30 Southern essentials that have stood the test of time
Trends come and go, but there are certain Capital City staples with staying power. For our 30th anniversary, we have identified 30 of our favorite south Louisiana classics that never go out of style:
It has been used on linen napkins, children’s clothing, notecards, pillows and purses in the South for years. Now this preppy personalization symbol adorns everything from beach towels to stemware. We especially love inRegister’s monogram in watercolor (pictured above).
One sip of this frothy sensation will send you back to simpler times. Dearman’s Soda Shop (a Baton Rouge favorite for over 50 years) rose from the ashes two years ago when it reopened after a kitchen fire, and its shakes and malts always hit the spot.
“Picture perfect” first started with formal paintings of royalty and dignitaries. No wonder Southerners held onto this distinguished form of art for their own homes. Portraits have long been a tradition here—even in the age of instant imagery. A couple commissioned local artist Keith Andry to paint watercolor portraits of their children when each turned five, including this one named “Sarah Elizabeth.”
Haspel seersucker suit
In 1909, Joseph Haspel Sr. created a suit out of lightweight Indian fabric as a solution for Louisiana’s blazing summer heat. Fast-forward 110 years, and this iconic Southern staple—now being sold direct to consumers—is still turning heads and making a statement on the social circuit today.
When inRegister launched in 1989, owners Chris Russo Blackwood and Wanda Horn embraced the hat as a symbol of the social magazine, even wearing them to every event they attended. Hats have never gone out of style down here, and are a must at everything from Kentucky Derby parties to the Symphony League’s Mad Hatters luncheon.
Dogs that hunt
And fetch! We live near the best waterways and woodlands for hunting deer, ducks and geese. Many households here have hunting dogs who double up as family pets, happy to retrieve everything from Blue-winged Teal to tennis balls.
Bevolo copper lanterns
In 1945, skilled metalworker Andrew Bevolo Sr. joined forces with renowned Louisiana architect A. Hays Town and—utilizing a hand riveting technique rather than brittle soldered joints—created what would eventually become the French Quarter lamp. Still handcrafted and taking two days to produce a single fixture, this lighting is a true fixture on homes throughout the South and beyond.
Before kids were dancing the shoot or floss, they were putting on their fancy clothes and learning the jitterbug and the waltz. Ahh, the good ol’ days. Thankfully for parents, cotillion classes are still popular in the South, where young people learn everything from the proper way to use a knife to salsa steps. Save the dab for your YouTube page.
We live most of our lives on the east side of the levee and forget that this powerful river helps define our city. But one stroll along the waterway at sunset, and the magnitude of this natural resource stops us in our tracks (and encourages us to pull out our camera phone!).
Cast iron skillet
Home chefs swear by this cooking essential that has been used in Southern kitchens since the beginning of the last century. Perfect for searing beef, cooking stews and making out-of-this-world, down-home cornbread among many other staples. And a passed-down skillet from your grandmother is a keepsake.
Service for 12
Registries for brides have changed greatly in the past few decades, but that doesn’t mean formal china patterns no longer have a place at the table. These are a few of our favorites—sure to stand the test of time.
Mint julep cups
These pewter cups are perfect for holding the iconic mint julep drink (extra crushed mint, please!) as well as brightening a tablescape as a vase for roses or peonies. Engraved with a monogram, mint julep cups become the ultimate Southern hostess gift.
Junior League cookbooks
The Junior League of Baton Rouge’s River Road Recipes has experienced a lifespan as esteemed as the 87-year-old organization itself, with more than 1.4 million copies sold since 1959. It’s landed in the hands of every first lady since Pat Nixon. And, thanks to its 80th printing two years ago, Louisianans can rest assured that their favorite dishes—from Spinach Madeleine to Sensation Salad—will remain in print for decades to come.
Porches are very Southern, but courtyards are quintessential south Louisiana. Beyond garden gates, these brick exterior rooms offer lush landscaping, fountains and a much-coveted sense of privacy.
