For the past year, there�s one question that has come up again and again as our city recovers: What�s Open? nAs locals, we may tend to eschew the broad, sweeping generalizations some may use to make a case for saving the city we would never consider abandoning. Instead, looking from the inside out, we see it�s the little things � the shops and businesses and the people who run them � that make New Orleans FROM ANTIQUES TO ZENwhat it is: a home like no other. nDetailing these special places with reader quotes and editorial notes � in alphabetical order � we have listed here some favorite spots around town. Enjoy!

� Bush Antiques, 2109 Magazine St., 581-3518; Known for amazing antique beds and religious artifacts, Bush Antiques� twelve-room shop displays these items in vignettes designed to highlight the distinctiveness of each piece.

� Lucullus, 610 Chartres St., 528-9620; Specializing in culinary antiques, Lucullus is dedicated to finding pieces that are �the perfect compliments to the grand pursuits of dining, cooking and imbibing.�

� Magazine Antique Mall, 3017 Magazine St., 896-9994. It�s blissful browsing through vintage items from every period and geographic area. With over 25 local and regional dealers, it�s the ideal one-stop shop.

� Objets Trouvé, 3956 Magazine St., 897-5066. �I always go in to find an eclectic gift and end up walking out with three things for me � like their ceramic mushrooms for my garden!�

� Gambino�s, 4821 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, 885-7500; 300 Lapalco Blvd., Gretna, 391-0600; 3802 Johnston St., Suite C, Lafayette, (337) 406-9066; This is the place for New Orleans� classic cakes including doberge and red velvet and, of course, an assortment of king cakes and breads. Gambino�s is one of the great names in traditional New Orleans baking.

� La Boulangerie, 4526 Magazine St., 269-3777. A crusty, flaky slice of Paris right on Magazine Street. Just-baked artisanal breads, juicy fruit tarts, perfect pain au chocolate. Stop in for breakfast pastry and bag a baguette sandwich for lunch.

� Maurice French Pastries, 4951 West Napoleon Ave., Metairie, 455-0830; Chef Jean-Luc Albin�s wedding cakes and King Cakes are delicious, but it�s his French specialty cakes and desserts � croquembouche, profiteroles, moka � that leave you cake-faced and speechless.

� O�Delice French Bakery, 6033 Magazine St., 891-8311. �Amazing almond croissants and fiber muffins � if you wake up early enough to get them � and grab a chicken-salad croissant sandwich for lunch while you�re there!�

Barber Shops
� Aidan Gill For Men, 2026 Magazine St., 587-9090; There�s nothing like a pint of Guinness after a hot-towel shave! Were it not for dapper Magazine Street barber Aidan Gill, many New Orleans men would never know the pleasures of an Old World style gentlemen�s retreat, replete with fine soaps and shaving gear, snappy cufflinks and other accoutrements.

� Ernie�s, 111 Decatur St., 581-7356. �Ernie always does his best to fit you in, even if you call the day of. He has good prices, and he�s great with kids.�

Bars with Signature Drinks
FROM ANTIQUES TO ZEN� Bank Café, 2001 Burgundy St., 371-5260; Blackberry martini

� Napoleon House, 500 Chartres St., 524-9752; Pimm�s Cup

� St. Joe�s, 5535 Magazine St., 899-3744. Mojito

� Bamboo Apothecary, 4112 Magazine St., 895-1664. New in town, this sanctuary for the skin specializes in high-end product lines such as La Mer, Laura Mercier and Natura Bisse. The products they sell are also the products they use in their full-service day spa.

� Bath Junkie, 6071 Magazine St., 895-1458; Custom blend your own Shea butter lotion. Choose a scent from 215 scented oils or mix your own recipe. You can also tint the lotion to match your bathroom décor.

� Beauty 101, 2728 Magazine St., 891-1343. �Love that it has top of the line products but not so many that it�s overwhelming.�

Book Stores
� Faulkner House Books, 624 Pirate�s Alley, 524-2940; www.faulknerhousebooks.usa. In the house where William Faulkner lived and wrote in the 1920s, this shop is stocked with rare and out-of-print books by Southern authors.

� Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St., 895-2266. Gothic novelist Anne Rice starts all her book tours here. The shop carries autographed copies and limited editions of her work along with other regional books and new fiction.

� Maple Street Book Shop, 7523 Maple St., 866-4916; Lots of readings and book signing events at this Uptown literary hub which stocks a strong selection of regional books, new fiction, travel and poetry.

� Blue Frog Chocolates, 5707 Magazine St., 269-5707; A charming neighborhood shop with confections from all over the world. They offer party favors, gift baskets and party trays � even custom chocolate items and logos.
� Pralines by Jean, 1728 St. Charles Ave., 525-1910; Louisiana-grown pecans, sugar, heavy cream from a local dairy, butter and vanilla, cooked in small batches in a copper pot, hand poured and cooled naturally. No preservatives are added.

� Southern Candymakers, 334 and 1010 Decatur Street, (800) 344-9773; Fresh and homemade from family recipes with your sweet tooth in mind: salt water taffy, divinity, marzipan, peanut brittle and loads more. They�ll even ship some sweetness to your out-of-town friends at your request.

� Food Art, 801 Carondelet St., 524-2381; Good food may be just the beginning. The pros at Food Art are equipped to handle as much or as little of your event as needed, including arranging for transportation, tours, invitations, itineraries and more.

� Palate New Orleans, 8220 Willow St., 864-2990; �Always consistently good and creative, but not too out-there.�

� Savvy Gourmet, 4519 Magazine St., 895-2665; It�s also cooking school, so if you like what you taste, you can sign up for a class or schedule a private lesson.

CD and Record Stores
FROM ANTIQUES TO ZEN� Jim Russell Records, 1837 Magazine St., 522-2602; New, rare and old recordings. Jim Russell has a vast vinyl selection with rock, jazz, funk, country, gospel, soul and more. Looking for an obscure album? If they don�t have it, they�ll order it for you.

� Louisiana Music Factory, 210 Decatur St., 586-1094; Free live in-store performances and lots of local and regional music � jazz, blues, funk, Cajun, zydeco. Not sure about a certain band? Listen to any CD in the store before you buy it.
� Tower Records/Video/Books, 408 N. Peters St., 529-8897; Two floors of CDs representing an impressive array of musical genres, Tower also has a remarkable selection of magazines, books and DVDs.

Children�s Clothing
� Pippen Lane, 2929 Magazine St., 269-0106;
A true children�s emporium, Pippen Lane has a little bit of everything, from Christening gifts and custom furniture to European footwear and embroidered linens.

� Kulture Vulture Kids, 539 Dumaine St., 539-9998; If rock music and urban fashion had a love child, this is where you�d shop for the baby shower. This rock-centric shop has hip baby wear you won�t find anywhere else in town.
� Virginia Gaughan, 3638 Magazine St., 452-3905. Tween girls rejoice! Finally, a pre-teen boutique for that hard-to-fit transitional stage. Lots of age-appropriate looks for fashionistas in training.

Clothing (Men & Women)
� Jean Therapy, 5505 Magazine St., 897-5535; Lakeside Shopping Center, 833-6144; Everyone should have at least one pair of great-fitting jeans in his/her wardrobe. Get neck-deep in this shop�s stacks of denim (True Religion, Seven, Paper Denim and more) until you emerge with the perfect pair.

� Perlis Clothing, 6070 Magazine St., 895-8661; Jackson Brewery, 600 Decatur St., 523-6681; �Their customer service is the best, even if all you�re doing is buying socks for Dad.�

� Sputnik Ranch, 3029 Magazine St., 897-5446;
Buck Rogers meets Buck Owens in a modern celebration of mid-century American design � boots, clothing, furniture and more. Make yourself at home on the ranch with fancy vintage and vintage-style Western wear.
Coffee Shops

� Café du Monde, iconic location: 800 Decatur St.; please see for other locations. �Oh yes, coffee! A great excuse to eat beignets.�

� Neutral Ground Coffeehouse, 5110 Danneel St., 891-3381; Retaining the raw, family feel of the co-op owned coffee house it once was, the Neutral Ground is constantly abuzz with coffee and music seven days a week. It�s not unusual to see three to five musical acts there on any given night.

