic real estate markets. We have the expertise to assist those folks.


nappy Jacobs, CCIM Real Estate Management, LLC is a small, full-service commercial real estate firm built on select long-term relationships, including family offices, trusts, high net-worth individuals, individual investors and businesses. The company has a concentration of business in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge markets and extensive experience in the sale, management, leasing and redevelopment of the historic markets of both these regions, as well as small shopping centers and retail in South Louisiana.

Snappy Jacobs Owner, Snappy Jacobs, CCIM Real Estate Management, LLC

62 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today? There are always shifting currents beneath the surface of any economic cycle; some sectors will be overbuilt, and the retail/internet situation will continue to evolve. Those are constant concerns, but the biggest challenge facing the commercial real estate industry in New Orleans is ensuring that political and civic policymakers and the labyrinth of public boards and commissions in the region address the need for a more diversified economy, muchneeded infrastructure improvements, and quality-of-life issues such as crime and transparency in the way business is done by government and pseudo-government agencies. These issues are of great concern for investors.

Michael J. Siegel President, Corporate Realty


orporate Realty is a full-service real estate agency headquartered in New Orleans that serves businesses throughout the Gulf South, including Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas. Most of the company’s brokerage and management teams have been together for more than 20 years. Recent notable projects include helping bring DXC to New Orleans and working with the Benson team to redevelop and lease up the former Lord & Taylor Building (1400 Poydras Street).

What are you most excited about in the coming year? I’m most excited about the continued urbanization of Downtown New Orleans — seeing more people living, working and playing in the downtown area. I’m also excited about welcoming DXC and their new employees to the business community and continuing to work on bringing more whitecollar jobs to the city. I’d also like to see the Saints in the Super Bowl again. What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today? Our biggest challenge as a company is trying to figure out how to harness the mass amount of information available on the web to our benefit. On a wider level, the uncertainty in the national business community has resulted in some slowdown to growth and opportunities. / 63

Southeast louisiana businesses in full color


Area high school students build resumés, and houses, with unCommon Construction.

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

Fire and Ice Pollack Glass Studio & Gallery brings glass art and a teaching facility to Magazine Street by Melanie Warner Spencer photos by Sara Essex Bradley

The modern building at 4132 Magazine

Street, designed by Albert Architecture, is home to Pollack Glass Studio & Gallery. At first glance, its interior resembles that of many art galleries — white walls, shelving and pedestals donning various works. It’s not until entering the space that the “studio” part of the name becomes apparent. Through a glass window in the back, visitors get a front-row seat to the glass art-making process. Or, for those curious enough about the art form to want to learn how to do it, students can step through

66 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

the door into the studio and participate in the process via various classes. The man behind the curtain — or door, in this case — is artist Andrew Jackson Pollack. After spending several years working out of a home studio, Pollack says he was ready to expand his workspace, add a gallery to showcase his work and that of other local and national glass artists and create a place to teach others his craft. “It stands out in the neighborhood,” says Pollack. “This part of the block isn’t ‘old New Orleans.’ I [do] like that style of

architecture, but this is very modern and I worked with the historical architectural commission to navigate it.” The building also houses a salon and currently features an available space that could be used either as an apartment or for commercial use. For the design inspiration, principal architect Richard Albert, project architect Jared Bowers and design architect Dan Akerley looked to the artist’s preferred medium: glass. Expansive windows that run across the front of the building showcase the glass art inside

Pollack Glass Studio & Gallery at 4132 Magazine St., was designed by Albert Architecture. It serves as a showcase for Andrew Jackson Pollack and other glass artists, as well as a studio where Pollack and other artists work and teach classes.

“It stands out in the neighborhood,” says Pollack. “This part of the block isn’t ‘old New Orleans.” I [do] like that style of architecture, but this is very modern and I worked with the historical architectural commission to navigate it.”

