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Unique New Orleans-based Dinner Lab expanding into Baton Rouge

Photo provided by RYAN GREEN -- New Orleans-based Dinner Lab company operates social dining clubs in 25 cities that give chefs a chance to try out new dishes while offering members access to unique

Dinner Lab, a social dining club that gives chefs a chance to try out new dishes while offering members access to unique “pop-up” restaurants, is expanding into Baton Rouge. The New Orleans-based company was founded about two years ago to allow emerging chefs to get feedback on which meals work and which don’t.… Continue reading →

LSU Healthcare, CVS to collaborate on patient care

Patients at LSU Healthcare Network in New Orleans will be able to help with medication counseling, chronic disease monitoring and wellness programs at CVS Health pharmacies and MinuteClinics under an agreement announced Wednesday. CVS Health will also provide critical prescription and visit information to the participating medical centers through the integration of secured electronic medical record systems.… Continue reading →

Investar reports record profits for fourth quarter, year

Baton Rouge-based Investar Holding Corp, the holding company for Investar Bank, reported its fourth-quarter profit soared to a record $2 million, or 27 cents per share, compared to $200,000, or 4 cents per share, a year ago. For the year, Investar also generated a record profit of $5.4 million, or 93 cents per share, compared to $3.2… Continue reading →

Sasol delays $14 billion fuel complex near Lake Charles

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Part of the site for upcoming expansion at the Sasol plant, in Westlake, La.  The pond will be filled for the expansion. Sasol's ethylene plant is at center, behind trees, in background.

South African energy giant Sasol will delay making a final investment decision on its proposed $14 billion gas-to-liquids plant in the Lake Charles area because of the collapse in oil prices. Sasol will continue to work on the project although “at a much slower pace,” President and Chief Executive Officer David Constable said.… Continue reading →

Village at River Ranch developers to build 700 new houses in Central; prices range $200K-500K

Central is about to get a little larger — by 700 housing units. The developers of the Village at River Ranch traditional neighborhood development in Lafayette hope to begin work in the late summer or early fall on The Settlement on Shoecreek, a 700-unit TND off Sullivan Road in Central. The Settlement will feature… Continue reading →

Louisiana adds 29,000 jobs over 12 months through December, comes up just short of big record

The state gained 29,000 jobs for the year ended Dec. 31, but still saw its unemployment rate rise as more people jumped into the job market. Louisiana’s nonfarm employment totaled more than 1.99 million in December — just 7,800 shy of the never-reached 2 million mark, seasonally adjusted records released Tuesday by both… Continue reading →

Walk-On’s, Stroubes, plus 6 new retailers coming to Juban Crossing in Livingston Parish

Rendering provided by Creekstone Companies -- A Stroubes Grille, along with Walk-On's, will be in the Juban Crossing development. Other new tenants announced will include retailers Dress Barn, GNC, LA Nails, Mattress Firm, Maurices and Verizon.

Walk-On’s and Stroubes, two popular Baton Rouge restaurants, will open locations in the Juban Crossing development later this year. They will be joined by six new retailers: Dress Barn, GNC, LA Nails, Mattress Firm, Maurice’s and Verizon. The new stores will be opening in the near future; Mattress Firm could be open as early as next week.… Continue reading →

Whole Foods chairman to speak at chamber event

The chairman of Whole Foods Market will headline the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s 2015 shareholders meeting, set for 5:30 p.m. March 24 at L’Auberge Casino Hotel Baton Rouge. John Elstrott, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from LSU, will share insights and experiences from his 40-year career as an entrepreneur. In addition to chairing… Continue reading →

Bywater, Lower Ninth Ward auto insurance costs among country’s highest

New Orleans residents in the Bywater and Lower Ninth Ward pay some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country, according to, an online rate comparison site. Residents of the 70117 zip code pay the fifth-highest rates in the country. The comparison looked at full-coverage rates for a 2014 Honda Accod in 33,410 zip codes.… Continue reading →

Bike sharing offered at Baton Rouge, New Orleans developments

Residents of mixed-use developments in Baton Rouge and New Orleans can or will soon be able to take advantage of a bike-sharing program through Zagster. The High Grove in Baton Rouge -- 192 apartments and more than 25,000 square feet of retail space -- has four bikes available. Residents can borrow the cruiser-style bikes for up to… Continue reading →

Home reports record earnings for 2014

Lafayette-based Home Bancorp Inc. reported its fourth-quarter profit jumped to $2.8 million, or 40 cents per share, compared to $1.7 million, or 25 cents per share, a year ago. The fourth-quarter results include $307,000 of pre-tax expenses related to the acquisition of Britton & Koontz Bank in February. For the year, Home reported record earnings of… Continue reading →

4 Louisiana detention centers part of Geo, LCS deal

Prison operator The Geo Group will spend $312 million to buy eight correctional and detention locations — four of them in Louisiana — from privately held LCS Corrections Services. The deal could rise to about $350 million, if the locations meet some performance targets, Geo Group said Monday. It didn’t detail those targets. LCS runs sites… Continue reading →

Boil & Roux opening on Coursey Boulevard

Advocate staff photo by KYLE WHITFIELD -- The Boil and Roux is hoping to open on Super Bowl Sunday in the former Portico location on Coursey Boulevard.

