Every week in 2015, OnMilwaukee and local design company Too Much Metal will join forces to introduce the latest member of the Milwaukee All-Stars – a team of unfamiliar winners living in the city who consistently and diligently make it shine. Each week, a new member will join the team – based on your recommendations – and at the end of the year all will come together in a Rally of the Raddest Milwaukeeans. We're not sure what that means quite yet, so for now, meet …
Anna Lardinois loves stories, history, people, walking and sharing information and, because of this, her job as a haunted, historical walking tours guide is a sheer joy.
In 2011, Lardinois started Gothic Milwaukee – a one-woman business that provides walking tours of allegedly haunted Downtown Milwaukee buildings.
"The inspiration is my love of Milwaukee and history," Lardinois told OnMilwaukee in 2012.
Lardinois’ inquisitive and grateful nature, along with her commitment to public education and Milwaukee Film, also contribute to what makes her a true Milwaukee All-Star.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: How long have you been doing your job?
Anna Lardinois: This is my fourth season of conducting haunted, historical walking tours of Downtown Milwaukee. Walking Milwaukee are new – self-guided and definitely not spooky – walking tours that came into existence this summer.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What time of year / season is your favorite in Milwaukee and why?
Lardinois: Spring! I love the excitement and anticipation of spring. The snow begins to melt and I can see the grass in Cathedral Square and I instantly begin to make plans to attend Jazz in the Park, or I get waylaid on the flooded part of the Oak Leaf and dream of the coming days when the trail is clear and dry. Summer in Milwaukee is a celebration, but the thrilling anticipation of summer makes it that much more sweet.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What’s your favorite or least favorite smell in Milwaukee?
Lardinois: Happiness is walking by Peter Sciortino's bakery an hour or two after the shop closes and smelling that heavenly, sugary baking smell that fills the air. On a crisp winter night you can almost taste the air. I always walk past the building rather slowly so I can savor the scent.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What’s your hope for Milwaukee?
Lardinois: I’d love to see people have a true appreciation for how great the city is. We have so much access to arts, culture and entertainment in the city. There are endless opportunities to explore nearly anything your heart desires here!
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: When or how did you fall in love with Milwaukee?
Lardinois: It began as a teen-aged romance. I grew up in the western suburbs and the absolute coolest and best thing any of us could think of to do was to go into the city. I am happy to report, as an adult, the love has deepened as I have discovered how much it had to offer me.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: Why do you do what you do?
Lardinois: I love stories! There are stories all around us and I love uncovering them and sharing them with people. I am delighted that I can provide something to people that not only entertains them, but helps them create a connection to the city and the people they choose to explore the city with.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What’s your one guilty pleasure?
Lardinois: If I say something like "the milk rolls at Ardent" do you think they will send me some? If not, then probably getting both candy and popcorn at the monthly Milwaukee Film screenings. Those shows always feel like a party, so living it up seems like the right thing to do.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: Name a Milwaukeean you would like to high five.
Lardinois: Every high-quality public educator. Thank you for all you do.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What neighborhood do you live in ?
Lardinois: I happily reside in the very walkable Lower East Side.
Do you know a Milwaukee All-Star? OnMilwaukee and Too Much Metal are looking for true-hearted folks living in the city of Milwaukee who love what they do – and do it with zest and style. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with recommendations.