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General manager of Baton Rouge National Public Radio member station retires

David Gordon retired Friday as president and general manager of National Public Radio member station 89.3 WRKF-FM in Baton Rouge. WRKF board member Cyril Vetter, a former owner of WVLA-TV and 100.7 FM, will serve as interim president and general manager while the board goes through an executive selection process. Gordon has served in the position… Continue reading →

Blue Bayou/Dixie Landin’ owners acquire adjoining property

The owners of Blue Bayou/Dixie Landin’ have acquired a 12 acres northeast of the water park that they plan to turn into overflow parking. Haynes Interests LLC acquired the land between the park and Perkins Road in two transactions with the Kleinpeter family that were filed with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s office Wednesday. The… Continue reading →

IT company to open second customer center in Bossier City

CSRA said it will open a second customer service center in Bossier City, one that will add 300 direct jobs in a two-year period. The company, which provides information technology support for the federal government, said the Customer Engagement Center will create jobs with an average annual salary of $22,000, plus benefits. While the work at the… Continue reading →

Ascension surge lifts Baton Rouge-area home sales nearly 12 percent in May

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- A home is being wired that is under construction at Parker Place Estates in Ascension Parish. Ascension, which has had a tight inventory of homes for sale, saw a 30 percent surge in sales in May through the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service.

A surge of home sales in Ascension Parish helped lift metro Baton Rouge’s May tally by 11.7 percent. There were 996 homes sold in the nine-parish metro area, according to figures released Wednesday by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service. That compares with 892 MLS sales during May 2015. Continue reading →

Who’s who list of health, research institution CEOs serving as founding members on Baton Rouge Health District board of directors

Advocate staff file photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Baton Rouge Area Foundation executive vice president John Spain discusses the Baton Rouge Health District master plan during a December unveiling. Spain will serve as chairman of the district's founding board of directors.

The Baton Rouge Health District has enlisted chief executives from some of the area’s largest health and research institutions for its founding board of directors, with John Spain, executive vice president of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, serving as chairman. The master plan for the district was funded by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation at… Continue reading →

Dow Chemical to cut 2,500 jobs worldwide

Dow Chemical Co. said Tuesday it will lay of 2,500 workers worldwide and shut silicones manufacturing plants in North Carolina and Japan. It’s unclear how or whether the job cuts will affect Dow’s more than 6,000 employees and contract workers in Louisiana. “Workforce consolidations will come from Dow and Dow Corning and will vary by… Continue reading →

Physician-led group partners with Blue Cross

Aledade’s Louisiana Accountable Care Organization, which is made up of six physician practices in Lafayette, New Iberia, Abbeville and Opelousas, will join the Blue Cross Quality Blue Value Partnership program. Aledade’s Louisiana ACO provides care to 5,200 Medicare beneficiaries. The partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Aledade’s first commercial contract here, will… Continue reading →

Pei Wei closes Acadian Village location in Baton Rouge

The Pei Wei restaurant in the Acadian Village Shopping Center has closed. The restaurant’s sign has been removed and a note taped to the front doors said the location has been permanently closed. Employees were on hand Monday afternoon, cleaning out the restaurant. One manager said the restaurant’s last day was Sunday, and referred… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette area Business Honors for June 26, 2016

Judge Glenn B. Ansardi, 24th Judicial District Court

The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank was recognized as a 4-Star Charity by Charity Navigator, an independent charity evaluator. The top rating means a charity exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in its cause. Charity Navigator determines the overall rating of a nonprofit based on its financial health, accountability and transparency.… Continue reading →

Initial unemployment claims in Louisiana fall

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending June 18 decreased to 2,822 from the previous week’s total of 3,445. The state labor department said there were 2,731 a year earlier. The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 3,249 from the previous week’s total of 3,335.… Continue reading →

Kirklands opens Juban Crossing store

Home decor retailer Kirkland’s will have a grand opening Saturday for its Juban Crossing store at 27853 Juban Road in Denham Springs. This is the third Kirkland’s store in metro Baton Rouge, joining locations at the Mall of Louisiana and Towne Center. Kirkland’s has nearly 400 locations in 36 states.… Continue reading →

U.S. rig count down 3; Louisiana drops five

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by three this week to 421, snapping three weeks of gains after a slide that lasted months and pushed the count to record-low levels amid depressed energy prices. A year ago, 859 rigs were active. Houston oilfield services… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge gains 5,600 jobs in past year

