When shopping this year, please think small, y'all. If you lived in or near New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, you witnessed how powerful it can be to support small business. Just as many other New Orleanians have stated, this pandemic has led me to Katrina flashbacks, both because of the emotions that crisis and tragedy store in our bodies, and because of the many, many lessons in resilience I get to access by referencing the individual and collective solution-generating that followed Katrina. Just like then, no solutions give us all the answers, but the solutions that arise can help to redeem so much that has been lost in times like this, and they can get us closer to the new answers and wholeness we will continue to seek.
One of the most endearing and memorable solutions that came out of Katrina was the rallying cry to support small businesses. Social media was just getting started, back then, but we somehow got the word out each time a business opened or started a new product line or service. We did everything we could to buy the t-shirt, wear the jewelry, or show our loyalty to the small businesses that kept us going and stretched beyond their previously known limits, to get the entire city back on its feet. And I haven't even mentioned the surge to each restaurant, as it cleaned out, rebuilt, and opened back up! Restaurants are small businesses, too, so please keep them in mind today and in coming weeks, as they make exhausted, heart-wrenching decisions about what to do, as this near-apocalyptic drama continues to unfold.
Sure, it's easy and quick to click the big box button on your app. I certainly do it. But before you take that step, today and in coming weeks, please consider small businesses that don't just want your dollar. They NEED your dollar to stay open, to pay employees, to have even a small chance to take deep breaths over the holidays, and to plan for a future past 2020.
Here's a quick list that I hope to continue to grow, as my wonderful children allow, and as the holidays continue. Please take a look and consider checking off some gift purchases on your list while supporting small business. Please drop me a line with your favorite small businesses, anywhere in the world, so we can visit their websites and order their goods and services this holiday.
Art of Compassion artwork and apparel designed by J. Pierre. You know that gorgeous new, miles-long New Orleans history mural that's growing and growing on the Tchoupitoulas floodwall? Well, that's the brainchild and creation of this kind soul. Jamar Pierre creates art that large, as well as colorful, meaningful pieces you can bring home, and even wear! Check out his new website and maybe pick up a gift, here:
Bergeron Woodworks: If I could have my entire house done in David Bergeron's beautiful reclaimed wood and vintage materials, I would. I have always loved items that have history and character. Bergeron showcases that history and character in ways so beautiful and special that each piece can occupy precious territory in your space, while feeling like it's always been there. Dave typically spends much of the year traveling from festival to festival, but, you know about this year and festivals... If you purchase a gift from Bergeron, it's pretty much guaranteed to become a treasure for the recipient.
Hazeltine Scent Company: New Orleans-based candle company, ahhhhmazing scents created by new mom Jane Bleecker. Formerly Xodo Botanicals, now with a gorgeous new line. I keep one of these candles on my desk (Oasis is my favorite), and it makes me happy, calm, and focused while I work.
Kitchen Table Cafe in Arabi. Yes, it's worth the drive! Their dishes are created with just-out-of-the-garden, just-pulled-from-the-gulf, just-arrived freshness that makes all the difference. That, and the fact that it's the most comfortable and friendly place to be, when you just want food that nourishes you, through and through. Dine in, inside or on their large patio, pick from among their daily specials or regular menu, or order to take home a delicious meal you won't forget anytime soon.
Pistil and Stamen Flower Farm and Studio: New Orleans-based flower farmers. Yeah, that's a real thing, and the results are the most beautiful flowers, in the most truly breathtaking arrangements and installments I have ever seen. Megan and Denise are gifted artists and creators who work tirelessly to bring both small and gigantic pieces into the world. I bought some flowers at their spring plant sale, and those flowers gave me reasons to smile all the way through September. Pistil & Stamen won't have as much to offer this time of year, but, while you're looking here, you'll do yourself a favor by bookmarking them for future orders in coming months and beyond. Their @pistil_and_stamen IG account will hold you over with beauty and inspiration, until you have some of their flowers in your real life.
The Jewelry Bar of Metairie is one of those businesses that is really restricted, right now, due to Dept. of Health guidelines. You can't get a piercing online, you know. However, if you're 15 or over (until restrictions ease), this is the meticulously safe and sanitary place to get pierced
Parenthood calls! I'll add more later! -A