Boil & Roux, a restaurant that specializes in boiled seafood and “Southern comfort food,” will open in the old Calendar’s/Portico location on Coursey Boulevard. Maurice Walker, an owner of the restaurant, said he’s shooting to open the restaurant on Super Bowl Sunday. True to its name, Boil & Roux will sell boiled… Continue reading →

Methanex begins Geismar production

Methanex Corp. has begun producing methanol from its 1.1 million-ton plant in Geismar, and expects to ramp up to full production in the next few weeks. The plant successfully produced methanol, used in making plastics, on Jan. 24. Methanex moved the plant from Punta Arenas, Chile. The startup marks another key milestone in the company's plan,… Continue reading →

‘Little things’ could mean state tax savings

Associated Press photo by PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS -- Tax preparer Richard Sowell works with Courtney Mayhew at H&R Block offices in Atlas District in Washington. The Internal Revenue Service started last week accepting electronic returns and processing paper ones.

Although no major changes took place in the Louisiana tax code, accountants and financial advisers want taxpayers to remember the little things, like claiming often-ignored tax credits and exemptions. “Some of the things that people should be aware of that they sometimes miss are the little things, like the Citizens Insurance tax credit,” said Jennifer McGinnis, director… Continue reading →

AARP Tax-Aide provides free services

Kathy Pickering, executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block

AARP Tax-Aide, a free, volunteer-run tax counseling and preparation service, can address most tax issues faced by low- and middle-income taxpayers, with special attention to those ages 60 and older. Sessions are scheduled: EAST BATON ROUGE MAIN LIBRARY: 7711 Goodwood Blvd.; e-filing; 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Mondays, Feb. 2-April 6; Tuesdays, Feb. 3-April… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for Jan. 25, 2015

SCORE is holding a free workshop titled “Simple Steps for Starting Your Business” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library at 7711 Goodwood Blvd. Topics include myths and realities of entrepreneurship; critical success factors; know your options; components… Continue reading →

People in Business for Jan. 25, 2015

Russell Mosely, of Long Farm Village and Mosely Law Firm

Russell Mosely, developer of Long Farm Village and partner of Mosely Law Firm, has been elected president the Baton Rouge Growth Coalition board of directors.… Continue reading →

Business Honors for Jan. 25, 2015

Lisa Skemp, Our Lady of the Lake College

Lisa Skemp, professor of nursing at Our Lady of the Lake College, was inducted as a fellow by the American Academy of Nursing for her leadership in education, management and policy focused on improving health and also as a fellow by the Gerontological Society of America for outstanding contributions to the field… Continue reading →

Business Meetings for Jan. 25, 2015

BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU WHEN: Tuesday, 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. WHERE: Holiday Inn Baton Rouge South, 9940 Airline Highway, Baton Rouge TOPIC: “Become a Volunteer of the Better Business Bureau” COST: Complimentary event for BBB-accredited… Continue reading →

Two Sonic restaurants sold for $3.5 million

Two Sonic fast-food restaurants that opened within the past six months have been sold for $3.5 million. The Sonics at 505 East Boyd Drive in Baton Rouge and 14620 Greenwell Springs in Central were sold by the developer to businesses associated with Larry Tucker of Baton Rouge, according to documents filed with the East Baton Rouge Clerk… Continue reading →

Initial unemployment claims fall in Louisiana

The state labor department says first-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending Jan. 17 decreased to 2,987 from the previous week’s total of 3,601. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,726 initial claims, officials said Friday. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, increased to 2,492, from the previous… Continue reading →

Louisiana to save millions by refinancing highway projects

Louisiana has refinanced $649 million in highway project borrowing to take advantage of lower interest rates. Treasurer John Kennedy’s office said Friday that the refinancing, done this week, will save the state $109 million over 26 years in lessened interest payments on the debt. Under state law, the savings can only be used to pay for… Continue reading →

Blue Cross moving some IT workers to Bon Carré

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana plans to move about 90 information technology employees to the Bon CarrĂ© Business Center. The company will spend about $1.3 million to renovate 17,822 square feet at 7257 Florida Blvd., according to a permit issued by the city-parish earlier this week. John Maginnis, a spokesman for Blue Cross,… Continue reading →

Kleinpeter Farms Dairy CEO Jeff Kleinpeter taking sabbatical

Jeff Kleinpeter, president and chief executive officer of Kleinpeter Farms Dairy, said Thursday he is taking a short sabbatical after working to overcome quality issues last year involving the family owned Baton Rouge dairy’s milk. “I expect to come back within 30 days to help the team grow even further,” Kleinpeter said. Kleinpeter said his brother… Continue reading →

Shipper adding service at Port of New Orleans

Shippers will soon have new direct weekly options to Europe from the Port of New Orleans. CMA CGM, the world’s third-largest container carrier, is adding the port to its Victory Bridge Service. FRance-based CMA CGM will launch the service Feb. 2 with the arrival of the CMA CGM Jamaica at the Port’s Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal.… Continue reading →

The Advocate overtakes The Times-Picayune as Louisiana's largest newspaper

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- John Georges, publisher and CEO of The Advocate, addresses employees during a November groundbreaking for a new headquarters on Reiger Road for The Advocate's daily newspapers in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette and growing portfolio of weeklies. The Advocate has overtaken The Times-Picayune as the state's largest newspaper for average circulation.

