Bad Neighborhoods, New Orleans
First of all, when you read 'don't go north into the magnolia housing project' realize Magnolia Street isn't anywhere near the French Quarter. Magnolia Project is south west over 40 blocks at Louisiana/Magnolia in Uptown where there are no tourists ever.
And definitely don't stay in a hotel EAST of the French Quarter because you will be in the river, a bad neighborhood full of nasty fish.
Several of these posts are inaccurate and by the same author. Across Rampart into the Basin development was surely dangerous, but these posts are full of inaccuracies and show that people are just making them up...some claim to live in the projects and don't even know where they are located.
Bourbon runs SW to NE, but no one, NO ONE in new orleans would use the term 'north of bourbon', they would use riverside and lakeside, uptown and downtown.
And no real local would tell you to visit Metairie Cemetery because it was safer, they'd tell you to visit Metairie Cemeterie because it has beautiful individual family mosoleums with stained glass which you can view and walk into, as opposed to crypts, which are a big block of stone.
i've been to the quarter for 25 years at 4-5 times a week from the time i was at tulane 25 years ago and now I'm older once or twice a week and never a problem other than with a drunk tourist. It's not the locals throwing up, pissing on a pole, falling off banisters, taking off their clothes on hotel balconies and screaming.......we live here, we don't rent hotel balconies, trash our town, nor drink on bourbon street.
Pre-Katrina crime was bad for those who were not careful, but the posts are inaccurate. Now, the crime rate is the lowest since 1963. We now have 462 Restaurants running, about 100 music clubs with live bands, Dday museum, CAC, etc, and near zero crime. Come give us a visit and you will be treated with southern hospitality.
This really is a beautiful park....Statues of African American Icons, beautiful flora; however, not the safest place in New Orleans. The first time I was here (1992) my friend and I were mugged at knifepoint in broad daylight.......with lots of people around. I think the guy got $21 between the two of us. I steered clear of Rampart Street on subsequent trips, but returned this last time to see if it had changed. It is still a beautiful park, but I was too nervous to explore. I don't know if there is still this problem, but be careful while you're here!
I have found much of the information on New Orleans incorrect, and some is downright insulting! Nightman_Cometh does not know what he is talking about. First, he says that violence is all these people know.(This and other disparaging comments about Southerners should be enough to discredit this cretin.) Then, he says he was approached by a homeless man and he drew a knife while his girlfriend sprayed the guy with mace. It sounds to me like he is the one who only knows violence!
Of course, there are dangerous neighborhoods in New Orleans, but anyone with any sense about travel or big American cities should be fine. I lived in New Orleans for 27 years and I go there 3-4 times a year, and I have never had a problem. I don't walk around the projects, I stay between Rampart and the river in the French Quarter. In addition to the French Quarter, I love Fauberg Marigny, the Warehouse District, uptown, lakeview and the Point, the City Park area, Carollton AV, Gentilly near the Race Track, and many other areas of town.
Please stay home, Nightman, or at least above the Mason Dixon line. We don't need you, your knife, or your other weapons in our cities.
New Orleans is a city just like many other cities. It has its share of problems. Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems is people spouting off about things they know nothing about. People talk negatively about neighborhoods they've never even visited. Cab drivers warn passengers to stay out of neighborhoods, then ask how to get there. The city works hard to convince tourists that they'll be killed if they leave the confines of the French Quarter ~ so do bars, restaurants, shops and hotels. Ever wonder why? Think maybe money has something to do with it? New Orleans is full of fascinating neighborhoods, each uniques and different. Most of our historic neighborhoods are in some sort of decay, some worse than others. New Orleans is poor (that's another reason they try to keep you in the FQ) but poor people aren't bad people. And, people who look different than you in many ways are just like you. Unfortunately, racism is alive and well, just more often spoken in code. "that neighborhood isn't safe" What do you think the translation of that really is? And, oh by the way, the only time I was held up at gunpoint was about 20 years ago at dusk in the residential part of the French Quarter... People, put your City Sense Hat on and truly experience this wonderful city. If your senses tell you it might not be safe listen. If you're a racist, homophobe or bigot, New Orleans probably isn't for you ~ keep driving, there's plenty of stuff to see in all directions.
Typically most visitors don’t have any problems, but there are a couple of areas you may want to avoid at dark. The Riverwalk (next door to Café Dumond at Jackson Square) after dark is filled with homeless and beggars. I would recommend that you especially avoid North Rampart Street after dark, the visit isn’t worth it and it has a notorious history of crime.
