Louisiana business today: Lamar, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Jefferson Parish insurance, Oyster Jubilee, Mayor Landrieu, Army Corps of Engineers
Lamar Advertising Company announced the Company’s operating results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2010.
Lamar reported net revenues of $275.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2010 versus $262.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2009, a 5.1% increase. Operating income for the fourth quarter of 2010 was $32.8 million as compared to $20.4 million for the same period in 2009. There was a net loss of $7.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2010 compared to a net loss of $19.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2009.
Blue Cross, Blue Shield
National rating service Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has given Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana its 14th consecutive “A” rating for financial strength. S&P cited Blue Cross’ strong competitive position in the Louisiana health insurance market, very strong capitalization and very strong liquidity backed by high-quality investments, and a stable return on revenue that reflects its solid market position and consistent execution by senior management.
“We are very pleased that a national rating service like Standard & Poor’s continues to recognize our company’s financial strength, stability and strategic planning,” said Peggy Scott, Blue Cross’ executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
The 2010 Standard & Poor’s report states, “BCBSLA’s competitive strength is built upon its large market share, high brand awareness, broad provider networks with good discounts, local market expertise and service, and competitive product offerings, among other features.”
Jefferson Parish has improved its Community Rating System (CRS) classification to Class 6, from Class 7. This brings the discount to National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) holders in unincorporated Jefferson Parish up to 20% beginning May 1, 2011.
CRS is a FEMA program in which communities voluntarily participate. In order to obtain high ratings, a community must go above and beyond the minimum requirements of the NFIP. Examples include outreach programs to educate the public, maintaining drainage systems, freeboard (requiring higher elevation requirements), maintaining elevation certificates, having a Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance, and many other higher standards. The more a community does, the more points it receives and that determines the class ration.
Jefferson Parish also underwent the FEMA Community Assistance Visit (CAV). The CAV selects 175 properties for random examination and seeks permits and documentation for all. FEMA is particularly concerned with making sure all properties actually obtained permits, were required to elevate to the current base flood elevation standards, and are otherwise code compliant. The CAV is also an examination of local ordinances to ensure that our ordinances contain all the current NFIP requirements. Jefferson Parish enacted several measures that exceed the NFIP minimum criteria and was commended.
Loren Marino, CAA, John Piglia, the Assistant Director of Code Enforcement, and David Williams, the Regulatory Manager, were particularly helpful in achieving our positive assessment.
The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and New Orleans Musical Legends, Inc. are hosting the 4th annual Louisiana Oyster Jubilee, Saturday, March 26, 2011 beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the 300 block of Bourbon Street. The Oyster Jubilee celebrates the local delicacy that is an integral part of the unique culinary culture of Louisiana.
The Jubilee will feature the Longest Oyster Po-Boy, built by over 30 of New Orleans’ renowned restaurants. The colossal po-boy will be stuffed with 5,500 Louisiana harvested oysters and sprawl across 340 feet of Bourbon Street. After the ceremonial cutting at noon, the po-boy will be distributed to oyster lovers and is expected to be devoured within minutes. A brass band will lead everyone in a second line to the Roadfood Festival.
“It started out as a one-time event to spur business in the French Quarter and boost a recovering seafood industry, but everyone had such a great time that we decided to improve it and bring it back for another run,” said Director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, Ewell Smith. “We want as many people as possible to come out here and spice up their life with Louisiana Oysters.”
The Chefs Competition will begin at 10:00 a.m. Chefs will compete to win the title of the best Oyster Po-Boy in New Orleans. Half of the longest po-boy will be judged for the competition and the other half will be distributed to Jubilee-goers.
Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans Streets
On Thursday, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and City officials will help break ground on the Urquhart Street road reconstruction project in St. Roch. Four other road construction projects have either begun this week or are slated to begin in the coming week.
In an effort to better communicate with impacted residents, City officials and representatives of the construction companies and project engineers will hold a series of neighborhood meetings specific to each road project. Those meetings begin Wednesday, February 23, 2011, with the St. Roch project.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently awarded $30 million in teen pregnancy prevention grants to six Louisiana organizations. Thousands of applicants applied for the competitive grants which support the replication of teen pregnancy prevention programs that have been shown to be effective through rigorous research as well as the testing of new, innovative approaches to combating teen pregnancy, but nationally only ninety-three were awarded to a diverse set of organizations.
The Louisiana entities selected include: Tulane University, Louisiana Office of Public Health HIV/AIDS Program, Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Office of Public Health, Louisiana Public Health Institute, and the Central Louisiana Area Health Education Center. The implementation of the five-year grants is projected to reach more than 20,000 youth.
Corps of Engineers
The US Corps Army Corps of Engineers, Team New Orleans, is holding a public meeting to discuss the proposed operating procedures of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex. The approximate $1 billion project is a major component of the Westbank Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System.
The GIWW West Closure Complex is on schedule to defend against the 100-yr storm surge and operate during the 2011 hurricane season while construction of the complex continues through 2012. Comments on the proposed plan will be used to modify, as appropriate, the standard operating instructions for the complex’s Interim Water Control Plan and for the separate Permanent Master Water Control Plan for 2012 and beyond.
Public meeting details are:
When: Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2011
Informational Open House 6 to 6:30 p.m.
Presentation and discussion 6:30 p.m.
Where: Visitation of Our Lady School
3520 Ames Blvd.
Marrero, LA 70072
A synopsis of the proposed Water Control Manual is available for review and download on www.nolaenvironmental.gov and is available by request.