This may come with some backlash, but I remember being a little girl, maybe 10 years old when I first brought liquor and loose cigarettes from the corner store.. The items weren’t for me, but for a nameless adult, who will remain nameless, because I’m still the child and that person will still whip my butt LOL. But as children back in the day we were able to purchase these products for adults from the corner store with or without a note, I always had a note. I can remember being told to make sure the loose cigarettes where in their own bag and to not crush them or put the cigarettes to my lips, but I could pretend to smoke had I choose to buy candy cigarettes with the coins that came with running errands.
The days of sending your kid to the store for adult beverages and cigarettes has been banished long ago, but that relationship still exists. Corner store owners and New Orleanians have a type business friendship, there’s a defiant bond with the two families. If the owners, workers of the corner store didn’t know you there’s a chance you were new to the neighborhood or you’re a tourist who took the advice of a local. The relationship between the owner had its benefits and each could offer some sort of assistance to the other. Unlike the supermarket chains where you have a line of impatient customers and cashier who has your items bagged up while you’re digging through your pocketbook for your wallet that you left at home, you are left with putting your items back. If that same situation would have happened at the corner store, where you’re a regular customer the owner would have let you take your items, because he knows you will return to pay your bill. Then there’s the times when you may not have any money and the owner will allow you to run a tab until your pay date. This trust, this bond secures the owner a loyal customer who will also look out for the store in general, such as being robbed.
As with any corners there may be a homeless looking person or a wineo hanging out at the corner store and if you wondered why they aren’t ran off by a broom toting owner, let me tell you. That so-called bum will be the first person to help not only the store owner, but the people who walk pass him. The same person to ask for spare change has been the same person to tell me I dropped my money. Do not allow judgement to keep you from spending with these small business owners.
The corner store may run you a dollar or so extra for personal items, but the bread and butter of the corner store is just that, food and you will not only save, but you will get some real New Orleans food from that small little kitchen. A typical corner store will have a meat department offering meat specials that may last weeks depending on the package.
The reason why I highly recommend certain corner stores is the cook that works the kitchen cooking the best breakfast, lunch and dinner that will have you never cooking again, because the food is not only delicious, but it’s very affordable, damn near cheap and they cooks are so heavy-handed. Two people and a kid can eat off a dinner plate, especially if it comes from Ms. Vernadine’s Kitchen at Jack’s Meat Market.
If you’re a native of New Orleans, have $3 to your name you can get a breakfast plate of hot creamy grits, eggs and a choice of meat, I always select hot sausage, oh and a cold drink too… On average a cold po-boy cost is $2.99+ and a hot po-boy $4.99+ depending on the choice of meat or seafood… I’m wondering if I need to explain the difference between a hot and cold po-by…??? The lunch and dinner plate will averages about $7.00, it’s not the prices that should have you leaving the tourist trap, but the flavors of a NOLA Auntie or Mama cooking her butt off, because she loves it and the corner store allows her to feel as if she has her own kitchen.
Another plus to going where the locals go is you can get the best and when I say best I mean it, but the best “Boiled Seafood” is actually done in our neighborhoods. You can walk up on a seafood boil and eat and drink without worry of a bill. Everyone eats who stops by, but the next best is the corner stores such as Cajun’s. If you’re not a New Orleanian, you may not care about the price of crawfish, but we care!! Crawfish hit $7.99/lb and we damn near went into withdrawal, because of our refusal to spend $20 on 2 1/2lb of crawfish, that’s not enough to satisfy the taste buds of a 5yr old…But the prices went back to normal, well not the normal of back in the day of $1.99/lb, but a good medium. To get the best boiled seafood it’s an absolute must to leave the tourist area. You can eat all the raw oysters you want in the Quarter’s, I recommend Felix’s and Acme, but for “boiled seafood” take you a nice walk or ride and eat the good stuff.
Outside of food and pricey household item you can pay phone and utility bill, buy a phone, a fresh white t-shirt, cigarettes, knock off sun glasses, fake jewelry and the list goes on. Most have ATMs and check cashing service. Let’s not forget about gas, you can fill up your tank and belly all in one stop.
