When the three ThriftStyle authors travel, you can guess what’s always on the itinerary: thrifting! Peggy recently was in New Orleans, and visited three shops, each charming and well worth a visit. Here’s her first dispatch:
Proprietors get creative with thrift store names. One of the best is Bloomin’ Deals, a sprawling thrift store (with free parking) in New Orleans that’s run by the Junior League of New Orleans.
Junior Leagues across America operate thrift stores to benefit women’s advancement and children’s issues. In this city, the Junior League has operated a thrift store since 1927. Originally on Royal, then Bourbon streets in the French Quarter, it is now in the uptown Freret Street area in a large 8,000 square foot space. A bonus: free parking, a rarity in the Crescent City.
One great service this thrift supplies is a large rack at the front with all its new-with-tags merchandise. Pants, blazers, dresses and blouses from designers and department stores are priced creatively, with some steals and some too pricey for thrift. Labels we saw in this new merchandise section included Brooks Brothers, Elie Tahari, 148 Lafayette and Macy’s house brands, with Bloomin’ Deals price tags of $12 to $59.
There’s a large rack of plastic-encased wedding gowns, most in top condition and in newer styles. For under $100, true bargains can be found. There’s a lot of formalwear in the shop and we observed Tulane students trying on jewel-colored cocktail dresses for a party that same night.
Menswear, housewares, costume jewelry, some linens and children’s clothes are also donated and sold here. The shop organizes pop-up stores at street festivals.
When Hurricane Katrina damaged nearly all of the store’s stock in 2005, the nationwide network of Junior Leagues sprang into action. Donations of inventory from League thrift stores across the country got Bloomin’ Deals back in operation in just a few months, bringing a sense of normalcy to the neighborhood.
This female-based service organization carries the motto, “Every purchase helps others.” It’s an encouraging way to shop. Bloomingdale’s may have more name recognition, but residents here know where the deals are found.
Bloomin’ Deals, 4645 Freret St., New Orleans, LA 70115. www.bloomindeals.org Tel. 504-891-1289. Open: Mon – Sat. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.