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Business Honors for May 24, 2015


George ‘Geordy‘ Patton Waters Jr., co-owner of Waters and Pettit Commercial Real Estate in Baton Rouge, has earned the Certified Property Manager designation from the Institute of Real Estate Management.… Continue reading →

People in Business for May 24, 2015

Martin Stott Jr., Lane Nursing Home at Lane Regional Medical Center

Martin Stott Jr. has been named nursing facility administrator for Lane Nursing Home at Lane Regional Medical Center. He was human resources/payroll manager at Grace Nursing Home in Slaughter.… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for May 24, 2015

A free art marketing workshop will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. May 27 in the EBR Main Library’s large meeting room at 7711 Goodwood Blvd. in Baton Rouge. The workshop is sponsored by the Louisiana economic development department and SCORE Louisiana.… Continue reading →

Rain hurting Louisiana wheat crop, affecting others

Poto provided by WikiCommons -- Wheat

Excessive rain across Louisiana is compounding existing problems with the state’s 2015 wheat crop and leading to what LSU Agricultural Center experts call a disastrous season. Heavy rains also are causing problems for some soybean and corn farmers, especially in the north part of the state where a storm system brought as much as 10 inches of… Continue reading →

U.S. oil and natural gas rig count drops by 3; Louisiana down 4

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by three this week to 885. Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday that 659 rigs were seeking oil and 222 explored for natural gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, 1,857… Continue reading →

Corps holding area meetings on deepening Mississippi River ship channel

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- A push boat and barge head down the Mississippi River under the I-10 bridge. Photo shot on Wednesday Nov. 7, 2012, in Baton Rouge, La.

Meetings are planned in the New Orleans area and Baton Rouge to get public comments on a plan to deepen the Mississippi River’s ship channel to 50 feet from the Gulf of Mexico to Baton Rouge. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, is evaluating the environmental and economic impacts of deepening the channel-draft… Continue reading →

Insurance guaranty fund votes to send state $74 million to help fill budget hole

The Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association’s board voted Thursday to send $74 million of its surplus to the state, if the Legislature passes a law making the fund transfer legal. LIGA was set up to pay the claims of failed property insurance companies through fees collected from insurers doing business in the state. Insurance companies receive a… Continue reading →

Dat Dog eyes locations in Baton Rouge, Hattiesburg; owner: 'We're looking for a good fun place for people to come'

Photo by Ian McNulty -- Dat Dog shown on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans.

Dat Dog, a New Orleans-based restaurant that sells a variety of upscale hot dogs, is looking at opening locations in Baton Rouge and Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Owner and co-founder Constantine Georges said he’s looking for the right place in each city to put a Dat Dog. He’s the brother of John Georges, The Advocate’s publisher… Continue reading →

Superior Grill plans second, 'a little more upscale' Baton Rouge location at Highland and Kenilworth

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Bartender Daryn Mougeot cuts limes for the afternoon happy hour at Superior Grill on Government Street. A seond location is planned for Highland Road and Kenilworth Parkway.

Superior Grill, the popular local Tex-Mex restaurant, plans to open a second Baton Rouge location at the intersection of Highland Road and Kenilworth Parkway. Designs and plans for the restaurant are still being developed, but Steven Fontenot, district manager, said the goal is to have Superior Grill open “in a year.” The restaurant… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge Area Chamber hires business development executive

Louisiana’s business development director will become the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s senior vice president of business development June 1, officials said Wednesday. Kyle M. Zeringue has served at the Louisiana Department of Economic Development since 2010. As statewide director of business development, he focused on recruiting companies of all sizes to attract jobs and business investment and… Continue reading →

Saints quarterback Drew Brees, wife Brittany to become co-owners of Walk-On’s Enterprises, unsure about letting “cat out of the bag” yet about other restaurants

Advocate staff photo by A.J. SISCO  --  Rick Farrell, Drew Brees and Brandon Landry pose for a photo at the Walk-On's Bistreaux and Bar in New Orleans. The New Orleans Saints quarterback and his wife have come aboard as co-owners of Walk-On's, a move that will help the popular sports bar chain grow locally and nationally.

Walk-On’s Bistreaux and Bar has brought in a Super Bowl MVP as part of an effort to expand the chain of sports bars locally and nationally. New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany, reached a deal Monday to become co-owners of Walk-On’s Enterprises, the Baton Rouge company that created and operates four popular… Continue reading →

Foreclosure-oriented Florida law firm with a Baton Rouge office closes

One of the nation’s largest foreclosure banking law firms has closed its doors. The firm, Orlando-based Butler & Hosch, had an office in downtown Baton Rouge. Officials on Monday said that the firm had filed for what’s called “an assignment for the benefit of creditors” and stopped operating last week. The… Continue reading →

Breakfast restaurant set to open in Ogden Market

A restaurant industry veteran plans to open a coffee shop and breakfast restaurant this summer in the Ogden Market shopping center in MidCity. Sean Braswell, who has held positions from dishwasher to general manager at a range of local restaurants, including Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Coyote Blues, Sullivan’s Steakhouse and Vincent’s Italian, said Simple Joe will sell… Continue reading →

Focus on higher ed funding from lawmakers causes health care industry to take fall, business lobbies on defensive for tax breaks and subsidies

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- Stephen Waguespack, head of the powerful Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, was a guest last week on The Clarence Buggs Show, at Talk 107.3 FM.

