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City, BizNewOrleans.com, Celebrate 12 Months Of Biz Breakthroughs



         City officials are calling 2015 an “historic and transformational year.”

         For the last 365 days multiple local business events and breakthroughs have touched us all, but it will be up to Father Time to tell whether we should toast these economic transformations with a glass of Crystal, or banish the initiatives as political blunders.

         Whether they prove to be winners or losers, BizNewOrleans.com was there to report on them all…

 

JANUARY

• Mayor Landrieu Signs Smoke-Free Ordinance

         Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed the Smoke Free Ordinance to help make New Orleans a “healthier community.” The New Orleans Health Department developed regulations around education, complaints and enforcement which were approved by the New Orleans City Council on Thursday, January 22, 2015.

 

FEBRUARY

 • Copa Airlines Announced New Nonstop Service Between New Orleans And Panama

         Copa Airlines, a subsidiary of Copa Holdings, S.A., {NYSE: CPA} and member of the Star Alliance global airline network, announced it would begin nonstop service four times a week between New Orleans and Panama.

 

• City Celebrated Opening Of New Orleans' First Public Skatepark

         Mayor Landrieu joined City leaders, Tulane City Center and local skateboarders to celebrate the opening of New Orleans’ first public skatepark – Parisite Skatepark, named for its proximity to Paris Avenue in the St. Bernard Area neighborhood. It is an 18,000 square-foot park space that includes concrete ramps, cast-in-place concrete ramps, wood ramps and rails designed specifically to accommodate skateboards, roller skates, rollerblades, inline skates, BMX bikes and non-motorized scooters.

 

MARCH

• City Launched New Online Tool To Track Road Construction Across New Orleans

         The City of New Orleans launched a new online tool to track the progress of roadwork projects and infrastructure improvements across the city. The website, www.roadwork.nola.gov, shows ongoing coordination on road construction by the City’s Department of Public Works (DPW), the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (S&WB), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Damage Reduction Project (SELA) and Regional Transit Authority (RTA).

 

APRIL

• City Celebrated Reopening Of Historic St. Roch Market

         Mayor Landrieu, City and State officials, FEMA and Bayou Secret, LLC celebrated the reopening of the historic St. Roch Market, which was damaged during Hurricane Katrina. The new St. Roch Market is expected to support 96 new jobs and features individual vendors offering a variety of coastal and local foods.

 

• First Lady Michelle Obama Joined Mayor Landrieu To Celebrate Progress On Ending Veteran Homelessness

        First Lady Michelle Obama joined Mayor Landrieu and about 200 leaders from across government, industry and the non-profit sector to celebrate progress across the country on the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness and to recognize New Orleans for becoming the first major city in America to end veteran homelessness.

         The event also marked the fourth anniversary of the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative aimed to increase support and opportunities for veterans.

 

• Mayor Landrieu Signed Ordinance Permitting Ridesharing Operations In New Orleans

         Mayor Landrieu signed into law an ordinance permitting ridesharing operations in Orleans Parish. In April, the City Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,617, authored by Councilmembers Brossett and Guidry, that creates definitions and regulations for the operations of Transportation Network Companies (TNC) and TNC for-hire vehicles, such as uberX and Lyft. The ordinance was the result of discussions between the City, City Council and various stakeholders, along with input from the public.

 

MAY

• Mayor Landrieu Signed Ordinances, Lease For 2 Canal St. Redevelopment

         Five final proposals were received by the City of New Orleans and reviewed through an open, competitive process and Carpenter/ Woodward (Four Seasons) was awarded the contract to redevelop the World Trade Center property at the foot of Canal Street.

         City officials said the group was chosen, “based on their experience, performance history and qualifications, financial capacity and feasibility, commitment to significant DBE participation and workforce development and overall economic benefit to the City.”

 

• City Celebrated Opening Of New Andrew P. Sanchez & Copelin-Byrd Multi-Service Center In Lower Ninth Ward

         Mayor Landrieu, City and State officials and FEMA celebrated the opening of the $20.5 million Andrew P. Sanchez & Copelin-Byrd Multi-Service Center (Sanchez Center) located at 1616 Caffin St. in the historic Lower Ninth Ward. This new facility replaces the previous community center that was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.

 

JUNE

• Mayor Landrieu, Partners And Community Celebrated First Year Of Welcome Table

         Mayor Landrieu hosted a special event celebrating the first year of the Welcome Table New Orleans initiative, including participants the Kellogg Foundation, the William Winter Institute and the Urban League of Greater New Orleans. The event highlighted the participants’ racial reconciliation projects and their commitment to the Welcome Table process.

 

JULY

• City Opened Marigny, Bywater Portion Of Crescent Park To The Public

         The City of New Orleans opened the Marigny, Bywater portion of the new Crescent Park to the public. Crescent Park offers views of the New Orleans skyline, Algiers and the Mississippi River, creating an environment for locals and visitors alike to interact and enjoy unique vantage points of New Orleans and recreational space along the riverfront.

