New Orleans is packed with music, musicians and music lovers, so it’s no wonder we’ve got more than 10 record stores. Each one has its own little quirks, speciality areas, and reasons to visit.
Since old-school LPs are not often what bachelor parties are looking to bring home as souvenirs from our fine city, you won’t find any on Bourbon Street, though maybe that’s a good thing. High rent and a lack of high volume tourism means that these magical shops are tucked away in residential neighborhoods or hiding behind tiny storefronts, records jammed floor to ceiling. That might make them a bit harder to find, but, in some ways, it makes it more worth the hunt!
Man Ray Records is the perfect example. This Black-owned secondhand vinyl and cassette purveyor is located up steep steps, on the third floor above Beckham’s Books. Stylishly curated by drummer Joe Lyle, it’s full of finds, though this 1-star Yelp reviewer didn’t think so. “To be considered a record sho[p] you need records. My Man Ray needs some work, it’s great for books just not the vinyl.” As Lyle graciously and hilariously pointed out in his response, that man had never made it out of the book shop. (There are, indeed, a ton of wonderful records in the record store up the stairs and, yes, excellent books in the bookstore on the main floor.)
Silver Lotus Records is the other store that’s officially in the French Quarter. (R.I.P. Skully’z Recordz). While their location is their main selling point, Silver Lotus also has some beautiful Indonesian carvings lining the walls and a sophisticated lineup of Classical, Musical Theatre, Opera, International, and, of course, Jazz, to satiate your inner adult.
Louisiana Music Factory is a bit of a standout. Technically in Marigny, they take up residence in a large corner store with huge wraparound windows that are playfully displayed to look like records. The Music Factory is perched at the base of Frenchmen Street, the stretch of our city with the biggest density of live music venues, so they’ve planted themselves colorfully and confidently right where the music is. The Music Factory has the largest selection of Greater Louisiana local bands and genres if you’re looking for Zydeco or Cajun or genres you may not even have heard of. Be sure to get your Jazz Fest memorabilia and give a pat to resident cool cat “Snooks” while you’re there.
MORE: Laid-back laissez faire: a day in the Marigny
Euclid Records is in the Bywater neighborhood, well worth the hike or jog… in fact, take the Crescent City park stretch to get there and reward yourself for sweating with a new box set. No longer in a fabulously hot pink building, Euclid is still a great independent record shop with new and used records and CDs. Also, Jeff Tweedy, of Wilco, used to work there, so they’re Indie Rock approved.
MORE: Euclid Records: A throwback for music, new opportunity for local bands
NOLA Mix Records just built a stage in their store. They already sell audio equipment and teach DJ lessons, as well as being purveyors of local art and having a great selection, so I have a feeling this new extension is going to make for all sorts of exciting events and surprises.
Disko Obscura is aptly named, as they record and release local artists who defy genres in their little Lower Garden District all-in-one spot.
The White Roach is woman-owned and pet friendly, so their disco ball, string lights, lifesize cut-out of Dolly Parton, epic vintage collection, and pop up events are just frosting on the cake of what’s already a great shopping experience.
Mushroom New Orleans opened in 1969, as a student collective at Tulane. They’ve got all sorts of things you can listen to and all sorts of things you can smoke while you listen, plus a large DVD collection of old school horror and sci-fi movies.
Peaches Records has quite the cult following. Established nearly half a century ago, they’ve got everything: rows on rows of records, record players, paintings, crafts, candles from local artists, pins, books, t-shirts, comics… Their stage is used for readings, singer-songwriter performances, and sometimes entire brass bands. They’re family owned and run and super involved in the community. Peaches is a part of every event you’ve heard of and plenty that you haven’t. They’ve easily earned their 21k+ instagram followers. Go say “Hi!” to Mama Shirani when you’re there and give resident pug Sir Winston Pepperbottoms a snuggle and a treat. Then make sure you leave with a musical treat for yourself!