Louisiana’s business community has won legislative battle after legislative battle during Gov. Bobby Jindal’s seven-plus years in office. But business lobbies have been on the defensive this year as lawmakers propose to plug Louisiana’s massive $1.6 billion budget deficit by taking away hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies given to companies over… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for May 17, 2015

A series of free events are being held the first week of June to foster growth opportunities for small, woman-owned and minority businesses, and individuals seeking employment. The events are being hosted by East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden. Register in advance at and click on… Continue reading →

Business Honors for May 17, 2015

Dr. Gustavo Coutin

X design Inc. and Kean Miller LLP won a national second-place award from the Legal Marketing Association in the social/interactive category for the Kean Miller Community Connect mobile app and website as part of the law firm’s ongoing “People First” branding campaign. The goal of the campaign is to articulate the firm’s… Continue reading →

People in Business for May 17, 2015

Phyllis McLaurin, a retired senior vice president and market manager of JP Morgan’s private wealth management for the Baton Rouge and Lafayette markets, has been elected chairwoman of Baton Rouge General Foundation’s board of directors.… Continue reading →

Overall number of U.S. oil rigs drops by 6; but Louisiana gains 3

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by six this week to 888. Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday that 660 rigs were seeking oil and 223 explored for natural gas. Five were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, 1,861… Continue reading →

Louisiana-based Blue Bell operations looking to avoid closures, big layoffs

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --  Shelves are empty last month where employees took all Blue Bell products off the shelves at Matherne's Supermarket. The Texas ice cream company issued a voluntary recall for all its products.

Blue Bell distribution centers in Louisiana appear to have survived closures that will result in a layoff of a third of the ice cream maker’s workers after listeria concerns halted its ice cream production. The company also is imposing cost-cutting measures, including partial furloughs and salary reductions. An online search for Blue Bell shows its has… Continue reading →

Initial unemployment claims rise in Louisiana

The state labor department says first-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending May 9 increased to 2,838 from the previous week’s total of 2,498. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,209 initial claims, officials said Friday. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, decreased to 2,716 from the… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge, New Orleans law firms, others agree to $4.9 million Stanford settlement

Prominent law firms in Baton Rouge and New Orleans and other individuals have agreed to pay a combined total of $4.9 million to end civil claims for $1.8 billion stolen from investors by former Houston promoter Robert Allen Stanford. A lawsuit by a court-appointed receiver and an investors committee claimed the loss was caused by the wrongful… Continue reading →

Mortgage finance authority takes new name, regional mission

The East Baton Rouge Mortgage Finance Authority has formally rebranded itself as the Capital Area Finance Authority and expanded its mission to include a larger geographic area and a broader scope of services. Since 1974, the mortgage finance authority was concerned with helping low- to moderate-income East Baton Rouge Parish residents buy homes. CAFA will now help… Continue reading →

Albemarle unit acquires aluminum finishing chemical business in Germany

Chemetall, a unit of specialy chemicals maker Albemarle Corp. in Baton Rouge, has acquired the aluminum finish business of Chemal GmbH & Co. KG, based in Hamm, Germany. Chemal GmbH specializes in research and development of surface finishing chemicals for aluminum and its alloys. Chemetall said the acquisition will bolster its portfolio in the aluminum finishing… Continue reading →

Pennington Biomedical fundraising foundation hires CEO

Carol M. Dreher has been named president and chief executive officer of the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation

Fundraising executive Carol M. Dreher has been named president and chief executive officer of the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation. The foundation provides LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center with funding for nutrition-based research focused on chronic diseases most affecting people in Louisiana and the country. Dreher was vice president for business development and strategic relations at… Continue reading →

Premium, fresh, juicy ‘better burgers’ with a variety of toppings make for a mouthwatering trend in Baton Rouge

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Matt Englade, left, and Paul Fisher, right, enjoy Smashburgers with spicy Buffalo fries at Smashburger on Corporate Boulevard. Smashburger is the latest so-called "better burger" restaurant to open in Baton Rouge.