Baton Rouge added 5,600 nonfarm jobs over the 12 months ending May 31, leading the state’s metro areas in job growth, while Lafayette lost 8,100 jobs and New Orleans 1,600. Metro-area jobs losses were driven largely by the oil and gas industry’s skid. In addition to the losses suffered in Lafayette and New Orleans, Houma-Thibodaux and Shreveport-Bossier… Continue reading →

'Uncertainty' surrounds Louisiana’s ninth-largest trade partner, major in-state investor following Brexit

Associated Press photo by ANTHONY DEVLIN -- Vote Leave supporters celebrate as they walk through Parliament Square in London, Friday. Britain entered uncharted waters after the country voted to leave the European Union.

The only thing certain about Britain’s exit from the European Union is “uncertainty” for a country that is Louisiana’s ninth-largest trading partner and a major investor in the state. The U.K. also is a substantial source of tourists. New Orleans is the second-most popular entry point for English visitors to the United States behind only New York.… Continue reading →

Albemarle joining S&P 500

Specialty chemicals maker Albemarle Corp. will join the S&P 500 after the close of trading on June 30. The move coincides with the expected completion date of Emera Inc.’s acquisition of TECO Energy, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. The S&P 500 measures the value of the stocks of the 500 largest companies by market capitalization and… Continue reading →

Wal-Mart brings grocery pickup service to 6 south Louisiana stores

Associated Press file photo -- Wal-Mart customers can avoid the hassle of shopping for groceries in the retailer's stores by ordering online for curbside pickup at six stores in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas.

Wal-Mart shoppers are now able to order grocery items online and pick them up curbside at no additional charge at six south Louisiana stores. The curbside service is being offered at three Baton Rouge-area stores at 308 N. Airline Highway in Gonzales; 904 S. Range Ave. in Denham Springs; and 17585 Airline Highway in Prairieville. Three… Continue reading →

Tin Roof: Taste testers overwhelmingly choose premium American lager as style of LSU's official beer

Photo provided by Tin Roof -- Tin Roof's officially licensed LSU beer, Bayou Bengal, will be a premium American lager. ORG XMIT: M2RVar7ylTGrgBfj099S

What would an LSU beer taste like? We have an answer. Tin Roof Brewing Company announced Thursday that its officially licensed LSU beer, Bayou Bengal, is a premium American lager. Last month, Tin Roof reached out to LSU fans and members of the community to participate in a blind tasting panel to choose the style of… Continue reading →

Elmer Chocolate satisfying that sweet tooth with $40 million plant expansion

Satisfying that sweet tooth just got a big boost. Elmer Chocolate has completed a $40 million manufacturing expansion in Ponchatoula to make its chocolates, caramels, truffles and crèmes, along with its seasonal holiday Gold Brick, Heavenly Hash and Pecan Eggs. The production technology installed is designed to make the company more efficient, versatile and competitive in… Continue reading →

Tim Barfield named head of CSRS design, management firm

Tim Barfield

CSRS Inc., a Baton Rouge-based design and management firm, announced that Executive Vice President Tim Barfield will succeed Michael Songy as the firm’s president, effective July 1. Songy, one of the firm’s founding members and president and chief executive officer for more than nine years, will continue to serve as chairman of the board. He also will… Continue reading →

How Cuba could be an opportunity for one-time top trade partner Louisiana

More than a half-century ago, ferry-boats regularly brought tourists from New Orleans to Cuba, separated by only 700 miles. Now, with commercial air service expected to resume to the isolated island nation amid normalizing U.S. relations, Louisiana could reap some benefit from ramping up business with its onetime leading trade partner. That’s according to… Continue reading →

Consumer, business spending jumps 3.1 percent in East Baton Rouge Parish in April

Consumer and business spending in East Baton Rouge Parish increased 3.1 percent in April when compared with the year before. Businesses and consumers spent nearly $692 million in April, according to figures released Wednesday by the city-parish Finance Department. That compares with nearly $671 million in April 2015. The figures do not include vehicle sales,… Continue reading →

Melrose East apartment complex sold for $1.8 million

A group of New Orleans investors has purchased an apartment complex in Melrose East for nearly $1.8 million. Ryer Investors LLC purchased the Cabana Gardens in a deal that was filed Tuesday with the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court’s Office. The seller was California-based Cabana Partners LLC. Cabana Gardens is a 68-unit complex… Continue reading →

Aviation authority clears small, commercial drones for flight

Associated Press file photo -- A drone is used to capture videos and still images of an apartment building in Philadelphia. Routine commercial use of small drones was cleared for takeoff by the Obama administration Tuesday.

