Friday, 07 October 2011 15:01

Louisiana Business: Orleans Parish Schools, CABL, Exports, Real Estate, Shaw

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Orleans Parish Schools

             Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) schools announced today that its performance scores ranked Orleans Parish School Board schools and charters second in the state. OPSB’s score of 118 for 2011 was second only to Zachary Community Schools rating of 121.3. Overall scores ranged from 121 to 58.

            OPSB schools also demonstrated the third highest year-over-year increase, rising from 110.3 in 2010 to this year’s score of 118, an increase of 7.7 points, or nearly 7 percent. Presented as a letter grade, Orleans Parish was one of thirteen systems that scored a B average. Zachary was the State’s only A average.


- All eight of Louisiana's metro areas had unemployment rates below the national average in June and each had a lower unemployment rate than they did a year earlier. Get more from LA Economic Development's latest edition of EQ.

- In the first quarter of 2011, the total value of Louisiana exports ranked 4th in the country, up from 8th in 2010. This was only behind Texas, California and New York. Get more from the World Trade Center in New Orleans.

 Jindal and the EPA

Today, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality filed a Request for Reconsideration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concerning EPA’s interstate emissions rule known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. This rule addresses emissions from power plants in one state which are supposed to create air pollution problems in another state.

A Request for Reconsideration is a formal request of EPA to go back and look at the rulemaking process to ensure the rule does not contain errors. In the request, DEQ said there were errors in modeling used to develop the regulation as well as the timeframe developed for compliance.

Governor Jindal stated, “Unfortunately, this is another example of the EPA circulating rules that unduly burden our citizens and create uncertainty for our businesses. For instance, Louisiana’s electric generating units only have seven months within which to become compliant with the regulation’s requirements. If they are unable to install new emission controls or buy emission allowances, then their ability to generate electricity will be greatly restricted – which means there is a chance of rolling blackouts across Louisiana during summertime, which of course are the hottest and highest usage months of the year.   The consequences and costs associated with the implementation of this misguided rule will negatively impact our citizens, and it’s critical that the EPA reconsider the formulation of this rule.”

When the rule was proposed, the Louisiana cap for ozone season NOx emissions from power plants was 21,220 tons. However, that number was lowered by EPA to 13,482 tons when the final rule was issued in July 2011, without any opportunity for DEQ to review or comment on the final version. The EPA later advised DEQ that any shortfall in electricity due to the implementation of the rule could be compensated for by transporting electricity from other states.  However, based on localized transmission constraints, that may not be possible.

“We informed EPA that we were willing to actively participate in revisions to the transport rule, and we asked to review the modeling before the final rule was promulgated,” said DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch. “Our efforts were denied. Now, we are in a situation where we have two ways to comply with the EPA rule, and both pose serious challenges for the citizens of Louisiana. The first option is for Louisiana utilities to spend millions of dollars to have controls in place by May 1, 2012; an endeavor that may not be feasible given the short amount of time to comply with the rule. The second is for the utilities to reduce the amount of electricity produced in Louisiana and import power from outside the state. Under this scenario, there could be a shortage of electricity for the state next summer. This is unacceptable for the citizens of Louisiana. This is why we are challenging this rule.”

In response to the Bush-era Clean Air Interstate Rule, or CAIR, some power plants in the state began implementing emission-reduction technology in 2005 in preparation to reach a goal of approximately 17,000 tons of NOx emissions for 2009-2014. Louisiana power plants emitted at total of 23,174 tons during the ozone season of 2010, which was down from the 2005 total of 29,443.

Louisiana Real Estate Gains?

Veros Real Estate Solutions (Veros), has announced the real estate market forecast for the 12-month period ending September 1, 2012. Included in its forecast is that Louisiana is one of the most favorable states for real estate growth.

