WOW: Working on the Water Workshop Tuesday, July 28 In Belle Chasse

WOW, Working on the Water, St. Bernard, St. Bernard Economic Development

St. Bernard Parish, LA (July 22, 2015) — The St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation (SBEDF) will be hosting a free workshop entitled Reeling ‘Em In: Successful Branding and Marketing for Your Coastal Business on Tuesday, July 28 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Belle Chasse Auditorium.

Erik D. Waters, a business consultant at the Louisiana Small Business Development Center, will present marketing techniques for small businesses. His presentation will cover:

  • The importance of branding
  • How to influence, win, and keep customers
  • How social media can drive website traffic and sales

Reeling ‘Em In is the second in the 2015 Working on the Water (WOW) event series, which provides resources to commercial fishing, coastal restoration, eco-tourism, and disaster response businesses in St. Bernard Parish and other communities in southeast Louisiana.

“Working on Water events offer information and assistance to help people start new businesses and grow established ones,” said Andrew Jacques, SBDEF’s executive director. “Tuesday’s free workshop will provide tools for fishermen and other coastal businesses to connect with customers and increase revenues.”

Reeling ‘Em In is taking place on the heels of the highly-successful workshop Casting a Wide Net: Hands-On Assistance with State and Federal Grants, which took place in May. There, experts shared information on grant opportunities with more than 65 people. 

Additional upcoming WOW events include: “Finding New Pearls in the Oyster Bed: Cultivating Additional Business” on September 22 and “Avoiding Traps in the Water: Navigating Laws and Regulations for Your Coastal Business” on November 10. The second annual WOW Summit will be held on March 22, 2016. More information on these events and other WOW programs can be found at or by calling (504) 569-9239 Ex. 24. 

Working on Water is made possible through a partnership with the Regional Planning Commission (RPC), which has allowed SBEDF to expand the initiative and offer programming throughout the year. Tuesday’s worship is being held in Belle Chasse in an effort to reach more people.

In addition to SBEDF and RPC, WOW activities are guided by an advisory committee with representatives from Nunez Community College, the Meraux Foundation, St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Small Business Development Center, TruFund, Leadership St. Bernard, LiftFund, St. Bernard Parish Office of Tourism, GNO, Inc., and National Wildlife Federation’s Vanishing Paradise Program. 

About Working on the Water

WOW was conceived following the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill. With coastal communities unsure of their economic and business futures, the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation proactively commissioned a study to research economic and job opportunities for those whose livelihoods were impacted by the oil spill. That study resulted in three key recommendations and an action plan for economic development and government partners in affected areas in Southeast Louisiana. They were: to create more value and increase profitability to current fisheries' activities by developing a working waterfront with an open, online marketplace; develop a workforce for coastal restoration projects based upon the skills, resources, and assets of those already familiar with and working on the water; and build a new economic sector in eco-tourism to allow those who are interested or already working on the water to generate additional income in their down time with the skills, assets, and resources they already have at hand.

The first WOW Summit was held in October 2014 to inform those who work on the water on how they can use their unique skills to explore new work opportunities in three key areas: coastal restoration, disaster recovery, and ecotourism. In 2015, WOW expanded to include a series of workshops held throughout the year.

About St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation

St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2005 to promote economic development and commercial growth of St. Bernard Parish and to lead the initiation of partnering organizations seeking to improve the quality of life for St. Bernard Parish citizens. To achieve this mission, SBEDF primarily engages in business attraction, retention, and expansion. Additionally, workforce development and policy development are pursued as key initiatives to drive economic development activities. The Board of Directors consists of 28 voting members and 8 non-voting honorary members and public officials, all of which serve as volunteers to the organization.

About the Regional Planning Commission

The RPC is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) locally designated Economic Development District and is utilizing a portion of available EDA funds for Working on the Water.  

About the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation

The Meraux Foundation is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established by Arlene Meraux to benefit the community of St. Bernard Parish by leveraging its landholdings. Today, the Foundation’s board of directors is presided over by Arlene’s niece, Rita Gue, and consists of members Floyd Gue, Bill Haines, Chris Haines, and Sidney Torres, III. Guided by Arlene’s vision, the Board is implementing an innovative strategy to create lasting change and build a better St. Bernard. The Meraux Foundation is a founding sponsor and organizer of Working on Water.