Catahoula Tattoo & Gallery
Dominic Sgro eschews all things trendy, hipster and blandly generic. He abashedly admits that he can neither sing nor dance but he does have a talent that makes people happy—he’s a tattoo artist.
With its tea lights, local art and black leather furniture, his lounge, Catahoula Tattoo, captures the kitschy charm of a retro tattoo salon.
“We also have a great sound system here and we’re always playing music,” he says. “The music is very eclectic — everything from Lee Ann Womack to the Rolling Stones, and we sometimes have local musicians performing live.”
The 920-square-foot store is named after Sgro’s beloved Catahoula hound, Dottie. It opened this June with a celebration that included fireworks, free hot dogs and tattoos.
“At Catahoula we celebrate everything from classic pinup images to the silver age of comics,” he says. “We want you to have a different experience when you come here. We don’t sell jewelry or do piercings; it’s all about the art.”
Besides offering tattoos, Sgro curates a number of rotating local artists as he exhibits fine art, masks, prints, collages and ceramics.
Sgro created his first tattoo in 1977 — a dove holding a rose — and never looked back. He successfully plied his trade in the Northeast for decades until, four years ago, when his wife took a position with the New Orleans Public Defenders office. He says he happily followed her.
“I can do my work anywhere and I just said, ‘ Sure. New Orleans it is.’”
He worked at several local studios as he built his local following and when he opened Catahoula, his social media presence exploded with more than 9,000 followers.
“It’s the art of self expression,” he says. “I’ve been doing it so long now that I’m starting to tattoo generations. It’s adornment, a lifetime accessory.”
Sgro does not do flash, a generic tattoo that customers can pick from samples posted on the wall of the more traditional tattoo parlors.
“There’s no flash on our walls because everything we do is hand-drawn first. Every tattoo is unique and we never create the same tattoo twice.”
He also doesn’t do small tattoos or floaters. Sgro’s art designs begin with a $100 minimum but his consultations are always free. The store also rents space to other tattoo artists.
Catahoula Tattoo often hosts small events. Next up on Oct. 27 is a Halloween bash with candy and treats, DJ Tanner Dan and, of course, tattoos.
If you’re driving down Broad Street you just might catch Sgro sitting on his stoop as he purveys his neighborhood. I guarantee he’ll be smiling.
"I wake up every morning inspired and excited to go to work,” he says. “The goal is to set the standard not follow it. I want my clients to tell their friends: ‘You got to go see that guy and the coffee’s always free.’”
Catahoula Tattoo & Gallery
Address: 929 N Broad St.
Phone: (504) 655-9818