Head of New Realty Group Discusses Her Latest Venture, and Life Outside of It
NEW ORLEANS - With a smile and a sense of humor, Francesca Brennan regulates her ever-changing work-life balance – a tricky endeavor familiar to most women.
She’s the mother of two children under four-years-old, the president of the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, the captain of a Mardi Gras marching group – and the president of another.
Now, she’s adding a fresh role to her professional resume. Brennan is heading one of the newest realty companies in New Orleans.
She recently became one of the principals at Entablature Realty, a real estate company born from Entablature Design-Build - a firm with commercial and residential construction licenses, owned by Brennan’s business partners, Chris Kornman and Scott Logan.
Brennan, who has worked in construction for nearly 13 years, began flipping houses with Kornman in 2009; he then launched Entablature with Logan in 2011.
“I have been with them since the beginning and have done all of their acquisition of property, and then sales on the backend,” said Brennan. “I felt like I needed a little bit of a change, so I transitioned out of construction and into general brokerage.”
The affable Irish Channel resident says she realized the real estate market would be relatively easy to tap into, since the company already had clients on the construction side; many of Entablature’s construction clients would ask her to keep an eye out for a home they could renovate or buy as an investment.
Entablature Realty is a full serve general brokerage, meaning they help anyone looking to buy, sell, or lease a home. The agency recently added a full-service property management division to its brokerage. The agents can help with the acquisition, leasing and management of their clients’ investment properties.
Entablature Realty held its grand opening in mid-October, in their renovated Oak Street office. Brennan, a graduate from Tulane University, mingled with her friends, family, and clients. Guests sipped wine and snacked on hors d'oeuvres and French macarons. Some people stood outside, enjoying the laid-back vibes of the funky West Carrollton neighborhood.
The office building, which houses both the Entablature real estate and construction companies, was once an old corner store. It has been slightly refurbished, but maintains its historic charm and structure. Entablature bought the building in the blossoming neighborhood, because the thoroughfare boasts sales potential but lacks brokerage agencies.
“We want the relationship with the neighborhood to be symbiotic,” said Brennan. “We want to help the neighborhood grow, and at the same time they're going be enriching our lives.”
Brennan says the transition from construction into general brokerage has been “amazing.” She shares a creative think-tank of sorts with six agents and learns about their area of expertise, in terms of the local real estate market.
“I’m really enjoying general brokerage – that is, listing and helping buyers – because I get to see inside all these beautiful, historic New Orleans homes,” she said.
Outside of the office, Brennan keeps busy with her Mardi Gras krewe - Krewe Boheme, and the marching group known as The Merry Antoinettes – cheeky, glamorous revelers of Marie Antoinette’s Court. Over the weekend, she helped run the 12th annual Oak Street Po-Boy Festival, a sprawling block party that was expected to attract nearly 30,000 people.
“I try to get involved in the community,” she said. “I feel like it's obviously a great way to network, but it's a great way to have a little work-life balance.”
However, relaxing with her partner David, a stay-at-home dad, and spending time with their two young kids, remains Brennan’s priority.
“I have the best partner. He really has been super instrumental in holding down the fort,” Brennan said of David. “I also surround myself with good people who invite us to do fun things … I think having a good social network – for me – is a way to de-stress.”
By Suzanne Pfefferle Tafur, Biz New Orleans associate news editor