Shopping in New Orleans is like opening a treasure chest in which everything you want is at your fingertips, from rare antiques to novelty T-shirts, artwork, jewelry, and foods that represent the city's flavors and culture. Old-world influences intersect with modern trends, creating a singular shopping experience, and making it easy to find something for even the pickiest person on your souvenir list.
New Orleanians have a deep love and devotion for the Crescent City and the varied ethnic components that make up its unique cultural gumbo. For shoppers, this translates into merchandise that reflects that pride, including jewelry and clothing bearing city icons such as the fleur-de-lis—a French symbol associated with the city since its early days—Mardi Gras masks, tributes to its world-class food and culture, black-and-gold Saints symbols, and unique and often humorous statements about political issues and local personalities. Residents also strongly support local entrepreneurs, which means fewer big-name chains in favor of homegrown stores selling items and artwork produced in the city.
Make sure you take home some of the city's artwork, including the posters designed around New Orleans's special events such as Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest (which often become collector's items). In the city's thriving arts districts, you'll find contemporary works by local artists alongside renowned names in the art world. The special sounds of New Orleans—Dixieland and contemporary jazz, rhythm and blues, Cajun, zydeco, rap, hip-hop, and the city's unique bounce beat—are available in music stores like Louisiana Music Factory and Peaches Records and at live-music venues such as Preservation Hall, Snug Harbour, and House of Blues. Independent bookstores and major chains stock a plethora of local cookbooks, photography, history, and local literature and lore. Clothing stores focus on items that wear well in New Orleans's often-intense heat and humidity, with styles ranging from the latest runway fashions and high-end designer clothes to vintage frocks and styles by local designers.