New Orleans is known for its food, cocktails, festivals, and laissez-faire attitude regarding everything. Whether you are coming for Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, or any other time of the year – you probably have one thing on your mind. Is New Orleans Safe?
Like many large cities, New Orleans is safe if you know what areas to avoid, see the tourist and keep a bit of common sense when traveling around this city.
New Orleans’s Crime rate is always on the higher side. According to Neighborhood Scout, New Orleans is only safer than 2% of Us Cities. But this doesn’t mean that crime will happen to you – you must visit the city and make intelligent choices.
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What is the safest neighborhood in New Orleans?
For tourists, the safest place to stay in New Orleans is renting a hotel or a bed and breakfast in the Uptown, The Garden District, and the French Quarter areas. These areas have the lowest crime rates in New Orleans and are well populated.
Is New Orleans safe for tourists?
New Orleans is safe for tourists. However, New Orleans Locals recommend not walking around with valuables, do not walk around at night alone, and be aware of your surroundings.
Is New Orleans safe to walk at night?
When walking in New Orleans at night, you should stick with a group of four or more people and stay in well-lit, busy neighborhoods. Avoid walking through dark alleyways, streets, or next to parked cars. If you feel unsafe, calling a cab or rideshare is better, even if your destination is within walking distance.
Safe Areas in New Orleans to Stay
New Orleans has many neighborhoods throughout her zip codes. Below are some best areas to stay in when vacationing in New Orleans. Any of these neighborhoods will be perfect for the first-time New Orleans tourist, and many attractions are within walking distance.
The French Quarter is one of the best neighborhoods in New Orleans to stay in if you want to be within walking distance of the city center. The French Quarter has many first-time tourists’ main attractions like Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, street performers, and art galleries. Music lovers will love going to Preservation Hall or attending one of the many jazz clubs.
What to do in the French Quarter: Dine in New Orleans’s oldest restaurants, Party on Bourbon Street, and Pay respect to St Louis Cathedral.
Central Business District and Warehouse District
The Central Business District is where many people stay when it comes to conventions or attending a Saints game. There are also some great hotels to stay in during the carnival season. The Central Business District is busier during the week due to people going to and from work and is quieter at night – except for a few bars in the area. The Central Business District is just a short walk to the French Quarter.
What to do in the CBD and Warehouse District: Catch a Saints Game, Hang out on Rooftop bars, and Check out the National WWII Museum.
Marigny & Bywater
The Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods are known for great food, live music, and a good time. These two neighborhoods are known for their colorful Creole cottages. Because of the Marigny and Bywater’s central location, you can quickly be anywhere in the French Quarter in 5-10 minutes.
What to do in the Marigny and Bywater: Wander on foot to admire the houses, Party on Frenchmen street, and Visit JAMNOLA or Studio Be.
Where to stay after a few trips
If you’ve been to New Orleans a couple of times but are looking for the perfect place to stay that is not touristy, check out a few of the below-safe neighborhoods.
The Uptown area is confusing. Many locals will off-handly call the entire area from the French Quarter to Jefferson Parish line Uptown. Technically the actual neighborhood of Uptown includes Lasalle Street, Napoleon, Magazines, and Jefferson Avenue. You can take the Green Streetcar to the Uptown Area and neighborhoods.
In this area of town, most tourists will spend a day trip down here to see the Audubon Zoo or to scratch something off their New Orleans Bucket list. This area of townhouses, both Tulane University and Loyola University, is relatively safe, minus a few pockets of areas with crime.
What to do in the Uptown Area: Get Fried Chicken from Jaques-Imo’s, Visit the Audubon Zoo, Grab a Cocktail at Cure.
You will find the Irish Channel between Jackson Avenue, Delachaise, Magazine, and Tchoupitoulas. Named after a wave of Irish immigrants settling in this area, the Irish Channel is full of excellent restaurants, art galleries, and places to drink. If you cannot make it to Mardi Gras but can make it to St. Patrick’s day in the Spring, the Irish Channels holds the best marching parade around.
