Abstracts from the article (full article linked below):
Jay Labarre doesn’t apologize when he brings a visitor into his office, but warns it’s not what everyone expects.
His office, and the rest of Labarre Associates, at 8385 Rushing Road East, Denham Springs, reflects a new outlook since its grand re-opening on Aug. 11.
“We had the same offices for almost 20 years,” said Labarre, who’s company offers architectural design, construction, strategic planning and facility management services to client-businesses.
Labarre now calls his office the Legacy Room, which boasts two sofas, no desk and glass walls. There’s no awards on the shelves lining one wall but photos of employees and their families.
“There’s a science to design,” Labarre said. “The flood gave us a chance to practice what we preach.”...
To celebrate the re-opening, Labarre invited Father Cleo Milano, former pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Denham Springs, to bless the building.
“Our culture in this office is we respect religion and spirituality,” Labarre said. “We have seven shareholders; we open every senior management meeting with a prayer.”
That was as formal as the re-opening got. Labarre said everyone touched by the company was welcome.
And by everyone, that included all the workers who rehabilitated and repaired the building, with their families.
“We wanted the workers to see the completed facility. They worked on it,” he said....
All 35 employees [affected by the flood] are still with Labarre. Then there’s the fern.
The two-story tall fern in the atrium survived the flood.
When a dehumidifier was brought in to dry the building, an enclosure was built around the fern, with the top open so it could breathe and get moisture while the dehumidifier was sucking moisture out, Labarre said.
The building could be replaced, but the fern was wanted.
“We learned material things were not as important as we thought they were,” Labarre said as he reflected on the past year.
“We learned about collaboration. The flood put us in a different situation … but we still responded. For generosity, and helping each other, we take a backseat to no one.”