I gotta tell you we just got home from New Orleans on Saturday early in the am. We stayed on Bourbon street and stayed mainly in the French Quarter. We did go to the Garden district and the commercial district. We felt safe and had no incidents of trouble.
The only thing we saw panhandlers who tried to get your attention with either shoe shining or yelling at you "I bet I know where you got your shoes". This is actually a big con and just keep walking. Ignore them and you will be okay.
We saw no knifings, no killings, no pick pockets, but we were prepared of the danger of pick pockets. We saw a larger American city with a good sized police presence in the French Quarter. We felt safe, but used common sense. We did not walk down dark empty streets at night and we did not hang out in the bars late at night. We stayed to the basic tourist areas.
We would recommend a trip to New Orleans to anyone. Of course stay away from Bourbon Street with kids. lol
Visit New Orleans. It is a great city. However, the residents and many tourists, even herein, are either ignorant of what's going on within the city, or simply had different experiences than me. I will return to New Orleans, but I will continue to carry a stun baton or weapon. New Orleans now has the highest per capita murder rate in the country. Most of the killings are concentrated in the city's poorest neighborhoods — places like Central City, just a few blocks north of the stately mansions that line St. Charles Avenue, but not all (source: NPR). You can all go off and try to convince me otherwise. I have never had any problems in this city, but I have SEEN numerous issues, even within the tourist areas. First, I know a doctor whom jogged at 8 am in the French quarter. As he was jogging down Esplanade (some might argue this is not the French quarter--but it's by loads of hotels and restaurants), someone bumped him, punched him.. he awoke later amidst concerned residents. He'd been beaten and had his money stolen (not wallet, just small bills, which he was carrying at the time). When I was last there, I saw a lady outside Monteleone (hotel) get run into by a guy on bike, whom was fleeing a pick pocket crime. she had her back broken as it turns out--we stayed behind to help as the criminal flashed his knife at people and then rode off-8 PM FRI evening that night 2011. During that same trip, I witnessed a man grab a woman's purse on Bourbon street 1 PM on a Saturday and run away. The crowd did nothing to do stop the man--he got away. During that same trip, another evening MON 5 PM outside a fire station in the Marigny area, we saw a brawl between tourists and what appeared to be a homeless man.. the firemen came outside and the homeless man ran away--he was trying to rob the couple--the husband was bleeding, but seemed okay, if not shaken. During that same 2011 trip, I had numerous people approaching me for money, cigarettes, commenting on my shoes (oh my! just kidding). One guy threatened to knock me out for my watch--this occurred outside an AT&T Wireless store on Canal Street. Crime happens everywhere. I have visited this city 7 times and never had seen as much crime as this last 2011 visit. 2012 might be better, but I don't care or know. When we talked to our hotel concierge, he commented that a couple had just been robbed the day earlier by Ursuline Academy, outside Jackson Square--at gunpoint no less. What's funny is the residents of new Orleans are in complete denial there is a problem--my friends whom live there are so defensive when I ask them about crime. All you have to do is Google the stats. New Orleans has amongst the highest crime rate in the United States. Eric Holder, Attorney General, (at the request of the NOLA mayor) has personally taken an interest in training NOLA's corrupt and incompetent (perhaps outmanned) police force. That's quite serious. I would visit New Orleans in a heartbeat and love the city. It's a shame the residents and people herein spend so much time defending it instead of demanding better behavior or action from their police. They need to have more police presence. For every time I hear someone saying, "I went there and had no problems" I think "you were lucky.." and I am happy nothing bad happens to most people there. After seeing what I've seen, however, I would never visit NOLA unarmed or at least with a stun baton/Taser. What's quite funny is people herein will view ME as part of the problem instead of the criminals I saw. Sad, and this is exactly why crime is so bad in NOLA. That the residents and politicians have allowed this great city to denigrate into a crime ridden tourist trap is a disgrace. I am quite sure people will respond with "I saw nothing, etc." to them, I say, "congratulations.." or "it's all relative.." yes, but to deny it's occurring is a different story altogether (which is what the residents do).
Before traveling to New Orleans last week, I visited the VT website, among others, to get a little advice from people about the possible dangers of New Orleans. I've heard and read polarized opinion: from New Orleans is a crime-ridden dump to New Orleans is an American city, so it has its share of crime - suck it up. Having just returned, I can safely and happily report that 1) if New Orleans is a 'dump', it's my kinda dump and 2) yes, there's crime - but we didn't experience any problems at all.
