Last year I gave all my relatives Louisiana-themed gifts since it was my first year in New Orleans. This year I’m mixing it up a bit, but I noticed yesterday that some of my family members are still getting gifts with a New Orleans or Louisiana angle; this state is just full of talented people making cool stuff.
I have found some really interesting gifts this year, so here are six of my favorite finds just in case you’re still working on your Christmas shopping, or you're looking for a gift to give yourself. Some of the items have to be purchased online, so for that I recommend putting a picture of the gift in a card so even if the gift doesn't get here by Christmas, your gift recipient will know you at least tried to plan ahead.
Merry Christmas, everyone, and good luck with your last-minute shopping! I'm still not done, so I'll see you out there.
1. The Pot & The Palette Cookbook
This book has a new meaning since Louisiana artist George Rodrigue died Saturday, Dec. 14. The proceeds from The Pot & The Palette Cookbook go to the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, as well as the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation. The book is full of recipes from Louisiana restaurants, such as Commander’s Palace and La Provence. Louisiana students also illustrated the book.
You can purchase The Pot & The Palette Cookbook online.
2. Tamar Taylor’s Houses
I’ve been to Little Miss Muffin three times in the last week, and twice I bought a couple of these houses. I think they’re so cute and they make great gifts for out-of-town family members. I also like that they come in a variety of sizes and therefore a variety of prices. The houses are designed by local artist Tamar Taylor.
3. Bats on Tees’ Stay Gold Shirt
For the end of the NFL season, I love this shirt from Bats on Tees. It’s a subtle way to wear the Saints' colors if you don't like team jerseys.
For some more items from Bats on Tees, there is a sure to be great pop-up shop happening from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, at NOLA Spaces (1719 Toledano St.) There are going to be a lot of other local brands there, so you should definitely check it out.
If you can’t make the pop-up shop, Bats on Tees items can also be purchased online.
4. Sunglasses from KREWE du Optic
From what I've read and heard, 2013 was a great year for KREWE du Optic, a New Orleans sunglasses company. The brand has been getting a lot of local buzz (such as in our very own New Orleans Magazine), but it has also been getting some attention in publications beyond New Orleans, as it has been featured in Southern Living, Refinery 29 and, most recently, ELLE.
5. What the Sleepy Animals Do at the Audubon Zoo
This book is adorable for little New Orleanians. Written by locals Grace Millsaps and Ryan Murphy, What the Sleepy Animals Do at the Audubon Zoo starts off with a little girl asking her dad why the animals look so sleepy at the Audubon Zoo. What the dad comes up with is great. You can buy the book online, or find it at any of these stores.
6. Minimalist Map of New Orleans
One of my friends from college told me about Archie Archambault, who has been traveling the U.S. making letterpress maps of cities, including New Orleans. According to his website, Archambault is doing the project because new research says "GPS's are hindering our ability to create mental maps of our surroundings.”
This gift is not technically a locally made item, but Archambault did spend some time in New Orleans creating the map, which is now available for purchase on Etsy. You can learn more about Archambault and his maps on his website.