Jonathan Scott loves his business's Broad Street location: right across the street from the Zulu club because of the long history his family has with the neighborhood.
Scott's father-in-law, Felix Figueroa, founded F & F Botanica Spiritual Supply in 1983. The two men have worked together in the store since 1987, with the exception of a few years after Katrina when Jonathan and his wife moved to Portland to start another branch of the candle shop. F & F closed for a while after the storm but was able to reopen after some remodeling.
The store specializes in spiritual and religious products including soy candles, beeswax candles, essential oils, herbs and incense at its location on North Broad Street in the Tremé neighborhood. The oils are 100 percent pure and come in scents like carrot seed, ginger, cedarwood and lemongrass. Candles are environmentally sensitive and scents include apple pie, fresh cotton and grandma's baking. The store also sells an array of herbs and stresses their spiritual values– wash your hands in chamomile tea for luck and money; burn cloves as incense to stop gossip.
Before housing F & F, the location was home to another spiritual store called Kingdom of the Yoruba Religion, and Figueroa started out as a supplier for them. The owner eventually asked if Figueroa wanted to purchase the store, Scott said.
Now, F & F is a wholesale supplier for the region and has the largest selection in the southern United States. Customers flock from cities as far away as Houston, Mobile and Baton Rouge, and the store also caters to many local customers. Brooke Shields once came in while filming a movie, Figueroa said.
Peggi Gelpi, a native New Orleanian transplanted to Montgomery, stops by when she comes into town. She emphasized Figueroa's willingness to find exactly what customers are looking for. "If it's not here, he can order it for us, so he really can fulfill the spiritual needs of New Orleans and beyond," Gelpi said. In the future, she added, F & F hopes to be able to offer online shopping and shipping for its customers. Gelpi also appreciates that Figueroa and Scott are able to create personalized scents for customers.
New Orleans native Rose Sedita has been a customer of Figueroa and Scott's since 2001. She said she comes in when family or friends are having problems, and there is usually something at F & F to help them. Figueroa most recently helped her deal with the problem of a noisy bar in her neighborhood.
"I came here, and Felix said, ‘spray the house with this; spray outside with this. He said it's good because it not only keeps the spirits away but also the squirrels," she said. Figueroa also advised her to send love to the situation. A few days later the issue had mostly resolved, she said. The squirrels seemed to have left as well.
Figueroa is passionate about helping his customers and running the store but adds that his first love is providing education for children in Central America. He proudly displays a newspaper article from July 2003 with the headline "El Angel de Honduras," which speaks about how he has helped build schools and provide scholarships to children through his organization, Unete Association. Figueroa raises money for his efforts in part through a raffle box by the cash register at F & F; profits go toward construction of schools in Central America. He said he also shows his love for people by providing the lowest prices on everything in his store.
Recently, F & F partnered with Broad Community Connections and the Arts Council of New Orleans in the Iconic Signage Project. The store's iconic sign lights up the front of its building with a red and yellow candle displaying the store's name, address, and items sold, decorated in neon lighting. Scott said that he and Figueroa worked with artist Candy Chang for over two years on the sign's design, and they are very pleased with the outcome. Stop by the store to check it out in person!