Smashburger, which was named as the top fast-casual restaurant chain in the country, opened its first Baton Rouge location Wednesday, the latest so-called “better burger” eatery to enter the market. Better burger restaurants offer a premium product, with patties made from fresh, never-frozen beef and a wide range of toppings. Generally, the burgers sell… Continue reading →

State income tax filing deadline Friday

The deadline for filing 2014 Louisiana individual income tax returns is Friday. Taxpayers needing more time to prepare their returns must submit an extension request by the filing deadline to avoid late-filing penalties. The Louisiana Department of Revenue recommends electronic filing for taxpayers for the fastest, most error-free tax return and refund processing. Visit for… Continue reading →

Waste Management starts construction on CNG fleet fueling facilitiy

Photo provided by Waste Management -- Participating in a groundbreaking for a CNG fuleing facility in Walker are Waste Management's David Mason, left; Louisiana Clean Fuels President Matt Sutherland and Executive Director Ann Shanyfelt; Walker City Councilman Paul Roberts Jr.; Waste Management's Warren Guedry and Rene Faucheux; Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks; Walker CNG Superintendent Larry Williams; Walker City Councilwomen Scarlett Major; Walker Mayor Rick Ramsey; Waste Management's Kenny Abboud; Livingston Parish Chamber President April Wehrs; and Livingston Parish Economic Development President Larry Collin.

Waste Management of Louisiana has started construction on a compressed natural gas facility in Walker that will fuel its trucks servicing Livingston Parish and the rest of the greater Baton Rouge area. Waste Management announced in February 2014 it would begin a conversion of its truck fleet in the Baton Rouge area to CNG in the fourth… Continue reading →

LSU officials on lookout for new '.sucks' web domains to protect university's brand

Brian Hommel Some of the most recognizable names in the business and celebrity worlds have gone on the defensive, snapping up Internet addresses that end in “.sucks” and more of the domains are being registered by the hour. Several NFL teams, Microsoft, Hertz, Home Depot, Air Products, eHarmony, Goodwill and Consumer Reports bought… Continue reading →

Initial unemployment claims drop in Louisiana

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending May 2 decreased to 2,498 from the previous week’s total of 2,737. The state labor department figures released Monday show claims for the comparable week a year earlier at 2,273. The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, increased to 2,772… Continue reading →

Waggaman ammonia plant 75 percent done

Three-quarters of an $850 million ammonia plant in Waggaman has been completed and the project remains on track to begin operating in the third quarter of 2016. The plant will use natural gas to make ammonia-based fertilizer, and gas prices are currently lower than anticipated. Australian explosives and chemical maker Incitec Pivot Ltd released the… Continue reading →

Corporations turn to drones to help reduce accidents; Dow Chemical lists Baton Rouge with its chief pilot

Photo provided by Total Safety -- Total Safety plans to use drones to inspect flare stacks, the disposal systems where gas from manufacturing or production processes is burned. Total's Lafayette office will oversee the drone flare inspection program, which will be safer than direct inspections by workers. Flares can be several hundred feet tall. Discharge temperatures can be more than 2,000 degrees. Inspecting the flares usually requires shutting down a process for hours or days. But the drones will allow Total to inspect the flares while they are operating.

Anyone who’s seen the devastating footage from post-earthquake Nepal knows drones have already altered the way films and videos are shot. But the technology may soon transform a much less glamorous industry: safety. About 250 companies have received Federal Aviation Administration permission to use drones commercially. Dow Chemical, insurance giants State Farm and… Continue reading →

The Advocate receives LWCC Safest 70 Award

Advocate staff photo by JOHN BALLANCE -- Charles Doolittle, facilities director of The Advocate, center right, accepts the LWCC Safest 70 Award from Darren Kimball, of Louisiana Workers Compensation Corp. Participating from left are John Morgan, safety coordinator; Jessica Legath, human resources manager; and William McKnight, of Wright & Percy Insurance. The award  acknowledges excellence, outstanding performance and commitment to workplace safety.

The Advocate has been presented a Safest 70 Award by the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corp. The award recognizes excellence, outstanding performance and commitment to workplace safety and is based on the effectiveness of safety efforts in preventing injuries and controlling costs.… Continue reading →

People in Business for May 10, 2015

Dr. Steven Feigley, Foundation for Woman

BATON ROUGE AREA Dr. Steven Feigley has been elected chairman for the Foundation for Woman’s first board of trustees. The foundation’s purpose is to raise and manage private support for Woman’s Hospital. Other members are Robert “Bob” Greer Jr., Woman’s Hospital Foundation board representative; Teri Fontenot, Woman’s Hospital president… Continue reading →

Business Honors for May 10, 2015

Gwen Hamilton

BATON ROUGE AREA Educational consultant Gwen Hamilton has been presented the Champion of Student Success award from City Year, a national educational organization. The award is presented to those who “have generated transformative impact” for the schools and students City Year serves. Hamilton served on the… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for May 10, 2015

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is accepting registration until Friday, May 15, for its second annual Around the Table event being held Thursday, June 4. Around the Table will place 225 participants in 20 different homes in a home dinner party setting designed to connect newcomers with… Continue reading →