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Community Visions Unlimited



If you do any driving in New Orleans, I guarantee you’ve noticed the growing number of painted signal boxes. At the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Freret Street it’s Fats Domino. At Poydras Street by the Superdome you’ll find the Saints Whistlemonster. On Gentilly Boulevard and Paris Avenue there’s a tree of Louisiana wildlife. Veterans and Edenborn avenues depicts pigs wearing Mardi Gras costumes. You can find them on the East Bank, West Bank, Uptown, Downtown, Gentilly, Kenner, Metairie and St. Bernard Parish. Like me, have you been wondering who is making our lives a little more beautiful at intersections around town?

It is Community Visions Unlimited (CVUNOLA), launched in 1994 as a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing New Orleans neighborhoods through beautification, housing and empowerment. Founded to be a resource for citizens to encourage homeownership, promote business development, sponsor community beautification and encourage community projects, their initial focus was transforming blighted neighborhoods. Early work in Faubourg St. John addressed the more than 100 vacant, blighted buildings; through CVUNOLA’s efforts, more than 15 properties were restored. In three years over 78 projects were completed, a police detail implemented and three community gardens installed. Momentum was gaining in their community work, and then Hurricane Katrina arrived on the Gulf Coast.

After living away, CVUNOLA Founder and native New Orleanian Jeannie Tidy moved back to New Orleans in 2006 to join the rebuilding efforts. Those early post-Katrina days working in Lakeview planting trees and making temporary street signs reminded her of an electrical box beautification project in California she’d encountered, and she decided New Orleans would be the perfect place to replicate the program.

In 2010, CVUNOLA painted their first box at the corner of Harrison Avenue and Canal Boulevard. The project took off, now boasting 203 painted electrical boxes, three telephone boxes and one outdoor piano completed, with a goal to paint all 400 boxes in Orleans Parish over the next few years. An unexpected but welcome outcome is that art enhanced boxes rarely receive graffiti and have even helped prevent littering in the surrounding areas!

How does it work? Interested neighborhoods contact CVUNOLA’s volunteer board, which has access to 80 local artists capable of creating specialized themes for each box through collaboration with neighborhood representatives and CVUNOLA’s art committee. They manage the artists, furnish a weather resistant paint kit and honorarium through the implementation and then provide continued maintenance of each project. Funding is dependent on individual contributions, grants and an annual fundraiser.

With growing demand, CVUNOLA is grateful for any financial or volunteer support to further their mission, and is set up to receive donations through CVUNOLA.org.

Aimed at creating beauty and economic development through works of art, CVUNOLA links the rich art heritage that thrives in our New Orleans neighborhoods to instill pride, support local artists and revitalize our community  – one painted signal box at a time. 

What’s being said about CVUNOLA:

“I would like to thank you for your great work throughout the city to beautify the electrical box eyesores and to help spread love and community through art. We appreciated working with you and your team to notify local artists and identify artwork that most appropriately expresses our neighborhood.” – Englewood Park Neighborhood Association

“We contacted CVU and within the month a prominent signal box in our area was transformed from eyesore to art. The signal box at Apricot Street and Carrollton Avenue, before painted by CVU, was a magnet for miscellaneous fliers, graffiti and vandalism. It is now an attractive asset for the community and a source of pride for the neighborhood.” – Northwest Carrollton Association


Philanthropic Fun: YAYA Celebrates 30



“Just Say YAYA” welcomed more than 600 guests to an art-filled cocktail party featuring work by current YAYA students and alumni spanning 30 years, with an arts market of glassware and a silent auction with works by acclaimed local artists. Many alumni, partners and supporters traveled to New Orleans specifically to celebrate this milestone.

Susan Brennan, Peggy Laborde, Kathryn Brennan McLeod and Hattie Moll served as Co-Chairs, and Founder Jana Napoli and all 30 years of YAYA Artists were honored.

The Patron Party featured food by Ralph Brennan’s Catering & Events, music by Motel Radio and a glassblowing demonstration by Mark Rosenbaum of Rosetree Glass.

The gala celebration featured music by Cool Nasty and food by more than a dozen local vendors, including Warbucks, Cafe Reconcile, Liberty Cheesesteaks, Twelve Mile Limit, Central City BBQ, La Boulangerie, Martin Wine Cellar, Pralines by Jean, Zea, Langensteins and Mayhew Bakery. Beverages were provided by NOLA Brewing, Belle Isle Spirits and Republic National Distributing Company.

