Laura Blair’s: Passion with a Purpose

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 IMG_0261b By Mia Freneaux
IMG_0259bIMG_0257b    Sharon Naquin didn't start out wanting to run a home decor business.  She is already busy with her own consulting company, acting as General Manager of Maintenance Protection Systems, Inc. and being an adjunct professor at LSU, holding her PhD in Human Resource and Leadership Development.  She’s also a published author of  numerous academic journal articles, monographs and trade books that have been translated into multiple languages. She couldn't turn down, however, an opportunity to encourage others' dreams.  "Laura Blair's was a great opportunity to start a business incubator for small business entrepreneurs," Sharon said.   "Individuals interested in owning their own shop but unable to afford renting an entire space or insurance and start up costs can rent space from me and I take care of the rest."  This model has been a success, with 11 businesses now represented at Laura Blair's, and more welcomed to join.  A peek inside reveals a world of decorating ideas, with antique and hand-painted furniture, lovely depression era glassware, gilt edged china, quirky wall decor, shabby chic furnishings, country-inspired art, architectural objects, hand-crafted cypress furniture, and so much more. Mardi Gras decorations, Easter crosses, and more items are being added daily! For anyone wanting a uniquely decorated, individualistic home, Laura Blair's is a treasure trove.
    Sharon's dream didn't stop with providing business space, however.  Her vision is grander than that.  Laura Blair's is named after two very important people in her life.  Laura was her sister, who at the age of 24 was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  Her fight ended 3 years later, after great expense to her family.  Sharon is dedicating a portion of her profits to cancer research and St. Jude's Children's Hospital.  Laura Blair is her daughter, born, after a very difficult pregnancy, with a "trumpet blare!" as her doctor creatively put it.  These two ladies have given Sharon the impetus to do all she does.  
    Sharon has a new challenge now.  Her cousin Mark was diagnosed recently with ALS ("Lou Gehrig's Disease").  She is helping to plan a huge fundraiser for him called "Mark's Madness."  This will be a music festival held in Port Allen that will feature musicians from all over, including England. This event will be held on March 8 on the Port Allen levee and is designed to be a recurring event each year.  There are plans for a Fall Ball to support this cause as well. A talk with Sharon is an inspiration – her desire to help others and her "can-do" attitude permeate all she does.