"It had never crossed my mind," said Stewart. "I was just fascinated by the craft."

Local barber and Gonzales City Councilman Harold Stewart has been in the hair cutting business for more than 35 years. His shop on Cornerview in Gonzales has become a local staple after opening 25 years ago.

Stewart said he has been intrigued by the craft of cutting hair since he was a boy. He recalled going to Gray and Holmes barber shop when he was younger. At the time, it was the only black barber shop in the City of Gonzales. He said he remembered seeing men come in for a haircut and walk out looking completely different. He was amazed by the transformation.

"They used to come in the barber shop looking one way, and after they would get a haircut it was totally different," said Stewart. "It amazed me so I would ask the barber if it was the same guy. That's what really caught my attention."

Even still, Stewart did not see himself becoming a barber until he graduated high school and enrolled at Baton Rouge Technical College. He said he was looking through the curriculum when he came across the barber program and decided to give it a shot.

"It had never crossed my mind," said Stewart. "I was just fascinated by the craft."

After earning his barber license, Stewart went to work at a shop in Baton Rouge with one of his instructors. He remembered conversations he'd had with Mr. Holmes years before when the expert barber told him he would give him a job once her got his license. He decided to go back to the shop where it all began and see if that promise was true all these years later. After some convincing, Stewart earned his spot at the shop where he was mentored by his former barbers.

"One drove a school bus and one worked at a plant, so the barber shop wasn't open full time. I actually opened the barber shop full time for them," said Stewart. "At that time for about ten years, I was the only full time licensed barber in that shop."

Stewart had to "pay his dues" for five years before becoming a partner in the business at the age of 25. He remained at the shop for five years as a partner while learning the ins and outs of running a business.

He eventually went on to open his own place, Stewart's Barber Shop on Cornerview, where his business still sits today. Thanks to the experience he got at Gray and Holmes, he now mentors other young barbers who have gone on to open their own stores as well.

"I've helped numerous people. I've done apprenticeships. I've helped people start it," said Stewart. "A lot of people here that are in business came through me."

Stewart designed and built everything on the property himself, from the barber shop to the home that's attached and the courtyard outside. He even used to live on site in the home that sits behind the shop. He said he's never had another job and has managed to support his family entirely by cutting hair.

"I've raised my kids, put them through school, and everything just cutting hair," said Stewart.

His shop is incredibly popular, with customers lining up outside before the doors even open. Cars can always been seen in his parking lot, as his clients know where to go for a classic cut. Stewart carries on the tradition he admired so many years ago.

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