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Monday, 05 January 2015 18:51

Louisiana Business: Freeman Challenge, Walmart, 504Ward, Smoke Free, The Data Center

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BATON-ROUGE-SKYHappy new year to Bayoubuzz is Louisiana business and organization shorts for the year 2015.. Our "shorts", has been a compilation of short news stories directly from press releases in either total or abbreviated form. The focus has been to highlight events and good news stories throughout the state.

Our first edition for 2015 involves the greater New Orleans foundation Freeman Challenge grant, a new Walmart and Slidell,  a new website from the Louisiana insurance commission, the Louisiana energy economy and other data,  Smoke Free poll, and more


Greater New Orleans Foundation

The Greater New Orleans Foundation announces the revised Freeman Challenges, a grantmaking program to help nonprofits start an endowment. To learn if this program is right for your organization, the Foundation is hosting two free workshops titled “Are You Ready for an Endowment?” on Thursday, January 22 from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm and on Tuesday, February 3rd from 8:30 am to 11:30 am at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, 1055 St. Charles Avenue, Suite 120. Participating organizations will be asked to complete a readiness checklist to determine if it’s the right time to embark on an endowment fundraising campaign. Nonprofits meeting the criteria can participate in the Challenge which will match one dollar for every two dollars raised by nonprofits up to $150,000. Organizations not ready for an endowment can consider applying for a challenge to raise funds for a reserve “rainy day” fund.
“The Freeman family are long-time supporters of challenge grants at the Greater New Orleans Foundation,” said Albert Ruesga, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. “Through their generosity they have helped establish endowments at over 25 nonprofits in education, the environment, and the arts.” The benefits of endowments are significant: they can contribute to the long-term stability of an organization and can generate income long after contributions are made.
Kellie Chavez-Greene, the Foundation’s program officer who recently worked with members of the Freeman family to restructure the Freeman Challenges, said, “Challenge grants are just that—challenging. They can be hard to fulfill if it’s not the right time to embark on such a major fundraising campaign. However, if the time is right and the money can be secured, than the rewards are many.”
Attendance at one of the two workshops is a pre-requisite to applying for a Freeman Challenge grant. To learn more about the Freeman Challenges and to sign up for a workshop, visit:

New insurance website

The Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) has launched a new website aimed at providing improved services to consumers, insurance agents and other groups regulated by the Department. Among the features of the new website are streamlined online services and a responsive design that makes the website compatible with mobile devices. Users can continue to utilize the LDI website to find companies and agents in Louisiana, submit and track their complaints and request a search for a lost life insurance policy.
“Staff members in all of our offices and divisions took a close look to determine what questions we were hearing most frequently and we used that information to help design the new website,” said Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. “Instead of a top-down approach from a bureaucratic perspective, the site is organized by user interests to make their online experience more useful and efficient.”
The LDI has also launched an updated version of its online Homeowners and Automobile Insurance Rate Comparison Guides. First introduced in 2012, “Shop Your Rates” is an online interactive system that allows consumers to compare the automobile and homeowners rates of insurance providers in the state. Users of the online guides can choose between different scenarios, each containing several variables. For the homeowners guide, variables include age and size of home, level of coverage desired and type of construction. Examples for the automobile guide include a range of ages, driving history and number of miles driven annually. After selecting a scenario, consumers can then choose a city to see a sample of available rate quotes.
“We’ve made some significant additions to the homeowners guide in response to feedback we’ve received from consumers and we added scenarios that more closely resemble the insurance needs of Louisiana homeowners,” said Commissioner Donelon. “A few changes consumers may notice include the addition of rate samples from 16 more cities throughout the state, as well as seven additional rating examples incorporating a greater variety of factors that may influence premiums such as credit scores, claim history and whether a home is fully mitigated for storm protection.”
Policyholders should keep in mind that the scenarios presented in the comparison guides are for illustrative purposes only and are not designed to match any individual's exact circumstances. They are presented to demonstrate the relative differences between insurance companies and also demonstrate the importance of shopping around for the best insurance policy to protect your home or car.
Policyholders should be aware that a company included in the online comparison guides may not be open to writing new policies in a particular area. After reviewing the sample rates provided, consumers should contact their preferred insurance agent or company to receive an official premium quote.
The “Shop Your Rates” Homeowners and Automobile Rate Comparison Guides can be accessed by visiting the Consumer section of the LDI’s website, Along with the interactive systems, consumers can also access the companion publications, the “Homeowners Rate Comparison Guide” and the “Automobile Rate Comparison Guide.” Both guides are now available on the department’s website under Online Services.
Looking back on 2014, we disseminated data that addressed a number of our region's most pressing questions. Take a look at the highlights below.