The silent auction hosted treasures by Mallory Page, Terrance Osborne, Jamar Pierre, Mitchell Gaudet, Juli Juneau, Gavin Jones, Artemis Antippas, Tim Trapolin, Dr. Bob, Douglas Bourgeois and a number of local businesses, including Saba, Kendra Scott, Ace Hotel, Windsor Court and more.

“Just Say YAYA” supports YAYA’s free after school arts and entrepreneurship training programs for creative, young New Orleanians. YAYA raised more than $150,000 for free youth arts programming, including selling more than $18,000 of artwork made by YAYA artists and alumni. YAYA offers a sales commission to all artists, starting at age 13, meaning that this event significantly supported the organization as well as the artists it bolsters.

Event at a Glance

What: “Just Say YAYA: 30th Anniversary Gala,” benefiting YAYA
When: Friday, November 16, 2018
Where: YAYA Arts Center

Philanthropic Fun: YAYA Celebrates 30

Glenn Garrison, Founder Jana Napoli, Jourdan Barnes and Meg Miles

Philanthropic Fun: YAYA Celebrates 30

Laurel Porcari, Danielle Coco, Sarah Martzolf and Timeka Junius

Philanthropic Fun: YAYA Celebrates 30

Ralph Brennan, Lisa Schlesinger and Jack Laborde

Philanthropic Fun: YAYA Celebrates 30

Hart Kelly, Rebecca Birtel Madura, Nala Stiggers and Jordan Turner 

Philanthropic Fun: YAYA Celebrates 30

 Thawanda Clark, Mark Rosenbaum and Tameria Oliney


Philanthropic Fun: An Extraordinary Life



Touro Synagogue’s L’Chayim Award is given every other year to a person or persons who have demonstrated support and a long-standing deep commitment to the Congregation. On December 1, 2018, Touro Synagogue presented the prestigious L’Chayim Award to Joyce Pulitzer, who served as the first female President of the synagogue. The program began with a reception at the synagogue, followed with a benefit dinner and presentation.

The Jacobs Social Hall and Grant Meyer Garden Pavilion were transformed into an elegant atmosphere for the evening, accented by teal and green décor. Vases of various sizes and shapes adorned the tables, some containing greenery from New Orleans gardens. Adding to the ambiance were glowing lanterns, which were suspended above the tables.

Music during the cocktail time and dinner was provided by the sounds of the Carl Leblanc Trio. Joel Catering provided passed hors d ‘oeuvres, which were followed by a seated dinner and dessert. Remarks were made by Rabbi Alexis Berk, synagogue President Teri Hunter, Rickie Nutik and Saundra Levy. Joyce was presented with an engraved hand-crafted Kiddush cup created by New Orleans Glassworks. Cantor Kevin Margolius and Rabbi Todd Silverman also participated in the program.

Some of Joyce’s activities have included serving as a Board Member and Past President of Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic Houses; Board Member and Past President of Jewish Endowment Foundation; Women of the Storm; past Chair of the Anti-Defamation League; Board Member of the SPCA; and many other positions of leadership on community boards. She has previously received the Torch of Liberty Award from the Anti-Defamation League and Outstanding Citizen award from the Family Service of Greater New Orleans. Joyce was a contributing playwriter for Cherries Jubilee, winner of the Big Easy Best New Play 1999, and a writer and producer of the play Life, Liberty, and Social Security.

Event at a Glance

What: “L’Chayim Award,” benefiting Touro Synagogue
When: Saturday, December 1, 2018
Where: Touro Synagogue

Philanthropic Fun: An Extraordinary Life

Rickie Nutik, Congragation President Teri Hunter and Sandy Levy

Philanthropic Fun: An Extraordinary Life

Rabbi Todd Silverman, Executive Director Kerry Tapia, Rabbi Alexis Berk and Cantor Kevin Margolius


Philanthropic Fun: Dancing With the Activists



Young Audiences of Louisiana hosted a cocktail reception, dinner and dance competition featuring local philanthropists and community activists partnered with professional dancers at Harrah’s New Orleans Theatre. The event benefits Young Audiences of Louisiana’s mission of 56 years to invest in youth arts education.

