"NB" Nelson Balka, is an international fashion house based in the U.S. It’s fashionable street-chic couture line is inspired by a mix of American and European cultures. Nelson Balka is a luxury brand created by American designer and entrepreneur R.A. Floyd.
Using the name of his beloved late grandfather Nelson Balka, Mr. Floyd founded and established NELSON BALKA CLOTHING in the spring of 2009. Mr. Floyd credits his sense of style to his late grandfather. Born in 1913, Nelson Balka, the man, was synonymous with class, style and sophistication. Mr. Floyd interprets his classic and unique style to create a casual, yet sophisticated collection for the young, fashion forward male socialite.
The unmistakable single tuxedo strip placed on the shoulder and the timeless NB logo both are staples of the brand that will be recognized the world over. With the creation of the website NELSONBALKA.COM, it allows NELSON BALKA CLOTHING to aggressively expand its reach to consumers and retail networks in the United States and soon internationally.
Nelson Balka (January 1, 1913 - June 28, 2008) was born on a sugar plantation in Centerville near Franklin, Louisiana, St. Mary Parish. Balka grew up on the same sugar plantation that had enslaved his ancestors. The family stayed because of their well treatment by the plantation owners. Balka learned the value of hard work from his parents and at the age of 8, he began working in the sugar cane fields. He later went to work for Murphy J. Foster, Jr., a prominent Franklin-area sugar planter and owner of oil and gas lands, as his operations manager. He only had a basic education, but taught himself by observing the Foster Family which he had admired. Balka would study the way they talked, behaved, dressed, and conducted business. He became very close to the Foster Family who treated him more like family, not an employee. He also became Mr. Foster’s personal driver and cook. Balka would also be given the task of looking after Mr. Foster’s two young boys, William “Press” Foster and Murphy J. “Mike” Foster, Jr., who later went on to become the 53rd Governor of Louisiana. Balka married and had two girls (Florence and Clara) but was widowed shortly after. As a widower with two small girls to care for, Balka met the former Mercedes “Cedes” Louise Wilson, a local school teacher. In 1941 Balka and Wilson would marry and move to Patterson, Louisiana. In 1948 the couple would add a third girl, Bettye Balka Floyd, the mother of R. A. Floyd.
Nelson Balka 1935
Nelson Balka, now living in Patterson, began in 1950 working for Edwin “Ed” Kyle with the old Kyle-Taylor Lumber Co., then located on the Berwick waterfront. The company was one of the first in South Louisiana to supply the offshore rigs with drilling mud, cement and chemicals in the Gulf of Mexico. Balka started as a cook aboard Kyle-Taylor’s "Florence M," an old World War II LST. Balka spent five years as a cook, eventually working himself to the ship’s engineer for 13 years. Balka then became "skipper" of a smaller crew boat and remained inland until Kyle-Taylor sold his drilling mud division. Balka became Ed Kyle’s right hand man and operations manager, as well as a close family friend. He worked for and helped take care of him until Kyle died in 2005. Balka received numerous certificates of appreciation from organizations such as Carr-Roberson American Legion Post #589, the title of "Offshore Pioneer" by the Executive Committee of the 25th Offshore Anniversary, Inc. in 1972. Balka would also become well known throughout Southern Louisiana for his culinary talents. Through his service with the Kyle Family, Balka showed off his culinary skills by preparing meals and entertaining State and Local Leaders, Politicians, Heads of State, Dignitaries, Hollywood Entertainers and Presidents. Balka's working environment gave him his unique sense of style and fashion. His many travels with Mr. Kyle exposed him to trends in fashion, he saw how the rich and famous dressed and mimicked the “look” but injected his own personal style, which he had obtained at an early age.
He retired after Kyle’s death, but would occasionally cater events, as he was always in demand for his wonderful culinary skills. He took care of his beloved wife of 66 years, Cedes, who was stricken with Alzheimer’s for several years, until her death in 2007. He would pass away himself, almost one year to the date, at age 95, from complications of a stroke.
Nelson & Mercedes Balka 1940