Be a supermom/dad and send him directions to Hong Kong Market on Behrman Hwy, where his dollars will go far and tastes can range widely. Asian mega-mart with ultra-fresh produce, huge seafood counter, and college-kid friendly items like red-cooked pork sold by the lb (perfect for seasoning stir fries or eating straight), bahn mi, and more instant noodles than he ever knew existed.
Would second Langensteins, Whole Foods or Rouses.All easy to get to from uptown, and all nice, with (I think) Rouses having the most variety of the three probably, (a mix of "normal" groceries and local stuff/organic stuff/bulk bins/good beer/wine selection/etc). Wouldn't call Winn Dixie upscale.
Assuming he's Tulane or Loyola:
Rouse's - there's 1 kittycorner from Tipitina's on Tchoupitoulas @ Napoleon
then also Winn-Dixie on Tchoup @ Jefferson
Also I often see collegekids food shopping at the Target in Clearview Mall -it's not a SuperTarget (the closest one is in Mobile!) but has a whole new food section. There is a Bed Bath & Beyond and the Clearview Cinema at that mall.
501 Napoleon Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115
Whole Foods is nice. Langenstein's is a great place also. Dorignac's might be best place for gift certificate. They have a great wine and liquor selection. Good luck.
Whole Foods @ 5600 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 899 - 9119.
Langenstein's @ 1330 Arabella Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 899 - 9283.
Dorignac's Food Center @ 710 Veterans Boulevard, Metairie, LA 504 - 834 - 8216.
Dorignac's Food Center
710 Veterans Memorial Blvd, Metairie, LA
I am not sure it is what you are looking for but I want to mention the Hollygrove Market and Farm as a wonderful food option in NOLA. They offer fresh produce from their garden and seasonal produce and other goods from locally sourced farmers. They have a small selection of such things as jams, honey, coffee, organic meat, rice, cornmeal, and dairy. I find that the produce is fresher and better priced than Whole Foods and other grocery stores. Admittedly, it is far from an upscale grocery store but they do feature wonderful shitake mushrooms and other gourmet items.
They also usually have bread from some local bakers and a variety of purveyors offering their prepared foods each week. Tuesdays now feature one of the local food trucks. I love my trips to their Hollygrove location on Tuesdays and Saturdays, which are the only days they are open. It is a much more pleasant experience and I leave with nicer produce than when visiting any of the local food stores.
They do offer a $25 box of produce and other goods that can be ordered on line (It is set up so you can only order for a particular date and items for that week are listed on their website). These items are then selected once the individual gets to their Hollygrove location. There are also other pickup sites and a home delivery option: http://hollygrovemarket.com/content/5669