 

• Construction Began On State-Of-The-Art Cobalt Medical Center In Mid-City

         Mayor Landrieu, the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr. and executives from Cobalt Medical Development celebrated the start of construction at the site of the company’s new rehabilitation hospital in Mid-City. The $24 million project, located on a formerly vacant lot, will result in a state-of-the-art medical facility to treat traumatic brain injuries, concussions, Parkinson’s Disease and other conditions.

 

• City Celebrated Opening Of New Stallings St. Claude Rec Center And Pool

         Mayor Landrieu, City officials and FEMA opened the new $6.2 million Stallings St. Claude Center and Pool at 4300 St. Claude Ave. in the Bywater neighborhood. This 17,000-square-foot facility replaces the previous 13,000-square-foot community center that was damaged during Hurricane Katrina.

 

AUGUST

• Mayor Signed Living Wage Ordinance

         Mayor Landrieu signed into law an ordinance requiring City contractors and recipients of grants be paid a “living wage” of $10.55 per hour and provide a minimum of seven paid sick days. The New Orleans City Council unanimously adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,550, the “Living Wage Ordinance,” authored by District D Councilmember Jared Brossett. City officials said the higher wages will lead to increased levels of business investment, better employee training, higher worker productivity and lower employee absenteeism and turnover.

 

• Mayor Landrieu And The City Of New Orleans Hosted President Obama, Former Presidents George W. Bush And Bill Clinton To Commemorate 10th Anniversary Of Hurricane Katrina And Showcase City’s Resilience

         Mayor Landrieu and the City of New Orleans welcomed President Barack Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton when they visited New Orleans to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and showcase the city’s resilience. During the week-long examination of the decade since the devastating hurricane made landfall and the federal levees failed, President Obama, President Bush, President Clinton, Members of Congress, federal officials and other dignitaries conducted site visits, participated in events and conversations with community members that honor the lives of those lost, explored the city’s progress and resilience planning and examined the challenges the city is focused on tackling in years to come.

 

Mayor Landrieu And Councilmember James Gray Joined CVS/Pharmacy To Break Ground On Lower Ninth Ward Store

         Mayor Landrieu and District E Councilmember James Gray joined CVS/pharmacy to break ground on a new store in the Lower Ninth Ward. This was a major milestone for this area, marking the first major retailer to commit to a project in the neighborhood since Hurricane Katrina. The store is scheduled to open in January 2016, bringing 20 new full and part-time permanent jobs to the community.

 

• City Unveiled Resilience Strategy

         Mayor Landrieu, joined by The Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin, 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) President Michael Berkowitz, New Orleans Chief Resilience Officer Jeff Hebert, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrator (NOAA) Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, unveiled Resilient New Orleans – a concrete, strategic roadmap for the City of New Orleans to build urban resilience. The strategy, a joint effort between the City and 100RC – pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, proposes 41 actions to build citywide resilience.

 

SEPTEMBER

• Mayor Landrieu Launched The 'Build NOLA' Training Program For Small And Disadvantaged Businesses

         Mayor Landrieu launched “Build NOLA,” a training program to prepare local small and disadvantaged businesses to more effectively compete for public and private contracts. The program aims to expand the city’s pool of competitive and qualified bidders and maximize contracting opportunities for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE).

 

OCTOBER

• City Announced Settlement With Firefighters Union

         Mayor Landrieu announced that the City of New Orleans reached an agreement with the Firefighters Union on the decades long firefighters back pay lawsuit and pension lawsuit. City officials said the settlement resolves significant liabilities, keeps the city on a positive fiscal track, makes major reforms to the pension and ensures that it will be there for future generations of firefighters.

 

• City Celebrated Opening Of New Carrollton Hollygrove Senior Center

         Mayor Landrieu, City officials and FEMA celebrated the opening of the $3.4 million Carrollton Hollygrove Senior Center facility at 3300 Hamilton St. The new senior center is the second facility dedicated to serving New Orleans’ seniors to open this year, following the opening this summer of the Lower Ninth Ward Senior Center in the new Sanchez Center in the Lower Ninth Ward.

 

• City Celebrated Opening Of New Rosenwald Center In The B.W. Cooper Neighborhood

         Mayor Landrieu, City and State officials and FEMA celebrated the opening of the new $8.5 million Rosenwald Center at 1120 South Broad St. in the B.W. Cooper neighborhood. This New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC) recreation center replaces the previous facility that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Construction on the $1.8 million outdoor Rosenwald Pool and Pool House has begun and will open next summer. 

 

• S&P Upgraded City's Credit Rating To A+     

         Standard and Poor’s (S&P) Rating Services upgraded its long-term and underlying rating from ‘A-’ to ‘A+’ on the City of New Orleans’ general-obligation debt and issued a positive outlook for all ratings. This was the third S&P rating upgrade for the City of New Orleans since Landrieu became mayor in 2010 – the first upgrade occurred in 2013 to ‘BBB+’ from ‘BBB,’ the second occurred earlier this year from ‘BBB+’ to ‘A-‘ – and the new rating exceeds the City’s general-obligation credit rating that it had prior to Hurricane Katrina.

