UNO event explores sale of Georgetown slaves 

The University of New Orleans will present a program this week about the 1838 sale of hundreds of slaves to benefit Georgetown University.

The event Wednesday is titled "Sold South: Tracing a Jesuit Slave Community from Maryland to Louisiana."

It will feature two people who recently learned about their slave ancestors and a member of Georgetown's Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation.

In 1838, two priests orchestrated the sale of 272 slaves to planters in Louisiana to pay off debts at the school near Washington, D.C. The transaction was one of the most thoroughly documented large sales of slaves in history.

Tickets are sold out, but people can watch a livestream of the event on the Facebook page of the Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies.

LSU Health gives checks to 2016 flood victims

For a few victims of the Louisiana floods of 2016, relief is on the way, thanks to the LSU Health New Orleans Foundation.

Checks from the flood relief fund that the organization established to provide emergency financial assistance to faculty, staff and students in need are being distributed to qualified applicants just in time for the holidays, school officials said.

“This disaster touched many members of the LSU Health New Orleans family,” said Larry Hollier, the school's chancellor. “In addition to faculty, staff, residents and fellows, 32 percent of our student body this fall is from parishes where there was extensive flooding.”

The foundation raised $37,400 in donations after the flooding, in which a number of faculty, staff and students lost everything or nearly everything. Twenty-two students applied for the assistance, and each will receive a check for $1,700.

The grants are not loans and do not require repayment.

Tulane announces business competition  

Tulane University has announced the 17th annual Tulane Business Model Competition, which gives college entrepreneurs a chance to win more than $40,000 in cash and prizes for promising startup ventures.

The contest, which is hosted by the Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, seeks early-stage ventures that demonstrate a market-tested ability to adapt to customers’ needs.

It is open to any team led by at least two or more students enrolled in a college or university. To enter, teams must submit a company description and other details by Jan. 27.

Tulane will select six semifinalists who, in addition to pitching their ideas, will receive mentoring and networking opportunities with a variety of "lean startup" experts. That will happen at Freeman Fusion 2017, to take place March 23 during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

Three finalists selected by judges will then present their business models on April 20.

The Tulane Business Model Competition emphasizes the importance of validating a business model through field research.

The contest rewards ventures for breaking down an idea into a key business model hypothesis, testing their assumptions with customers, applying customer development/lean startup principles to make sure they refine the model for improved success, and changing until they have a customer-validated business model.

UNO receives gift for hospitality program 

The Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association Hospitality Education Foundation has presented a $75,000 gift to the University of New Orleans’ Lester E. Kabacoff School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration.

The contribution will fund improvements to the Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration laboratory, and is the first major commitment since the launch of the UNO Foundation’s $2.5 million capital campaign, school officials said.

Dr. Kim Williams, director of the program, said the gift will be used to create a simulated lobby and front desk that will help students gain hands-on experience in hotel simulations, property management systems and hotel industry analytics.

Other planned renovations and additions include a new roof, exterior refurbishment, a 250-seat dining room, 35 computers for the property management system room, a beverage laboratory and new equipment in the production kitchen.

According to UNO, more than 95 percent of students who graduate from the hospitality program remain in New Orleans to continue their careers.

In addition, more than 90 percent of graduate students and 80 percent of undergraduate students in the program work full-time while earning their degree, which supplies an immediate boost for the local workforce.

Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.