Looking for a way to display your local pride with nary a fleur-de-lis or water meter cover in sight? Topher England's River Shelves (www.rivershelves.com) are geographically accurate sections of the Mississippi River made of strong, lightweight oriented strand board with a variety of finishes.
"I think what draws people to ... my shelves ... is that it takes a certain level of knowledge to identify what it represents," England says. "It creates a small, cool club; it's subtle. It boils down to New Orleans pride, but not in an over-commercialized way."
The handcrafted shelves range from 3 to 16 feet — longer for custom orders — though every shelf is customized to some degree. "I size it for the exact spot on the wall ... and I adjust the section of the river according to what they want," England says. "The 'Riverboat Captain' shelf goes from Uptown all the way down to the Head of Passes south of Pilottown — it's my favorite unique section of the river. It's got a good rhythm to it as it flows up and down."
Prices range from $300 to $1,000. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (504) 345-9973 for more information. — EILEEN LOH