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Costumes for Every Occasion 

Whether you're looking for something to wear to Halloween, Mardi Gras or another costume event, a dance recital, or even a prom or wedding, Humbug/Brides by Liz (2707 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 469-3339) can provide not only a range of options but also prices you can afford.

The 32-year-old shop, which started as a jeans store before it moved into boutique women's clothing and later expanded into costumes, dance apparel and formalwear, is a customer's dream, with a staff that not only is friendly and knowledgeable but also focused on helping shoppers find just what they want at affordable prices. There always is a sale going on, plus customers can receive a 10 percent discount just by going to the counter and asking for a discount flyer. Anyone who mentions to owner Liz LaMartina or manager Bridgette Moritz that they read about Humbug in Gambit will receive an instant 15 percent discount.

"Customers like the shop," says LaMartina, who keeps the store open until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. "We try to be friendly and very nice. The customer is always right here." She also tries to make the stop easy on the pocketbook, carrying 2004 bridesmaid dresses that start at $99, a line of economy tap shoes for $22 and ballet shoes for $17, and she even gives shoppers an option of renting rather than buying any costume that costs more than $50.

The reasonable prices don't correlate to limited choices, however. Ready-to-wear costumes range from Dracula to Betty Boop, a hairy gorilla to Elvis Presley, with lots of movie characters and special masks in between. The store also has a wide selection of wigs, makeup and accessories, plus the staff will help determine exactly what you need for the look you're trying to achieve. "We'll help them figure out what they want to look like, then get them the costume, makeup, fingernails if they need them and even help them think of what they already have at home that they can use."

For those who need something more customized, seamstress Rose Champagne is in the store every Saturday to do alterations on formalwear such as rented tuxedos and dresses for proms, bridesmaids apparel and wedding dresses. She also custom-designs costumes. "If we can't get the costume (a customer) wants, she'll make it," LaMartina says. She once had a plus-size customer who desired a Superman costume but could not find one in his size. LaMartina finally ordered two regular Superman costumes and had Champagne combine them to make one large enough for the man.

The shop also handles cheerleader and dance team uniforms and offers group discounts and free alterations. It also carries a variety of colors, styles and sizes of leotards, tights, dance pants and skirts, hair ornaments and more.

"If we don't have what you want, we'll order it," the owner says. "If we can't order it, we'll make it for you. That's what it takes to stay in business; we have to be versatile." The shop, however, doesn't carry X-rated or overly suggestive items. "There are some costumes we just don't carry, because we do have a lot of children coming in here," LaMartina says.

 

A Pal in Mid-City

Residents and visitors to Mid-City are finding they have a friend in the neighborhood in Pal's Lounge (949 N. Rendon St., 488-PALS [7257]), a comfortable but stylish bar that features fun nightly specials and a great atmosphere.

Owner Rio Hackford, who also operates El Matador at Esplanade Avenue and Decatur Street, says Pal's has enjoyed a steadily growing crowd of regulars since it opened in February 2002.

"People are still discovering it," he says. "It's a neighborhood bar, but it's good looking ... and very stylish. It's a good place to get away from the Quarter and a good place to go have a nice, quiet drink." That's not to say there isn't a week's worth of fun diversions there as well.

There's a spirited jukebox, a pinball machine and more, plus every Thursday customers can get a martini, margarita or mojito along with a manicure. On Mondays, there's red beans and rice from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tapas Tuesdays feature food by Lulu's in the Garden, there are fresh-squeezed margaritas and mojitos on Wednesdays, a bagels and lox brunch buffet on weekends, and Sundays also feature football all day and a movie from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

"It's mostly Mid-City (residents), but the crowd is growing," Hackford says. "The neighborhood has really embraced it. With restaurants like Cafe Degas and Lola's and Whole Foods nearby, everyone who works in those places when they get off work head over to our bar. If you're making your way over to that side of town to those restaurants, it's a nice place to stop before or after."

click to enlarge Owner Liz LaMartina stands with a very small - sampling of the juvenile and adult costumes and - dancewear available at her Kenner store, Humbug/ - Brides by Liz.
  • Owner Liz LaMartina stands with a very small sampling of the juvenile and adult costumes and dancewear available at her Kenner store, Humbug/ Brides by Liz.
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