Record/CD Stores (various) -- Mushroom (1037 Broadway St., 866-6065) is all about indie rock, punk, alternative and used CDs. Music superstores include the Virgin Megastore (620 Decatur St., 671-8100) and Tower Records (408 N. Peters St., 529-4411), while Jim Russell Rare Records (1837 Magazine St., 522-2602) is a vinyl lover's dream. For Louisiana and regional music, the place is the Louisiana Music Factory (210 Decatur St., 586-1094), which offers in-store performances on Saturdays. Rap and hip-hop fans shouldn't miss Odyssey Records and Tapes (1012 Canal St., 523-3506), while Magic Bus Records and CDs (527 Conti St., 522-0530) has a great vibe and used records and CDs of every genre.
Vintage/Thrift (various) -- Sift through the multitudes of racks at Thrift City (4125 S. Carrollton Ave., 482-0736) for bargain-basement prices on clothes of all kinds. Funky Monkey (3127 Magazine St., 899-5587) has uberhip retro threads; also on Magazine, Turncoats Clothing Exchange (1926 Magazine St., 299-9004) is a new name that's already won fans. Trashy Diva (829 Chartres St., 581-4555 ) offers va-va-voom vintage, while Jim Smiley Fine Vintage Clothing (2001 Magazine St., 528-9449) and The Encore Shoppe (7814 Maple St., 861-9028) carry classic, elegant pieces.
Malls (various) -- It's all at the mall. In town, visit the Riverwalk Marketplace (Poydras Street at the Mississippi River, 522-1555), The Shops at Canal Place (333 Canal St., 522-9200) and New Orleans Shopping Centre (1400 Poydras St., 568-0000). The 'burbs offer Lakeside Shopping Center (3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 835-8000), Oakwood Shopping Center (197 Westbank Expy., Gretna, 364-0410) and the Esplanade Mall (1401 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 468-6050).
Bookstores (various) -- It depends on what you're looking for: independent bookshops that specialize in local writers, or large stores where you can find it all. In the former category fall the Maple Street Book Shop (7523 Maple St., 866-4916), Beaucoup Books (5414 Magazine St., 895-2663), Octavia Books (513 Octavia St., 899-7323) and the Garden District Book Shop (2727 Prytania St., 895-2266); in the latter comes Barnes & Noble (3721 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 455-4929) and Borders Books, Music & Café (3131 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 835-1363).
Bike Shops (various) -- For new wheels or service on your existing ones, take a spin by one of these helpful spots: Adam's Bicycle World (3146 Calhoun St., 861-0032), French Quarter Bicycles (522 Dumaine St., 529-3136), Bicycle Michael's (618 Frenchmen St., 945-9505), GNO Cyclery (1426 S. Carrollton Ave., 861-0023), or Joe's Bicycle and Lawn Mower (2501 Tulane Ave., 821-2350).
Specialty Groceries (various) -- Life is more than ramen noodles and peanut butter, and these places can hook you up with the good stuff. For organic and vegetarian items, stop by Eve's Market (4601 Freret St., 891-4015) or Whole Foods Market (5600 Magazine St., 899-9119; 3135 Esplanade Ave., 943-1626). Gourmet lovers will go gaga over Foodies Kitchen (720 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 837-9695; 7457 St. Charles Ave., 865-8646), Chez Nous Charcuterie (5701 Magazine St., 899-7303) or Creole Delicacies Gourmet Shop (533 St. Ann St., 525-9508); Fortissimo Food and Wine Emporium (3331 St. Charles Ave., 899-5313); and those seeking specialty and ethnic groceries can try Union Grocery (4129 Tulane Ave., 482-5390; Latin), Kosher Cajun Deli (3520 N. Hullen St., Metairie, 888-2010; kosher); Asian Gourmet Market (3239 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 466-0077), or Mona's Café (3901 Banks St., 482-7743; Middle Eastern).
Sporting Goods (various) -- So you want to get your sweat on, and you need gear? Hit Oshman's Sporting Goods (5300 Tchoupitoulas St., 895-7791), Southern Runner Sports (6112 Magazine St., 891-9999), Sports Authority (5151 Citrus Blvd., 734-7271), Massey's (3363 Severn Ave., Metairie, 885-1144) or Academy Sports and Outdoors (50 Westside N. Shopping Mall, Gretna, 363-8283; 1000 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 712-3320).
Costumes and Formalwear (various) -- Whether you're going to a wild Mardi Gras party or a swank gala, we've got you covered. For fun costumes, check out Uptown Costume & Dancewear (4326 Magazine St., 895-7969); Broadway Bound Costumes (2737 Canal St., 821-1000), or Humbug Costumes (2707 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 469-3339). Fabulous formalwear can be found for her at Chatta Box (4114 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 454-1527), Yvonne LaFleur (8131 Hampson St., 866-9666) or Just for a Day (4312 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-5711), and for him at Rubenstein Bros. (102 St. Charles Ave., 581-6666) and Perlis (6070 Magazine St., 895-8661).
Tattoos and Piercing (various) -- For superior ink and body jewelry, we recommend Rings of Desire (1128 Decatur St., 524-6147), Eye Candy (1578 Magazine St., 299-8222), Electric Ladyland (8106 Earhart Blvd., 866-3859; 610 Frenchmen St., 947-8286) or Crescent City Tattoo (4800 Magazine St., 269-8282).
- Louisiana Music Factory has music by local and regional musicians, plus live weekend shows.