Out to Lunch

OUT TO LUNCH finds economist and Tulane finance professor Peter Ricchiuti conducting business New Orleans style: over lunch at Commander's Palace restaurant. Each week Peter invites guests from the New Orleans business renaissance to join him. The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Inc magazine have all named New Orleans the best city in the USA to be an entrepreneur. Out to Lunch is the cafeteria of the new New Orleans entrepreneurial movement. You can also hear the show on WWNO 89.9FM.

Photo by Rick Lineberger

P.J. Palmisano April 28, 2016

In the grand scheme of things, it’s difficult to know at the time which small decision you make might have enormous consequences. Like the time in 1978 when a social worker from Des Moines Iowa decied to open a small coffee shop on Maple Street, in Uptown New Orleans.

Phyllis Jordan

That coffee shop, PJ’s, was to become a coffee empire. And the young social worker behind it, Phyllis Jordan, was to become one of Louisiana’s most successful entrepreneurs - and the pioneer of a new wave of coffee consciousness. 

Phyllis sold PJ’s in 2002, but since then she has been anything but idle. Among other pursuits, Phyllis guided The Green Project for close to a decade. And she’s thrown herself into radio and classical music. Phyllis is Chair of the Executive Council of WWNO and runs the Symphony Book Fair – a vital revenue stream for the Louisiana Philharmonic. She’s also the Louisiana Philharmonic’s volunteer Marketing Manager. 

Wes Palmisano

Twenty eight years before the first PJ’s, in 1950, Warren Palmisano started building houses in New Orleans. Today his grandson, Wes Palmisano, is President of the Palmisano company, a massive operation that builds some of the most high profile commercial buildings in New Orleans and beyond. For example, the Ace Hotel and the Moxy by Marriot Hotel in downtown New Orleans. Trader Joe’s in Metairie. The Commerce Building renovation in downtown Baton Rouge. And many more.

phyllis jordan, wes palmisano

This edition of Out to Lunch is a fascinating view of New Orleans business that looks at the past, present, and future of the city and surrounding economies with unusual insight.

peter ricchiuti

Photos at Commander's Palace by Alison Moon.

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