Activists and dance partners included Nadine Brown with professional partner Chance Bushman dancing the swing (Captivating Chemistry winners), Sandra Thompson Herman with professional partner Jay Hendrix dancing the waltz (People’s Choice winners), Austin Marks with professional partner Kenneth “Kynt” Bryan dancing contemporary hip hop (Showstopper winners), Christina and Tony Rodrigue dancing together to a contemporary hip hop dance choreographed by professional dancer Zakiya L. Cornish (Judges’ Choice winners) and Brionne Stewart and Trent Marcelle (Smooth Operator winners) dancing together to a cha cha choreographed by professional dancer Javier Juarez. In addition, Mayor LaToya Cantrell danced a tango with professional partner Ector Gutierrez.

Judges included Stephanie Burks, Mary Katherine Lonatro-Tusa, Kenny Lopez and Steven Putt. In addition to the dance competition, guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail hour followed by a buffet. Apple Berry Delights, the sweet treat business created by Star Dancer Nadine Brown, served as the official cookie sponsor of the event, providing each guest with a cookie baked exclusively for “Dancing for the Arts.” Carl LeBlanc Band provided musical entertainment during the cocktail hour, intermissions and following the awards ceremony so that gala guests also had the opportunity to dance.

Centerpieces were created by middle school visual arts students at Young Audiences Charter School under the direction of teaching artist Valorie Polmer. The colorful centerpieces were made from objects found in nature and yarn and were painted bright colors, inspired by Native American Sage Smudge Sticks. The event’s signature life-size cutouts of the Star Dancers in the competition graced the lobby and silent auction area, which featured an array of 33 prizes.

Event Chairs were Stella Del Bianco, Gail Barnes McKenna and Tyree Worthy. Camille Whitworth served as Mistress of Ceremonies.

Event at a Glance

What: Ninth annual “Dancing for the Arts,” benefiting Young Audiences of Louisiana
When: Friday, November 16, 2018
Where: Harrah’s Casino Theatre

Philanthropic Fun: Dancing With the Activists

Dr. Warren McKenna Jr., Co-Chairs Gail McKenna and Stella Del Bianco and Fulvio Del Bianco 

Philanthropic Fun: Dancing With the Activists

Nadine Brown with Russ and Sandra Herman


Philanthropic Fun: Express to the Cure



An over-the-top New York runway-style fashion show by the Ladies Leukemia League (LLL), sponsored by Dillard’s and produced by Sue Webber Productions, offered 1,000 guests a way to give towards leukemia/lymphoma research and “Believe” in a cure.

The fashion show’s theme was “The Magic of Disney,” complete with Cruella de Vil. LLL featured three children and one young adult who are currently battling leukemia or who have overcome the disease: Austin Abadie, Da’Ni Otis and Annabelle Thomas, and Katie Moore, a 21-year-old leukemia survivor.

The theme of the luncheon was “The LLL Express for a Cure” with an emphasis on the word “Believe,” featured on the invitation with artwork by Chrissy Gregg Baynham. Centerpieces were cute snowmen dressed like train conductors with glowing lanterns on each table.

A raffle featured a silver David Yurman bracelet with pavé diamonds donated by Aucoin Hart, a Silver Fox fur cape donated by Eulie Peti, $1,050 in premier New Orleans restaurant gift certificates and a Brahmin Weekender donated by Dillard’s. A wine pull with close to 100 bottles of wine was sold out in a half-hour.

LLL is known for its Parade of Prizes, which this year featured 100 options. The Silent Auction offered prizes such as a three-night stay in a Gulf Shores luxury condominium, a white mink stole, an autographed Drew Brees football, a gift certificate for a Misook Collection ensemble donated by Dillard’s and a Porche Carrera child’s car donated by Brian Harris Porche of Baton Rouge.

Ana Eller served as Event Chair and Camille Whitworth served as Mistress of Ceremonies. Lisa Baynham is serving as President.

The event raised more than $130,000 towards leukemia/lymphoma research.

Event at a Glance

What: “Fête de Noël,” benefiting Ladies Leukemia League, LLC
When: Friday, December 7, 2018
Where: Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel

Philanthropic Fun: Express to the Cure

Special Guest Da'Ni Otis and Pat Golemi

Philanthropic Fun: Express to the Cure

Phyllis Stacy, Special Guest Annabelle Thomas and Maria Winn


Vintage Wedding: Patricia Ann Coco Weds William Conner Ellis Jr.



