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You just had a great visit to New Orleans, Louisiana, and now you’re wondering what to bring back to your loved ones. Or maybe you’re looking for a unique souvenir to remind you of your travels later on. While many of us already have unique collections from our travels, whether they are dolls (me as a child), souvenir spoons (my mom), thimbles (my aunt), pins, etc., there are some unique memorabilia to take home from New Orleans. Here are the best souvenirs from New Orleans.
Best Souvenirs From New Orleans: Food Items
Beignets are a quintessential New Orleans treat. These little pieces of fried dough covered in powdered sugar remind me of New Orleans. They taste best freshly made, so the best souvenir option is to take home a box of beignet mix to recreate this treat at home. You’ll find boxes throughout the touristy areas and stores, as well as grocery stores.
The original street food of New Orleans, pralines are a sweet lovers’ delight. While you can buy them already boxed up, the best pralines are those freshly made. They melt in your mouth deliciously. My current favorites come from Aunt Sally’s and Southern Candymakers. Pralines are a delicious souvenir from New Orleans.
While most hot sauces aren’t actually made in New Orleans itself, there is no denying that a bottle of hot sauce is found on most tables in local restaurants. Whether hot peppers in vinegar, Crystal (medium heat) or Tabasco (hotter), you can add as much heat as you’d like to your meal. A bottle of hot sauce makes a great gift.
Best Souvenirs From New Orleans: Drinks
The story goes that chicory root was added to coffee to stretch the coffee supply during the civil war. The appreciation for that mix remained long after the war ended and today, the blend of coffee and chicory remains a New Orleans trademark. Find the chicory-coffee mix at local stores, including grocers in the area.
Developed in 1838 by a local pharmacist, the Sazerac drink, led to a bar, which led to the creation of the company. Sazerac distills fine spirits including the famous Sazerac rye whiskey and other versions to create jaw-dropping cocktails to impress your guests. After enjoying a free self-guided tour of the Sazerac House, buy a bottle or two to take home (but don’t forget that if you’re flying, liquids need to go in checked luggage!).
One of the most famous drinks sold in the French Quarter is the Hurricane. And because open containers are perfectly legal for those walking around New Orleans, you’ll see plenty of visitors enjoying the beverage. While you can make the drink yourself at home, you can also bring a container of the mix home with you.
Best Souvenirs From New Orleans: Items
While controversial, New Orleans enjoys its dark history. Whether you believe in the power of voodoo or not, whether it is a voodoo spell, candle, or doll, consider bringing something home to your fan of the dark arts.
Long-time readers of my blog know that I love purchasing jewelry that is unique to a destination. During one of my prior visits to New Orleans, I purchased a necklace with a map of the French Quarter. This time, it was a necklace made by a local artisan using recycled guitar strings. So whether you choose something with a fleur-de-lys or something more unique, jewelry is one of the best souvenirs from New Orleans.
Well known for its jazz legacy, bring back a local jazz recording for your favorite music lover. Many people now simply download their favorite artist, so consider introducing them to your favorite jazz act you heard in New Orleans.
Who Dat? Fans of New Orleans’ Saints can find everything their heart desires in NOLA. To avoid knock-offs, consider the gift shop at the Superdome, though see the airport option below if you run out of time.
Best Souvenirs From New Orleans: Mardi Gras Items
From January 6th through Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday (which changes depending on Easter every year), New Orleans prepares for its most well-known celebration – Mardi Gras. During this time souvenirs from New Orleans should include the following:
Masquerade balls are a huge part of the Mardi Gras festivities. Masks are encouraged and range from simple, inexpensive designs to elaborate and costly alternatives.
While available year-round these days, look for the green, purple, and gold combinations.
Found everywhere from specialty shops, grocery, and restaurants, King Cakes are a type of coffee cake that comes in different flavors, but traditionally cinnamon. Find the plastic baby placed inside which is supposed to bring good luck.
Best Souvenirs From New Orleans: Airport Edition
Forgot to buy the best souvenirs from New Orleans while you were in town? New Orleans’ new airport offers last-minute opportunities to purchase souvenirs if you forgot someone or ran out of time.
In addition to stores offering t-shirts and other mementos, you can find college and professional sports items as you enter Terminal B. As you enter Terminal B, and walk towards Terminal C, you’ll find the Cafe du Monde, where you can make last-minute beignet and coffee (and their mixes) purchases. Terminal B has a Sazerac bar where you can enjoy a drink and buy a bottle.
If someone is meeting you at your arrival airport, I highly recommend buying the shrimp and grits from Emeril’s Table To Go which is tightly packaged for your trip. Just give yourself about 15-20 minutes as it is prepared fresh to order. A bit spicy but simply delicious! Makes a great thank you gift from New Orleans.
If you enjoy New Orleans, you can learn more about:
- Foods You Must Try (And Where To Try Them)
- Great Reasons to Visit New Orleans
- Partying in New Orleans’ French Quarter
Annick, The Common Traveler