Five New Orleans Artisans To Look Out for This Spring

dionne charlet

Photo: Dionne Charlet

This post was originally published on New Orleans Entrepreneur Week is a festival celebrating entrepreneurship and innovation in New Orleans. 

Spring is in full swing in New Orleans. And it’s the time of year when the city’s artisans really get to put their wares on display for all to see. While most of you will be out soaking up the sounds and sights of spring and festival season, this is also the perfect opportunity to get out and see some of the city’s creative artisans, who are entrepreneurs in their own rights. To whet your appetite, we’ve rounded up a few notable artisans to keep an eye out for this spring.       




Niki Fisk Jewelry

A jeweler by day and trapeze artist by night, Niki Fisk is a master of whimsical motifs and striking forms. She crafts intricate and unusual sterling silver pieces. From her fanciful “Shadowbox” collection to her more abstract, geometric “Asteroid” pieces, Fisk creates something special to suit everyone’s taste. Keep an eye out for her jewels at upcoming festivals in New Orleans.


Photo: Frank Relle

Frank Relle Photography

Employing large light kits used for movie sets and an after-hours M.O., Frank Relle makes atmospheric nighttime photographs of Louisiana landscapes. First lauded for his haunting depictions of New Orleans houses, both grand and decrepit, he has most recently been making work documenting the swampier locales around southern Louisiana. Tableaux of behemoth cypress trees dominating odd, unassuming swamp shacks are punctuated by spare frames dotted with dead, lonely cypress knees, as well as a jarring long exposure of an oil refinery (a sight familiar to any New Orleanian who has found himself on a westbound jaunt on I-10 late at night). Relle recently cut the ribbon on his very own gallery at 910 Royal Street, which is good news, because the only way to do his photographs justice is to view them in the flesh.


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Photo: @sarsaparillanola  


Lest we forget one of New Orleans’ most important art forms: food. About two years ago, Rosie-Jean Adams and Jordan Deis, both employees of Dante’s Kitchen in the Riverbend, decided to take advantage of the restaurant’s day off and start Sarsaparilla, a Tuesday night pop-up of small plates and craft cocktails, with a very manageable price tag–every item, drink or dish, is $7. Deis’ artful small plates feature locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, and run the gamut from playful takes on comfort snacks (a house-made soft pretzel with all the fixins; fried pickles with dill aioli) to more sophisticated, modern gastronomical inventions (a lamb slider on a polenta cake bun; “Garlic 1000 Ways,” pictured above, and literally what it sounds like–a melange of preparations of garlic scapes and cloves, arranged together as a beautiful dish). Adams mans the bar, slinging recipes of her own creation as well as her own twists on classic cocktails. A favorite example of the former is the “Good Evening”–pronounced, as one might expect with a British accent and an emphasis on “eeeve”–a refreshing an unexpected composition of pisco, Suze bitters, Cocchi Rosa, rosé wine, and cucumber. If you’re partial to the cocktail canon, you might try the “12 Ways To Say Goodbye,” a close cousin of the Sazerac, featuring that selfsame rye, vodka, bitter anisette, dehydrated pineapple, and flamed lemon. You can visit them on Tuesdays from 7 pm-1:30 am at Dante’s Kitchen.

Rachael DePauw Ceramics

Rachel DePauw’s stunning and intricate pottery work has been featured in the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, both in its collection and for sale in the museum shop. Perhaps she could be called an accidental ceramicist – DePauw discovered a passion for making pottery while completing a Political Economy degree at Tulane. Her masterful use of the sgraffito technique, in which black clay is applied over white clay and then carved to create patterns, lends her pottery a striking contrast effect, offset by mellower hues. She now works full-time making ceramic dinnerware and vases, and teaches adults and children ceramics in New Orleans.

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Alexa Pulitzer Stationery

You may have seen Alexa Pulitzer’s vintage-inflected paper goods in favorite local spots like Nadine Blake. In addition to more Old World motifs, her stationery also features plenty of New Orleans imagery, from the go-to fleur de lis, to the tropical gator scene, a personal favorite used heavily by Pulitze. A native New Orleanian with roots in her family’s textile business, she began designing from a young age, and has merged her Southern roots with a studied skill and classical aesthetic.




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