Playtime Arrives

For local execs, Carnival is a break from routine and a chance to make new connections.
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For this month’s New Orleans 500 survey question, we asked leading local execs if they are affiliated with any Carnival organizations, and what the season means to them personally and professionally.

The responses are as diverse as the New Orleans business community itself.

Julie Babin, a partner and architect at studioWTA, is a member of Les Bonnes Vivantes, a rolling bathtub krewe.

“Les Bonnes Vivantes doesn’t directly benefit my architecture firm but it’s a creative outlet for my soul,” she said. “Catch us in Muses!”

To Babin, the season is all about “family, friends — and revelry!”

Kiki Baker Barnes, commissioner of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference, is a big fan of the Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale, formed in 2013 “by African American women for African American women, although all women are welcome.” The organization parades on the first Sunday of the season.

“Carnival season is a time to celebrate family, food, fun and the beautiful spirit of the people of New Orleans,” said Barnes. “I love Mardi Gras.”

The “super krewe” Bacchus, meanwhile, is the organization of choice for Ted Longo, senior wealth management advisor at the Longo Group. He said the annual experience provides a unique way to entertain clients and introduce them to the city and region.

“Mardi Gras is ours,” said Longo. “It’s our festival and no one else has it … at least not like New Orleans does it. As far as Bacchus goes, it’s just a few years younger than I am, and I grew up watching that parade. So, when I got a chance to be in the krewe, it was a little boy’s dream come true.”

Because of his Jefferson Parish bonafides, noted philanthropist Henry Shane — chairman of Favrot & Shane Companies — devotes his time to Argus. Founded in 1972, it is Jefferson Parish’s Mardi Gras Day parade.

“Since our business has always been located in Jefferson Parish, we have decided to help with this tradition,” he said. “Overall, the Carnival season is a time of celebration with our friends.”

Ronnie Slone, president of the Slone Group, agrees.

He said the Carnival season is “a time of celebration for all and unique to the culture of New Orleans. … It’s also a quick break for me as I navigate the ‘jack rabbit’ start to a new year.”

Matthew Rosenboom, CFO at International-Matex Tank Terminals, rides in Hermes.

“I do not use it for business purposes, but I have made relationships through the organization which have carried over into business dealings,” he said. “It’s a time to celebrate with my family and let loose for a few days.”


News from the top
Each month, we ask the top business professionals featured in the New Orleans 500 to weigh in on issues impacting the New Orleans business community. Have an idea for a survey question for the New Orleans 500? Email


For more thoughts from local business leaders on this topic, visit and scroll down to the latest New Orleans 500 Survey