Patricia “Pat” Ann Coco and William Conner Ellis Jr. met in high school. Pat was at Sacred Heart and Conner went to De La Salle, and they went almost every afternoon to Valencia, an iconic club for high school students on Valence Street. It took Conner about two years to get a date with Pat, because she had so many boys who wanted to take her out! Once Conner finally convinced her to go out with him they dated all the way through college. Pat was a Kappa Kappa Gamma at Newcomb College and Conner president of the Kappa Alpha Order at Tulane University.

Conner asked Pat to marry him while they were at the Do Drive-In movie and she said yes! Pat’s mom flew into planning mode, and they had a beautiful wedding on June 6, 1963. They were supposed to get married at a later date but had to change it because Conner, who had been in ROTC at Tulane, was commissioned to go into the Navy after graduation and was called to be stationed in Charleston, South Carolina.

The wedding was held at Holy Name of Jesus Church on St. Charles Avenue and the reception at the Orleans Club.

The Orleans Club was festooned with flowers by Rohm’s Florist, the cake was created by Swiss Bakery and the club created beautiful buffet for the 300 plus guests! Pat’s dress and her bridesmaids’ dresses came from D. H. Holmes. Conner’s dad gave them a car for their wedding present, and it was hidden because they were afraid that the groomsmen would create a mess for them to drive away in. After the reception, Pat changed into her going away outfit and they drove off to their honeymoon at the Broadmoor Hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi. They got to the hotel after a seven hour trip that should have taken two hours, because a bridge that they had to cross malfunctioned and they were stuck in their new car that didn’t have air conditioning. I guess you could say that a little bad luck might signal a great marriage. Pat and Conner have been married for 56 years! They have three children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild and are living happily ever after!

Vintage Wedding: Patricia Ann Coco Weds William Conner Ellis Jr.

Vintage Wedding: Patricia Ann Coco Weds William Conner Ellis Jr.

Vintage Wedding: Patricia Ann Coco Weds William Conner Ellis Jr.


Flat Family-Friendly Fun



    I don’t love it when people call this little corner of the internet that I occupy once a week a “mommy blog.” I mean, yes, I am a mom, and yes, I do write a lot about my kids and my experience of motherhood, but I also write about love and loss and death and the highs and lows of living in New Orleans and divorce and marriage and grief and food.

    That said, this one … well, this one is entirely mommy blog territory.

    Georgia’s class is doing Flat Stanley. For those of you who don’t have elementary school-aged kids, Flat Stanley is a little paper dude who gets cut out, colored, and mailed to friends and family around the U.S. and the world. They take pictures of him in site-specific locales: Flat Stanley in front of the St. Louis Arch, Flat Stanley by the Eiffel Tower, Flat Stanley in front of the Hollywood sign.

    I dutifully wrote down the addresses of several friends who live in cool places (Seattle, Denver, New York, Orlando, etc.), included envelopes with proper postage, and sat back to wait for Flat Stanley to return from his travels.

    Oh, but one of my friends wanted some grade school quid pro quo. Her kid’s school also was doing Flat Stanley, and she wanted him to visit us in New Orleans.

    Which is fine! We love visitors, flat or otherwise! I will insist with my dying breath that Mardi Gras is a family-friendly affair if you know where to go and that New Orleans can be a fun place for kids to grow up and to visit.

    And yet – her Stanley hasn’t even arrived, and already I’m struggling to think of what kind of kid-friendly adventures I will take him on here. Although I can have an irreverent streak (I took a series of pictures of Georgia’s Elf on the Shelf wrapped around an empty bottle of Maker’s Mark that I need to remember to delete from my camera roll before she finds them), I can’t in good conscience take Stanley to Bourbon Street or show him sipping a Hurricane or Hand Grenade, and I’m not even sure that a cemetery trip would be appropriate for a bunch of Midwestern 7-year-olds.

    So I’m seeking ideas. Here’s what I have so far:

    1. Flat Stanley rides the streetcar.
    2. Flat Stanley visits Jackson Square.
    3. Flat Stanley eats beignets.
    4. Flat Stanley … wears Mardi Gras beads out of season?

