French Quarter Activities
738 Royal St., French Quarter
Masks are a defining element of Mardi Gras celebrations and have become a symbol of sorts for the city as a whole, making them the souvenir of choice for tourists. The super intricate iterations sold at this Royal Street gallery are nothing short of heirloom quality—a far cry from the flimsy plastic stuff you can find in every run of the mill gift shop. In addition to the leather, feather, and bejeweled stunners handmade by resident artist Dalili, there’s also a selection of imported masks from Venice.
726 St. Peters St., French Quarter
Preservation Hall is an institution: This art gallery-turned-concert hall has been at it for the last 50 years, nurturing local talent and forming a traveling house band to help spread jazz around the world. The space is cramped and the lines to get in are long, so don’t bank on snagging one of the few seats. And while there’s no booze served inside (hence the all-ages-welcome policy), they do allow outside drinks. There are shows at 8pm, 9pm, and 10pm every night.