Cross the Lake to Slidell: A newspaper article from 1987
To many travelers driving I-10 through Louisiana, Slidell is just another exit near New Orleans. But after lying in the shadow of the Crescent City for years, Slidell is no longer content to remain a sleepy town at the end of the exit ramp.
Actually, it's the slower pace and quieter life-style that attract New Orleanians and others to the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain. The renovation of a section of the original town site is also prompting business owners to set up shop in Slidell.
When Loys Vollertsen moved into a shotgun house at 1944 First Street about 10 years ago, she was alone. Before long, other antique dealers and artists set up shop as her neighbors.
Vollertsen's The Antique Store is filled with Victorian and American primitive antiques. She also carries an extensive selection of locally made handicrafts, including beautiful quilts, embroidered pillows, and coverlets.
Next door, at the Country Cupboard, you will find eight different shops neatly tucked away. under one roof. Watercolors by Stella Coward entice visitors to step inside. Don't leave without venturing upstairs to view the intricately detailed miniature dolls by Pat George or the interesting paper-and-fiber collage works of Artist Susie G. Webb. In another corner, Vad Moskowitz busies herself at a loom, weaving fabric colored with natural dyes.
Basketweaving and other crafts are taught on a regular basis at Peach Tree Cottage. And at Barbara's Victorian Closet, Barbara Starling gives tips on making delicate lace baskets and decorating linens and clothing with lace.
The building at 1960 First Street was originally built as a mercantile store about 75 years ago. Much like its predecessor, Olde Towne Antiques has almost anything shoppers are looking for, all in one stop. The rooms are filled with furniture, decorative pieces, linens, and a large selection of antique jewelry, including Victorian and .Arts Deco accessories.
Le Mistral, a delightful French restaurant at 2228 Carey Street, is a perfect place to take a break from antique hunting. Omar Chabane and Jacques Brémond blend the culinary teachings of their native France with Creole'specialties they picked up from four years of working in various French Quarter restaurants.
Deeanne Lowe and her husband, Butsie, recently expanded their La Petite Antiques from Olde Towne into a much larger operation as The Antebellum House, located at the corner of U.S. 190 West and Cherry Street. The roomy interior is decorated differently in each section, from country casual to whimsical, where eight shopkeepers offer furnishings, homemade food products, and other collectibles.
The romantic at heart are drawn directly into a room papered in pink and scented with sweet potpourri. Every conceivable item made of lace, satin, or wicker, or shaped into hearts creates a dreamy ambience at the Victorian Attic. Owner Sue Ann Claverie's main drawing card is handmade porcelain dolls, outfitted in beautiful Victorian clothing.
All the dolls are named, and each is certified by the doll-maker. It seems that only a person with a lifelong passion for dolls could produce such lovely creations. But Claverie says, "No. I was a tomboy—blue jeans, tractors, and all. I never played with dolls as a little girl."