    What else do you have? I’d say “swamp tour,” but that would require going on a swamp tour myself, and that’s a nonstarter.

    Please help me show Flat Stanley a fun (family-friendly) time here in the Big Easy!



    New Day, Old Company



      So Tuesdays. This is weird after damn near a decade of Fridays, but hey, change is inevitable and I can adapt, right?

      Also, sharing a day with Chris Rose** is pretty cool, especially considering that he was one of the writers who made me want to be a journalist way back 20-plus years ago. (The other was Petula Dvorka, now at the Washington Post.)

      It was probably 1995 or 1996 when I read a piece of his (that I have never been able to find again) about a small-town Louisiana football game. The language was spare but evocative, and it made me feel something in the pit of my stomach. “I want to write like that,” I thought, and so I joined the newspaper staff at my high school (where I now advise the same school newspaper because New Orleans is a city of beautiful cycles).

      (Side note: I am like 98 percent certain that this was a Chris Rose piece, but there is a 2 percent part of me that is plagued with doubt that I am misremembering, and as I said, I can’t find the piece to fact-check it.)

      The summer after my junior year in high school, I interned at the Times-Picayune and, much to my delight, was assigned to “shadow” Chris Rose for a day or so. The Woolworth’s lunch counter was closing that summer, I think, or maybe it was just the last one left in the city – I don’t really remember what the actual news peg was. But he and I went there and drank mediocre milkshakes and talked about journalism. He told me not to go to J-school – I felt so cool, so savvy and in-the -know calling it “J-school” – and actually encouraged me pretty strenuously to pick anything but journalism as a career. (I give the same advice to kids now, on both counts.)

      And that was it. It wasn’t a rich mentorship or anything, but when I’d come home and pick up the paper, I was vaguely disappointed to see he started doing celebrity gossip – but impressed that he could make even that beat have character – and then, of course, after Katrina, I hung on every word. We all did.

      So now here we are – sharing space on MyNewOrleans.com, both confessional writers, both parents, both with journalism degrees (despite his advice, I was dead-set on getting one). I don’t claim to be on his level, and he’s the one with the Pulitzer, but I am happy to have such good company over here on Tuesdays.

      It’s funny that this latest shift has reminded me of just how it all started – and proved, as always, that New Orleans is a city of beautiful cycles.




      **Editor's note: Chris Rose's new blog "Me Again" – a continuation of his New Orleans Magazine column – will begin next week, March 19. 


      Philanthropic Fun: Viva Las Vegas!



      The annual “Touro Infirmary Foundation Gala” honored Allan Bissinger as the 2018 Judah Touro Society Award recipient. The gala was cocktail event and featured a Patron Party, seated dinner, award ceremony and After Party reception geared towards Touro Tomorrow, the Touro Foundation’s young professionals group and Touro Employees. Funds raised at the gala were designated for use to improve Women’s Services and the Family Birthing Center at Touro.

      Vintage Las Vegas was the theme of this year’s gala, and included the tagline “Touro, Baby” as a nod to the fundraising initiative for this year’s event, as well as “Celebrating a Game Changer.” In that theme, the atmosphere included an Elvis impersonator, Vegas-style fan girls and gaming tables.
      The Patron Party, which preceded the gala festivities, was held in the Mansion Room and upstairs space overlooking the Mississippi River at Mardi Gras World. Passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails were served.

      The evening included live musical entertainment by Little Coquette Jazz Band. A menu provided by 1718 Catering featured a salad course, entree options of red fish or bavette of beer and a dessert of Mississippi Mud Pie.

      The After Party featured a Speakeasy theme, which included Roaring 1920s decor such as a bourbon barrel table, velvet antique lounge furniture and mug shots of famous Prohibition Era personalities. DJ Twiggy played festive music into the night. The party also featured signature cocktails created by the staff members of Touro Employees in a competition for additional donations to their service line. Additionally, guests could pose in a photo booth with props and participate in casino games for a chance to win raffle prizes. The Grand Prize was a trip to Las Vegas, which included a hotel stay, dinner, a Las Vegas show and an airfare voucher.

      Event at a Glance

      What: “Touro Infirmary Foundation Gala,” benefiting Touro Infirmary Foundation
      When: Saturday, November 10
      Where: Mardi Gras World

      Philanthropic Fun: Viva Las Vegas!

