The last time I was in New Orleans, it was Mardi Gras. Was it a sleepless series of hoopla and parties for me? Nope—I was 12 and with my grandparents. I remember the atmosphere of the town, but I’m pretty sure I was asleep by 9pm at the latest. Oh but those beignets, mmmm. So in the spirit of all things New Orleans (especially because of the awesome new series on HBO—Treme) today we Shop Local NOLA aka New Orleans.
The Back Porch Shoppe is run by Darline and her husband and guess where their “studio” is? Their backporch. Duh. And Darline is also a certified clogging instructor—I had nooo idea what that was, so I looked it up. Clogging is a folk dance with roots in African American, European, and traditional Cherokee dance. Pretty cool. It’s basically representing the earliest of our ancestors here in the United States. Darline and her husband make each piece in their shop by hand, from cutting the wood, to sanding, and then painting the designs and pattern. Darline has another shop as well. You can find ephemera like hardware, buttons, old bottles, lace, etc. All good stuff when you lie to repurpose or remake things yourself.
My other brush with New Orleans culture was when I planned a wedding for a cute couple from there. The had won a wedding from Martha Stewart Weddings in Puerto Rico. One of the things they wanted to include in the party was a Second Line dance. So of course, we needed umbrellas. And just like Liz, the maker of these umbrellas, we also used them to keep the guests shaded. I love the idea of walking through the streets with one of these fantastic creations. It serves a really important purpose, too, because we all need to stay out of the hot sun as the weather gets warmer. Liz’s work is also available in person, at Lost & Found at 323 Chartres St. in the French Quarter (504) 595-6745.
I have a little girl with unruly hair, so I am always on the hunt for cute hair clips. I wouldn’t describe these clips from Etsy seller FunkyHairClips as cute, they’re way cooler than that. I also love how she explains her story of starting her handmade business, she says that she was an English major, and if history were a band she’d be a groupie. So here designs are a reflection of that love of the old, and she gets inspiration from the streets of New Orleans and the eclectic blend of the old and the new. She says, “my true love is New Orleans–the hot tropic climate, the madness of Mardi Gras, the saturation of color, even the sprawling gothic voodoo creepiness of the “Cities of the Dead”. Give me my aging madness–floods, disasters and all! And that about says it all, don’t you think?