ISC Returns to New Orleans
On Wednesday, International Shipholding Corporation (ISC) announced that the company headquarters are returning from Mobile, AL to New Orleans. ISC was founded in New Orleans in 1947, but relocated after Hurricane Katrina. ISC President Erik L. Johnson stated the the company is “pleased to be returning to New Orleans, (...) a city [that] has made significant progress in its recovery.” President and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc. (GNO, Inc.), a group that has worked to get ISC back to New Orleans, Michael Hecht, stated that GNO is “proud to be part of the team” that has brought ISC back to New Orleans and that “the best people and companies are coming home.”
Both Gov. Jindal and Mayor Landrieu were pleased with ISC’s return. Jindal stated that ISC is returning because of New Orleans’s “strong business climate, expanding industrial projects, resurgent (...) economy, and business growth. Furthermore, he said, the return affirms that “the city is back, and better than ever before.” Landrieu also expressed his optimism and declared that the return of ISC “reflects the economic growth, jobs and increasing opportunities that will help us rebuild better than we were before.”
ISC’s return to New Orleans means 100 new direct jobs at the headquarters facility in the Warehouse District. According to estimates by Louisiana Economic Development, 113 indirect jobs will also follow. The relocation process will begin in 2014 and is expected to be finished by the fourth quarter of 2015.
Lakeside Shopping Center Expands
Today, Thursday, Lakeside Shopping Center will announce their plans for an 11,500 square-foot expansion. In the fall of 2013, the mall unveiled a renovated food court, as well as four new, unique stores. In 2014, the development continues. The plans for the expansion include the state’s first Vera Bradley store and a large restaurant. This expansion is expected to make a long-lasting impact on the Metairie and New Orleans community.
CVS Stops Selling Tobacco
On Wednesday, CVS announced that their pharmacies will quit selling tobacco products on October 1, 2014. Dr. Torrie T. Harris, division director of Community Health and TFL at the Louisiana Public Health Institute, calls the announcement “a monumental and historic win for public health.”
TFL (Tobacco-Free Living) is a program of the Louisiana Cancer Research Center and LPHI that works closely with educational institutions, hospitals, cities, and parishes to achieve 100% tobacco-free policies and ordinances. According to TFL (Tobacco-Free Living), tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the US, causing more than 480,000 deaths each year. In Louisiana alone, approximately 6,500 adults die each year from smoking.
Bluewater/Authorly Create Interactive Books
With ComCon, a fan convention for comics lovers, coming to New Orleans, Bluewater Productions and Authorly released their first animated interactive comic book, Fame: Jennifer Lawrence. Later this month, Dorian Gray will follow. Authorly is a tool that turns static content into interactive digital applications and includes features such as narration, word-by-word highlighted text, audio and video hotspots, basic animation and movements, sound effects and background music. Authors can then publish their interactive works directly on iTunes, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store. Bluewater publisher Darren G. Davis said: “Authorly (...) gives authors, illustrators, and publishers a Do-It-Yourself tool to create and publish these high quality apps themselves. We always like to try new and unique things that pushes the boundaries of the comic book industry”
Digital Media Companies Join Forces
Wednesday, Greater New Orleans Inc. (GNO Inc.), GE Capital, and the New Orleans Business Alliance announced that a group of local digital media companies are coming together to raise awareness of the employment opportunities in the technology community. The group of companies, which includes 365 Connect, Carrollton Technology Partners, CotingaSoft, Fat Happy Media, Federated Sample, GE Capital Center of Technology, LaunchFest, NOVO Communications, Search Influence, Touch Studios, and TurboSquid, will be sponsoring the new ‘Big River Stage’ at the New Orleans French Quarter Festival in April.
Michael Hecht, President and CEO of GNO, Inc., said that they are “proud to organize this coalition [that] will raise local awareness and appreciation of the growth of our region’s digital media sector.” President and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance, Rodrick Miller, stated that his organization looks forward to work with the coalition to “achieve continued prosperity.”
The digital media sector in Greater New Orleans is booming and was recently named the #3 city in America winning the battle for IT jobs, behind San Francisco and Silicon Valley.