At a Glance

Pollack Glass Studio & Gallery Completion date: April 2018 Architect: Albert Architecture (Principal architect Richard Albert; project architect Jared Bowers; design architect Dan Akerley) Interior Designer: Albert Architecture (Jared Bowers and Dan Akerley) Selections include paint colors, tile, countertops, cabinetry, light fixtures, door hardware, plumbing fixtures and floor finishes) Furnishings: Furnishings include a custom point of sale desk designed by Albert Architecture and fabricated by Riverbend Construction Size: 4,447 square feet Main goal: To provide a functional studio and gallery space for the instruction, creation and presentation of glass art Biggest Challenge: “Navigating the unique complexities of fire protection inherent to the distinct multiple occupancies, one of which was dealing with the storage and combustion of flammable gasses through open torches in an interior environment,” says Dan Akerley. Standout Features: Exterior: “Articulated vertical entry tower with natural European wood panel accents,” says Jared Bowers. Interior: “State-ofthe-art instructional lampworking studio,” says Bowers / 67

worked closely with the fire marshal to follow building codes and oversee details. Akerley says the main challenge of the project was “navigating the unique complexities of fire protection inherent to the distinct multiple occupancies, one of which was dealing with the storage and combustion of flammable gases through open torches in an interior environment.” Beyond the gallery and studio, there is a bathroom with a handy shower (glass art is dirty work), a break room with a comfortable brown leather sofa for lounging and an office. Gray cabinetry by Gulf Breeze Cabinets provides ample storage and, along with wood plank floors salvaged from a warehouse on Tchoupitoulas Street, warms up an otherwise minimal and cool interior. Additional storage is hidden by sliding barn doors made from some of the leftover wood planks used for the flooring. “My other studio was a cluttered mess,” says Pollack. “[This new space] feels more professional. Things are where I need them. It feels like a blank canvas and has room for a lot of inspiration. A new start, a new body of work.” n

and upstairs and offer a glimpse of work happening in the hair salon. “Glass as a design element is prevalent throughout the building,” says Bowers. “Glazing on the Magazine Street façade is maximized to flood the building with desirable northern day lighting. A vertical glazed entry tower is recessed from the street to accommodate additional clerestory windows that provide day lighting to three sides of the gallery space.” Glass was incorporated into the interior via finishes and furnishings. In addition to windows running across the front of the exterior façade on the second floor, Bowers notes that natural wood panel accents and projecting balconies (which also fit the spirit of New Orleans’ traditional architecture) “are combined to produce a unique project that effectively and efficiently spotlights the means, methods and products of the art of lampworking.” Safety was a top priority, given the nature of the work done in the studio. With both hot and cold working areas, offices and a gallery, as well as leasing tenants upstairs, Pollack says the team

68 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

The studio area contains both hot and cold work stations and a sophisticated restaurant kitchenstyle ventilation system.

There are two additional spaces in the building — one is a salon and the other is available for either commercial or residential use.

“Glass as a design element is prevalent throughout the building.” Jared Bowers, project architect at Albert Architecture / 69

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

YNOT Indeed Tony Bertucci, owner of NOLA Flyboarding, is bringing New Orleanians back to the Lakefront with YNOT Dock. by Ashley McLellan photos by sara essex bradley

Imagine a place not too far from

here, where adults can enjoy live music or watch the big game, parents can enjoy a refreshing adult beverage while kids cool off, hang out and play, and visitors from near and far can soak up the Lakefront. Until recently, that journey may have taken New Orleanians to the Northshore or just beyond to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Now, it’s a quick drive over the high rise to YNOT Dock, which officially opened June 1, the brainchild of the perpetually youngat-heart and infinitely busy Tony Bertucci. YNOT Dock is a 6,000-square-foot outdoor party hot spot located on 28 acres in eastern New Orleans, flanked by South Shore Harbor, The National World War II Museum’s PT boat dock and shared event space, and the Lakefront Airport. It is poised on the cusp of real estate development about to boom…or at least that’s the plan. While YNOT Dock currently has live music daily, a fully stocked bar and pub food, a splash pad for kids, and access to NOLA Flyboarding’s full menu of water activities (it has the only Jet Ski rental on the lake), Bertucci has a long list of plans and a wish list for the future, some of which will be developed soon. YNOT Dock started in 2017 as an offshoot of NOLA Flyboarding (which Bertucci has owned since 2013) as a place for Bertucci’s

