Tattoos are personal. They are expressions. They can memorialize, celebrate, and tell stories. Tattoos can also just be beautiful and for fun, but behind all of them is an artist who has spent years learning the tools of their trade and perfecting their signature artistic style. Add to that New Orleans, a city known for its vibrancy of culture and people, where we often look to legends of the past (and present) to define the enchantment that the city provides to both locals and visitors.
The arts are a huge part of that. Music, culinary, visual, dance, burlesque, and drag–you name it, we have it. And we show it off with great pride.
That being said, let's talk about permanent displays of artwork that you can cherish forever...on your skin. Because in our opinion, you should not be sleeping on New Orleans when it comes to planning your first, second, or 450th tattoo.
Catahoula Tattoo cares about your happiness–it’s built into their mission statement on their website. With the soft eclectic energy in their space and lack of flash on the wall, you might ask, "what is happening here?" Simply put, every tattoo is hand-drawn for you, so your vision is their reference. A tattoo shop doubling as an art gallery and performance venue, their space features visual arts, ceramics, jewelry, and more, all created by local artists. With accolades to boost, Catahoula Tattoo has been top-rated in 2019-2022 by Expertise.
Idle Hands Tattoo
Located in the heart of the Garden District, Idle Hands Tattoo is a laid-back and professional tattoo studio offering all styles of tattoo work. The owner, Flex Wenger, has been tattooing for over 20 years. You can choose from their designs, yours, or custom work designed just for you while you watch. Walk-ins are welcome.
Tough Love Tattoo
Tough Love Tattoo is tucked off St. Claude in the Marigny, just a five-minute skip over from the historic French Quarter. With their pink walls and contemporary approach to the traditional tattoo shop, they feature tattoo artisans of all backgrounds, creating a new sense of what it means to be in a tattoo parlor. The shop opened during the height of the pandemic, and as the name suggests, took equal parts grit and grace to build what they have today. Open every day from 12-8:00 p.m., you can book your appointment in advance, but walk-ins are accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Hell or High Water Tattoo
This Black-and-woman-owned shop has been open since 2009 and is home to a group of creative tatters with interests in many styles of tattoo. From traditional tattoos to dot-work and neo-traditional designs, your options are endless. Located in the heart of the Central Business District, Hell or High Water Tattoo is open seven days a week for appointments, and accepts walk-ins on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Downtown Tattoos & Piercings
Nestled amongst the musicality of Frenchmen Street in the Faubourg Marigny since 2012, Downtown Tattoos & Piercings is owned by longtime tattoo artist Terry Brown and his wife Hayley Waldner. Known for their classic style and eclectic twist, Downtown Tattoos & Piercings has a welcoming, at-home environment filled with positive energy and a level of expertise that makes it seem like they’ve been doing this forever. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are encouraged because of foot traffic on this block.
Located in the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans, Tattoo Temple is an LGBTQ+ safe space and the perfect place to find our city’s creative inkers. The Tattoo Temple team works by appointment only and is best contacted via Instagram, where you can really get an idea of the range of work that they offer.