We stayed at a B&B on Esplanade, right where Treme, Marigny and the French Quarter intersect. A number of people have stated online that it's not a good idea to venture north of N Rampart. One website says that N Rampart and Esplanade are unsafe to walk around, even during the day! NOT true. It's wise to be vigilant wherever you are, especially somewhere you're unfamiliar with, but there's no need for cat-like readiness when traipsing around Esplanade and N Rampart.
As soon as we got into the Quarter around Royal/Dumaine/Bourbon, I was expecting some panhandling or 'bet I can tell where you got dem shoes' stuff. Nope. Not once. In the five days we were in New Orleans, I was asked once for a quarter (upon arrival at our B&B) and once for a cigarette (Esplanade & N Rampart). That's it. We spent time in Marigny, Vieux Carre, the CBD, Uptown, Treme, Navarre, Metairie, Mid-City and Iberville...no problems during the day or at night. Not only did we not experience any problems, we didn't see anyone else experience any problems. I see more beggars and violence on an average Saturday in my hometown of Brisbane than I saw in New Orleans.
This is not to say it doesn't exist. It just seems that there is a perception that New Orleans is the exception to some rule about safety because of...what? Black people and Katrina? It's a misperception, surely. The only difference between NO and any other major American city is that NO has a unique flavor, a love of good food and music, an otherworldly charm and a stand-alone culture. I love the place...and if you've not been, you should go.
Wow, this is the most alarmist warning I've seen.
"Locals of the Quarter have shot bullets into the air at random and it doesn't matter which section of the Quarter you are in anymore. It used to be you were told not to go north near N. Rampart Street and stay in areas with people and well lit sections of the Quarter."
I live in the Quarter. People do not randomly shoot guns off! If you look at the crime stats, the Quarter is one of the safest areas. Police presence on Bourbon Street is heavy. In fact, patrols throughout the Quarter are pretty significant. I used to live in an apartment on Ursuline Ave, where I had windows that looked out on to the streets... used to annoy me, how many patrol cars would drive down the street (they keep their blue lights on, which are VERY bright).
Does that mean you should go walking around, alone, at night, in the quiet sections... no, that would be dumb in any city. Crime does happen here as it does everywhere. But now, even Rampart is getting better to walk along at night... mostly because of several late hour / 24 hour places along there. The best advice I can give is try to stay where it is busy. But also, be smart when you are walking down some of the quieter streets. Bourbon and Royal are the best streets to be on at night. Again, does crime still happen... yes, but the odds are you won't have any problems.
Don't be afraid of this city... just be smart.
I have the perspective of someone who has lived in New Orleans and who recently went back years later for a visit. The bottom line is, New Orleans is a good place to visit briefly, but not a good place to live. Please read up on safety in this city in particular because it is different from other cities. When I lived there ten years ago, I had no worries about being with a group of people on Burbon St. in a well lit area. Just this past weekend, I was cornered down by a man not once but twice; thankfully, my husband got him off of me. Please, please trust your gut feeling and play it extra safe. Leave your valuables at home. I carried money for cabs on me and my driver's license and my husband carried his wallet in his front pocket. No beads around the neck - that's a dead give away that you are a tourist and an easier target! The goal is to blend in, act confident and keep moving at all times. Don't go down any alleys and just say "hi", walk confidently and move on if someone asks you any questions (local scam artists are abundant throughout the Quarter). I'm not trying to scare anyone away from coming to the city; you just have to be very aware of your surroundings and use caution; never let your guard down.
I saw a couple of young women with their babies in the Quarter at night and thought that was very irresponsible, but who am I to judge. You just won't see me bringing my children to the Quarter. This is not Disney World people! Locals of the Quarter have shot bullets into the air at random and it doesn't matter which section of the Quarter you are in anymore. It used to be you were told not to go north near N. Rampart Street and stay in areas with people and well lit sections of the Quarter. My how things have changed, and I hope for the sake of the history and charm of the city that things will improve.
NOLA can be a very dangerous place.. Where to start? This city has always been a unique place. It's a place you only want to visit and if you do, know some things. NO has always been an outlaw town. Murder, robbery, prostitution and any other crime, is culturally associated with the history of the city. The locals know this, and take advantage of it. The police have always had a history of being corrupt, as well as the state. The police take the job knowing that. Don't dress up or look like money, because somebody will likely rob you. Carry a weapon all the time. This is a very gun oriented culture. The thugs here strive to be the best, at being the worst. Plain and simple. You can literally walk one block this way, or that way, and be confronted by a pistol in your face. Know where you are at all times, and never go alone. You can be killed over a pair of shoes, or less. Here, it is considered cowardly to do a drive-by shooting. They will walk right up to you in broad daylight. I cannot stress enough how dangerous it is here. They are like wolves, and can smell fear. They automatically know if your a tourist and an easy mark. It's about how you carry yourself. I've really never thought much of the french quarter myself. It's home to many homeless and con artist's that do not beg, but boldly approach you with demands. No matter how many times they wash the street, it forever smells like urine. It's definitely a city well suited for a vampire or other immortal.
