THE HOLIDAY SEASON would only feel complete with a Saturday spent with my best friend on Magazine Street, enjoying our cherished shopping traditions. This year was no exception, as we visited some of our favorite shops and added a few new ones.
A late morning arrival to Magazine Street calls for coffee and a little something from La Boulangerie, our first stop. La Boulangerie is known locally and beyond for its pastries, fresh bread, and desserts, all sourced from the area. If you enjoy a yummy croissant with your coffee, this is the place to come because they have four kinds of croissants.
Only a few steps away, we discovered the Art by Christy Gallery, a charming and vibrant space. Christy Boutte creates her art through finger painting, using vivid colors and sometimes sparkling jewels. Her works beautifully depict New Orleans culture, from beadcovered Mardi Gras trees to enchanting voodoo babies. A personal favorite of mine portrays Petunia the Pelican in amusing scenarios. The gallery also offers wearable art, blankets, and pillow covers featuring Christy’s beloved characters, making for unique and delightful gift options.
Crossing Napoleon Street, we made our way to Nola Boards. This is such a great shop because they have so many gift choices. Their handcrafted cutting boards are beautiful and functional and can be engraved to make them even more unique. Nola Boards also has a variety of barware with distinctive mixers and syrups for cocktails and kitchenware, including aprons, handcrafted wooden utensils, and tea towels with hilarious quotes. Their gift baskets also make perfect gifts for any occasion.
Another first for us was visiting the Hilltop Shoppe. We loved this endearing little shop! The classic, charming white clapboard storefront is picturesque and ready for the holidays with just the right amount of greenery and red trim. Inside, the bright interior is enhanced by a cozy red brick fireplace bedecked with bright-colored Christmas wreaths, and the beautiful white mantle has the cutest glass cone Christmas trees you’ve ever seen. Shelves showcase colorful barware glasses and stemware mixed with exquisite Christmas trays and other holiday serving pieces in green and red, some featuring nutcrackers. The white linens with monograms in gold or silver will add elegance to any table and go with everyone’s Christmas China.
Several trees throughout the store are decorated with exquisite glass ornaments. The pastel book stack ornament was my favorite. With a thorough selection of candles and Spongelle body wash-infused body buffers, making filling Christmas stockings is easy. For the person on your holiday list with great taste, discover something enchanting at the Hilltop Shoppe.
When shopping on Magazine Street, my family expects me to visit Haydel’s for petit fours, which they love. So, we quickly stopped in the delightfully scented bakery to please them. Plus, I enjoy Haydel’s turtle cookies. These cookies became a favorite after we moved to Louisiana, and I always make it a point to try them at local bakeries. Among all the options, Haydel’s turtle cookies remain my top choice.
Following our brief visit to Haydel’s, we continue west along Magazine Street, exploring the eclectic shops nestled between Joseph and Jefferson Streets, situated near Whole Foods. Here, you’ll find several must-visit stores.
Our favorite shop along this stretch of Magazine Street is Miss Smarty Pants. We love this charming shop because there are so many beautiful objet d’art to savor, and they always offer customers a glass of wine! Miss Smarty Pants has a fantastic selection of stylish and cute jewelry. The jewelry is only part of this adorable >> store’s fantastic bits and bobbles. They carry a large selection of fun local-themed drinkware, beautiful and unique scarves, candles, exquisite frames, and upstairs, all sorts of gorgeous holiday geegaws. Miss Smarty Pants is not the shop to skip, ever.
For a Christmas shopping experience that you will want to have every year, you must visit Hazelnut. You will find Christmas trees festooned with different ornament themes throughout the shop. The icon-themed glass ornament tree is our favorite. Covered in icons from pop culture and beyond, this festive tree features pop culture figures like Edgar Allan Poe with his raven and Anna Wintour blowing a bubble. Additionally, there are many stunning artifacts to behold throughout Hazelnut. One-of-a-kind decor, sumptuous tabletop accessories, personal accouterments such as Susan Shaw and Capucine de Wulf jewelry, and Hazelnut exclusives, including the ever-popular New Orleans Toile, are just a few bits of the extensive array of decor and gifts that fill every corner. Whatever the occasion, you will find an original gift at Hazelnut.
As the day turned to evening, marking the end of our shopping tradition, we were ready for cocktails and dinner. The Red Dog Diner, a cherished spot from our first annual Magazine Street shopping excursion, had been closed for three years due to the pandemic. To me, their boarded up windows represented another casualty in the wake of the pandemic and a reminder of the good times we had before our world bizarrely turned upside down. The Red Dog Diner reopened in June, and us returning for dinner there felt like a victory lap for the good guys. As we settled in the rustic front room of the restaurant, we enjoyed cocktails like Ginny Hendricks and Hair of the Red Dog, followed by a delightful dinner featuring Crusted Crab and Spaghetti. Our dining experience was outstanding just as it always was. Welcome back, Red Dog Diner! We missed you.
Another delightful day of holiday shopping on Magazine Street was complete. The highlight was uncovering new shops and galleries to include in our yearly tradition. I eagerly anticipate returning next year to explore more fresh, distinctive, and one-of-a-kind establishments that enrich the iconic Magazine Street shopping experience.