Good Neighbor interesting conversations with inspiring locals January 2015
Laura Kidd Hurt
by Pat Saik
Wearing a stag horn headdress adorned with pheasant feathers, Laura Kidd Hurt—with a plait of black hair over one shoulder-- could be mistaken for an ancient Celtic princess.
Laura—born and raised in Bay St. Louis—has costuming in her soul, and loves to dress-up at the drop of a hat. This is a woman who wears a different outfit during every day of the Mardi Gras season that she's in the Crescent City.
Laura not only loves to costume, she loves to costume in her own designs. Creating fancy headpieces, using feathers as one of her favorite materials, Laura discovered her talent for creative design just a few years ago. She made a headpiece of her own for Mardi Gras and friends began asking her to make headpieces for them, too.
Encouraged by friends and “pushed by Martha Whitney” (a Main Street entrepreneur, good friend and Cleaver columnist) Laura began taking special orders for headdresses. Women who march in the popular Krewe du Vieux parade have become fans, appreciating the headpieces not only for their eye-catching design but also because of their comfort—lightweight and capable of being worn for several hours, as one must while parading.
Laura’s special muse is music, especially live music. For each concert or performance she attends, she makes a special headdress for that particular concert. She even plans vacations around who may be playing where.
When she is working on a headpiece, Laura listens to music for inspiration. A special love of all kinds of New Orleans music—funk, jazz, brass band, blues—draws Laura to the Crescent City to catch this band or that singer as often as she can get there.
“I get my best ideas when I’m listening to music.”
Laura now has her own internet business, LalaLand. Each piece she makes is unique, and usually by special order. “I prefer at least a month in advance for orders. Some particular order may take a month to create; others may take weeks. A selection of completed headpieces is on sale at The French Potager in Old Town.
Laura’s love for all music New Orleans must be in her genes. Her parents, Kathy and Kenny Hurt, grew up in Chalmette and St. Bernard, where brass bands and second lines created a sound-scape so many New Orleanians cherish. Not to mention Mardi Gras traditions where everybody costumes.
Many people in the community know Laura’s mother, Kathy Hurt, who works for Hancock County. Laura’s dad, Kenny Hurt, served as Waveland’s Chief of Police after Katrina.
Many “Bayrats” and others along the coast know Laura as the barista supreme at the Mockingbird Café. Laura has worked at “The Bird” since Hurricane Katrina ravaged Bay St. Louis; she handles the management of this special spot with poise and panache.
“I have met the best people working here,” Laura says. “I know volunteers who came to help us out after Katrina and then just decided to move here. In fact, I’ve never met a person who didn’t fall in love with Bay St. Louis.”
Her work at the Mockingbird has led her to meeting people from all over the United States and throughout the world. Often her customers are people traveling through the Gulf Coast who want to explore Bay St. Louis.
It is no surprise to Laura that people who visit Bay St. Louis wind up living here. Laura herself “loves living here. It’s a great, laid-back community where everybody helps each other out.”
“Old Town Bay St. Louis keeps getting better and better,” Laura smiles. “I feel very at home here.”
Asking Laura about any advice to the community, it’s “Costumes for Everything!” Laura takes a moment and adds, “It’s more fun that way. You get more attention, too.”
Fair to say that Laura makes an excellent suggestion and one that the people of Waveland and Bay St. Louis heartily embrace.
The Good Neighbor Column is sponsored by
Gulf Coast Woman Magazine
Good Neighbor Columnist Pat Saik has been writing for the Cleaver since 2011. Read the complete Good Neighbor series in the Cleaver archives (three articles to a page, at the bottom of page, hit "previous" to see more!)
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