For 25 years, Lea Freeman helped locals put together parties and events through her catering company Partysist . The levee failures wiped out the company's 9,000-square-foot Carrollton-area warehouse and wrecked her home as well, but now Freeman is back with a whole new business model for Partysist as a wine and specialty foods retail shop (200 Metairie Road, Metairie, 836-6939; www.partysist.com). She and her sister Renee Freeman opened the new shop in Old Metairie late in October. Its inventory is arranged along a theme of the four elements so that shoppers look under the "earth" section for such solid reds as pinot noir, "water" for light choices like chardonnay and "air" for Champagnes. The shop also stocks party supplies and gifts, high-end chocolate and cheese and pates. Partysist is open Tuesday through Saturday and in December will begin Thursday evening wine tastings.
Sucre (3025 Magazine St., 520-8311; www.shopsucre.com), a pastry, gelato and chocolate shop, continues its series of dessert demonstrations with an afternoon course arriving just in time for those interested in whipping up some decadent holiday-themed dishes. On Friday, chefs Tariq Hanna and Megan Forman will demonstrate preparations of the yule log and the croquembouche, a Christmas tree-shaped tower of profiteroles and spun sugar. The class begins at 1:30 p.m. and seating is limited, so call for reservations. Sucre has also launched an online shopping feature on its Web site to market its chocolates, confections and other items more broadly.