And His Imaginative Style
Jay Batt walks into a City Park board meeting wearing an orange and white gingham shirt, tan slacks and gray shoes with orange soles that are dressed out with orange shoelaces.
“Why not wear something different?” he asks, as he tells about the colorful clothes in his closet and his fun gray shoes with orange soles and shoelaces. “Dressing up in New Orleans isn’t just about wearing the perfect seersucker suit, Oxford cloth shirt, a silk tie and white buck shoes; sometimes you just need to lighten up and be playful with your attire.”
And he is. A franchisee, along with Fenn French, of Joseph A. Bank Clothiers, better known by its abbreviate title JoS A. Bank Clothiers, Jay is a well-dressed businessman. A real estate developer and former New Orleans City councilman, he also serves on numerous civic boards.
Check out Jay’s closet in his home near Longue Vue Gardens that he shares with Andree, his wife, and Bailey and Kelly, his daughters, and you will find almost 50 suits, 50 sport coats, 150 shirts and at least 100 ties, not to mention the dozens of pairs of shoes, pants of every description and too many socks to count.
“I have always been a fan of nice clothes,” he says, and then he smiles and adds, “But why not have fun once in a while and wear gray shoes with orange soles and shoelaces.”
A native of New Orleans, his pedigree is well known since his father, John Batt, and his uncle, Harry Batt, were the owners of Pontchartrain Park, the landmark amusement park on the banks of Lake Pontchartrain with its amazing wooden roller coaster known as the Zephyr that was an illustrious part of New Orleans from 1928 to 1983. “Now there was a place to see the colorful side of how people dress in New Orleans,” he remembers. “Maybe that’s what shaped my love of having colorful shirts, shoes and socks in my closet.”
Jay was born in Baptist Hospital on Napoleon Avenue and graduated from Tulane University with a bachelor’s degree in English the year after Pontchartrain Beach closed. Later, he earned an MBA in finance at the University of New Orleans to further establish him as a true-blue New Orleanian. “This is definitely the most interesting city to call your hometown. People are different here; they are friendly, fun loving and caring.”
A staunch Republican all of his life, he was a Louisiana delegate to the recent Republican National Convention in Cleveland. “My wife and daughters went with me and we had a great time. Now there was an event with lots of mostly red, white and blue colorful clothes. It was quite a show.” It was Jay’s fourth time to serve as a delegate to the Republican National Convention. “This time was extra special because both of my daughters served as pages.”
It helps being tied to well-respected national menswear stores across the country known for updated traditional dress as well as casual clothing. “I keep abreast of the very latest in fashion and I love shopping at our three stores that include one at Carondelet and Gravier streets in the Central Business District, another one across from Lakeside Shopping Center and the third store in Mandeville’s Village Shopping Center. “I love finding something new and different each time I visit and the selection is never ending.”