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New Orleans Attorney Profiles 2015
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Baton Rouge, New Orleans compete for $40 million transportation prize in Smart City Challenge

Baton Rouge and New Orleans are among 77 cities nationwide competing for up to $40 million in federal funds to make transportation safer, easier and more reliable. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge asked midsize cities to submit plans for using data, technology and creativity to shape the way people and goods move.… Continue reading →

H-2B guest-worker program under fire over salary discrepancies

Advocate file photo -- The LSU AgCenter says about 60 Louisiana seafood processing facilities hire more than 2,000 guest workers each year to peel crawfish and shrimp, shuck oysters and filet fish.

With crawfish season just around the corner, Congress’ decision to quadruple the size of a guest-worker program might be described as a gift to Louisiana’s seafood processing industry, which struggles to fill the seasonal jobs each year. But a recent report from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute says the H-2B program amounts to little more… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for Feb. 7, 2016

A Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market has opened in Thibodaux at 224 W. Main St. The store is about 42,000 square feet and has groceries, a pharmacy, a fuel station and a free store pickup service for shopping through walmart.com. The store employ about 95 full- and… Continue reading →

U.S. rig count drops 48; Louisiana down 5

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 48 this week to 571. The Houston firm said Friday 467 rigs sought oil and 104 explored for natural gas amid depressed energy prices. A year ago, 1,456 rigs were active.… Continue reading →

Louisiana finds record number of workers ID’d as contractors

The Louisiana Workforce Commission identified a record 19,956 workers that employers misclassified as independent contractors in 2015. The agency also found employers had more than $50 million in unreported taxable wages and about $1.5 million in unreported and unpaid unemployment insurance taxes. It was the second year in a row the agency set a record for… Continue reading →

Louisiana’s ‘Obamacare’ enrollment passes 214,000; New Orleans leads state

The number of Louisiana residents who got coverage through the federal insurance marketplace jumped to 214,148 for the entire open enrollment period, roughly 28,000 more than in 2015. The New Orleans area had the greatest number of people, at 88,052, who bought Affordable Care Act coverage, known as “Obamacare,” or were automatically re-enrolled in marketplace… Continue reading →

'New Orleans is f—king cool': Young developer plans big renovation for Pontchartrain Hotel in Garden District, report says

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- The Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015.

A young hotel developer who specializes in resurrecting aging treasures has plans to return the Pontchartrain Hotel to its former glory, according to a report. Ben Weprin, 37, founder of AJ Capital Partners in Chicago, will oversee the renovation of the 88-year-old hotel in the Garden District. It’s scheduled to open in June, Forbes reported. “Dude, the history of New Orleans… Continue reading →

Business group leader outlines budget suggestions for Louisiana

The head of Louisiana’s main business association on Wednesday offered a grim take on the state’s current financial outlook: “a limping, fragile economy.” With Louisiana facing a $1.9 billion budget shortfall, Stephen Waguespack, president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, suggested lawmakers rework what’s considered discretionary spending within the state’s annual $25 billion budget. The… Continue reading →

ChemChina offers $43 billion for Syngenta, which has plant in St. Gabriel and warehouses in Baton Rouge

A Chinese state-owned chemical maker has offered $43 billion to buy Swiss pesticide giant Syngenta, which has a plant in St. Gabriel and three leased warehouses in Baton Rouge. Under various names, Syngenta has operated its 300-acre St. Gabriel site since 1970. The company has about 975 local employees. Officials have said it makes and packages locally… Continue reading →

Entergy New Orleans breaks ground on new solar project

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Council members Jason Williams, Jared Brossett  and James Gray flank Mayor Mitch Landrieu as Entergy New Orleans broke ground Tuesday, February 2, 2016 on the cityƕs first utility-scale solar project. It will be built on existing company property off Chef Menteur Highway in New Orleans East.

Entergy New Orleans celebrated the start of construction Tuesday on the city’s first large-scale effort to produce solar power. The 1-megawatt pilot project, at Entergy’s former A.B. Paterson facility near Chef Menteur Highway, is expected to be in service by midyear. Its more than 4,000 solar panels will generate enough electricity to power 160 average homes,… Continue reading →

Dow Chemical’s 4Q profit surges on sales gain, lower costs

Dow Chemical on Tuesday reported a surge in its fourth-quarter profit on gains from the sale of its chlorine operations and lower costs from sinking oil prices. The profit boost comes as the Midland, Michigan-based company moves toward closing a merger with DuPont Co. in the second half of the year that… Continue reading →

Exxon’s 4Q and annual profit plunge with oil prices

FILE - This April 29, 2014, file photo, shows an Exxon sign at a Exxon gas station in Carnegie, Pa. Exxon Mobil Corp. reports quarterly financial results on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

The big plunge in crude prices is taking a toll on Big Oil. Exxon Mobil Corp. said Tuesday that fourth-quarter profit fell 58 percent to $2.78 billion. It was the oil giant’s smallest profit since the third quarter of 2002. Exxon’s core exploration and production business lost money in the U.S. and… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge adds jobs; New Orleans, Lafayette suffer losses for 2015

Advocate staff file photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  Stacks of oil field pipes are stacked near idle liftboats in the Port of Iberia in December. Plunging oil prices have hit oil patch areas of Louisiana, resulting in the loss of 10,000 oil indusrtry jobs during 2015.

