Small Business Workshops – Summer 2007

Looking for small business workshops to attend in the Baton Rouge area? The Louisiana Small Business Development Center may have just the one for you. Here is a list of workshops being offered in Baton Rouge.

Business Boot Camp for Startups-The Basics
Saturday, June 2, 2007
8:00 AM to 2:30 PM
1109 CEBA Building
1200 Nicholson Dr. Ext.
Baton Rouge, LA 70803

“Basics of starting a small businesses, exploring entrepreneurship, researching and analyzing the market, setting financial goals, building the organization and team, local resources and assistance for entrepreneurs, and war stories from entrepreneurs who starting businesses and survived the process to tell about it.”

Patent & Trademark Workshop
Saturday, June 9, 2007
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Louisiana State University
Middleton Library
Dalrymple Dr. and Tower Dr.
Baton Rouge, LA 70803

“Basic information on patent and trademarks, Search techniques, General interest information useful to inventors and researchers, and Patent Attorney will be on hand to answer questions concerning patents and trademarks.”

Additional workshops will be held in New Orleans, Hammond, Lafayette, Lake Charles and Monroe. Click here to view the complete schedule, details, and registration info.

Asian Nation

Asian Nation
Celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month by visiting Asian Nation. This site offers a good concise introduction to Asian culture. The site’s author is Dr. C.N. Le, Director of the Asian and Asian American Certificate Program and Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Dr. Le discusses the history of Asian Americans and contemporary issues in Asian culture today. He refers to his site as “Asian Americans 101.” The site also has a sections for related links, a discussion forum, and message board.

Take time this month to learn about another ingredient in the culture gumbo that is Baton Rouge.


May is “Get Caught Reading Month;” and here at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library we are ready to help you find that next great book. Try using our online database Novelist. Novelist is a database of fiction with access to subjects, reviews, and annotations for over 135,000 titles. In addition Novelist provides reading group guides, read- a- like recommendations, author biographies and book talks.

Novelist is updated monthly from sources such as Booklist, Kirks, School Library Journal, Library Journal and Publishers Weekly. Over 9,000 titles are added to Novelist annually, including descriptions when available.

You can browse through your favorite genres, or search for a specific title or author. If you enjoyed a particular book, look up other similar books. Novelist offers titles for adults, young adults, and children.

Find that next great read with Novelist (accessible through our Online Databases).

Business Person of the Month:Martha Breckenridge

Martha Breckenridge


Bugs Away: The Outdoor Misting Insect Control System, LLC


Martha Breckenridge

“Live by principle and treat others how you’d like to be treated”  —Author Unknown

BugsAway offers home, camp and business owners a system to provide relief from mosquitoes and many other annoying pests, which allows them to enjoy their outdoor spaces. “Once this insect control system is installed around the perimeter of the chosen sites and begins misting our water-based insecticide, clients are able to reclaim their outdoor surroundings.”

Breckenridge heard about this system in May 2005 but didn’t start looking into it for her own personal use until February 2006. “I heard about this system, investigated it and took a leap of faith.” She formed her own company, BugsAway, The Outdoor Misting Insect Control System, LLC., in May 2006. Breckenridge feels that mosquitoes are a real problem especially for the Southern states of our nation. Our home state of Louisiana breeds mosquitoes like no other because of its warm and moist climate. We are now experiencing several new breeds of mosquitoes; some that are even resistant to cold weather. What was once a seasonal mosquito problem is rapidly becoming a year round problem.

Breckenridge was a stay-at-home mom for about sixteen years. When she returned to the workforce her first job was working for a local fine jewelry retailer. Before now, she has never worked an outdoors job. “I like working in the quiet outdoors and offering a product which really works to improve the quality of life for those who enjoy the outdoors.” Breckenridge is involved in every phase of the business. She manages the business and does whatever is necessary to get the system installed right. “I am even capable of installing and maintaining the system myself if my workers need a helping hand.”

Breckenridge is a gardener. In her spare time, she likes to do yard work and work on her house. Her favorite magazines include Louisiana Home and Garden and Southern Living. Books about gardening and interior design interest her, but she also likes to read spiritual books, self-help, biographies, mysteries, business and finance books and even the occasional John Grisham. She enjoys sports, cookouts, super bargain shopping, and most of all spending time with her three children and her recently born grandson.

A native of Baton Rouge, she would like to see our city progress to a point where both citizens and tourists can see how our tax dollars are spent. Our public servants should be well-paid and more of a presence in town. We need great public schools, parks and libraries, and clean and maintained surroundings. Breckenridge is in favor of severe littering penalties. “I see our city of Baton Rouge rapidly changing, and it would be nice to see people change their old bad habits of littering. A cleaner Baton Rouge would be more inviting and prettier and might become an example for other cities to follow.”

