“Storming” The French Market To Celebrate Bastille Day Festivities, Great Shopping and Grande Fun!

I’m not French. Just a serious wanna be.  With that being said and for the record, “soldes” (means sale en Française) happens to be one of my favorite words, shocking ‘eh?

Keeping all this in mind, 2013 Bastille Day Festivities at The French Market give me a perfect opportunity to exercise my inner Francophile! With so many fun fetes packed into the weekend, I’ve decided to take it all in, both days – just like we New Orleanians are so apt to do.  My plan goes something like this . . .

Pooches on Parade at the Annual French Dog Costume Contest!

Pooches on Parade at the Annual French Dog Costume Contest!

First order of business … pack “un chien”, head to Dutch Alley to enter the French Dog contest at 9AM (most shops open at 10AM so this is PERFECT!) Mister Big Stuff (or as he is known in France, Monsieur Grande) my tiny Chihuahua is no poodle but he loves shopping with me at The French Market.  Perched from his carrier and dressed in his tiny beret he will be channeling his inner French Bulldog on Saturday.

Nola Couture's specialty line of dog collars are tres jolie!

Nola Couture’s specialty line of dog collars are tres jolie!

If your doggie’s costume box is a bit lacking in the French themed costume department, then a quick jog to Nola Couture to pick up a collar featuring a fleur de lis print might just put you in the running for “best dressed!

Nola Couture, 542 St. Peter on Jackson Square

I expect plenty of poodles on parade along with other traditional French breeds and costumes representing the “joie de vive of the day.” It is tres, tres cute dog seeing all the pups and people getting into the spirit. The grand finale is a parade to Washington Artillery Park! Should be quite a site . . .

Papo figurines capture the imagination with medievel knights in the style of Joan of Arc!

Papo figurines capture the imagination with medievel knights in the style of Joan of Arc!

Of course shopping will be on my mind. So after exercising my inner kid in Dutch Alley, I’ll continue on to The Little Toy Shop to check out the wall-to-wall selection of neat toys for young and old. What have already caught my eye are the hundreds (literally) of Papo figures lining the windows and shelves. A division of this company based in France has modernized the collectible toy figurine focusing on the fantasy world of medieval knights and dragons. Very apropos, since I’m gearing up to pay homage to Joan of Arc on Sunday. The myriad of knights on horses looking very much like Joan herself have caught my fancy.  Papo also creates other genres of collectibles like farm animals, pirates and dinosaurs. And Bill and Nickie Gingrow have ensured a full compliment of these neat imagination-stirring toys.  A French poodle or a French bulldog might be just the perfect commemoration for a great morning with my pup!

Papo's French Bulldog figure - c'est magnifique!

Papo’s French Bulldog figure – c’est magnifique!

The Little Toy Shop, 900 Decatur at the Colonnade Shops

OMG, literally! This petite store features religious artifacts both vintage and contemporary. And loads of original art. The ambiance is completely warm. And the staff is incredible as well as knowledgeable. On a recent visit I explained that I was on the hunt for French themed items and before I knew it I was holding a 100-year-old vintage french holy water font. Unbelievable piece. Also on hand, a gorgeous acrylic painting of the landscape surrounding the Joan of Arc statue by local artist Jonathan Passage. Prices? Again, OMG. Incredible.

Vintage french holy water font cir. 1880-1900 at OMG.

Vintage french holy water font cir. 1880-1900 at OMG.

OMG, 912 Decatur Street at the Colonnade Shops

Popping in and out of the stores, I almost popped my shopping cork when I stumbled in Head To Toe and discovered the huge selection of men’s cuff links. What caught my eye were these adorable champagne bottle links, my beverage of choice. Salut! I also found a neat and affordable copper Eiffel Tower shaped cookie cutter. I guess I’ll fire up the oven, open the Cordon Bleu cookbook and start baking some petite gateau!

Champagne bottle cuff links . . . pop your cork for these cuties!

Champagne bottle cuff links . . . pop your cork for these cuties! Available at Head To Toe.

Tour Eiffel Cookie at Head To Toe!

Tour Eiffel Cookie at Head To Toe!

Head To Toe, 816 Decatur Street at The Colonnade Shops

Really? A breadboard inscribed with the directive, “lassez les bon temps rouler.” Definitely going home with me. Not only did I have to have this nola-centric planche du pain, I actually needed it. I’m a bread and cheese fanatic and a nola fanatic. How did they know?

