As a construction professional whose company builds major structures all over the country, Baton Rouge businessman Art Favre strives to make a profound impact in Louisiana with his philanthropy. He supports Our Lady of the Lake’s freestanding children’s hospital because it will improve the quality of life not only for his family and those of his employees at Performance Contractors, but all of Louisiana. “This new children’s hospital should be a major game changer for the region,” Favre said.
Favre co-founded Performance Contractors in 1979. Today, the company employs more than 8,000 people.
“I try to make giving about creating a better culture and lifestyle in the region,” Favre said.
Favre is the latest high-profile donor, bringing donations to $44 million toward the initial philanthropy goal of $50 million. As well as a business owner who employs thousands of people — many of them with young children — Favre is a grandparent who wants world-class care available to kids without having to travel out of state to get it.
“It’s not just about my grandkids; it’s about a lot of my employees’ kids and grandkids,” he said.
“I’ve been very fortunate in life because I’ve enjoyed good health, and I got a great education at LSU and have been able to utilize what I learned there to develop a company and a career that’s allowed other people to have success as well,” Favre said.
He explained that in the 1990s, his growing company was struggling to persuade major industrial customers it could perform large-scale projects. But after they built stylish new offices stepping up to larger and far-away projects suddenly got easier.
“It was amazing. When we built this building it was like a light bulb went off in their heads.
"We didn’t do anything to make our company bigger; we simply built a very permanent structure that said, ‘we’re here for the long term. We’ve invested heavily in our future.'”
Work started coming in from all over the country, including from major companies with Louisiana facilities who’d previously assumed Performance Contractors was merely a local company.
“I see the same thing happening for the freestanding children’s hospital,” Favre said. “This building’s going to be a flashing neon sign to the community that we have a state-of-the-art, first-class children’s hospital here in Baton Rouge,” he said. “It’s going to give Our Lady of the Lake an enhanced ability to go out and hire the best talent from around the country, perhaps the world. That will allow them to amass more and more expertise as a region-wide hospital destination.”
James W. Moore Jr. and his wife Lynn Moore of Monroe also have pledged their generous support to the project. James Moore is chairman of the board of trustees of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, of which Our Lady of the Lake is part. The Moores are enthusiastic supporters and advocates for the children’s hospital.
“Look at all the health issues our Louisiana children have, and there’s nothing like this new facility anywhere in Louisiana,” said Lynn Moore. “It’ll be state-of-the-art. They’re assembling a world-class team of doctors there. What could be better?”
Her husband agreed. “This is something that will benefit the whole state, and particularly north Louisiana,” James Moore said. “Parents in our area often have to go out of state for care — Little Rock or Memphis, at least that’s what they think,” he said. “I just think once the new hospital opens up it will be the go-to place. This is something the entire state needs.”
The fact Art Favre has pledged $1 million reaffirms the value of supporting the effort, especially among other business leaders, Moore said. He added, “Someone like
Mr. Favre, with the reputation and stature he has in the community, when somebody like him steps up and makes a commitment like this it says to other business people this is worthy, this is a good way to express your generosity in Louisiana. And it speaks volumes about Mr. Favre.”
He continued, “I think most businessmen in general get busy everyday doing their thing; you can’t be successful if you’re not 100 percent committed to your business. In the day-today trenches making it happen and driving your business, you tend not to think about the soft things that are important to your employees, your family and your grandkids. But this children’s hospital fits the mold that everybody can get behind because it will improve the quality of life in Baton Rouge [and the state of Louisiana] for their own families, their larger business family, and all the children of those families.”