With more than 50 years in the business under its belt, Banting's Nursery continually colludes with Mother Nature to smuggle extra oxygen into the air with an array of fresh plants. Twig and vine enthusiasts looking to foray into gardening will delight in exploring a wide selection of adoptable flora, from citrus trees and tomato plants to colorful flowers. The shop's knowledgeable shrubologists can explain the sunlight preferences and water lifestyle choices of beauties ranging from the tropical hibiscus ($12.95 for a 3-gal.) to the plumbago ($5.95 for a 1-gal.). Three gallons' worth of knockout roses ($19.95) double as a flying-fisted home security system, and the fragrant, pale-petaled frost-proof gardenia rolls its eyes blithely at winter's advances ($14.95 for a 3-gal.).
Offering a head-spinning variety of cups and other party-planning accessories, Party Cup Express sees to it that rambunctious revelers let loose with remarkable receptacles in hand. Tailgate in style with a set of 25 16-ounce black-and-gold souvenir cups emblazoned with the fleur-de-lis ($10), craft memorable baked goods with a crawfish cookie cutter ($3.95), or keep beverages frosty with a set of six Water Meter coozies ($6). Dazzle passing pedestrians and increase the chances of picking up a hitchhiking Drew Brees with a Saints Super Bowl Champions license plate ($5).
Preservation is as much a priority as presentation at LeMieux Galleries, which is why the displays that the shop crafts from thousands of frames and acid-free mats often involve leaving a buffer of air between delicate paintings and glass. Framers there ensure that stolen copies of the Declaration of Independence can be secretly enjoyed for generations to come with their careful framing techniques, which can preserve the natural edge of paper and safeguard the stitches of antique needlework. In more than a quarter century in the business, the store has displayed everything from souvenir magazines to jerseys within their frames, the styles of which range from sleek contemporary to the ornate gold moulding that grows unbidden in French palaces. LeMieux Galleries also exhibits sculptures, paintings, and ceramics by artists from the Gulf South.
Mattress Direct culls a variety of mattresses in textures ranging from firm to plush from brands such as Tempur-Pedic and Serta. Serta's iComfort, for example, evenly distributes support across the body with microsupport gel capsules nestled in its memory foam; a specialized material prevents overheating and the resulting unpleasant lava-chase nightmares. Mattress Direct's stock of bed frames, bed linens, and pillows allow patrons to assemble complete bedroom sets in one trip, and an express delivery service prevents the hassle of renting a moving truck or outfitting each leg of a new bed with a rollerblade.
New Orleans Famous Praline Company hand-makes its signature Creole candies by following a 100-year-old recipe. Pecans, cream, and sugar go into each praline in precise ratios. Then, each praline is individually wrapped to ensure its freshness, and packaged into a box that might contain up to 12 of the sweet treats. The pralines are available in classic or creamy versions, the latter of which can be had in original and chocolate flavors.
For 36 years, The Tinder Box has supplied puffing enthusiasts with more than 150 pipes and fine cigars from brands such as Davidoff, Padrón, and Arturo Fuente. Friendly on-staff tobacconists expertly navigate patrons to the store’s walk-in humidor, where a showcase of premium cigars for the novice and connoisseur and cardboard cutouts of Humphrey Bogart age to complexity. After perusing pipes by brands such as Ardor and Savinelli, customers can transport olfactory cavities to the Dominican Republic with the robust aromas of Arturo Fuente cigars ($3.35–$10.85 each).