What to do in the Irish Channel: Grab Brunch from Molly’s Rise and Shine, go antique shopping at Antiques on Jackson, and grab a beer from The Bulldog.]]
The Garden District is one of this list’s safest and best areas. It is not advisable to walk to the French Quarter from this neighborhood due to crossing the interstate. If you must walk, take the streetcar until you get to the French Quarter. If you are vacationing in the Garden District, the best way to explore this area is by foot. In this residential area, you can wander around and view the beautiful houses, view the oak trees lined streets.
What to do in the Garden District: Eat at Commanders Palace, Tour Lafayette Cemetery No 1, and drink beer at Nola Brewery.
Mid-City is home to City Park, delicious food, and beautiful oak trees. You can take the red Streetcar from the downtown area to get to Mid-City. There are so many things to do at City Park that many tourists come down here to explore the museum, sculpture garden, and other outdoor activities. Staying in Mid-City is as close as you can get to living like a local while still having a neighborhood feel. Mid-City is a family-friendly neighborhood with all the outdoor activities.
What to do in Mid-City: Visit City Park and see NOMA and the Sculpture Garden, Eat at Ralph’s on the Park, and eat beignets at historic Moring Call.
What areas should I avoid in New Orleans?
There are a few areas of New Orleans that tourists should avoid. These are dangerous neighborhoods if you end up in the wrong section, so it is better to prevent these areas altogether.
The worst communities in New Orleans include Central City, Hoffman Triangle, Treme, Lower 9th Ward, and New Orleans East. Two few streets you want to avoid are Claiborne Avenue, Tulane Avenue, and Canal street by Bourbon Street. Many of these areas have high crime rates and do not have many tourist destinations.
Central City: Central City doesn’t usually make the must-see area on a tourist bucket list. Other than a few murals and Central City Barbeque, tourists do not end up in this area. There are a few Hostels and rentals in this area.
Hoffman Triangle: The Hoffman Triangle runs from Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Claiborne Ave, Toledano Street, to Broad Street. The Hoffman Triangle is another area of town that tourists should avoid together.
Treme: I know if you watched the HBO hit show Treme, you want to come down here and explore, which you can during the day. Crime Rates are 266% greater than the national average in the Treme Lafite, and Violent Crimes are up 327%. Dooky Chase’s Restaurant is in the Treme and is an excellent spot for Lunch or an early dinner. The Seventh Ward, next to Treme, should also be avoided.
Lower 9th Ward: between the Bywater and Arabi is the Lower Ninth Ward. Getting to this neighborhood is more difficult than in other neighborhoods, but this area has a high crime rate. One main attraction in the Lower 9th Ward is the Dollut Steamboat houses.
New Orleans East: Tourists will not stumble upon New Orleans East unless they are driving in from that direction or trying to explore the old Jazz Land Six Flags Areas. The East encompasses lots of smaller neighborhoods. Dong Phuong Restaurant and Bakery is located in Village de L’est, known for its Vietnamese population. Faubourg Brewery is also in New Orleans east, New Orleans’s oldest brewery (Dixie Brewery).
Claiborne Avenue: Many tourists will not end up on the wrong part of Claiborne Avenue, but know if you are parking your car during Mardi Gras, you do not want to leave it over here on south Claiborne. North Claiborne is another area of town that is best avoided.
Tulane Avenue: Tulane Avenue runs from Loyola Avenue to Airline Highway. And no – these two streets have nothing to do with the prestigious college uptown. Avoid any hotel or Hostel on Tulane.
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Tips for staying safe in New Orleans
A few common sense tips make sense in New Orleans or anywhere else you may travel. Make sure to read over these tips when visiting New Orleans.
1. Watch What you are Drinking
Drinking in New Orleans can get out of hand, but keep your drinking in check. I know that is hard to do with all of the classic cocktails in New Orleans, but drunk pedestrians are prime targets for petty crime.
