Iconic French Quarter Christmas store closes doors after 44 years

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — It has been filling folks with holiday cheer 363 days a year for more than four decades. Typically the only days Santa’s Quarters take off are Christmas and Mardi Gras.

From Perry Como serenading customers with Winter Wonderland, to the AC set to chill, only at 1025 Decatur Street can it feel like Christmas in New Orleans year-round – even in July.

But in two weeks, one of the nation’s most famous Christmas stores will close its doors – for good.

“Forty-four years here serving the French Quarter and a lot of locals over many years,” said store owner and New Orleans local David Erath.

“We’ve had a lot of people come in and say they came here as children and came with their parents, and grandparents. and so forth. It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve the community.”

According to Erath, who acquired the business in 2005, a number of the staff have worked at Santa’s Quarters for at least 30 years or more. And like, Erath, most are at retirement age and are eager to begin their next chapter of life.

“We’ve all grown up together in this business, and we are all ready to go to pasture,” joked Erath.

He also said the store’s closing can be attributed to a combination of things, and that both the pandemic and the lastest hurricane played a factor in the final decision to shutter the doors.

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“Certainly COVID for the last two years has made it quite difficult to be successful in the French Quarter,” explained Erath. “The rents are high and the traffic count has been very low because tourism is off and this is a tourist-related business now.

“And then [Hurricane] Ida was maybe the final nail in the coffin, in addition, that I am ready to retire – ready to go.

While the store’s brick-and-mortar location is set to close on Dec. 15, the store’s website will continue for Erath said “many more years” at www.santasquarters.com selling mostly commercial items as well as artificial Christmas trees.

Everything not sold by the last day of business, Santa’s Quarters will donate any unsold merchandise to Patio Planters, which is a local preservation and beautification organization that promotes the French Quarter and sponsors Christmas caroling in Jackson Square.

For more information on Patio Planters and their upcoming holiday-related events, please click here.

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