There’s an old saying about how you can never go home again. Which means, actually, that once you’ve moved away from a place and you come home, it’s different than it was when you left. But sometimes, what has changed is for the better and creates new opportunities for those who return. On this edition of Out to Lunch, Stephanie meets two young entrepreneurs who left town but are now back home in Baton Rouge with new companies and concepts that a new Baton Rouge is ready to embrace.

Apps Land in Baton Rouge

Chris Boyd is the founder of Apptitude an IT firm that specializes in app development, app repair, and web development. Chris is young, like I said, but he does have 10 years experience under his belt, which he got during his years as a student at LSU and, then, in Houston, where he worked, first with Continental Airlines and then with high-paced teams at WordPress, Hearst Corporation and Rice University.

In 2012, Chris participated in the NOLAbound project, which encouraged people from key industries to start businesses in New Orleans, and Apptitude was born. In the years since, Chris has grown the firm and expanded into Houston, where he has built apps for the Houston Zoo, Marriott, Lagunitas Beer, and most recently the Virginia Department of Health to help people keep track of their COVID exposures.

The Millennial Behind Millennial Park

Cameron Jackson is a former college athlete who returned to his native Baton Rouge after graduating and is currently working on a plan to transform an undeveloped section of land across from Baton Rouge General Medical Center’s Mid City campus into an outdoor food court. Cameron is calling his development Millennial Park, and he is modeling it after outdoor food courts he has seen in cities like Dallas and Houston, where food trucks are clustered at parks where patrons can sit, eat and socialize.

Millennial Park has a unique twist: inspired by recent travels to Jamaica, Cameron is using re-purposed industrial shipping containers instead of food trucks. A recreational space built from shipping containers has potential in an area that is in dire need of redevelopment and fresh ideas.

Photos from this show by Jill Lafleur here. And here’s some more lunchtime conversation about the benefits of being back home in Baton Rouge.

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