LOUISIANA

Forbes - - LEADERBOARD -

POP­U­LA­TION:

4.7 MIL­LION

2017 GROSS STATE PROD­UCT:

$246.3 BIL­LION (–0.2% GROWTH) GSP PER CAPITA:

$52,571

(RANKS NO. 31 NA­TION­WIDE) NUM­BER OF BIL­LION­AIRES: 1 RICH­EST:

GAYLE BENSON

$2.7 BIL­LION

FOR NEARLY A CEN­TURY, Dixie Beer was brewed in New Or­leans, its light lager a main­stay in Cres­cent City bars. But Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina forced the brew­ery to move its op­er­a­tions to Wis­con­sin and Ten­nessee, and the beer started fad­ing from promi­nence on Big Easy taps. Dixie’s res­ur­rec­tion is un­der way, though, af­ter Gayle Benson, 71, pur­chased the brand last year with her hus­band, Tom—who died this March—and an­nounced plans to bring it back to New Or­leans and set up shop in an 80,000-square­foot brew­ery. Benson in­tends to spend a re­ported $30 mil­lion to $40 mil­lion on Dixie’s re­birth.Benson owns sev­eral other lo­cal in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing the NFL’s New Or­leans Saints and the NBA’s New Or­leans Pel­i­cans. She in­her­ited the teams from her hus­band af­ter a mul­ti­year law­suit pit­ting her against other fam­ily mem­bers. Re­nee, Tom’s daugh­ter from a pre­vi­ous mar­riage, sued her fa­ther in 2015 af­ter he al­tered his suc­ces­sion plans for the two teams. Re­nee and other mem­bers of the clan claimed that Gayle ex­erted “un­due in­flu­ence” on an ail­ing Tom’s de­ci­sion. (That case was dis­missed.) The fam­ily ul­ti­mately reached a con­fi­den­tial set­tle­ment about a year be­fore Tom’s death.

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