A Confederacy of Dunces
A must-have for any south Louisiana library. This book was published in 1980 thanks, in part, to author Walker Percy who recognized the genius in it 11 years after John Kennedy Toole’s death. It won the Pulitzer in 1981, and still engages readers with its humor and its stunning depiction of the people and culture of New Orleans.
Girls in white dresses
No longer an official introduction of daughters into proper society, debutante balls are now a symbol of celebrating young women and are often tied to charitable contributions. It’s a ceremony steeped in tradition—and the South still embraces it today.
This restaurant has been a downtown institution since 1967, serving brunch, plate lunch specials and—especially—spectacular po-boys. Get one dressed (mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles) on French bread for an authentic Capital City experience.
One hundred years ago, Cap Saurage established this coffee company in downtown Baton Rouge after roasting coffee beans in a barn behind his house and selling the blends in his grocery store. Today it is the largest family-owned retail coffee brand in the United States and is sold in stores in 22 states. “There is no doubt in my mind,” Community Coffee chairman Matt Saurage told inRegister, “that we owe a lot of our recognition nationally and internationally to our consumers here at home.”
A handwritten note is personal, but calligraphy takes this note to an art form. Ideal for the envelopes of special events—everything from wedding to recruitment—this sophisticated scroll continues to be one for the books.
Saturday night in Tiger Stadium
Nothing like it. More than 100,000 fans filling the stadium intimidate LSU football opponents as much as the players themselves. The explosion of the crowd in 1988, when Tiger quarterback Tommy Hodson threw a winning touchdown, caused an earth tremor that registered on a seismograph meter. Since then, goal posts have come down and tailgates have taken off. Hold on to your hats, as beer and wine will be sold this season throughout the stadium. Geaux!
This humble jewel has been the staple of every Southern woman’s wardrobe for decades—a single strand is perfect to perk up a summer frock, and layering multiple strands and lengths creates drama. The perfect gift for inRegister’s 30th anniversary!
These classic wardrobes, typically antique French and English, were once used for stashing clothing and linens. More recently—when homeowners wanted to hide their big, bulky TVs—armoires became a must-have for traditional interiors. These days, even modern homes benefit from this iconic piece of the past.
So very feminine while still being on trend at every turn. Scarves have covered heads and adorned necks and are now being tied (again!) in the hair for colorful flair. A style made even the more sultry by Sofia Loren.
Mardi Gras queens
What would a Mardi Gras ball be without a queen? Beaded, flocked and fabulous, these ladies put the rev in south Louisiana revelry.
Goodbye, beige walls! Colorful wallpaper—adorning rooms in America since the 1730s—are again staging a comeback worth complimenting. From (not-your-mother’s) chintz to large graphics and room-wrapping murals, wallpaper is once again a household name.
Pinch the tail and suck the head. This south Louisiana spring ritual is an anomaly to those outside the region, but it’s almost religious to us.
Dating back to the late 1800s, when the leisure class donned white to keep from showing perspiration while playing tennis, the all-white rule took to the courts. Wimbledon’s strict white dress code, set in the Victorian era, still exists today. As it does on courts across the city. Game, set, match.
Coffee Call beignets
Recently heralded by Food & Wine in the article “The Best Beignets in New Orleans are in Baton Rouge.” Yeah, they are. Kudos to Coffee Call for beating out Café du Monde and encouraging food lovers to actually drive out of New Orleans and experience other south Louisiana staples worth sampling. This Baton Rouge mainstay makes breakfast worth celebrating.
Louisiana’s most popular shrub goes into full bloom in the spring, creating a bright, abundant splash of color throughout the city. Almost every yard boasts a variety of these beauties, and the azaleas lining the allées and streets are worth a Sunday drive.
Every south Louisiana host worth his or her salt needs a bevy of spirits at the ready. This rolling cart is stocked completely with Louisiana products sure to please.