Defining a Neighborhood
Metairie Road Shopping & More
Just as the name “Metairie” may bring to mind Veterans Memorial Boulevard and its long stretch of box stores, chain restaurants and office buildings, the name “Old Metairie” leaves a different impression while still eliciting images of a neighborhood defined by its main thoroughfare.
Metairie Road, certainly Old Metairie’s main vein, is quaint and unassuming, a two-lane, tree-lined roadway connecting residents to more urban areas while also providing the neighborhood with its own local businesses, tailored to fit residents’ styles and interests. Old Metairie’s unique clothing boutiques, gift shops, jewelry stores and restaurants keep the road bustling with activity.
B Kids is one such boutique and is a relative newcomer to the neighborhood.
“We opened our first store in Baton Rouge in 2010, Old Metairie in ’12, and Magazine Street in ’14. We found that there was a need for a funky kids boutique in each area, and it just so happened two years apart each time,” says Owner Terryn Fudickar Mann. A contemporary kids boutique, B Kids offers stylish, comfortable clothing, shoes and accessories for infants, toddlers, tweens and juniors. The store features brands such as Splendid/Ella Moss, Hudson Jeans, Tea Collection and Johnnie O.
“A lot of customers walk from surrounding neighborhoods,” says Mann. “People in Old Metairie are very welcoming, and we love it here,” she says. August brings an annual Summer Blowout Sale to B Kids with details on Instagram (@bkids_nola).
Next door to B Kids is Emma’s Shoes, which opened its second location a year ago on Metairie Road after enjoying three years of growth at their first location on the Northshore.
“We love our clients and really try to think about them when we’re buying for the stores. It has been a wonderful year spent getting to know the ladies of the south shore. We look forward to building those relationships over the next year,” says Manager Mallory Goorley.
Emma’s Shoes will feature a Summer Sale the first week of August to make room for new fall merchandise, which will include lines such as Rag & Bone, Marc Jacobs, Aquatalia and Loeffler Randall. The store recently launched a new website, ShopEmmasShoes.com, allowing customers to view new arrivals and shop by designer.
Evie Poitevent is another local footwear connoisseur, and she brought her expertise to Metairie Road in 2013 with Feet First, New Orleans’ largest independent retailer of women’s shoes, handbags, jewelry, accessories and local New Orleans designers. Family-owned and celebrating 39 years in business, Feet First has been voted “Best Shoe Store in New Orleans” by Gambit Weekly readers for the last six years in a row.
“We opened up in our shopping center, Friedrichs Square, within a week of our neighbors, The Green Fork. In the last few years, we have continued to see more and more shops and restaurants opening up along the upscale shopping corridor,” says Poitevent. “We hope to see that trend to continue.”
As summer eases into fall, Feet First will highlight new flats, wedges, chunky heels and ankle booties by Kork-Ease, Isola, Sam Edelman, All Black, Fly London, Matisse and others.
With origins in 1996 in Natchez, Mississippi, Banbury Cross has also been a New Orleans mainstay for several years from its location just off Metairie Road at 100 Atherton Drive. Owner Peggy Roth was given her first sewing machine at age 10 and has sewn for generations of families ever since. A children’s clothing store, Banbury Cross stocks clothing for infants through girls 16 and boys 12. The boutique is also known for its special occasion wear and for stocking hard-to-find basics.
As New Orleans approaches the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Roth remembers how the storm personally affected her and her business.
“We had four shops before Hurricane Katrina. Our house flooded and I lost all of my patterns and fabric, but by October we had reopened in Baton Rouge and Metairie,” she says. Since then, Roth has continued her passion of providing clothes that both parents and their children enjoy. In addition to their own lines, clients of Banbury Cross also love The Proper Peony, Feltman Brothers and Florence Eiseman.
FeBe is another clothing boutique that has seen its share of changes along Metairie Road. In its current location since 2005, FeBe is known for its variety of designer merchandise, from cocktail dresses, shoes and accessories to jeans and tees.
Store Manager Ron Jones has also seen his share of fashion trends come and go, and this fall he looks forward to an influx of 1970s influence from many designers.
