Another Man's Treasure
The truth is, there's something special about an object or piece of clothing, that was once loved by someone else. You can feel the history of its past owner's adoration through a patched knee on a pair of blue overalls, repainted knobs on an antique dresser, or even a mismatched button replaced by a shoddy sewing job on the cuff of a leather jacket. These little marks are nothing, if not blatant indications of the care put into making these pieces last. Maybe those overalls were owned by a mother who loved gardening in her free time, or that antique dresser found its place in the bedroom of a young boy until he finally moved out for college… or that leather jacket had the craziest quality of instilling impenetrable confidence into its lucky wearer. Whatever it may be, there's no shame in donning the garments or taking in the housewares that were once loved by another, and here in New Orleans, we're lucky enough to have incredible little thrift and vintage shops to peruse these past lives. As they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure, so, without delay, here are some of the best New Orleans' vintage and thrift stores to find a new treasure for your own cozy home or growing closet.
Bridge House Thrift Store:
4243 Earhart Blvd.
Slipping around the backside of Bridge House Thrift Store via Dupre Street, you most likely will be questioning whether the place is closed for good. Once you see the front doors, though, with a huge arrow pointing out "Thrift Store Entrance" in wide capital letters, you'll soon realize that she is indeed up and running, and heading inside only solidifies this truth even more. The right side of Bridge House Thrift is scattered with furniture of all shapes and sizes with barely a foot apart from one another, and floor to ceiling shelves line each wall, organized with glassware, picture frames, lamps, and more. A good portion of the store is dedicated to bargain-priced clothing, as well (a friend of mine bought an adorable orange mini skirt for only $1)! Bridge House resells donations from the public, and their profit goes toward a good cause - helping out southern Louisianians struggling with addiction - so you can feel even better about supporting this shop. My favorite pick at Bridge House is their selection of furniture. My own bedroom dresser was a Bridge House find, so I definitely qualify as a big fan. Make sure to check them out on your next thrift shopping spree - you may just join the fan club.
The Salvation Army Family Thrift Store: 100 Jefferson Hwy.
We all know the good old Salvation Army for being one of the oldest thrift establishments throughout the United States, and the New Orleans Salvation Army Family Thrift Store proves a worthy extension of the cause. About two to three times the size of Bridge House Thrift, the Salvation Army on Jefferson Highway contains some gorgeous, donated furniture, glassware, picture frames, clothing, and many more trinkets to suit your fancy. Day-to-day deals pop up at the store, like 50% off days, and my personal favorite item group at this location was their selection of picture frames. From gold painted large frames to little wooden ones with flowers, they've got you covered for decorating a room at incredibly inexpensive prices (much lower than they probably were to begin with). You might just call it a steal.
The Bargain Center: 3200 Dauphine St.
Edging away from the clean organization of The Salvation Army and Bridge House Thrift Store, the Bargain Center in the Bywater is a vast emporium of impressively stacked furniture, trinkets & treasures, a small selection of clothing, and a pseudo-arts market area. With pieces quite literally spilling out onto the street and a labyrinthine layout, the Bargain Center is best enjoyed slowly and with (at least) two walkthroughs. The prices at this thrift shop vary just as much as the range of pieces themselves, depending on their condition and age, but the atmosphere itself really is something to behold. If you're the type of shopper that enjoys the search for a great piece just as much, if not more, than actually buying something, then the Bargain Center would be a dream come true.
Big Star Vintage & Costume Co.: 5302 Freret St.
Just opening this summer on Freret Street, Big Star Vintage & Costume Co. is fresh to the point of having a relatively low online presence and not even being searchable on Apple Maps. Either way, this unassuming tiny shop has adorable vintage clothing that is highly curated, while still remaining at reasonable prices. From graphic tees featuring vintage screen prints to organza baby doll tops hailing straight from the 90s', it's easy enough to fall in love with your next favorite clothing item at Big Star Vintage. Really, the name is all too fitting - you're sure to feel at least a little special when carrying out a bag of their hand-selected goodies. Don't forget to bring some cash or have Venmo ready on your phone when you visit, though. They don't take cards!
Pelican Furniture & Thrift Store: 341 N Hennessy St.
While this huge warehouse is not quite fully reopened, I ventured in on a Saturday to find open doors and a kind store owner who described a "soft reopening" by appointment or if you happen to pop by while they're around. My own circumstance was the latter. Pelican Furniture & Thrift is definitely the most spacious of the thrift stores listed here, carries furniture and décor only, and is more expensive than others on our list. This only makes sense, though, because much of the furniture is completely refurbished throughout the warehouse, with unique colors, adornments, and more. You can tell that the Pelican team puts a little piece of their heart, style, and flair into each piece before placing them on the warehouse floor. The furniture styles range all the way from midcentury modern to more traditional and antique pieces, so whatever your style may be, Pelican is sure to have something for you. If you're looking for lasting and unique décor to make your house a home, Pelican Furniture & Thrift is an incredible stop. You can also check out their sister store, Floor 13 LLC, if you're too eager to wait for Pelican's grand (and real) reopening.
Red, White, & Blue Thrift Store: 5728 Jefferson Hwy
The last thrift store
in our New Orleans master list is a part of a larger chain scattered throughout
the good old USA. Red,
White, & Blue consists of 22 thrift stores that are awfully
reminiscent of your classic Goodwill or Salvation Army, and here in New
Orleans, we're lucky enough to have our very own. This thrift store, above all
else, is filled with racks, and racks… and racks of clothing. Everything is
highly organized with simple sections of blue jeans, shirts organized by the
colors of the rainbow, and more, all at bargain prices. Little trinkets, like
glassware, desktop lamps, and picture frames, line the tops of the racks, but the
most satisfying part of the hunt at Red, White & Blue is finding a new favorite piece of
clothing to add to your collection that is simultaneously one of the least expensive
items you own. Bring some cash if you're planning
to visit, or they have an ATM you can use to your heart's content. Either way,
you won't want to miss out on these little treasures.