A bohemian tea party pulled together by Red Stick Picnic Company made for the perfect celebration for three young friends. Photo courtesy Morgan McGraw Sansone

House party provisions: Creative additions to at-home celebrations

Country artist Sam Hunt said it best: “If you’re gonna be a homebody, we’re gonna have a house party.” And while being a homebody is less of a choice these days, the opportunity to host at home is a blessing in disguise, especially considering the innovative businesses launched by locals in the past year. From traveling taps to organic cotton candy, these Baton Rougeans have shown the boundlessness that comes with the combination of creativity and passion. Each of these businesses aims to help make the celebration of major milestones both special and safe by encouraging outdoor get-togethers and distanced crowds.

Little Things

Sometimes it’s the small stuff that makes the biggest impact. In the age of COVID-19, that means parties. Intimate gatherings are the new standard, but that doesn’t mean celebrations are any less significant.

“Our kids were graduating and we didn’t have any options but to do things at home to try to make it special,” explains Lori Tucker-Day, who launched party-planning company Baton Bougie House Party with her friend Melanie Wascom in response to the pandemic. “That’s when we realized that we could use our talents to make other people’s downsized celebrations special, because the milestones keep happening regardless.”

Both Baton Bougie House Party and Red Stick Picnic Company, owned by Morgan McGraw Sansone, work with brides, birthday boys and girls, retirees and more to bring a little something extra by delving into themes in highly stylized ways. Outdoor “glamping” experiences are popular, with tents set up in backyards complete with beds and projector screens.

“The best part is having people tell us to just go for it,” says Sansone, “and then seeing their faces when it all comes together.” @redstickpicnics and

Sweet Talk

When Le DOODLE owner Whitney Presley was preparing for her son’s first birthday party at the beginning of 2020, she stumbled upon something surprisingly life changing: organic cotton candy. Though it was only available in far-flung places like Los Angeles at the time, Presley wanted to bring the creation to Baton Rouge. She had her father-in-law build a minimalistic white cart that now fits seamlessly into party décor, from weddings to showers to kids’ parties. The best part, though, is the cotton candy itself.

“I make all of my own flavors with just three ingredients: cane sugar, natural flavoring and a little coloring,” Presley says, pointing out the muted pastels that characterize the 40-calorie-per-cone treats. “It’s been so fun for me to make all the flavors, especially since I have a background in bartending.”

With flavors like “Unicorn Magic” (vanilla infused with lavender) and “Hibiscus Bloom” (hibiscus and honey with berry), Presley’s take on cotton candy is pretty far from the ordinary. And despite just launching in December 2020, she has already expanded her offerings to include edible logos, to-go treats and customizable flavors. ledoodleco.com

On Tap

Kegs have finally emerged from the icy depths of trashcans, and not a moment too soon. Two specially designed trailers, SIP and Sweetbay Botanical Company, are redefining what it means to have a drink on tap. Within each trailer’s vintage façade, hosts and hostesses can serve any drink they like—from mixed drinks and beer to Champagne and wine.

“People turn into kids when they walk up to the taps,” says SIP co-owner Shauna Allison. “And it really brings something extra to a party, especially when we partner with local balloon companies.”

Sweetbay Botanical Company takes the experience even further by engaging the sense of smell in addition to taste. Owner Molly McWhorter is bringing her passion for florals as a past co-owner of Bubbles + Blooms to her new drink trailer by offering DIY bouquets on-the-go; floral arrangement demonstrations are also part of her future plans.

“I witnessed the struggles of my close friends at August Events to bring fun, experimental elements to their local events,” McWhorter says. “The ‘mobile flower and fizz bar’ will be the perfect backdrop to elevate weddings, baby showers, milestone birthdays, graduation parties and other outdoor events here in Baton Rouge.” @sip_225 and sweetbaybotanical.com