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New Orleans is a city that needs no introduction. Beyond the gumbo, the jazz, and the anything-goes bacchanal that is Mardi Gras, the Big Easy is a treasure trove for contemporary fashion, vintage shops, and some of the best meals and cocktails in the country. So don't overdo it with the Hurricanes; this town has plenty to offer well before happy hour.
Health food-enthusiast Kim Nyugen (who also owns uptown's Magasin Cafe) opened this chic juice destination to introduce cold-pressed beverages to New Orleans. Packed with fresh, organic coconut water, almond milk, green and root vegetables, every juice (and flavored water) is made in-house; and later this summer, Nyugen will partner with a nutrionist to offer prepared meals, too.
3005 Magazine Street between Seventh Street and Eighth Street
Paul and Molly Babineaux launched their business back in 2012 after spending a year traveling in Turkey, where they learned all about the nearly-disappearing art of handwoven textiles. The brightly patterned towels, scarves, and blankets sold in this uptown shop are all made with chemical-free silk and certified-organic cotton, which in Turkey are sometimes sprayed with a garlic potion that keeps pests away. (The scent disappears, of course.)
2727 Prytania Street between Fourth Street and Washington Avenue
With Solange Knowles behind it (she's one of several partners), you know that this French Quarter boutique is nothing less than a major fashion outpost. The interior's raw-stone aesthetic is perfectly juxtaposed with the kind of bright, wildly printed and directional clothing it stocks from brands you may not have heard about yet, like Calle del Mar (from California and Brooklyn), William Opko (the in-house label from two of Exodus Goods's owners) and Perks & Mini (from Melbourne).
518 Conti Street between Decatur Street and Chartres Street
Owner Émilie Lamy's art and design bookshop had outposts inside Sterling Provisions in Marigny and Church Alley Coffee Bar in Central City before consolidating everything into the latter later this month, in preparation for her big move to the Contemporary Art Center this fall. Regardless of where you go, expect to find coffee-table-perfect collectables, whether it's a hard-to-find international design magazine or a retrospective on the works of photographer Diane Arbus.
1618 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard between Terpsichore Street and Euterpe Street
This sea-obsessed restaurant gained many more fans last year when it was awarded Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation (the first NOLA restaurant to snag the distinction), putting its crawfish bisque and entire gulf fish expertly roasted in hardwood fire on everyone's radar. The drinks are fantastic, too, especially the La Paz Negra, a refreshing cocktail featuring a smoky mezcal.
800 Magazine Street at Julia Street
Owner Laura Hourguettes's decade-old vintage nook has a weekly changing inventory of clothing, accessories, and jewelry. While Hourguettes is a personal fan of lace Edwardian couture (and there's usually a couple of those in the shop every week), the boutique offers a wide-range on its racks, from extravagant Mardi Gras ball gowns to the iconic Pucci shift dresses from the 1960s.
3329 Magazine Street between Lousianna Avenue and Toledano Street
This sleek, Lower Garden District storefront is likely the premier menswear destination in town when it comes to contemporary clothing (it's an especially great spot for hard-to-find labels). Pick up slim-fit abstract-patterned shirts from Cuisse de Grenouille, denim jackets from A.P.C., and trunks from Saturday Surf NYC.
2115 Magazine Street between Josephine Street and Jackson Avenue
Founded by local hospitality giants Nick Detrich, Neal Bodenheimer, and Kirk Estopinal (who manage several other restaurants all over the Big Easy), this French Quarter bar focuses on proto-tiki-style drinks, which are essentially tropical cocktails from the Caribbean with influences from Spain, Africa, and Asia. The bourbon-based "In the New Moon's Arms" is the perfect summer drink: light, fresh, and comes with a parasol.
1113 Decatur Street between Governors Nicholls Street and Ursulines Street
The teeny-tiny Arts District outpost of this international fragrance empire was actually its first American location when it opened in 2011. A bird motif dominates the space (it's modeled after an aviary), and the selection of perfumes leans toward cult brands with heavy price tags, which can be rationalized if you're on the hunt for that one signature scent. Think Czech & Speake colognes from London ($165), a minty-fresh Acqua di Stresa shower gel from Italy ($40), and a complex perfume from Paris-based SoOud from France ($265).
527 St Joseph St between Camp Street and Magazine Street
Co-owner cousins Kate Wyman and Anna Boyer's love for all things American heritage inspire their printing operations in the city's Warehouse District. (Check out the old-school typewriters at the windows.) Every design—from greeting cards of dogs driving convertibles to larger prints that showcase New Orleans architecture—is hand-drawn before its digitally printed, using press plates from the 1940s and 1960s.
521 St Joseph St between Magazine Street and Camp Street