News EditorEast Baton Rouge Councilwoman Chauna Banks is hosting a second series pathways to acquire property in East Baton Rouge Parish. The event is free and open to the public. The meeting will include details on getting title insurance and paying the outstanding taxes.The second session will be held on Thursday, February 28, 2019, 5:30 p.m., Louisiana Leadership Institute, 5763 Hooper Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70811The goal is to help bring new life to blighted, abandoned or tax-foreclosed properties. Agency representatives will present five unconventional pathways to acquire these properties. Both residential and commercial investors will learn how to purchase tax-delinquent assets by attending these informational.A list of invited agencies and programs:• East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office “sheriff sale”, a public auction of property repossessed to satisfy an unpaid obligation.• Parish Attorney’s Office, which handles the sale of adjudicated properties through public bids and donations.• Civic Source, a company partnered with the City-Parish to offer an online process for the sale of adjudicated property in excess of 5 years.• Mow to Own Program, allows certain parties to avoid the public bidding and receive a preference in making an offer to purchase adjudicated properties in excess of 3 years;• East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority has the ability to acquire and quickly clear title to tax sale and adjudicated properties.For more information, contact the District 2 Office at (225) 389-8331 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.Read more »
WASHINGTON DC—There is something to be said about leaders who push beyond boundaries to forge relationships and gain cooperation from others. For all intents and purposes, that’s what leaders from Baton Rouge are doing on a national scale following with a networking mixer held last month with leaders in Washington DC.
A delegation of elected and appointed officials from Baton Rouge attended the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference to build allegiance around issues citizens face and find resources to bring to their Louisiana districts.
Along with participating in many CBC conference activities, the Baton Rouge leaders attended the first “Baton Rouge Meets Washington D.C.” networking mixer hosted by the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s office, the Southern University System, and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.
“In particular, for the Baton Rouge Metro Airport, it is our goal to leverage those relationships to develop the land surrounding the airport, fund capital improvements projects, and enhance our air service development by increasing the number of direct flights that we offer at BTR.” As an organizer of the mixer, Dunn said he believed the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference would be a great place to start the national relationship building process for the Baton Rouge leaders in attendance.
“Not only did I feel that our leadership team should attend the conference, but I also felt that we should create and host a Baton Rouge signature event that would promote the city of Baton Rouge, the parish of East Baton Rouge and several of the cities economic drivers,” he said.
More than 100 leaders attended the networking mixer.
“Governmental officials, elected officials, developers, private equity professionals, and business owners; all focused on how we can help the city of Baton Rouge and the parish of East Baton Rouge reach its fullest potential,” Dunn said.
The Baton Rouge Airport heavily relies on grants and federal dollars to expand runways and to complete capital improvement projects. Likewise, the city of Baton Rouge, the state transportation office, and the Southern University System pull most of their resources from federal dollars and grants. Leaders in attendance said the event gave them all a platform in the nation’s capital to present upcoming projects and programs to Congressional delegates and to potential funders and partners.
We asked attendees to tell us about what they expected from the mixer and its outcome.
Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport’s interim director of aviation Mike Edwards and Gregory D. Pierson, interim assistant director of aviation, said: “Support for infrastructure funding and our new air service initiatives is always at the forefront when meeting with delegates from any industry. However, one key expectation was to promote the diverse development opportunities available at BTR. Through doing so, we were also able to begin some preliminary dialogue about partnerships with other institutions from other industries that can further stimulate land development and business opportunities within the North Baton Rouge area.”
President/CEO of the Indigo Engineering Group, LLC, Delicia N. Gunn, said, “My sole CBC Conference expectation was to meet with executives of the Baton Rouge Airport Authority and Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.”
State Rep. Edmond Jordan (BR—District 29), said, “My expectation was to network with other African-American leaders throughout the nation to compare ideas related to creating wealth and building businesses within African American communities. Additionally, I was there to promote the Baton Rouge region to other attendees who are located throughout the U.S.”
What was the outcome for you and your agency in DC?