� Royal Blend Coffee & Tea House, 621 Royal St., 523-2716; 204 Metairie Road, Suite 100, Metairie, 835-7779. The French Quarter location is a nice �escape from it all� place located in a peaceful patio. Other locations are equally relaxing � and tasty � and great for people watching.

� Urban Cup Café, 4861 Magazine St., 895-5858. One of the few 24-hour coffee shops in the area. Lots of interesting characters about. Open Mike night hosted by Mario Ortiz on Saturday nights.

Costume Shops
� Fifi Mahoney�s, 934 Royal St., 525-4343;
A wig so fabulous it�s almost a costume in itself. Fifi Mahoney�s has a great selection of party wigs and traditional wigs. They�ll even custom design a wig according to your specifications.

� Maskarade, 630 St. Ann St., 568-1018; Conceal your identity with panache at Carnival this year. Choose from handcrafted masks designed by local and national artists using papier-mâché, fabric, leather, feathers and more.

� Uptown Costumes, 4326 Magazine St., 895-7969. Packs of people crowd the counter during high season � namely Mardi Gras and Halloween � and the pros at Uptown know just how to handle it. Stocked up and well staffed, it�s where the city goes to masquerade.

Dry Cleaners
� Liberto Cleaners, 4814 Prytania St., 897-2161. �Great work and finally a two day turn-around!�

� Nouveau Dry Cleaners, 2019 St. Charles Ave., 522-4731.
�Their best feature is Irene, who runs the place!�

� One Cleaners, 5038 West Esplanade Ave., Metairie, 455-5705.
�Pick up and delivery service from your home or office.�

Emergency Rooms (24-hour)
� East Jefferson General Hospital, 4200 Houma Blvd., Metairie, 454-4000; Emergency Medical Services advanced life-support ambulance provides 911 response for the East Bank of Jefferson Parish, answering about 40,000 calls a year. A special Fast Track area is designated for patients who need medical attention, but who don�t have a life-threatening illness or injury.

� Ochsner Health System, 1514 Jefferson Highway, 842-3000; Now operating in a new state-of-the-art facility, the Ochsner Emergency Department is the busiest community emergency department in New Orleans, with volumes approaching 54,000 visits per year.

� Touro Infirmary, 1401 Foucher St., 891-7011; Touro�s Emergency Department is fully integrated with disaster relief and disaster services through involvement in the Metropolitan Hospital District�s disaster response initiative and the Louisiana disaster response plan.
nWest Jefferson Medical Center, 1101 Medical Center Blvd., Marrero, 347-5511; The first 24-hour emergency room of its kind opened in �the old days� in our region. Also, one of the few staffed with all board-certified physicians.

Fitness Facilities
FROM ANTIQUES TO ZEN� New Orleans Athletic Club, 222 N. Rampart St., 525-2375. Mens Sana in Corpore Sano, �A healthy mind will exist in a healthy body.� That was the motto when it was founded in 1872. Historic and state-of-the-art, the NOAC gives context to fitness.

� One To One Personal Training, 735 Octavia St., 891-5121. Moving slowly for fast results. One To One specializes in super-slow, high-intensity weight training, geared to turn fat into muscle with only one session per week.

� Salvation Studio, 2917 Magazine St., Suite 202, 896-2200; Known for variety and abundance of fitness classes (over 35 per week), Salvation Studio has recently added cardio and strength-training equipment.

� Simply Fit Gym, 8911 Jefferson Highway, River Ridge; 4825 Prytania St.; 701 Metairie Road, Metairie; 382-3120 or 400-4048; A full line of cardio machines, free weights and strength training equipment; classes and personal training, too. A limited number of memberships available so that you don�t have to wait in line for equipment.

nDunn and Sonnier Flowers and Antiques, 2138 Magazine St., 524-3235; This is the place to go if you�re tired of generic glass vases. Pick out an antique vase or urn and choose flowers for a custom-made arrangement.

