It's harder to find made-in-Louisiana goods than shoppers might think. "People don't realize that buying something in a local shop doesn't mean the item is locally made," says Emily Brauninger, creator of the online boutique Mama Roux (504-717-7877; www.facebook.com/mamarouxnola) which celebrates its one-year anniversary this fall. "But I make sure that everything I'm selling is 100 percent from here."
Brauninger's selection of home and fashion accessories is made by Louisiana artists including Ashley Celeste, Aaron Damon and Cassie Tarr. A history major at the University of New Orleans, Brauninger uses her knowledge to focus her inventory. "When I think about New Orleans, I'm not really thinking about fleurs-de-lis and footballs," she says. "I'm more interested in the music and the history of New Orleans, and so my goal was to make a store about that."
Brauninger's passion for New Orleans culture comes from a love for its traditions. The name of her business refers to the Dr. John song of the same name. "I've lived here my whole life," Brauninger says. "I'm 23 years old and I just went to my 23rd Jazz Fest."
Her business is a one-woman operation: Brauninger sells and buys through her Facebook page. "It's all me and it's all right there for everyone," she says. She hopes to open a storefront in the next five years.
"Hopefully ... somewhere like Magazine Street, so it would be an upscale area with funky items," she says. "This is the greatest city on earth; there's no need to shop at big-box or chain stores. If everyone bought things totally from here, I just think the [local] economy could skyrocket."