VeroFORECAST, Veros’ real estate market forecast product, shows that once again Bismarck, North Dakota leads the housing market for strongest home appreciation, followed by Honolulu, Hawaii and Fargo, North Dakota. These areas of North Dakota are showing strength due to a notably low unemployment rate at 3.5 percent, a growing economy and population fueled by an oil boom and strong demand for agriculture. Honolulu attributes its strength to an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent, its lowest housing supply in the past five years and a high rate of affordability.

Nationally, the Veros Future HPI continues to show stability in its quarterly results, holding fairly constant at -1.7% from the 2Q 2011 projection (-1.5%) indicating slight depreciation over the next 12 months. With no significant drags on HPI and few markets showing strong appreciation, a very slow recovery for housing prices is anticipated.

Unemployment and housing supply continue to be key discriminators between the top and bottom 10 housing markets.

Projected Five Strongest Markets*


1. Bismarck, ND


2. Honolulu, HI


3. Fargo, ND-MN


4. Harrisburg/Carlisle, PA


5. Pittsburgh, PA



Projected Five Weakest Markets*


1. Bakersfield, CA


2. Reno/Sparks, CA


3. Deltona/Daytona Beach/Ormond Beach, FL


4. Las Vegas/Paradise, NV


5. Fresno, CA


Despite recent fluctuations in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq, Veros’ 12-month forecast indicates that there will not be a return to double-digit declines of the recent past in the housing market. VeroFORECAST indicates a maximum of five percent appreciation for growing housing markets and five to six percent decline for weaker markets.

The most strength in housing markets can be found in the Great Plains, including North and South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, Nebraska, Louisiana and Iowa. Pittsburgh, Washington D.C. and Boston remain as the strongest big city markets, with visible strength being seen returning to the Denver housing market. Additionally, regions in Alaska and Hawaii continue to maintain a strong housing market due to affordability, lower interest rates and unemployment, as well as an increasing population.

The nation’s weakest housing markets are being found in Nevada, inland areas of California, Washington and Oregon, accounting for seven out of the bottom 10 housing markets. While some markets in Florida and Arizona are still pointedly weak, they have experienced improvements in markets such as Miami, Tampa and Fort Myers.

Shaw Group

The Shaw Group Inc. (NYSE: SHAW) today announced a new joint venture between Shaw’s Fabrication & Manufacturing Group and Empresa Brasileira de Solda Eletrica S.A. (EBSE), a leading manufacturer and fabricator in Brazil. The joint venture, EBSE Shaw Spool Solutions Fabricação de Sistemas de Tubulação Ltda. (ES3 do Brasil), will provide prefabrication services for carbon steel, stainless steel and alloy piping systems from two existing facilities – one in the state of Pernambuco and another in Rio de Janeiro.

Key to The Cure

The 2011 Key to the Cure (KTTC) Gala takes place Wednesday, October 19, 6-9 p.m. at Saks Fifth Avenue, 301 Canal Street. The gala serves as the kickoff to a charity shopping weekend (Thursday-Sunday, October 20-23) during which 2% of sales at Saks will benefit cancer research at the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium (LCRC), a partnership of LSU Health Sciences Center, Ochsner Health System, Tulane University, and Xavier University of Louisiana.  Saks has also announced that the popular “Friends and Family” promotion will be offered to all guests.

For more information, call 504.293.2618 or visit online at:

 Prosect 2

Prospect.2 opens to the public in less than three weeks, on October 22, 2011, and will feature 27 local, national, and international artists at 16 venues throughout New Orleans. Exhibition highlights and details for the opening weekend have recently been announced. We invite you to check out our website to purchase tickets, and for details about the artists and venues, the Opening Weekend schedule, travel information, and education program. We’re also seeking volunteers if you’d like to help out. We can’t wait to see you all in New Orleans!

Tickets are Now On Sale!
Regular tickets are available as a day pass ($10), week pass ($20), or season pass ($30) and admit visitors to all Prospect.2 venues during regular opening hours, Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm, October 22, 2011 through January 29, 2012

The opinions in these two columns are that of the writers and not of
Bayoubuzz Staff

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