70 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

Tony Bertucci (pictured along with his son), owner and mastermind behind NOLA Flyboarding and YNOT Dock, envisioned a place where the young and young at heart could eat, drink, and play while revitalizing the historic Lakefront in eastern New Orleans.

clients to hang out, cool off, and enjoy food and drinks before and after a Jet Ski or paddleboard on the lake. YNOT Dock was originally located at Brisbi’s Restaurant, which closed its doors in May of this year. Bertucci decided to go ahead with a plan to offer something more to his clients. “I thought, I already have my boats and insurance, and captains. I have a plumbing business, and construction resources; all I needed was a place,” he said. “The inspiration behind YNOT Dock came from the idea of having a one-stop location for water sports, music, fun, family, drinks, parties and more.”

After booking a large party in 2017, which required food, drink, and facilities, Bertucci decided to make the leap to construct YNOT Dock, combining his fly-board business with hospitality and entertainment. His plans would soon take a sudden, unexpected turn. “I got a call from Quickbooks that there was fraudulent activity on my account. It turns out the $14,000 event [I was preparing for] was actually a scam,” he said. “But, after much thought, and some drinks at home, I decided that if I thought this was a good idea, maybe others would / 71

YNOT Dock is a 6,000 square foot entertainment complex that features live music, food, a full bar, party and event space, and a full menu of water sport activities on the lake.


Other Recent New Orleans East Developments: Royal Brewery Micro-brewery with six craft brews, tours, events, and live music 7366 Townsend Place Completed in March 2017 The National World War II PT Boat Dock Rides and tours on the historic PT-305 6701 Stars and Stripes Boulevard Completed in March 2017 Lakefront Airport Charter planes, aviation school, Messina’s at the Terminal restaurant 6001 Stars and Stripes Boulevard Originally built in 1934, following an extensive renovation, the Lakefront Airport main terminal reopened in 2013. Dixie Beer Brewery Beer brewery, tours, beer gardens, live music and more on the site of the former MacFrugal’s Warehouse. 3501 Jourdan Road Completion scheduled for 2020.

too. We went ahead with the first YNOT Dock pavilion at Brisbi’s and had 250 people come out…and that was with no advertising or social media.” The original 2,000-square-foot YNOT Dock (a play on Bertucci’s first name and a certain carefree Lakefront attitude) began booking parties consistently. “While at Brisbi’s, we found that there was indeed a demand,” he said. “We booked 35 parties in the short year [of 2017] that we were there.” But Brisbi’s needed YNOT Dock to relocate due to licensing and zoning agreements, and Bertucci’s fledging business was soon homeless. The unscheduled move to a new location was the business’ second major bump in the road, but one that would prove in the end to be the best move yet. After an impromptu meeting with the site’s developer, Roland Von Kurnatowski,

72 / Biz New Orleans / october 2018

and a spin across the state in Von Kurnatowski’s private plane, Bertucci settled on a deal to bring music, food, fun and more back to the lake with a revamped YNOT Dock on the grounds of the old casino site at Lakeshore Landing. Eastern New Orleans Revival The site, which can accommodate 1,200 people, is the former home of the Star Casino, which opened in 1993. Bally’s Casino, which took over in 1995, and its gambling boat with custom-built dock and peninsula, laid the remainder of the foundation for what is currently in place. Bally’s would later shutter its doors and dock in 2004, after a marked downfall in the number of people heading to the Lakefront in eastern New Orleans in the late 1990s. Hurricane Katrina dealt the area a final blow; the area around the former casino was

