SNAPPY DRESSER

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While alligator boots may be de rigueur for the jean and Stetson crowd in most parts of the country, down here in Cajun country, even our toes need air-conditioning nine months of the year. That’s where alligator skin craftsman Mark Staton stepped in. Seeing an obvious need for the fashion conscious, the carbon footprint cognizant, and the gator gladiator, Stanton created an alligator sandal that will satisfy all three of these disparate desires. Staton buys Louisiana alligator hide, has it tanned, and then turns the luxe skins into deluxe footware. The men’s sandals are macho or swank, depending on your point of view. Women’s are just plain gorgeous. Each pair is entirely hand-made, so no two pairs of shoes are ever exactly alike. Starting at $125-$250. Call Staton, 988-9964, or visit his Web site, www.markstatonco.net. — Mary Tutwiler

THRILL OF THE GRILL

OK, emissions from burning charcoal ain’t exactly environmentally friendly. But grill we must. And when we must grill on the go, disposable barbecue pits can actually be a lot greener than you might image. Products such as the EZ Grill are made from earth-friendly recycled materials, the charcoal is 100-percent natural and the aluminum pit is recyclable, too; virtually nothing is thrown away. The pits light with a single match and burns for about an hour and half — plenty of time to knock out a meal at the beach or while camping. EZ Grills are available online at ezgrill.com and come in two sizes: regular (9.8” x 12.2”) and party size (18.9” x 12.2”). A pack of four regular grills or two party grills is $19.99. They’re also available in brick-and-mortar stores like Winn-Dixie and Wal-Mart. — Walter Pierce

PLANNING TOMORROW

While “smart growth” is the code word for progressive urban planning, most people don’t exactly know what it is. A new manual, by new urbanists Andres Duany and Jeff Speck, authors of the acclaimed Suburban Nation, provides a clear picture. The Smart Growth Manual presents a clear blueprint for developing cities and suburbs in the most user-friendly, cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable manner. The authors explain how to create and enhance mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly communities as an alternative to urban sprawl. For anyone working on a master plan for a community (hint: this book would be a great gift for our City-Parish Council members), The Smart Growth Manual should be required bedside reading. $24.95 at real and virtual bookstores everywhere. — MT

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