Present energy boom and other data

The Transformative Possibility of the New "Energy Boom" in Southeast Louisiana stressed that there will be more than 42,000 job openings between 2013 and 2020 in Southeast Louisiana and that it is critical to scale up the skill sets of our regional workforce to take advantage of these opportunities.

The Coastal Index
showed that although our coast is home to significant oil and gas assets, residents and workers have begun to slowly retreat. At the same time, the billions of dollars being spent on restoration is spawning a new “water management” cluster that can diversify the economy, bolster our sustainability for the long term, and forever alter perceptions of Southeast Louisiana.

Neighborhood Growth Rates
demonstrated that more than half (38) of New Orleans’ 72 neighborhoods have recovered over 90 percent of the population they had before the levees failed. Only three neighborhoods have less than half the population they had prior to Katrina. And of course we kept you abreast of important demographic trends through the publication of our wildly popular, Who Lives in New Orleans and Metro Parishes Now?

Sneak peek at 2015
This year brings big milestones for both Southeast Louisiana and The Data Center. We'll be ramping up our signature publication, The New Orleans Index, in anticipation of the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. We also look forward to publishing our annual Coastal Index - on the fifth anniversary of the oil spill. In addition, we will be bringing you important new data and analysis that is focused on children and youth. 
And last (but not least), we are thrilled about the appointment of our director, Allison Plyer, to Mayor Landrieu's 2018 Racial Reconciliation Committee (read more on that here).  
Whether looking back or ahead, we are ever conscious that it is you who brings our data to life.  
With heart-felt thanks for all the work you do throughout the year,
The Data Center

The Mentor Magic Gala is a huge fundraising gala that celebrates Each One Save One, a nonprofit that pairs caring adults as mentors with at-risk youth. The gala is a blast, but it's also very fancy and a little expensive. The gang at Each One Save One didn't want anyone to miss out on the fun, so this year they're hosting a totally free mixer for young professionals who want to learn about their mission.

They're hosting the party on Thursday, January 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Mizado Cocina (5080 Pontchartrain Blvd.) and they're throwing in complimentary appetizers and a guacamole station because they love y'all so much. People are invited to come, learn about Each One Save One's awesome programs (and how you can get involved), and have a drink and some guac. What could be better than that?

At the event you can also learn how to attend (or volunteer at) the 20th anniversary Magic Mentor Gala, which will be honoring ABC's Robin Roberts this year. This article does a great job summing up everything about Each One Save One and this year's gala, so read up, stop by, and find out for yourself what an awesome organization this is. No need to sign up, just swing by on the 8th. We'll see you there!


Website: Mentor Magic


A new Walmart Neighborhood Market is opening Wed, following a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m.The new store is conveniently located at 3130 Pontchartrain Drive and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The store will provide Slidell residents with low prices on a broad assortment of merchandise including fresh produce and meats, frozen foods, groceries and pharmacy.

Customers can shop additional items including top toys, gifts, electronics and home decor on through Walmart pickup, which will offer free shipping to the Slidell Walmart Neighborhood Market. They can also use Walmart’s new Savings Catcher receipt comparison tool to feel more confident they are getting some of the best deals available in Slidell. Savings Catcher looks at other top retailers’ localads and gives customers an eGift card for the difference if a competitor’s offering is lower than the price they paid at Walmart. Savings Catcher is available through the free Walmart mobile app.

“Our store is here to provide fresh groceries at reasonable prices,” said store manager Cory Cinquemano. “We want to meet all of our customers’ everyday needs.”

Fresh, Affordable Groceries
The new store offers fresh produce and a full line of groceries from leading brand names, including organic selections. By working with growers Walmart is able to provide farm-grown quality produce at added convenience and low prices.

The Right Size Store Offering More Convenience
The new store is approximately 41,000 square feet and offers a wide assortment to meet the needs of Slidell residents. In addition to groceries, the store features health and beauty aids, pet products and cleaning supplies. Shopping is more convenient than ever as Slidell residents can shop an assortment of 7 million items on, many of which can be shipped for free to the new Walmart Neighborhood Market.

The pharmacy offers a full range of products and services and pharmacy team members are ready to assist customers with product and prescription questions. Slidell residents can easily transfer prescriptions and order refills on the go with the Walmart mobile app for iPhone and Android.

