A longtime member of the Larchmont community, Paula Carlotto, owner of Alegria Bazaar, told the Buzz she is leaving Los Angeles and moving back to her familial roots in South America.
“I am ready for a new adventure,” Carlotta told us. “I am leaving in April to start a new chapter in life in Uruguay, closer to my family where life is a bit simpler.”
After she closed her Larchmont store, Alegria Bazaar, in December 2020, Carlotto turned her attention serving her clients from home with her unique collection of jewelry, clothing and accessories. Carlotto was one of a half dozen tenants forced to move when Christina Development refused to renew leases in their building so they could renovate it.
Like it has for so many people, life in the past two years has changed much for Carlotto. Just days before she had to vacate her Larchmont space, she got word that her father passed away. Because of the pandemic, she wasn’t able to attend his funeral. After she closed the shop, she began caring for her mother, who was living in Argentina. Carlotto was glad she was able to see her mother, who passed away the following November.
With the loss of her parents and the closure of her business, Carlotto decided it was the universe’s way of giving her an opportunity to start over.
Carlotto grew up in Buenos Aires. Her parents were both born in Argentina. Her paternal grandfather was one of 18 siblings, half of whom moved to Argentina, and the other half to nearby Uruguay to work the land. According to Carlotto, forty percent of the population of Argentina is Italian. Carlotto has roots in both places, as well as Italy, where she lived for a time in her early 20s before moving to Los Angeles.
In 1999, she came to Los Angeles to visit her aunt and decided to stay.
“I was 23 years old when I came here to visit and have stayed 30 years,” said Carlotto. She discovered Larchmont and went to work as a waitress at La Luna Restaurant owned by Robertino Giovannelli, whom she later married.
“I always worked in restaurants; I love people. I have been a pastry chef, bar tender, waitress. I have worked every job in the restaurant,” said Carlotto. “Larchmont means a lot to me and I want to say thank you to the community, this beautiful village and community. This is my ‘hood!”
Now divorced, she and Giovannelli, co-parent their daughter Valentina, who is now 17 and will go back and forth between her parents, according to Carlotto.
“Valentina has been studying so much online and she is very familiar with Argentina and Italy, so she’s excited about the move as well.” said Carlotto.
A creative and spiritual person, Carlotto said she is open to whatever comes her way. Perhaps she will go back to working in the food business, where she has friends and family. Uruguay is a small place, there are only 4 million people in the whole country, explained Carlotto, but it’s only three hours from Brazil, so it’s also very cosmopolitan.
Carlotto has mixed emotions about leaving Larchmont, though she said she will miss it.
“Whenever I want to feel at home, I take a walk on Larchmont and you feel like you are at home,” said Carlotto. She told us she hopes it can stay that way, but she worries about the future of the street. She’s been very vocal about the challenges small shop owners face because retail has changed so much, and it makes it very hard to cover the increasing rents being charged on Larchmont.
Finally, she also asked us to share this message with Buzz readers who can still follow her on Instagram or contact her by email at [email protected]
After a big transformation,
an uncomfortable grieving,
it has been a big awakening…
My life is changing…
from north to south,
my roots are calling,
my heart is glowing…
I’m going back to
where everything started in august 1968.
In April I’m moving back to South America!!
to collect my memories,
to honor my heritage
and to start a new canvas in one of my favorite places in the world,
With an army of love, family and friends.
with a stunning familiar view,
with a desire of a simple and happy life,
with my spirit full of knowledge to share.
In the earth of my ancestors, where my great grandparents with 18 siblings immigrated from Italy.
Gracias, Los Angeles!
the city where I became
a crystal lover,
a diversity ambassador,
an American citizen with a thick accent.
My heart is full of gratitude.
I’d love to hug all of you
Who supported my vision, my art
who empowered me,
who had an authentic exchange in all these years.
who shared with me life moments,
who hugged me to give me strength,
who prayed for me,
who challenged me to be better,
who captured my essence,
who taught me diversity
with a new prayer, a different tradition
and a different culture to stand up.
My gypsy soul is leaving my home to
my dream home,
Thank you, Los Angeles…
thank you, North America!!
for 23 years of my life!
And to all the artists who inspired me and keep my heart warm with their expression.
About Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.
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