littered with beached boats, garbage and other debris when the land was returned to the parish in 2006. Managed by the Orleans Parish Non-Protection Asset Management Board, the area that YNOT Dock sits upon is currently leased by Lakeshore Landing, a development team helmed by Von Kurnatowski, who secured the area with a 50-year lease in 2010. “The site was developed by Roland Von Kurnatowski, founder of Tipitina’s, with estimated renovations to date approximately $2 million on the grounds as a whole,” Bertucci said. YNOT Dock had its grand reopening on June 1 at the Lakefront, with revenue reflecting the enthusiasm for the entertainment space. “We made $16,000 the opening day at the bar,” Bertucci said. He added that sales have been consistent and growing, despite the typically slow summer months. “Our sales so far from June 1 through August have been very good considering the late start and zero beforehand marketing,” he said. “Rough sales are around $80,000 [to date.]” Development plans for YNOT Dock are slated to roll out in stages, with the next construction phase planned for this winter of a new indoor/outdoor bar space and a completion date of early spring 2019, with the further construction later of a new “shore store,” a possible volleyball court, and more beach and water activities available for patrons. Bertucci also envisions event space for Lakefront weddings, festivals, and music events along the lines of Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores, Alabama. YNOT Dock’s currently activities, such as the splash dock, are free, but Bertucci plans on expanding options to include a “Splash Pad Pass” that will be on sale for $10 to $15 per day. NOLA Flyboarding, located at YNOT Dock, also has water experiences including Jet Ski rentals, paddleboards, kayaks and party barges, with a full menu of prices depending on the experience and length of rental. “I can’t wait for all of the cool things we have planned for this space,” he said. “We all remember or have family members that remember having fun on the lake. We want to help bring the fun back to the Lakefront. We have music every day we are open, whether it’s a band or DJ. People want to come out and have fun, dance barefoot and sing along to ‘Back That Azz Up.’” n / 73

From The Lens m a k i n g a m atc h: b u s i n e s s e s a n d n o n p r o f i t s

Building Homes and Futures unCommon Construction provides local high school students with a life-changing work experience. by Pamela Marquis portrait by cheryl gerber

The New Orleans Residential real estate

market is thriving, with new construction popping up all over the city. Among them is a listing for a home in the St. Roch neighborhood for a threebedroom/two bath with 10-foot ceilings, recessed lighting, bamboo floors, a kitchen with eat-in bar, gas range and stainless steel appliances. This home’s master suite features a sleek bath and walk-in closet and an extra family room enjoys access to a covered back porch that looks out over a large, grassy fenced yard. While it may sound like just another well-appointed family home, this property is different — it was constructed by local high school students. The students were participants in unCommon Construction, a youth development non-profit that uses the build process to empower youth with skills and real work experience. unCommon Construction has built eight homes in nine semesters (including two homes with Habitat for Humanity, a tiny house on a mobile trailer) and hired more than 100 students, and they have earned more than $100,000 in pay and equity award scholarships since its beginning in 2015. Students from different schools join a diverse team to earn hourly pay and school internship credit for building a house

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Since its launch in 2015, unCommon Construction has built eight homes in nine semesters and hired more than 100 students that have earned more than $100,000 in pay and equity award scholarships.

in a semester. Funded by the revenue from each project, apprentices also earn a matching “Equity Award Scholarship” for further education and industry certifications. Through more than 100 hours each semester, apprentices develop career awareness and exposure, technical and soft skills, and leadership abilities through this work-based learning experience in a real-world classroom. ”I wanted to create a program that equipped high school graduates with the skills and resources for the college or career path of their choice,” says unCommon Construction’s Founder, Aaron Frumin. Once unCommon sells a home, it uses the proceeds to maintain funding for future acquisitions, new equipment and student stipends. simple beginnings In 2005, Frumin was a

college dropout in the process of discovering himself. His involvement in community service began with a donation to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. While on the phone with the Red Cross hotline to make a $25 donation, he realized he wanted to do more. By the end of the call, Frumin had signed on to a phone-line shift for the following day. A few months later, he traveled to New Orleans with the Red Cross effort, where he helped with bulk