Edwards and Pierson said, “The Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport was able to establish some key contacts towards formulating a coalition for promoting targeted routes for direct air service. We were also able to promote our Aviation Business Park along with all the economic development incentives that accompany doing business at BTR.”
Rep. Jordan said, “I was able to network with business owners and elected officials; as we shared ideas, strategies, and successes within our community. Specifically, there were seminars related to federal government contracting and accessing venture capital that were engaging and thought-provoking.”
How were your outcomes met through the Baton Rouge Meets Washington DC Networking Mixer specifically and through other activities?
Edwards and Pierson said, “Through our (BR airport’s) discussions with legislative officials and other government partners, the mixer afforded us with the platform to solicit support and funding for capital improvement projects that improve the safety, operation, and development opportunities at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport. We were also able to meet and connect with Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprises from other regions which will help us to continue to grow our DBE resource pool and further our outreach efforts.”
Veneeth Iyengar, assistant chief administrative officer, at the City of Baton Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge, Office of Mayor-President, said, “From City-Parish’s perspective, any opportunity that we have to pitch and export “Baton Rouge and the Parish” is a huge win for the community. The event was very important for Mayor Broome’s administration to connect with organizations and groups, whether entrepreneurs, thought leaders, folks from non-profits and the Federal Government on how we collaborate and work together. The enthusiasm we saw based on the individual and group conversations at the mixer especially in wanting to help our community was great and we look forward to following up quickly on those offers for help.”
Gunn said, “Although my Washington DC-based firm, Indigo Engineering, has had the privilege of providing engineering and construction management services for cities across my home state of Louisiana, my biggest desire was to work with my hometown city, Baton Rouge….The mixer’s presentation of its airport and city goals provided me with inspiration and information regarding upcoming business opportunities. The casual setting afforded me an opportunity to have in-depth industry conversations that are often stifled around a business table. The event was a perfect recipe for successful networking.”
Rep. Jordan said, “Baton Rouge was represented in a positive light and promoted throughout DC. There is no doubt that the mixer will lead to business opportunities and an infusion of capital for the city; and hopefully, a direct flight from BTR to DC.”
Edwards and Pierson said, “As with most things, the follow-up and ongoing collaboration is critical. We must ensure we build upon the strategies discussed at the most recent event to leverage those relationships established at the mixer for all future initiatives.
Gunn said, “My next steps are to build relationships and to create partnerships with Baton Rouge Airport Authority and Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. It is my desire that my firm becomes a trusted advisor and business partner to these two agencies. I seek to achieve this goal by sharing my life, work and play experiences in the nation’s Capitol with city planners to provide a unique, urban perspective for our growing metropolitan city of Baton Rouge. I also seek to leverage my established business relationships and contacts with private and government sectors to help the Baton Rouge Airport Authority and Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development meet its business and planning goals.”
Rep. Jordan said, “As this was just the first step of many to come, we must continue to cultivate relationships while implementing some of the ideas gained from the conference. We can’t become complacent or lose the focus and energy gained from the conference. Otherwise, it will be lost opportunity. We are better than that. Baton Rouge is better than that. Now let’s prove it to the rest of the country.”
Also in attendance were Baton Rouge Councilmembers Erika Green, LaMont Cole, Chauna Banks, and Donna Collins-Lewis;Metro Washington Airport Authority Vice Chairman Earl Adams, Jr. ; State Reps. Ted James, Rodney Lyons, and Randal Gaines; State Senator Ed Price; Metro Washington Airport Authority Rep. Kristin Clarkson; Federal Aviation Administration Rep. Nick Giles; US Department of Agriculture Rep. Danny Whitley; BREC Commissioner Larry Selders; Makesha Judson with the Mayor President’s Office; Louisana DOTD Chief Legal Counsel Josh Hollins; Former Southern University SGA President Armond Duncan; Perfect 10 Productions CEO T.J. Jackson; and Rise of the Rest Fund Partner David Hall.
