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New Orleanians spice up facemask fashion


NEW ORLEANS — New Orleanians know a thing about style, imagination, color and flare, so is it really surprising that masks with unique styles are taking off as the COVID-19 pandemic continues?

Along Magazine street Wednesday, masks were as common as closed signs but as Devin Ricks, rocking a Saints mask, points out — if you’ve got to cover your face, best to make a statement.

“Oh yea. We gotta represent,” said Ricks, speaking with WWLTV’s Paul Dudley. “We are a championship team and a championship city.”

With more and more requirements for masks and face covers, the demand has skyrocketed for ones that are more comfortable and a bit more fashion-forward.

“If that’s all we have to do is wear a mask and stay safe, let’s do it,” said Bryan Batt with Hazelnut on Magazine. “But we’ve got to do it in style.”

Batt says they’ve been getting calls like crazy and shipments are now on the way.

“Since we always have a sense of community and sense of fun we decided at Hazelnut to do some fun masks,” said Batt. “So we have the Veuve Clicquot , the Hermes, the New Orleans toile and the map of New Orleans.”


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Many people have also been making masks from home including nurse and member of the baby dolls of Mardi Gras, Christina Bragg. 

“I am a nurse, and I actually work from home now. I was thinking about what I could do to be a little bit more useful since I am not on the front lines,” said Bragg. “So, I started making masks for family and friends. I sell masks, and I use the proceeds to make masks for baby dolls.”

The idea of wearing a mask might seem new but Julianne Lagniappe has been making and selling masks since Burning Man 10 years ago.

“There are dust storms out there, but you still got to dance,” said Lagniappe. 

Wednesday, inside her Uptown studio, she has scraps of spandex she’s been collecting for years. The $20 to $50 per mask has added a bit of stability during rocky times. Now she’s paying it forward.

“I’ve donated several masks to burlesque performers doing online gigs — as well as musicians, so they can wear their mask and still play their saxophone,” said Lagniappe. 

It’s important to know that reusable masks aren’t as effective as N-95s, but the CDC says they do help. Remember to always wear the mask over your nose and mouth.

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