I always say that my favorite thing about New Orleans is that I rarely feel judged here – on any given day, people are expressing themselves in a variety of ways, and no one really cares. While tattoos are a more permanent form of self-expression, I happen to be a big fan – I have five small ones, and they all represent a very specific time in my life. New Orleans has a vibrant tattoo culture and inspires many unique and meaningful tattoos symbolizing its significance to different people. I caught up with a few of the best local artists for tattoos in New Orleans – check out their stories below, and if you want a tattoo to commemorate your next trip to the Crescent City, you know where to go!
Justin Olivier, Downtown Tattoo (501 Frenchmen St.)
Justin is a native New Orleanian and, except for a brief stay in Portland, Oregon, has lived here his entire life. He spent his time in Portland “working in restaurants, drinking lots of whiskey, and getting tattooed.” While he was there, he also did his first tattoo on a friend, became hooked, and obtained his license soon after.
Years of experience: 4.5
Words to live by: Live the dream
Favorite thing about New Orleans: “New Orleans is an awesome city; I like it because it doesn’t feel like any other place in the nation. It always feels so good to return home from a vacation – not to mention the food and Southern hospitality!”
Theophile Bourgeois, TATTOOAGOGO (4421 Magazine St.)
Theophile is “living the dream, making a living from something I love.” When he’s not tattooing, he can be found in the swamp or trying to keep up with his two sons. He also took time out from his own wedding week to participate in this article!
Years of experience: 6
Words to live by: Don’t be lazy, and never sell yourself short.
Favorite thing about New Orleans: “I love that, in New Orleans, there always seems to be a reason to celebrate. The people are generally very nice, and there’s always music and the scent of good food in the air.”
Billy Bracey, Uptown Tattoos (575 S. Carrollton)
A father of 3, Billy is a self-described family man. He has experience with multiple styles of tattoos and loves that his profession has made travel and adventure a major and constant part of his life.
Years of experience: 14
Words to live by: “Shining be thy light” – I don’t know where it came from, but I’ve got it tattooed across my chest. To me, it means: let others know your heart through your actions.
Favorite thing about New Orleans: “I love how small New Orleans is. Everyone knows everyone. I can’t go anywhere without seeing someone I knew at some point in my life. So, in a way, you’re never alone – the city is your friend.”