But the reason the wineo’s hangout is to be close to the liquor. If you haven’t noticed there are no liquor stores in New Orleans, therefore with the exception of a few Walgreen’s all corner stores, convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, well all the stores sell liquor, beer and wine. There are specials too, you can get two 16oz Bud Light Beers for $3, 2 for $5 Absolute half pints and you can get a personal bottle of Moet. The stores in New Orleans will have what my Papa would call a “taste.” I loved to eat even as a little girl and I overheard my Papa tell my Mama “pour me a lil taste” and I came running into the kitchen saying I want a taste too. lol But in my defense he used to make the best alcohol, I wish I could have a big ol taste right now and I would add a lil taste to it to. lmbo
It’s a good thing to off Canal, go past the French Quarters to get not only a deal, but you can get to spend your money within our communities. Plus You will be able to experience New Orleans!
I highly recommend coming into the community, stop in a corner store or gas station order a po-boy, a few pounds of crawfish and grab a couple of beers, go back to the Quarters, go on the levee and enjoy your good eats and beautiful scenery. Don’t forget some newspaper and napkins…
This is a bucket list activity, it’s a must and I’ll even ask you to do it for me, please. I know you have money is endless and you’re good with not only buying, but eating a $15 poboy that you can get for $5, because you’re like in the French Quarter’s, on Bourbon St and the backdrop of it all is intoxicating itself, but I guarantee you will not regret it.
As I mention the locals and the owners of the corner stores, well small businesses in New Orleans have a relationship and depend on each other for their livelihood and your support can assist in making those ends of lack meet.
If you’re worried about the wineo or homeless people hanging on the corner, please know they will not rob. They may ask for a lil change, but don’t worry you are safe. My suggestion for handling NOLA panhandlers is to 1st acknowledge them, always speak to everyone in New Orleans and give eye contact, this shows respect for human life and that you aren’t to high on your pedestal to say “Hey, Hello” but a good reply would be “Man, I’m sorry I just spent my last, I’m sorry I don’t have it or I was about to ask you for a $1.) Both of you will walk of laughing and the panhandler will be grateful for the acknowledgment.
Here are a few of the New Orleans Corner Stores or Gas Stations that recommend. I have a few that are actually in walking distance from the French Quarters.
Brother’s Fried Chicken 222 Carondelet St., New Orleans, LA If you want to really dig in to the culture and taste what the locals like, this place can’t be missed. You get it to go and you’re good, dining isn’t an option.·Brothers chicken in New Orleans has some of the best chicken I ever tasted. I can’t believe it’s cooked at corner store or gas station . Where else can you go and get a 2 piece fries and a drink for $4.93 and a 40 piece for $16.99 wow gotta love it!
- Basin St. Supermarket 237 Basin St, New Orleans, LA 70112 Cornerstore with excellent food that served the families of the Iberville Housing Projects before Hurricane Katrina. I think this place is better then a lot of the tourist traps in the area. The food is delicious, 12in Po-Boys for $6, broiled seafood, liquor all at affordable prices. I would recommend this place over most of the places in the French Quarter. In fact if you want to eat good avoid the French Quarter altogether all the good places were around it! Come into our neighborhoods!
People are sure what to expect from a gas station/ convenience store , but this place isall that and a bag, well a plate of some good ole southern food. You can get a meat and two sides for lunch , and finish it for dinner. And it isn’t more than 8$, plus you get a drink to go with it!
This longtime market & deli is known for Creole-inspired sandwiches, entrees & sides. The All that Jazz PoBoy is a local and tourist favorite.
Note: Open 24hrs, take out and cash only. Service can be slow when crowded.
Jack’s Meat Market Late-night neighborhood convenience store selling fresh meat, groceries, hot plates, breakfast, lunch and dinner. My neighborhood spot. Ms. Vernadine is a great cook with a beautiful spirit.