 

• City Launched Operation Relentless Pursuit

         Under the direction of Superintendent Harrison and with the full support of Mayor Landrieu, the NOPD began implementing a tougher, smarter crime reduction strategy with the goals of increasing police presence on the streets, improving police response times and reducing crime across the city. The comprehensive strategy takes a daily, relentless pursuit approach to making New Orleans safer.

 

NOVEMBER

• City Celebrated Opening Of Lafitte Greenway Bicycle And Pedestrian Path

         Mayor Landrieu joined City Councilmembers, City Officials and community stakeholders to celebrate the opening of the $9.1 million Lafitte Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path. Stretching 2.6 miles, the Lafitte Greenway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path is a multi-use trail and linear park connecting six historic neighborhoods from the French Quarter to Bayou St. John and Mid-City.

 

DECEMBER

• Mayor Landrieu, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate Announced $2B Settlement

         Mayor Landrieu joined FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate to announce a final settlement of $2 billion for Hurricane Katrina-related damage to New Orleans’ roadways and subsurface infrastructure, including water, sewer and drainage pipes. The settlement of $1.2 billion in previously unobligated recovery funds brings the total to over $2 billion secured under the Landrieu Administration for roads and subsurface infrastructure.

 

• Mayor Landrieu And Wells Fargo Hosted Five STRIVE NOLA Graduations In 2015

         Mayor Landrieu along with Wells Fargo hosted five STRIVE New Orleans (STRIVE NOLA) graduation ceremonies in 2015. Launched in March, STRIVE NOLA seeks to connect disadvantaged jobseekers to employment opportunities through anchor institutions by providing workforce case management, foundational skills training and supportive services.

 

• City Passed 2016 Budget

         The New Orleans City Council unanimously approved the passage of the City’s 2016 Capital and Operating budgets, totaling $483.1 million and $601.7 million respectively. Mayor Landrieu hosted a series of community meetings this summer as part of the Budgeting for Outcomes process in each of the five Council Districts to hear from residents about their priorities for the 2016 Budget. About 1,500 residents attended these meetings that City officials said helped shape the Mayor’s proposed budget. On Thursday, October 15, 2015, Mayor Landrieu presented his 2016 Proposed Budget to the City Council, and in October and November City departments and attached boards and commissions presented their proposed 2016 budgets to the Council in open public meetings.

 

• Mayor Landrieu, Aviation Board, Joint Ventures Agreed And Signed New North Terminal Contract

         The New Orleans Aviation Board approved final construction costs on an $807 million terminal at Louis Armstrong International Airport. Mayor Landrieu ceremoniously signed a $598 million contract with construction manager Hunt-Gibbs-Boh-Metro. The contract sets the opening day for the new terminal at Monday, October 1, 2018 with construction to begin on Monday, January 4, 2016.

 

• Mayor Landrieu Signed Ordinance Calling For Relocation Of Four Confederate Monuments

         Mayor Landrieu signed an ordinance calling for the relocation of four Confederate monuments from prominent locations in New Orleans. The four monuments are: the Robert E. Lee statue at Lee Circle, the Jefferson Davis statue on Jefferson Davis Parkway, the P.G.T Beauregard equestrian statue on Esplanade at the entrance to City Park and the Battle of Liberty Place Monument at Iberville Street. During a Special Meeting of the New Orleans City Council, Ordinance Calendar No. 31,082 was considered at the request of Councilmembers Jason Rogers Williams, Jared C. Brossett, James Austin Gray II and Nadine M. Ramsey. This ordinance declared that the four Confederate monuments are nuisances pursuant to Section 146-611 of the Code of the City of New Orleans and be removed from their prominent locations in New Orleans. The members of the City Council voted 6 to 1 in support of this ordinance.

 

• NOPD Launched Four New Recruit Classes And New State-Of-The-Art Training Facility At University Of New Orleans

         In 2015, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison, Mayor Landrieu and the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation launched the start of three new police recruit classes with the fourth to be announced on Wednesday, December 30, 2015. In addition, the NOPD unveiled a new state-of-the-art facility at UNO where future recruit classes and current officers will begin training at the UNO Research & Technology Park. The move provides the department with a modern and high-quality training facility while the current Training Academy undergoes remodeling over the next two years. This year, over 120 officers have been hired to serve and protect the City of New Orleans.

 

 

 

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Big Easy Biz by Leslie T. Snadowsky

About

Leslie T. Snadowsky contributes to Biz New Orleans as a video blogcaster and Biz liaison for WWL/WUPL-TV. She’s contributed to Bloomberg NewsReutersThe Times-PicayuneThe New York Post and The Dallas Morning News, and appeared on CNN’s “Nancy Grace,” and “Jane Velez Mitchell,” and Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” She earned her BA from Newcomb College at Tulane University and her MS in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. As an exhibited and published rock photographer, Leslie enjoys live music and the eclectic culture of New Orleans. 

You can reach Leslie T. Snadowsky directly at Leslie@BizNewOrleans.com.

 

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