Traven Stout Photography

New Orleans Small Business 12n12: Bokah Bikes

May 26, 2021  •  2 Comments

New Orleans Small Business 12n12: Bokah Bikes


New Orleans Small Business 12n12 is a project, by local New Orleans photographer Traven Stout, that promotes one small business a month. The idea is to reach out to other business owners and simply connect with them, to relate with them, to offer help, and to look for help with running a business by yourself.

Hey, thanks for coming and checking out the 12n12 project. Originally this project was designed so I would photograph one business a month in 2020 (12 businesses in 12 months- 12n12) But then 2020 happened. So were a bit off schedule but I am committed to finishing this project by covering twelve businesses. 


This piece is on Bokah Bikes with Andy. Bokah bikes is a bike shop that does restorations as well as repairs. I bought a sweet 70's Schwinn with suicide shifters from Andy a few years back. It's an awesome bike. Andy is a good friend and an awesome dude. I highly recommend taking a look in his shop if you are looking for a bike.


(me)What does your business do?
(Andy)We are a vintage bike shop. Micah and I recover and restore bikes from the 50’s to early 2000’s. We mainly work on 70’s 80’s and 90’s bikes. We also offer repairs, services, and we try to be a positive influence in the community, as well as a bike shop where you feel welcomed, accepted, and not judged.




(me)How long have you been in operation?
(Andy)Technically we have been in operation for about 5 years, we have been incorporated for at least that long, too. We have been in this commercial spot for about three and a half years. Before that we were in a warehouse space for a year and a half; and before that we were just working out of my backyard.



(me)What is something people don’t know about your business that you want them to know?

(Andy) I mean I do not like to say this too often, because it feels like I am virtual signaling, but I think we help allot of the kids in the neighborhood. It is something we really like doing. Being a bike shop we naturally get kids in here. They come looking for work, small repairs, and stuff they do not have the money for. So, I think it’s really cool we're able to help them out, connect with them, and maybe be a positive influence and a safe place for them to come and get involved with bicycles. 



(me)What are your goals for the next year?
(Andy)We want to continue to do vintage bikes, it is something we’ve done from the beginning. The pandemic has helped us double down on that, because getting new bikes has been difficult. At the same time we have also slowly been developing more effective and efficient ways of repairing old bikes. I would like to become more efficient in our process and to continue restoring older bikes, because it can be labor intensive.



(Me)Where do you see your business in 5 years?
(Andy)I would love to own the spot we are in. I would for sure like to stay in this neighborhood. I’d like the shop to be a bicycle wonderland when you walk in. I want to continue to do vintage restoration and a have a big operation aimed at that with that as the central theme of our business, with a larger space, more inventory, more employees. Sometimes I consider that maybe it’d be cool to do some kind of program to help the youth.

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(me)What is your favorite thing about running your own business?
(Andy) I feel it's cliche to say, but since I decided to do my own thing, I don’t feel like I’m working like I did before I started my business, where it felt draining and very difficult to show up every day. Even though running your own business isn’t easy it doesn’t drain the life out of me, and I think I love that and I love the independence and the ability to be creative and decide which direction my business goes in.


(Me) What’s your biggest challenge within running your own business?
(Andy)Paperwork/ Clerical stuff. I do not like any of that. Accounting, anything I must do on a computer. I kind of realized that instead of painfully doing it poorly, I can just delegate it, and it is done efficiently.


(Me)What would be your number one suggestion to someone starting their own business?
(Andy)What I think worked for me, which may not work for everybody, but for me, once I found something that I felt an inclination towards, or a sense that I could do this; I just jumped in. I realized early on if I wanted it to be something it couldn’t be my side hustle. I couldn’t continue to give my energy to a 9-5 and try to do the bikes on the side. I was in my mid 30s so my energy level was going down, so I realized I had to completely devote all my creative energy and mental energy towards this or else it would never evolve.



(Me)Anything else about your business that you would like to add?
(Andy)We do not only restore bikes that we sell we also restore bikes for other people. So, if you have a bike that has been sitting up and you think it’s done for. Bring it by us before you decide that, and we can see if we can bring it back to life. We have done that for a few customers, and they have been very satisfied.


Thanks for coming to the blog and checking out this piece! If you want to help support Andy's business go like his instagram and face book pages or go to his shop and buy a dope bike! (also please excuse my grammar and spelling. I'm a photographer not a writer!)

IG: @bokahbikes 
FB: Bokah Bikes New Orleans

Bokah Bikes is located: 4233 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117



Dog House Float

February 25, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Dog House Float

Yall know I love Mardi Gras. Every year I spend the entire carnival season documenting Mardi Gras through my People of Mardi Gras series. Despite parades being canceled, this year was not too different for me. Instead of photographing people at parades I went to house floats and got photos of their creators. As I was scrolling through Instagram I came across a dog house replica of one of the house floats I took photos of and after a few comments and direct messages I had a photo session setup to meet the creator of this dog house float. 



