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20 Questions

My New Orleans: 20 Questions with Hattie Moll

Pick up something pretty at Hattie Sparks (Photo: Paul Broussard)

When I walked into Hattie Sparks, Hattie Moll’s Uptown boutique, I was partially disappointed I was on the job. This charming New Orleans shop is like a quirky, Southern living room that happens to have some stylish clothing and jewelry on display. I’ll admit that I got sucked in and spent a few minutes browsing the racks while Hattie waited patiently for me to remember why I came. When I apologized for dawdling, she just smiled. “I put a lot of thought into the layout of the store,” she said. “I wanted to design a space that invites people to discover.”

We took a walk down Maple Street to Satsuma, one of Hattie’s favorite nearby lunch spots. She told me she loved being in the Maple Street area. “All the shops here are very different,” she said. “We really support one another. If I don’t have something a customer is looking for, I send them to the closest store where they might have better luck.” As we walked, I noticed a consignment shop, a shoe store, a coffee house, and several restaurants. “This neighborhood has really exploded in recent years,” Hattie told me.

Hattie got the idea for Hattie Sparks when she was working at Anthropologie a few years back, but she finally took the plunge in February of 2012. “I’ve always loved the experience of shopping,” she said. “Finding a line that no one else has discovered can be such a thrill.” So Hattie put her experience as a shopper to work.

Pick up something pretty at Hattie Sparks (Photo: Paul Broussard)

“I noticed there weren’t many places for New Orleans shopping where a high school girl and her mom could shop together and both find something they love,” Hattie said. “I wanted to fill that niche.” Hattie says she knows her store is a success when she hears customers say, “We can find things here that we can’t find anywhere else.”

“I try to find designers that aren’t sold in other New Orleans stores,” Hattie said. Her favorite designer is Camilyn Beth, from Sarasota, Florida. “I was the first person to carry her wholesale,” Hattie said. “Now, Camilyn has her stuff made here in New Orleans.”

Hattie carries several other New Orleans clothing designers, including Jolie and ElizabethAshlie Ming, and Amanda Deleon. New Orleans jewelry lines include Ellen L and St. Claude.

Visit Hattie Sparks at 714 Adams Street in Uptown New Orleans during regular hours, or stop by for one of Hattie’s regular after-hours shopping events. Don’t miss the next one on Wednesday, July 17th from 6 – 9 pm. Shoppers get 15% off and a glass of bubbly!

20 Questions with Hattie Moll

1. Who is your favorite New Orleanian, dead or alive, real or imagined?

Steve Gleason. He’s a testament to the power of the human spirit and is an example of how to gracefully face uncertainty and adversity.

2. What first brought you to New Orleans?

I moved to New Orleans in the summer of 2008 to work on a Master’s Degree in Art History at Tulane. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the city, and soon after that, to fall in love with a boy. Education brought me here, but love kept me here.

3. In your opinion – what’s the best neighborhood in New Orleans?

My first Uptown neighborhood – State & Laurel, or the “Sliver by the River” – may have been my favorite. I was in a cute one-bedroom shotgun that was just the perfect little New Orleans house. It was great being so close to Audubon Park, St. Charles Avenue, and Magazine Street.

4. City Park or Audubon Park?

City Park.

5. Describe the best meal you’ve eaten in New Orleans?

It’s tough to pick just one, so I’ll narrow it down to two. My husband took me to Bayona for my birthday a couple of years ago, and it was absolutely unreal – I wanted to go hug Susan Spicer after we’d finished eating.  The second would have to be the meal served at our wedding. We were lucky enough to have Chef Nathanial Zimet (of Boucherie) at the helm!

6. Where’s your favorite brunch spot?

Elizabeth’s in the Bywater. I always get the same thing – Eggs Elizabeth.

7. What’s your favorite po-boy?  Where do you go to get it?

Fried shrimp, fully dressed with extra pickles, from Parkway Bakery and Tavern.

8. You’ve got friends visiting and it’s their first time in New Orleans – where are you taking them?

Dinner at Boucherie, drinks at The Delachaise, Frenchmen Street for live music, Lafitte’s for a purple drink, and Camellia Grill to end the night (if we make it that far). Elizabeth’s for brunch the next morning, and if the weather is nice, a little time up at The Fly in Audubon Park.

9. What’s your favorite neighborhood bar?

Henry’s Bar. They have the coldest beer in the city!

10. What is your favorite New Orleans cocktail and where do you go to get it?

I like the Pimm’s Cup at Napoleon House.

11. Snowball or Daiquiri? Where from and what flavor?

Snowball. I get the sugar-free ice cream from Plum Street. Not only do they have the best flavors, but they’re sweet enough to deliver to me when I’m stuck at the shop alone.

12. Best spot to see live music?

One Eyed Jack’s or d.b.a.

13. Favorite New Orleans musician or band?

Kristin Diable and Hurray for the Riff Raff. I also love seeing Robin Barnes perform at the Polo Club Lounge.

14. Favorite New Orleans Festival?

Po-boy Fest. Our good friends own Haase’s on Oak Street, so we grab a few sandwiches and watch the action from their rooftop with an ice chest of beer.

15. Favorite Mardi Gras parade?

Tucks. The plungers and little friars just kill me. Plus, their floats are always hilarious.

16. Where do you shop in New Orleans?

While it’s easy to pull from my own store, I’d rather get out there and support other businesses. I always find great stuff at Swap on Maple. Gae-Tana’s has the best shoes. I hit Angelique or Azby’s if I need something extra special, and Hazelnut or Loomed Nola for gifts.

17. What is your favorite New Orleans museum?

NOMA.

18. Where do you go to watch The Saints play?

My husband’s family has had season tickets since the Saints played their first game in 1967, so if they are playing at home, we’re in the Dome at the 45-yard line yelling at the top of our lungs. If they’re away, we watch at home with friends. He likes to turn the TV volume down and listen to the WWL radio commentary.

19. Describe New Orleans in one word.

Unforgettable.

20. When was the last time you fell in love with New Orleans and why?

It’s usually in the simplest moments. I’ll look around me and realize that whatever it is I’m doing may seem ordinary to me but, in fact, it can’t be experienced anywhere else.

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