There is no greater place to buy a mask than New Orleans, which masquerades several times a year. Cheap masks with colored feathers made in China can be bought in the French Quarter, three for six dollars. A creative alternative is to shop the hand-me-down shops in the French Quarter which tend to collect exotic costumes and masks. There are also professional costume shops in town. But if you want a truly unique mask visit one of the mask workshops. The Mask Gallery is both a store and workshop for making the masks. The leather masks are the finer creation, but paper mache' masks are also beautiful works of art here. The shop also sells a variety of body molds and other work in leather and paper mache'.
What to buy: The leather is a collectible work of art, but even the paper mache' masks are collectible here. All are wearable and comfortable for a party. No doubt custom masks can be made for any occasion.
What to pay: Hundreds for larger mask, less than a hundred for a paper mache' mask. Remember, these are handmade right in the store.
The website mentioned below provides information for the elite women's accessory place where exotic hats can be worn, but there are plenty of second hand clothing shops that sport costumes and hats of a wide variety in New Orleans. There's even a little shop devoted to locally made hats, which would appeal to the hip-artist type of person. So, rather than buy a baseball cap of the New Orlean's Saints or some other kind of silly logo (I survived Katrina was a popular logo hat when we were there), consider buying an authentic work of art from New Orleans.
What to buy: Check it out for yourself and try one one to see how it fits.
What to pay: The website below will lead you to the most expensive accessories, as for what the art shop photo here sells hats for, I don't know. They were closed due to Katrina, but promised to open soon.
What does one do when your energy is lagging, your feet are throbbing and you still have a number of sites you want to see when traveling...go for chocolate!!
Southern Candymakers, ideally located at the French Market, is where luscious fudge and other chocolate delights can be yours for a not so unreasonable price. Rocky road fudge was my indulgence, but an ice cream cone could sound mighty fine to you.
Pralines, caramels, toffee, sweet and savory nuts or sugar free candies were all ready to be packaged up. As we waited to place our order, we tried some glazed pecans--which were excellent! They also make gift baskets. Hours 10am-7pm daily.
NOTE: My precious quarter pound of rocky road fudge was carefully wrapped in plastic, but was not bagged--ask them to bag your confection so as not to melt on other purchases. OOPS!
When you make your required visit to the French Market to sample a cafe au lait and beignet or to wander through the various flea market stalls, do not leave this historic district before stopping by Stirling Silvia's (pic #2). Here you'll find quality sterling silver jewelry at reasonable prices.
On the hunt for Christmas gifts, I found several pretty pieces which will be given to some of the ladies on my list (pic #3). I found a pair of sterling silver fleur de lis earrings and a beautiful scrolled ring, which I'm sure will thrill those I am gifting (pic #3).
Not only were the jewelry cases brimming with shiny little treasures, the service was excellent, too. I count this shop as one of my top discoveries! Hours are daily from 10am-6pm.
FYI: Most of Sterling Silvia's jewelry is imported from Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, Italy, Chile and Russia.
(February 23, '09) Just what is a praline? It's a carmelized cookie-sized creation containing brown sugar, butter, nuts and is a specialty of New Orleans!
Please do not leave New Orleans before tasting PRALINES! Several shops carry these melt-in-your-mouth delicacies, so you will not have a problem finding any to take back home with you. However, this particular family business sure knows how to produce extraordinary pralines!!
After walking about Jackson Square, we explored the neat little shops along the pedestrian mall. Creole Delicacies had a wide open door and welcoming atmosphere, so we stopped by. Near the entrance tidy stacks of boxed pralines along with complimentary samples awaited the visitor.
One bite told us that we had to have these pralines...that we couldn't leave without these pralines...and in fact, we were absolutely captivated by these sugary delights! Consequently, several people in our family will be enjoying pralines along with their Christmas presents this year and I'm sure they'll greatly appreciate them. Stop by for a taste of these divine treats!
A favorite purchase of mine came from Hove Parfumeur, Ltd--it was a romantic scent exuding 'warm notes of oak moss with a hint of musk'. This charming french inspired shop truly must have a scent for everyone because there are fifty wonderful perfumes and colognes to choose from.
There were so many scents to try that I was overwhelmed, so I mentioned to the salesperson that I would like something in a floral-musk combination. Immediately she whisked out a sample of Fascinator--I looked no further and promptly dug into my purse for the money. It was just that fantastic!
Hove began in 1931 when a Navy commander's wife transformed her love of creating perfumes (taught to her by her Creole mother) into a successful business. The New Orleans location changed several times, as well as, the family members who inherited the business but it's still family run and still creating beautiful fragrances for both men and women.
If you'll notice in the picture, the men are biding their time outside the shop, while their wives are inside make a selection!
