New Orleans Souvenirs: Local Flavors, Mardi Gras Gifts, & More

New Orleans tops the list for culturally unique cities in the United States. Curious travelers come for its lively festivals, unparalleled music scene, and storied restaurants. If you are lucky enough to visit New Orleans, you’ll definitely want to take a piece of this vibrant city home with you. And there are no shortage of amazing New Orleans souvenirs at all price points.

You’ll find a distinctive flavor and rhythm in this city. From regional delicacies to festival freebies, you are sure to please your loved ones with souvenirs from your travels. Get ready for a colorful experience perusing the French Quarter or even just the corner market.

Woman standing in New Orleans street holds out armfuls of colorful plastic beaded necklaces
New Orleans souvenirs are as colorful and lively as the city itself. Photo credit: mana5280

New Orleans Souvenirs for Foodie Friends

Creole and Cajun Staples

Visit any supermarket to take home a variety of Creole and Cajun favorites. Grab some jambalaya mix, roux, or gumbo base. Head to one of the popular Rouses Markets — there is even a location in the French Quarter. Or hop on the St. Charles streetcar to visit Zara’s Lil’ Giant Supermarket & Po’Boys (4838 Prytania St.).

Supermarket stand at Rouses Supermarket with Cajun spices
Rouses Markets are your best bet for fiery local ingredients. Photo credit: Infrogmation of New Orleans

Pralines

Pralines are a delectable mix of toasted pecans, sugar, cream, and butter. This Southern confection is a quintessential edible souvenir. But if you eat them all before you get home, we won’t tell! Pralines are just one of the treats included in our review of must-try Louisiana desserts.

Box topped with melted and hardened pecan pralines in NOLA
Pecan pralines aren’t just a tasty treat, they also make an amazing New Orleans souvenir.

Café du Monde Chicory Coffee and Beignet Mix

The French Quarter institution Café du Monde is a favorite for people-watching and 24-hour deliciousness. Drink a café au lait, which is equal parts scalded whole milk and chicory coffee, then pick up a can of chicory coffee as a trophy of your travels. We also recommend springing for their famous beignet mix to fry up the hot, powdery pastry when you get back home. If a visit to the iconic Café du Monde peaks your interest, we offer a New Orleans Food and History Tour to fill your fancy!

A paper takeaway bag and styrofoam coffee cup from Cafe Du Monde
Don’t make your friends and family too jealous – bring them back a bite of the Crescent City! Gifts from Café du Monde make perfect New Orleans souvenirs. Photo credit: Jessica Tan

Angelo Brocato’s Cannoli

Started by a Sicilian immigrant in 1905, Angelo Brocato’s is a gelato and pastry shop operating in the Mid-City neighborhood. Their chocolate and vanilla cannoli make an elegant souvenir, and you can even order a cannoli kit shipped overnight to your recipient.

Insider’s Tip: Hungry for a full Creole-Italian meal? We suggest Vincent’s Italian Restaurant, one of our top Italian restaurant picks.

Crystal Hot Sauce

First developed in New Orleans in 1923, Crystal Hot Sauce has drawn a cult following from foodies the likes of which include celebrity chef David Chang. This Louisiana favorite uses the whole cayenne peppers – skins and seeds included – as the main ingredient. We eagerly douse it on oysters, po’boys, and red beans. Bring some back on your flight home, so you can say Beyonce’s line to the TSA with a straight face: “I got hot sauce in my bag, swag.”

Bottle of Crystal Hot Sauce sits on an empty restaurant table next to a pack of sugar
You’ll find locals pouring this spicy sauce on eggs, beans, seafood, and everything in between. Photo credit: Angie Garrett

Mardi Gras Gifts

Mardi Gras Beads and Throws

Mardi Gras is synonymous with the colorful plastic beads that fill the air with excitement. With an estimated 25 million pounds of beads thrown in the parades every year, you’ll be able to take home as many bead necklaces as you can shoulder.