@nola_snowball and her krewe typically parade with their pups Allie and Frankie in Mardi Paws and make really cool dog floats for their pups Allie and Frankie. This year they saw the dog house float initiative put on by Mardi Paws and wanted to get in on the house float fun. After talking to @nola_snowball I learned that after Mardi Gras they decided to put the dog house up for auction.  All proceeds go to Scott's wish a 501c3 all volunteer ran nonprofit. The auction is up done on the 28th. So go bid now! PLEASE VISIT:


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Mardi Paws Amabasadogs: Allie and Frankie and their human, who created the dog house floats, see more of them @nola_snowball



A word from Denise with Mardi Paws about the dog house floats that explains the dog house floats a little better:

“About our Dog House Floats initiative:

In a year when the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to take a bite out of all the usual fun of Mardi Gras, the Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws, a beloved dog parade that has been taking place in St. Tammany Parish for 27 years, refuses to take the news of parade cancellations lying down. In response to those who are begging for a safe way to celebrate this unusual Carnival season, Mardi Paws is hosting its first-ever Dog House Float contest.

Inspired by the pup-ularity of the “House Floats” that are all the rage in New Orleans and the surrounding areas, where businesses and homeowners have hired professional float decorators to transform buildings into Mardi Gras masterpieces, Mardi Paws is encouraging pooches and their people to unleash their creativity and transform dog houses into works of art. Modern-day revelers can then drive around – or go for a walk -- to see this new breed of “float” in safe and socially distant ways.

The goal of  “Dog House Floats” is to spread good cheer while drawing attention to the plight of the homeless pups at the St. Tammany Parish Department of Animal Services in Lacombe, the only open-admission animal shelter in the parish.

With Mutty Gras season having come to an end, we are so grateful for some last minute ideas from krewe members that will allow us to raise funds for our initiative transporting at-risk  dogs out of high intake shelters to the northeast to save their lives.

Our first Dog House Float was a group effort spearheaded by AmbassaDOGS Frankie & Allie and their float building krewe! They found their decorated digs featured in PEOPLE, The Wall Street Journal, Southern Living, USA TODAY10Best, you name it, and each pup felt they should take credit-lol.

As tension ensued, it resulted in a decision for the siblings to get their own spaces. Thus the creation of the "Night Tripper" Dog House Float. But living next door to each other wasn't as great as they first thought, and now having overcome their differences, they have generously agreed to donate the "Night Tripper" House to our non-profit!

“The Night Tripper” was the first house float launching the Krewe of Red Beans’ “Hire a Mardi Gras Artist” program which boasted a huge papier-mâché skull adorning the front of the shotgun house, along with snakes, irises and cypress trees by artists Caroline Thomas.

Ready to Bid!



People of Mardi Gras 2020

February 03, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

People of Mardi Gras

People of Mardi Gras is an ongoing series / work in progress where I try to tell the collective story of Mardi Gras through portraits and photos of the people attending. It is the people that make Mardi Gras what Mardi Gras is.

I started this project year or two after I got into photography. It started off as just bringing my camera to parades and shooting photos. Then I started getting into portraiture and loved the idea of a person’s face telling a story. So, I started asking strangers If I could take their portrait, with the idea that I could tell multiple individuals’ story with a portrait, that I could tell the entire collective story of Mardi Gras in a series of portraits. It's still that, but as the years go it's become a way for me to try new photography techniques, play with different gear, and celebrate Carnival my own way. Some people indulge in food drink and partying during Mardi Gras, I indulge in street photography. 

Happy Carnival! This year, 2021, will be an interesting one to say the least. When they announced that Mardi Gras was going to be canceled this year, I immediately went, "Hold up, You cant cancel Mardi Gras!" You can cancel the super krewes and the parades, even close off the quarter, but you can't cancel Mardi Gras. The people will find someway to celebrate, and this year they have done exactly that. House floats are a big hit this year and its amazing to see the creativity fly. What was even more amazing to me was seeing the traffic on St. Charles last week. People are getting in their cars to go look at house floats. Truly you can't keep New Orleanians off the streets during Carnival.

If your celebrating carnival this year, whether it be through turning your house into a float, or doing something else, please contact me. I'd like to take your photo and ask you what Mardi Gras means to you. Typically I can just walk out my door and find people at parades and in the quarter to photograph, but this year is clearly different. So please reach out to me on my instagram account @peopleofmardigras if your celebrating carnival this year. I'd like to take your photo.

