Shreveport Opera Guild Continues Long-Running, Unique Christmas Markletplace

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Three day Christmas Marketplace, Les Boutiques de Noel, is still going strong after four decades to support opera in Shreveport-Bossier.

Shreveport Opera Guild presents Les Boutiques de Noel Christmas Marketplace

Les Boutiques de Noel Promises Wide Selection of One-of-a-Kind Christmas Gifts in Support of the Shreveport Opera Guild

Three-day Christmas Marketplace Moves Into Fifth Decade with Product Launches and Delicious Food plus Santa with Mrs. Claus

More than forty years ago, Shreveport Opera supporter Delton Harrison had a chance encounter during the Christmas season at a New York City hotel. Harrison was surprised to find that an area of the hotel had transformed into small retail spaces for some of the top stores in NYC. 

Harrison returned to North Louisiana and brought the idea to the Shreveport-Bossier Opera Guild which then presented its first Les Boutiques de Noel in 1974 with 20 exhibitors.  Today, over forty years later, Harrison's idea has spawned past events more than five times the size of the original with 100+ vendors from nine states. And the tradition continues at this year's Christmas marketplace being held Thursday, November 19, 2015 through Saturday, November 21, 2015 at the Bossier Civic Center.

Santa Claus will visit the children at the Shreveport Opera Guild Christmas event
"Santa Bob & Mrs. Beth Claus" will delight
the children on Saturday from 12 pm to 3 pm.
"We have 105 merchants this year and the vendor spots sold out quickly," said four-time chair of the event Kathy Ross. "We're celebrating our 41st year and have an array of things available at Les Boutiques de Noel. Some exhibitors include Ivy and Stone, Bella Nonnas and Geaux Vintage Antiques."

Ross said some attendees will wait for the event to make special purchases. "We have ladies who come specifically to fill their silver patterns from Kathy Tobler Silver," Ross said.

The event chairperson refers to herself as a "professional volunteer" because of the long hours spent working on the event for the Shreveport Opera Guild. But Ross said it was all worth it to create a fun event with one of the most diverse assortments of items in the Ark-La-Tex. "We try to keep the selection where you can't find it just anywhere," she said. "More fun will be provided by Thrifty Liquor, which has a booth that will offer wine samples as well as having a special punch for sale."

Featuring a mix of local and regional vendors, Les Boutiques de Noel benefits the Shreveport Opera, including its Shreveport Opera Express (SOX) touring group, which conducts nearly 100 educational visits to schools in Caddo, DeSoto and Webster parishes each year.

Nader's Gallery, the 12,000 sq.ft. framed art and unique gift store on Kings Hwy in Shreveport, is making a return to Les Boutiques de Noel for 2015, and co-owner Margaret Nader Love is thrilled her store is displaying its new products for all three days of the event.

"We are so excited to see everyone at the event this year," Love said. "Our store has been open for 35 years, and we so enjoyed doing the event in the past."

Love co-owns Nader's Gallery along with her brother, Edward, and she said her team is excited to showcase the new candle collection offered under the 'Edward Nader' brand. The candle collection was first offered last year and includes large soy candles that burn for approximately 80 hours at a competitive $30 price point. Smaller candles will be added to the product line this year.

Edward Nader soy candles with handpicked essential oils
- exclusively from Nader's Gallery - will offer two new
candles at the event: "winter scent" and "juniper leaf"
"The candles from my brother's collection are made with essential oils that are handpicked, so there are no other candles like these," Love said. "Plus when you take them out of the box and see the glass container, people just love them. They also illuminate in a wonderful way as they burn, and the outer packaging is beautiful and has received good comments, too. We have sold out of them several times."

Edward Nader has decided to premiere two of his new candles at Les Boutiques de Noel. Appropriately, the "winter scent" candle will make its debut at the event, and the candle-maker's sister describes the smell of the new winter candle as a "very warm and refreshing scent." The new "juniper leaf" candle will also be presented at the Christmas event as well.

According to Love, Nader's Gallery also plans to offer a diverse range of products at Les Boutiques de Noel, including rock soaps that appear to be actual minerals (starting at a reasonable price of $5), handmade religious jewelry, Louisiana Christmas ornaments and hand-painted nativity scenes. "We try to carry products from around the world that other people don't have, so our gifts are very unique," she said. "We are really excited to show our new products at the show."

The schedule for the three day event is busy, said chairperson Kathy Ross. She said the Shreveport Opera Guild will host a Thursday morning (ticketed) "Farm to Table" preview brunch from 8 to 10:30 am featuring "delicious gourmet selections" from Southern Fork Catering, which is a division of Wine Country Bistro & Bottle Shops.

According to Ross, the Caddo Middle Magnet School Jazz Band will be performing a selection of tunes at the brunch, and Rhino Coffee will be providing a coffee bar. Ross said Thrifty Liquor will be offering its special brand of holiday cheer to complement the food choices at the brunch. Plus, a private shopping opportunity will be exclusively extended to brunch ticket holders from 9 am to 12 pm. Reservations for the brunch may be made by contacting Maria Casten at (318) 470-7385.

The event chairperson said dedicated Shreveport Opera volunteers, her co-chair Maria Casten and other helpers spend countless hours planning and fine-tuning the yearly shopping event. Gold sponsors of the event include KDG, Capital One of Shreveport, The Jack Webster Grigsby Foundation, Cosse - Silmon Orthodontics and United Tile of Shreveport. Popular Shreveport restaurant, Monjunis Italian Cafe of Louisiana Ave. will be serving a paid lunch at the marketplace each day until 3 pm.

Ross said Saturday will be a special day at Les Boutiques de Noel. For the children and kids at heart, "Santa Bob and Mrs. Beth Claus" will visit from 12 to 3 pm, and The Huntington High School Jazz Band, which recently performed at the White House, will present a selection of inspiring tunes. Ark-La-Tex.com

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Ark-La-Tex.com News: Shreveport Opera Guild Continues Long-Running, Unique Christmas Markletplace
Shreveport Opera Guild Continues Long-Running, Unique Christmas Markletplace
Three day Christmas Marketplace, Les Boutiques de Noel, is still going strong after four decades to support opera in Shreveport-Bossier.
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