With autumn quickly approaching, New Orleanians will want to take advantage of those last vestiges of summer – swimming, barbecues, iced tea and, of course, shopping! There is no better time to explore the plethora of shops and boutiques along Metairie Road than right before the seasons change. Stock up on fall looks, whether it be clothing, jewelry, accessories or must-haves for the bedroom or bathroom. This stretch of Old Metairie boasts chic boutiques, up-and-coming restaurants and other great destinations, all set against the majestic oak trees of the oldest road in the New Orleans area.

When looking for educational and fun activities for kids while shopping, look no further than Longue Vue House and Gardens (7 Bamboo Road, 488-5488). The historic site features an eight-acre estate with a Classical Revival-style mansion and the interactive Lucy C. Roussel Discovery Garden for kids. Longue
Vue also features garden-based educational programs for families that focus on science, yoga, art and other mentally and physically stimulating activities. There are also programs specifically for adults, including lectures, symposia and workshops in the fields of design, horticulture and art. Longue Vue’s new on-site store location features great gifts for weddings, showers and special occasions, not to mention a selection of home and garden décor and accessories. It is the perfect place to take a break from traditional shopping, spend some peaceful time outdoors and find some unique purchases.

For a look that’s casual, yet contemporary, Belle Couture (115 Metairie Road, 835-1490) caries
a wide variety of chic and affordable options. “We have a mix of [clothes for] all different ages – from college students to career women to exercise enthusiasts,” says Stacey St. Pierre of Belle Couture. “We have everything from accessories and belts and shoes – everything that completes the whole outfit. You can get everything in one stop.” As for prices, Belle Couture can accommodate any budget. “We’re very recession-conscious. Our price point is probably lower than what you’re going to find [elsewhere].” Belle Couture is also a great place for sportswear: “We have more of a fashionable, trendy kind of active wear as opposed to your basic Nike active wear,” St. Pierre says. In addition, Belle Couture offers personal shopping services for no additional charge. “We’ll have a fitting room and sizes ready for you – walk in, try on and go.” St. Pierre says that the highest priority is a positive environment: “We’re all about good, friendly customer service; everybody’s welcome.”

After shopping all day for clothes and jewelry, sometimes you want to get back to the basics. The Linen Registry (204 Metairie Road, 831-8228) offers the best in bedding with the convenience of its location on Metairie Road. “The Linen Registry is New Orleans’ foremost authority on fine linens for the bed, bath and table,” says Lee McKee of The Linen Registry. “Having been in business for 13 years, we have amassed the widest selection of fine linen lines under one roof in the Southeast.” The store also offers lingerie, down products, home accessories and a bridal registry. “Creating a beautiful home that can handle life’s little surprises is our primary goal,” says McKee.

“No one should ever have to worry about using their linens – that’s what they are there for!” The Linen Registry combines the highest quality with everyday durability; they use design consultants to fit each bed and mattress and automatically allow for shrinkage. “Our linens are designed to handle your lifestyle. [The] time you come home and the golden retriever is sound asleep on top of your coverlet, don’t worry – you bought your linens from The Linen Registry!”

For an upscale shopping experience, Elizabeth’s (204 Metairie Road, 833-3717) has a high-end boutique atmosphere with all the friendly service you’d expect in New Orleans. “We offer personalized attention and service, says Sal Trentacoste of Elizabeth’s. “We also offer alterations. You can have some uniqueness here.”

Elizabeth’s also carries a variety of posh selections. “We offer everything from casual to cocktail,” says Trentacoste. “We have more sophisticated-style clothing.” Elizabeth’s also carries accessories, shoes and jewelry.

“We’re a one-stop shop. We have a unique selection of clothes for special occasion.”

For modern trends with universal appeal, Em’s (246 Metairie Road, 834-2795) has the latest styles and accessible fashions. “[Em’s] strives to [carry] the most current trends while still maintaining a look that most everyone can wear,” says owner Emily Walker. “Our customer base has grown very accustomed to our honesty and easy going atmosphere while shopping.” Walker travels to Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas, Miami and Dallas to scout different markets and looks. “I love vibrant solid colors and wild prints that have a bohemian edge,” she says. “I am also very conscious about having a wide range of price points. I never want people to feel limited while shopping at Em’s.” Walker says that the hottest items this summer have been bikinis by Trina Turk, Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent rompers, Amanda Uprichard and Parker sundresses, J Brand cut-off jean shorts, Tolani bohemian tunics and Fulham jewelry. “We can’t keep these items in stock!”