The fleur de lis represents the French influence in New Orleans history. You'll find this symbol imprinted or rendered on many items throughout Forever New Orleans: Christmas ornaments (pic #3), napkins and notecards, mugs, tshirts, jewelry and even pillows.
Colorful women's purses, silky blouses and clever home decor accessories seem well chosen and attractive. Specialty coffees and other foods can be taken home to capture the flavor of this city, too!
I really wanted to revisit this shop before departing New Orleans (pic #2), but time would not permit. However, if you make it one of your first shopping stops, I don't think you will regret it.
Housed in the striking Pontalba buildings located on both sides of Jackson Square, you'll find The Pedestrian Mall ( pic #2). As mentioned in an earlier tip, these historic structures were built by the Baroness Pontalba in the mid 1800's to be used as apartments.
I found this district of the city to be particularly appealing since Jackson Square, once the Place D'Arms, is where the St. Louis Cathedral, the Cabildo and the Presbytere are now located. Not only is it a pleasing green space in the center of the city, but it's a wonderful place to gather!
Vehicles cannot enter this area except from 8am-10am and 6pm and 8pm each day, so it's pedestrian territory most of the time. It was here that we found some great souvenirs to take home for the family, aside from pralines, we discovered Shusan's* where we purchased a New Orleans t-shirt with interesting graphic design for a 13 year old in our family (pic #2) and baseball-style hat for Jim. We thought the prices were reasonable and the sales staff very nice!
*Shushan's at 536 St. Peter St (504) 586-1188 or www.shushans.com
This is an ordinary Walgreens drug store.right on Canal Street. It has a pharmacy, but is not a 24 hour store. The closest Walgreens that is 24 hours is the 1801 St Charles Ave. store: 504-561-8331; pharmacy: 504-561-8458. They have a Bank One Talking ATM, and photo developing.
What to buy: We stopped at Walgreens to get some first aid cream for my nose, and I also got a folding hairbrush to replace the old one that I have that is falling apart. We couldn't get streetcar passes there.
On another occasion, Bob tried to get some Krispy Kreme donuts at the Walgreens, but there were no boxes or bags to put them in
If you got a little too happy in the shopping department and just can't stand the thought of lugging the extra lbs. of purchases home on the plane, Royal Mail can assuage your guilt. They are open weekdays and Saturdays, but NOT on Sundays.
What to buy: Buy postcards, stamps, padded envelopes, etc., and send them out via U.S. Mail or Federal Express.
What to pay: Depends on how much pirate's booty you've collected, and which means you're choosing to send them to the old homestead!
Wasn't sure what to put this under as it applies to restaurants, bars, shopping and attractions but decided to stick it here. If you look for them, you can find lots of coupons that can really help stretch your travel budget. They range from "2 for 1's" on drinks, dinners and purchases, to reduced prices on tours, shows and entry fees. You'll find them printed throughout the local travel magazines and brochures, in individual stacks, and in coupon books. Look these materials at Visitor's Centers, hotel concierge desks and at the tourism desk at the airport. You can even download some from www.experienceneworleans.com. before you go.
Take a moment after you arrive to look over the flyers and mags, tear out what you think you might use and then carry them with you during the day - you'll have them at hand when you run into something that you might be able to save a couple of $$ on. We used these at/for drinks, pralines, a walking tour, the aquarium, Virgin Records, Margaritaville and some of the historical sites.
Bloomin' Deals Thrift Shop is a permanent fundraiser for the Junior League of New Orleans, so besides finding some great deals, you are also supporting a very worthwhile cause!
Bloomin'DEALS Thrift Shop hours:
Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Closed on Mondays
What to buy: You can find very nice, great condition, brand name clothing, as well as Mardi Gras beads, books, and other stuff as well. Inventory is donated, so the stock changes daily - definitely worth a look!
What to pay: I found a Jones New York pantsuit for $12, and a pair of Tommy Hilfiger pants for $5.
Three Dog Bakery caters to dogs tastes only. I bought some 'Beagle Bagels' for my dog. It was a very cool shop. They had barrels you could scoop dog biscuits out of, sample packages and doggy delicacies behind a glass display. As I was buying my Beagle Bagels, a man came in with a boxer who drooled all over the floor. He bought a Boxer Brownie for it and I had to laugh when the attendant asked "Would you like me to wrap it up or are you going to eat it now?"
While my friend bought something for her dog, I patted the shop's Jack Russell, bounced a tiny tennis ball and knocked things over trying to catch it and set off a basket of talking crawfish toys. The shop lady jokingly said, "Ok, move away from the basket!" (She was only kidding though.)
This is a great place to visit if you want a souvenir for your dog. The staff are friendly and helpful and it is my favourite shop in New Orleans. All the goods are made with human-quality ingredients.
What to buy: Buy the variety pack of treats for your dog, or the Beagle Bagels (they went down a treat and they're made with peanut butter).