I have lived in New Orleans for several years and no it is NOT "just like every other big city" I notice that nearly every local on here has warned about the crime here but the tourists say "I felt perfectly safe" Just because you personally did not have a problem this particular trip does not mean it is safe. You just got lucky. People who actually live here know what is happening in their city. Don't become a statistic!
Im 32 years old and was born and raised in New Orleans. Lets talk about crime...you're going to hear a lot of people say that new orleans has very high crime and you're going to hear a lot of people say that its not as bad as people make it out to be. Pay attention to who tells you that....locals or tourists. There is a reason I dont live in New Orleans anymore, its because Im now responsible for the lives of others (my family). Make no mistake...New Orleans is a WARZONE! It used to hold true that the gunfire only happened in the hood or the projects, but thats no longer true. Will you get killed if you decide to visit New Orleans?...maybe if you just stick to the Quarter or Canal St? Probably not. Also, most soldiers who deploy to Afghanistan do not get killed...I'm not paranoid...just seen it happen too many times.
I was born, raised, educated, lived and worked in N.O. from 1953 to 1993. I know what I am talking about, so don't doubt me! 1. The "conventional wisdom" concerning crime in New Orleans no longer applies. (For example, stay out of dark parts of the Quarter... walk in groups... etc.) My once beloved home has degenerated into a third rate- third world- societal cess pool- free fire combat zone unfit for human habitation. The locals (2012) think nothing about whipping out guns in broad daylight and shooting it out on major streets, e.g., Canal St. and Carrollton Ave. Just last week a school bus was shot up in one of the neighborhoods, and thankfully no kids were hit. Last Halloween, the locals went on a little shooting spree and over thirty rounds were fired on Canal St. which borders the French Quarter! 2. The Big Easy is not Disney World, and you must be on guard all the time. 3. Try and take cabs (esp. at night) and avoid walking around Rampart St. at 2:00am. (The charming locals started "hunting" & "stalking" a local TV reporter in this area. Frightened the wits out of him, but he learned a hard lesson.) 4. Before Hurricane Katrina, the locals were "hunting" the St. Louis Cemetaries. Their game of choice? Tourists! They had a spotter with binoculars & cell phone in the Iberville Development, vectoring in armed strike teams on the hapless tourists who wandered into the cemetery. (Documented in the local newspaper.) I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. The apologists for N.O. will say "don't worry" ... "safe city"... "all urban areas have problems..." This is either blind, deaf and DUMB optimism... or they are conning you. Is a trip to The Big Easy a death sentence, of course not. But let me assure you I found out the HARD WAY what can happen. (Got shot in the right arm in the Carrollton section of town.) New Orleans is now called by the natives "Mogadishu On The Mississippi." I am sorry, that is not quite fair... to Mogadishu. Traveler BEWARE!
I've been in New Orleans for over three years now, have travelled all over the world including "cautionary" places known for high crime so i feel pretty comfotable making comparisons. Here's my take: New Orleans IS very high crime compared to most American cities for everything from a murder rate 4x the national average to a much higher percentage of robberies, assaults, DUI accidents and other crime. Those asre statistical facts. Will you, as a tourist be affected? Probably not, most aren't, and if you stick to "safe" areas such as the French Quarter and Garden District, you'll probably be fine. But DO be cautious. "Safe" areas in New Orleans are often intermixed & very close to "bad" areas, so its never a good part of town vs bad part. Theft is rampant everywhere and muggings are common - even in parts of the French Quarter in daytime. Use your smarts & gut. If something feels weird, it probably is and you should always be aware your surroundings. Take cabs to neighborhoods you are uncertain about, especially at night - and ask natives. Sometimes crime waves happen in Nola & they often are concentrated in a neighborhood, then move on. I live in the Lower Garden District two blocks off the nice shops & restaurants of Magazine St & there were four armed robberies and 3 seperate shootings within 6 blocks all before 8:30pm in just one week alone. Most blatant last month? lady is sitting on her stoop 1:30 pm in a nice neighborhood, across from a busy restaurant, two guys come up pull a gun on her for her iphone then take off running. So yeah, the fear & caution is real. Still, it's a wonderful city, but has big problems. The New Orleans Police Dept is third world dysfunctional and really cant always prevent bad things or properly handle incidrnts. New York Times just wrote about how bad it is. Regardless, keep valuables at home, guard your cameras, wallets, bags. Don't get so rip-roaring drunk that you become vulnerable. Know your geography and know a cab number. I use United. They are the most reliable & professional.
