Remember your visit to New Orleans with souvenirs worth savoring, like music by local jazz acts or a hint of Cajun spices.
For Music Lovers
Shake your brass at home to tunes by New Orleans' local faves like the Treme Brass Band and Trombone Shorty. The best place to buy music (if you’re not downloading) is the Louisiana Music Factory, now in its new digs at 421 Frenchmen Street.
Open every day at 11 a.m. this spacious store is staffed by helpful music nerds well read on both local releases and the national jazz scene. There’s a decent selection of vinyl, too, and best of all, an ongoing schedule of free concerts showcasing some of the best talent in town. It’s not unusual to see a well-known local musician like Craig Klein from Bonerama show up, with his well-worn trombone case in hand.
For a memorable New Orleans souvenir, bring the sounds of the Treme Brass Band home with you on CD from Louisiana Music Factory — Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono
Another gem is Domino Sound Records at 2557 Bayou Road, just off of Esplanade (Think on the way from the French Quarter to City Park or the Fairgrounds, where Jazz Fest reigns every spring.). Closed Tuesdays and open at noon on other days, this cash-only shop sells new and used vinyl, cassettes (!) and turntables.
Besides jazz, local brass and blues, Domino has what may be the best collection of reggae in the South, all priced to sell.
Since most visitors come for the food, dreaming about your favorite New Orleans flavors from afar can be a bittersweet experience. If it’s a toothsome treat you’re seeking, pecan pralines - buttery sweet candy patties that also come flavored - are the bomb.
Buy them at Praline Connection in the Marigny (or airport) or Aunt Sally’s on Decatur, which makes the treats fresh daily in their open kitchen. Take home a box for somebody you really like a lot.
The Cafe du Monde Shop, across the street from the famous café, sells its chicory-laced coffee, plus the beignet mix that conjures sugary good days for just about every New Orleans visitor. The store will also ship its products anywhere in the country.
You can also find all manner of Cajun spice and hot sauce at the French Market, which also sells a wide array of kitschy keepsakes, from voodoo dolls to feather boas and beads.
Also on Decatur, Central Grocery is a go-to spot for muffalettas, the local Italian sandwich dressed with a savory green olive salad. Buy the salad at this combination grocery and deli, or if you really want to make your plane-mates jealous, just have them wrap one of the Dagwood sandwiches to go.