Week in Review, Sept. 27-Oct. 1: Gayle Benson Plans Big Gift

Texans Saints Football
New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson waves before an NFL football game against the Houston Texans in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

NEW ORLEANS — Here are the week’s top business stories:

This week, Saints owner Gayle Benson has revealed her succession plan for the NFL’s Saints and NBA’s Pelicans. The plan calls for the sale of the team to a buyer who intends to keep the clubs in New Orleans — and then proceeds of the sale will be used to create a multi-billion dollar charitable foundation to benefit the New Orleans area. Dennis Lauscha, the president of both teams, will oversee the sale of the clubs and set up the foundation. (AP) …

Ordinarily, one meeting coming to the Morial Convention Center wouldn’t be big news, but after nearly two years of a pandemic-induced slowdown, the New Orleans hospitality industry cheered the arrival of the Specialty Coffee Association and its Specialty Coffee Expo, which runs Sept. 30 through Oct. 3. The Expo will host thousands of attendees and features hundreds of exhibitors showcasing their products and services as they compete for awards. …

This week’s Biz Talks podcast features native New Orleanian Scott Wolfe, a lawyer and entrepreneur who founded the New Orleans-based technology startup Levelset in 2012 to make payments less stressful for contractors and suppliers in the construction industry. The company is headquartered in the Lower Garden District and has nearly 300 employees worldwide. News broke last week that California-based software company Procore will purchase Levelset for roughly $500 million in the fourth quarter of this year. It’s the largest ever VC-backed tech acquisition in Louisiana. …

The University of New Orleans has launched eSports programming with the opening of a new on-campus eSports Café and plans for intramural, club and varsity teams in the future. The new facility, which features an array of PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, is located in the school’s recreation and fitness center and will serve as a hub for both recreational and competitive gamers. “The growth of gaming has been explosive in recent years,” said Tim Duncan, vice president for athletics and recreation, who oversees the eSports program. “We know that our current students and future students want to play these games and some of them will want to do so in a competitive environment. That’s why we will be offering different levels of competition to suit their needs. The opening of the eSports Café is the first step as we grow our eSports program, and I’m looking forward to seeing it flourish.” …

Organizers announced that the Krewe of Boo parade will roll on Saturday Oct. 23 along a three-mile route that includes the French Quarter. It will be the first float parade to take place in New Orleans since the pandemic began. “I am happy to approve the Krewe of Boo parade, rolling once again in New Orleans this fall,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell in a press release. “In consultation with our public health leadership team, I am allowing this event to move forward and will be keeping a close eye on how it unfolds. This is a step towards the return of Mardi Gras next spring. What happens next depends on what we do right now! Our people have worked hard to blunt the spread of the Delta variant, and that hard work created an environment where it’s safe for the Krewe of Boo to roll.” 

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