2. Take a Taxi or Uber at night
Walking around New Orleans is one of the best ways to see the sights and sounds of the city. However, at night time, make sure you are using a Taxi or Uber to get around the city. If you must walk at night – take a well-lit and crowded path like walking down Bourbon or Royal Street to get from one point to another.
3. Blend in with the locals
Blending in with the locals is an excellent way of saying – do not wear Mardi Gras Beads unless you are at a Mardi Gras Parade. If you wear Beads in the middle of summer – everyone will know you are an easy target.
4. Travel in Groups
Unless you are traveling solo, make sure you travel with your group. If you are alone, pickpocketers might try to target you as easy pretty. You are less likely to be a target when more people walk together.
5. Stay in Well-Lit Areas
When walking or driving around at night, stay in well-lit areas. You want to ensure you are not wandering down any alleyways or dark streets on the way back to your hotel.
6. Walk on the side of the street without Parked Cars
Many New Orleans neighborhoods have one-way streets, which means cars are lined up on one side and traffic is on the other. If possible, walk on the sidewalk without cars to be more aware of your surroundings.
7. Keep luggage and valuables stored away
If you have an early morning flight and the hotel is not ready yet – make sure to head to the hotel and have them hold your luggage. The more luggage and accessories you have, the easier it is to get pickpocketed.
8. Do Not Walk under the Interstate
One of the most dangerous areas in New Orleans is underneath the interstate. It might seem like an easy walk under the interstate to get to the other side, but take the streetcar through this section to get to your destination.
9. Do not give money or food to the homeless
Now I might sound heartless, but do not roll down your window to give money or food to the homeless. Most of the time, the people begging on the street will be in need, but sometimes you can set yourself up to be a target.
10. Avoid Parks and Cemeteries at night.
The Cemeteries, City Park, and Audubon Park are great places to visit during the day, but at night, you should make your way to a more populated area.
Car crime has sky-rocketed in the past few years. Unfortunately, even if you stay in one of the safer neighborhoods in New Orleans, it doesn’t mean you won’t fall victim to petty and violent crimes while in and around your car.
11. Lock your car door at all time
If you are driving or your uber is driving, make sure your car doors are locked at all times. You want to prevent any possibility of being carjacked or having a drunk tourist think that your car is their ride.
12. In the case of getting carjacked
It is sad to say that you must prep yourself if you get carjacked. If someone is trying to steal your car, and there are no other people, children, or pets in the car, give it up. Your life is worth more than a vehicle, and the people doing the crime often end up causing more harm than just stealing a car.
13. Do not leave valuables in the car
Do not leave valuables such as a purse, computer, jewelry, or anything else in your car. Even if it is hidden in the trunk, there is a possibility the can would get broken into, and your valuables will be taken.
14. Check your surroundings when getting gas
If you did bring a car to town or rented one, and you need to get gas – go to a well-lit area to pump gas. If you are on your way to the airport, get off an exit before the airport and pump your gas in Metairie or Kenner. In recent times, even people pumping gas at Costco during the day have been victims.
New Orleans Scams
Just like other cities – New Orleans has a few Unique scams. If you want to be scammed, participate in any of the following gimmicks to get money out of you. If not, pretend you are a local. That look of defeat after telling a con artist you are a local is great.
15. Decline Beads
If someone is trying to put beads around your neck, quickly decline. The beads were probably soaking in a mysterious Bourbon puddle, and they will expect cash.
16. I bet I can tell you where you got your shoes.
The answer is “They are on my feet” or “I am a local.” I thought this was an Urban Legend until I was approached twice
17. Tell Me your First name
This con artist will tell you that if you tell them your first name, they can spell your last name. The statistical possibility of them knowing your last name (and how to spell it) is so low you think you can win a quick buck. The scam artist will start to spell out L-A-S-T-N-A-M-E and try to trick you out of money.
Safe Places to Stay in New Orleans
Hopefully, I haven’t scared you off too much from New Orleans by going over the dangerous areas, crime rate, and scams that can happen while visiting New Orleans. When exploring New Orleans, just make sure you keep common sense when traveling to some of off the beaten path areas of town.