      Stephen Kupperman, Nancy Timm, Joy Braun and Tom Oelsner

      Philanthropic Fun: Viva Las Vegas!

       Brook Bissinger, Paul Du Treil and Nicole Miles


      Renewal Resources



      Time to open the windows, dust off the pillows and welcome in spring. A busy time of year situated between the holidays and summer vacation, spring is the season many choose to make updates to the home. From taking stock of old inventory during spring-cleaning to embarking on a full-scale kitchen redo, the way you choose to renew your home may be minimal or more pronounced. Either way, a renewed home can bring on fun projects that help lift your spirits with a sense of organization and aesthetic appeal.


      Renewal Resources

      Organized Impressions, Home Staging & Organized Interiors
      Home of Ryan & Amie Lannes Scully, Old Metairie
      Photographed by Luke McCoy


      Organization & Spring Cleaning

      Spring cleaning is one way to renew the home and adding some organization to your life can be more than convenient – it can alter your entire outlook and improve your own efficiency as you navigate through life.

      Organization is the expertise of Nadine McCoy, founder of Organized Impressions, a full-service home organization and home staging company. Organization services include decluttering and organizing a space, and the company also offers a moving-in service of unpacking, organizing and styling a space. Their process includes an in-home consultation, followed by decluttering and categorizing, space planning and measuring and, finally, purchasing and implementing.

      The company recently helped a client with a problematic, gloomy laundry room that had become the home of everything from laundry supplies to garden tools and paints.

      “The client simply didn’t know how to get started and how to make the room not only less dark and dreary, but actually a room she would want to be in and get the laundry done,” says McCoy. “We came in, helped the client declutter and from there we decided on a better space plan and what type of storage was necessary to get the job done,” she says. Organized Impressions chose colors the client loved and added both a new light fixture and organized storage to create a beautiful, functioning space for washing, drying and ironing clothes.

      If you’re considering a renovation to the home and know you need better storage and organization, experts like Don Wise of Louisiana Custom Closets can help design a storage space unique to your needs, from master closets and pantries to laundry rooms and garages.


      Renewal Resources

      Crystallo quartzite countertop
      Fabricated by Pieri Tile & Marble Co., Inc.
      Home built by Sanderson Services
      Interior Design by Susie Sullivan
      Photographed by Mike Lirette


      “By organizing storage spaces in your home, you can add space, save time and cut down on stress,” says Wise. Whereas a jumbled stack of shoes on the floor can have you scrambling for those spring flats, customized shoe shelving can show you all of your options, well-lit and even at eye level.

      Organization experts note that it’s important to categorize your items and keep them together. With 16 years of experience in organization, Wise can help create proper storage for numerous categories of items and supplies, whether clothes and fashion accessories, or cleaning supplies, pet supplies and pantry items. The company uses CAD software to draw and customize the design specific to your home.
      While organization is certainly a part of spring cleaning, let’s not forget the actual cleaning part. Some items you clean all the time – we hope – such as the daily dishes and laundry. But some items we let sit for a while because, well, it’s complicated. Feather pillows, antique quilts, special bedding and seasonal clothes like linen and seersucker suits, may all get overlooked throughout the year. This is where cleaning experts like Liberto Cleaners come in handy.

      Liberto Cleaners runs a seasonal spring cleaning sale, a great opportunity for addressing those household items that have been sitting out or in storage a little too long, items such as tablecloths, napkins, sheets and pillows, duvet covers, comforters, quilts and afghans. They offer a specialized feather down pillow cleaning service that empties your pillow and delicately cleans the feathers. The feathers are then placed in a new, clean casing.

      “It’s like getting back a completely new pillow,” says Lauren VanCamp, Manager and Owner of Liberto Cleaners. “Once you sleep on a clean pillow free of allergens, you wake so refreshed,” she says.

      According to VanCamp, the traditions of the city call for seasonal cleaning. When spring arrives, we pull out our white linen and our seersucker. VanCamp recommends having your seasonal clothes cleaned before you store them away, as sugars and food reside – that drop of wine or bourbon from your mint julep – will invite munching by the tiny, invisible creatures that exist in the home. Avoid yellowed linens, stained fabrics and tiny holes by having them cleaned right after their seasonal use, she says.


