It’s hard to imagine that a market place has existed in New Orleans since 15 years after America claimed its independence. Ever since 1791, some form of market has resided just off the banks of the Mississippi River. It seems that almost every few decades would bring some type of change, but one thing stayed the same. People from all walks of life would visit the market to purchase or trade goods. These days you will find 5 blocks of fun in the New Orleans French Market.
Escaping A Storm
Our arrival was made by using the streetcar, which runs right next to the market stalls. The morning was filled with stormy weather, but we weren’t letting that stop us. When the streetcar reached our stop, we scurried through a downpour to the nearest stall. Inside, we found dozens of vendors exhibits filled with flashy colors, flavorful treats, and unusual trinkets for residents and visitors to snatch up. As the storm continued on the outside, we set about exploring the space that laid out before us.
New Orleans Trinkets
When we hear the name New Orleans there are certain things that immediately come to mind. Food is an important part of the city’s draw, as well as their propensity for throwing a great party. Of course, most of us will think of BEADS. What other city makes you think of a connection like this? We’ve all seen the brightly colored strings at Mardi Gras parties or local bars. A visit to the 5 blocks of fun shops in the French Market will open your eyes to an amazing variety. It would be easy to get caught up in trying to collect as many kinds as possible. Just make sure you have enough room in your luggage.
French Market Finds
So now that you’ve selected your beads, what other novelties can you find in New Orleans? Obviously the Fleur-de-lis is prominent due to the French connection with the city’s history. With 5 blocks of shops and stalls, just about anything and everything is available. There are a lot of local artisans on site displaying their creations. What market would be complete without vendors booths filled with knock-off bags and purses? Every once in a while you will move into a new space and be confronted with something so unique that it cries out New Orleans. What about an alligator head?
Feast for the Senses
Since we are on the topic of water creatures, why limit the experience to just novelty items. With the Mississippi River, Gulf of Mexico, and nearby swamps to pull from, you will find all kinds of aquatic delicacies. We can still remember our first visit to the Big Easy, when we had our first taste of alligator meat. Who would imagine that gator-on-a-stick would be so delightful? These days we usually opt for the more run-of-the-mill seafood dishes, but it can still be tempting to sample an offbeat delicacy.
Hunger Strikes Us
It’s easy to wile away a couple of hours in the French Market, since there’s so much to see. Our clothes had completely dried and hunger was beginning to set in. In New Orleans it can be hard to tell if you are really hungry or if it’s all of the tempting dishes that are displayed everywhere you go. Either way, it was time for us to sample a little bite of a Crescent City classic. Since the muffaletta sandwich is a New Orleans original, we thought we should give it a try.
Muscling a Muffaletta
A combination of salami, ham, cheese, and marinated olive salad are slathered in a muffaletta loaf. The end result is a flavor filled dish that kept us coming back for more. A nearby vendor offered up an adult fruit smoothie that helped wash down our snack. With our appetites satisfied, we returned to exploring the 5 blocks of fun. As we approached the southwestern end of the French Market, we found it be filled with more permanent shops, versus the local vendors we had seen earlier. Here we discovered one of the local candymakers, which we will talk about in an upcoming article. Suffice to say, those with a sweet tooth will find plenty to choose from in New Orleans.
Back Into the French Quarter
The rain had subsided, and it was time to move along. We passed Cafe Du Monde, which was doing brisk business even in the middle of the afternoon. (You can read more about this NOLA staple here.) We passed down Decatur Street, which happens to be home of the first muffaletta sandwiches. Soon our journey drew us back into the French Quarter to explore some of the unique shops that are found along every street and alley. When you plan your trip to New Orleans you will want to save time to visit the French Market. It’s’ 5 blocks of fun and a great place to grab a bite and some souvenirs from your visit.