But the ubiquitous beads aren’t the only coveted items thrown during the parades by the Mardi Gras krewes. More unique throws can be harder to procure, including the legendary Krewe of Zulu’s painted coconuts, the all-female Krewe of Muses’s bejeweled shoes, and even the irreverent Krewe of Tucks’s colored toilet paper rolls. Whatever you nab, you’ll come away with a fun collection to remember the festivities by.

Strands of beads and mardi gras mask necklaces hang in a store
Even if you can’t make it to New Orleans during the Mardi Gras celebrations, you can still pick up colorful beads any time of year. Photo credit: Matthew

Mardi Gras Masks

Transform yourself by selecting a mask to revel in at the Mardi Gras festivities—or get one to decorate your wall at home. Many celebrants don them on Fat Tuesday, but masks are actually required by law for all parade float riders! You will find many ornate styles in the specialized mask shops in the French Quarter.

Store in New Orleans filled with colorful mardi gras face masks
Mardi Gras masks are one of the quintessential New Orleans souvenirs. Photo credit: Rojan Maharjan

Dong Phuong Bakery’s King Cake

Many swear the best king cakes are baked at Dong Phuong Bakery, a 2018 James Beard Award recipient. King cakes are available January 6 through Mardi Gras Day, and you can make the most of the trip to New Orleans East by also grabbing a few banh mis for lunch. In-store lines can be long for this coveted delicacy, and they do run out daily. Thankfully, Dong Phuong offers an online ordering option so you can enjoy their signature Mardi Gras flavor anywhere in the US.

Unique Souvenirs from New Orleans

Occult Items

New Orleans offers many shops dedicated to the occult, and most are found in the French Quarter. Pick up a voodoo doll to use for a spell and grab a gris gris bag for good luck. Or visit a botanica shop for even more spiritual resources. There are botanicas located all throughout this enchanted city. All throughout this enchanted city you can find botanicas offering items such as saint candles, Santeria statues, incense, and folk medicine.

Spiritual botanica shop in New Orleans at night with signs of palm reading and voodoo dolls
Reverend Zombie’s House of Voodoo boasts alligator claw keychains, spell kits, wooden rosaries, and other intriguing spiritual souvenirs. Photo credit: J Lopes

French Quarter T-Shirts

In the French Quarter you will find a variety of t-shirts that proudly celebrate the local culture. Popular imagery include the fleur-de-lis, crawfish, jazz, alligators, oysters, Saints football, and the “laissez les bons temps rouler” party spirit. You’ll surely find the perfect tee that will commemorate your trip to the Crescent City!

Jewelry

New Orleans is rich with jewelry at all price points. Fun items such as king cake earrings can be found at the French Quarter gift shops on Royal Street, or check out the Art Bazaar on Frenchmen Street to meet some of the local artisans while you shop. For more superlative luxury items, head to Canal Street on the edge of the French Quarter.

A pair of flower earrings, a bracelet, and 3 gold rings on a jewelry dish with white background
Serious shoppers will enjoy browsing the jewelry stores along Canal Street. Photo credit: Carmen Lopez

Antiques

High-end antiques abound in this city of historic neighborhoods. Take a jaunt over to Magazine Street in the Garden District or Royal Street in the French Quarter for your fill of art, jewelry, and European home furnishings from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Artwork from Jackson Square

A select number of local artists display their work along the wrought iron fence that encompasses the timeless Jackson Square at the foot of Saint Louis Cathedral. Stroll through the stalls to enjoy the charming atmosphere or to find a beautiful handmade souvenir.

Artist paints landscape paintings outdoors in New Orlean's Jackson Square
If supporting local artists is your jam, Jackson Square is where it’s at. Photo credit: Madison O’Friel

Now that you have an idea of the top New Orleans souvenirs to shop for, head out with some cash and curiosity to see what you find for yourself!