Blunt named vice managing partner for Phelps, new hires at Baker Donelson | Business


Baton Rouge

Dennis Blunt, a partner in the Phelps’s litigation group, has been named vice managing partner for the Baton Rouge office.

Blunt will lead initiatives that expand the firm’s relationships with policymakers, industry leaders, nonprofits and other community influencers.

Blunt has a history of directing projects and working with community partners to revitalize the Baton Rouge area. He serves in leadership roles with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, Capital Area Finance Authority and 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge.

New Orleans

Margaux T. Dastugue and Ryan B. Gonzales have joined Baker Donelson as associates in the New Orleans office.

Dastugue focuses her practice in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, business planning, corporate governance and general business and corporate matters. Prior to joining Baker Donelson, she practiced in Washington, D.C., and London at an international law firm headquartered in London.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School.

Gonzales focuses his practice in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, finance, tax, corporate contracts and governance. Prior to joining Baker Donelson, Ryan worked as in-house counsel at a Fortune 500 integrated energy company. He previously served as a law clerk at the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance and as a senior tax associate in the New York office of Ernst & Young.

He graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree and Master of Accounting degree from Tulane University. He earned his law degree from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and a master of laws in taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.

Cecilia Sanchez has been named chief scientific officer and vice president for research and development at Obatala Sciences.

Sanchez earned her doctorate in Strasbourg, France, working in the laboratory of Pierre Chambon, an international leader in transcriptional biology. She then moved to Tulane University in New Orleans for post-doctoral fellowships,

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Sanchez later joined the Tulane Department of Medicine’s Pulmonary Division.

Obatala Sciences is a New Orleans biotech firm with the goal of advancing tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.


Korey Patty has been named regional economic competitiveness officer for The New Orleans BioInnovation Center.

Patty will coordinate resources and facilitate collaboration within south Louisiana’s life sciences industry in conjunction with the Gulf Coast Health Sciences Corridor.

Prior to joining the center, Patty served as the executive director of Feeding Louisiana, the state association of Louisiana’s five Feeding America food banks. His experience also includes business and economic development for the state of Louisiana, as well as management, public policy and advocacy across a variety of industries.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Tulsa and a master’s degree in business from LSU.

The New Orleans BioInnovation Center is a private, nonprofit business incubator, supporting entrepreneurship and dedicated to the development of bioscience innovation throughout Louisiana.


Inman J. Houston has been named CEO of Baptist Community Ministries, a faith-based Christian foundation serving greater New Orleans.

Houston is the first ordained minster to lead the foundation. He has been senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia, since early 2008.

Previously, Houston served for five years with First Baptist Church in New Orleans, concluding as associate pastor of global impact and director of the Baptist Crossroads Project. Among other roles, he coordinated the response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which utilized nearly 10,000 volunteers to assist over 800 homeowners, and he helped start the home rebuilding effort of what is now referred to as Musicians’ Village.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Following graduation, he undertook a nine-month internship with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He later earned a Master of Divinity degree in Christian thought and a master’s degree in theology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

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