Legend has it that the site of the French Market was originally used by Native Americans as a bartering market. It grew into an official market in 1812. From around 1840 to 1870, it was part of Gallatin Street, a rough area full of bars, drunken sailors, and criminals. Today it’s a mixed bag, and not nearly as colorful as its past, but a fun amble. The goods at the farmer’s market, from fresh produce and seafood to more tourist-oriented items like hot sauces and Cajun spice mixes, are pricier than at local supermarkets—but here they’ll pack it for air travel or ship it home. Snacks like gator on a stick will amuse the kids, while the raw bar and food vendors will satisfy the grown-ups (Meals from the Heart is a standout). Try to come on Wednesday or Saturday when a farmer's market and entertainment (music, cooking demos) liven things up and harken back to what it was once like here. The famed flea market section is kind of junky, but sprinkled among the T-shirts, caps, and cheap sunglasses are a few original art vendors (original art here is tax-free). It’s convenient for souvenir shopping and New Orleans–related trinkets, especially inexpensive silver jewelry and all manner of fleur-de-lis. If you’ve outshopped your luggage, you can pick up a duffle bag or small suitcase. There are all-important clean public bathrooms here.