One of the best ideas I’ve had over the years was coming up with a interesting and authentic way to highlight people who I admire and respect for their purpose, talent, and their dedication to the city we call home.

With that said, our latest “That One Thing” feature brings it all back to one of the reasons why I began writing about NOLA, and that’s its people. There are no better people, for real. Just like most everyone in the world, Instagram is a great source for inspiration, especially when it comes to folks doing great work.

Kay Charbonnet is one of those folks. Founder and owner of Kay’s on Magazine Street (5419 MAGAZINE STREET), she is an absolute inspiration. I stumbled upon her feed from another IHN feature, Sheba Turk, and I was blown away by one of her posts a few months ago that chronicled her story. As a person who has struggled with weight loss through the years, and has always had family whom struggled with it, the video below truly hit home.

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Struggle: striving to achieve or attain something in the face of difficulty or resistance. ??? My weight/relationship with food is something I’ve struggled with my entire life. Struggles are never easy and god knows I’ve had and have my fair share. Growing up as a larger person of color was not always easy. INCLUSIVITY wasn’t something many people were concerned with. While shopping with friends, I was the girl that solely bought accessories because nothing fit me and I was shamed to feel that due to my size (and often race, depending on where I was shopping) I didn’t belong in the store at all. I was never able to shop at Limited Too – a joy for most girls in early 90s and a huge bummer for me. When I opened my shop I decided I would NOT be the reason a girl goes home crying after a traumatic shopping experience (whether it’s due to size or color of her skin). This is why my slogan is #DontHate ✊?✊?✊?✊?✊? So love the body and skin you’re in! It can be a challenge (it is for me) but I know you’re up to the task…There is room for us all ??? @shebaturk, thank you for giving me an outlet to share my story. You are the essence of #BlackGirlMagic and I love you!!! #ShopKays #DontHate @heartthreads

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Good Vibes Only ? #ShopKays #DontHate

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I certainly have experienced first hand, especially with my own family, the stuggles of finding a place that’s accepting, warm, welcoming, and empowering. Kay’s message and approach is infectious.

Kay’s slogan and one of the best mission statements I’ve ever seen in retail. #DontHate

Kay’s slogan and one of the best mission statements I’ve ever seen in retail. #DontHate

“The thing I love most about our city is it’s soul and the history that comes along with that. Also, I find our city can be extremely romanctic and it has an authenticity about it that you can’t find anywhere else.”  

I was thrilled and excited to meet up with Kay recently for a quick shoot around her rad AF shop, and more importantly to take in the strength, power, and warmth she exudes. In a world where there are still people who feel disconnected and unsupported, Kay and her team make it a point to be inclusive and inspirational. We need more places to visit and support that do celebrate diversity.