Pelican Institute opens downtown BR office

The New Orleans-based Pelican Institute for Public Policy has opened an office to house its Baton Rouge staff downtown at 342 Lafayette St. and to serve as the organization’s legislative headquarters during sessions.

The Pelican Institute is a nonpartisan research and educational organization and voice for policies based on free enterprise, individual liberty and constitutionally limited government.

The institute also announced the hiring of Sarah Harbison as general counsel, Ethan Melancon as education policy director and Morgan Wampold as director of communications.

Harbison will serve in the role of defending Louisianians’ First Amendment rights, as well as their right to earn a living. Harbison ran a civil defense law practice focused on products liability litigation and is a current New Orleans resident. Melancon was research project manager for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, serving as the staff lead for all education and workforce development policies and initiatives. Wampold has worked alongside the Pelican Institute for the last two years, serving as public relations account leader in his previous job with Mandeville-based advertising agency People Who Think LLC and was previously an account executive at The Ehrhardt Group in New Orleans.

La. fisheries summit planned in Kenner

The Louisiana Fisheries Forward Summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 11 in Kenner’s Pontchartrain Center at 4545 Williams Blvd.

The free commercial fishing and seafood event is expected to draw hundreds of seafood dealers, processors and others involved in the industry. The summit features workshops, a trade show and the chance to view the latest industry technology.

Topics include a “Future of the Fleet” keynote panel discussion about overcoming the aging of the fishers, impacts from 2019 flooding, FDA testing of seafood imports and enhancing shelf life for crawfish and other frozen seafoods.

The summit is sponsored by Louisiana Sea Grant, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the LSU AgCenter. Registration in advance is at

Musician royalties workshop scheduled

The Music Modernization Act passed by Congress in 2018 to make it easier for musicians to collect certain royalties will be the subject of a workshop from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 11 at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, 400 Esplanade Ave., in New Orleans.

The way people are accessing, consuming and listening to music has changed dramatically, and the laws and mechanisms for collecting royalties are still catching up, organizers said. To maximize revenue, musicians have to know their rights, organize their catalogs and register with the rights organizations that will be play a role in carrying out the Music Modernization Act.

The free workshop is being presented by The Ella Project’s Ashlye Keaton and Dash Rip Rock’s Bill Davis.

Topics include what musicians need to know about the Modernization Act; why copyright registration is important; organizing catalogs and how The Ella Project can help; and how and why to register Performance Rights Organizations.

Reservations are required at

Coastal discussion addresses neotectonics

The Water Institute of the Gulf is holding a discussion of neotectonics and its potential impacts on management of coastal natural resources March 3 at the UNO Center for Energy Resources Management, Room 236, 2000 Lakeshore Drive, in New Orleans.

Sign in is at 8:30 a.m., with the meeting at 9 a.m.

A panel will be composed of recognized experts in the fields of neotectonics/subsidence and geomorphic/sedimentary response in the Louisiana coastal region. The panel is charged with weighing data, interpretations and conclusions presented to them by scientists conducting research related to the topic during the workshop in the context of fostering open discussion of neotectonics and coastal restoration.

Performance Excellence Conference planned

The Louisiana Quality Foundation annual Performance Excellence Conference will be held March 12-13 at the University of New Orleans' Kirschman Hall, Building 19.

The conference is designed to support the creation of high-performing health care, businesses, education, hotel, restaurant and government agencies in Louisiana.

Conference admission is $100 for the general public, $25 for students and $50 for Louisiana Quality Foundation examiners. 

Keynote speaker is Tommy Gonzalez, city manager for El Paso, Texas, and the 2012 National Malcolm Baldrige Award recipient with a free presentation from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. March 12.

Registration is at

NOLA, BR joining regional news service

The public radio stations in Baton Rouge and New Orleans are joining with sister stations in Alabama and Mississippi to launch a regional news service.