distribution of food, water, buckets, bleach and other essential items. Later that year, still on his journey of self-discovery, Frumin took his first job in construction as a worker at a day labor company in the Reno-Lake Tahoe area. He soon discovered he enjoyed the physical labor and the deep satisfaction of putting in a hard day’s work. “I was hungry for a challenge,” he said. “I had no skills and I even had to rent boots in order to work for $7 a day. Now we make sure our students have what they need to hit the ground with experience, hard and soft skills and steel-toed boots.” Next up for Frumin was more disaster recovery work as he joined the AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), where he used his new construction skills to help rebuild the Gulf Coast. His commitment deepened when he lead community volunteers, AmeriCorps, and partner families in rebuilding New Orleans as a house leader with New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. He also found time to earn a degree in teaching from Tulane University and after that he spent three years working with Teach for America. Frumin took all the skills, lessons, resources, ideas and knowledge of youth development that he gathered from all these experiences to create unCommon.

photograph courtesy uncommon construction

(Left to right) Aaron Franklin-White, Project Coordinator; Aaron Frumin, Executive Director; Ian Houts, Program Leader; Jayd Hill, Volunteer & Community Coordinator


uncommon construction Mission unCommon Construction uses the build process to empower youth to lead the workforce after high school or college. Annual Budget Averages between $700,000 to $1 million (changes depending on the number of houses being built that year). Ongoing Partnerships uCC works with a wide variety of industry professionals from construction companies to real estate agents and everything in between. Among parnering organizations are: Capital One, GPOA Foundation, Gibbs Construction, Concordia Architects, TrapolinPeer Architects, Teach for America and Baptist Community Ministries.

Along the way he also discovered what he wanted to do with his life – community service. He believes unCommon can be one way to begin to solve some our community’s deep-rooted problems. Students need to be at least 16 years old and currently enrolled at a participating high school to complete the application process. They also need to commit to 10 hours a week – one day after school and all day on Saturday. “Construction is the method we use to better prepare high schoolers for college and careers,” Frumin says. “There’s a lot of math, engineering and physics, setting a great foundation for any number of STEM jobs. Even more, by working on a diverse team throughout the build process, they gain leadership skills and are better prepared for any type of long-term career goal.” “This program is so beneficial and it really did help me get my first job,” says high school senior at International High School of New Orleans, Keisa Brown. “I had something to share with potential employers. I could talk about things I’d done and show them my scorecards” (apprentices receive a “Hirability Scorecard” with each of their monthly paychecks that evaluates their progress). “Most importantly, I learned how to communicate with a lot of different people in a professional way. It also helps me stay engaged in something positive and is helping me build a financial background. I love the company.” Through partnerships with local construction companies, training facilities and colleges, unCommon is able to offer youth the opportunity to more successfully transition from school to the workforce and/or post-secondary education. “We help them build for themselves and the community,” Frumin says. “They are building as an investment in their future and the community’s future.”

A Good Match FOR COMPANIES WHO… want to make and share connections and resources with uCC. The organization is always looking for architects, engineers, educators, people in youth development, electricians, surveyors or anyone who can share their time, talents and experience to help youth achieve their goals. uCC wants four things for their apprentices: employment, opportunities, volunteers and mentors. If your company can offer any of those things, you’d be a good match. / 75

The apprentices’ hourly pay teaches youth the value of their time, effort and newly acquired skills and experience. They earn more than minimum wage and also can receive promotions and bonuses each semester. On Saturdays, apprentices are positioned as leaders of adult volunteers, comprised of college students, educators, industry professionals, employers, community partners and more. Together, they are tasked with completing an entire phase of construction in a single day through a high-energy, coordinated build experience. During after school sessions, apprentices develop their sense of identity and team unity via leadership activities and industry exchanges with partners throughout the city. The “Framing Character” portion of the program engages apprentices in activities that focus on career exploration and personal identity. Each week, students participate in team building exercises, hear presentations from industry partners and go on field trips. Frumin tells the story of Clarence, an apprentice who went for a visit to an architectural firm. “While he was there he asked, ‘Is there a job where I can just draw buildings?’ One of the employees took him to his drafting table and you could see the light bulb go off in Clarence’s head.” The program has been praised by local businesses in construction and other associated industries, such as real estate and architecture. “What Aaron is doing is great because he gives youth jobs, experience, money and builds their confidence, says Melissa Gibbs, who directs business development and manages small and disadvantaged subcontractor outreach for her family business, commercial general building contractor Gibbs Construction. “These are things that help them begin to see a successful future for themselves.” Just before this school year started, 18-year-old Terry Gerdes was eagerly awaiting getting back to the program. The senior at Renew Accelerated High School has been with unCommon for two years and has worked on six houses. “You shouldn’t even ask me what I like about this program,” he says, “because I like everything. I’ve learned to be a leader and I’ve really learned that I can deal with hard times and still do my best at work. I would tell anyone about this program and I would say, ‘Boy, you don’t what to miss this ‘cause you need to get with it.”

