Where to start out antique hunting in the Big Easy.
Antiquing in New Orleans is not an amateur sport. In a city that exemplifies living history so uniquely, its antique shops mirror that too. So it’s no surprise that trying to find even a starting point to explore them can quickly become overwhelming. And let’s be fair, a list of “the best” is just as complicated and problematic as determining its best restaurants or venues, but for good reason; their variety and goals and aesthetics range so wildly. If you’re looking for priceless 18th century European furniture or quirky kitchen tools from the 1950s, New Orleans caters to every kind of picker. So perhaps don’t look at this list as a definitive statement or a competition, but rather a primer to the favorite spots of our editors and trusted sources.
Lucullus Antiques: If you’ve ever been to Upperline, one of our favorite classic restaurants in the Lower Garden District, you may have seen owner (and all-around hero) JoAnn Clevenger’s famous favorites list. Having been a vintage store owner in her previous life, we trust JoAnn’s recommendation when it comes to antiquing. This shop in the French Quarter is one of her favorites and specializes in culinary-focused antiques where you’ll find everything from Early 20th century French oyster plates to a 19th century American ceramic pitcher or a Chinese porcelain punch bowl.
Ann Koerner Antiques: A favorite of our homes editor, Zoe Gowen, Koerner’s shop offers expertly curated antique furniture that easily fits into more contemporary design from gorgeous Italian inlaid desks to patinaed tables from Sweden. The best way to keep up with her new shipments and see her finds from around the city is to follow Ann on Instagram @annkoernerneworleans.
Royal Antiques: Royal Street in the French Quarter is lined with antique stores catering to the most avid of collectors, and while the fourth-generation, family-run Royal Antiques does as well (including Theodore Roosevelt back in the day), it’s also welcoming to curious visitors who want to wander their 20,000 square feet of show rooms.
Kitchen Witch: For those of us who are more flea-market fiends, the Kitchen Witch sits on Broad street and Bayou Road in Mid City across the street from our favorite record store Domino Sound Record Shack. If you’re searching for a long lost community cookbook or a collector of splatter paint enamel, you’ve found the place. They also have an impressive selection of vintage cookbooks related to creole and Cajun recipes.
M.S. Rau Antiques: Another enormous shop on Royal Street and another favorite of our homes editor, it may not necessarily fall into the affordable category, but with its glass case lined showrooms (that you can actually tour on Google maps!) it feels akin to the visible storage section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, making it worth a visit.
P.S. Don't forget to visit these other homes-oriented shops with a great selection of modern and vintage: Spruce, Perch, Bank Architectural Salvage, Pied Nu, Leontine Linens, and Malachite.