"Lassez Les Bon Temp Rouler" the rallying cry for all good New Orleanians - on this gorgeous hand-crafted breadboard at What's New.

“Lassez Les Bon Temp Rouler” the rallying cry for all good New Orleanians – on this gorgeous hand-crafted breadboard at What’s New.

What’s New, 824 Decatur Street at The Colonnade Shops

An unexpected detour into Pop City yielded a hand-made feather headband by local artist Anne and Laura Guiccione founders of The Little Shop of Fantasy. Anne and Laura’s creations capture a vintage charm. With several different styles to choose, I pick a rather tall, flouncy number that transformed me instantly into a can-can girl from the Moulin Rouge. Chic! These feather creations seem to be extremely on trend. You can count on the girls at Pop City to stay current on styles. Merci mon amies!

I hope I look as good as Drew in my feather headband from Pop City!

I hope I look as good as Drew in my feather headband from Pop City!

Pop City, 940 Decatur Street at The Colonnade Shops

The finish line at the annual Waiter's Race! Check out the entire schedule of Bastille Day events this weekend at The French Market.

The finish line at the annual Waiter’s Race! Check out the entire schedule of Bastille Day events this weekend at The French Market.

I definitely will spread out my shopping over the weekend. Simply because there is so much to see and do at The French Market. I will be out Sunday morning for the wreath laying for Joan of Arc right where S. Peters and Decatur split.  I plan on fueling up with plenty of café au lait and beignets so I can cheer at the Waiter’s Race on Sunday. And, I will decamp to the Flea Market to enjoy Norbert Slama’s music which completely channels you back to post-war Paris where he spent time honing his talents on the accordian. You’ll find me there with my shopping bags in tow, eyes closed with my mind and soul transported to a quaint street in a great French city – oh, wait. I’m already there!

Bon Achets and Merci from Moi!

Stylish Stella

P.S. Please visit The French Market’s official website for a complete listing of the 2013 Bastille Day activities and start times.

P.P.S.S. My French is non-existant, but my enthusiasm is off the chart. Please, I already know about my grammar error! De Rien!

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The Essence of The French Market

 

It’s definitely a rite of Summer in New Orleans . . .the beginning of July brings thousands of Essence Festival devotees to New Orleans. This year marks number 19, and the enthusiasm seems to be off the charts! So I was thinking . .. What is the Essence of The French Market? What speaks to the spirit of New Orleans and relates to the Essence Experience? A short walk through the crowds at The French Market and it didn’t take long to figure out The French Market is truly the Essence of New Orleans!

The Essence of Originality –Hand-Made Wearable Art by Oscar

Oscar's Originals - Truly New Orleans Original

Oscar’s Originals – Truly New Orleans Original

Oscar Donahue began creating his unique wearable art over 20 years ago. Since his tenure in the Flea Market, he has become not only a fixture on the scene but created a scene himself. Known simply as Oscar, he has a cadre of fans worldwide who make his booth a part of their yearly pilgrimage to The Market. Repeat customers are fanatical about adding to their collection. Oscar newbies soon follow suit.  His designs and technique (hand cut colored resin are assembled and melted to create the vibrant designs) are instantly recognizable! And, Oscar, himself, is cool and delightful. I think it is super cool that original jewelry art is so affordable too!

Oscar’s Original, The Flea Market at The French Market

The Essence of Fashion – Pop City’s Soul Series Shirts

Hey Sista, Soul Sista - Exclusively at Pop City

Hey Sista, Soul Sista – Exclusively at Pop City

Soul Sister, Soul Brother and the Bubble Girl speak to the design aesthetic Pop City’s team bring to the fashion scene at The French market. This original design created by owner Dave Gordin perfectly captures a retro vibe making this shirt an instant classic. The concept was created over 18 years ago and part of the unique New Orleans collection of fashion and wares. Forget the kitschy souvenir shirt and pick up a few to take home. The real essence of your trip!

Pop City, 940 Decatur Street in The Colonnade Shops at The French Market

The Essence of a Great Book – And, Still I Cook, by Leah Chase at A Tisket, A Tasket

And, Still I Cook

And Still I Cook by award-winning Creole Chef Leah Chase of Dooky Chase

Books are the way to go. And, you will find an extensive offering right here at A Tisket, A Tasket. The Jones Family is a keen example of the independent bookseller experience and luckily keeping it alive and well at The French Market. Pretty much any day of the week you will find Ms Lisa Jones in the store ready to recommend a great Creole cookbook or a myriad of other books relevant to not only the history of New Orleans but the region itself. The children’s book selections are abundant too. Local, regional and International authors are represented.  Add some spice literally to your purchase from one of their many mixes available and you can take a little bit of New Orleans flavor home with you.