New Store, New Jobs for Slidell
The new store employs up to 95 full- and part-time associates. Store manager Cory Cinquemano began his Walmart career in 2004 as an hourly overnight stocker.

Giving Back to Slidell
The grand-opening celebration includes presentations of grants from Walmart to local community groups. Recipients of grants include the Slidell Police Department and Glynn H. Brock Elementary School.

In addition to the grants given as part of the grand opening, the new store will further Walmart’s pledge to fight hunger in America. As part of Walmart’s and the Walmart Foundation’s $2 billion commitment to fight hunger through 2015, Walmart stores in Louisiana donated approximately 12.9 million pounds of food, in fiscal year 2014, or the equivalent of 10.7 million meals. Additionally, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $24.1 million in fiscal year 2014 in Louisiana alone. For more information on Walmart’s fight against hunger, visit

A Big Family Welcome
Walmart is happy to be part of the Slidell community and is ready to celebrate with residents on Sunday, Jan. 11. A Big Family Welcome will give customers a chance to meet Cinquemano and enjoy fun family activities such as face painting, cupcake decorating and free food samples while supplies last. Join the celebration from noon to 3 p.m.

Works In Progress Louisiana

Three creative professionals have received grant funding from the Shreveport-based nonprofit, Works In Progress Louisiana. Since incorporating in May 2014, Works In Progress Louisiana has awarded a total of six grants to regional cultural workers.

Recent awardees include author Mike Sledge, painter Tony Reans, M.A., multidisciplinary artist Micah Harold from Shreveport, and painter/sculptor Mark Charleville from Benton, Louisiana.
"I've been gone for a while, and have come home to find a thriving art culture driven by many people with talent, inspiration, dedication, and a sense of purpose. I appreciate very much Works in Progress' contribution to my career and to those of other North Louisiana artists,” says Sledge. Sledge is a contributor to local arts newspaper Heliopolis, and author of Soldier Dead: How We Recover, Identify, Bury and Honor our Military Fallen and Gerald’s Star. Funding for web development and design will position Sledge for commercial success as he finalizes his next novel.
Experimental painter Tony Reans will use investment capital from WIP to create a new series of large-scale abstract expressionist paintings. Reans’ popular work has been featured in numerous gallery and museum exhibits, and his paintings are in several notable collections throughout the South.
Mark Charleville is a gifted arts instructor and well-travelled Louisiana native. Now settled in Benton, Charleville has transformed his rustic barn into a functional, creative workspace. His studio remodel will be completed with WIP funds to purchase vertical shelving for storage of his artwork between exhibits.
WIP’s newest grantee is acclaimed pop/visual/drama/tattoo artist, Micah Harold. Harold has remodeled his swanky shop/studio space at 451 Kings Highway, and will use grant funding to create a live-work space for nationally-recognized travelling artists. Harold is proud to point out: “For the first time in Shreveport/Bossier history, we will be able to enjoy the (artistic) benefits of (hosting) travelling custom and private tattooists and painters.”
Modeled after Creative Capital in New York, Works in Progress Louisiana supports adventurous artists with bold ideas through funding, mentoring and career development services. We teach artists to negotiate contracts, create project proposals, prepare business plans, and measure performance using metrics and benchmarks – all in partnership with professional business advisors. Works in Progress is focused on one objective: building successful, sustainable creative careers in North Louisiana.
Investors interested in engaging with creative professionals should contact Debbie Hollis, Director, at [email protected] All contributions to Works In Progress Louisiana are tax-deductible.

In a show of strength and support, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) will release new polling results at Pearl Wine Co. tomorrow to urge lawmakers to make New Orleans smoke-free. They will be joined by the American Lung Association, American Heart Association, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids who together will call on elected officials to fight for every New Orleans resident’s right to breathe clean air and pass a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance protecting all workers.
Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death. Nationwide, an estimated 480,000 people die each year from cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. One-third of all cancer deaths are related to tobacco. Members of the New Orleans City Council should protect the health of our community by passing a citywide smoke-free ordinance.
The event, hosted by ACS CAN, will provide an overview of results from a recent survey of voters in New Orleans.
Speakers will include:

Cathy Callaway, associate director, state and local campaigns, ACS CAN

Glen Bolger, partner and co-founder, Public Opinion Strategies

Dr. Kyle Happel, associate professor of Med. Section of Pulmonary/Critical Care, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Amber Stevens, volunteer, ACS CAN

Media Sources

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