Content tagged “FrontPage News”

Why I fight for local control of education

People often ask, what do I think is the most important issue facing Louisiana? Or, if I could accomplish just one thing as Governor what would it be?

Open for business

Louisiana is open for business. That's the resounding battle cry that I heard on a recent trip to the state.

Tess Brunet & Patrick Hodgkins

"We've created the record store that we would want to go to."

McAllister should drop GOP, run as independent

Congressman Vance McAllister, R-Swartz, is motoring into the fall elections carrying more baggage than Delta. His campaign finances are shaky, a few dynamics that favored his candidacy just a month ago are turning sideways and he has lost key supporters. Then there's his self-made political scandal that gave new meaning to the old phrase regarding loose lips sinking ships.

Robert Mercer

It's hard to imagine a more experienced hotelier than Robert Mercer. With nearly 50 years in the business, Mercer took the helm at the Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel in October 2012. Previously, Mercer had managed numerous upscale hotel properties in major Southern cities—in Atlanta, Memphis and Orlando, to name a few. Though his employer is actually Davidson Hotels & Resorts, Mercer's job entails working closely with the developer and owner of the landmark Bluebonnet Boulevard property, Mike Wampold. "It is our job to ensure that his investment is well taken care of, well thought of in the community, and financially successful," Mercer says. The GM's transition at the award-winning hotel was free of surprises. "I knew before I arrived how beautiful the hotel was and that I would be able to have interactions with the owner, which I believe is most important in order to fully understand what drives him and what he expects from me as the general manager." Wampold Companies, he...

Lawmakers should avoid hitting cruise control

With a tempestuous debate over Common Core nearing its peak and congressional elections lying in wait behind the curtains of this humid summer, most state lawmakers aren't flipping their calendars ahead some 280 days or so to pencil in priorities for the 2015 regular session. But they should be doing just that.

Jindal making risky gamble over Common Core

It wasn't long ago that Common Core was considered the most debated policy issue in Louisiana that lawmakers and parents knew the least about. Now it's the hottest political issue with the highest volume of unintended consequences.

Lani Guilbeau

POSITION Founder and owner
COMPANY Fleur Du Jour Florist
WHAT THEY DO Accommodate planned events with expert floral and design services
NEXT GOAL To reconnect with her clients

'Business Report' planner: Family Forum president to address Chamber of Commerce of EBR … Grant-writing seminar available for faith-based, community organizations … Finalists for LSU lakes plan to make public pitches

Tuesday: A free seminar on how one can become a licensed claims adjuster will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern University's Baton Rouge campus. Get complete details and register to attend.

Cynthia Rougeou

Cynthia Rougeou begins each workday at LASERS with a Diet Dr. Pepper. On the best days, she says, that kick-start is "followed by interacting and sharing ideas with our senior executive staff." Promoted to executive director in 2006, Rougeou oversees the daily operations of LASERS and professes a "passion" for its mission: "to provide a sound retirement plan for our members through prudent management and exceptional service." LASERS members do not participate in Social Security. "Our average retiree has a very modest pension," Rougeou says. Dispelling misconceptions has been a consistent part of her current job, she adds: "We are not going broke, and we are certainly not Detroit. In fact, our 30-year average actuarial return exceeds 8 percent." For the past decade LASERS has ranked among the top 10 performing public pension systems in the nation, notwithstanding its unfunded accrued liability. Rougeou says: "In our most recent valuation, the UAL dropped by nearly $700 million. For...

Forgiveness emerges as major theme of upcoming elections

During the fall elections this year and next, a handful of candidates will be asking not only for your vote, but also for your forgiveness. While Louisiana has always had its fair share of flawed and ethically challenged politicians, it's a treat for reporters—and heartburn for supporters of good government—to find so many high-profile cases on the campaign trail at the same time.

Picture this

The Capital Region has seen considerable commercial growth over the past year.

Expanding an icon Tiger Stadium

Construction crews have been working round-the-clock at LSU to complete one of the Capital Region's biggest developments of the year: the massive $87 million South End Zone expansion of Tiger Stadium.

Off the charts

Baton Rouge metro area housing market performance ranking among 350 markets nationwide included in the current National Association of Home Builders' First American Leading Markets Index. The market is performing 42% better than it was during pre-recession “normal levels.”

Industrial overview

The industrial real estate market continues its post-recession rebound, according to an analysis by a committee of the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors.

Retail overview

The Baton Rouge retail market is strong and the year ahead will see a continuation of positive trends.

Commercial overview

The office market in Baton Rouge is strong and several positive developments over the past year suggest it will only continue to strengthen.

Multifamily overview

The multifamily housing sector is strong in Baton Rouge, with more than 1,700 units under construction, nearly 1,000 more expected to break ground this year, and an additional 2,000 that have been proposed and could become a reality in the next couple of years.

Single-family overview

After several years when buyers had the upper hand, the Capital Region's single-family housing market is tilting back toward sellers, according to data gathered and analyzed by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors.