A Tisket A Tasket, 910 Decatur Street in The Colonnade Shops at The French Market

The Essence of the Entrepreneur –  Soul Saturday presented by The Cupcake Fairies, July 6, 2013 at The Dutch Alley Performance Pavilion

Cupcake Magic cooked up by The Cupcake Fairies

Cupcake Magic cooked up by The Cupcake Fairies

A little fairy told me the The Cupcake Fairies continue to power up for their Fall opening in a sassy spot a the French Market adjacent to the super cool Dutch Alley Performance Pavilion.  This weekend in collaboration with The French Market, these savvy ladies will host Soul Saturday on July 6 at The Dutch Alley Pavilion. Cupcakes will be the main course to a side dish of free entertainment.

The Cupcake Fairies, Dutch Alley, The Colonnade at The French Market

Bon Achats & Merci from Me . . .

stylish_stellasignature

Made in New Orleans, USA – Home grown & Home Sewn Fashion to celebrate the Fourth of July in New Orleans

New Orleanians are definitely unique when it comes to style and creativity.  From clothing made right here in the Parish (instead of county for all of those reading from outside the NOLA borders!) to jewelry and wearable art, Louisiana fashionistas are setting off their own style fireworks pretty much everyday of the week not just saving it for celebrating our Nation’s birthday.

Strolling through the French Market District on a lazy day with a refreshing Organic Banana smoothie in hand, the cache of locally made wares is more dizzying than the annual Riverfront Dueling Barges Fireworks, one of the top 5 fireworks displays in the United States* happening at 9PM on Thursday, July 4th.

Below are a few of the fab finds discovered on a recent afternoon stroll in the colonnade shopping area and the Pontalba shops.

Chili Pepper glass bead necklaces by Carol Flannery.

Carolyn Rivers Designs at Dutch Alley

Carolyn Rivers Designs at Dutch Alley

These necklaces are hot, hot!!! And a great representation of the chili pepper flavors found in New Orleans cooking. Really, Carol’s jewelry is a mini-celebration around your neck or dangling from your ears. So fun knowing that Carol uses a special technique to create each mini glass pepper and beads in her New Orleans workshop. Her technique is called lampworking and if you can catch her at the Co-Op she is happy to explain her process. (Just ask when she is scheduled. She is great to visit with!)

Carolyn Rivers Designs at Dutch Alley Artist Co-op, 912 N. Peters, The French Market

The Lido Hat by Tracy Tomson, Kabuki Hats

You know them when you see them. Kabuki Hats are a work of art.  Tracy is essentially a treasure in the art and fashion scene in New Orleans keeping the art of millenary alive and well in her local studio. The Lido is just one of the many designs showcased in her ever evolving collection. Currently you can find her designs in red, white and blue and combinations of these and many other colors.

Kabuki Hats at Dutch Alley Artist Co-op, 912 Peters, The French Market

Seersucker at Muses

Seersucker at Muses

A New Orleans’ tailor made the first seersucker suit in 1907 and since the puckered fabric has been associated with Southern Chic.  Muses on the Pontalba has amassed a collection of seersucker jackets and slacks in reds, whites and blues – patriotic nationally and locally.

Muses, 532 St. Peter Street at the Pontalba Shops

Silk Bow Ties - Nola Couture

Silk Bow Ties – Nola Couture

Dash a few doors down to Nola Couture and pick up a locally made silk bow tie to go with the seersucker jacket. The bowties feature local theme custom silk fabrics – alligators, crowns, fleur de lis and such.

Nola Couture, 542 St. Peter Street at the Pontalba Shops

ashleyinbetty_cathedral

Retro is all the rage. And the New Orleans’ made Betty Dress by To The Nines is your fashion ticket on a balmy summer night. Wear a Betty Dress and stroll down the Riverfront waiting for the Dueling Barges to do their stuff may just have you setting off some fireworks of your own.

Pop City, 940 Decatur Street, The French Market

Bon Marche and Merci,

Stylish Stella