Friday, 02 August 2013 18:33

Louisiana business: Baton Rouge economy tops, Saengar Theater, Food to Farm, TEDA

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BATON-ROUGE-SKYToday, Baton Rouge was ranked number one inBusiness Facilities’list of the Top 10 Metro Areas for Economic Growth Potential. Louisiana's business climate was also ranked number four in the nation for 2013 – the highest-ever ranking for the state byBusiness Facilities. Last year, Louisiana was the top-ranked state in Economic Growth Potential byBusiness Facilities.

"We’re proud to see our region at the top of one of the most respected national economic development rankings," said Adam Knapp, president and CEO at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC).  "The region and state have pro-business political and community leadership and great business climate factors influencing new activity.  If current trends are any indication - from software/digital media to our massive manufacturing expansion – the Baton Rouge Area is poised to see strong economic growth for the foreseeable future."

Business Facilitiesis a leading full-service media outlet specializing in the site selection marketplace. The magazine serves as a reliable source of information for many site-selection consultants and company executives exploring expansion and relocation options.Business Facilitieshas been the leading source of intelligence on corporate expansion and relocation since 1968.

Business Facilities'Economic Growth Potential metro ranking is based on an evaluation of successful growth strategies, diversification of growth sectors, recent projects and available incentives, among other factors.

"Louisiana’s capital has had great success in executing its strategy of bringing together business and higher education in innovative public-private partnerships that spur initiatives in new high-growth sectors," saidBusiness FacilitiesEditor in Chief Jack Rogers.

This distinction is a notable addition to other awards for the Baton Rouge Area in 2013 including Major Market of the Year fromSouthern Business & Development,4thBest Mid-Sized Metro Area for New and Expanded Corporate Facilities fromSite Selection magazine, and 3rdon the list ofValue Penguin’sBest Cities for Chemical Engineers.

To see a full list of the rankings the Baton Rouge Area has received in recent months, visit

For more information aboutBusiness Facilities’Economic Growth Potential ranking, please visit

The completeBusiness Facilities’2013 Rankings Report will be released on August 5, 2013at


As Kristen Legendre approaches day 30 of her 90-day economic development mission toWeihai City, China, on behalf of theTerrebonne Parish Economic Development Authority (TEDA), she says the most promising prospects include the exportation of U.S. seafood and shipbuilding expertise.

 “We are working with Xigang Yacht Company officials to help them find an ideal U.S. partner to help the Chinese develop their knowledge and skills in boat manufacturing—concentrating on technology and design,” says Legendre, Terrebonne-Weihai director of business development for TEDA. “We have made significant progress with this project and are currently working to establish a relationship between businesses.”

“The Chinese market for Louisiana seafood is also growing,” Legendre says. “We are working to establish relationships between the China Weihai Yuwang Group and seafood interests in the U.S. for potential equal partnership. The Yuwang Group is interested in importing Louisiana Gulf shrimp and oysters. In addition, there may be a large U.S. market for some Chinese aquatic products, specifically the sea cucumber and its extract because of its health benefits.”

Steve Vassallo, chief executive officer of TEDA, says Legendre’s mission to China, hosted by Weihai City, “represents what proactive economic development is all about. Kristen’s work in Weihai will strengthen Terrebonne’s five-year economic alliance with that city, signed on June 19of last year.”

Moreover, Vassallo says Weihai Vice Mayor Tian Zhiying has instructed the Foreign Affairs Office to begin preparations to send a business delegation to Houma later this fall to focus on the shipbuilding industry. Terrebonne Port Director David Rabalais will assume the overall responsibility for the visit and will coordinate the delegation’s schedule with Weihai Foreign Affairs Official Yu Guochun, who spent three months earlier this year working out of the TEDA offices in Houma.

TEDA remains the only economic development authority in Louisiana to have established an accord with mainland China, Vassallo adds.


Hungry for some great food information?  Here's what's happening this week at the Ernest Morial Convention Center in New Orleans at the first annual Food To Farm Symposium.