The Baton Rouge metro area gained jobs, while New Orleans and Lafayette lost jobs in 2015, the latest labor figures show. Baton Rouge added 8,800 nonfarm jobs for the year ended Dec. 31; New Orleans dropped 900 and Lafayette, 5,500. Statewide the number of nonfarm jobs fell by 17,900, or 0.9 percent, to 1,992,300. Louisiana’s mining and logging… Continue reading →

First NBC profit inches upward

New Orleans-based First NBC Bank Holding Co. reported its fourth-quarter profit rose to $15.7 million, or 82 cents per share, compared to $15.3 million, or 80 cents per share, a year ago. However, costs related to the acquisition of State Investors Bancorp Inc. lowered the fourth-quarter results by 687,000, or 4 cents per share. For… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge, New Orleans economy rankings slip

The Baton Rouge and New Orleans metropolitan areas were among only four metros in the 100 largest nationwide that saw improvements in median wage, relative income poverty rate, and employment rate from 1999 to 2014, according to Brookings Institution’s latest Metro Monitor report. However, over 2009 to 2014 the economic performance rankings of both Baton… Continue reading →

'Barpreneurs' meet weekly at bar to pitch ideas, listen and learn

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Seth Nehrbass and Michael  Eckert visit during SoBou's weekly lunch for entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry. Participants in the 'Barpreneurs School' learn skills they need to help their businesses thrive. The events are leading up to New Orleans Entrepreneur Week in March.

Having a regular rotation of entrepreneurs drop by lunch seemed like a natural fit to Ti Martin. “Every great business is started on a bar napkin,” said Martin, who opened SoBou, a cocktails-focused French Quarter restaurant, in 2012. This month, SoBou began hosting a weekly networking lunch for local entrepreneurs who are focused in the… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for Jan. 31, 2016

Terrence Lockett, Axis Strategies

The Jefferson Chamber will host a breakfast Feb. 3 in Kenner to discuss Louisiana’s economic development and the challenges and opportunities for the business community in the 2016 state legislative session. Featured speakers are Stephen Waguespack, president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, and Michael… Continue reading →

Initial unemployment claims in Louisiana fall

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending Jan. 23 decreased to 2,658 from the previous week’s total of 3,485. The state labor department said there were 2,531claims for the comparable week a year earlier. The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, increased to 3,201 from the previous week’s… Continue reading →

U.S. rig count down 18; Louisiana drops 3

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 18 this week to 619. The Houston firm said Friday 498 rigs sought oil and 121 explored for natural gas amid depressed energy prices. A year ago, 1,543 rigs were active.… Continue reading →

Winners score $10,500 in business pitch competition

Three winners took home a total of $10,500 in cash prizes Thursday at a live pitch competition hosted by business incubator Propeller and Tulane University. The competition focused on local entrepreneurs who offered solutions to challenges in workforce development, children and families, social justice and the environment. First place and $5,000 in seed money… Continue reading →

Tulane alum launches venture funds targeting La. startups

A New York investment firm is launching two venture capital funds that will target Louisiana startups. An associate dean at Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business will head the funds. Valmiki Capital Management LP said Peggy A. Babin will be president and chief executive officer of Valmiki 504 LLC. Valmiki’s goal is to bring investment expertise… Continue reading →

Mathews steps down as president of Times-Picayune, nola.com firm; continues regional duties for company tied to paper’s N.Y. owner

Ricky Mathews, who guided The Times-Picayune and nola.com through three waves of layoffs and reduced the paper’s home delivery schedule to three days a week, is stepping down as president of NOLA Media Group and The Times-Picayune, but will continue in his separate position as president of a company tied to the newspaper’s New York-based owner, Advance Publications.… Continue reading →

Nucor takes $84.1 million hit, reassesses planned $1 billion St. James blast furnace project

Nucor Corp. has written off $84.1 million worth of engineering and equipment for a proposed $1 billion blast furnace in St. James Parish, but the company may still build one. The blast furnace was part of a massive, multiphase $3.4 billion steel complex Nucor hoped to build in St. James. The state had promised the company $160… Continue reading →