In 2001, Carrie Rezabek Dorr's only venue for her Pure Barre workouts—a blend of dance, Pilates, and strengthening stretches—was the basement of an office building. Crowds drawn by Carrie's choreographing expertise and the infectious music of her routines necessitated expansion, however, and eight years later, Pure Barre spread its franchises to what is now more than 160 locations across the country, spurred by mentions in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Health magazines.
Pure Barre guides students through precise isometric movements that craft lean, not bulky, muscles. By flowing through scalable maneuvers that balance limbs against a ballet barre, physiques can lift and tighten traditional problem areas such as the thighs, abs, seat, and arms. The total-body workout is accessible to all fitness levels, and can help new mothers to regain their desired shape without leading the daycare's piggyback carpool. High-energy, intimate classes with small amounts of attendees ensure personalized adjustments and tips, allowing each guest to derive the deepest possible burn from the workout's alternating strength and stretch drills. Pure Barre also offers private barre-ties, DVDs, equipment, designer exercise apparel, and more.
Acupuncture in NOLA's two nationally certified acupuncturists draw upon three-year degrees in Oriental Medicine and good group vibes in their tranquil public-treatment centers. Both avid students of holistic healing, owner Tonya Tigart supplemented her Master's of Science with advanced acupuncture training at Heilongjiang University in Harbin, China, and partner Kathleen Keane boasts extensive massage-therapy experience in addition to her Master's of Science. Their aim is to help patients heal themselves via several holistic therapies, particularly acupuncture, which the World Health Organization recognizes can be effective in treating more than 50 ailments, including chronic pain, anxiety, and the nagging fear that the refrigerator door is on fire.
Tigart and Keane carefully attend to physical and psychological comfort, letting their acupuncture patients decide when their needles should come out, or if they should be dispatched entirely for thumb-based acupressure. Treatment can be administered in private or in a public space, where patients enjoy the fellowship of friends and other health-seekers as they relax on memory-foam recliners, sip tea, and defrost frozen wristwatches under heat lamps.
With its imposing, slate-gray façade, the 170-year-old U.S. Custom House may be the last building in which you’d expect to hear the delighted squeals of children. But behind the steely columns, the building erupts into 23,000 square feet of colorful displays and fluttering, scuttling insects, courtesy of the Audubon Society and Insectarium. In the Asian garden, hundreds of butterflies dodge shafts of sunlight to alight on tropical ferns and the shoulders of young visitors. And at the Insects of New Orleans gallery, visitors can ogle the pink katydids, cockroaches, and lovebugs that contribute to the city’s heritage.
These bug-filled displays are all part of the insectarium’s mission to conserve Louisiana’s indigenous species and inspire stewardship in its visitors. While adults can sate their curiosity with the vast array of exotic species, curators gear many displays toward young guests by making them lighthearted and interactive: the Field Camp’s entomologist answers questions about how to collect bugs or break up flea-circus strikes, and at Bug Appétit, chefs dole out insect-filled delicacies to adventurous palates.
Amid the high-tech environs of a climate-controlled arena with a turf field, Playmakers Indoor Sports facilitates the frolicking needs of recreationalists with a full menu of soccer, lacrosse, flag football, and paintball. Throughout the year, members of various skill levels unite at the enclosed facility for leagues and pickup games, eliminating alfresco annoyances such as bad weather and verbally abusive seagulls. Every Friday night, the Northshore location's field sprouts a series of inflatable bunkers for paintball sessions, during which sharpshooters strap on provided protective gear and the equipment necessary for dappling human canvases with high-speed brushstrokes. Staffers further enlighten budding athletes during sports camps and kids' programs, and the facility can be rented out for private parties.
After Frankie Cheek discovered segway tours while visiting Italy, he decided to start his own company in his native New Orleans. When he was boarding a plane back home, Hurricane Katrina struck, redirecting him to Louisiana’s grandfather country: France. While exploring Paris in the wake of the devastating tragedy back home, Cheek drew inspiration for his future segway tours—he was resolved, according to his website, to "help a city rich in history move forward while riding the most high-tech transporter available." Since returning to New Orleans, he’s led daily segway adventures, whirring groups of sightseers around the French Quarter, the riverfront, and Jackson Square with the ease, maneuverability, and safety-minded attitude of a cool biker gang. Plus, through a partnership with other tour companies, Cheek can also guide guests through swamps, plantations, and supposedly haunted locales.
Preservation is as much a priority as presentation at LeMieux Galleries, which is why the displays that the shop crafts from thousands of frames and acid-free mats often involve leaving a buffer of air between delicate paintings and glass. Framers there ensure that stolen copies of the Declaration of Independence can be secretly enjoyed for generations to come with their careful framing techniques, which can preserve the natural edge of paper and safeguard the stitches of antique needlework. In more than a quarter century in the business, the store has displayed everything from souvenir magazines to jerseys within their frames, the styles of which range from sleek contemporary to the ornate gold moulding that grows unbidden in French palaces. LeMieux Galleries also exhibits sculptures, paintings, and ceramics by artists from the Gulf South.