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Traveling Thrifter - The Big Easy

I’m sure when you think of New Orleans, you think of the zing of creole/Cajun food, the sweetness of beignets, the jazziness of zydeco music, the liveliness of Mardi Gras, the bliss of Bourbon Street...

However, New Orleans is so much more. Rich in culture and heritage, thick in accent and dense in hospitality, it was the next thrift stop in my traveling thrifter journey.

I had already been to New Orleans twice – once as a pre-teen with my aunt and uncle for a quick weekend getaway and the second time as an adult for a leadership development program training. Both times, I didn’t really get to “do” New Orleans. But, this time was different; I went to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Essence Musical Festival, an annual celebration of African-American culture and music. My personal experience was beyond amazing, culminated with a nostalgic Nas appearance, a live Michelle Obama interview, and a powerful Mary J. Blige performance!

Amid a jammed packed long holiday weekend (Fourth of July) and Essence Fest schedule, I took advantage of some brief downtime to do a little thrifting. With an accessible rental car, I was able to hit a 3 stores on my list:

Goodwill: I’ve gotten to where I like to check out Goodwill in each city to compare how they’re organized, which retailers tend to be major donors/vendors and if they have any sales, discounts or loyalty programs. It’s fascinating to me, finding each region to be different. This one I visited was fairly large, organized by categories (bummed that there wasn’t a special section for plus size) and had a large inventory of new items, particularly household goods.

The Salvation Army of Greater New Orleans: Like with Goodwill, I thought it would be good to visit for comparison. The layout was very similar to the Salvation Army back home in Charlotte. I wasn’t aware of a tag sale but the store was definitely busy on this particular Saturday. I was able to find a few great things – staple items for work and unique casual pieces – at relatively good price points. I also met a friendly employee who selected a few items for me. (The employees always love me!)

Red White & Blue: When I first walked in, I thought it to be unusually busy but really didn’t pay it much mind as it could have been the norm. Eventually, I decided to ask someone if there was a sale and behold! There was a 50% tag sale on all but two tag colors. I should have known! It was the first Saturday in the month and I could barely find a parking space. Looking back towards the register, I noticed the checkout line was now wrapped around the store. I had one too many great finds but unfortunately, it wasn’t worth the line wait so I folded put my items back and left the store. It was unfortunate because they had a plus size section that I was able to easily plow through, pulling some great pieces.

Next time, I’ll have to hit Thrift City USA and perhaps Red White & Blue on a less busy day but already looking forward to my next trip to the BIG EASY! {insert Nola accent} Aye Baaaaaybay!

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