Louisiana Business: WTC, Mike Strain, LASPCA, Family Gras, More
Written by  // Wednesday, 01 February 2012 11:19 //

louisianaLouisiana business news for February 1, 2012:

World Trade Center New Orleans

Trade & Investment Opportunities in Argentina

featuring Minister Daniel Oscar Deodato, Consul General of Argentina in Houston. From 2003 to the present day, Argentina has had the most important and long-lasting period of economic growth in its 200 years of indenpendence. Plan to attend this free afternoon briefing to learn about the many opportunities the Argentine market has to offer.

 BIS Export Controls and Compliance Seminar

February 7 - 9:WTCNO and the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security present this three-day seminar for any business currently involved in exporting, or those companies planning on expanding to new markets or developing an export program for the first time. Please note:We have reached maximum registration capacity for Feb 7 & 8, however registration is still available for Thursday Feb 9. For more information, call the WTC at (504) 619-9834 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. REGISTRATION ENDS TODAY

Sustainability & Globalization Lecture Series

on Climate Change and Disaster Planning feat. Rov Verchick

Rob Verchick holds the Gauthier-St.Martin Chair in Environmental Law at Loyola University New Orleans, where he is also Faculty Director of the Center for Environmental Law and Land Use. He recently served in the Obama Administrations as Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In that role he helped develop climate adaptation policy for the EPA and served on President Obama's Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. RSVP NOW to attend

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Jobs for Veterans

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s veterans employment program, Hiring Our Heroes, will welcome Entergy Corporation as the newest member of the National Advisory Circle of the Veterans Employment Advisory Council (VEAC), comprised of 21 of America’s biggest private-sector employers across all industries and sectors.

Entergy will inaugurate its membership on the VEAC through sponsorship of a Hiring Our Heroes veterans’ job fair at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Thursday, February 2, 2012. The hiring fair is being co-hosted by the Chamber and RecruitMilitary, a military-to-civilian recruiting firm, and also a VEAC member. Entergy will also be joined at the event by fellow VEAC member and co-sponsor Walmart. Louisiana House Speaker Pro-tem Walt Leger III will make remarks and meet with the veterans and employers.

The Chamber launched the VEAC on November 10, 2011.


Paws on Parade, a group of Mardi Gras Bead Dog® sculptures, will be on display beginning January 5th, 2012. Continuing the tradition of public art these sculptures support the art community and give them a canvas on which to display their designs. Scattered throughout Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish, each sculpture showcases a unique design.

The LA/SPCA plans to install forty-five sculptures over the next four weeks. Haydel’s Bakery donated the Mardi Gras Bead Dog® mold for the Paws on Parade public art project, which embodies the LA/SPCA’s mission of improving the quality of life for the animals in our region. Each sculpture will raise awareness for animal welfare in New Orleans while beautifying its surroundings. The LA/SPCA is excited to use such an iconic representation of New Orleans to benefit the animals. Sponsorships are still available.

See photos and more info at www.la-spca.org/pawsonparade

Mike Strain

Here is testimony by Louisiana Agricultural Commissioner, Mike Strain:





House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight to consider

the Realize America’s Maritime Promise Act


February 1, 2012


Statement of Dr. Mike Strain, DVM

Commissioner, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry

Good morning, Mr. Chairman.  My name is Dr. Mike Strain and I am the Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.


I am testifying today on behalf the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. My statement is also consistent with the position of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). NASDA represents the commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the state departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four territories. State departments of agriculture are responsible for a wide range of programs including food safety, combating the introduction and spread of plant and animal diseases, and fostering the economic vitality of our rural communities.


I am also the President of the Southern United States Trade Association. This is a Regional Trade Group that offers services to help U.S. food and agricultural companies promote their products in foreign markets.


We commend you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, for holding this hearing to discuss the Realize America's Maritime Promise Act and wish to express our appreciation for this opportunity to share our views.

I will provide you with compelling reasons to continue to fund efforts that help maintain the ability of American agriculture, and boost America's food and agricultural exports. By doing so, you will be supporting our farmers, our small businesses, and the Americans that produce these outstanding products.

The Mississippi River is the lifeline for transportation of agricultural products in our nation. The inland waterways navigation system, especially the Mississippi River, is a vital asset in the movement of important commodities such as grain, coal, steel, petroleum and aggregate materials.  The Mississippi River and its tributaries form the most critical inland waterway system in the nation, supporting about 50 percent of the nation’s soybean exports and 60 percent of the total U.S. corn exports. Annually, about 400 million bushels of soybeans, 1.1 billion bushels of corn and more than 30 million bushels of wheat are moved by barge to ports along the Lower Mississippi River. As one of the largest single contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), agriculture is critical to our economy and any disruption in commerce will have devastating impacts to the farmers and ranchers who produce our food and fiber.

