Before the folks behind Beausoleil Books built a coffee shop or a bar to go inside their new boutique, they checked with their neighbors — the cafes and bars in Downtown Lafayette. They settled on a wine bar: something new to the fabric of Jefferson Street and something that wouldn’t compete.
That’s the “shop local” response to behemoth retail. Collaboration. Neighborliness.
Bryan Dupree and his three business partners created Beausoleil to bring new literature and ideas to Lafayette and to celebrate the French language. They stock new fiction and classic and cookbooks, in English and French. Their wine bar, The Whisper Room, is coming later.
A big part of what you get at a local shop like Beausoleil is personalized experience. There’s nothing more personal than style, especially when what you wear is fashioned by hand, like a work of fine art.
Hat-maker Colby Hebert’s shop The Cajun Hatter is another newcomer to Downtown Lafayette, but his hats have been in demand since he first started making them in 2016. His brand took off in New Orleans, where he also spent time in the film industry, both as an actor and in costume production. He found his way back to Acadiana in 2020.
Hat-making has seen something of an explosion recently. Four years ago, Colby was one of a few dozen hat makers in the U.S. Today, there are hundreds. Being a Cajun Hatter, makes Colby one of a kind.