New Orleans entrepreneurs capitalize on Saints season
The recent purse regulations enforced by the NFL this year may have successfully taken away my right to carry my black Prada cross-body messenger bag (which at 8 1/4 x 9 3/4 doesn’t make the cut in the Superdome’s security line), but they have not taken away anyone's entrepreneurial spirit in New Orleans. In fact, I decided to channel my own creativity and fashion a bag that I could carry to the game, in lieu of being forced to sacrifice any good fashion decision I’ve ever made by carrying a plastic freezer bag.
Behold: ziplock chic.
What the NFL hasn’t considered, though, are the innovative Who Dat fans who won’t let their silly restrictions stand in the way of fashion, business, or the need to carry extra sunglasses and a back-up koozie. In fact, innovators such as local online boutique Bats on Tees have turned restrictions into business opportunities by creating a new line of stadium appropriate purses.
Check out the fashionable Dome-regulated bags and other great goods created by local entrepreneurs to get you prepared for the 2013 football season.
1. Clear fashion purses
Bats on Tees’ clear purse line was created by local publicist Tiffany Napper, in response to the NFL’s recent stadium bag policy, which states that any bag brought into an NFL game must be either a clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bag that does not exceed 12” x 6” x 12”; a clutch no larger than 4.5” x 6.5”; or a clear, one-gallon re-sealable plastic storage bag.
“Despite the initial negative reaction to the new NFL rules, the Bats on Tees clear purse love has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Napper in her release, adding that her bags have been purchased by women all over the nation. “I set out to create a solution that I would be proud to carry.”
The clear 5.5” x 9” bag comes with a detachable cross body chain and a 4.5” x 6.5” cloth coin purse tucked inside for your cash and other small belongings that you’d rather keep a mystery. The purses are available at the Bats on Tees online boutique for $45 each.
2. Necktie Coolies (formerly, Necktie Koozies)
We all know well the wonderful glory that is the koozie, with its multi-faceted functionality that serves to simultaneously keep your beverage cold and your hands warm and dry. With so much purpose, the koozie is as essential to football season as Popeye’s Chicken or even the football itself. In fact, the only thing that could be better than your standard koozie is one that would also allow you to have a hands-free experience so you can grill, high five, hold a foam finger, check the status of your fantasy football team, or hold another drink.
Luckily, there’s a Necktie Coolie for that.
“The Necktie Coolie was born at an LSU tailgate out of necessity,” said co-founder Michael Angle, who fashioned his original invention using an old promotional foam koozie and some string. “Since then, it has grown out of our friends constantly hounding us for ours.”
With no other product like it available in the market, Angle and his business partner, David Vasquez, turned their MacGuyvered koozie idea into Necktie Coolies.
Necktie Coolies are made with 100 percent neoprene cup holders to maintain optimal beverage temperature and an attached adjustable neck strap for comfort and efficiency. Wholesale options and custom orders are currently available at the company’s website for orders of any size. Stay tuned for new design options coming to the site soon.
3. Tailgating grub
There is no denying that Popeye’s fried chicken was made for football season, but sustenance is essential to a long day of drinking, football viewing, and heightened emotions. The more food the better, so here are some great local favorites to pair with that greasy box of fried goodness:
Rouses Black and Gold King Cake, available at all Rouses Market locations.
All I have to say about this is that we shouldn’t have to wait until AFTER football season to look forward to king cake. The black and gold themed cakes allow us to have our king cake and eat it, too.
Cook Me Somethin’ Mister’s Jambalaya Mix, available online, select Sam’s Club locations, and local grocery stores including Rouses Market, Langenstein’s, Breaux Mart, and Martin’s Wine Cellar.
Cook Me Somethin’ Mister was conceptualized after Hurricane Katrina when the company’s owner, Kristen “Jambalaya Girl” Preau, traveled around the country to raise money for New Orleans by serving jambalaya at several college tailgates. Her fundraising proved to be a success after raising more than $100,000 though her efforts, but the even bigger hit turned out to be her family’s famed jambalaya recipe. Since then, Jambalaya Girl has created products that break down several boundaries for the culinary-challenged like myself.
4. Local beer. Duh.
Because you need to wash that chicken and jambalaya down with something cold, NOLA Brewing always does the trick. And, not only is it better than the college staple you once drank known as Natty Light, it’s the freshest beer possible at your tailgate with the brews being made locally at the NOLA Brewing facility in the Irish Channel – only a few miles from the Dome.
All the company's brews are available on tap at most bars and restaurants around town. NOLA Blonde, NOLA Brown, and Hopitoulas brews are also available at most local grocery stores, including Rouses and Breaux Mart, for your tailgating and football party needs. Just remember to open that cold can once you’ve reached your destination.
5. Party paraphernalia
If you’re not at the game causing a ruckus and you’re not at your favorite bar causing a ruckus, chances are you’re at home causing the same amount of commotion. If you choose the latter, at least take care of your coffee table when you’re ponding down that can of NOLA Blonde.
Dirty Coast offers a great set of black and gold [email protected] Coasters that are festive and have some local personality to boot. The coasters, in addition to these Black and Gold Mirror Covers for your car and several Saints and NOLA-inspired tees, are available online or at the Dirty Coast store at 5631 Magazine St. Each set costs $20 and includes five coasters.
6. Saints candles
With a talented team, strong fan base, and lack of controversies this year, the Saints are sure to have a winning season. However, it never hurts to light a prayer candle every once in a while.
The Saints candles are created by local artist Brett Henderson, and pay homage to the city’s predominantly Catholic culture, in addition to the obviously clever play they make. Saints Brees, Smith, Colston, Pierre, Vilma, and Payton are available at Hemline’s Metairie store (605 Metairie Road) for $16 each.
“We love the candles not only because we love to support our local economy, but also because it is uniquely New Orleans,” said Lesley White Tarantino, owner of Hemline Metairie. “I doubt Atlanta or Green Bay fans hold vigils!”
7. T-shirts a plenty
With 17 regular games per season, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a t-shirt for each (unless, of course, you’re still wearing the lucky jersey that brought the Saints success in the 2009 season. If that’s the case, then keep it on and proceed to the next item).
Fortunately, there are enough creative designers in New Orleans to help you fill that need for your black and gold cotton. Here are a few to get you started:
Dirty Coast, 5631 Magazine Street and 329 Julia Street
Storyville, 3029 Magazine Street
Sarah Ott, sarahott.com
Jean Therapy, 5505 Magazine Street