Fifi Mahoneys and More
New Orleans is definitely known for shopping, and naturally, I have a few favorite stops to make when I’m there.
Nola is a place where you can come, where chain store isn’t followed by chain store. Of course, they do have some chain stores, just as they do have malls. But when you come to the French Quarter ormove along Royal Street, you really will find one-of-a-kind shops—the ones we really miss now in so much of the homogenized country and beyond.
Yes, many shops in Nola are filled with T-shirts and gadgets, trinkets, and souvenirs, but most are a little bit different and some are very different.
Some are for the casual tourist and some are for the connoisseur.
There are jewelry stores offering a fleur-di-lis motif on earrings, necklaces, and more, some commonplace and affordable, and some pretty pricey. There are high-end clothing shops and there are antique shops that offer everything from Civil War rifles, knives, buckles, and so on to exquisite furniture.
You can shop for your kitchen. Buy charming aprons and barbecue implements or beignet mix, coffee—and lord knows! Hot sauce. Glass and china, fine wine, quirky bottle holders and can openers. Crawfish motifs can be seen almost as often as the fleur-de-lis. You can find the very elegant and the silly, risqué fun.
People who come to New Orleans often usually wind up having a few favorite shops—places where they have to stop because they don’t exist anywhere else. Some eagerly save and await their next chance to purchase an antique washstand or bowl or an exquisite piece of estate jewelry or newly created finery.
Art! There is incredible and fabulous art to be found. You don’t even need to go to a store—take a walk down Royal or around Jackson Square. You might snag a true treasure from an up and coming name—before they become a name!The galleries here are so fantastic, you could plan a day just looking at whats for sale in the shops and on Jackson Square and Royal Street.
So, of course, I have a few favorite shops of my own and in there, one that I never miss.
It isn’t a dress shop or clothing store or even an antique or a jewelry store or a gallery. My tastes tend to the slightly different.
Nola is so full of wonderful stores that I couldn’t begin to mention them all (though I will mention more as I move on with these blogs!) But there is one curious and wonderful shop that I—being me—must see when I’m in NOLA. It’s ever-changing. It’s a one-of-a-kind shop that doesn’t carry excellent New Orleans coffee, beignet mix, clothing, jewelry, antiques or Cajun spices hot enough to pull smoke from your head.
Fifi Mahoney’s. (934 Royal Street)
And first, of course, I don’t head right in. I look at their window displays because it’s almost like going to a little art show. What they do at Fifi’s with wigs is fun, enchanting, and uniquely Nola
I and my little group of merry Slushpile Players dress up fairly often to perform what may be defined as “something like dinner theater” or entertainment. We’ve done everything from spoofs of the latest rage in contemporary books or movies to the classics and beyond. So, when you’re looking for a really fine Mad Hatter Wig, crazy vampire wig . . . Mohawk, Oz, Steampunk-or-other wig, where do you head?
First off, I should say, you can buy any kind of a wig here. From lesser materials and funky to a far higher quality. Just want to see what you’d look like with shorter hair, longer hair, darker hair, or lighthair? You can do that here. Want to see what bangs would look like on you—or how you’d look with a Veronica Lake sweep of lock over your forehead? Yes, you can do that.
Were you ever dying to go chartrueuse? Perhaps wear a mock beehive, a ship, steamboat, or skulls dangling from ponytails? Yes, you can test it out at Fifi’s!
There are “normal” wigs, and then, of course, there are the designed wigs. Behind the artistry of the wigs here are the creators, Brian and Marci.
The two creative geniuses of the wig world have mastered the craft of making hair fun. Check out their web site. It’s fifimahoneys.com and you’ll see a few of their fantastic pieces. Entertainers from across the city (and the country!) come to them and when it gets close to Mardi Gras or Halloween, the place becomes a veritable madhouse of activity. While Mardi Gras may be celebrated in other exceptional forms across the world, say in Venice or Rio, few know the fervor as those who live in New Orleans. There are “krewes” to dress, kings and queens and royal courts, and if you don’t happen to be part of a krewe or on a float, you’re probably going to a party.
Few party with such flair—or such extravagant wigs! Many to most of these come from FifiMahoney’s.
For me, walking in and seeing their latest creations is always intriguing and I always find a fun, fantastic, or downright incredible wig that they’ve created and I feel that I must have.
But they’ll do custom as work as well. Dressing up for an occasion as a sprite or a fairy? You can have long flowing locks in any color of the rainbow threaded with flowers and leaves—and birds, if you so choose. Are you a gambler or a dance hall girl? Dice and cards can adorn your hair—along with poker chips and even a small slot machine, should you so choose!
Fifi Mahoney’s is on Royal Street, a nice walk if you happen to be staying at the beautiful and historic Hotel Monteleone—or anywhere. No visit is complete without a walk down Royal Street, which we’ll get to later.
Fifi’s carries all kinds of make-up, too, from the day to day to whacky lashes and brilliant colors for special events.
And fun, funky, jewelry, a lot of it locally created and some one-of-a-kind Fun hats!
Say you’re in NOLA with someone else who is not in the least interested in hair or wigs. (It happens!) The 900 block of Royal has other cool and amazing shops and . . . a Community Coffee shop just across the street on the corner. To me, it’s a bit of seventh heaven—play at the wig shop, and stop in for Community Coffee. Their pecan-praline is to die for! (And I don’t even like flavored coffees!)