Breckenridge believes libraries are essential to our personal growth which in turn benefits our community. Our fine library system should continue to improve services and build on its successes. “I’m close friends with a couple of librarians and they are awesome.” Librarians, with their personal knowledge about many subjects, can direct us in our reading. “We must always have an open mind ready to learn something new, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem.”

The personal quote Breckenridge chose for the beginning of this profile is a compilation. “I heard a famous leader mention he worked by principle and it stuck with me.” The second half of the quote is a variation of the Golden Rule, which she learned at church as a child. Breckenridge says the two together just make good sense as a rule for living, and she tries to apply them in her personal life and her business.

Business Person of the Month Archive


New Business Titles

April 15 – 21 is National Library Week, time to roundup and list the latest small business titles in our collection.

Titles listed above are linked to the Library’s online catalog so you can see title locations and status. Once you’re in the catalog, click on the picture of the book cover for a synopsis and other information.

Looking at Jazz – National Website

Looking at Jazz – National Website

Jazz is America’s indigenous music — born in New Orleans, developed in American cities, and exported throughout the world.

This website, provides not only an outline for our six month series on jazz, but through film clips and narration, provides a great overview of jazz history and the influence of jazz on our American culture.

Baton Rouge All That’s Jazz

Baton Rouge:  All That’s Jazz

Baton Rouge: All That’s Jazz  is our new 6 month series on the history of jazz and jazz in Baton Rouge.  This exciting series will provide monthly jazz documentary films and discussions, live jazz performances and DJ’d listening sessions. We will have two scholars well versed in jazz history to lead the film viewing and discussions. Our live performances will feature traditional jazz, big band, bebop and latin jazz forms. Local musicians, music writers and jazz radio personalities will share the jazz recordings that most influenced them in our listening sessions, “My Favorite” Things.”

Join us for all these great programs and support America’s music — Jazz!

National Women’s History Month

Celebrate National Women’s History Month by visiting the Literary Reference Center to research your favorite women historians, thinkers, poets, and writers.  Literary Reference Center is an intuitively designed research database with hundreds of reference works, periodicals, and scholarly journals as well as thousands of literary works and information on authors. More than just articles, Literacy Reference Center delivers the following:

  • Literary Criticism

  • Masterplots

  • Reviews

  • Interviews

  • Reference Books

  • Poems and Stories

You’ll be able to quickly sort its impressive breadth of content, as its search results are organized under tabs by resource type (e.g., Biographies, Reviews, Poems/Stories) and can be sorted by Relevance, Title, Date, Source, or Author. You’ll be amazed at just how easy it is to find information! For this month’s search hint, we’ll explore the life and contributions of bell hooks—who spells her name without capitals—a prolific feminist writer and one of America’s leading intellectual figures.

    • Click “Online Databases” on the left navigation menu of our home page.

    • Click “Enter” (remote users will be asked to enter library card number).

    • From the Statewide Databases list, click “EBSCO“; select Literary Reference Center.

    • On the Literary Reference Center home page, type the search term “hooks, bell” then click search.

    • Notice that results are organized under tabs, with the default tab “All Results” showing a total of 79.

    • Click the “Biographies” tab to display biographical essays about bell hooks; note that results include an author biography, while others are book reviews, a book analysis or perhaps even in the form of an interview.

    • If you are strictly interested in reading interviews with bell hooks; click the “Interviews” tab.  Click either HTML Full Text or PDF to read.

    • HINT:  Curious about the visual search function?  Visual Search allows you to search efficiently across broad subjects, and then returns a visual map of results, organized by topic.  Click Visual Search, then click Take Our Tour on the visual search page to learn the basics of how its done!

Business Person of the Month:Tara Askins

Tara Askins

Real Estate Consultant

Keller Williams Realty/ Red Stick Plus




Tara Askins - Real Estate Consultant

“If you’re failing to plan, you’re planning to fail.”  —Author Unknown

Red Stick Plus is a local affiliate of Keller Williams Realty, a full service international real estate company; each office is independently owned and operated. After researching other companies, Tara Askins chose Keller Williams because of the “Awesome training the company offers…for new agents and experienced agents, the training is like no other company’s.” She feels the core values and business ethics the company demands of its agents and affiliates have made Keller Williams one of the most respected real estate companies in the nation. “The home buying process is one of the major purchases in a person’s life. To help my clients make the right decision for them is a wonderful experience which connects me with them forever,” Askins said.

