Molly Finnegan is but weeks away from closing her popular Oil Center boutique. The bittersweet retirement sale now under way marks the end of an impressive run for one of Acadiana’s great tastemakers, who bought Annie’s et cie on Arnould Boulevard with then-partner Carlos Russo in 1978. Within a year, Carlos moved on to open his own store, and in 1986, she put up the first molli sign near Charley G’s. Moving later to Time Plaza, she was recruited in 1993 by Herbert Heymann to be part of the Oil Center renaissance. That cozy corner shop has been home ever since.

RMay_120912_4403
Carlos Russo and Joanie Hill help Molly Finnegan close
out her Oil Center store after more than
three decades in local retail.
Her most memorable chapter in three decades? “Surviving the oil crunch of the mid-’80s, no doubt,” she says. Her signature in trade has always been introducing her fashion-savvy clientele to new designers on the way up, among them Lafayette 148, Ellen Tracy and Robert Lee Morris Jewelry. “I literally bought jewelry from him out of a desk drawer at a small gallery in Soho,” she remembers. “Now he’s on QVC.”

Molly eventually plans to spend time gardening, painting, and enjoying her grandchildren and husband, attorney Tommy Guilbeau, but there’s one final sale to tend to first. Don’t miss it. — Cherry Fisher May

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