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Current gas prices in BR area.

Louisiana adds 21,800 jobs over past 12 months

Louisiana added 21,800 nonfarm jobs over the past 12 months, while the state’s unemployment rate edged up for the seventh straight month in November to 6.5 percent as even more people sought work. “The sustained growth in Louisiana’s labor force is dramatic,” said Curt Eysink, Louisiana Workforce Commission executive director. “People are responding to Louisiana’s strong and… Continue reading →

Report: Falling crude could mean fewer jobs in Louisiana

Sustained lower oil prices will mean fewer jobs in Louisiana, as well as other oil-producing states, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

A 25 percent drop in crude prices could result in employment slipping 0.8 percent in Louisiana, according to researchers at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The impacts of low oil… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge's L'Auberge, New Orleans' Harrah's casinos see big drops in November winnings

Winnings at Baton Rouge’s three riverboat casinos plunged in November, dropping 10.1 percent from what they brought in during November 2013. The riverboats brought in $21.7 million in November, compared with almost $24.2 million in November 2013, according to figures released Thursday by State Police. This breaks a four-month streak of the Baton Rouge market recording… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge area home sales rise again in November

Home sales in metro Baton Rouge were up by 4.4 percent in November, thanks to increased sales in Ascension and East Baton Rouge parishes. There were 615 home sales that closed in November in the eight-parish area, according to figures released Thursday by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors. That compares with 589 closed… Continue reading →

E Federal Credit Union changing name to EFCU Financial

E Federal Credit Union is changing its name to EFCU Financial in March. Chief Executive Officer Tyler Grodi said the credit union wanted to “stay true to our Exxon Refinery roots,” but “felt the need to embrace the fact we now serve a broader group of members living and working in the nine-parish area of Greater Baton… Continue reading →

G2X finds partner for gas-to-liquids plant in Lake Charles

Houston-based G2X Energy Inc. and Methanol Holdings Trinidad Limited announced Thursday they intend to partner on the world-scale methanol-to-gasoline facility being developed by G2X Energy in Lake Charles.

The Big Lake Fuels LLC facility will produce 1.5 million tons of commercial-grade methanol per year and will be capable of converting methanol to gasoline.

As part of its proposed, and undisclosed,… Continue reading →

RPC board votes to hire Ohio executive as CEO

Byron C. Clayton

The Research Park Corp. board of directors voted Thursday to hire an Ohio economic developer as its CEO. Byron C. Clayton, vice president of cluster acceleration for NorTech, a nonprofit group based in Cleveland, was selected after a nearly six-month national search. Clayton has been with NorTech since 2010. Before that, he was a principal with… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Greater New Orleans Inc. pick Arizona for April workshop

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber and Greater New Orleans Inc. have selected the Greater Phoenix and Tucson regions of Arizona for an April 19-21 trip to learn what those cities are doing to address critical issues from a regional perspective. The Arizona trip marks the second collaboration between BRAC and GNO Inc. for a Super Region Committee… Continue reading →

How Louisiana could reap the benefits from a repaired relationship between U.S., Cuba

Advocate staff photo by Richard Alan Hannon - Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco receives a welcoming handshake from Cuba's Alimport Chairman and CEO Pedro Alvarez shortly after she arrived at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana Tuesday.  Shot 3/8/05.       Keyword Tourism Governor Foreign Business

Louisiana — already the country’s leading outlet for limited exports to Cuba — could benefit down the line from plans to re-establish diplomatic relations and expand the types of goods U.S. companies are allowed to sell to the communist country, several Louisiana officials said Wednesday. Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who led a four-day trade mission to Cuba… Continue reading →

Nucor Louisiana plant shutdown to last until late first-quarter

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Nucor's direct iron reduction plant in Convent shut down after an equipment failure in early November. A restart is not expected until late in the first quarter.