� Mitch�s Flowers, 4843 Magazine St., 899-4843. �Their orchids and special order capability is fantastic.�

� Urban Earth Floral Design Studios, 914 Terpsichore St., 524-0100; �They do creative and innovative arrangements that no one else in town does.�

� The French Market, 1008 N. Peters St., 522-2621. �You can�t beat the sunglass purveyors at the French Market for style, variety and price.�

� Optique Optical, 701 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-1020. Major League hopefuls are seeking out Dr. Dimitri for Nike MAXSIGHT � Sport-Tinted contact lenses by Bausch & Lomb � available in two glare-reducing tints for better contrast and ultra-crisp vision.

� St. Charles Vision, 8040 St. Charles Ave., 866-6311; 837 S. Clearview Parkway, Jefferson, 733-0406; 138 Carondelet St., 522-0826; 3200 Severn Ave., Metairie, 887-2020; 624 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-6311; The only shop in the city to carry high-end designer eyewear lines Alain Mikli, Eye DC and Ooh La La, this full-service eye care center specializes in difficult-to-fit contact-lens needs, treatment of eye diseases and specialty ophthalmic prescription lenses.

Grocery Stores
� Dorignac�s Food Center, 710 Veterans Blvd. Metairie, 834-8216; A family-run supermarket with good prices and terrific service � kind of like a time warp you feel lucky to be caught in. Top-notch butcher, bakery, florist � the works!

� Langenstein�s, 1330 Arabella St., 899-9283; 800 Metairie Road, 831-6682;
Home of the ever-popular Le Popeye spinach dip, Langenstein�s has a complete line of homemade New Orleans specialties such as crawfish etouffée and seafood gumbo. They also stock lots of gourmet items for the foodie in the family.

� Sav-A-Center, please see for locations.
Sav-A-Center�s Mid-City store came back better than ever after Katrina � even adding a great selection of cheeses, wines and a walk-in beer cooler. All stores have a good mix of everyday items plus specialty needs.

� Zara�s Food Store, 2042 Prytania St., 523-3658; 4838 Prytania St., 895-0581. �The kind of friendly neighborhood place you can pop into after work and get ingredients for making dinner or a great pre-made entrée from the store deli. In and out in three minutes flat!�

Hardware Stores
� Clement Hardware & Variety, 6000 Magazine St., 899-0711.
�Very friendly service. This place is Old School, a neighborhood store, which, when you think about it, is exactly where a hardware store should be.�

� Harry�s Ace Hardware, 3535 Magazine St., 896-1500. �You walk in and there are two or three people asking if they can help you find something. Where else do you get service like that?�

� United Hardware, 735 Elysian Fields Ave., 949-4121. �I go for the precision key making � keys that actually work the first time.�

Health Food and Specialty Markets
� Hong Kong Food Market, 925 Behrman Highway, Terrytown, 394-7075. Hong Kong has exotic produce, well-priced meats, and hard-to-find ingredients for Asian cooking � noodles galore, an abundance of spices and jarred sauces. There�s also a teashop, a Vietnamese restaurant, and a nail salon all under the same roof.

� The Market on Esplanade, 3135 Esplanade Ave., 872-0275; Organic markets are nice, but it�s a hassle to have to go to another store to get your favorite laundry detergent or soda. The Market on Esplanade has the best of both worlds!

� Whole Foods Market, 5600 Magazine St., 899-9119; 3420 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, 888-8225; Leading the world through a natural and organic food revolution, Whole Foods has changed the way many of us shop and eat. The produce is simply breathtaking! Happy employees add to the store�s whole-some vibe.

Ice Cream Parlors
� Cold Stone Creamery, 1130 S Clearview Parkway, Suite F, 736-0574; 624 S. Carrollton Ave., 218-8900; 910 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 466-6223; �You think you�ve had a good ice cream cake? You don�t know good ice cream cake until you�ve had a Cold Stone.�

FROM ANTIQUES TO ZEN� Creole Creamery, 4924 Prytania St., 894-8680; Their motto is simple: �Eat Ice Cream � Be Happy.� Finishing their Tchoupitoulas Sundae � made with a whopping eight scoops of ice cream! � however, is not so simple a task. Ah, the sweet agony!

� Sophie�s Gelato, 1912 Magazine St., 561-0291; Reminiscent of a 1950s ice cream parlor, Sophie�s has lots of pre-made flavors, but if you have a special request, they�ll do their best to create it right in front of you. They also have sandwiches and hot dogs in case you�re looking for a first course to go with that dessert.

