Jean-Paul Villere: All’s faire for New Orleans makers

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Jean-Paul Villere

Jean-Paul Villere

“I think I was 7 or 8 when I took apart my father’s radio,” says Cameron MacPhee, native New Orleanian and co-catalyst for this coming weekend’s Mini Maker Fair, recalling the first thing he remembers disassembling as a boy. “I was sure I had his permission,” he follows up, if not somewhat deadpanned.  “I even got shocked, like one of the capacitors got me.” 

MacPhee is now a father to a couple of young boys himself, and his story is likely all-too-familiar for the those participating in and attending Saturday’s first-ever event, the DIY and Maker movement is an all ages affair that extends beyond the boundaries of craft and convention.

So where does the inspiration of the Maker movement come from?

“Void your warranty,” states MacPhee.  “I mean, with the internet today and the tools and parts available, you’d be amazed at what you can do yourself.”  Not like when he was – or we were – kids.  I’ve known Cameron since we were teens, when as young baristas at the PJ’s on Maple St he had scrawled on the stock room wall a version of the transitive property of heat.  While it was more of a jab at vacant customers touching a hot toaster and complaining it was hot, it speaks to how 20 years later his interest in science, observation, and posting, if you will, still resonates.  And that’s sort of the point of the movement: be creative, be amazed, and share it.  A combination of curiosity, passion, and open source tinkering, and there you have it.

A few Saturday’s featured 30 or so participants include:

  • Night Shift Bikes – Custom built motorcycles and bikes, that will also educate on how to motorize one’s own bicycle
  • Into The Wood – Local art rockers the bALLY who? create a shapeshifting cardboard multimedia theater piece
  • The Austin Tie Dye Co – Making tie dye bandanas plus demonstrating screenprinting, and
  • Bricolage Academy Makers – Featuring robots, maze structures, and solar components

And that’s just a taste of what to expect.  It all happens this Saturday April 5th 10A-5P at the Lyons Center at 624 Louisiana Ave.  Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, and ages 16 and under are FREE!  For a complete breakdown of the event visit:

Jean-Paul Villere is the owner of Villere Realty and Du Mois Gallery on Freret Street and a married father of four girls. In addition to his Wednesday column at, he also shares his family’s adventures sometimes via pedicab or bicycle on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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