Week in Review, May 31-June 4: Top N.O. Business Stories

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NEW ORLEANS – Here, from staff and wire reports, are the week’s top business stories:

Anna Giordano, the former bar director at Longway Tavern, has partnered with LeBlanc + Smith to open a neighborhood bar at 2601 Royal Street in the Marigny. The new venture, simply named Anna’s, takes over the two-story, 19th-century bank building formerly occupied by Mimi’s in the Marigny, which closed during the pandemic. Chris Hamm will run the kitchen. Doors open on Friday, June 4. “Anna’s is a neighborhood bar where you can shoot some pool (and whiskey) or grab a solid cocktail and a surprisingly good bite to eat,” said a LeBlanc + Smith spokesperson in a release.

Chicago-based Chamberlain University and LCMC Health have established a program that addresses the nation’s nursing shortage by expanding access to a tuition-free education. The Called-to-Care Scholars Program, which is open to applicants nationwide, addresses healthcare workforce shortages and community health needs in the region served by LCMC Health. The partnership will support patient care readiness by expanding educational opportunities, creating a nursing pipeline and maximizing community impact..

A New Orleans-area animation studio will add six permanent jobs in a planned expansion, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office said Thursday. Swaybox Studios in Jefferson Parish will add six new permanent jobs with an average annual salary of $62,800 plus benefits. The state says Swaybox is taking advantage of the 2017 Entertainment Job Creation Program, which is also called the Quality Entertainment Company program. According to the governor’s office, the program enables an employer to claim a 15% payroll tax credit for jobs paying $45,000 or more annually, and a 20% payroll tax credit for new jobs paying more than $66,000 a year.

Entrepreneur Robert Thompson’s hospitality firm Angevin & Co. has completed its purchase of The Frenchmen Hotel (417 Frenchmen St.). Working in the restaurant and hospitality industry since he was 16 years old, Thompson has owned and operated food and beverage establishments for more than 25 years and earned four “best new restaurant” awards for various concepts. Most recently, Thompson founded and built the 20-unit “eatertainment” concept, Punch Bowl Social. His approach landed the venture on Fast Company’s Top 50 Most Innovative Companies in the World list and earned him individual praise as a 2017 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Louisiana will spend $61.6 million in federal money on 16 flood risk reduction projects throughout the state, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office announced. The projects are part of officials’ plans to spend a $1.2 billion grant the state received in September. “Last week, heavy rains once again inundated flood-weary communities throughout Louisiana, underscoring our state’s increasing flood risk and urgent need for better flood risk reduction,” Edwards said in a prepared statement. “Through the Louisiana Watershed Initiative, we are working to fight flooding on a large scale with immediate and long-term solutions.”

The Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority has awarded a $7 million contract to NANO Architecture to design the Convention Center’s meeting rooms and public spaces. “We embarked on a $557 million Capital Improvement Plan in 2018 that includes facility upgrades, as well as modernizing the internal meeting spaces,” said Convention Center President Michael J. Sawaya. “The Capital Improvement Plan has already delivered a 7.5-acre pedestrian park, and other major improvements are underway to modernize the interior of the center. This is a great next step toward the goal of a completely transformed meeting and event facility.”

Ilera Holistic Healthcare and PAX Labs announced an exclusive partnership in Louisiana that will pair the PAX Era Pro inhaler platform with Ilera Holistic’s AYO branded medical cannabis formulations. The partners have created FREEDOM, a new line of cannabis products formulated specially for veterans. The agreement will allow IHH to launch its first inhalable cannabis products to the Louisiana medical marijuana market – a  step in the company’s mission to provide patients with medical cannabis options. 

Palmisano construction has opened an office in Nashville that will be headed by Craig Floyd, the company’s regional growth leader. “We are here to Build a Better World,” said Wesley Palmisano, founder and CEO of Palmisano in a release. “We are proud of our work and the positive impact it has on the community, but our goal is to make contributions that extend well beyond the buildings and infrastructure we help create.  We want to be a force for social innovation.”  

After spending nearly half of his 25-year career in New Orleans, NOLA Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr. announced he will not renew his contract with the Orleans Parish School Board for another term. “I am proud of NOLA Public Schools. I am proud of our staff, our teachers, our school leaders and most of all, our students and families,” said Lewis in a release. “And with all journeys, there comes times for new direction and new leadership. I believe now is the time now for new voices, new dreams, and new visionaries to carry NOLA Public Schools into the future.” On March 18, 2015, Lewis became one of the youngest superintendents to serve in the 180-year history of this City’s public school system.

Categories: A Week In Review, Today’s Business News