When I headed to Louisiana for two weeks, I was determined to have an "off-the-beaten-path experience.” By gosh, I was going to explore locations other than Bourbon Street and find one-of-a-kind shops. And the souvenirs I would buy? Well, they were going to be Grade-A real.
Well, I was pretty successful. I ended up taking a few guided tours (which were awesome!) and managed to round up some pretty fantastic, Louisiana-style souvenirs.
Louisiana souvenirs to bring home
1. Louisiana-made hot sauce: Cajuns like their food to have a little kick, so it’s no surprise that there are multiple hot sauces produced in Louisiana. The appropriately named Louisiana Hot Sauce, Crystal Hot Sauce and the world-famous Tabasco will bring a taste of Louisiana to your meals back home.
2. An alligator-skin wallet: We’ve all seen imitation alligator accessories but wouldn’t it be posh to the own the real thing? And wouldn’t it be even better if you could buy it at a real alligator farm?
3. A bag of Community Coffee beans: Community Coffee has been a Louisiana tradition since 1919. For more than 90 years, this family-owned company has been helping Cajuns wake up. Buy a bag of beans for a Louisiana-flavored breakfast no matter where you are.
4. A box of Café du Monde beignet mix: Beignets are the powdery, rectangular cousin of the donut. They’re nearly impossible to find outside of Louisiana, so your best bet is to buy a box of the mix and make your own.
5. Boudin: Cajuns do not consider boudin to be sausage. Non-Cajuns think this mixture of rice and pork, shrimp or crab inside a casing is sausage. Either way, it’s delicious. Pick some up at any grocery store or butcher in Louisiana. Learn more about boudin.
6. Voodoo dolls: At this point, Louisiana voodoo is mostly just fun foolishness. Regardless, wouldn’t it be awesome to have your own doll, so you can threaten to put the gris gris on your kids when they start arguing in the back seat? Check out Voodoo Authentica in the French Quarter for all your voodoo needs.
7. A King Cake baby: No Mardi Gras is complete without a King Cake. While you can probably bake that with ingredients from your pantry, you also need a king cake baby. Tucked into the cake, this tiny plastic baby determines who will be baking the (rather labor intensive) cake for next year’s celebration. You get the baby, you bake the cake. During Mardi Gras season, Haydel’s Bakery gives out handcrafted porcelain collectibles in place of plastic babies to purchasers of their delicious cakes.
8. Fleur de lis: The official symbol of the state, this design is also worn in New Orleans to show support for the city’s recovery in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Fleur de lis are everywhere in Louisiana, so no matter your gender or aesthetic, you’ll be sure to find something.
9. Mardi Gras beads: It doesn’t matter what time of year you visit Louisiana, your friends will be absolutely thrilled if you bring them a few strands of authentic Mardi Gras beads. Available year round in gift shops, you can buy necklaces for everyone you know for under $20.
10. Cajun-specific spices: Cajun food is some of the best food in America and that’s partially thanks to those amazing spices. Cajun-ify your food at home with the help of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning or Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning.
Best of luck on your souvenir hunting while on your vacation in Louisiana! Also check out these other unique Louisiana gifts and shopping ideas.