Week in Review, April 25-29: Jazz Fest Crowds Return
NEW ORLEANS — Here are the week’s top business stories:
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival returned for the first time in three years. The two-weekend production draws tens of thousands to the city’s Fair Grounds Race Course, where as many as 80 musical acts perform daily on more than a dozen stages, complemented by art and craft exhibits and an array of booths featuring foods from Louisiana and beyond. Lionel Richie, Death Cab for Cutie, the Who and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are some of the headliners, but the festival may be best known for showcasing a dizzying array of Louisiana musical talent, styles and genres. (from the Associated Press)
All three New Orleans-area Pinkberry frozen yogurt locations will close for good in September. Pinkberry’s local franchise partners — Rob Stumm, Courtney Stumm, Celie Howard, Sibyl Lapeyre and Lon Nichols — said their agreement with Pinkberry expires that month and they don’t plan to extend it. That means the stores at 5601 Magazine Street, 300 Canal Street and 411 N. Carrollton Avenue will all discontinue operations. “We have enjoyed our time as franchisees with Pinkberry; we have learned a great deal from the experience and established strong connections with our team and guests,” said Courtney Stumm in a statement.
The board of directors of Liberty Bank and Trust Company have announced that Todd O. McDonald has been named the bank’s president effective May 2. Current Liberty President and CEO Alden J. McDonald Jr., Todd’s father, will continue to lead the Liberty Financial Holding Company. The younger McDonald, who is 41 years old, takes the reins of an iconic financial institution with more than $1 billion in assets. He joined Liberty in 2003 after earning an undergraduate degree from Morehouse College. He received an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 2013.
A bill to shift authority over medical marijuana and expand cultivation in Louisiana has gained approval from the House Committee on Health and Welfare. Committee members voted unanimously to approve House Bill 566, sponsored by Rep. Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall, to shift licensure and regulation authority over the state’s medical marijuana program from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to the Louisiana Department of Health. The bill passed on Wednesday would also remove the limit of two production licenses in the state, which are currently granted to the agricultural centers at Louisiana State University and Southern University.
PMAT-Stirling Crossroads, led by Stirling Properties and PMAT Companies, successfully completed its acquisition of Crossroads Center, a 554,720-square-foot open-air retail center in Gulfport. Located at 15082 Crossroads Parkway, Crossroads Center sits at the intersection of Interstate 10 and US-49 and is home to Academy Sports, Belk, Cinemark, Barnes & Noble, T.J.Maxx, Ross Dress For Less, Burkes Outlet, Michaels, PetSmart, Five Below, ULTA Beauty, Shoe Carnival, Party City, and Old Navy. Overall, the center has more than 50 tenants. It is 92% occupied and contains several outparcels, including TGI Fridays, Chuck E. Cheese, Navy Federal Credit Union/Mattress Firm and Longhorn Steakhouse.
Baptist Community Ministries, the faith-based Christian foundation headquartered in New Orleans since 1995, has announced Inman J. Houston as CEO. Currently senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Ga., Houston becomes the first ordained minister to lead the foundation. Slade Simons, chair of BCM’s board of trustees and a member of the CEO search committee, applauded the appointment. “BCM is such an important entity to the entire community,” he said. “Inman has shown his leadership skills and his commitment to the community as pastor of his church for the past 14 years. Combined with his prior five years of service in New Orleans, Inman is exceptionally well suited to honor BCM’s Baptist roots and its continued commitment to Greater New Orleans for years to come.”