The Downtown Development District (DDD) this week starts a 12-week plan to cure the mid-week doldrums with free concerts at Lafayette Square from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday. The sixth annual Wednesday At The Square concert series kicks off with music by Dirty Dozen Brass Band with special guests James Andrews and Trombone Shorty. Emerging musicians from the mayor's MO Tunes program will provide intermission music each week.
The family-and-pet-friendly concert series, sponsored by Baccardi, Jack Daniels, Ravenswood Winery, Abita, Gambit Weekly, neworleans.com, Whitney Bank and others, will feature beverages and food from local restaurants. Outside food and beverages aren't allowed. There also will be a special area of children's activities, and watering stations for dogs.
Kurt Weigle, executive director of the DDD, says the concert series now draws about 3,000 people a week. "We do it so that everybody is aware of all the great things there are to do downtown after work hours -- the great entertainment, the great food, the great bars," he says.
Entertainers include Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Delbert McClinton (April 13), Marc Broussard (April 20), Marcia Ball (April 27), Jose Conde y Ola Fresca (May 4), Ellen Rogers with Voodoo Funk & Soul (May 11), hipbootjoe (May 18), Sonny Landreth (May 25), Cowboy Mouth (June 1), Michelle Shocked (June 8), Shemekia Copeland (June 15), and Deacon John (June 22).
Exit Enters Louisiana
Giving workers a bigger stake in the success of their company -- and the training and support to make it happen -- promises to be a winning formula for the fledgling Exit Realty Louisiana (401 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 205, Metairie, 628-5442; www.exitrealty.com).
Exit, which opened its first franchise in Louisiana last November, has set up 560 offices employing 13,000 agents nationwide since it was founded in 1999. It's the fastest-growing real estate company in the country, according to Vince Giordano, a broker who owns the Metairie franchise.
"Our real estate concept is really simple," says Tony Viejo, a regional owner who sells franchises in Louisiana (800-789-5644; www.exitlouisiana.com). "We treat our agents as our assets by paying them high commissions, providing them with a realistic retirement plan, additional income streams, and beneficiary options. We also have the industry's best training." Agents initially keep 70 percent of what Exit is paid in a transaction. If they recruit another agent, they earn 10 percent every time that person closes a deal. After retirement, they earn 7 percent of those fees, and when they die their family receives 5 percent of the fees.
- Sonny Landreth plays May 25.