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To-die-for Beaux Ties

Lawrence Cotton, local pianoman legend

Lawrence Cotton, local piano man legend

Who put the “beaux” in bow ties? Dave Holt, construction production manager, creative writer, artist and musician. Incidentally, he also sews.

“I saw a bow tie on a dog and thought it looked cool,” he recalled when asked what incident had inspired him.

After seeing the canine in formal attire, he searched online to decide how he could make a bow tie. Identifying a few patterns, he pulled his grandmother’s 1932 sewing machine out of the attic and started a new business that he named NOLA Beaux Ties.

Pretty soon, he was fabric shopping for fleur de lis designs in black and gold and tiger images printed in purple and yellow. He makes madras ties and Mardi Gras ties and Rainbeaux ties as well as polka dot, searsucker, zigzag and even a Purple Rain tie. His dog Ralph favors football-themed ties.

“They are pretty popular among doctors and lawyers,” he said.

Nonconformists often prefer wearing bow ties if they are forced to dress up.

“If they have to wear a tie, it is a way to make a statement,” Holt said, adding that a real bow-tie wearer would never dare to don a clip-on tie.

While most commercially sold bow ties are made of silk, Holt makes his all cotton because it is a renewable resource. Cotton is much less expensive than silk, which could price a store-bought bow tie at $65.

“It takes 300 silk worms to make one bow tie,” he said.

Most of his fashions have New Orleans’ themes, but he’s also got a few he calls “lagniappe.” If you don’t fit into another category, you might wear a “Claiborne and Orleans Avenue” or a “Mr. Green Jeans,” for example.

In high school, Holt took home economics to meet girls.

“There were 30 girls in the class and me. I recommend it!” he said.

He enjoys being at the sewing machine with good music playing. The repetitive process of cutting and sewing two dozen at a time has a Zen effect on him.

“It’s relaxing.”

Holt sets up shop at Freret Street Market the first Saturday of every month. Beaux Ties are also sold at Parcels and Post, 5208 Magazine St., The Crabnet, 528 Royal St., Bean’s Formal Wear, 4900 Freret Street and online at http://shop.nolabeauxties.com.

He’s accessorized several wedding parties. A University of Miami fraternity bought Beaux Ties for every pledge.

The Holt men dressin' it up.

The Holt men dressin' it up.

You can also find Holt on Royal Street on Tuesday nights passively selling ties while playing Cajun guitar with Yeaux d’Soco.

Mary Rickard has been a regular contributor to the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the New Orleans Advocate, as well as newspapers and wire services in other locales. Feel free to send her comments or critiques at [email protected]