February 7, 2002 - Fancy Faces

Here's a unique success story. This St. Tammany Parish company has done so well with Mardi Gras favors and collectibles that they are now in demand nationwide, year-round, not just on Fat Tuesday.

With a name like Fancy Faces, you would expect to find someone like Jane Montana, hand painting custom made ceramic Mardi Gras masks. That's just how the business started out in New Orleans years ago, and the ceramic masks are still an important part of Fancy Faces.

But like so many things associated with Louisiana Mardi Gras, the outside world found out about it and wanted a piece of the action. I asked Steve Hamel, one of the owners, "Do people just automatically associate Louisiana with parties and good times, and that's why they come to you?" "I guess so," said Steve. "They definitely look at New Orleans as the party town of the country. Definitely they find out about us."

Found out about them and beat a path to their door in such huge numbers that they finally just moved the door to Goodbee, north of Covington, where they could spread out. Where else are you going to find room for 100,000 ostrich feathers, a whirling Elvis, and the ornate voodoo totem pole Steve showed me.

"You can put them in buffets or have somebody walk around with them," he explained. "Isn't that wild?" Wedding in Washington or convention in California, chances are good that somebody's going to call Fancy Faces in Goodbee. Although Fancy Faces' business is no longer dependant on Mardi Gras they say some of their clients still insist on the carnival theme year-round.