Business Briefs for Dec. 23, 2012

Petroleum program gets new classroom

LSU’s College of Engineering has a new classroom facility at the LSU Petroleum Engineering Research & Technology Transfer Laboratory.

The 4,300-square-foot facility features a 60-student classroom and a separate computer lab that will be used by LSU’s petroleum engineering students, in addition to being used for research and by industry as LSU addresses challenges in the petroleum engineering field.

The facility adds to the university’s hands-on training in well control through work at a full-scale research and training facility.

The Donald W. and Gayle A. Keller Well Facility Classroom is being supported by private donations, made through the LSU Foundation, from the Kellers, Eva Rodriguez, Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. and the American Association of Drilling Engineers–Lafayette Chapter.

“We’re the only school in the United States that offers and requires hands-on training in well control and understanding hydrostatics and pressure control in wells using actual wells,” said John Rogers Smith, associate professor in the LSU Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering. “Industry recognizes LSU as one of the best petroleum engineering schools in the country and that makes its graduates more desirable to companies.”

BR chamber starts monthly luncheons

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is starting a series of monthly luncheons with “Innovation” as the topic for Jan. 8 at Kean Miller on the seventh floor of II City Plaza in downtown Baton Rouge.

Caroline Wood, of the Louisiana Connections Academy, will discuss how online learning can change the face of public education.

The luncheons are open to both BRAC members and nonmembers. Registration is available at

Hibbett Sports opens second store in BR

Hibbett Sporting Goods Inc. has opened a store at 9335 Burbank Drive in Burbank Crossing.

The store employs eight full- and part-time workers.

Hibbett Sports stocks athletic footwear and apparel and team athletic equipment. It also has a store at 9579 Cortana Place.

The company now has 43 stores in Louisiana, including stores in Walker and Zachary. Hibbett operates more than 800 stores in small to midsized markets, predominantly in the Sunbelt, Mid-Atlantic and the Lower Midwest.

Gould Evans opens New Orleans office

Gould Evans, a design and planning firm, has opened a new architectural studio in New Orleans.

Its interim location is in uptown New Orleans with Chase Marshall Architects, while expanded space is being developed on Magazine Street.

The studio is the result of the company’s work in the greater New Orleans area over the last five years.

The New Orleans studio will be led by Principal Tony Rohr, Vice President Robert Riccardi and Associate Jennie Cannon West.

The New Orleans studio joins Gould Evans’ national network of studios in San Francisco; Phoenix; Kansas City, Mo.; Lawrence, Kan.; and Tampa, Fla.

Urban Conservancy gets workshop grant

The Urban Conservancy in New Orleans has received a $10,000 grant to bolster its workshop series for local businesses, lenders and community banks.

Dana Eness, executive director of The Urban Conservancy, said the funds will be used for a workshop with nationally renowned speaker Michael Shuman, author of “Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity,” to lead a workshop in New Orleans.

The workshop is called Local Investing 101, and is geared toward local businesses, lenders and community banks to create innovative ways to reinforce the local economy by investing in local businesses.

The Partnership Grant Program funds were made available by IberiaBank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas.

Agreement protects cypress forest

J.M. Burguierès Co. Ltd. said subsidiary JMB Partnership LLC has completed the Bayou Sale Coastal Forest Conservation Servitude to protect and preserve more than 4,700 acres of cypress forest in southern St. Mary Parish.

The perpetual conservation servitude is held by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, which is a division of the state. The property is believed to contain the southernmost self-regenerating cypress forest in the state

Forest conservation servitudes are agreements that bind a public or private conservation organization and a private landowner in perpetuity. Forest conservation servitudes maintain the owner’s title to the property and allow certain activities to occur according to mutually-agreed-upon-terms, while ensuring the long-term protection of the property’s natural, ecological and landscape characteristics. Forest conservation servitudes remain in effect indefinitely, and any subsequent owner would have to respect the rights and uses established by the original agreement.

The servitude was acquired through the CPRA’s Coastal Forest Conservation Initiative using funds from a federal financial assistance award. The Coastal Impact Assistance Program is a $1 billion federal funding program to help oil and gas producing states and their coastal subdivisions mitigate impacts from production on the Outer Continental Shelf.

The J.M. Burguières Co. was founded in 1877 and is a land acquisition and holding company with property interests in south Louisiana, south Florida and west Texas.