The inability to maintain the Mississippi River at sufficient depths and widths through dredging will also have significant impact to Louisiana agriculture. Agriculture is the largest sector of our state's economy. Agriculture, forestry and aquaculture comprise over 85 percent of the surface area of this state, 9.7 percent of our work force, and over 243,000 jobs. Valued at more than $30 billion, agriculture and forestry combined make up one of Louisiana’s largest and most economically dependent industries.

Many of Louisiana’s commodities are highly ranked at the national level. Our state ranks second in production of aquaculture and sugarcane, third in rice production, fourth in sweet potatoes and sixth in grain sorghum.

Louisiana's agriculture exports grew by a strong 15% last year to $20 billion, accounting for almost 16% of America's total exports. Much of these exports -- such as wheat and other grains -- originate in the midwest but are transloaded and shipped out of our port system. There are more agricultural products from Louisiana and shipped through Louisiana than any other state in the nation. But global demand for Louisiana products, notably soybeans, cotton, and rice, also rose sharply. Louisiana's exports of forest products, including lumber and plywood, were also on the rise.

In August of 2011, United States Department of Agriculture Secrertary Vilsack released the new forecast of U.S. agricultural exports. In this report data confirmed that the current U.S. export forecast for fiscal year 2011 was $137 billion, $22 billion higher than the previous record set in 2008 and $28 billion above 2010.  Experts are forecasting that exports for 2012 will remain equally strong and help to support over one million American jobs. The United States is experiencing the three best years of agricultural exports in history.


The passage of the three free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and Korea are an important building block in President Obama’s quest to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. Passage of these agreements means over $2.3 billion in additional agriculture exports, supporting nearly 20,000 jobs in the U.S., according to the USDA. Because agricultural exports move in bulk, water-borne freight will grow as goods are carried by barge down the Mississippi river to the Gulf of Mexico. The agreements will particularly increase trade for a range of agricultural products that rely heavily on the Mississippi river system, including soybeans, poultry, rice, cotton, and corn. It is imperative that we keep our waterways open to commerce if we are to see this happen.

In Colombia, the Free Trade Agreement means that almost 70 percent of U.S. agricultural exports will be able to enter duty-free and duties on the remainder will be phased out over time. In Panama, the agreement immediately eliminates tariffs on more than half of U.S. agriculture exports. Under the Korean Free Trade Agreement, almost two-thirds of Korean imports of U.S. farm products will become duty free immediately. The U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration forecasts grain shipments to Colombia and Panama to increase 60% to nearly 6 million tons as a result of the Free Trade Agreements.


With 60 percent growth projected in grain exports alone – not counting feed and other agricultural commodities nor manufactured goods – nearly 1,500 additional barge trips would be added by the Panama and Colombia free trade agreements based on export growth projections from the International Trade Administration. The long term health of U.S. agriculture and the entire economy depends on this nation making the necessary upkeep of our waterways. It would seem futile to lose out on the advantages of the three Free Trade Agreements -- which took over five years of government and industry’s hard work to finally pass – due to our inability to keep our shipping channels open.

In February 2011, the National Association of State Department’s of Agriculture (NASDA) unanimously passed a resolution to support “action to fully utilize all funds in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for the purposes of dredging our nation’s ports, rivers and waterways to fully meet navigation channel maintenance requirements.” NASDA has since been active in recruiting co-sponsors for the RAMP Act and, in July 2011, then-President Leonard Blackham, Commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture, submitted a letter to the leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment supporting passage of the legislation. A lack of action is of concern not only to lower Mississippi River states an upper Mississippi River states, but all ports that utilize the Harbor Maintenance Trust fund to maintain navigation.


In just one generation, there were 100 million more people in America and 2.4 billion more people globally. Ninety-five percent of the increase in the middle class worldwide is outside the United States. Now, these people see other people in the world have access to better foods, and they want it. Our nation's exports of food and agricultural products can continue to be a major success story in these otherwise difficult economic times.  This is not the time to cut back on these efforts.  It is a chance to take advantage of these global opportunities and put Americans to work.

