Joe runs a BIG ONE

A few months ago a study came out concluding that LSU athletics had an economic impact of $397.5 million on the four-parish Baton Rouge metro area in 2012. The study was funded by the Tiger Athletic Foundation (TAF), a private nonprofit organization that supports LSU and its athletics program. The metro area is composed of East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Livingston and Ascension parishes.

LSU athletics’ largest economic impact was in the arts, entertainment and recreation categories, coming in at nearly $160 million. Food services and drinking establishments had nearly a $32 million impact on Baton Rouge metro, while real estate and rental and leasing firms had about a $30 million impact.

In addition, there was a $24 million economic impact in transportation and warehousing industries, followed by a $20.5 million impact for finance and insurance firms. The nearly $400 million LSU athletic operations and fan spending generated in 2012 created $119.7 million in household earnings for residents living in the Baton Rouge metro area. Those household earnings represented 3,948 full-time jobs.

The study also reported that the LSU Athletics Department and TAF have spent more $393 million on construction projects since 2002.

In case you weren’t aware, the LSU Athletic Department has an annual budget of more than $100 million. That’s a major corporation, and it is self-sustaining, taking no state tax dollars. The man in charge of its success or its failure is Athletic Director Joe Alleva.

It’s ironic, but in many ways Alleva takes a backseat to Les Miles, the players and lots of the other regalia surrounding Tiger football. He’s the guy behind the guy. Who is he? What’s his personality like and how does that affect the university’s wildly successful sports programs? 225 contributor Lee Feinswog set out to answer these questions and more with this month’s cover story. Feinswog kicked back at Alleva’s house, he met him at the gym for a workout, he spoke to him by phone between meetings and games and events. The result is the true story of the CEO of LSU sports, unlike anyone has ever told, and it all begins here.

One of the biggest challenges facing our community, and one that we often elect not to talk about, is homelessness.

The homeless population includes people from all walks of life:

In the U.S., more than 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year.
35% of the homeless population are families with children.
23% are U.S. military veterans.
25% are children under 18.
30% have experienced domestic violence.
20-25% suffer from mentalillness.

In urban communities, people experience homelessness for an average of eight months. The fact is, people become homeless for a variety of reasons. Most of the time we pass them on the street, see them at the interstate off-ramp or even offer them some food or spare change on occasion, but how often do we consider what their lives and struggles are really like?

One local minister has devoted himself to finding this out, to talking to them about Jesus and helping feed and train Baton Rouge’s homeless for a brighter future.

Pastor Joseph Moore and several partners operate Open Air Ministries. Editor Jeff Roedel spent time with Moore to find out what drives him and how he’s making an impact on the lives that so many others have forgotten. Read about Moore.

We are in the final stretch of summer and it seems like it all flew by too fast. For many of us, the cycle of the school year is about to crank up once again. But it’s not too late for one last adventure before the fall arrives. And if you just look around, you’ll realize you don’t have to venture too far to have a great little escape from your daily routine. Find five fun ideas for daytrips, all of them easily accessible from the Red Stick. After all, a little extra fun and relaxation never hurt anyone.

There’s no buzz in Baton Rouge like the one that builds up leading to the beginning of a new LSU football season. The new season is almost here, and to celebrate, 225 has produced another great edition of Tiger Pride. Filled with tailgating food and drinks, game-day style, player profiles, behind-the-scenes looks and more, this year’s edition is our way of prepping you and rallying your spirits for what is sure to be another exciting year in Death Valley. Geaux Tigers!