since the last notation of chemical abuse and crime, I was contacted by the department of Justice, there were landlords that allowed me to be assaulted and know of these assaults, the DOJ had me in their office for about 1 - 2 hours, they said that the persons who commit ed these crimes that I told them of will be arrested on federal charges, and that the police that refused police report are and on ongoing other investigations that they wouldn't tell me. But said that the mayors office is aggressively investigating police that and complaints and told me there is about 200 police that are being investigated, one of the largest, and the persons will be arrested shortly, Will New Orleans be safe and a fun place to live? I hope so,
warning police cover up crimes here in nola routinely, refusing to take police reports and the public integrity section is a joke nothing more than lip service, we have been assaulted by persons using chemical continually,, strong chemical vapors and nopd as well as the mayor mitch landows office cover this up, this is epidemic abuse of chemical, people here deliberate sniff chemical from ther vehicles and squirt at people while they are walking we have been assaulted by these menacing persons over 600 times and the nopd covered it up others skin were burned, we had to call , the FBI new Orleans, the new superintendent is a joke as well doesn't do anything until he has to, Ron Serpas, these strong vapors are continually being dispensed and by a large group of persons with no respect for others our children were assaulted numerous times, and skin burned and nopd still didnt take any reports. It is a terrible continued abuse of chemical and we will make sure this mayor is not reelected.
I am from Boston but live in San Francisco. I would prefer to live in N.O. but Southern weather is too hot and humid for me. I have lived in New Orleans and have been going there for 40 years. I have read about crime but have never witnessed any. I am a walker who has never owned a car or a gun and I walk all over New Orleans, night and day.
I was in NOLA last month, arrived at night and took the $2 E-2 bus (what a deal!) from the airport to the Public Library downtown. Then, I walked to the French Quarter. Like their counterparts in Montreal, local female office workers walked confidently and seemed to be without fear.
FRIENDLINESS IS YOUR BEST DEFENSE. I talk with everyone and approach the spectrum of people with friendliness and respect. Shady types? Just walk by, say 'hi, how ya doin'?' and walk on as tho' you own the place. This approach has kept me safe in 63 countries and all 50 states except for Wyoming and Texas, where I experienced anti-Americanism.
Under the new mayor, New Orleans looks cleaner than I have ever seen it. The city is coming back because most New Orleanians love their city. I noticed many retired couples strolling hand in hand. It is a romantic city. It is also a good city for families, kids, music and architectural lovers, artists and bohemians. Your tourist dollars will be well-spent because you will have a great time (unless you're a dud) and your money will help with the recovery of this Treasure of America. Do not limit yourself to the French Quarter; there are many other fascinating neighborhoods to add to your memories.
Well, I have been to NOLA many times enjoying non-Mardi Gras times just as much as the actual event. I love the city and don't think you should skip a trip from these warnings - just beware of the threats that happen in ANY city and take the advice from us that have had things happen to them. In recent years I have seen an increase of crime from pickpocketing to witnessing a man being beat up int he alleyway. That being said - no I am not an old Granny and Im also not a stupid college student. During my last trip we didnt stay in NOLA, but drove there after a day at the beach to enjoy the weekend. I was wearing a regular t-shirt and a moderate length skirt during the first evening. We were fighting some crowds of some young college kids obviously on Spring Break in the touristy downtown quarter and the streets were pretty packed. I was surrounded by 7 family members when a man bumped into me, stuck a finger under my skirt causing me to turn around in utter shock and anger only for his accomplice to unzip my purse and grab my wallet without my knowledge. None of my family members were aware of what they were doing. Upset, distraught, I walked into the police department several moments later to see 5 women 30-60 years old in the same state. Found out that this thug crew was patrolling the area and somehow distracting each of us in order to grab the wallets. Never found the wallet and they only took the cash on hand. So, beware of your attire, keep your money secure and don't fall victim to the standard pickpocket tricks!
I've lived in this area for over 10 years. New Orleans is becoming a hotbed of crime.
They do not care who it is that gets in the way. Every day there are more murders. We're hearing more and more of attacks and murders right in the quarter. A marine just lost his life trying to protect the honor of his wife. New Orleans is not safe period