By A.G. Duvall IIRead more »
Drum Contributing Writer
Twelve Louisiana residents have been selected by The Drum’s publisher and staff as people to watch in 2018. In this issue, we introduce five: NAACP State President Michael McClanahan, councilwoman Chauna Banks, novelist Lynn Emery, anti-domestic violence activist Twahna Harris, and policy advisor James Gilmore Jr. Ph.D.
Read their individual stories:Read more »
Chauna Banks has lived her entire life in Scotlandville district where she has served seven years as councilwoman. A graduate of Southern University Lab High School and Southern University, she has found her life’s purpose in being a public servant beyond her master’s degree in counseling and full-time job. She has argued for equitable resources for the northern part of Baton Rouge, saying the area “has been systematically subjected to political, economic, cultural or social degradation because its residents are majority Black. It is inflicted with several forms of discrimination: economic, recreation, retail, housing, media and infrastructure.” She moves into the final year of her second term with more recognition in part due to her fights to keep the Baton Rouge Zoo at Greenwood Park in North Baton, to end the contamination of Devil’s Swamp in Alsen, Louisiana, and to have Baton Rouge police
release the 911 recordings on Alton Sterling. She continues to believe that there is a solution to every problem, and “when we work together, everybody wins.”
MEET COUNCILWOMANCHAUNA BANKS, 56
Moves made from 2015 to 2017:
• Tasked the North Ba- ton Rouge Blue Ribbon Com- mission to work toward qual- ity of life assets in the north- ern portion of the parish, such as an emergency room and other healthcare options.
• Organized the Alsen/St. Irma Lee Advisory Board to look at bringing resolve to the years of environmental justice.
• Increased city-parish funding for Jewel J. Newman Community Center building and grounds upgrades.
• Awarded several grants: The KaBOOM! In the amount of $15,000 towards a “Community Playground Build” Project, an annual ExxonMo- bil Grant of $2500, and just recently, the Capital Area United Way grant for $30,000 to operate the JJNCC TeenWorkPrepBR, $25,000 BRAF Flood Relief Grant to renovate JJNCC computer room.
• Supplement revenues via an annual JJNCC Capital Campaign: Masquerade Ball, Back-to- School Rally, and Annual Senior Appreciation Luncheon.
• This fall we added a GED Adult Education Program to offerings.
What to expect in 2018 from you:
• Maintaining the Baton Rouge Zoo at its current Thomas Road location and expanding the concept of “The Zoo at Greenwood Park” with sig- nificant upgrades.
• Advocating for a middle class housing sub- division for young professionals with growing families.
• Reducing the time for rehire of city-parish workers with a positive marijuana read from three years to one year.
• My long-range goal is to have a performing arts theatre built in District 2.
Personal resolution: My personal res- olution is to be dedicated to God by doing my best to exercise kingdom principles in earthly affairs.
Life/business motto: Work smarter, not harder. Business resolu- tion: My business resolution is to maintain and promote a high standard of professional ethics and practice impartial- ity, fairness, and an equitable discharge of services without bias.
What is your #1 priority right now? Maintaining the Baton Rouge Zoo at its current Thomas Road location and expand- ing the concept of “The Zoo at Greenwood Park” with significant recreational upgrades.
Best advice you have ever received: Rules without relationships bring on rebellion.
Role models: Both my grandmothers, my mother, and my aunts.
What has been a deciding moment or an experience that pushed you forward? Rearing a male child as a single female parent propelled me to be a very responsible and involved parent.
What music are you listening/dancing to? Contemporary Gospel is what I listen to daily, but I also like ‘70s R&B.
What are you reading? HOLY BIBLE
What’s entertaining you? CBS shows
Social media: Facebook/CouncilwomanChauna Banks
adminBusinessman W.T. Winfield of WTAA Engineers in Baton Rouge spent the past week visiting with longstanding friends in the public servant sector, including council members LaMont Cole, Donna Collins Lewis, Tara Wicker, and Chauna Banks. “Since I do not have an opportunity to get out too often it was really great to get caught up on what is going on or coming up in our beloved city,” Winfield said.Read more »