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Local family is loco for coconuts They re in her thoughts, in her dreams, and when she wakes each morning, they re scattered all over her house. "Every year, I say, George, we aren t making coconuts for Zulu anymore, and look here, this year we re going to make 7,000," said Lafargue, whose husband, George, is a veteran rider and member of the Soulful Warriors float in the Zulu parade. "I just said to him 10 minutes ago, I am not doing this again. But I know deep down, this is in our family now, and we re never going stop glittering these things. For George, Carnival isn t so much a dream as a way of life. He fondly recalls waking up early on Mardi Gras morning to watch the parade pass along St. Claude Avenue with his father. "Before we got married, Chanel asked me what my interests were, and I told her right from the start: I ve got to have those four days of Carnival," he said. "Those are my days. I live for them every year. "To me Katrina (was) a lesson in how important all of our traditions are, and how even if we lost every material thing we own, we still have our culture and our families. While some folks want to make Mardi Gras into a party that s about drinking and carrying on, that s not what Carnival is to me or my children." For 16 years, Lafargue, the owner of George s Produce in Gretna, has enlisted the aid of his entire family to decorate coconuts. Most are made for himself or at cost for his fellow float riders; whatever is left is sold in batches of 50 to other krewe members. Kathy Anderson/Times PicayuneChanel Lafargue and her daughter, Jolet, glittered 7,000 coconuts for this year s Zulu parade. "It s a good thing for us that we do love Carnival, because selling coconuts wouldn t rebuild our house, that s for sure," said George, who moved to the West Bank while making repairs to his storm damaged 9th Ward home. "We try to price them based on the market price." When they started their coconut assembly line in the early 90s, George s daughter, Jolet, now 17, had to kneel on a kitchen chair to apply glitter. This year, Jolet s 5 year old brother, George III, is pitching in. "Every year you start out loving it, being all creative and adding fun stuff like feathers and such," said Jolet, who can often be found after school glittering coconuts while still in her Ursuline Academy uniform. "Then you get to your first thousand, and you re just exhausted. "My fear is my dad s going to insist I stay somewhere close to home for college so I can always be here to decorate coconuts!" Coconut production is Fashion Moncler Down Jackets Women Brown a months long process. It typically starts in October, when the coconuts are priced and ordered. When the shipment arrives, each one must be sanded free of their coconut fuzz and smooth enough to cover in black, silver or gold paint. Once the decorating begins, the family typically completes 500 or more coconuts each week. Each family member has his or her role: Little George loads up a cart and hauls the dry coconuts off to his mother and sister, who glitter them as they run the produce store s cash register. While his parents are still wary Moncler 2012 Women of letting their son work with paint and glue, the young man already seems confident he ll one day lead the family s coconut operation. "I actually did 500 already for my dad s friend," George III said. "I cleaned them, I painted them, I glittered them. And one day, when my daddy s not here no more, I will take his place. I will make sure everyone gets the coconuts they need." Chanel said no matter how tiring it can be, she treasures the time spent with her children creating so many wonderful memories. Every year, she said, there s bound to be glitter explosions, paint mishaps and cracked coconuts that create huge messes yet leave the family with another year s worth of stories and laughs. There s also the important history lessons that come along with the project. Her husband, she said, considers himself a veritable coconut professor. Kathy Anderson/Times PicayuneThe Lafargue family produces more than 500 coconuts each week between Thanksgiving and Mardi Gras each year. "There s always someone who ll come in here and see what we re doing and not have a clue what a Zulu coconut is," Chanel said. "My children could probably recite in their sleep what their father tells anyone who ll listen about coconuts and their meaning to the organization and the city of New Orleans. I know, though, within those speeches are lessons which I believe they ll one day pass on to their children." Jolet hopes to study international business one day, and she said she knows she ll be a better businesswoman because of her experience decorating coconuts. "What we re doing is important to keeping the traditions of our city alive," Jolet said. "As tired as you may get and no matter how much school work there is Monlcer Waistcoat - Women Vest Blue to complete, we ve made a commitment, as a family, to create beautiful coconuts that will be done and completed on time," she said. "We have a responsibility, and my dad has taught me in business you never want to let your customers down." When George started riding in Zulu, he said, he never imagined the creation of homemade throws would become a central part of his family s shared experience. But much like Chanel, he said, he wouldn t have it any other way. "I work six days a week, 15 hours a day for these two weeks," George said. "To me, it s worth every minute of hard work all year long to celebrate during Mardi Gras. "I learned a long time ago that money can t buy happiness. Happiness can only be found where there is love, family and good times. Now if that don t describe Carnival, then I don t know how else to explain it."
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Local Hair Salons Hit the Pages of Essence Magazine Congratulations to Ryan Foster and Duafe hair salons. Both were mentioned in the February issue of Essence for being hot go to places for black women. (This is true, as I ve had my locks twisted at both establishments.) It s clear that owners Syreeta Scott (Duafe) and Anika Thompson (Ryan Foster) know what s up. Ryan Foster is located 1517 West Girard Avenue. (215) 843 0116. Duafe Holistic Hair Care 3510 Scotts Lane, (267) 297 7656. For more information, check page 48 of the February Essence Magazine. Congratulations to Ryan Foster and Duafe hair salons. Both were mentioned in the February issue Moncler Women Zip Purple Down Jackets of Essence for being hot go to places for black women. (This is true, as I ve had my locks twisted at both establishments.) It s clear that owners Syreeta Scott (Duafe) and Anika Thompson (Ryan Foster) know what s up. Ryan Foster is located 1517 West Girard Avenue. (215) 843 0116. Duafe Holistic Hair Care 3510 Scotts Lane, (267) 297 7656. For more information, check page 48 of the February Essence Magazine. I TMm a Libra so I TMm all about pretty things. We of the scales sign know what we like, and our standards are high. So I can Moncler K2 Multiple Logo Women Vest Cream TMt help but love fashion " one day I will get that Diane von Furstenberg wrap and those Christian Louboutin shoes. And fragrances? My favorite Moncler Jackets Official Website right now is Chanel Mademoiselle. As for makeup, can we say MAC? So let TMs thank the Greek goddess of beauty, Aphrodite, that a true fashionista can find everything she needs right here in Philly. I TMve covered fashion here for six years, and I have traveled to New York, Los Angeles and Paris to write about local and national designers. Let me tell you, there is no place where people wear midnight Eagles green or Phillies red with such wild abandon as they do on the west side of the Ben Franklin Bridge.