When companies started leaving eastern New Orleans–a community where 70% of the residents are African American–Bourgeois decided to do what he could to breathe new life into his hometown.
In 1997, after ending a successful five-year career with Beneficial Management Corp., Bourgeois and his wife, Marlo, opened the doors of Bourgeois & Associates Mortgage L.L.C., one of only three African American-owned mortgage-lending companies in Louisiana.
Today, the nine-employee company operates out of two facilities, providing, on average, $2 million in loans per month. In 2000, business revenues were $375,000, with $600,000 projected for 2001.
Says Bourgeois, a 1990 Dillard University accounting graduate, “Success breeds success.
“I intend to be a catalyst for bringing other businesses back to eastern New Orleans by proving that companies can operate successfully in this area if business is conducted properly.”
There’s no denying Bourgeois is doing something right.
Virgil Robinson Jr., president and chief executive officer of Dryades Savings Bank, decided to take a chance on Bourgeois by providing the funds necessary to help him increase his business. “Early on, Wardell’s vision, tenacity, and business acumen impressed me. He’s made a tremendous impact on providing mortgage lending opportunities to the entire city, but in particular to residents in eastern New Orleans,” Robinson said.
Bourgeois is providing not only lending opportunities to the city, but other possibilities as well. Earlier this year, he opened Finale Fitness Center, and a Smoothie King nutritional juice bar. Another Smoothie King and Finale’s Coffee shop are currently under construction. Bourgeois’ newest endeavors are all reminders of his commitment to taking better care of himself–a commitment he wants to pass on to the community.