French Quarter Shops
Krewe du Optic
809 Royal St., French Quarter
Krewe founder Stirling Barrett knows how to create an experience. Krewe is fundamentally a sunglasses store, but it’s also a hidden spot to have a coffee and just hang out. Like the city behind the brand, these frames are unusual, sometimes quirky, and beautifully crafted. Set aside time to visit Barrett’s plant-filled, showroom-style store and you won’t be able to leave without indulging in a pair of these special frames. Slow burners, indecisive shoppers, and general passersby can take a seat in the sunny, brick-walled alley outside for a coffee break.
434 Chartres St., French Quarter
Back in 1931, Mrs. Alvin Hovey-King set up shop on Royal Street, where she sold perfumes, a trade passed down by her French Creole mother. The tradition continues to this day, and although the shop has relocated a handful of times, the same sensibility prevails. Most of the scents—in colognes, perfumes, bath salts, and lotions—are gloriously old-fashioned and Southern-specific, like Creole Days, corduroy, vetivert, and heliotrope.
Exodus Goods (Closed)
518 Conti St., French Quarter
Co-owned by Solange Knowles, Exodus Goods, which lives in a brick-lined warehouse with colorful, airily-dotted racks, has made some big waves in New Orleans: There just aren't as many small, specialty boutiques doing interesting things as you would think. But Exodus Goods is different. It's also helmed by sisters Darlene and Lizzy Okpo, and Armina Mussa, and the buy revolves around smaller, streetwear-inspired indies like Ace & Jig, Nanushka, and Anatomy Project, along with pieces from New Orleans locals.
Faulkner House Books
624 Pirate's Alley, French Quarter
Occupying the former home of William Faulkner, this eponymous shop is one of the more special bookstores in the world. You'll find plenty of great reads (from Faulkner and others), along with collectibles and rare editions.
325 Royal St., French Quarter
Keil’s Antiques has been holding court in New Orleans since the late 1800s: In fact, it's operated by the fourth generation of Keil's. The emphasis here is on pieces from the 17th, 18th, and 19th century, which might be a giant armoire, or a delicate piece of estate jewelry. The Keil family also runs Moss Antiques (411 Royal St.) and Royal Antiques (309 Royal St.).