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Black gold, red ink: Oil’s spiral drowns the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale and a hoped-for economic boom

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- TMS RA Verberne 5 is a well that Goodrich is drilling horizontally this week in Tangipahoa on LA-1061. Controversy over an exemption to severance taxes for horizontal drilling, which is necessary for fracking. It's about to cause a huge amount of activity in the Florida parishes.

Black gold has turned to red ink for major players in the once promising Tuscaloosa Marine Shale. From 2011 to early 2014, with oil prices topping $100 a barrel, the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale might as well have been abbreviated TM$. Dozens of landmen swept through East and West Feliciana, St. Helena and Tangipahoa parishes, leasing… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for May 29, 2016

Financial services giant Morgan Stanley has named New Orleans as its eighth Healthy Cities location, launching the program with a playground build at Lake Forest Charter School. The Healthy Cities program, working with Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans, targets needy children and their… Continue reading →

Power from pellets Drax facilities boost timber industry in Louisiana and Mississippi, port in Baton Rouge

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- A 25-ton log crane moves wood from the wood yard to the stem deck, where the wood is positioned for bark removal and chipping at the Amite BioEnergy facility operated by Drax Biomass in Gloster, Miss. Wood pellets produced at the facility are taken to the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.

Reducing dependence on fossil fuels has been one of the great issues of the 21st century for businesses and governments. Officials with a British power company think they have an answer to reducing carbon emissions, thanks to wood produced in Louisiana and Mississippi. Officials with Drax Group recently held an open house for their… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette area Business Honors for May 29, 2016

Ashley Gary Higginbotham, Judiciary Commission of Louisiana

BATON ROUGE AREA Jerry Ceppos, dean of LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication and its William B. Dickinson distinguished professor, has been named a fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists. The honor is awarded for extraordinary contributions to the profession. Ceppos, who previously worked for the San Jose Mercury News and… Continue reading →

Business Briefs for May 29, 2016

Tiger Honda of Gonzales has opened at 13325 South Airline Highway in Gonzales. Tiger Honda is a 10-acre, 42,000-square-foot new and used car dealership, with parts and service departments. The dealership is owned by José Pozos and Sam Pack. Pozos owns the Ford Lincoln dealership… Continue reading →

Initial unemployment claims in Louisiana rise

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending May 21 increased to 3,165 from the previous week’s total of 2,969. The state labor department said there were 3,166 claims for the comparable week a year earlier. The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, increased to 2,881 from… Continue reading →

Former Oklahoma insurance executive to head La. Citizens Property Insurance

Oklahoma insurance executive Richard Newberry has been picked to head the Louisiana’s property insurer of last resort. Newberry’s first day as the chief executive officer of Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. will be Tuesday, said state Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. That’s also the start of hurricane season. Donelon said Newberry’s 23 years of experience… Continue reading →

Judge clears way for property sale

A federal judge once again has cleared the way for New York investment bank Goldman Sachs to seize and auction property along Nicholson Drive in Baton Rouge and at the Port of Iberia. The properties were owned by Lafayette businessman Michel Moreno and used as collateral to secure a $52.4 million loan that has been in default… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge area adds 11,600 jobs over past 12 months, hitting a record 414,000 in April

An 11,600-job gain in the Baton Rouge area over the past 12 months wasn’t enough to offset oil industry-driven job losses in four of the state’s other eight metro areas and rural parishes. Metro-area losses were posted by Lafayette, New Orleans, Houma-Thibodaux and Shreveport-Bossier City against Baton Rouge’s gains and those in Hammond, Lake Charles, Monroe… Continue reading →

Weinstein Nelson selected for high-profile Entergy site redevelopment on Government St.; see what proposal includes

Advocate staff filel photo by BILL FEIG -- A team led by Weinstein Nelson Development has been selected to redevelop the 6.1-acre former Entergy site at 1509 Government St. in Baton Rouge.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Redevelopment Authority voted Friday to negotiate with a team led by Weinstein Nelson Development for a $20 million redevelopment of the 6.1-acre former Entergy site on Government Street. Weinstein Nelson has been involved in the redevelopment of a number of downtown properties, including the mixed-use 440 on Third building and… Continue reading →

East Baton Rouge looking at mixed-use redevelopment options for Entergy site on Government St.

