A series of unexpected events led Alexander Bourne to start Patina Shoe Parlor (2036 Magazine St., 504-920-9167; www.patinashoeparlor.com). The former Xavier University student purchased a $2 wooden box at a garage sale as a gift for his cousin. It wasn't until he was in need of a shoeshine that he discovered it wasn't an ordinary box, but a kit that contained all the materials for a proper shoe shine.
Bourne's grandfather taught him how to shine shoes, but Bourne was bothered that he wasn't able to find a reputable cobbler in New Orleans. His frustration sparked an idea. "A couple of days later I reevaluated my life," Bourne says. "Here I am in college (which costs) close to $30,000 for a seat. So it was like: "Do you continue to pay or do you acknowledge the fact that you experienced the inconvenience with respect to shoeshining?"
Bourne worked to get contributions from Magazine Street shop owners and launched Patina Shoe Parlor in February 2012. Bourne says business is doing great. The shops offers a wide range of refurbishing and repair services from shoe shining all the way to handbag restoration. "We do everything that your neighborhood cobbler would do," Bourne says. "We provide all the services and the convenience of saving you time." — Angela Hernandez