Tuesday, 05 June 2012 17:29

Louisiana Business: N.O. Council Pick Today, Landrieu Touts, Blue Cross, New Era, Fertility Center

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louisianaLandrieu To Announce Pick Today

Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu will announce his appointment for the interim District B City Council seat this afternoon.    Many business owners in that district are anxiously awaiting to see whom might be picked.  They have been on hold since the spot became vacant.

WWL TV is reporting former State Senator Diana Bajoie is Mitch's choice for the interim District B seat.

 New Era for New Orleans

The international headwear and apparel brand, New Era has announced it will open a flagship store on Canal Street in Downtown New Orleans. New Era is best known for being the Authentic on-field cap for Major League Baseball as well as creating the iconic 59FIFTY fitted cap. The Company is headquartered in Buffalo, NY, with stores located in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Atlanta, Toronto, Miami, London, Berlin, Tokyo, and Stratford England. The New Orleans Business Alliance and the Downtown Development District of New Orleans assisted in securing a location for New Era’s latest flagship store.

New Era anticipates its new flagship store in New Orleans will be a great success thanks to the City’s strong sports culture and high volume of tourist traffic. The New Era store will be located in an historic building at 838 Canal Street. Although an official opening date has not been announced yet, the New Era store will be open for business before the 2013 Super Bowl, which will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“The New Orleans Business Alliance and the DDD, for that matter everyone that we have met in NOLA, have been gracious and helpful in this long negotiation. New Era has developed a strategy for opening our direct to consumer locations, many based on upcoming events such as the Olympics in London, England and the Super Bowl in NOLA,” said Harry Chomen, Manager of Real Estate Development for New Era. “Our plan is that this Canal Street location will be open for the start of the football season in September, which is perfect timing for New Era now holding the NFL license for headwear. On April 1st, we released our first line of NFL product in our stores and recently debuted our Draft Cap Collection at Radio City Music Hall in NYC for the NFL draft. We are looking forward to the Saints doing well this season and both the Saints and New Era having a bit of home field advantage during the Super Bowl.”

The New Era flagship is a high-quality retail tenant that perfectly represents the future of retail shopping envisioned for Canal Street’s revitalization.

The New Orleans Business Alliance’s Retail Development team in conjunction with the Downtown Development District worked closely with Will Crowden and Katie Whelan of Jameson Commercial Real Estate in Chicago, national brokers for New Era. The New Orleans Business Alliance guided the process and represented the City of New Orleans in this project. Additionally, Sydney Anderson at Corporate Realty in New Orleans was instrumental in helping this deal come to fruition and represented the Landlord of the Canal Street property.  The Downtown Development District provided historic perspective on the building and is looking forward to working closely with the building owner and New Era on the façade’s restoration.

 “New Era’s flagship store is a great example of the exciting new developments planned along Canal Street,” said Rodrick Miller, President & CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance. “With the Joy Theater and the Saint Hotel open for business and a number of other projects in the pipeline, Canal Street is well on its way to becoming a retail and entertainment hub once again. Mayor Landrieu’s administration has provided key leadership on retail attraction efforts in the city, and we are working effectively with our partners in the development and brokerage communities to bring new, high quality retailers to New Orleans.  Over 80 new retail stores have opened throughout the city since 2011.”

 “The New Era’s flagship store is an important building block for Canal Street because of the quality of the flagship store’s presentation and merchandising,” said Kurt Weigle, President and CEO of the Downtown Development District.  “New Orleans is in good company with other flagship locations in Chicago, LA, Miami, London, and Berlin.”

Landrieu lauds New Orleans Delegation

As the state legislative session closed earlier this week, the Landrieu administration applauded the Orleans delegation for a successful session. Mayor Landrieu traveled to Baton Rouge many Wednesdays during the legislative session to meet with area lawmakers and state leaders about the City’s priorities. City Council members and local board chairs also joined the effort.

"The City of New Orleans had a very successful session—one that provides new funding for our New Orleans East Hospital and a key drainage project," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "I would like to thank the entire Orleans delegation, especially our floor leaders Senator Ed Murray and Representative Walt Leger, whose leadership and hard work have delivered results for our residents and businesses."

Below is a summary of key legislative victories that were part of the City’s agenda.


The number one legislative priority for the City was to gain new capital outlay funding for the redevelopment on a full-service hospital in New Orleans East. Significant new funding was secured through the capital outlay process. Over $11 million was secured through the capital outlay process in House Bill 2, $4.13 million in priority 1 funding can be used this year. An additional $7 million in priority 5 funding will be added to $4 million in priority 5 funding from last year and will be available in future years.   The City also passed HB 367 by Rep. Walt Leger which would allow the City to select a general contractor early in the design phase for the hospital, which allows coordination of all subcontractor bids and a pre-determined maximum price for construction, which should help control costs and speed up the process.


In a joint request with Jefferson Parish, the City was able to secure $2 million in priority 2 funding, which can be used as a line of credit. This is on top of the $1.8 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding secured last year, which will be leveraged to assist in widening the drainage culverts in the Monticello Canal to mitigate widespread neighborhood flooding in Carrollton and Uptown New Orleans. The Monticello Canal divides the Hollygrove neighborhood in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish.


