American Song Hits the River
On Oct. 6, American Song, the first contemporary riverboat in the United States, sailed its inaugural cruise on the Mississippi River. American Song is the flagship riverboat in a new series of contemporary offerings by American Cruise Lines, who has partnered with the Port of New Orleans. With a capacity of just 184 travelers, the boat will cruise a full schedule of 8-day lower Mississippi River cruises throughout the remainder of this year before repositioning out west to the Columbia and Snake rivers in 2019. At that time, American Song’s sister ship, American Harmony — the second modern riverboat in the series — will take over the Mississippi River route, joining the cruise line’s Victorian-style paddlewheelers, Queen of the Mississippi and America.
Avondale Shipyard Finally Under New Ownership
Praised by Jefferson Parish President Mike Yanni as “one of the largest economic development announcements in Jefferson Parish history,” Avondale Shipyard was purchased Oct. 3 by Avondale Marine LLC, a newly-formed joint venture between Virginia-based T. Parker Host and Illinois-based Hilco Redevelopment Partners.
Once the largest private employer in Louisiana, Avondale Shipyard — a 254-acre property that includes 8,000 feet of deep-water riverfront access and connection to six Class 1 railroads — was once the largest private employer in Louisiana, employing approximately 26,000. In 2014, the final naval vessel to be built at the shipyard departed and JEDCO, GNO, Inc. and Jefferson Parish officials began prioritizing its redevelopment.
Propeller Fund Invests $250,000 in Social Entrepreneurs
The first three investment in New Orleans social entrepreneurs have been approved through the $1 million Propeller Social Venture Fund, operated in partnership with the Foundation for Louisiana. Entrepreneurial ventures Bhoomi Cane Water, Clean Course Meals and 826 New Orleans will together receive a total of $250,000 from the fund. Propeller will also provide each loan recipient with technical assistance to help them meet repayments and achieve targets for financial growth and social impact.
The announcement was made during a luncheon sponsored by Capital One at Calcasieu on Oct. 5 celebrating Propeller’s 10th anniversary that highlighted the organization’s high-growth, high-impact entrepreneurs and included a special address by Mayor Latoya Cantrell, an early supporter of Propeller.
Loan applications for the fund are open on a rolling basis at GoPropeller.org.
In its 2018 annual report, Area Development Magazine ranked Louisiana nationally in its top 10 in the following categories:
Leading Workforce Development
Favorable General Regulatory Environment, Business Incentive Programs and Cooperative and Responsive State Government.
Top States for Doing Business
Most Improved Economic Development Policies
Overall Cost of Doing Business
Access to Capital and Project Funding and Shovel-Ready Sites Program.
Area Development surveys the nation’s top site selection consultants to produce the annual report.
Louisiana Ranks in 2018’s Hardest-Working States in America by Wallet Hub
Engaged Workers — defined as “the share of employees who are ‘involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace,’ as defined by Gallup.”
Hardest Working States in America
“Louisiana has reached a pivotal point in its history, and now is the time to reject the broken status quo and embrace a new, bold vision to benefit everyone in our state. [This is] a road map of policy solutions that will fix our fundamentally broken government and help all Louisiana working families in their pursuit of opportunity and a better quality of life.”
Daniel Erspamer, CEO of Pelican Institute, a nonpartisan research and educational organization that serves as a voice for free markets in Louisiana. On Oct. 2, the organization rolled out its new policy platform, “A Jobs and Opportunity Agenda for Louisiana,” which will include the release of monthly policy papers detailing key issues impacting Louisiana and offering solutions to lawmakers. The first paper, out now, focuses on the state’s ongoing budget problems.