One thing every shopper looks for is variety; FeBe (474 Metairie Road, 835-5250) offers more than 80 brands of designer clothing in its nearly 4,000-square-foot location on Metairie Road. From T-shirts and jeans to suits and cocktail dresses, FeBe carries such brands as Theory, Diane von Furstenberg, Elie Tahari, Stuart Weitzman shoes and many more. “We also offer clients the type of service they would receive with a personal shopper,” says Ron Jones of FeBe. “New collections arrive daily from our established designers and we add new designers every season.”

When it comes to Boudreaux’s Fine Jewelry (701 Metairie Road, 831-2602), it’s all in the family. Three generations of Boudreauxs have run the business since it first opened downtown in 1933. “We’ve been on Metairie Road since 1985,” says Brian Boudreaux. “We’ve been doing it for a long time.” Boudreaux’s offers a wide variety of jewelry, including engagement and wedding rings in every shape and cut, South Sea and Tahitian pearls, graduated diamond necklaces, colored gemstones, diamond stud earrings and much more. “We offer
a full-service jewelry company,” says Boudreax. “We custom make one-of-a-kind pieces, do jewelry repair, watch repair, jewelry appraisals – anything anyone would want or need, we’re capable of doing it all.” In addition to a wide selection, from Tacori and Simon G to custom-styles, Boudreaux’s also prides itself on service. “We try to create an environment that’s welcoming and comfortable.”

Hiller Jewelry (923 Metairie Road, 837-8200) is approaching its centennial anniversary in New Orleans, making it a local fixture in the jewelry world. Hiller started in 1918 and now carries a wide range of designs hand-crafted by their master goldsmith. “Hiller is known for their one-of-a-kind custom designs, such as engagement rings and matching wedding bands,” says Lisa Biderman of Hiller. “Besides high quality diamond jewelry, Hiller Jewelry carries a large selection of jewelry by designer Alexis Bittar who hand carves bracelets, earrings and necklaces out of lucite in a variety of colors.”

During a busy day of shopping in the summer heat, nothing hits the spot like a quintessential New Orleans snowball. “There’s a whole lot to do on Metairie Road,” says Steven Bel of Sal’s Sno-balls (1823 Metairie Road, 666-1823). “A lot of people run errands up and down Metairie Road, and we’re kind of in the middle. It’s a great place to stop for a break.” Sal’s Sno-balls is a Metairie staple, now approaching its 50th anniversary. And still, after all these years, the top-selling flavors are the classics. “Our top two flavors are chocolate and strawberry,” says Bel.

“We also have cream flavors like ice cream, nectar and Robin, named after Mr. Sal’s oldest granddaughter.” Sal’s also features another namesake flavor, Purple Dawn, after his other granddaughter. Sal’s also enjoys creating novelty flavors, such as Joker, made from all the berry flavors mixed, and the Sock It To Me, from the show “Laugh-In.” “We have a lot of stuff back from the [19]60s,” Bel says. “All the names we have and mixes
are stuff that he came up with and named himself.”

Everyone likes to shop for themselves, but sometimes shopping for others can be just as – or more – fun, especially when it’s for babies and children. Banbury Cross (100 Atherton Drive, 837-0447) offers the latest fashions in children’s clothing as well as the classics. From smocked dresses to seersucker, Banbury Cross carries a wide variety of casual outfits, special occasion clothing, swimwear, sleepwear and more. They even have
a line of “Storybook” fashions, including a Wizard of Oz smocked shortall outfit for boys and a Snow White smocked bishop for girls. Many outfits can be monogrammed as well, for that extra-special touch.

One of the best things about this city is the never-ending selection of activities, celebrations, parties, festivals – New Orleans always has something to celebrate, and just as many reasons to give gifts. Nancy’s Corner (117 Sierra Court, 831-9235) right off Metairie Road offers an essentially unlimited array of gift baskets, including gourmet food baskets, themed baskets, convention packages, fruit baskets, wedding and bridal baskets, Louisiana gifts and products and more. “We’ve been in business for 31 years and the business has evolved like crazy,” says Nancy Murphy of Nancy’s Corner. “This is our third location in Metairie. Since we custom-design, it’s really up to the customer. The nice thing is that they can find products elsewhere, like shopping on Metairie Road, and bring those products to us and we’ll incorporate them into a gift package.” Murphy loves creating Saints and LSU-themed gift baskets for parties or tailgating, as well as other themes. “We’re big into doing bridal packages for the bride and groom,” Murphy says. “There are a lot of different occasions that we can be useful to people. We
just delivered a birthday gift basket to John Goodman!”