StayLocal - shopkeeper
Shopkeeper Stories
The Shopkeeper Stories series shares the vision and personality of New Orleans business owners. Locally owned businesses infuse New Orleans neighborhoods with their unique character, and are a big part of why we want to live, work, eat and shop here.  While drainage system improvements and road construction make “shopping local” a bit more challenging in the short term, the critical improvements mean our city will be safer and stronger for generations to come. We hope you are inspired and continue to shop small and shop local—even if it takes a little extra time!
The Shopkeeper Stories are brought to you by StayLocal, the Greater New Orleans independent business alliance, in partnership with Uptown Messenger. This series runs every first and third Tuesday of the month.  Learn more about us and the work we do at

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1307 OC Haley Blvd, Suite 309
New Orleans, LA 70113
(504) 252-1259

Independent business? You’re not alone.
Featured Business Owner
Laurita & Lilbo of New Orleans 
Touch of Elegance 
Since 1994

What ignited the spark in you to start your business?

When I got out of high school, I didn’t know which way I wanted to go. After having a few different jobs, I made the decision to open up a daycare called Labo Preschool, which my son and I owned for 10 years.


While the daycare was open, I opened a beauty salon on Jackson and St. Charles. Then, we opened another location on Carrollton Avenue and this salon, A Touch of Elegance 2. In the midst of opening those two salons, we closed the daycare center and I do miss the kids. In total, I’ve been in business for about 30 years.


I like to have my hands in everything. I had a boutique on Magazine Street, I was printing t-shirts, I was selling hair and beauty supplies--I was doing a lot. Over time, I had to let some things go.


What makes New Orleans businesses so special?

Lilbo: Most New Orleans businesses have their different feels. Some are a little fancier here, and others are more cultural like our business. My family is all Mardi Gras Indians.


Who are your ideal customers?

Laurita: We patronize to all. Our salon really balances itself out because one side is a barbershop and the other side is a beauty salon. We get as many women as men coming in. Since we started our business, we never wanted to patronize only one side.


Lilbo: Everyone cuts everyone. Our stylists cut different types of hair: Caucasian, Black, and more. In this neighborhood, I think we are in the wrong area to be stuck on one type of person. I used to do hair just for one race because I was scared of everybody’s hair texture, but I had to get out of that. In this area we are close to St. Charles and hotels, so we get all kinds of people that walk in. As the neighborhoods here have different people moving in, you get all kinds of people coming through.


If your shop was a cocktail, what kind would it be?


Laurita: I would say a margarita. That’s my favorite cocktail. It’s elegant, feminine, and it’s a cool and refreshing drink. I think we have a cool salon.


Describe your business in a few words.


Lilbo: At A Touch of Elegance, you might come in looking one way, but you’re gonna leave looking another. When you walk out of here, you’ll feel good about yourself. That’s what it’s all about. You may come into the shop, you know, feeling a little down and rugged, but you’ll leave with your chest puffed out.






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Shopkeeper Stories