The equipment failure that shut down Nucor Steel Louisiana’s plant in Convent won’t be remedied until late in the first quarter. The company said production at the direct reduced iron plant stopped on Nov. 2, when the process gas heater failed. Repairs are underway, the company said. But there is a long lead time on… Continue reading →

Wal-Mart buys Coursey Commons Shopping Center in Baton Rouge

The Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust has purchased for $10.9 million a shopping center on Coursey Boulevard that is the home for a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. Wal-Mart bought the Coursey Commons Shopping Center at 14241 Coursey from Coursey Commons Shopping Center LLC in a deal that was filed Monday with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of… Continue reading →

Charter school company buys school site

The company that runs the South Baton Rouge Charter Academy has purchased the school site for nearly $13.3 million. Red Apple at South Baton Rouge LLC bought the school at 9211 Parkway Drive in a deal that was filed Friday with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s Office. Red Apple has the same physical address… Continue reading →

Good news for East Baton Rouge parish: Retail spending rises again, continues hot streak in 2014

Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish rose by 4.1 percent in October, continuing a nine-month streak of sales activity outstripping 2013 figures. Sales tax collection figures released Tuesday by the city-parish Finance Department show businesses and consumers spent $693.7 million in October. That compares with nearly $666.7 million in spending in October… Continue reading →

Video game testing company Qalytics moving into Baton Rouge's Louisiana Technology Park

Qalytics, a video game testing company, is relocating its main offices from Seattle to the Louisiana Technology Park in Baton Rouge, a move that will create 20 jobs. Qalytics does advanced testing for a variety of companies, including Big Fish Games, Scholastic Corp. and Roadhouse Interactive. Louisiana’s economic development department said the new jobs… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge-based Amedisys names new CEO

Paul B. Kusserow, Amedisys Inc. CEO

Baton Rouge-based home nursing giant Amedisys Inc. has hired health care industry veteran Paul B. Kusserow as its president and chief executive officer. Kusserow, 53, has more than 17 years of experience in health care and health care technology. His career includes stints at Humana Inc., where he served as senior vice president and chief strategy, innovations… Continue reading →

IBM building topped off in downtown Baton Rouge

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The IBM building downtown at the corner of Lafayette and North streets was the site of a topping off ceremony Monday signaling the completion of ironwork on the nine-story structure. The IBM building is on schedule to open in April or May. More than 200 employees are expected to be working at the building. By 2016, IBM expects it will have 800 employees at the site. The building is the centerpiece of a public-private development that will include 525 Main, a 10-story development with 85 luxury apartments. 525 Main is set to open by the end of 2015.

The IBM building downtown at the corner of Lafayette and North streets was the site of a topping off ceremony Monday signaling the completion of ironwork on the nine-story structure. The IBM building is on schedule to open in April or May. More than 200 employees are expected to be working at the… Continue reading →

Portico closes Perkins Road restaurant

Portico, a casual dining restaurant, has closed its Southdowns location after about a year in business. A sign posted in the window at 4205 Perkins Road thanked customers for their support. Portico, based in Monroe, entered the Baton Rouge market in 2012 with a location in the former Calendar’s near Coursey and Sherwood Forest Boulevard.… Continue reading →

Workers’ comp insurance rates dropping in 2015

Fewer workplace injuries and less severe ones will result in lower Louisiana worker’s compensation insurance rates in 2015, the second year in a row and the seventh time in 10 years that rates have fallen. The 2.4 percent decrease in worker’s compensation loss costs, or claim expenses, will be effective May 1, according to the state Department… Continue reading →

State board launches continuing ed Web series

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The state Attorney Disciplinary Board is doing a continuing legal education Web video series. Maurice Thiberville, Michael Rees, Mary Mouton and Brian Rowell set up Tuesday for a future shoot. The idea is to dramatize the decisions, with re-enactments rather than just lectures.

