Business License in NOLA

This is a bit of a rant about my attempts to become a business owner in New Orleans. Please excuse the grammer and such it is a bit of a run on. I am placing it under the cut to keep down on the clutter.

I spent all day Wednesday in and around City Hall as well trying to get a business license and register my business name. First the sign inside city hall is still pre Katrina meaning all the office numbers are wrong. That would have been nice to know before I went all over looking for an office that does not exist. I finally got directions only to cross Poydras (big busy street) end up in the wrong building and have to cross Poydras again. This put me at the Chamber of Commerce, a nice bunch of people but not at all who I was looking for. They gave me a load of pamphlets and sent me back to city hall this time to a different room number. Once there I filled out an informational paper and was sent to the 7th floor where I waited and watched Days of Our Lives. When called upon I went through the big heavy door obviously intended at one point to keep large tough men safely on the other side but now has been demoted to holding back the dreams of about three dozen middle aged and over the hill desk jockeys. I was again asked to sit and wait. After a few minutes passed I was called upon by a particularly round but relatively perky jockey who immediately informed me that she was new and would probably have to run off a lot to ask questions of her supervisor. Here I was able to receive a business license. Although my business license shows that my house still belongs to the previous owner they are backlogged about one and a half years and I don’t want to wait that long to get my license so I took it as is and just hope what the woman told me about “If they look it up in the computer it will have your name” is correct. I was then sent to the 4th floor where I waited 2 hours to talk to a tax assessor who didn’t really need to talk to me but hey I got my homestead exemption while I was there so it isn’t all bad. Business license in hand I took the advise of the Chamber of Commerce and walked to the Justice Center to register my business name with the Clerk of Courts. Unfortunately all they had to say is “we don’t do that” then without explanation sent me back across Poydras to where I had gone earlier in the day. At the information desk my inquiries were met with “I’m not sure try the 10th or 11th floor.” So I picked 10th and then picked a random office. The lady behind the desk said she thought I was in the right place but that EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the office was at a retreat and oh by the way she was a temp. so I packed it in for the day. Today however I decided to try my luck again and went back to the 10th floor. As I entered the door I saw a different secretary and immediately felt as though things were looking up unfortunately my hopes were quickly dashed when she told me that in fact they had nothing to do with that and sent me back across Poydras to city hall. When I arrived at the office number she gave me I realized it was exactly where I had been Wednesday when I filled out the informational paper. I laid out my plight to the cute girl behind the desk and she was good enough to get someone over there that knew what she was talking about to talk to me. I was informed that there is no way to register a business name in the city of New Orleans or the Parish of Orleans I should try the state but even then she thinks I might just have to go straight to trademark. Although this still seems a little unbelievable I am thinking of taking her advise since a trademark will work everywhere. I am still trying to get some assistance from the SBA but with the way things are going I am not going to hold my breath. Also, not one time in the whole process did anyone ask me for any type of identification. Not a Driver’s License, not a proof of address, proof of doing business, nothing at all. They took whatever I wrote on those papers at total fact, I find that very interesting.

3 Comments so far

  1. Laureen (unregistered) on January 25th, 2008 @ 11:26 pm

    Try this link regarding filing your business name with the state. It’s from the Sec. of State’s website. Best I can tell, you probably need form 309 but you can poke around and see for yourself what is available.

    There is a $50 filing fee which holds your name. You might try this link first, to see if your name has been taken. It’s useful in other respects to see who owns what as well.

    I know you have a lot of Perdido/Poydras ping pong ahead of you in this endeavor. You probably have already done a lot of online research on it, but there are some organizations around which offer checklists, such as this one.

    Perhaps you have seen this? From what I understand, if you register with the state and then do nothing with it, it simply expires, so besides the fee, there is little risk in securing your company name.

    I have noticed the Sec of State stuff has changed recently. Of course, it looks like more trips to the notary and stuff like that. Best of luck.

  2. Rayna (unregistered) on January 26th, 2008 @ 11:51 am

    thank you. I think the first link is the exact form I need. Mon or Tues I am going to try to find the Register of Conveyances to actually file it, We’ll see

  3. Ann (unregistered) on January 26th, 2008 @ 1:39 pm

    What business are you starting? Anything cool I can order online? ;-)

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