Capitol Beat

Hosted by Shauna Sanford and Charlie Whinham of Louisiana: The State We're In throughout the Legislative session and featuring highlights from the day's activities at the State Capitol.
Courtesy LPB

For the survivors

Physician, Surgical Specialty Center of Baton Rouge

Jump Start

While Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White has been barnstorming the state to drum up support for Jump Start—which, if approved by the Legislature this spring, will revamp the way the state provides career and technical training to high school students who may not be interested in or ready for college—the Baton Rouge business community has quietly been doing its part to help get the program enacted and make sure it's a success.

David Maples and Virginia Huling

David Maples moved with Virginia Huling to Baton Rouge in August 2007 to begin his studies at the LSU Law Center.

Dawn Harris

In one sense, it was "by design" that Dawn Harris entered the credit union industry: She graduated from LSU with a bachelor's in fine art, majoring in design. However, Harris says, "I had never heard of a credit union before I went to work for one"—a serendipitous move. And 30 years after Campus Federal Credit Union hired her, she became its president and CEO Jan. 1. Harris credits her predecessor John Milazzo with giving her "many opportunities to work across department lines" and thereby broaden her expertise. Previously, Harris served CFCU as COO, executive vice president of retail services and vice president of marketing. Her fine arts education wasn't so much left behind as redirected. "My background in design was a basis for problem solving, which worked well in the business setting," she says. With a leadership style she calls "open" and "consultative," Harris is guiding CFCU through a period of expansion. Locally, she says, "we are in the design phase of a new branch on...

Paul A. Salles

Since Jan. 1, the Louisiana Hospital Association has as its top executive an industry veteran with lifelong ties to the state. For more than a decade Salles has been involved with LHA, which, he says, "works closely with its board and membership to support the hospital industry through advocacy, education and services." Formerly the group's executive vice president—a position he held while also leading the Metropolitan Hospital Council of New Orleans—Salles says he "directed the development of health care policy and reimbursement initiatives on behalf of hospitals in Louisiana, and directed and participated in various political activities at the state and national levels." Beginning his tenure as president and CEO during a period of industry reform, Salles notes that LHA will play "an increasingly important role" in quality and performance improvement, on one hand, and information and data capabilities, on the other. Regarding the latter he notes: "To keep up with the...

RNC going 'all in in Louisiana' with Project Geaux Red

With the recent launch of Project Geaux Red, Matt Pinnell says the Republican Party of Louisiana aims to grow the state party and reclaim U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu's seat in 2014 by focusing on year-round, grassroots efforts rather than commercial blasts right before elections. "When you get down to it, that's the central focus here: the quality of contact between the volunteer and the voter," Pinnell, director of state parties at the Republican National Committee, told the Baton Rouge Press Club today, adding that the Republican Party of Louisiana (LAGOP) has been putting its funds into day-to-day operations for over a year rather than waiting until a few months before the 2014 senatorial race—a race that is garnering much national attention. LAGOP Chairman Roger Villere says that in addition to the RNC's five staffers who came down to assist the LAGOP in July 2013—a...

IBM's B.R. plan named among nation's top economic development deals of 2013

Business Facilities, a trade magazine focusing on corporate site selection and economic development, has named IBM's technology center in downtown Baton Rouge among the nation's best economic development deals of 2013. While an Apple advanced manufacturing center in Mesa, Ariz., was named the nation's top deal and a pair of projects in Tennessee took the silver and bronze awards, the IBM announcement in Baton Rouge was among the magazine editors' five honorable mentions. "Louisiana's capital has had great success in executing its strategy of bringing together business and higher education in innovative public-private partnerships that spur initiatives in new high-growth sectors," says Business Facilities Editor in Chief Jack Rogers. "The partnership developed among public, private and higher education entities for this project demonstrates...

Local business owner goes DIY with Super Bowl commercial

Shortly before kickoff of Sunday's Super Bowl, local salad dressing manufacturer Richard Hanley decided he would make his own halftime commercial and send it out to friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter and email. The 30-second spot only got a few hundred views, but considering that Hanley produced it himself at no charge while fiddling around on his laptop, it wasn't a bad way to pass the time during the lackluster first half of the game. "I thought it would be cool to have my own Super Bowl halftime ad," says Hanley, who has a background in advertising. Though Hanley says he would never spend the $8 million it cost to air a 30-second spot during Super Bowl XLVIII even if he had it to spend, his company, Hanley's Foods, hasn't needed to spend much on advertising so far. Since it began manufacturing, bottling and selling an all-natural sensation salad dressing last spring, sales have skyrocketed and the...

La. ranked No. 19 for new business growth, 2009-2012

With an estimated 2,315 new businesses created in the state between 2009 and 2012, Louisiana is ranked No. 19 nationally for net new business growth in the years immediately following the recession. According to a new report out from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists, which is based on an analysis of Labor Department data, Louisiana was among 29 states and the District of Columbia that saw net new business growth during the span. Texas, New York, Illinois, Washington and Pennsylvania were the top five, while Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, New Jersey and Michigan rounded out the bottom of the list. In Louisiana, the report says, there were 121,679 businesses operating in the state in 2012. The state's 2% net new job growth rate between 2009 and 2012 was equal to the U.S. average rate. The 50 states and D.C. added a total of...