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Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Few people out on the roads meant few people out spending money at local stores. And retailers felt the impact.

Lakeside Shopping Center was more quiet than usual, with some of the stores closed. But the warm mall was an outlet for a traveler pulling her suitcase who could not get home to the Northshore, children on snow days, parents with cabin fever and best friends who like buying over biology.

'I thought it would be fun just to come shop around and cold day not being outside,' said Country Day sixth grader Abby Rosenberg, who was tired of being inside at home.

Her best friend was tired of being inside too.

'Yeah, it was really boring, like some parts, and then we just wanted to get out of the house,' said Melita Nelson, who is also in the sixth grade at Country Day.

Even a straight A student liked the day off from school.

'It feels like free time, that's stress free,' said second grader Elijah Armour.

Only 80 percent of the stores in Lakeside opened today, many of them late. Thursday the hours are back to normal at 10 a.m.

Because of the cold weather, small business owners are dealing with less foot traffic, and that means their revenue could be off this week.

Over on Magazine Street, Uptown, it was definitely more quite. Small business owners said the weather is causing people to change their shopping habits

With the ice storm approaching on Monday, some stocked up on bread, while crafters stocked up on beads. They wanted something to do while being holed up in their pajamas for a few days. But Tuesday, was a different scenario.

At the bead shop owner Georgia Wilson called Monday a 'slammin'' day. Tuesday she called 'dead.' Those who did come in were grateful to find something open.

'The ones that came had called to see if we were open, and while they didn't spend very much, they were so happy we were here. So revenue-wise, it wasn't a great idea, but in terms of making customers happy, it was a great idea,' said Georgia Wilson, co-owner of The Bead Shop.

Still, even with a good Monday, business will be off.

'I will say that we're going to be down and hopefully we can recover for them this weekend,' said Wilson.

Same thing upriver at Hazelnut. The gift store says a few locals came in who could walk to the shop, mixed with out-of-town visitors looking to get out of the hotel and experience New Orleans.

'The concierge from a couple of hotels called to make sure we were open and lo and behold, they came,' said co-owner Bryan Batt.

And visiting out-of-towners was the only reason one New Orleanian we found shopping, left her home.

'They're in from out of town, so a lot is closed in the city. So we're trying to find something to do, show them a little bit of New Orleans,' said Ashley Ellison.

And they won't have a hard time finding a parking place, because the streets were nice and quiet.

So business was down, but not like during a hurricane, when people have to spend money on evacuations and supplies.

'It wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be. I lived in New York for 20 years. I know what a winter storm is,' said Batt, who point out the fun and pretty weather of Mardi Gras is right around the corner.

It's supposed to be in the 70s this weekend, so some of the retailers on Magazine Street are hoping that the warmer weather will help bring in shoppers to make up for some of their losses.

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