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Muses riders open a craft store in Mid-City

Muses shoes provide inspiration to crafters at NOLA Craft Culture. (Loyola Student News Service)

By India Yarborough, Loyola Student News Service

What do a clinical psychologist, a marketing consultant and a scientist have in common? They’re three crafty Muses with a passion for glitter.

That is the case, at least, for the owners of a new craft store in Mid-City. NOLA Craft Culture, 127 S. Solomon St., is owned by Lisette Constantin, Nori Pritchard and Virginia Saussy — women who ride together in the Muses parade. All three women left their former occupations to work together for the love of crafting.

“People in New Orleans believe in the city and the culture and what we do,” Saussy said.

She explained the idea of opening a craft store has been on her mind for nearly a decade. About five years ago, at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Saussy and Constantin were glittering Muses shoes at the Louisiana Folklife Village when Saussy’s craft dream moved a bit closer to reality.

“[Lisette] said ‘I wish I owned a craft store just for New Orleans people,’ and I said, ‘That’s so funny you say that because five years ago I wrote up a business plan for a New Orleans cultural craft store,’” Saussy said.

Pritchard, a longtime friend, had similar aspirations. That’s when Saussy told her, “If you want to open a craft store, you need to do it with us.”

The trio went to work developing a business proposal, securing loans and looking at potential properties.

“We looked at probably 50 different places with another Muse, who is a real estate agent – we really worked the sisterhood thing — and one day we walked into this building in Mid-City that was the old Volunteers of America offices,” Saussy said. “It was twice the size we expected to look for, and we were all in love with it.”

NOLA Craft Culture boasts a wide array of glitter. (Loyola Student News Service)

The store, which opened Jan. 4, specializes in glitter. Saussy said they have more than 5,000 pounds of glitter on site, but that shimmering store staple isn’t the only thing in stock. NOLA Craft Culture sells just about anything customers might need for year-round costumes.

“This is a store for all seasons,” Saussy said. “We decorate for St. Patrick’s Day, St. Joseph’s Day. We have something going on every season. We’re going to be all dressed up for Jazz Fest. We decorate for everything here.”

They even decorate in store, hosting private parties and crafting workshops for children and adults alike.

“If you can’t find what you need in this store, you don’t need it,” said Tara Luparello, who stopped by NOLA Craft Culture recently in search of supplies to decorate her Muses shoes.

New Orleans resident Rene Baugnon visited NOLA Craft Culture the same day.

“I’m not in a float. I’m not in a krewe. I just like glitter,” Baugnon said.

Saussy hopes the store continues to attract crafters and New Orleans culture enthusiasts.

“I think we’ve learned that our instincts were right, and you have to follow your instincts,” Saussy said. “You have to follow your passions.”

The Loyola Student News Service features reporters from advanced-level journalism classes at Loyola University New Orleans, directed by faculty advisers.

Employee Eugenie Suggs (right) assists a customer at NOLA Craft Culture. (Loyola Student News Service)

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