House Bill 183 by Rep. Walt Leger establish a stable and sustainable method for the City to receive its legally obligated reimbursement from the State for the direct and indirect expenses it incurs to support Harrah’s Casino, including fire, police, EMS, and sanitation. House Bill 203 also by Leger removes the requirement that the City receive its funds in quarters. This legislation solves the problem, once and for all, so the City and State do not have to continue to haggle each year. This critical funding, up to $3.6 million annually, would come from the state revenue generated by Harrah’s Casino in gaming taxes. If signed into law by the Governor, this bill would provide an annual reimbursement to the City for the cost of providing services, without the need to seek annual appropriation from the legislature. Additionally, the delegation was able to secure $3.6 million for casino support services in House Bill 1 for the 2013 fiscal year, which starts in July 2012.

The City and delegation provided a new process for photo safety camera ticket appeals, placed the Crescent City Connection tolls on the ballot this fall for voters to decide whether they are extended, enhanced NORA’s ability to return adjudicated property back to commerce, and extended the authorization for Design-Build contracts for an additional year.

Senator Ed Murray said, "I am extremely pleased to have served as the Mayor's floor leader in the Senate. The bills passed this session will provide the City with important funding for the New Orleans East hospital and for services provided to the state."

Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger said, "I'm incredibly proud that our delegation was able to secure funding for important healthcare and flood protection projects in this difficult fiscal environment. Furthermore, we were able to pass a sustainable solution for casino support services."

Suchitra Satpathi, the City’s Director of State Government Affairs said, “We are proud that we were able to pass legislation and secure funding for much needed projects that will benefit the citizens of our city. The City's legislative agenda was designed to provide opportunities to enhance the quality of life for all of our residents.”

Blue Cross, Blue Shield

Dr. Paul D. Murphree has been named medical director of quality and informatics at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.

Murphree served as chief resident of family medicine in 1998 and chief resident of internal medicine in 1999 at Ochsner Health System in New Orleans. His background also includes extensive roles in healthcare informatics, including positions as chief medical information officer and medical director of quality and patient safety.  He holds a doctorate in health systems management and is certified in both family and internal medicine. Murphree began his career as an electrical engineer for a military weapons contractor and holds the rank of major in the U.S. Army inactive reserve.

New Fertility center groundbreaking

Vivere Health, LLC held a ground-breaking today in its partnership with Audubon Fertility and Reproductive Medicine and Medical Executive Partners opening a Fertility Center of Excellence (CoE) located in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Vivere Health, LLC, the nation's leading network of Fertility Centers of Excellence (CoE) , chooses New Orleans as a site for expansion. The project will involve rehabilitating 6,000 square feet of a previously flooded medical building at 2701 Napoleon Avenue to include an in vitro fertilization laboratory (IVF laboratory), andrology laboratory and a two operating room ambulatory surgical center. The project will create 20 plusnew permanent jobs. The five-year plan for the center calls for providing fertility options for both male and female patients, providing a residency rotation in reproductive endocrinology in conjunction with local medical schools, performing clinical research in fertility and offering fertility preservation options for patients undergoing cancer treatment. The center will open in early 2013.

“This is a win for the biomedical community. By moving a project from concept to actual newjob creation and economic growth, we are able to show our commitment to attracting and retaining national leaders in medicine. This project is the result of several years of planning and collaboration to create a turn-key biomedical opportunity that has attracted a national company to our community” , said Heidi Redmond Raines, President and CEO of Medical Executive Partners (MEP) . “Louisiana Economic Development, the City of New Orleans and GNO Inc, have added value to attract national investors to Louisiana. In addition, the BioDistrict New Orleans and the New Orleans BioInnovation Center specialize in the incubation of new biosciences technologies and serve as a major catalyst for the growth of the entrepreneurial community here , while working to create new projects and technologies that attract even more national recognition ”, said Raines.

Joseph Cashia, President and CEO of Vivere Health, LLC, said, "We are honored and delighted to be partnering with two of the leading doctors in the IVF world, Dr. Lindsay Wells and Dr. Ron Clisham. We look forward to a very prosperous growth of yet another patient-centered Fertility Center of Excellence."

room surgery center, which will also open in early 2013. The facility will enable affiliated physicians to deliver the latest treatments and technologies in female and male fertility. The New Orleans CoE will enable patients to achieve the dream of having a family through cutting-edge patient care and services. Additionally, Audubon Fertility plans for continued growth through the addition of physicians to serve the greater Gulf Coast Region. This will be Vivere's first collaboration in the revitalizing city of New Orleans.

Dr. Wells noted Vivere's focus on quality fertility outcomes and a patient-centric approach to fertility care as the basis of the partnership. "We are excited about joining the Vivere Fertility Network. We believe this partnership will provide us with the high level of support needed to care for our patients and grow our practice. She added, "We are looking forward to sharing their excellent outcomes and high quality with our patients."

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