Born August 27, 1975 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Sidney Donecio Torres, IV graduated from prep school in Connecticut. After graduation, he enrolled at LSU and left after one year. He was hired as a personal assistant to rock star Lenny Kravitz, a three-time Grammy winner whom Sidney met when he was in high school. Sidney and Lenny remain good friends today. Lenny says “Sidney is an extremely hardworking young man. I’ve watched him visualize his goals and achieve them in an incredibly short amount of time. He’s become quite a businessman, yet he is by no means stiff. Sidney is a guy with a great sense of style.”
When he was 20 years old, Sidney’s grandmother co-signed a $100,000 loan which allowed him to begin renovating Shotgun houses in New Orleans. Sidney loved renovating houses, but more than anything he loved putting the deals together – a complicated process when you are dealing with historic properties. Sidney does everything from the overall design right down to supervising the construction. After renovating a building he would refinance it and buy another one. He quickly became known as an entrepreneur who cared about his clients and made sure they were happy with their investment.
Sidney began renovating historic buildings into elegant, small hotels offering guests the quintessential charm and easy-going style synonymous with New Orleans. Sidney has successfully purchased and renovated many properties into condominiums. He manages 25 limited liability corporations and over 150 employees. He owns and operates three of the finest boutique hotels in New Orleans.
Sidney developed over $70 million in commercial and residential real estate throughout the New Orleans metro area in the last 10 years. His most recent project prior to Hurricane Katrina was the development of a vacant lot into a luxurious 24 unit condominium. This development is known as the Los Islenos Condominium Association, located at 1029 Esplanade Avenue. This project required approval from the city’s two agencies formed to protect historical neighborhoods. It took Sidney only one year to complete the project from the ground up. Sidney also received approval to develop a 70-unit condominium building in the Historic District of the Fabourg Marigny. This was a very challenging project which seemed impossible to get approval for. Sidney welcomed the challenge and not only got the project approved but pre-sold all of the units.
Shortly afterwards, in August 2005 the world watched in horror as New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
That 70-unit condo project was to begin on the same Monday that the city flooded. Sidney, his employees, and sub-contractors had few options. Sidney came up with a plan to redirect his efforts and put his employees back to work. From a hotel room in Florida, he purchased the necessary equipment to get his hotels back up and running. By September, the Melrose Mansion, Rivers Inn, and Hotel Royal were housing U.S. government special agents, employees from several local Sheriff’s offices, and United States Marshals. Sidney is a problem solver.
In the aftermath of Katrina, when governmental agencies needed housing for their workers, Sidney used his personnel to build mobile trailer home parks for the St. Bernard Sheriff’s office and several other governmental agencies working in New Orleans. Post-Katrina, residents and businesses in New Orleans were in desperate need of waste and debris services. The City of New Orleans’ own contractor left town. Eyeing this opportunity, Sidney purchased roll off containers and necessary equipment to haul off trash and debris and established SDT Waste and Debris Services, LLC.
Sidney Torres, IV is personally involved in all of his companies. It was not unusual for Sidney to get behind of the wheel of a huge garbage truck. During Mardi Gras, he personally led his workforce through the cleanup until the early morning hours, even driving equipment himself. He introduced innovative strategies to keep the Quarter clean – from investing in highly efficient sidewalk sweepers to adding lemon scents to the water that flushes the streets every day. SDT Waste and Debris Services, LLC was a phenomenal success, and IESI, a publicly traded company, made an offer for SDT Waste and Debris. Sidney ultimately accepted the offer, and SDT Waste and Debris is now a Progressive Waste company. Sidney is now turning his skills and talent to help Louisiana businesses through IV Capital.
His hard work turned heads. Sidney was featured in the Wall Street Journal and CNBC’s “American Dream.” He was appointed a “Fleur de Lis Ambassador” by the City of New Orleans to help promote the Big Easy around the country. The French Quarter Business Association named SDT Grand Marshall of a parade during Mardi Gras. He was also honored as a 2007 “Hero” by the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau for his success which has so benefited our City. Both the Young Leadership Council and Junior Achievement of New Orleans recognized Sidney as a 2007 “Role Model” and he received a “Changing Faces” award from Ebonetworks for his efforts to bring positive change to the city. New Orleans CityBusiness named Sidney one of its 2007 Innovators of the Year. In April, 2007, the New Orleans City Council passed a resolution commending Sidney for his success in cleaning up the French Quarter. He is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Gulf Coast Area 2011 finalist.
Sidney has a passion for helping kids. He donated dozens of guitars to the St. Bernard Parish Public School System for a guitar lab as part of an ongoing commitment to encourage music education in schools. He also provided students in Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes with over 3,000 tickets to the opening game of the New Orleans Hornets basketball’s 2007-2008 season.
Sidney worked hard to help New Orleans get back on her feet after Hurricane Katrina. He was honored to accept a concurrent resolution passed by the Louisiana House of Representatives. The resolution was authored by Representatives Juan Lafonta, Reed Henderson, Nita R. Hutter and Walt Leger and commended SDT and Torres on their “success in cleaning up New Orleans and helping to restore the image and reputation of the city as a tourist destination.”
Sidney is also proud to be a member of the Board of Governors for Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans. Junior Achievement empowers young people to own their economic success. Their volunteer-delivered, K-12 programs foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire kids to dream big and reach their potential. Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans, Inc. impacts more than 22,400 students annually in 12 parishes in Southeast Louisiana in classrooms, afterschool programs and summer enrichment camps with the help of more than 1,000 volunteers.