New Orleans is a city, packed to capacity with oddities and wonders to anyone who visits. It's exciting to discover these hidden gems, but it can also be difficult to distinguish the one-of-a-kind from the dime-a-dozen tourist traps. Roulé is here to help! Part of our mission is to showcase the small shops that give the city its character. So, whether you're a native or a visitor, these spots are worth a visit.
CITY SPOTLIGHT: DEFEND NEW ORLEANS (DNO) This New Orleans based clothing brand has become a hub for the culture and arts. Defend New Orleans has been around since 2003, and opened their first shop in 2011, located in the Garden District. DNO continues to grow; they opened a second location last year, located downtown, in the Ace Hotel. The company also partnered with Disko Obscura to open a record store earlier this year.
Defend New Orleans is also dedicated to helping their community. DNO donates a portion of their profit to many non-profit organizations that (literally) defend the culture and land of New Orleans, such as: The Arts Council of New Orleans, The Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp and the Gulf Restoration Network. DNO also opens their shops to host events and opportunities for local artists to connect with the city.
What sets DNO apart from other shops in the area, is how genuine their products are. You can go to any store near the French Quarter and find the typical "New Orleans" souvenirs... some combination or purple, gold, and green; fleur-dis-lis; or a Mardi Gras image.
Many of DNO's products feature imagery of the city, or sayings like, "I Love You Louisiana," and "New Orleans, LA," but their aesthetic is more fashionable than the tourist shop shirts.
You can also find locally produced goods here. Aside from their own products, Defend New Orleans collaborates with other local artists and makers to provide soaps, candles, printed materials, and other unique goodies.
So, if you're ever searching for something that quietly screams, “I LOVE NOLA,” but you don’t want to wear a Saints or a Pelicans jersey, stop by one of their stores. You’ll also be doing the city a favor in some way.
If you don't live in New Orleans, you can keep up with their online store, and online journal. You can find interviews with local artists and makers, and you can keep track of upcoming events (for your next visit).