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Arts & Culture

Local New Orleans: Five Unique Holiday Gift Ideas

Unique New Orleans gift ideas this holiday include crafts and fashion from Dirty Coast, Frenchmen Street, Vinsantos Defonte and Ellen Macomber.

In a city where we start planning our next meal before our check even arrives at the table, it only makes sense that I was thinking about Christmas long before Thanksgiving ended! I love everything about the holiday season, and one of my favorite things is giving the special people in my life unique and unexpected gifts. The following is a short list of five holiday gift ideas to inspire you to be proactive and to shop locally, because supporting New Orleans businesses and artists is giving a gift in itself.

Ellen Macomber

new orleans christmas gift
New Orleans map blanket (Louisiana map also available) // Photo courtesy of Ellen Macomber

Ellen is a local painter, stylist, and designer. Her “My Lousiana” postcard and coloring book is a great gift for children, and I’m also a big fan of her blankets, made from 100% organic cotton and printed in an entirely non-toxic process. They are available in two sizes and work great as baby blankets or as throws in a living space.

How do I buy? Visit Ellen’s official site to browse all of her goods for sale.

Dirty Coast

new orleans christmas gift
Dirty Coast Neighborwoods Ornament // Photo: Dirtycoast.com

I’m completely obsessed with the new “Neighborwoods” line here: laser-engraved maps on beautiful cedar wood. There are full-size maps, as well as ornaments and keychains in this line. As always, Dirty Coast has mix & match coasters for sale (I love the water meter ones in all colors!) and a great assortment of tees for kids and adults.

How do I buy? Visit the store at 5631 Magazine Street or shop the official site. A new location is also opening soon at 329 Julia Street so stay tuned!

GoNOLA Gift Basket

I love the idea of sending friends and family a New Orleans-themed basket of goodies. Mine would include a mix of the following: leftover Mardi Gras beads/throws, a small king cake, an assortment of Zapp’s potato chips, a bag or two of Community Coffee medium roast, a Defend New Orleans signature tee, free stickers from Dirty Coast, and a Bird Project soap to benefit our coast!

How do I buy? Try Manny Randazzo’s, Haydel’s, or Sucre for the king cake. Zapp’s and Community Coffee (a.k.a. CC’s) can be purchased at local grocery stores (CC’s also has locations throughout the city). Defend New Orleans tees can be purchased through the website or at the flagship store in the Lower Garden District. Bird Project soaps are found at their online shop.

Vinsantos Defonte

new orleans art
“Fierce Owl” by Vinsantos Defonte // Photo courtesy of artist (please note: all art is framed by local artist Zack Jacobs)

Vinsantos is a performance artist and musician, originally from San Francisco, who has mastered the art of assemblage. I’m really drawn to the overall feel of his pieces and I love that he creates them from objects he collects, both from traveling and his fans. You can even send him your own collection of objects and he will create a “mini world” especially for you (how cool is that?) Each piece is entirely one-of-a-kind, and I think there’s something inherently very special about that.

How do I buy? You can find Vinsantos at the Frenchmen Art Market most Thursday-Sunday nights or check out his collection here.

Frenchmen Street

Take a walk on Frenchmen most nights, especially on the weekends, and you’re bound to run across all sorts of potential gifts. There’s the recently opened Frenchmen Art Market to peruse, as well as vendors posted on nearly every corner selling books or goods. Some nights, you can even find folks in front of typewriters willing to sell you a piece of their imagination in the form of short stories and poems.

How do I buy? I can’t do it all for you – hit the pavement, folks! Frenchmen is located in walking distance from the vibrant French Quarter.

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