Where New Orleans Shopped

Join Peggy Scott Laborde on a shopping excursion you won’t forget!

With bustling streets like Canal, Rampart, Dryades and St. Charles – – it’s no wonder that New Orleans was known as the shopping mecca of the south in the late 1940s. Whether looking for clothes, groceries, everyday needs or special occasion items, memories of shopping in New Orleans are among our fondest.

Lined with everything from fine department stores to dime stores, Canal Street was not only convenient, but served a wide range of shopping needs. Meeting “under the clock” at D. H. Holmes is where many shopping excursions began and ended.

New Orleanians knew when Christmas time was coming. Masion Blanche featured the legendary Mr. Bingle and his catchy tune “Jingle, Jangle, Jingle, Here Comes Mr. Bingle”.

Godchaux’s, which was founded in the 1840s was considered one of the city’s most fashionable clothing stores.

And who remembers the vacuum tube system used at Krauss’ to verify credit card purchases?

From tailor shops to pawn shops, diversity was a staple on Rampart and Dryades Streets. For those who could make their own clothes, Halpern’s fabric store on Dryades Street offered some of the city’s most breathtaking fabrics.

St. Charles Avenue is considered by many New Orleans’ first boutique area. Expectant
mothers visited the Lylian Shop, where beautiful handmade children’s clothing and nightgowns for Mommy
were sold.

This probably was the only city where one could “make groceries,” instead of buying them – – John Schwegmann built a supermarket empire that would change grocery shopping forever. Schwegmann, the man that invented the phrase “one-stop shopping,” was the first to install drugstores, seafood markets, sporting goods stores, and even a bank inside his supermarkets.

Known as “Katz’s” or just “KB,” this drugstore carried everything from pencils to playing cards and even their own K&B brand name, including everything from liquor to ice cream. Though K&B carried over 25,000 store items, a main attraction for shoppers was taking a break to sit and sip on a stool at the soda fountain.

Many people contributed their shopping memories to this new program, including boutique owner Yvonne LeFleur; nationally known artist George Dureau; and former New Orleans store owners, John Schwegmann, Jr., Herbert Halpern and Sydney Besthoff, III.

Director/Editor is Stephen Tyler. Associate producer is Caissa Young. Videographer is Walter Bardell. Original music is composed by A. J. Loria. Major funding is provided by Whitney National Bank, Lakeside Shopping Center and the WYES Producers Circle, a group of special donors who contribute to local programming.

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