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1200 Robert E. Lee Blvd (11:00 AM- 9:00 PM)
The Holy Trinity Cathedral is inviting Grecophiles of all ages out to Bayou St. John for goat burgers, traditional music and dancing, and regional libations
Zephyr Field (2:00 PM)
New Orleans baseball against the Omaha Storm Chasers
NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden (5:00 PM)
The NOLA Project presents this festive comedy that pits two of Shakespeare's most beloved characters in a war of words and wits
Art Klub, 513 Elysian Fields Ave (8:00 PM)
An interactive and sparkling performance presented by Nari Tomassetti
Shadowbox Theatre (8:00 PM)
Straightforward conversational drama explores one area's gentrification through 50 years
Hot 8 Brass Band
Howlin’ Wolf Den (10:00PM)
Weekly gig from some of the city’s best in brass
Joe Krown feat. Russell Batiste and Walter "Wolfman" Washington
Maple Leaf (10:30PM)
Weekly gig on Oak with Krown on the organ, Washington firing up the guitar strings, and Batiste on the drums.
Zephyr Field (1:00 PM)
New Orleans baseball against the Omaha Storm Chasers
The Healing Center (7:00 PM)
The French Alliance’s Cine-Club screens a French romantic film with English Subtitles
Hi-Ho Lounge (8:00 PM)
King James & the Special Men
Charmaine Neville Band
New Orleans Jazz Vipers
Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes
The Seersucker Story
Summer Suit Originated in New Orleans
With summer licking its chops, the Ogden Museum gives us a reason to dig out the lightweight garb once again Friday night with its annual Sippin' in Seersucker event. Before we rediscover how airy dressing up can be, Brad Rhines takes the measure of the famed Southern suits New Orleans origins.
Like gumbo, jazz, and Mardi Gras, the seersucker suit is a New Orleans original. It was Joseph Haspel who first turned the pedestrian cloth into dapper duds, manufacturing the suits at his Broad Street factory.
Founded in 1909, Haspel’s is now a fourth-generation family business, and in advance of the Ogden Museum’s annual Sippin’ in Seersucker event, we checked in with Laurie Aronson, Joseph Haspel’s great-granddaughter, to talk about the iconic, if not ironic, Southern wardrobe staple.
The lightweight cotton cloth first gained popularity in the Western world during Britain’s colonial period, and the word “seersucker” comes from the Persian "shir o shekar", meaning "milk and sugar", most likely a reference to the alternating textures of the fabric. As seersucker began to catch on in the United States, the cool cloth was perfect for folks working in warmer climates.
“Back in the days before air conditioning when it was so hot, particularly in the South,” said Aronson, “seersucker was traditionally worn as a laborer’s clothes.”
In fact, Joseph Haspel first used seersucker as a material for overalls. Soon, however, he realized the potential for business apparel. According to Aronson, her great-grandfather understood that “hot is hot, no matter what you do for a living.”
Haspel famously demonstrated the versatility of his wash-and-wear suits on a business trip to Florida, where he jumped into the Atlantic Ocean fully clothed, hung his suit out to dry, and then wore it to a trade show later that evening.
“Not only did it become popular with the businessman,” said Aronson, “it became popular with the Ivy Leaguers and became a sophisticated, preppy look. Haspel really was the originator of prep.”
Some regard the suit’s popularity with college kids as a kind of reverse snobbery, making seersucker suits the trucker caps of the 1920s.
Today, the suits remain popular with a wide swath of fashion-minded men, from distinguished Southern lawyers to young scamps about town.
“When my great-grandfather pioneered it, he really did it out of necessity,” said Aronson, “and I don’t think he originally intended for it to be such a fashion statement as it has become.”
“Seersucker is all about the attitude,” she added, “and it takes on the personality of the person who’s wearing it. It can have an equally sharp look whether it’s suited up with a tie and a button-down or just a seersucker jacket and a pair of jeans.”
Expect to see plenty of variations on the classic style Friday night at the Ogden’s Sippin’ in Seersucker event, where patrons will be judged on their outfits by burlesque queen Trixie Minx and two-time Seersucker ensemble winner Tony Lamanna. The event is hosted by the Kohlmeyer Circle, a group of young art and cultural enthusiasts who creatively support the mission of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Sippin’ in Seersucker features food from local restaurants, including The American Sector, Cochon Butcher, and Ste. Marie, along with drinks from the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Los Hombres Calientes provide the music, evoking the tropical climates best suited to the signature suits.
For Aronson, events like Sippin’ in Seersucker represent the fun, social nature that has evolved from the suit her great-grandfather originated.
“I think he would be so pleased,” she said. “People randomly have sent us copies of articles and pictures of different seersucker events across the country over the years. Seersucker is everywhere. I love the fact that the Ogden has done this for the last couple of years. It’s just a great event.”
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