Nothing wrong with T-shirts, caps, Mardi Gras beads, and snow globes (except that you can get those anywhere). We offer some alternate ideas.
* A Book from Faulkner House: Many an author has tried, with varying degrees of success, to capture New Orleans on the page. Their efforts may help you know what it means to miss New Orleans. Pick up some reading material from this charming jewel on little Pirate’s Alley, crammed with Louisiana-related tomes. Check out our reading list.
* A Photo or Art Book from A Gallery for Fine Photography: The owner calls his impressive shop “the only museum where you can buy the art.” A fine photograph from one of the many famous photographers represented here is a souvenir you can relish every day—not to mention a wise investment. If an original isn’t feasible, consider a fine photo book.
* A Southern Scent from Hové: This classic perfumery creates its own perfumes and soaps. We got hooked on sachet-favorite Vetivert, described as “smelling like the South.” Locals also adore the scents made from the indigenous sweet olive, and the fine gentlemanly scents.
* Local art: Take home a singular treasure from one of the many excellent galleries and art markets including Palmer Park and the Palace Market on Frenchman Street.
* Tunes: New Orleans’s soundtrack is as essential to your experience as her sights and tastes. A few CDs purchased (yes, bought) at gigs or some record-shop vinyl will keep the good times rolling back home. Check out our recorded-music recommendations.
* A Hat from Meyer: We’re mad about Meyer the Hatter, for the selection, the service, and the 100-year-plus history. You’re in the South, darlin', you can rock some class headgear.
* A “be nice or leave” Sign: Dr. Bob’s colorful, bottle-cap-edged signs may have proliferated around the city, but they’re still true, local works of folk art, handmade with found materials. Available in a variety of sizes, materials, and sentiments at Pop City, 940 Decatur St. (tel. 504/528-8559); Funrock’n, 3109 Magazine St. (tel. 504/895-4102); but it’s more fun to visit Dr. Bob’s Bywater studio, 3027 Chartres St. (http://drbobart.net; tel. 504/945-2225), open daily 10am to 5pm.
* Fleur-de-lis Jewelry: Gold, silver, glass, cufflink, nose ring, pendant: The selection is unending. Wear it with pride; share it with a smile. Consider something from Mignon Faget or an inexpensive bauble from the flea-market stands at the French Market.
* Sazerac Glasses: If you’ve taken a shine to the city’s official cocktail, the gift shop at the Roosevelt Hotel has perfect reproductions of their original glasses.
* Pralines: The choice for office gifts. And for home. Maybe one for the plane or car on the way there (and remember it's prah, not pray-lines).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.