Monday, 25 November 2013 21:51

Round Louisiana: Launch Pad, WTC, Flood insurance, Small business Saturday

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TheLensLouisiana is becoming a river of business opportunities.


In today's "Round Louisiana", we discuss some of those business and organization news stories:

World Trade Center announcement

Tyler Bridges of The Lens reports that techies from Launch Pad are interested in an important New Orleans downtown property

Baton Rouge Chamber encourages activity on Small Business Saturday

Lafayette Chamber is hosting an event educating us about the flood insurance crises

Baton Rouge gets granted

Here are press releases and other related content:

Round Louisiana is a compilation of press releases and other relevant items


Officials with the World Trade Center Mississippi River Alliance (WTC MSRA) and the Big River Coalition (BRC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining a cooperative effort to preserve and promote economic growth on the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MRT). The organizations will work together in support of increasing the draft in the Lower Mississippi River deep-draft channel to 50 feet to equal the maximum draft to be available when the new Panama Canal locks open in 2015. Along with this agreement, both parties will be given access to broadcast their organizational information and updates to each other and its members.

“The timing for such a partnership with the Big River Coalition is ideal. We need a combined voice on this issue which has major implications on the future of commerce, not just for Louisiana, but for the entire nation,” said Dominik Knoll, World Trade Center of New Orleans Chief Executive Officer. “We see the Big River Coalition as a strong ally that the Alliance intends to work very closely with going forward.”

“The Big River Coalition embraces this partnership with the newly formed World Trade Center Mississippi River Alliance and believes this amalgamation will serve to promote and protect commerce along the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MRT),” Sean Duffy, Sr., Executive Director of the Big River Coalition stated about the partnership. “The Mississippi River Basin faces immense challenges over the next decade, floods, drought or low water issues (rock pinnacles), inadequate funding for dredging and maintenance of critical locks and dams (navigation structures) must be addressed through proactive measures and proper investment. Recent history demonstrates that our navigation channels and transportation infrastructure are under-funded by Congress and often taken for granted until emergency actions are required. In order to protect our economic future as a nation, business and government leaders must unite to systematically modernize our neglected transportation infrastructure. This new partnership aligns the two groups on efforts to deepen the Lower Mississippi River channel to 50 feet an action that would help preserve the long-term economic vitality of the United States.”

The Mississippi River Basin connects 31 states and 2 Canadian Provinces through the third largest river basin in the world and the cargo conveyed along the Mississippi River has an approximately $115 billion annual impact on the nation’s economy each year.

According to a recent BRC study, every dollar spent to deepen the Mississippi River by 5 feet, allowing larger vessels to reach Louisiana's ports, will create $89.4 in economic benefits. This economic impact study detailed huge benefits to the national economy; a deeper river could drive about $11.5 billion through increased international cargo movements, stemming from lower transportation costs and lower costs of importing oil. It would create 16,911 jobs nationally and $849.5 million in income for American workers.

“We need Washington to understand the importance of this maritime highway to the future of trade and exports. We must stay competitive and take an active approach to this as well as other issues along the River that threaten jobs and economic growth,” said Dominik Knoll.

The World Trade Center Mississippi River Alliance (WTC MSRA) is a non-partisan coalition of World Trade Centers along the Mississippi River dedicated to promoting the stakeholder interests of the world’s greatest waterway. The WTC MSRA is comprised of ten World Trade Centers and is led by the World Trade Center New Orleans’ Chief Executive Officer, Dominik Knoll.

Alliance partners represent thousands of U.S. businesses, farmers and stakeholders who rely on the Mississippi River for commodities including petroleum & coal products, agriculture, marine and wood products, chemicals, minerals & ores, paper, plastics & rubber products and textiles & fabric. More information on the World Trade Center Mississippi River Alliance can be found at

Sean M. Duffy, Sr. is the Executive Director of the Big River Coalition. The Big River Coalition (BRC) was created in Fiscal Year 2011 in response to the announcement by the Commander of the Corps of Engineers’ Mississippi Valley Division confirming the discontinuation of reprogramming funds to maintain the Lower Mississippi River (LMR) navigation channel. The Big River Coalition’s original focus was to obtain additional funding to supplement the shortfall in the Corps’ Operations and Maintenance budget, to strive to establish a legislative firewall around the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), and to represent members of the Mississippi River navigation industry in matters related to coastal restoration. As the Coalition grew and continued to make effective progress on these initiatives, members requested that the Coalition lead the charge to deepen the LMR navigation channel to 50 feet. More information on the Big River Coalition can be found

For the latest updates on the World Trade Center of New Orleans, visit or follow us on Facebook at or Twitter at

Launch Pad

Tyler Bridges of The Lens reports today: 
Three entrepreneurs who own the Launch Pad collaborative in the Warehouse District are planning to bid on the ArtWorks building, a non-profit facility for artist studios and galleries that collapsed financially in 2011.
The Launch Pad plan ensures there will be more than one bidder for the vacant building, which is just off Lee Circle. Government and private donors spent a total of $25 million on the failed ArtWorks project, which was conceived by the Arts Council of New Orleans. Last year the state appraised the building at $4.5 million. Bids are due on Dec. 3.
As The Lens reported 10 days ago, a group of prominent restaurateurs have combined forces with Delgado Community College to bid on the building and, if successful, turn it into a state-of-the-art cooking school.
“By all means, we’re the underdog,” said Chris Schultz, 39, one of Launch Pad’s three founders.

Baton Rouge granted

U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today welcomed a $500,000 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant that has been awarded to Baton Rouge to help revitalize the Smiley Heights/ Melrose East neighborhood. In July, Sen. Landrieu wrote to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),which oversees the award, in support of Baton Rouge.

“By collaborating with local governments, schools and other stakeholders, Baton Rouge has put together an impressive plan to revitalize the Smiley Heights/ Melrose East neighborhood. This funding will help Baton Rouge transform a distressed housing site into a safe neighborhood and help create links to spur improved education, employment and home ownership opportunities,” Sen. Landrieu said. “This neighborhood is seeing renewed investment, including the Louisiana Technology Park Incubator and a new charter school and community college center. This grant is an important part of this continued investment and revitalization.”

Lafayette Chamber

Upcoming Events
National Flood Insurance Reform
December 4, 2013
11:30 am - 1 pm
Petroleum Club in Lafayette


BRAC Encourages Participation in Small Business Saturday
Small business owners urged to celebrate the day

Baton Rouge, La. (November 25, 2013) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) is encouraging Baton Rouge Area residents to participate in Small Business Saturday, this Saturday, November 30, by visiting locally owned retailers in the Capital Region. Residents can also support this cause by spreading the word to family, friends, and co-workers. BRAC is a supporter of small business and fully endorses this initiative.

“Small Business Saturday offers us a chance to show our support for the small businesses here in the Baton Rouge Area,” said Adam Knapp, President and CEO of BRAC. “BRAC hopes that shoppers will make a commitment to support local businesses as part of their holiday shopping and throughout the upcoming year.”

Additionally, small businesses in the region are urged to participate through increased incentives to customers. These incentives may include free gift wrapping, food tastings, giveaways, and more. Businesses located near each other are also encouraged to work together on this day through group incentives or activities.

Small Business Saturday was founded in 2010 by American Express to support small businesses and keep communities thriving. The goal is to help small businesses increase their exposure during the post-Thanksgiving shopping weekend, one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.


Media Sources

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