If by chance you visit uptown new orleans keep an eye open if you ever run upon Claiborne ave. Martin Luther King should be avoided by all tourist as well as Josephine st. There is nothing for tourist to see except trouble. And also if you get a chance to go downtown avoid the 7th Ward area as well as the 5th and 6th ward areas streets like Broad, St Benard, and the Treme area can be a little wild at time. But have fun anyway if you visit.
New Orleans is a checkerboard of "good" neighbourhoods and "bad" ones. There are the most rundown shacks just blocks away from palatial mansions.
I find it very dangerous to explore New Orleans without a map, as one can never tell where a "good" neighbourhood ends and a "bad" one begins.
If you do happen to get lost in New Orleans, I would recommend asking a police officer (if you can find one) for directions, or maybe a clerk in a shop. I would never admit to a passing stranger on the street that I was lost, for fear of being robbed.
Also, I would be discreet about using a map as well. Don 't give any signs that you are vulnerable to any passersby, just in case.
I was reading the comments and warnings about New Orleans and I wanted to add my 2 cents. I'm from New York and I know cities. New Orleans is a city. There are good neighborhoods and bad neighborhoods. I lived in New Orleans for a year between 2010 and 2011 and have visited several times since. I like this city I really like it.
New Orleans is place where you should be aware of your surroundings, be smart and you'll be fine. I worked in the public schools while I was there and I traveled all over. I spent time in the East, on the Westbank, in the lower 9th, in the Treme, and in the Bywater on a daily basis. My advice is to treat people with respect and to stick to well populated neighborhoods after dark.
I lived in Uptown and traveled by car, taxi or streetcar/bus all over MidCity, The Garden District, The Marigny and the French Quarter at all hours. Aside from the occasional person asking for money and the rather more frequent encounters with drunken white frat boys from Ohio I never felt uncomfortable in New Orleans. It's a great city and if you treat the people who live there with respect they will do the same for you.
I travel around USA --California, Texas, Georgia, etc.-- and most often I stay at hostels, which i select based on reviews and Google mapping. There i mostly walk (some miles daily) to my conference places, usually located in fancy places downtown. Evenings i usually go out jogging in the neighborhood, even when it seems a tad risky - i rely on common sense and accept some risk. So far so good, except this evening in NO.
Despite the warnings re. the area between N. Rampart, S Clairbone, Canal and Esplanade, tonite i seemingly have crossed into a forbidden turf: the Marais Str. inside the Iberville area. Many in the know would say that i was looking for it, and indeed - I was assaulted by a gang (9-12) of black youngsters. Being too old for facing off a dozen guys half my age and 30-50% over my size, I relied on speed & endurance to escape. However, one of those who gave me chase was faster - so he caught up, pulled a gun and shot me once, then twice more. He got me in the neck and cheeckbone... with paintball... Then he gave up, being alone with me, relatively far from his gang.
Was this just a game? Nope. They have asked for my money, which I refused to provide - with a running NO. They also hit me in the back, nothing serious. Do I blame them for my Darwin Award class of stupidity? Nope. I have entered their quarters at night in an area where even the police (to which i reported the assault) doesn't go w/o serious reasons. Would a gun help? Not really against a dozen who stand to loose less than you do... plus it creates a violent, instead of safe, state of mind. I'd rather get robbed of a few tens $, or even beaten... than shoot a boy who doesn't know any better than the games, movies and the rap he was exposed to...
Does my scare make N.O. more dangerous, or less beautiful and friendly? No.
Inform yourself thru Google, ask the locals to color your maps --perhaps an updated Google Maps Good & Bad overlay would help all!-- use common sense, drive-only thru the questionable areas... but don't be too scared to walk this great city, and to experience its people, music and food. The rewards excel the risks. Enjoy. Mitch
I joined this site just to set people straight.
A. The Riverwalk, as of 9/05, well before Katrina, is not at all dangerous, even at 3am with a relatively young couple when I needed a walk after a tense night. It's a great walk after a trip to Frenchman and the Hookah Café, Checkpoint Charlie's, or The Whirling Dervish.
B. Having no car, I've walked through lots of the city (once from Uptown campus to the Riverwalk and back.). I also go out to Zotz uptown, the Maple Leaf, Fat Harry's, and the like. A little common sense keeps you out of trouble in Uptown. Freret below this one bar (I can't remeber the name of it, I don't go to the near-Campus bars much. I like Frenchman and Coffeehouses better) isn't real peachy, but keep to yourself, and you should be OK.
The warehouse district is FUN to walk around, and I've never had a problem, going to The Howlin' Wolf, True Brew, and The arty areas out there.
