And Her Swatch Watches
Angelie Alciatore is the artistic artist for the Saenger Theater with a personal style that reflects her love of color and artistic designs. She collects Swatch watches, a trendy line of collectible Swiss-made watches, and proudly tells about her collection of 40 watches. A direct descendant of Antoine Alciatore, the founder of iconic Antoine’s Restaurant in the French Quarter, (her father Henri Alciatore was the greeter at the front door for 54 years), she is quick to tell that her favorite Swatch watch shop is on the Champs-Elysee in Paris just a few blocks from the Arch de Triomphe.
Photos by Judi Bottoni
Angelie Alciatore never leaves home without a Swatch watch.
“I don’t care about wearing diamonds or gold,” she says. “I would rather wear a colorful Swatch watch to match my outfit.” Then she smiles and adds: “Actually, I like to wear a Swatch to match my mood or feelings.” No doubt about it, Angelie’s bold watches make an interesting style statement.
With 40 Swatch watches in her collection, she likes to regale about the pedigree of each watch.
“I bought my first Swatch in Switzerland when I sent myself to Europe for my 40th birthday and I have been on a quest to add to my collection every time I have gone to Europe since then.” The daughter of Henri Alciatore, the great-grandson of Antoine Alciatore, the founder of famous Antoine’s Restaurant in the French Quarter, her father was the iconic greeter at the front door for 54 years who was well-known for his signature handlebar mustache; Angelie loves the fact that her father spoke perfect French.
“There is something special about shopping at my favorite Swatch shop on the Champs-Elysees in Paris just a few blocks from the Arch de Triomphe,” she says. “The store always thrills me because if you bring in any of your old Swatch watches, they will shine up the surface of the watch face to a brand new sheen and give you a new battery at no charge.”
As an aside, Angelie adds, “When I was growing up, I didn’t really appreciate what being Antoine’s direct descendant truly meant. I think I believed that everyone ate soufflee potatoes, pompano en papillotte, oyster Rockefeller and baked Alaska all the time.”
Yes, she is a true New Orleans blue blood, having graduated from Dominican High School and attended the University of New Orleans. Her resume includes playing lead guitar in two all-girl bands (a punk rock and then a blues group), and singing and playing guitar and keyboards in two all-boy bands.
“I worked in the film industry as an assistant to the casting directors for ‘The Client,’ “Dark Angel’ and ‘Orleans,’” she says. “And my claim to fame was working as a stand-in and photo double for Susan Sarandon on a couple of her films.”
Now she has her dream job. “Truly, my life’s work has been at the Saenger Theater. I got my first job at the Saenger in 1990 hanging wallpaper in the box office. My artistic talent impressed my boss and he told me all the different things that needed to be done around the theater, and I somehow knew how to do everything he needed. I worked there for 15 years before Hurricane Katrina, and now I am back with the title of house artist where I am responsible for keeping the theater beautiful.”
She goes on to explain that she paints murals, does faux finishes, statue repairs, lettering, signage, gilding and more. “I do anything artistic that needs to be done,” she adds with pride.
One thing she especially loves about her job is that she can express her artistic style in what she wears to work at the Saenger.
“Being an artist, I never follow what everyone else is wearing,” she says. “I am always drawn to color and artistic designs, and, yes, I sometimes put unlikely pieces together. If I like it, I wear it.” Then she adds it’s her French blood that influences her style. “I always notice when I am in Paris that even if someone isn’t wealthy, they still wear interesting combinations of colors, scarves and accoutrements that all scream style. I think style is a state of mind for them. I simply follow the French trend and wear what makes me happy.”