      Renewal Resources

      Louisiana Custom Closets


      Home Updates & Renovations

      While cleaning and organizing a space will certainly make it more livable, you may have reached the point where it’s just not that lovable anymore. The flooring or lighting is outdated, your countertops are too small, or you’ve got no room for the kitchen appliances that would up your cooking game exponentially. When your home has you sighing rather than smiling, it might be time for a little spring renewal that will set you up for years of satisfaction.

      “For existing spaces, changing your lighting can be one of the simplest and most affordable ways to update your space,” says Heather Somers, Owner and Lead Designer at Élan Studio Lighting and Élan Studio Design. “The right fixtures combined with the right color temperatures and placement can all greatly affect the outcome of your space,” she says. Lighting essentially completes the story of your design. Whether by a classic chandelier or more contemporary fixture, the lighting of your room can alter the feel.

      Somers says it’s important to consider proportion and when it’s appropriate to make a statement with an oversized piece. Trends in lighting and fixtures are moving away from oil-rubbed bronze as the darker finish option and towards a matte black finish. The finish is seen as both modern and traditional and can work in a variety of spaces.

      If you’re planning a big update, like a kitchen or bath overhaul, you’ll want to make sure time is on your side. Choosing and installing materials like tile and stone, whether for flooring, a wall or a countertop can take time to get right. From finalizing selections to ordering materials and going on the install schedule, make sure you don’t rush any one part of this important and often budget-heavy process.     

      “As experts, we’re diligent about each of these processes, which usually require more time than anticipated,” says Dina Chevalier, Manager at Pieri Tile & Marble. When you’re ready to take on updating your tile and stone finishes, keep in mind that they are often the more costly and permanent pieces of your kitchen and bath’s overall palette. According to Chevalier, if you tend towards a more neutral palette, you’ll not be locked in to one décor style over time and you can enjoy more flexibility with the rest of your accessories and fixtures.

      If you’re tiring of your granite and travertine, Chevalier notes a rise in marble, quartz and quartzite as the trending stones of choice.

      “Being able to have the tile (floor and wall) and stone slab (counter tops) selections together in one showroom makes final decisions a whole lot easier,” says Chevalier. She adds that using expert installers will also make the process smoother.


      Renewal Resources

      Iceberg silver calcite countertop
      Fabricated by Pieri Tile & Marble Co., Inc.
      Home built by Sanderson Services
      Interior Design by Susie Sullivan.
      Photographed by Mike Lirette


      At Marchand Creative Kitchens, Certified Kitchen Designer and Sales Manager Chris Licciardi recommends narrowing down your wants and needs before speaking with an expert. With online sites and apps like Pinterest and Houzz, it’s easier than ever for homeowners to find examples of what they like and what they don’t. Armed with this information, your process will go much faster.

      “The more you can choose beforehand, the more relaxed you’ll be as you go through and approach deadlines. You’ll be prepared for those things,” says Licciardi.

      Licciardi echoes the rise in quartz and quartzite countertops as homeowners are seeking more durable and less porous stones. With these stones, you can have the color of Carrera marble without worrying about stains from food and beverages.

      Licciardi says more people are updating their kitchen with the intent of not only making them more universal, open and user-friendly, but also making them suitable for aging in place with larger aisles and more countertop space.

      While technological updates tended to be TVs and computers in the past, we’re also entering a new wave of advanced or cutting-edge kitchen appliances, everything from smart refrigerators to steam ovens. If you’re updating a kitchen in this day and age, you’ll also want to consider the appliances that will give you the best bang for the buck. Licciardi recently replaced his microwave with a steam oven, and he’s enthusiastic about having this new versatile way of cooking and reheating food.

      Will renewing your leftovers with steam technology be part of your home renewal? Maybe, maybe not. But if you spring into action now, you might just have the new kitchen up, running and ready for preparing a feast by Easter Sunday.




      Organized Impressions

      Louisiana Custom Closets
      885-3188,  (985) 871-0810

      Liberto Cleaners
      4814 Prytania St.,  897-2161

      Élan Studio Lighting
      1509 Metairie Road, Metairie

      Pieri Tile & Marble
      3622 Toulouse St.

      Marchand Creative Kitchens
      3517 Division St., Metairie


      Summer Bridal Show – June 14, 5-8 PM