� Betty Hunley Designs, 6057 Magazine St., 895-2870; Known for her lively illustrations, Betty Hunley will take cues from you to create a custom-designed invitation for your next party.

� RSVP Stationers, 2701 Airline Highway, Metairie, 837-7787; Probably the most extensive collection of computer-compatible printable invitations in the metro area. Whatever the event, whatever the theme, RSVP will have something that fits the bill.

� Scriptura, 5423 Magazine St., 897-1555;
Your own custom-made wax seal will renew your zeal for the lost art of letter writing. Modeled after European papeteries, Scriptura carries uncommon paper products and accessories from around the world.

Landscaping/Garden Stores
� Harold�s Indoor Outdoor Plants, 1135 Press St., 947-7554. Harold Applewhite�s world is a beautiful place, an unexpected oasis in the Marigny teeming with fine flora and plant life. He also sells garden accessories, fertilizers, decorative pots, fountains and more.

� Perino�s Garden Center, 3100 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 834-7888; �Sometimes you can just tell a business is a family business. Something about the way you feel when you�re there, the way they make you feel. It�s the best kind of personal service.�
nThe Plant Gallery, 9401 Airline Highway, 488-8887; Buy a plant, rent a plant, and get a plant its own maintenance technician. The Plant Gallery is full-service and �green all over.�

� Bellanoche, 3632 Magazine St., 891-6483. Fine and contemporary bedding and linens, heirloom-quality quilts, custom-made beds, sleepwear and accessories � and now rugs. They also offer a special home consultation service to help you make the right choices for your décor.

� Linen Registry, 204 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-8228.
As its name suggests, this shop caters to brides, but it�s also the ideal place for anyone looking for luxe linens and distinctive decorative accessories.

� New Orleans Custom Linens, 3642 Magazine St., 899-0604; Whether you�ve got an off-size antique bed or just a very specific idea for dressing your bed or bath, you�ll get plenty of help buying made-to-order linens at this friendly Magazine Street shop.

Liquor Stores and Wine Cellars
FROM ANTIQUES TO ZEN� Bacchanal Fine Wine & Spirits, 600 Poland Ave., 948-9111.
Sundays at sundown there�s a delightful little gathering in the Bywater. A cozy courtyard, live music, an a la carte cookout and, of course, fabulous wine. Bacchanal has an impressive selection of good wines at great prices.

� Martin Wine Cellar, 3500 Magazine St., 899-7411; 714 Elmeer Ave., Metairie, 896-7300; Boasting an unmatched selection of liquor, beer and wine, Martin�s will even custom-label cases of wine to help commemorate your next big event. Uptowners may miss the deli, but you can still get your salad and sandwich fix at the Metairie store.

� Sip Wine Market, 3119 Magazine St., 894-7071; Wines are organized by flavor profile: Spicy, Earthy, Fruity, Smokey, Floral, Herbal, Bubbly and Sweet. Stop by for the Sip �n Spin wine tasting events with a DJ every Tuesday evening.

Men�s Clothing Boutiques
� Rubenstein Brothers, 102 St. Charles Ave., 581-6666; A hallowed haberdashery catering to fashionable businessmen, Rubenstein Brothers is a New Orleans landmark with top brands and expert service.

� Style Lab for Men, 3641 Magazine St., 304-5072; Hip men�s store with cool casual-wear plus designer footwear, skincare, sunglasses and other accessories such as J-Fold wallets and bags, and the Molly McNamara silver collection.

� Vegas, 2042 Magazine St., 410-9992. The only place in town to buy Kasil jeans. You can also pick up RetroSport hats and T-shirts including items with the original Saints logo.

Movie Theatres
FROM ANTIQUES TO ZEN� AMC Elmwood Palace 20, 1200 Elmwood Park Blvd., Harahan, 734-2020. �Elmwood wins for the stadium seating and of course, the daiquiris!�

� Landmark�s Canal Place Cinema, 333 Canal St., Suite 327, 581-5400. �It�s the best, and sometimes the only, place in town to go for smaller independent films.�

� Prytania Theatre, 5339 Prytania St., 891-2787; The last of the neighborhood theaters, Uptowners are grateful to make the walk to the single-screen movie house.

