I would venture to say that the second most visited area in New Orleans--after the French Quarter--would be Magazine Street.
Named after a
"magazin"-- or warehouse--that was built on the street in the late eighteenth century, the lower part of Magazine was initially used as a storage area for commercial and industrial goods.
Today, this six-mile long "avenue of dreams" meanders from Canal Street along the curve of the Mississippi through the business district, the Garden District and Uptown before concluding at Audubon Park. Riding the Magazine Street bus is a perfect way to catch glimpses of each of these areas, and with the all-day bus pass, makes it possible to stop at several different locations along the route, such as, Hey Cafe (left),
La Divina Gelateria, with the sign outside that reads "OK, so we didn't have a White Christmas like the ones Bing Crosby used to know, but White Chocolate Peppermint Bark is better than snow anyway,"
or Stein's Market and Deli.
"For many generations, Magazine Street has been a mecca for bohemians and the well-heeled alike. Specialty and chain coffee shops offer Internet hookups for laptops and outdoor tables for those who prefer a more amiable atmosphere for casual and business conversations. Restaurants featuring a wide variety of cuisines are open long hours along this stretch, as are a number of nightclubs offering a wide variety of live musical genres" (neworleansonline.com).
For the well-heeled, there are businesses that offer “an exotic adventure for men” (a shave with a straight razor at Aidan Gill's For Men), restaurants that provide “an adventure in eating” (at Juan’s Flying Burrito), boutiques "offering a whimsical and eclectic mix of reasonably priced contemporary women's clothing" (Fairy), and shops that “offer unique indulgences, e.g., a jeweled collar, for the pampered pet” (at Petcetera) (goneworleans.about.com).
Also, "...it is the antiques and artwork that draw aficionados to Magazine Street like moths to a streetlight" (neworleansonline.com).
Since we would be more likely to find ourselves in the
"bohemian" group, we were drawn to the shops shown in the photos in this entry. Well, more accurately, we were drawn to the colorful exteriors of the shops and not into the shops themselves.
However, restaurants along Magazine Street offering local comfort food (Joey K's [see yesterday's entry]), ethnic food (Jung's Golden Dragon [see tomorrow's entry]), and other local specialities (Casamento's, Mahony's, and Tracey's [to be visited on our return to New Orleans in March]).
So, while some would use words like "quaint" and "charming" to describe some of the shops and boutiques on Magazine, we were drawn to the businesses described as "funky" and "off-beat."
So, for shopping, dining or just casual strolling, no place in New Orleans outside the French Quarter beats Magazine Street.