(All Events Taking Place at MCCNO, unless otherwise noted):

Friday, August 2, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: Keynote address by award-winning writer and food historian William Rubel

Friday, August 2, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Keynote address by author, food journalist and The Atlantic Monthly Senior Editor Corby Kummer

Friday, August 2, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Keynote address by White House Executive Pastry Chef William  Yosses

Friday, August 2, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.: SoFAB VIP Reception & Gala (Preservation Resource Center, 923 Tchoupitoulas Street)

Saturday, August 3, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: Keynote address by media personality, former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture and long time champion of the farm-to-table movement Jim Hightower

Saturday, August 3, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Chef Demo by Dominique Macquet

Saturday, August 3, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Chef Demo by Brandon Boudet & Cassandra Gaines

Saturday, August 3, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.: Chef Demo by Anne Hart

Saturday, August 3, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Mixology Demo by Chris McMillian

Saturday, August 3, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Keynote address by Los Angeles Unified School District Director of Food Services David Binkle

Sunday, August 4, 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: Keynote address by Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain

Sunday, August 4, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: “Restaurant Roundtable” Chefs & Restaurateurs Brandon Boudet, Dickie Brennan, John Folse, Anne Hart & Stephen Stryjewski will gather to discuss how they came to adopt and integrate farm-to-table practices in their operations and how the farm-to-table ethic informs their work in the kitchen.

Sunday, August 4, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Mixology Demo by Dale DeGroff

Sunday, August 4, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Chef Demo by Ryan Hughes

Sunday, August 4, 2:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Chef Demo by Ben Thibodeaux

Sunday, August 4, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Chef Demo by Stephen Blaser

Sunday, August 4, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: F2Ti Wrap Session

Saenger Theater

The City of New Orleans, Canal Street Development Corporation and ACE TheatricalGroup invite locals and visitors to officially toast the Saenger Theatre’s highly anticipated reopening during a Grand Opening Gala, Oct. 3, and concert event featuring Kristin Chenoweth and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Oct. 5. 

                The Grand Opening Gala on Thursday, Oct. 3will kick-off the official Saenger Theatreopening festivities with cocktails beginning at 6 p.m.and a VIP dinner at 7 p.m.All proceeds from the Grand Opening Gala will benefit the “Friends of the Saenger TheatreNew Orleans,” funding the preservation of the historic theatreand the restoration of its famed theatreorgan, the Robert Morton Wonder Organ.

Following the Grand Opening Gala, the celebrations will continue with a special concert on Saturday, Oct. 5featuring Emmy and Tony Award-winner, Kristin Chenoweth.  Chenoweth is known for her roles on stage, television and film. She made her Broadway debut inSteel Pierand is known for originating the role of Glinda in the musicalWicked, as well as for her roles inYou’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,The Apple TreeandPromises, Promises. An Oklahoma Hall of Fame Inductee, she received rave reviews for her role in the ABC series “Pushing Daisies,” for which she received an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Chenoweth has guest starred on many notable shows, including Fox’s comedyGlee,earning her two Emmy Award nominations and a People’s Choice Award nomination in the category of Favorite TV Guest Star. She has also starred as Annabeth Schott on the hit drama, “The West Wing” and appeared as a guest judge on “American Idol.”

The public is invited to purchase tickets to both the Grand Opening Gala and the Kristin Chenoweth show. Individuals purchasing tickets to the Oct. 3Grand Opening Gala will also receive tickets to the Oct. 5concert featuring Kristin Chenoweth and to an exclusive, VIP Pre-Show Reception. For more information on ticketing for the Grand Opening Gala, please contact504-293-2627or[email protected]. For those interested in only attending the Oct. 5performance of Kristin Chenoweth and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, tickets will be available to the public beginning Friday, Aug. 2, at 11 a.m.Tickets for the Oct. 5show only are $50, $60, $70, $85 and $95 (does not include any applicable service charges), and are available, by calling800-745-3000, or at the Mahalia Jackson Theatrebox office at 1419 Basin Street.

“The reopening of the historic Saenger Theatreon Canal Street is a testament to the city of New Orleans’ resilience and recovery from Hurricane Katrina,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “This newly restored state-of-the-art theatreboth preserves our past and is a symbol of the city we are working every day to become. The Saenger’s reopening has been a long time coming but its rebirth as the premier live entertainment venue for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region has been worth the wait.”

                “New Orleans has been anticipating the reopening of the historic Saenger Theatresince 2005, so a major celebration is in order,” said David Skinner, General Manager of the Saenger Theatre. “We are thrilled to have Kristin Chenoweth with us to mark such an important milestone in the revitalization of New Orleans and we look forward to revealing the historic venue after its $52 million restoration.”

                “The Saenger Theatreis the showpiece of Canal Street,” said David Rubenstein, Chair of the Canal Street Development Corporation. “Through our partnership with the City of New Orleans and ACE TheatricalGroup, the Saengerwill once again serve as an important anchor that will spur growth and redevelopment along Canal Street and beyond. We could not be more excited about reopening the Saengerand the fantastic live entertainment it will attract to our city.”

For more information on the Grand Opening Gala, concert and celebrations,

Bayoubuzz Staff

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