New Orleans has always been a lot of things, and one of those things is hot. In 1909, when gentlemen still had to wear suits everyday, regardless of the weather, a local businessman named Joseph Haspel Sr. decided to do something about it. After hearing that British colonials stationed in India used a puckered fabric called seersucker to beat the nation’s famous heat, he started importing it and cutting suits from it. They quickly became a necessity for any man who needed to suit up in less-than-ideal heat and humidity, spurred along by their appearances in films like To Kill a Mockingbird and Charade.
Haspel Sr. died in 1977, and the company sold the company. It bought it back in 2002, but until 2014 its clothes were manufactured by a licensing company. For the past three years, though, Haspel’s granddaughter Laurie Aronson has steered the ship, creating everything from watches to stationery and the tuxedo that epitomizes her ancestor’s forward-thinking savoir faire.