“I love the fringe details on shoes, boots and handbags – it’s a fun and easy way to update for the season,” says Jones. “Also, starting with the fall 2015 season we’re excited to add Kate Spade New York. We love the classic silhouettes with interesting details.”
On September 25-26, FeBe will host a Sennod Jewelry Design Trunk Show featuring the “vignettes” of local designer Michele McKeon.
Speaking of jewelry, Metairie Road is host to two locally famous family-owned jewelry stores that have serviced the region for generations.
Lisa Biderman and her father, Joe Biderman, carry on the legacy of Hiller Jewelry – their family business founded nearly 100 years ago. Specializing in diamonds, engagement rings and custom designs, Hiller Jewelry is excited to bring in the diamond X ring as well as dainty, sliced diamond pendants from designer Meira T. In fall, they will welcome the new collection of designer Alexis Bittar.
“We are the opposite of a big retail store with lots of sales people,” says Lisa Biderman, emphasizing the intimate nature of a small family business. “We provide a very personalized shopping experience for our customers.”
A couple blocks away is another famous name in jewelry: Boudreaux’s Jewelers. Now in its fourth generation, Boudreaux’s moved from its original downtown location to Metairie Road in 1985 and continues to expand its store and customer base. Well known for their bridal offerings and custom manufacturing, Boudreaux’s carries Tacori, Verragio and more, while boasting in-house custom capabilities.
“We do everything in-house – from the design to 3D printing, wax making, casting and setting. From start to finish, we have control over everything,” says Brandon Boudreaux, VP of Operations. Boudreaux enjoys the retail growth along Metairie Road and how it appeals to shoppers of all ages. Likening the area to his family’s store, “Metairie Road continues to move with the generations,” he says.
Dotted among the fashion and beauty boutiques are also home and gift stores, including JADE. JADE’s 4,000-square-foot contemporary showroom contains a mix of fine furniture, lighting, local art and accessories. JADE offers interior design services with in-house interior designer Tina Lagasse and recently introduced a new bridal registry department.
“We have since curated a great selection of fine and everyday china and glassware, as well as expanded our already existing fine linens collection,” says Owner Jennifer Rabalais.
According to Rabalais, upholstery has been a major focus of late. “We saw a lot of unique frames at the last furniture market, so we got on a kick of buying really unique pieces. This is a fun way to update our showroom and show clients something they haven’t seen before,” she says.
While shopping is certainly Metairie Road’s biggest attraction, the thoroughfare has a burgeoning dining scene as well. Vega Tapas approaches its 20th anniversary next year and is known among Old Metairie residents as a place to gather, to meet and make friends and to enjoy Spanish-inspired food and drink.
“Vega Tapas is a community destination in the truest sense – people are forging lifelong friendships by coming here and meeting one another,” says Owner Greg Francis. “It’s more along the lines of what traditional restaurants once were – less for tourism and more for community,” he says.
Originally known for its tapas-based menu of hot and cold small plates, Vega’s menu has expanded over the years to include pinchos (snacks) and platos principal (entrées), as well as seafood, meat and vegetable paellas and fideos. In August, Vega continues its eight-week Taste of the Mediterranean series.
Another Old Metairie favorite is café b, a smart, casual neighborhood restaurant. Café b’s menu is less international and more local, and dotes heavily on Gulf seafood. From 3-7 p.m., café b offers $0.50 oysters and half-off select beer, wine and cocktails for either an afternoon of unwinding or to kickstart your evening. Oysters are accompanied by a trio of mouth-watering sauces: honey jalapeño mignonette, preserved lemon salsa verdé and classic cocktail sauce.
“It’s a pleasure to serve the community, and we have had the opportunity to build and nurture authentic relationships over the last four years,” says Charlee Williamson, Executive VP of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group. “It’s fun to host so many milestone celebrations – birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and girls’ nights out,” she says. “It’s the place to ‘b’ seen in Metairie.”
115 Metairie Road Suite B
115 Metairie Road
200 Metairie Road
100 Atherton Drive
474 Metairie Road
923 Metairie Road
701 Metairie Road
324 Metairie Road
Vega Tapas Café
2051 Metairie Road
2700 Metairie Road
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