Week in Review, Sept. 14-18: A Dally With Sally, Then Back to Business

Aptopix Tropical Weather
Cars and a motorcycle are underwater as water floods a street, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Pensacola, Fla. Hurricane Sally made landfall Wednesday near Gulf Shores, Ala., after initially targeting New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS – During last week’s Saints-Bucs game, weather reports showed then-Tropical Storm Sally on a collision course with New Orleans. In what’s become a familiar routine this hurricane season, though, the storm eventually changed course, shifted east and spared the city. All thoughts have been with our neighbors to the east as the storm’s damage is still being assessed. Here, the only real effect was another day off of school for many young New Orleanians. Of course, in the era of distance learning, the difference between a school day and vacation day is pretty blurry. …

Here, from staff and wire reports, are the business news stories you may have missed this week:

Make It Rain (But First, Fill Out This Online Application and Attach Your 2019 Taxes)

Who knew it was this hard to give away $275 million? The Louisiana Main Street Recovery grant program debuted in late July as a way to distribute some of the state’s $1.8 billion in federal CARES Act relief funds to small businesses in the state who have incurred expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, though, the distribution of funds has been going more slowly than expected. The Department of Treasury said it has made two major changes to the Main Street Recovery program to make it easier for people to access the funds. …

Speaking of money, the New Orleans BioInnovation Center has won a $1.5 million award through the United States Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale Venture Challenge which seeks to support entrepreneurship and accelerate company growth in communities, regions, or a combination of regions. In an effort to accommodate an increase in research and development activity and adapt to the new challenges facing the South Louisiana region, NOBIC will use these funds to strengthen the competitiveness of the bio-industry through new technology development and increase the number of full-time job opportunities in innovation-based ventures in the state.

River Deep … and Getting Deeper

On Sept. 11, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began dredging the Mississippi River ship channel to 50 feet.  The overall project will provide a “draft” of 50 feet from the Port of Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico – more than 256 miles of the Mississippi River. “This start of this deepening project is a landmark day for our national maritime industry, and stakeholders in Louisiana and along the Mississippi River who collaboratively advocated for this national priority. Our tireless advocacy and meaningful investment, along with Governor Edwards’ commitment to provide a significant financial match made this long sought-after project a reality,” said Louisiana DOTD Secretary Dr. Shawn D. Wilson. “Our magnificent Mississippi River, the life blood of our state’s economy, will enable us to further expand global markets for farmers, manufacturers, and citizens that depend on imports and exports of goods for jobs and a quality of life.”

In other river news, Carnival Cruise Line said trips on the 2,794-passenger Carnival Valor from the Port of New Orleans will be postponed until April 2021. An early 2021 transatlantic cruise from New Orleans to Barcelona and back is among the trips being scratched from the schedule. Carnival expected to host almost 400,000 passengers annually on the Valor and the Carnival Glory, which also sails from New Orleans. Since the cruise industry has been essentially shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port of New Orleans estimates it has lost $10 million in cruise revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1. Some but not all Carnival cruises out of other cities have been delayed until 2021. Carnival Corp. said it has sold a total of 13 of its ships since March.

Double the Caffeine

PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans is excited to announce the opening of its newest store in Covington, La. Franchisee Barry Prendergast, who owns three additional PJ’s Coffee locations, will celebrate the grand opening from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18. The St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce will join for a ceremonial ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m.

The new store features a double drive-thru, the first in Louisiana for the PJ’s Coffee brand, and is designed to decrease wait times. Starting at 11 a.m. on Sept. 18, the first 100 guests through the drive-thru lanes will receive a free iced or hot 12 oz. coffee (limit two per car), free PJ’s swag and food samples.

N.O. Artist Finds a New ‘Canvas’ … on Pyrex Cookware

Artist Margie Tillman Ayres is delivering a jolt of good cheer to kitchens around the country thanks to a series of designs she’s created for Pyrex, the 105-year-old glassware company known for its iconic baking pans and food storage containers. Now, when you bring potato salad to your co-worker’s crawfish boil, you can transport it in a vessel adorned with one of Ayres’ illustrated sloths or dancing stick figures inspired by New Orleans’ all-female Mardi Gras dance krewes. 

Saints Won in More Ways Than One

Last Sunday afternoon’s Saints-Buccaneers game was a ratings winner for Fox. It was seen by just under 26 million people. The network had its best viewership for an opening weekend of football since 2016, according to the Nielsen company.

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