The story of Keil’s Antiques is one reaching back four generations. Originally from Alsace-Lorraine and coming to Louisiana as a girl, Hermina Keil spent time in St. Francisville before opening her antique store in New Orleans’ French Quarter in 1899. At the time, only two other antique stores existed in the Vieux Carré which was not the tourist destination it is today. Hermina Keil became a renowned expert on American furniture and silver and counted presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson among her clientele. Her son Morris Keil who was involved in the family business developed a love of French and English antiques, a new direction for the store which his mother encouraged. When he took over Keil’s Antiques in the 1920s, Morris Keil began to import eighteenth and nineteenth century pieces—including Louis XV, Louis XVI, Chippendale, and Georgian styles—and Keil’s Antiques established itself as an acclaimed authority in these areas as well.
What to buy: Beautiful Baccarat chandeliers - over 130!
What to pay: The chandeliers range from $1,800 - $450,000.
If you want super high priced French antiques, go to Royal Street. If you want a fru-fru decorator's antique shop, go to Magazine Street. If you want down home, wholesale, regular priced antiques, go to the 1200 block of Decatur Street. It's got something for everybody.
Le Garage - Vintage clothing and pop artifacts. Eclectic and interesting finds for men and women, ages 15- 50. MUST see.
Decatur Collectible Antiques - THOUSANDS (yes, literally thousands) of antiques smaller than a bread box. Victorian to mod jewelry, sterling silver, lighting, vintage clothing, black memorabilia, etc.
Artist Market - Great hodgepodge of shops all under one roof featuring handmade mardi gras masks, hand blown glass, bead shop, and a pottery shop.
Rare Finds - High quality collectibles and smalls.
Bernadette's - Vintage clothing and jewelry for the discriminating shopper. Everything there is beautiful - not your typical resale shop.
Greg's Antiques - European antique furniture at below wholesale prices. If you like it, buy it immediately because it moves quick. Biggest selection of antique furniture i've ever seen.
What to buy: Le Garage - AMAZING vintage mardi gras costumes and head dresses
Decatur Collectible Antiques - Deco bakelite jewelry
Artist Market - Ceramic New Orleans Water Meter wall hangings
Rare Finds - Absinthe spoon
Bernadette's - Pucci shirt
Greg's Antiques - 1930s French deco armoire for $300
What to pay: Prices are WAY lower than Magazine or Royal Street. Haggling is to be expected.
Antiques: From Canal Street to St Peter St
200 Block (between Iberville and Bienville St.):
• French Antique Shop: 225 Royal St; 524-9067
• Dixon & Harris Antiques: 237 Royal St; 524-0282
300 Block (between Bienville and Conti St):
• Royal Antiques: 309 Royal St; 524-7033
• Keil’s Antiques: 325 Royal St; 522-4552
• Waldhorn & Adler: 343 Royal St; 581-6379
400 Block (between Conti and St. Louis St):
• Cohen & Sons Antique Guns & Coins: 437 Royal St; 522-3305
600 Block (between Toulouse and St Peter):
• M.S. Rau Antiques: 630 Royal St; 523-5660
• Fischer-Gambino: 637 Royal St; 524-9067
The French Quarter isn't the only area with antique and boutique stores. Venture on down to Magazine Street!
What to buy: I perused photo albums, wall sconces, photo frames, drawer pulls, sachets, paper towel holders, cigarette cases, etc.
Magazine Street (Uptown) is known among locals for the "off the beaten path" antiques and quirkier specialty furniture pieces.
If you're into that kind of thing, then you should schedule time for a half day trip down Magazine. You can start around the 2000 block and work your way toward Downtown.
What to buy:
For the pricier, more classic pieces of furniture and French antiques as well as jewelry and art galleries, your best bet is to roam Royal St. (200-700 blocks, specifically) in the French Quarter. Chartres Street (200 up to Jackson Square) also has some interesting shops.
If you don't buy anything, then at least the browsing and window shopping can be time well spent -it's actually a fun pastime.
Last year I got a great deal on an antique silver "belladonna" ring...the little box opens and closes, and it's fascinating! I can just visualize some early 1800s debutante or society princess hiding belladonna in there and taking a whiff every once in a while before a ball or some such thing...Love it!
Along Magazine Street are some very interesting little boutique shops, and restaurants.
Magazine St. has a lot of the charm of old New Orleans (in my opinion, anyhow) but without the crowds of the French Quarter. One can easily spend an afternoon browsing there, particularly if the weather is nice.
I think it also is quite lesbian and gay- friendly, but is appropriate for any type of group.
What to buy: Antiques, consignment shops, boutiques, restaurants
What to pay: Varies
There are several shops of gorgeous antiques and artwork all around the French Quarter. I noticed a large concentration on Royal St. I found that I did a lot of window shopping there. Every shop we passed had one or two pieces that interested me.
Some shops used their inner courtyards as display areas. Which made for great strolls and nice finds.