Donna Travis lives in the future.
Mardi Gras 2019 is old news. She’s done with Halloween and Christmas for the year, too. She’s focusing on the 2020 Carnival season, tracking all the beads and costumes she needs to order.
Travis is the owner of Party Time, a Baton Rouge party store that has been around since 1979. Her mother opened it as a cake ingredient shop and eventually added balloons and other goods.
“This was really before the party industry began,” Travis explains. National giant Party City wouldn’t be founded for another seven years, and even then it’d be a while before it opened in Baton Rouge. After years of growth, Travis’ store rebranded to Party Time in 1996.
Today, Travis oversees the shop’s 30,000 square feet of 20,000 festive items. There are paper lanterns and selfie backdrops and feather boas. An entire aisle dedicated to birthday cake candles. Another row is solely for cookie cutters.
There are multiple aisles dedicated to parades. The floors are lined with heavy bags of bulk beads. The shelves overflow with masks, T-shirts, sequined dresses and 125 styles of beads. There are entire sections dedicated to pink items for the Spanish Town Parade and green ones for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
This is the great thing, Travis says, about being locally owned. She can hone in on what Louisiana shoppers might like.
Some party stores might pack away costumes after Halloween. Not Party Time. Travis knows in south Louisiana, people don costumes year-round.
“You have to know what people like—it can’t just be what you like,” Travis says.
Helping customers plan their events is a great responsibility—one she wouldn’t change that for anything.
As she puts it, “You’re celebrating life’s happiest moments with them.”
SHOP LOCAL FOR PARTY GOODS
Party Time (items pictured here)
3350 Bluebonnet Blvd.
8201 Village Plaza Court, Suite 1-B
3546 Drusilla Lane
Parties Start Here
3150 Valley St.
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This article was originally published in the March 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.