People of Mardi Gras 2020

Mardi Gras 2020 was a beautiful year, specially considering that a pandemic hit shortly after that and it brought the world to a halt. As I look at last years images I long for when we can get together and freely party like this. 2020 was also busy year for me during the carnival season. I had a lot professional jobs, including photographing the Ball of Mad Hatters as well as their parade, a wedding on mardi gras morning, and a few convention headshots and event gigs. Nevertheless, I was still able to get out and document a few parades and capture all of Mardi Gras day.

Its seems as my method of using instagram to record interviews, that I started in 2019, is working. So check out my instagram page @peopleofmardigras if you want to catch some of the interviews I've done with the people that I've photographed.


Why am I just now posting 2020?

It's a photography workflow technique. I shoot all on film, so after Mardi Gras the rolls of film sit in my freezer until about a month or two before the next years carnival. Then I start developing them. I do this specifically so I forget what I shot. There’s a certain phenomenon that happens to photographers when they are making pictures. It’s a certain type of feeling you get when you make an image. It’s hard to describe unless you yourself caught the photo-bug and have experienced the joy/obsession of it. Allot of photographers mix that feeling up with the image itself. Just because I got a good feeling taking the image, doesn't necessarily make it a good image. So, hence why I like to wait a year. I've also found that it gets me in the carnival spirit going through my images just weeks before Fat Tuesday.


Thanks for looking at my work!


New Orleans Small Business 12n12: Southerns

December 30, 2020  •  Leave a Comment


New Orleans Small Business 12n12: Southerns 

New Orleans Small Business 12n12 is a project, by local New Orleans photographer Traven Stout, that promotes one small business a month. The idea is to reach out to other business owners and simply connect with them, to relate with them, to offer help, and to look for help with running a business. 

Hey, yall thanks for coming and checking out the 12n12 project. Originally this project was designed so I would photograph one business a month in 2020 (12 businesses in 12 months- 12n12) But then 2020 happened. So were a bit off schedule but I am committed to finishing this project by covering twelve businesses. 

On a personal level, I am so happy I started this project. Each time I meet up with another small business photograph and interview them I feel I gain more confidence in my business and with where I stand in the "business world." Running a business by yourself is tough, but very rewarding at the same time. It's also something that allot of people don't understand unless they have a small business themselves. Each time I've interviewed and talked with small business owners I hear similar stories of struggle and reward, ups and downs, and it's a solid reminder that I'm not in this alone, and to keep at the daily grind. So please if your small business owner and want to talk shop, reach out to me, I would love to connect.








Started Southerns in late 2018 Won fried Chicken fest in 2019, Currently doing popups in New Orleans.

Co-owned and operated by Gene and Anthony Cruz


What does your business do?

Food truck/ Food Pop up / catering. 


How long have you been in operation?

2 years


Whats something people don’t know about you business that you want them to know?

We are passionate about helping with addiction in our community.


What are your goals for the next year?

Planning on opening a storefront in New Orleans


Where do you see your business in 5 years?

Multiple locations and firmly anchored in the heart and minds of New Orleans food scene



What's your favorite thing about running your own business?

Creative freedom


What’s your biggest challenge within running your own business?

Time away from family



What would be your number one suggestion to someone starting there own business?

Start small and avoid debt


What’s you social media accounts?

FB: Southerns

IG: @southernsfood

[email protected]






Seriously if you get a chance to check out Southerns  



New Orleans Small Business 12n12: Antball

August 12, 2020  •  1 Comment

New Orleans Small Business 12n12: Antball

New Orleans Small Business 12n12 is a project, by local New Orleans photographer Traven Stout, that promotes one small business a month. The idea is to reach out to other business owners and simply connect with them, to relate with them, to offer help, and to look for help with running a business.

12n12 is BACK! We had a bit of a delay this year due to covid, but now I'm getting this project up and going again to finish up a total of 12 businesses in New Orleans. Every time I talk to another small business owner I get more comfortable with where my business is.  It's nice to talk to other people who "get it", specially during these uncertain times. Angie's advice for someone starting a business is exactly what this project is for me.

This month I met up and interviewed Angie from Antball Landscaping. 



What does your business do?

Antball does a little bit everything. We do clean ups and transformations. We do tree and plant installs. Drainage and Limestone. Fences and Gutters. We do small tree work, lily pad ponds. You name it we can do it.


How long have you been in operation?



Where do you see your business in 5 years?

5 years seems a very far away place to to see from here, but I’d love to have my own nursery.


Whats your favorite thing about running your own business?

My favorite thing about landscaping is watching a new lily or sage bloom. Sometimes I get to bring my dog out on the job with me too. I love it when my customers are delighted with our work.


What’s your biggest challenge within running your own business?

Technology, Paper work, and numbers.


What would be your number one suggestion to someone starting there own business?

Make friends with other people starting off with their own businesses. So you can go back and forth sharing ideas with each other and helping each other out.



What’s you social media accounts?

IG: @antballlandscaping

Facebook: Antball Landscaping LLC