Neglecting the maintenance needs of the river threatens to raise the cost of transportation in a way that harms farmers, industries and shippers throughout the heartland of America.  More importantly, it harms America’s international competitiveness and could stifle our nation’s farmers and rancher’s ability to help meet President Obama’s export initiative of doubling exports in five years. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I encourage you to support efforts that continue to boost America's food and agricultural exports, that support our farmers, our small businesses, and the Americans that produce these outstanding products and ask for your assistance in securing much needed financial support and funds to our nation’s ports and waterways.

I urge you to pass this important legislation.

Family Gras

Family Gras 2012 scheduled February 10th – 12th in Metairie, today announced the additions of the five-member chart-topping rock band Parachute, and Grammy Award-winning, American pop/RB sensations, The Pointer Sisters, according to Jefferson Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Violet Peters. 


Parachute rocketed to the top of iTunes with their second album.  They have consistently scored hits in the Billboard Top 20 Hot AC list.  The band also had the iTunes #1 Rock Song Kiss Me Slowly, co-written by frontman Will Anderson and Lady Antebellum. 


The Pointer Sisters achieved mainstream success beginning in the 1970s.  They are a diverse group with a large repertoire of hits.  With favorites such as Fire, He’s So Shy, Slow Hand, Automatic, Jump (For My Love), I’m So Excited, Neutron Dance, Dare Me and more, The Pointer Sisters are an energized trio with three Grammy awards and three American Music Awards.


Below is the complete schedule for the three-day event which takes place on Veterans Boulevard just across from Lakeside Mall. 





5:30 p.m                The Vettes

6:15 p.m.               Electric Touch

7:00 p.m.               Hot Chelle Rae



11:00 a.m.            Creole String Beans

12:15 p.m.            The Bacon Brothers           

1:30 p.m.               Amanda Shaw & The Cute Guys

2:30 p.m.               The Drifters (feat. Rick Sheppard)

3:30 p.m.               Starship (feat. Mickey Thomas)

5:00 p.m.               Bonnie Dune

6:15 p.m.               The Pointer Sisters



10:00 a.m.            The Doodlebops (Show 1)

10:30 a.m.            Christina Grimmie

11:15 a.m.            The Doodlebops (Show 2)

11:45 a.m.            The Farm

12:30 p.m.            Here Come The Mummies

1:30 p.m.               Parachute

2:15 p.m.               The Downtown Fiction

3:00 p.m.               SafetySuit

4:00 p.m.               Cowboy Mouth


New Orleans Blighted Houses

Over 20 blighted properties will be up for sale at four Sheriff sale auctions on February 2, February 9, February 16, and February 23, 2012. The auctions will take place at 12 noon in the first floor lobby of the Civil District Court.


The Landrieu administration has prioritized code lien foreclosure Sheriff sale auctions in its blight eradication strategy as it is the most cost-effective way to seize and then return blighted properties back into commerce. Unlike tax sales and sales of adjudicated properties, Sheriff sales have no redemptive period.


The starting bid for each property is generally two-thirds of its appraised value. Upon successfully bidding on the property, the successful bidder must immediately provide the Sheriff’s office ten percent (10%) of the purchase price paid in cash, money order, cashiers or certified check (no personal checks are accepted), plus their name, address, phone number, marital status and social security number.


“We continue to make great progress in our fight against blight by auctioning off these blighted properties,” said Mayor Landrieu. “Sheriff’s sales are a really important tool for us in both bringing properties back into commerce and for collecting blight liens.”


It has been just over one year since Mayor Landrieu announced a new, aggressive blight strategy aimed at reducing blighted properties by 10,000 by 2014.  Since then, the City has conducted over 28,000 inspections, demolished 2,280 blighted units, moved over 1000 properties to code lien foreclosure, and collected over $1.5 million in blight liens and fines. The City has also held nearly 30 BlightStat performance management meetings.


For more questions about the Sheriff sale process and photos of the properties (when available), please visit www.civilsheriff.com. The City also maintains a list of properties set for sale, which can be viewed at data.nola.gov.


The following properties will be auctioned in February:


February 2:

4408-10 S. Carrollton

3727-29 Constance

617 Tupelo

2733-35 St. Peter

3533 Danneel

1624 Deslonde


February 9:

4848 Bonita

4808 Dodt

3500 Cecil

4533 Skyview

2825-27 Spain

4545 Downman

1941 N. Johnson

4001 McFarland

1217-19 Nunez

3625 N. Galvez

432 S. Scott

11289 Waverly

3327-29 Annunciation


February 16:

1443 N. Roman

3611 Marais

2701 S. Liberty

2226 Franklin


February 23:

7580 Pineridge Ct.

812-14 Forstall

1620 Farragut

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