C. The Wards ARE best avoided. People aren't deceiving on that point. Unless you're making a strange mecca to a local funk act's house, there's not a whole lot there for tourists.
D. You can stray a bit off Bourbon, but be smart. Bourbon also peters out for a bit, but it picks back up into Gay Bourbon. On Halloween, walk from the far end of Bourbon to Canal for a much more fun time.
Really, New Orleans is not any less or more safe than any other city. To the person who claimed NO is the most dangerous city in the US, it is Camden, NJ (my original home state, and there's really not a whole lot for tourists in Camden), followed by Detroit, St. Louis, Flint, MI, and Richmond, VA. NO is #8, but that was pre-Katrina, and the numbers, due to a number of reasons, have dropped.
In conclusion, take a look down the street. If it gives you a creepy feeling, don't take it. If it doesn't, check your surroundings.
Short of that?
Stuff happens in any city. Be prepared. Dont get too drunk to call a cab, don't wander inebriated, be a responsible citizen.
When given directions and a map of the French Quarter, I was directed to stay on or South of Bourbon Street since the "projects" are North and a high crime area. Most of what I wanted to see was toward the Mississippi anyway.
I LIVE IN A SUBURB RIGHT OUTSIDE NEW ORLEANS AND I WORK DOWN TOWN SO I AM PRETTY FAMILIAR WITH THINGS THAT GO ON AROUND HERE. I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE EVEN TRAVEL HERE. BOURBON SMELLS LIKE URINE AND THE PEOPLE EVEN SMELL BECAUSE IT'S SO HOT AND HUMID HERE. CRIME IS HORIBLE AND MY BOYFRIENDS CAR GOT STOLLEN RIGHT ON ESPLANADE AVE. WHEN YOU ASK IF ANYONE HAS SEEN ANYTHING THEY LOOK AT YOU LIKE YOU LIKE YOU ARE CRAZY. THIS IS THE BEST PLACE TO COME IF YOU ARE VERY POOR AND HOMELESS. IF YOU WANT TIPS ABOUT NEW ORLEANS STAY IN A CROWN NEVER EVER WALK AROUND BY YOURSELF. THIS IS ONE CITY WHERE YOU CAN'T TRUST ANYONE.
My boyfriend and I were visiting a friend of his a couple years ago at a bar called Finn McCool's in New Orleans. While my boyfriend was born in Shreveport, we now live in Florida and neither of us were very familiar with New Orleans. His friend had told us to turn down Bank Street, but because a lot of the street signs were knocked down during Katrina we ended up make a wrong turn down Baudin Road. I have been to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago...but this was the scariest thing I have ever experienced at home or on vacation. A line of teenagers were blocking the road staring down our car, refusing to let us pass. We sat there frozen, unsure of what we should do. Confusion turned to panic when we saw one of the young men lift up his shirt to expose his pistol that was tucked into the waist of his pants. Another young man made a gesture to him which made the first guy let go of his gun. Slowly, they cleared the road for us to go by and we swore to never ever make that mistake again.
I don't know much about neighborhoods in the area, because I don't have much interest in going back anytime soon (though Finn's was a lovely time). But I do recommend that you avoid Baudin Road and all unfamiliar areas, especially at night when the separation between "ghetto" and "mansion" can easily become blurred. The only good thing that came out of it is that is shocked my boyfriend and I into discussing what we need to do if ever in that emergency situation again. For the record, on his insistence I take off running and don't look back, hoping that he catches up with me later.
Most people say just use common sense and you'll be fine, but unfortunately that's not always the case. I say, never leave the side of a local who is familiar enough with the area to guide you around.
While walking away from the French Quarter, we wandered into the 'urban' section of New Orleans. Having grown up in the South Bronx, even I had a little more than average fear, and this was during the late afternoon. I would not suggest wandering off the beaten path in the evenings.
While travelers should be careful to avoid bad neighborhoods (they are pretty easy to spot- blight everywhere) these are not really on the tourist trail. Tourists should be careful to avoid walking alone at night, walking alone at night while texting on an iPhone4, walking alone at night while drunk and texting on an iPhone4.
Most of the muggings of tourists involve iPhones these days. True story. Don't be dumb. Don't wave your cool stuff around. Be aware of your surroundings.
Nightman_Cometh is a little offensive, doesn't understand this city at all, is probably from the suburbs, and I can't help but think he might have overreacted to some poor homeless dude bugging him for money. He probably can't parallel park, either.
That's the city, and I have been bugged and annoyed by plenty of homeless guys, but never threatened. Ever. I would only pepper spray someone if they touched me.