The East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority is considering proposals from eight teams who want to redevelop the 6.1-acre Entergy site on Government Street. At its meeting Friday morning, the RDA is hearing from a Fregonese and Associates team that reviewed the applications. The Fregonese team could give the RDA a list of several finalists for the redevelopment… Continue reading →

Paychex adding 100 jobs in Baton Rouge

Paychex, which provides payroll, human relations and retirement services to 590,000 small and medium-sized business clients, is adding 100 jobs at its Baton Rouge office. The company said Thursday it will add the jobs at its office at 4334 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd. over the next five years. Currently, 60 people work at the… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge housing nonprofit receives $75,000 to rehabilitate properties

Urban Restoration Enhancement Corp., a Baton Rouge nonprofit that helps low- to moderate-income families buy homes, has been awarded $75,000 through the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center’s Baton Rouge Community Revitalization Fund. UREC will use the money for rehabilitating blighted and vacant homes in distressed north Baton Rouge neighborhoods. The nonprofit also will use… Continue reading →

AgCenter researchers round up facts on best grass-fed beef breed for Louisiana

Louisiana cattle producers trying to lasso a piece of the grass-fed beef stampede could soon get a hand from LSU AgCenter researchers. The researchers are using a $479,880 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to figure out which breed is best for Louisiana when it comes to producing grass-fed beef. The scientists are also looking… Continue reading →

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit planning store in Baton Rouge, along with seven others along I-10 corridor

The Baton Rouge barbecue market could soon add another competitor. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, which has 550 locations in 43 states, has partnered with Lake Charles-based Marshland Foods LLC to open eight stores along the Interstate 10 corridor, including one in Baton Rouge. Dickey’s franchisee Marshland will open its first Dickey’s in Lake Charles, with two… Continue reading →

Dudley DeBosier law firm partners buy downtown building to house support staff

Partners at personal injury law firm Dudley DeBosier have purchased a Beauregard Town office building for nearly $2.07 million with plans to move the firm’s support staff to the building. DePeltier International LLC bought the building at 320 Somerulos St. in two transactions that were filed Wednesday with the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s… Continue reading →

Bar Foundation receives $6.6 million to help prevent foreclosures, redevelop communities

The Louisiana Bar Foundation received nearly $6.6 million under a 2014 Bank of America mortgage settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and six states. The agreement calls for the money to be used for legal assistance in foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment. The Louisiana group, whose headquarters are in New Orleans, is one of 56 state-based… Continue reading →

Winn-Dixie to hold ribbon cutting for Central remodeling

Winn-Dixie has completed a remodeling of its store at 10974 Joor Road in Central. The remodeling included putting in a new seafood department, a new beer, wine and spirits shop and an updated produce department. The store also has an expanded line of gluten-free and natural products, along with more locally produced items. Winn-Dixie officials… Continue reading →

Monsanto rejects $62 billion Bayer bid

Associated Press file photo -- Monsanto is rejecting Bayer's $62 billion takeover bid, calling it "incomplete and financially inadequate." However, the seed company suggested Tuesday that a higher bid might be accepted.

Monsanto rejected Bayer’s $62 billion takeover bid, calling it “incomplete and financially inadequate.” However, the seed and weed killer company, which operates a plant in St. Charles Parish, suggested Tuesday that a higher bid might be accepted, saying it remains open to talks. Bayer replied it is committed to completing the deal.… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette Business Honors for May 22, 2016

BATON ROUGE AREA Christen Campbell, an environmental, health and safety specialist for BASF in Geismar, was recognized as an emerging leader with a Manufacturing Institute STEP Ahead Award focusing on science, technology, engineering and production. The Manufacturing Institute promotes the role of women in manufacturing through the… Continue reading →

LSU AgCenter scientist finds solution to high sodium with ‘nanosalt;’ hopes to market his product

Photo provided by LSU AgCenter/Olivia McClure -- LSU AgCenter food scientist Marvin Moncada manipulates the nanospray drier he used to make nanosalt, salt particles about one-thousandth the size of kosher salt grains.

The key to creating a big, salty flavor with a fraction of the sodium is going small. Really small. LSU Agricultural Center food scientist Marvin Moncada took a less-is-more approach in developing nanosalt, a powder made with salt particles about one-thousandth the size of kosher salt granules. The powder coats more of a food’s… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge biopharma company wins patent for chemotherapy delivery system

Baton Rouge-based OncBioMune Pharmaceuticals Inc. has been granted a patent for its novel chemotherapy delivery system. The patent covers the clinical stage biopharma firm’s unique chemotherapy composition. OncBioMune said its transport technology does a better job of targeting tumor cells than commonly used therapies, which also can kill healthy cells and cause a range of complications including… Continue reading →

Bobby Tallo Realty acquires Pezant Real Estate

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bobby Tallo Realty has acquired Pezant Real Estate for an undisclosed sum. The deal between the two Hammond-based firms will add 13 agents to Bobby Tallo Realty. The acquisition also expands the company’s footprint in Tangipahoa Parish. Bobby Tallo Realty has offices in Hammond and Denham Springs. The company’s service area covers southeast Louisiana.… Continue reading →

Lake adds Internal Medicine & Pediatric group

Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group has added Internal Medicine & Pediatric Group to its physician network and is now operating two clinic locations under the name Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group – Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. The clinics are at 6516 E. Myrtle Ave. in Baker and 11424 Sullivan Road in Central.… Continue reading →

Monroe developer buys site in The Greens at Millerville off Interstate 12

A Monroe developer has bought nearly an acre of land in The Greens at Millerville with plans to lease the property to a restaurant. 3B Millerville, represented by James Moore Jr., of Monroe, bought the land for $925,000 in a deal that was filed Friday with the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court’s Office. The seller… Continue reading →

Bayer makes $62 billion bid for Monsanto

Associated Press file photo -- Bayer's logo is visible at the Berlin Brandenburg Airport in Schoenefeld, Germany. The German drug and chemicals company has made a $62 billion offer to buy U.S.-based crops and seeds specialist Monsanto Co.

