"Whatcha need, baby?”
This is how my greatest experience ever at a drug store began—with acknowledgment, attentiveness and just a smidgen of attitude that seemed to say, “You and I are in this together.”
When I look over the results of this year’s Best of 225 survey, I’m impressed with the amount of skill, hard work and ingenuity embodied by our many winners. I’m proud, too. These are your favorite people, places and restaurants for good reason. They do what they do extremely well.
But when I think back on the past year, it is difficult for me to pinpoint just a few things that make this city memorable. Instead, I keep thinking of experiences that do the same—and maybe more.
And that is why Courtney at CVS makes my personal “best of” list. There was nothing but the glow of corporate halogen lighting above, but I swear I felt the skies part to let her customer service shine through. When she realized her pharmacy would not be able to fill my prescription for four days, she grabbed my insurance card, called a competitor and asked them to rush the prescription through before their 7 p.m. closing time. It was 6:51, and they did.
When I think of unique customer service experiences such as this, I also think of Micah Nickens. He’s a veteran stylist and the owner of Gaudet Bros., a boutique salon and barbershop on Perkins Road. Beyond his obvious talent, Micah is a master of creating memorable experiences for his clients.
Inside his cozy studio, coffee is often brewing. His walls are decorated with vintage artwork and bold Chip Osborne paintings. When it’s cool, the doors are flung open. Micah has introduced me to London-based Port magazine, with which I am now mildly obsessed, and a number of folky bands—yes, The Wood Brothers really are that good—and he always has vintage books and sundry curiosities lying around just waiting to be discovered.
While he works, we wrestle with what’s going on in this city of ours. It’s like being engrossed in a 30-minute conversation with a friend at an art gallery, but by the end of it your hair just happens to look a lot better.
Gaudet Bros. must be the best-kept secret of the Garden District, and for that, getting my hair cut there makes my list of best experiences this year.
But perhaps my absolute favorite was a concert at Haven Gallery & Listening Room. Invitation only, this intimate event was crafted as a last-minute send-off for local musician Jacob Zachary, who moved to Memphis with his wife Aimee shortly afterward. Inside the cozy downtown duplex-turned-venue—below which Jacob used to live—Luke Ash, Barrett Black, Ryan Harris, Denton Hatcher, Ben Herrington, Clay Parker and Peter Simon, some of Baton Rouge’s most talented songwriters, gathered to play Jacob’s songs back to him in tribute.
Far from somber, the concert was, at times, a raucous, howling affair nearly riding off the rails in its abandon—a once-in-a-lifetime collision of talent, gratitude and joy that wholly exorcised the sorrow of Jacob’s departure on the altar of his memorable music.
After each performer covered Jacob’s songs, they offered to play him his favorite of their own, asking, “Which one do you want to hear?”
Whatcha need, baby?
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Bad Guys, Good Eats! Pop-Up Dinner at Restaurant IPO
Chef and 225 contributor Jay D. Ducote and Chef Chris Wadsworth hosted the Bad Guys, Good Eats! dinner at Restaurant IPO Wednesday night. The dinner was themed around famous movie villains, pairing cocktails and ales with plates of food resembling famous baddies like The Joker, Lord Voldemort, Hannibal Lector, and many others. The highlights of the night were the three middle courses—a black bean soup laced with blood sausage to signify Lord Voldemort, a brace of coneys on black eyed peas resembling Sauron, and lamb medallions atop a fava bean puree to pay homage to the famous favorite of Hannibal Lector.
Elizabeth Arkley Hammett, a local nursing student and Fur Ball co-coordinator, and her husband Grey Hammett III, who works in commercial real estate, will take you through our summer guide. And they'll look good while doing it, too. Where noted, their clothes and accessories are available from local retailers.
These swimsuits will keep you stylish all summer long
Better Block BR
On Saturday the two blocks between Bedford and Beverly drives on April 13, 2013, residents will get to see a model of what Government Street could look like if we push local and state officials to update the roadway to a safer, more "complete street" model.