Week in Review, May 2-6: GiveNOLA Day Sets a Record

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NEW ORLEANS — Here are the week’s top business stories:

The Greater New Orleans Foundation announced that the 2022 GiveNOLA Day (Monday, May 2) hosted by Baptist Community Ministries and supported by Entergy generated nearly $8 million in donations for a record-breaking 947 nonprofits. More details about the annual online philanthropic “marathon” are available at www.GiveNOLA.org. “I am so grateful to the generous people of our region for yet another incredible GiveNOLA Day,” said Andy Kopplin, GNOF president and CEO, in a press release. “With both a pandemic and active hurricane season, there is no doubt that our region experienced more than its fair share of challenges over the past year. This year’s GiveNOLA Day served as yet another reminder that no matter what we face, the strength of our nonprofit sector and the generosity of the people of our region never falters.”

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health and Children’s Hospital New Orleans announced that they have entered into a non-binding agreement to explore structures within which the two organizations might work together. A letter of intent that was signed recently states that the two systems will explore collaborating in the delivery of pediatric health services, with a uniform, elevated standard of care for the communities that the systems currently serve. “This collaboration would enable us to do more together for Louisiana’s children,” says Kevin Cook, COO, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, which operates Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health. “With recent, significant investments in pediatric healthcare made by both organizations, we believe that we can align respective expertise that will continue to transform the health of our children.”

The Vue Orleans observatory and cultural exhibit is now open at the top of the recently renovated Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences in the former World Trade Center building at the foot of Canal Street. The $30 million attraction, co-developed by Woodward Design+Build CEO Paul Flower, offers 360-degree views of the New Orleans cityscape as well as high-tech exhibits created by and featuring local culture bearers. The first phase of the roughly $500 million renovation of the circa 1968 structure was complete in August. Four Seasons partnered with developers Carpenter & Company Inc. and Woodward Interests on the project. At Vue Orleans, visitors will learn about contemporary local musicians — Irma Thomas and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, for instance — as well as 300 years of New Orleans history.

The 65-room Pelham Hotel at 444 Common Street has announced the completion of an extensive interior renovation, including a redesign of the lobby, guest rooms and bathrooms, guest corridor and more. The renovation comes as a result of new ownership by AMS Hospitality, the hospitality division of southeast-focused real estate development firm Allen Morris Company and Black Salmon, the Miami-based national real estate investment and development firm. The hotel is managed by HRI Lodging with design led by Suomi Design Works. “This renovation will provide guests with an elevated yet distinctly New Orleans experience,” said Allison Barnette, the hotel’s general manager, in a press release. “Inspired by the property’s origins, we sought to preserve the hotel’s unique character while transforming spaces with the modern-day traveler in mind. From the moment they arrive, guests will be immersed in the rich history of the city while receiving the world-class hospitality that The Pelham is known for.”

Louisiana Children’s Museum Chief Executive Officer Julia Bland has announced her retirement effective June 4. The organization’s chief operating officer, Lauren Clay, will be appointed interim CEO. “Our board of directors and the entire museum community are deeply grateful for Julia’s vision, energy and leadership over so many years,” said Colleen Levy, museum board president, in a prepared release. “During her tenure, and in concert with the board and staff, the Louisiana Children’s Museum has seen unprecedented growth, progress and stability. Julia has made a lasting mark on the museum and has helped position this flagship learning and cultural center to be an even greater contributor to the public good for many years to come.”  The board said it will conduct a national and local search for Bland’s replacement.

Hibernia Bank employees gathered with local officials and community members on May 3 to celebrate the debut of a new full-service bank branch at 5620 Veterans Memorial Boulevard. Hibernia has served the greater New Orleans area since 1886. It was initially founded as Union Homestead to provide residential mortgage loans to homeowners. Over the years, it has grown to become a full-service bank offering a range of financial services. It has five branches in the New Orleans. 

A $250,000 Affordable Housing Program subsidy awarded to the Leona Tate Foundation for Change from Home Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas in 2019 has helped convert a historic school building in the Lower 9th Ward into 25 affordable apartments for very low-income seniors and a center for anti-racism training. Representatives from the organizations gathered for a May 4 ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening celebration to celebrate the newly renovated building, which was previously McDonogh 19 Elementary School, the first New Orleans school integrated by court order of a U.S. District Court judge. “This historic building will play a critical role in helping our organization live our mission to promote civil rights and anti-racism education, while also providing affordable housing opportunities,” said Leona Tate, executive director of the Leona Tate Foundation for Change, in a press release. “We are grateful to have received the funds from Home Bank and FHLB Dallas and to complete this project for our residents.”

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