The Advocate has overtaken The Times-Picayune as Louisiana’s largest newspaper, according to statistics made public Thursday. The Advocate’s circulation has increased since being acquired in 2013 and expanded by New Orleans businessman John Georges. Meanwhile, The Times-Picayune has seen its circulation decline by about 28 percent since 2012 when news broke that… Continue reading →

Regional-bank investors fears rise as oil price’s fall

As banks begin reporting fourth-quarter earnings, one question is on the lips of investors and stock analysts: How will energy-related loans affect the banks? Investors are panicking, Brady Gailey, an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, told The Wall Street Journal. Gailey said nervous investors are peppering him and other bank analysts with questions about how… Continue reading →

New Orleans accounting firm merging into regional company

Gurtner Zuniga Abney, a New Orleans area accounting and advisory services firm, is merging into Carr, Riggs & Ingram LLC, an Alabama-based firm with offices in 21 markets and 1,250 employees throughout nine states across the South. CRI said it will retain current Gurtner personnel and will be operating offices in New Orleans and Mandeville.… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge, New Orleans top magazine’s filmmaking list

Photo provided by Universal -- Anna Kendrick stars in the Baton Rouge-filmed 'Pitch Perfect 2.' Baton Rouge topped MovieMaker Magazine's list of best small cities to live and work in as a filmmaker in 2015

MovieMaker Magazine has named Baton Rouge and New Orleans as the first and second best small cities to live and work in as a filmmaker in 2015. The magazine ranked its five best film-making cities ranging from 100,000 to 400,000 in population. Baton Rouge and New Orleans were followed by Savannah, Georgia; Pittsburgh; and Orlando, Florida.… Continue reading →

Louisiana enrollment tops 137,000 for ‘Obamacare’

Louisiana enrollment has reached 137,142 residents under Obamacare. The figures include those who have enrolled or were automatically re-enrolled for 2015 in the online federal marketplace for health insurance as of Jan. 16, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A year ago, roughly 102,000 Louisiana consumers found 2014 coverage through the federal… Continue reading →

BASF expanding Geismar plant’s production capacity

BASF is expanding production at its Geismar plant for a product used in making plastics, solvents, electronic chemicals and elastic fibers. The project will increase production of a chemical intermediate called 1,4-butanediol by 10 percent in 2016, lifting the company’s global capacity of BDOs to 670,000 metric tons per year. A project cost was not… Continue reading →

Stone Energy to halve drilling budget in 2015

Lafayette-based Stone Energy Corp. will slash its capital spending in 2015 to $450 million, a little more than half of the $875 million the company spent a year ago on items including drilling, exploration and lease acquisition. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer David Welch said the spending cuts were part of the steps the company has… Continue reading →

Rouses ready to return to Denham Springs

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Managing Partner Donny Rouse talks about the new Rouses Market in Juban Crossing. The store has a focus on Louisiana products, such as  Zapp's potato chips and Abita beer.

Rouses Market will make its return to Denham Springs on Wednesday, when the grocery chain opens a store in Juban Crossing. The Thibodaux-based chain had a location at 630 S. Range Ave. in the late 1990s in a building once home to a National Superstore. Back then, Rouses had eight stores in the Houma-Thibodaux… Continue reading →

Venture Global seeks additional property for LNG site

Venture Global Calcasieu Pass LLC has signed an agreement for an additional 63-acre parcel next to the site of its proposed natural gas export project, Calcasieu Pass, in Cameron Parish. Calcasieu Pass has filed for federal permission to export liquefied natural gas. The original site covers 203.6 acres. The additional parcel gives Calcasieu Pass roughly one mile… Continue reading →

Area home sales increase in 2014

Baton Rouge area home sales increased by 3.2 percent in 2014, thanks to more activity in Livingston and Ascension parishes. There were 8,903 homes sold in the nine-parish area during 2014, compared with 8,625 in 2013, according to figures released Tuesday by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service. “It… Continue reading →

Matheson agrees to supply gases to Sasol’s ethane cracker

Matheson has signed a deal to build a new air separation unit to supply oxygen and nitrogen to Sasol’s world-scale ethane cracker at the company’s $8.1 billion complex in Lake Charles. Under the agreement, Matheson will build the unit and a pipeline using the technology and facility of Matheson’s parent company, Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corp. The cost… Continue reading →