February 2, 2009 | Natives and longtime residents of New Orleans have an endearing habit of describing their city as if it were a woman, one who is by turns refined and blowsy. Her sybaritic side is notorious, and her exquisite taste in food is famous. But what is slightly less well known is that Lady Orleans is passionate about antiques. For the dedicated collector, the city is a treasure house.
There are two main sections of town for the antiques maven. The first is the French Quarter, where several of the stores are family-owned and date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. That maturity is reflected in their inventories, which focus on fine continental and English furnishings, many of them period pieces with notable provenances. The softer side of the antiques world can-with one important exception-be seen in the shops that pepper the six-mile length of Magazine Street. Here, too, the emphasis is on traditional French, Italian, and English designs, with a healthy amount of Swedish in the mix.
There are more than one hundred antiques stores in New Orleans, and this guide describes just a few of our favorites. They are among the many reasons you should visit. New Orleans has only regained 60 percent of its population since Hurricane Katrina, and while there is no lack of brio in the community, you sense that it is tinged with sadness. Rich in antiques, this is a city that has long appreciated the kindness of strangers.
Click markers for detailed descriptions of antique stores, hotels and tourist information. (Map loads at Magazine Street. To see French Quarter locations drag map north along the river):