New Orleans

New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, is located to the southeast of Louisiana and grew on both sides of the Mississippi River. The city was named after the Duke of Orleans, who ruled as Regent for Louis XV from 1715 to 1723.New Orleans is also known as the “most unique city” in the United States due to its French and Spanish Creole architecture and its multilingual and cross-cultural culture. Although New Orleans has earned the reputation of being an adult-oriented city, it also offers attractions for families and those who seek a cultural and artistic experience. The city is also famous for its Creole cuisine, music of different genres, and many festivals like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest. However, if you cannot book a room for these two big festival, the city also city also hosts smaller festivals throughout the year like the French Quarter Festival, Creole Tomato Festival, Satchmo SummerFest, the Essence Festival, Halloween parading and costume balls, Saint Patrick’s Day and Saint Joseph’s Day parading, Southern Decadence, and many more! If you missed Mardi Gras, don’t worry, most events often have a touch of Mardi Gras. It is true what they say, “New Orleanians are either planning a party, enjoying one or recovering from one.” New Orleans is one of the liveliest cities in the United States, and although there is much to see and do in the city year-round, there are precautions you should take during your visit. Bellow, you will find what you need to know when visiting the city.

SAFETY INDEX

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Most crime occurs between individuals who know each other or in high crime-ridden areas of the city, in which tourists would have little reason to go to. We recommend you take normal safety precautions and exercise common sense as you would in any other major city. Watch out for pickpockets in tourist areas and protect your valuables.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

Pickpocket and bag and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Muggings are the crime for tourists to be concerned with, even in areas you’d consider safe like the Garden District. People walking alone are targeted more often than people walking in groups. Daytime is a better time to be out exploring than at night. Avoid entering isolated areas such as cemeteries alone. Though most victims are not physically injured, criminals usually do not hesitate to use force if the target does not cooperate; in case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

As in any touristic place, there may be people trying to scam you in New Orleans. Homeless people can be aggressive towards you if you don’t hand them money. Be aware of “gold ring” tricks, fake petitions, groups of teenagers acting strangely or trying to distract you. Credit card scams are also common. Never leave your card out of sight, and withdraw money from reputable banks or hotels.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

Driving your own car or renting one in New Orleans can make be better to fully experience the entire city since no buses run through the heart of the city, so most visitors only ride buses when traveling uptown or out to City Park. The Regional Transit Authority (www.norta.com) offers bus and streetcar services. The service is decent, but do not rely only on public transport during your visit, especially if you’re staying for a long time.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Hurricanes are a threat to the city.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : LOW

Terrorist attacks are unlikely. However, they cannot be ruled out. Remain vigilant and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Many women travel safely without any issues. However, drunk men in the French Quarter and along parade routes are an annoyance to women. Women in almost any clothing are likely to receive vulgar comments. For example, outfits considered provocative are prone to get comments like “show your tits.” This does not only occur during Mardi Gras. Many men think that any woman wearing beaded necklaces has gotten them by displaying herself on the street.

Carte

WHAT TO DO?

As any major city, crime can be a problem, especially in cities with a vibrant party spirit like New Orleans. The majority of violent crime occurs between parties who already know each other, but tourists are occasionally targeted. While tourist hotspots like Bourbon Street and the French Quarter are relatively safe, they can be a bit dangerous at night due to the many bars and restaurants in the areas if you don’t use common sense. If you are not familiar with the city, we recommend that you stick to the most popular areas. Neighborhoods outside of the city center can be less tourist friendly.

French Quarter

The French Quarter (locally known as “the Quarter” or Vieux Carré) was the colonial-era city and is enclosed by the Mississippi River, Rampart Street, Canal Street, and Esplanade Avenue. It is home to many popular hotels, bars, and nightclubs. Some tourist attractions in this district are Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, the French Market, and Preservation Hall. The old New Orleans Mint and The Historic New Orleans Collection are found here. Due to its popularity, the French Quarter is one of the most highly secured areas in the US, so it is very safe. 

Central Business District

Next to the French Quarter, the Central Business District offers many attractions. As its name says so, it is the city’s financial district where you can see a mix of skyscrapers and high rise hotels. The Superdome, the largest fixed domed stadium, is also found here. This district also has excellent restaurants and many museums such as the National D-Day Museum, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Contemporary Arts Center, and a gallery district located on Julia Street. The Warehouse District (also known as the Art’s District) is also located within this area.

Middle (Mid-City and Esplanade Ridge, Tremé, Central City)

Located in the central part of the city, this area offer many historic attractions and many great restaurants. In Mid-City, you can find the City Park, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Botanical Garden, and historic cemeteries. The New Orleans Fair Grounds is in Espalande Ridge. Tremé and Central City are a Historic Franco-African neighborhoods.

Useful Information

The US has one of the harshest entry policy, sometimes asking for an interview even for a tourist visa. Prepare to pay fees up to USD 160 for your application. Some countries like the ones from the EU or Australia have a visa waiver program (ESTA) which can be filled online. See https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html for more information. Strong custom regulations also apply (see the CPB website for more details), and the Travel Safety Administration can open your luggage without your presence. www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.
The currency in the United States is the US Dollar. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted countrywide, and ATMs are found nearly in every city. The costs can vary widely between the states, but it is fair to assume a $100 budget per day on average, $150 if you rent a car and around $300 for top end accomodation. A 10% service tipping is customary in many sectors such as airport and hotel bag porters, bartenders , hotel maids, restaurant servers and taxi drivers.
The weather in the US varies greatly between the states : from the mediterranean weather of California to the Glaciers of Alaska or the subtropical Florida, each region has its best time to visit; although major cities can be visited all year round. This graph can be useful for finding the best time to travel.
The main international airports are in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Denver and San Francisco. If you’re looking fore cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page