Routine use of small drones by real estate agents, farmers, filmmakers and countless other commercial operators was cleared for takeoff by President Barack Obama’s administration Tuesday after years of struggling to write rules that would protect public safety and free the benefits of a new technology. Brian Blessing, co-founder of Lafayette-based National UAS Solutions LLC, said the… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge Area Leadership Program applications being accepted

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is taking applications until 5 p.m. Friday for its 2017 Baton Rouge Area Leadership Program class. The program prepares a diverse group of professionals for leadership positions in the community. It focuses during a nine-month program on key issues and areas of concern such as education; diversity; city and state government; health… Continue reading →

Postlethwaite tech subsidiary launches business development software

P&N Tech, the information technology subsidiary of accounting firm Postlethwaite & Netterville, has released a new business development software application called Pounce. The Baton Rouge-based accounting firm describes Pounce as an easy-to-use, web-based system for service providers in the accounting, business consulting, legal and architect/engineer/contractor industries. The software helps users manage marketing material and… Continue reading →

Circa 1857 gets new owner, name

Circa 1857, a Mid City art and antiques dealer, has a new owner and new name. Garrett Kemp became owner of the 4,000-square-foot space at the corner of Government and South 19th Street on June 1. Kemp has re-named the business The Market at Circa 1857. Kemp, 21, said he plans to modernize the… Continue reading →

Louisiana has third-highest number of State Farm lightning claims in U.S.

Louisiana had the third-highest number of lightning claims by State Farm policyholders in 2015. The company paid more than $6.3 million on 1,391 lightning claims, or about $4,600 per claim on average. State Farm released the numbers during National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, which ends June 26. The company is the state’s largest homeowner’s insurance company with… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish homebuilders playing catch-up

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Home being built at Parker Place Estates in Ascension Parish. Ascension Parish has had a problem with a tight inventory of homes for a couple of years, but more properties are getting permitted. However, demand may have outstripped the ability to build houses fast enough.

A limited supply of homes has hampered real estate activity in fast-growing Ascension Parish for the past year and a half. Despite a flurry of subdivision permits being issued to developers trying to get ahead of new traffic impact fees effective in April, the inventory of houses for sale in the parish is nearly one-third what real… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette area Business Honors for June 19, 2016

Jay Shelledy, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication

James E. “Jay” Shelledy, professional-in-residence and the Fred Jones Greer Jr. endowed chair at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, will receive the Educator of the Year Award from the newspaper and online news division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication at the organization’s August conference. The… Continue reading →

Louisiana firm receives Mississippi aquarium contract

A proposed $65 million aquarium in Gulfport, Mississippi, will be marketed by Baton Rouge-based marketing and advertsing firm MESH. The company was selected from six finalists by the Gulfport Redevelopment Commission to handle a marketing campaign to raise money for the aquairum, launch the project and, during the aquarium’s first year, work on funding to sustain it.… Continue reading →

Louisiana loses 19,600 jobs over 12-month period through May; oil and gas industry hit hardest

Louisiana’s nonfarm employment fell by 19,600 jobs for the 12 months ending in May, as the state lost ground in seven of 11 economic sectors, with the biggest hit once again to the oil and gas industry. The 1 percent decline dropped Louisiana to 1,979,800 jobs in May, according to preliminary numbers released Friday by the U.S. Bureau… Continue reading →

Mid City art gallery Rue Cou Cou closing June 30

Rue Cou Cou, a Mid City art gallery, is set to close at the end of the month. In an email, the gallery at 1857 Government St. said its last day will be June 30. Greg Doucet, who has owned Rue Cou Cou for the past seven years with his wife, Laurel, said a combination… Continue reading →

Sasol study projects impact of Westlake project

Sasol says it expects to spend more than $3.5 billion in Louisiana through the construction phase of its ethane cracker and derivatives project being built at Westlake in Calcasieu Parish. The company said $2.5 billion already has been committed to Louisiana contractors and businesses. Capital expenditures during construction will generate $270 million in revenue for state… Continue reading →