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Best Local Things to Do

Five Artisans to Visit in the French Market District

French Market District
The French Market (Photo: Paul Broussard)

The French Market is the oldest continuously operating, open-air market in America. It is home to a host of immensely talented, globally-inspired, and uniquely NOLA artisans whose offerings include everything from perfect Crescent City keepsakes and one-of-a-kind gifts to delectable bites, sweets, and much more. Open 365 days a year and averaging 200 vendors per day, the French Market can be a lot to take on during your first visit. While it is an ideal location for a leisurely stroll and shopping, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite French Market artisans for you to skip ahead and check out during your next trip.

Image courtesy of Tesfaye

Visual Artist Tesfaye Negusse

A native of Ethiopia, Tesfaye Negusse is a longtime French Market artisan who fell in love with New Orleans culture. His awe-worthy artwork featured in the Market depicts notable New Orleanian musicians like Louis Armstrong and second line bands as well as famous streets and locations like Frenchman and Royal. With smaller prints starting at just $20, Tesfaye’s artwork is affordable for any art lover. During your visit, it’s likely that you’ll see Negusse hard at work, maybe even crafting his next masterpiece!

ScentSational Candles (Photo: Mariah Hickman)

ScentSational Candles

New Orleans is made up of flavors, sounds, and SCENTS! Experience unforgettable smells of New Orleans from the comfort of your own home with hand-poured soy candles from ScentSational Candles. New Orleans-inspired fragrances such as Oak Alley, French Quarter Nights, Hurricane, King Cake, the classic Cafe Au Lait and Beignet can be purchased in the French Market and enjoyed from anywhere around the world. Owned and operated by mother-daughter duo Janet Wilson and Cortnay Blair, these ladies have been sending visitors home with the scents of New Orleans for years. Stop by during the weekend to get a whiff of their Crescent City candles.

Oscar of New Orleans (Photo: Mariah Hickman)

Oscar of New Orleans

Home of the wearable artwork, Oscar of New Orleans has been a French Market staple for the past three decades. Since making his way to New Orleans in the mid-80s, Oscar Donahue III has grown into a French Market fixture. His handcrafted jewels, pins, and magnets light up rooms with their nifty New Orleans designs. Dancing alligators, saxophone-playing crawfish, and smiling voodoos dolls are among his many works of art. Oscar can be found in the French Market on just about any given day of the week with the exception of Jazz Fest weekends where he creates his crafts on the beloved fairgrounds.

Stop by the World Famous N’Awlins Cafe & Spice Emporium in the French Market (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

World Famous N’Awlins Cafe & Spice Emporium

We’ve covered the smells and sites of the French Market, but what about the tastes? Look no further than the World Famous N’Awlins Cafe & Spice Emporium. Family-owned and operated since 1939, WFN Cafe & Spice Emporium offers Cajun and Creole classics like dirty rice, Creole stuffed tomatoes, an assortment of poboys including alligator, and red beans. Take a taste of NOLA home with you and pick up a few of their dry rubs, seasonings, and sauces.

Photo courtesy of Chique of Arabi

Chique of Arabi

Going on their tenth year in French Market, John and Sue Allison are the master artisans behind Chique of Arabi. Using only local metals and reclaimed woods from homes in New Orleans, the dynamic duo creates a custom selection of unique household goods and knick knacks. Fleur de lis coat hooks, king cake baby bells, and crawfish bottle openers are among some of the many creations that can be found at Chique of Arabi. The Allisons pride themselves on their handcrafted creations and much of their clientele is made up of repeatedly satisfied customers.

This is just a small selection of all the French Market has to offer. Vendors rotate each day, so new artisans and offerings are always coming in. Explore the French Market District in its entirety for the perfect New Orleans takeaway.

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