Open Air Markets
� Bywater Art Market, 944-7900, Markey Park (Royal Street at Piety Street in the Bywater,) third Saturday of each month, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; �Best selection of art and crafts � it�s vetted for quality.�

� Crescent City Farmer�s Market, Uptown Square parking lot (200 Broadway St.) 861-5898; Farmers, bakers and fishers bring their goods straight to you, Tuesdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and Saturday mornings from eight to noon at the corner of Magazine and Girod in the CBD.

� French Market, 1200 block of N. Peters Street, 522-2621; The nation�s oldest continually operated public produce market. Since 1791, New Orleanians have come to the market by the river to buy, sell and trade. Today, you�ll find fresh produce and a community flea market with art, antiques, clothing, jewelry and crafts.

Pet Things
� Chi-wa-wa Ga-ga, 37 French Market Place, 581-4242; Billing itself as �a small store for dinky dogs,� Chi-wa-wa Ga-ga has costumes, swim trunks, bikinis, hats and shirts for small dogs, as well as chew toys made for smaller mouths.

� Muddy Paws Mobile Pet Grooming, 235-3340; No more toting Toto to the groomer; let the grooming van come to you. Pamper your pet a little or a lot when you choose the Basic, Deluxe or Ultimate Spa Package.

� Petcetera, 3205 Magazine St., 269-8711; Petcetera�s pet portraits (in acrylic paint or water color pencils) are a real draw for people who consider their pet a part of the family. You can also find pet toys, treats, apparel and other accessories.

� C�s Discount Pharmacy, 1401 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, 834-1570; Family owned and operated by the Ciolino family, at C�s you get discount prices and chain-store selection but with a personal touch. Friendly faces and an especially large selection of beauty products, vitamins and herbal supplies.

� Patio Drugs, 5208 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, 889-7070; Patio Drugs Healthcare Network is a full service pharmacy offering a complete line of pharmaceuticals including medications that must be compounded. They also have home medical equipment that can be delivered and set up in the patient�s home.

� Uptown Delivery Pharmacy, 741 Nashville Ave., 897-0141.
When you�re really sick, just getting up to go to pick up your prescription can be a challenge. Fortunately, Uptown Pharmacy makes house calls.

Shoe Stores
� Feet First, 4119 Magazine St., 899-6800; The scope of the inventory at this family-run shoe emporium rivals most big department stores�, but it�s the big name brands, deep discounts and killer sales that fetch a frenzy of foot traffic year-round.

� Shoefty, 6010 Magazine St., 896-8737. �The best for boots, cool urban city shoes and out-on-the-town evening shoes.�

� Shoe-Nami, 3102 Magazine St., 895-1717; 1508 Edwards Ave., Suite MM, 818-2940; 3319 Severn Ave., Metairie, 885-0805. Arranged by color, priced to please and ready for fun, Shoe-Nami�s ready-to-wear footwear lets you indulge in the latest trends without remorse. Sensible shoes need not apply.

� Adler�s, 722 Canal St., 523.5292; Lakeside Shopping Center, Metairie, 523.5292;
Registering at Adler�s is a time-honored tradition for New Orleans brides who can choose from an extensive selection of sterling flatware and serving pieces.

� As You Like It Silver Shop, 3033 Magazine St., 897-6915;
�I inherited my grandmother�s flatware, but we were missing six pieces. As You Like It found all six, and a few extras.�

� Melange Sterling, 5421 Magazine St., 899-4796; A pattern matching service specializing in active, inactive and obsolete American sterling flatware. Also estate, antique and new hollowware and jewelry.

� Aveda Institute New Orleans, 3330 Veterans Blvd., Suite A, Metairie, 454-1400; A cut and highlight for under $50? No, it�s not 1980; it�s the Aveda Institute where all services are performed by professionals in training under the supervision of licensed Aveda educators.

� Belladonna Day Spa and Retail Therapy, 2900 Magazine St., 891-4393; Where else can you get a paraffin pedicure, a warm stone massage, a Thai cookbook, silk pajamas and a hurricane �Be Prepared� guide under one roof?