Askins started a career in banking in 1989 and worked in the banking industry until her switch to real estate. She got her start in real estate first as an investor. “My husband and I started buying investment property because we wanted some residual income.” Their own foray into the real estate world opened their eyes to a need to help others for foreclosure situations. They started a company called 4Closure Solutions, LLC which is still going strong. “When Katrina hit, the foreclosures slowed down, but now more and more people are losing their home to foreclosure.”

Born and raised in St Francisville, Askins has lived in Zachary since her marriage to Maurice in 1993. She continued working full time even after their two children were born. When asked how she managed to juggle the responsibilities of family and career, Askins said, “With a husband who’s willing to bathe the kids and wash the dishes.” When her two children started school, she began thinking about working from home or part time.

They were doing so well, so Askins decided to get her real estate license and coaxed her husband into going for it, too. Licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission in 2005 she worked part time at first, but in 2006 it became too much to continue the full time job and work real estate, on top of a husband and two small kids. “I had to make a decision of what to keep and since I liked the husband and the kids I gave up the full time job.” The nine to five job didn’t leave her enough flexibility to devote the time she wanted to family. In real estate she has to take into account the homebuyers’ work schedules. She may have to work sometimes on nights or weekends, but she also can make her own schedule, working it around the kids going to school, field trips, special programs, etc. “I guard the time I set to be with the children. Once you tell them you are going to do something with them you have no choice but to do just that. I try not to work on Sunday afternoons. I take that as family time—a day to worship together and then to rest and get ready for the next week.

The children, now ages ten and six, sometimes have had to accompany their mother to show a house “I tell them they are being trained to be realtors when they grow up.” Her husband still has his full time job, but because he is a licensed agent he can show houses if needed. He mostly helps on his day off or when she has a scheduling conflict with the children. “I call real estate his ‘honey do’ job.” Working with the person you live with has its rewards as well as challenges. Since he is in real estate, he understands how difficult her job can be, i.e., all the things realtors have to coordinate—buyers, sellers, the financing, the closing and sometimes even helping the client move! The main challenge is to keep the work and home separate. Askins said they were talking too much about business and she makes a conscious effort now to turn the real estate off after hours and concentrate on family.

Hurricane Katrina did impact the real estate market in the Baton Rouge area. Finding the right home became a little bit more difficult because of the number of people brought to the area by the evacuation. “Clients had to have all their ducks in a row as far as financing, closing costs, etc. because they might be competing against three or four other buyers.” After Katrina, the housing prices went up but they have stabilized somewhat. Askins thinks the market should hold steady for the next couple of years, especially with the major companies moving into the area and the growth of the Zachary, Central, and adjoining parishes of Livingston and Ascension. She still sees lots of people looking for housing. Buyers can take advantage of Bond Money or First Time Homebuyers Programs, which assist with closing costs and down payment. “Now is always the best time to invest in real estate because statistics show the fastest way to build wealth is through real estate.

Asked to comment on the future of Baton Rouge, Askins said, “I’d like to see Baton Rouge concentrate more on our youth in the form of education and programs that will give them a sense of self and hopefully alleviate some of the crime that Baton Rouge is experiencing among its youth.

This busy working mom has little spare time. She likes playing board games with the kids and going to movies. She also likes to relax with a book by her favorite author, Mary Higgins Clark. “I like her books because they are suspenseful and also they are clean-cut.” She also loves reading inspirational books, business books and anything dealing with family life and kids. She used to belong to an expensive book club, but decided to use the library more. On Sunday afternoons she takes the kids to the library and they come home with armloads of books. “Libraries are a very important part of my life. I love the summer reading program; my kids look forward to it each year.” They visit different libraries around the city and Askins said, “The newer buildings are just beautiful.

For career inspiration she rereads The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller at least once a year. Askins didn’t remember where she first heard her favorite quote (at the top of this profile), but it stuck with her. It’s a popular saying on business and marketing websites. She lives by that creed and credits her success to planning ahead and following through with those plans.

Business Person of the Month Archive

Workplace Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month

Workplace Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month

March 1 – 31 is Workplace Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month, a good time to check the workplace for hazards and obstacles that could cause eye injury.

Need help finding literature on workplace safety?

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has many posters and brochures on safety in the workplace. You can contact the Baton Rouge area office at,

9100 Bluebonnet Centre Blvd, Suite 201
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Phone 225 298-5458

Need more info?

The Wise Owl program is “a safety education program designed to promote the widespread use of approved protective eyewear that meets ANSI Z87 industrial or ASTM sports standards.” Wise Owl is a fee based membership service of Prevent Blindness America.

Wise Owl on the Internet

Workplace Eye Safety

First Aid For Eye Emergencies