For decades, continuing legal education seminars have followed a basic formula: pack a meeting room with attorneys — most of whom would rather be elsewhere — while a speaker lectures on ethics, professionalism or best practices. Online seminars were the same, aside from the requirement to attend in person. “We kept thinking that there might be more… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for Dec. 14, 2014

The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, in collaboration with The Water Institute of the Gulf, is accepting submissions for its Applied Research and Coastal Innovation programs.… Continue reading →

People in Business for Dec. 14, 2014

Thomas J. Phillips Jr., LSU Department of Accounting

Baton Rouge AREA Thomas J. Phillips Jr. has been named president of the Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants. Phillips is the chairman of the Department of Accounting and holds the Thomas H. Daigre Endowed Chair in the E.J. Ourso College of Business at LSU in Baton Rouge.… Continue reading →

Business Honors for Dec. 14, 2014

The intensive care units at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge are being presented the ICU Design Citation Award co-sponsored by the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and the American Institute of Architects Academy on Architecture for Health.… Continue reading →

Business Meetings for Dec. 14, 2014

LOUISIANA NOTARY ASSOCIATION-BATON ROUGE WHEN: Monday, 6:30 p.m. WHERE: D’Angelos, 7550 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge SPEAKER: Shane Milazzo, notary law instructor, on “Caveat Notarius: Having a Successful Notary Practice with Boundaries” and generic gift exchange not… Continue reading →

Bollinger Shipyards adds 2 new dry docks

Photo provided by Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. -- Bollinger's new dry dock 'Mr. Eric' docks a Harvey Gulf International platform supply vessel for its first project at the Bollinger Port Fourchon facility.

Bollinger Shipyards has taken delivery of two dry docks with a total lifting capacity of 12,000 tons. The Lockport-based shipbuilder said Thursday that the larger of the docks, capable of lifting 10,500 tons, will be located at the company’s Port Fourchon facility in southern Lafourche Parish. The dry dock measures 320 feet by… Continue reading →

Planner suggests a 'much cooler' idea for old Entergy site in Baton Rouge; concept includes rail station

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Andres Duany of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company Architects & Town Planners presents possible scenarios for use of a six-acre sight Entergy donated to the East Baton Rouge Parish Redevelopment Authority at the Louisiana Science and Art Museum Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. .

The urban planner mapping the redevelopment of the former Entergy site on Government Street suggested Thursday that the area be set up as a “pink zone” with reduced red tape to allow younger and smaller developers to operate. Andres Duany, who leads Duany Plater-Zyberk, the Miami-based company selected by the East Baton Rouge Parish… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge motorists welcome plunging gas prices, but how long will it last?

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- A Costco member walks by the gas price sign in front of the store in this Dec. 12, 2014, Advocate file photo. Gas prices dipped to or below $2 a gallon at some Baton Rouge discount stores.

Just in time for the Christmas shopping season, gas prices have dipped below $2 a gallon at some Baton Rouge warehouse clubs. “This is the right time of the year for it,” said Susan Blackwell, of Denham Springs, who was filling up her 2013 Ford F-150 at Costco around lunchtime Thursday. At that time, a gallon of… Continue reading →

Martin Wine Cellar opening Uptown location

Photo provided by MARTIN WINE CELLAR --  Martin Wine Cellar is reopening Friday at 3827 Baronne St., 9 years after the location was flooded during Hurricane Katrina. The 14,000-square-foot store will sell wine, spirits, beer, cheese and gourmet foods, and feature a bistro/deli.

Martin Wine Cellar is set to open a new store at 3827 Baronne St. on Friday, more than nine years after its original Uptown location was flooded during Hurricane Katrina. “We can’t wait to come back,” said Cedric Martin, president and owner. “There’s a lot of activity on Baronne Street now. It’s become… Continue reading →


Wal-Mart, which submitted plans in August to build a Neighborhood Market on Coursey Boulevard, has purchased a 5.4-acre site near the intersection with Sherwood Forest Boulevard for $2.1 million. The Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust bought land that included the old Semolina Restaurant building in a… Continue reading →

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announces $4.25 billion gas liquefaction plan to be built in Cameron Parish

Venture Global LNG will begin building a $4.25 billion natural gas liquefaction plant and export terminal in Cameron Parish in the third quarter of 2016, government and company officials announced Wednesday. The liquefaction plant is expected to begin operations in late 2019, according to a joint statement by Gov. Bobby Jindal and William Wicker, chief executive officer… Continue reading →