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“Construction is the method we use to better prepare high schoolers for college and careers,” Frumin says. “There’s a lot of math, engineering and physics, setting a great foundation for any number of STEM jobs. Even more, by working on a diverse team throughout the build process, they gain leadership skills and are better prepared for any type of long-term career goal.”

making a difference

Success of Services:


of seniors participating in the program graduated on time


Current Needs/Opportunities for

Attend a Group Build Day: Groups consisting of at least 15 volunteers can pre-schedule a day with uCC apprentices. Builds are always on Saturdays during the school semester. Groups may consist of colleagues or peers as part of a company, class or organization’s volunteer day. You do not, however, have to be affiliated with a pre-existing group to arrange a day. Anyone willing and able to assemble a committed group of volunteers is welcome. Next Build Day: Saturday, October 13, from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. This build is being hosted by unCommon and AIA New Orleans Center for Architecture and Design. To register or to get more information, visit uncommonconstruction Partnership

Help unCommon Construction serve up to 75 youth in its apprenticeship program per year by becoming a sustaining monthly donor for as little as $10 per month. A $15 monthly donation helps purchase personal protective equipment for a student and a gift of $100 buys a student a set of personal hand tools. Beco m e a M o n t h ly D o n o r

Shop on Amazon? Consider linking to uCC via Amazon Smile and .5 percent of every eligible purchase you make will support apprentices. In Construction? Hire unCommon Construction apprentices to work on a build project at your school, business, residence or elsewhere in New Orleans. uCC will work with you to outline the scope and coordinate materials to make sure your project is ready to create a meaningful learning experience for local youth. Ideal projects include: painting, porches, doors and windows, fences and ramps, as well as home repairs. Fundraising Efforts unCommon does not

hold a formal gala or signature fundraising effort. However, throughout the year they do have small events to raise funds. Some also create fundraising efforts for them. For example, the Back to School Tool Drive, hosted by the Louisiana Associated General Contractors and The American Institute of Architects New Orleans, asks members to donate new or used construction tools. Suggested items for donations can be found on uCC’s Amazon Wish List. n

of those graduates chose to continue their education within three months Participants also report the following benefits of the program:

Received a better sense of what they’re good at Were proud with how they performed in the program Developed new skills that helped them succeed in the program Improved their teamwork skills to work well with others Developed better ways to solve problems when they face issues or setbacks Developed time management skills in order to meet their deadlines Feel their future is more hopeful after participating in this program

photograph courtesy uncommon construction / 77

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

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From The Lens ON THE J OB

Build Like a Woman Habitat for Humanity International

began a program called Women Build in 1991 as a way for women to take a proactive step in serving their communities. In 2017, the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity held its first Women Build. Three homes have been built so far, by women and for women, who work in teams to raise money and awareness of the program in a teambuilding exercise that results in the changing of at least one life forever. Shown here is Lane Sistrunk, part of a team of volunteers from Renaissance Publishing (the parent company of Biz New Orleans magazine) that participated in this past spring’s Women Build. This year’s build was supported by more than 130 businesses and 600 volunteers. To learn more about the spring 2019 build, contact Marguerite Oestreicher at (504) 861-2077 or n

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