The Gulf States Newsroom, a collaboration between WRKF in Baton Rouge, WWNO in New Orleans, WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama, and Mississippi Public Broadcasting, will offer coordinated local and regional reporting and content for national news programming. The program is being backed by a $1.3 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That money, along with support from National Public Radio, will be used to hire six new reporters to work in the three states, a digital news editor and a full-time managing editor in Birmingham, who will direct news coverage.

Paul Maassen, general manager of WRKF and WWNO, said the collaboration will increase the amount of regional and local news available to subscribers. Currently, there are four reporters working between the two stations, he said.

“People will hear a lot more content pertinent to the region,” he said.

Reporters will focus on several areas that are important in all three states, including criminal justice, government, education, the environment and economics.

RootsCamp LA set for March 6-7

RootsCamp LA!, an annual event for progressive community activists from across Louisiana, will be held March 6-7 at the Southern University Law Center on Roosevelt Steptoe Drive in Baton Rouge.

Participants in RootsCamp share advocacy tips and strategies, exchange knowledge of issues and legislation, and network and build coalitions for future collaborative efforts. 

The theme is “All Things Presidential," recognizing the election year.

The event includes some panel discussions and seed sessions, but is participant-driven and includes breakout sessions.

Registration is $60 at

University Women's group kicking off session

The American Association of University Women of Louisiana will meet for its second annual Legislative Session Kickoff Brunch in honor of International Women’s Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 8 at Ruffino’s De La Ronde Hall, 320 Third St., in downtown Baton Rouge.

Keynote speaker will be the president of the American Bar Association, Judy Perry Martinez of New Orleans, a national leader in women’s rights. State Rep. Mandie Landry, District 91, and Amanda Brunson, director of the Governor’s Office of Women’s Policy, are also on the agenda.

Registration is at

Outpatient, office building opens in Hammond

A 35,000-square-foot, two-story medical office and outpatient building has opened at 19065 John Lambert Drive on the Cypress Pointe Hospital campus in Hammond.

It offers outpatient services including urgent care, primary care, physical therapy, orthopedics, ear, nose, throat, cardiology, ortho-spine and orthopedic surgery, neurology and pain management as well as a retail pharmacy.

The building is the first step of a master plan that includes a second building, a hotel, restaurants and outdoor wellness area.

The new building is already 90% leased and contains custom-designed suites to meet each tenant’s specific needs. Cypress Pointe Urgent Care, Primary Care and Pain Management are among the tenants already treating patients, and the retail pharmacy will open in the coming weeks.

BRAC seeks Diversity Star Award applicants

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is accepting applications through March 13 for its Diversity Star Award to spotlight and honor regional businesses that champion diversity and inclusion.

The award application process is open to all businesses in the nine-parish Capital Region regardless of size or whether the business is a BRAC investor.

Information on award criteria and applications are at Awards will be presented at BRAC's Diversity in Business event on May 12.

West Feliciana development ready

Louisiana Economic Development has recognized West Feliciana Parish as a Louisiana Development Ready Community.

The Louisiana Development Ready Communities Program guides selected communities through the creation and implementation of a strategic plan to leverage assets and address their particular challenges. A typical community plan includes strategies to address education, workforce development, infrastructure, leadership, marketing and communications. By following the plan for multiple years, participants become more competitive in attracting growth to their communities.

West Feliciana is the 43rd community to earn the LDRC designation and the first parish to do so. The other 42 participants are municipalities.

Jefferson Chamber plans legislative breakfast

The Jefferson Chamber will host its Legislative Issues Breakfast at March 3 at the Hilton New Orleans Airport Hotel.

Discussions will focus on Louisiana’s economic development and the challenges and opportunities for the business community in the 2020 state legislative session. Todd Murphy, president of the Jefferson Chamber, will moderate the panel featuring LABI President and CEO Stephen Waguespack and GNO Inc. President and CEO Michael Hecht.

A “Two Minute Take” passing of the mic will allow the Jefferson delegation and state representatives and senators to speak briefly on their 2020 priorities.

Networking starts at 8 a.m., followed by a breakfast, the two-minute take, and the panel discussion from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Tickets are $75 for members and $125 for nonmembers. Information and tickets are at