Actor Bryan Batt teams with Christopher Radko for Katrina relief

In October 2003, Broadway actor Bryan Batt and partner Tom Cianfichi realized their dream of opening Hazelnut, a fine gift and home furnishings shop on fashionable Magazine Street in Batt's hometown of New Orleans. Wanting to create a unique signature for Hazelnut, Batt designed a New Orleans toile fabric featuring iconic scenes celebrating the unique architecture and design of the city. The fabric and toile products quickly became popular with locals and ex-pats and are now offered in five color ways and on many different items, from handbags to lacquer trays.

Prior to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Batt was working with his friend Christopher Radko to create an ornament, "A New Orleans Christmas," based on the toile design. The ornament was to be released for this holiday season, before the destruction of Hurricane Katrina altered the plan. Batt, Cianfichi and Radko have decided that the proceeds from the retail sales of the ornament would go directly to Second Harvest of Greater New Orleans, disaster relief and charities dedicated to the rebuilding of New Orleans.

The beautiful glass sphere has an off white satin finish and features a scene of Saint Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square on one side and a streetcar along St. Charles Avenue on the other that are hand-painted in a rich metallic red. The ornament is accentuated with a red ball finial on the bottom and the signature Radko star hook on top. Images of "A New Orleans Christmas" as well as other toile products can be seen at www.hazelnutneworleans.com,

The sales of "A New Orleans Christmas" will be conducted exclusively on the Hazelnut website www.hazelnutneworleans.com. Orders are being taken now and shipment of the ornaments is expected to begin in six to eight weeks. Batt is also selling the New Orleans Toile fabric by the yard and the various toile products on the website while he works to reopen the store at 5515 Magazine Street. A percentage of proceeds of the sales of all toile products will also go to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Visit the website for updates and for announcements regarding the reopening of Hazelnut.

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