Best New Orleans Gifts
New Orleans is a major experience if you go there in person for Mardi Gras or any other festival that Louisiana can offer. Thanks to the internet, you can now find great New Orleans gifts that are authentic and more than likely a lot cheaper than a souvenir shop will charge. Here are some vital choices that give you a true taste of New Orleans that are great gift items to give as gifts.
If you buy New Orleans gifts online, is it authentic?
There is only one place in this world where you can buy New Orleans gifts, or is it? The truth about souvenir shops is pretty sad when it comes to finding imported junk from China that just slaps some cheap label onto something and then calls it authentic. If you want the real deal, you have to do some digging. And that’s where we’ve come to the rescue to save you a pretty penny. Here are some must-have suggestions for those who love New Orleans gifts.
Skip the souvenir shop or anything that is found on Amazon for this one. The only place you want to find authentic Mardi Gras masks is from the real artists who sell their masks in New Orleans. Well, for most locals, this event is called the Mardi Gras Mask Market and happens once a year for 4 days in the French Market. Many of those mask makers come from all over the US and present their handmade masks that are sold to festival-goers.
These masks are also not some cheap knock-off from overseas and are as unique as the next. Many of these masks are also big collector’s items because they are so iconic and amazing-looking. One of the main locals who are from Louisiana is New Orleans Masks which sells its masks on Etsy. These masks can be custom ordered, so when the thought counts, they make these masks an original gift that is worthy of Mardi Gras authenticity.
Another great resource is Jeff Semmerling’s Artside Outside Studio which produces many masks for Mardi Gras every year. There have been some excellent articles over the years about who’s who in this biz, but the real winners are the ones who track down these amazing artists who make something special for a living.
If you’ve heard of this iconic rye whiskey, Sazerac is one of the most famous all throughout New Orleans. And though this item is often a rare sight on Amazon, you can still order direct from the Sazerac Company. Nothing quite says The Big Easy like Sazarac does, and this is a gift that gives a bit of New Orleans in a glass or two. Sazerac is among the top 5 drinks that are most popular during Mardi Gras, so be sure to grab yourself an extra bottle just in case.
Hot sauce is subject to a lot of debate but when it comes to getting your spicy fix, nothing comes to mind than those that are made in Louisiana. There are many famous brands such as Crystal and Louisiana Hot Sauce. If you like something very original, then Frog Bone is about as Cajun as they get. Frog Bone is available through various outlets and is also found on Amazon with some limitations.
Since these hot sauces are at such a minimal cost, it might be better to buy several bottles that make great stocking stuffers. A selection of all three or a variety of flavors is typically the best way to give a taste of the south without going overboard.
Authentic Cajun spices are another great way to spice up your meals with subtle to extreme heat. One such brand that has always shown its New Orleans side is Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning label. They don’t pull any punches but surely give a Will Smith seal of approval when it comes to providing enough slap with these spice blends. Everything from seafood to simple grits, this Cajun spice will always have the upper hand (so they say)…
Although the practice of voodoo and hoodoo is all part of the New Orleans culture of Louisiana, you don’t find too many voodoo dolls being sold commercially. Heck, you could buy X-Ray glasses easier that are better gag gifts. But there is one such product that is actually made in limited quantities. These are produced in Louisiana and are meant for making some New Orleans curses come true for the lucky ones who catch this item at the right time.
We all know that Mardi Gras is huge when it comes to delivering the traditional King Cake with a baby hidden somewhere inside it. We didn’t think you might find anything close to this if you’re looking for a great reminder of New Orleans, but there is! This mini King Cake is just the thing to give to a friend that has never seen one of these cakes before and does actually have the plastic baby in the middle.
It’s a real spoiler when you find out it’s just a bagel that is decorated with sprinkles and icing but is still impressive out of the box. You won1t find anything fresher upon delivery if you’re ordering this item off-season. Here are some of our favorite vendors in New Orleans to grab some tasty King Cake.
Café du Monde coffee
What gift is complete without having a big can of Café du Monde classic chicory coffee? This product comes directly from New Orleans and is the same chicory blend that Café du Monde is famous for. It’s packed in a large 15-ounce tin and is somewhat reminiscent of the old Folgers cans they used to sell in the 1970s and early 80s. If you’ve never had chicory and coffee before, this is the flavor that New Orleans folks can’t get enough of.
But don’t forget that this flavor isn’t for everyone, especially if they don’t like weaker coffee flavors. The mix between coffee and chicory is often 70% coffee beans to 30% chicory. This is how they could extend a coffee supply back in the old days by using chicory as a filler.