German drug and chemicals company Bayer AG has put a price tag of $62 billion on its offer to buy U.S.-based crops and seeds specialist Monsanto, which operates a plant in St. Charles Parish. The proposed combination would create a giant seed and farm chemical company with a strong presence in the U.S.,… Continue reading →

World's largest nitrogen fertilizer plant based in Louisiana cancels $6 billion deal with Netherlands company

Advocate staff file photo -- CF Industries, owner of the world’s largest nitrogen fertilizer plant located in Donaldsonville, has dropped plans to acquire the distribution networks of Netherlands-based OCI N.V.

CF Industries Holdings Inc., soon to have the world’s largest nitrogen fertilizer plant located in Donaldsonville, has dropped plans to acquire the distribution networks of Netherlands-based OCI N.V. in a $6 billion deal. The combination would have created one of the planet’s largest nitrogen fertilizer companies. CF Industries said an April announcement by the U.S.… Continue reading →

Speaker highlights importance of positive branding

Branding is more important than ever because the value of brands has increased, whether that’s on the balance sheets of businesses or in the trust accorded a nonprofit. That’s the message from Bill Burke, senior vice president of marketing with Nationwide Insurance and The Salvation Army’s national advisory board chairman. Most companies carry brand value as… Continue reading →

Louisiana nonfarm employment slips with decreases in 6 of 11 job sectors

Advocate staff file photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Inland drilling rigs are stacked in the Port of Iberia in December. The state’s mining and logging industry, which includes the oil and gas sector, fell 18.2 percent, or 8,900 jobs, over the 12 months through April.

Louisiana’s nonfarm employment slipped 0.8 percent to 1,979,000 over the 12 months ending April 30, as oil’s downturn continued rippling through the economy. Employment fell in six of 11 of Louisiana’s business sectors. The numbers are preliminary estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and are not adjusted to reflect seasonal changes.… Continue reading →

Arthur J. Gallagher buys McNeary

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. has acquired McNeary Inc., a Charlotte, North Carolina-based real estate insurance broker with offices in Baton Rouge. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. McNeary also has a location in Marietta, Georgia. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. is an international insurance brokerage and risk management services firm with operations in… Continue reading →

American Sugar Cane League: 2016 crop shows good potential

The American Sugar Cane League says the 2016 cane crop shows good potential and could pass last year’s 1.4 million tons of raw sugar. Senior Agronomist Herman Waguespack said as the prime sugar cane growing season begins, farmers from central and south Louisiana report good spring stands of sugar cane despite the abnormally wet winter of 2015.… Continue reading →

Danos and Curole Marine Contractors laying off 80 workers in Morgan City

About 80 workers will be laid off in July at the Danos and Curole Marine Contractors’ fabrication division facility in Morgan City. The layoffs at the Amelia yard will occur between July 13 and July 27 because of “a significant downturn in business,” the Gray-based oil and gas services company said in a notification to the Louisiana… Continue reading →

Germany’s Bayer confirms takeover talks with U.S.’s Monsanto, which operates a plant in St. Charles Parish

Associated Press file photo -- Monsanto's is on display at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill. German drug and chemicals company Bayer AG confirmed Thursday it has entered talks about a possible purchase of the Monsanto Co.

Monsanto Co., which operates a plant in St. Charles Parish, is in talks about being acquired by German drug and chemicals company Bayer. The combination would create a giant seed and farm chemical company with a strong footprint in the U.S., Europe and Asia, combining two businesses with a complementary geographical focus. But Bayer might have… Continue reading →

BASF lab at LSU could lead to safe drinking water in undeveloped countries

LSU researchers will investigate the use of sunlight to create safe drinking water at the school’s BASF Sustainable Living Lab. BASF selected Kevin McPeak as the first researcher at the lab, created with a $1 million donation from the company. With the lab, BASF wanted to foster problem-based teaching and research focused on sustainable solutions.… Continue reading →

Stonehenge investments in Utah reach $16.7 million

Stonehenge Community Development, a subsidiary of Baton Rouge-based Stonehenge Capital Co., has invested $16.7 million in nine Utah businesses through the state and federal New Markets Tax Credit program. The credits are used to boost economic development in low-income communities. Stonehenge made the investments over its first year in Utah. The tax credits were invested in a… Continue reading →