Alison Moon / It's New Orleans

The financial markets go up and down. The value of real estate goes up and down. The dollar strengthens and weakens. Financial advisors have a wide range of theories of risk versus diversification that they say can either make you a fortune, or hedge your bets. Through all this noise, there are investor voices who continue to say just two words. “Buy gold.” Is that good advice? Or is that just as risky as anything else?

Alison Moon / It's New Orleans

  According to the reputable Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation, right around twenty percent of the population of the United States is under 15. That’s a sizeable market. You don’t have to look very far to see the marketers of stuff that kids like trying to sell it to them. Mostly food and toys. Which demonstrates that we don’t change all that much as we grow older.

But there are other businesses aimed at kids that aren’t exploitative, and can be a part of a child’s development. Peter Ricchiuti's guests on today’s show are in those kinds of businesses.

The Environmental Protection Agency released new standards on Tuesday for emissions from petroleum refineries.

The EPA says the standards will cut down on CO2 emissions and prevent about 1.4 million people from being exposed to pollutants in the air, like benzene. Regularly breathing such pollutants can cause respiratory problems, increased risk of cancer and other health problems.

Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority /

Entrepreneurs and businesspeople met at the New Orleans business incubator Propeller on Thursday night to learn about how they can help restore the coast.

Chet Overall / It's New Orleans

  In 1814 it was the British who were "runnin' down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico." Today, ships of almost every nationality are steaming down the river to the Gulf. 54 of them belong to International Shipholding. Their fleet of cargo vessels ply international trade from their current headquarters in Mobile, Alabama but they're set to return soon to their original home in New Orleans.

Alison Moon / It's New Orleans

The world of New Orleans education is changing. For elementary, middle, and high schools that change has been so radical that we’ve become global pioneers in charter education.

There’s another education transformation going on that you might be less familiar with. It’s a parallel universe. Of paradoxes. They’re educational entrepreneurial ventures -- that are nonprofit. Organizations that integrate into the education system -- but aren’t a part of it. Two of these intriguing new ventures are here in New Orleans.

Alison Moon / It's New Orleans

  We've all seen this guy or woman on TV, and we’ve all said, "Thank God that’s not me." The person sweating behind a bank of microphones, trying to explain away something bad. What if one day, maybe through no fault of your own, that person is you? Having to explain why things aren’t quite how they look. How do you know what to do? What to say?

Alison Moon / It's New Orleans

  Most businesses grow successful over time as their owners find more efficient ways to make and market specific products. It would seem counter intuitive to open a business based on products that change constantly. And products you can't even imagine, that have to be re-invented up to three and four times a year, based on the season.

That's exactly what the fashion business is. Peter's guests on tis edition of Out to Lunch today have opened fashion houses in New Orleans that make and sell handmade clothes and accessories.

CenturyLink is cutting around 55 jobs from its Louisiana workforce as part of a companywide layoff plan.

Spokesperson Annemarie Sartor did not indicate what positions were part of the reduction.  The telecommunications company employs about 2,500 people at its headquarters in Ouachita Parish.

Earlier this month, CenturyLink announced a reduction of 1,000 jobs companywide.  They employ approximately 44,000 workers around the world.

The layoffs come following disappointing second quarter earnings that were reported in late July.

A New Orleans Business Banks On New Connections

Aug 28, 2015
Noel King and Caitlin Esch

At McMillan's First Steps preschool, there's a big mural painted on the cafeteria wall. A smiling boy is held in the air by a doctor, a pastor and a police officer.

Plus, a guy in a Home Depot uniform.

In another city that might seem weird, but not in a city that is rebuilding. Linda McMillan, who owns First Steps, says the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina destroyed her campus.