Petroquest reports natural gas at discovery well

Lafayette-based PetroQuest Energy Inc. announced a significant natural gas discovery at its Thunder Bayou Prospect located in Vermilion Parish. The company has an approximate 50 percent working interest and 37 percent net revenue interest in the well. The company expects to start production from its Thunder Bayou discovery well in the second quarter of 2015 at… Continue reading →

Crown Crafts settles lawsuit for $850,000

Crown Crafts Inc., a Gonzales-based infant wear and accessories maker, has agreed to pay $850,000 to BreathableBaby LLC to settle a patent infringement lawsuit filed in January 2012. Minneapolis-based BreathableBaby’s patent covered certain innovations concerning mesh crib liners. E. Randall Chestnut, Crown’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said a one-time charge was recorded in the… Continue reading →

Opening date set for downtown Baton Rouge Matherne’s Supermarket

A flurry of work is going on at the 440 on Third mixed-use building in anticipation of apartment tenants moving in on Jan. 1 and the long-awaited Matherne’s Supermarket opening Jan. 5. “It looks crazy over there,” Dyke Nelson, the architect who owns the building with David Weinstein, said at Tuesday’s Downtown Development District Commission… Continue reading →

Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino Lake Charles opens

The Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino Lake Charles has officially opened. The $700 million, 1.3 million-square-foot property on 290 acres marks the fifth Golden Nugget. It rounds out the state’s complement of 15 riverboat casino and is the third casino in Lake Charles, competing with L’Auberge and the Isle of Capri. The 25-story hotel and casino… Continue reading →

Here's the key factor to Kleinpeter resuming its ice cream production

Advocate staff file photo -- Kleinpeter Farms Dairy has halted production of its ice cream, which it first started producing in 2008, and is considering outsourcing manufacturing.

Kleinpeter Farms Dairy has halted production of its ice cream and is considering outsourcing the manufacturing of the frozen treat. Jeff Kleinpeter, president of the family-owned dairy in Baton Rouge, said the decision to resume local production depends on whether the right person can be found to manage the ice cream division. Don Gerald, who oversaw the… Continue reading →

Pennington, ProteoVec join multistate research effort

Two Baton Rouge research organizations are part of a new public-private partnership that will work to create genetically engineered proteins more quickly and at lower costs for biopharmaceutical companies. Pennington Biomedical Research Center at LSU and ProteoVec Inc., which also has facilities in Raleigh and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, are among five members of… Continue reading →

Physician assistants help fill doctor void

Photo by Elaine Crowe at Our Lady of the Lake College -- Our Lady of the Lake College physician assistant student Krystle Chase takes the blood pressure of Anthony Anderson, a Belaire High School senior, after teaching high school students about the cardiac system and heart health.

Anyone who has tried recently to get an appointment with a family physician likely has encountered a fact of life in today’s health care system: Patient loads are increasing faster than medical schools are turning out doctors, and access to care in outpatient settings is getting tougher. A new training program… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for Dec. 7, 2014

The Louisiana Business & Technology Center at LSU has been selected to participate in a mentoring program for Latin American entrepreneurs funded by the United States Agency for International Development.… Continue reading →

People in Business for Dec. 7, 2014

Bonnie Armstrong, Community Coffee Co.

Community Coffee Co. has named Bonnie Armstrong as senior director of business development and Greg Pontillo as director of digital sales to grow its digital sales department. Armstrong led the Human Resources Total Rewards team and previously occupied several progressive positions within the company’s finance department. Pontillo was director of e-business… Continue reading →

Business Meetings for Dec. 7, 2014

AMERICAN BUSINESS WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION-LA CAPITALE CHAPTER WHEN: Wednesday, 11:15 a.m. registration/networking; 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. meeting/lunch WHERE: Juban’s Restaurant, 3739 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge EVENT: Meeting and annual Christmas ornament exchange COST: $25 members; $30 with… Continue reading →

U.S. rig count up 3’ Louisiana gains 4

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by three this week to 1,920. The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 344 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year… Continue reading →

Weekly unemployment claims drop in Louisiana

The state labor department says first-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending Nov. 29 decreased to 1,698 from the previous week’s total of 2,547, a drop attributed to a short work week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 1,850 initial claims, officials said Friday.… Continue reading →