� Earthsavers Relaxation Spa and Store, 5501 Magazine St., 899-8555; 3301 Veterans Blvd., Suite 140, Metairie, 835-0225; 3414 U.S. Highway 190, Mandeville, (985) 674-1133. With a therapeutic focus on beauty and health, their staff is trained to help you feel better while you look better.

� The Retreat Salon & Day Spa, 801 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-7724; �The family atmosphere at the Retreat on Carrollton is my little secret.� (Not anymore!)

� Delta World Tire, 3635 Veterans Blvd., 888-7010. �Been getting tires there for years. Always quick, and it�s locally owned.�

� Firestone Tire & Service Center, 800 Camp St., 525-2241. �The management is good, and they always try to fit you in.�

� Uptown Shell Service Station, 6001 Magazine St., 895-8200. �The Shell station on State and Magazine does great tire service with a smile and a neighborhood touch.�

Toy StoresFROM ANTIQUES TO ZEN� Big Life Toys, 2038 Magazine St., 568-1020. A retro toy store grown-ups love. Bar accessories, novelty books, kitschy gifts, goofy gadgets; and classics for the kids: silly putty, slinky, wind-up toys.

� Le Jouet, 1700 Airline Highway, Metairie, 837-0533. Specializing in unusual and hard-to-find toys, Le Jouet also carries good old stand-bys from companies like Mattel, Hasbro and Parker Brothers. There are play areas for the kids, so you can browse unfettered.

� Magic Box Limited, 5508 Magazine St., 899-0117. From educational to old-fashioned and even dress up. Prices are reasonable, too. Their mailing list lets you know when they have scheduled activities.

� The World�s Best Toys, 333 Canal St., 586-1006; 701 Metairie Road, Metairie, 828-1575. �You find things you can�t get at Target or Toys �R� Us. It has the feel of an old fashioned toy store.�

Vintage and Thrift Shops
� Bloomin� Deals Junior League Thrift Store, 4645 Freret St., 891-1289. Designer castoffs abound at Bloomin� Deals, especially evening gowns. Lots of good quality clothing in good condition.

� Buffalo Exchange, 3312 Magazine St., 891-7443; Get paid (or trade) when you clean out your closet! Democratic pricing and interesting inventory � not to mention the everything�s-a-dollar sidewalk sales � make this a habit-forming shopping haunt.

� Retroactive, 5414 Magazine St., 895-5054. Owned by one of the biggest vintage costume jewelry dealers in the South, this shop is aglow with well-placed rhinestones and cabochons from days gone by. Great accessories and clothes, too.

Women�s Clothing Boutiques
� Ballin�s, 721 Dante St., 866, 4367. From strapless gowns to the perfect things to wear under one � and something comfortable and stylish to wear the next day � Ballin�s can outfit you from head to toe.

� Gae-tana�s, 7732 Maple St., 865-9625. Comfort and convenience. Forget dry cleaning, almost everything at Gae-tana�s is washable. Great clothes for travel and everyday.

� Lady Soho, 3331 Severn Ave., Metairie, 212-7636. �She has BCBG, Laundry and lines that haven�t made it yet at affordable prices.�

� Mimi, 5500 Magazine St., 269-6464. The Gulf South�s exclusive retailer of the Vera Wang Bridal Collection, among many other exclusive ready-to-wear lines, �If you just can�t find the perfect outfit for any special occasion, all you have to do is ask Mimi.�

� UAL, 518 Chartres St., 301-4437. A department store basement sale without the department store (or the basement). Drastically marked down designer duds, distinctive jewelry, chic handbags and accessories.

Zen Workouts
� �Kayaking Bayou St. John�

� Walking the labyrinth in Audubon Park �

� �A walk in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden � a good place to think, have a private chat � and it�s free!�

� DKT studios, 8530 Oak St., 382-5199. �Belly dancing, whirling and dance meditation classes with Kryss at DKT Studios.�

� The Yoga Room 1138 S. Carrollton Ave., 813-3738; Specializing in Astanga yoga, a traditional method that originated from an ancient Sanskrit text, instructors at the Yoga Room teach a style of breathing known as ujjayi, which steadies the mind and creates internal heat to release toxins and give the body more pliability.