If anyone says they can tell you where you got your shoes, don’t fall for it. They'll say "Well you have them right here in New Orleans," and then pester you for money.
Unless you have a penchance for printed material, don't take anything that anyone on the street gives you. For example: you are innocently walking down the street and some guy hands you a rose, a book, a hat. Your natural instinct is to take it. If you do initially accept this item, just drop it at their feet and walk away. If you don't, they will refuse to take it back and will pester you for money.
Everyone in New Orleans will pester you for money.
KEEP YOUR WALLET IN YOUR FRONT POCKET.
WALK WIDE AROUND CORNERS AND ALWAYS KNOW WHO IS AROUND YOU. Best bet if you feel threatened is to act crazy. Laugh now, but they will be laughing at you with a knife/gun in your face if you don’t.
The locals can spot tourists a hundred miles away and will pickpocket/mug you if given a half a chance.
Good idea to write your address down and put it in your pocket in case you get wasted and don’t remember where to go. Sounds a little out there, but it has saved many of my friends from being one of those 5am drunks walking around wondering where their friends are and where their hotel is.
Don't walk to your hotel if you are drunk. Take a taxi. Give them your address which although lost in memory, has been preserved carefully in your pocket. (I am telling you! This is a time-honored and proven tradition!) They will overcharge you all over the place, but you won’t be walking around looking lost, waiting for some local to knock you upside the head..
Bathrooms in the French Quarter are often hard to find (especially during Mardi Gras). During the day, try you can try Jackson Brewery and the Riverwalk. Around Bourbon Street is is particularly difficult unless you are at a restaurant or bar there. If you go into one of these, most will insist that restrooms are only for customers. You can try the larger hotels in the area and look like a guest. You will usually find bathrooms somewhere on the ground level.
Streets in the French Quarter especially a quite narrow and a lot are one way. Pedestrians also walk down the middle of streets especially at night when it gets crowded. Parking meters operate from 8.00am to 6.00pm with usually only a maximum of 2 hours. Parking limits are policed regularly so don’t overstay your time. Car parks can very be very expensive in and around the city. Really if you drive into New Orleans, you are better to leave your car parked and just travel around by foot or by the trams.
You've never experienced weather like this! Hot and humid and steamy. You can get sick fast, too. I lost two cats in New Orleans in a matter of hours when one of them had a relapse of Feline Leukemia that had been in remission for over five years and infected the other. They were my children, and I lost them both in the twinkling of an eye. I love you and miss you, Shimi and Animal!!!
The cockroaches are pretty incredible too. I saw one as big as my size 10 Xtra large feet. You had to chase them out of the tub before you took a bath, and they squeezed under the gasket of the fridge and got into your food; YUCK!!!!!
My folks went in the spring and don't remember any of this. If the only 'time*' you can go is the summer, go anyway, but be prepared and be careful!
When walking around the French Quarter,let yourself be guided by your insticts,particularly at night.If a street looks dark and deserted,don't venture down it.Stay where it is well lit and well populated.Decatur,chartres,royal and Bourbon St fit that category,When you go beyond those streets,you are entering residential areas which are more isolated and conducive to crime.Cemetaries are a big tourist attraction.There are many options.However the one to avoid is just on the outskirts of the French Quarter.The St.Louis cemetaries are located next to a project and many tourists have been targetted there.It may be close,but it is not worth the risk.Instead you can take the cemetaries bus on canal st. for $1.25.It runs every 15 min.
For those,who will be visiting for Mardi Gras,there are huge parades down Canal St.You will be squashed with mobs of people.Beads,doubllons and other trinkets are thrown from the floats.If you catch it in the air,there usually is no problem,but if it hits the ground,don't try to pick it up.It may only be a decorative piece of plastic,but people will knock you over,step on you or whatever it takes to gain that trinket,when under the influence of alcohol and mardi gras madness.If you want a more civilized view take the streetcar up St.Charles(between Louisiana aND nAPOLEON aVES.See the parades surrounded by oak trees.The only thing to bear in mind is that there is no public transportation during parades,so get to where you want to be before the parade and accept the fact that you're going to be stuck there until its over.
My last warning is about the weather.Summer is hurricane season.The hotel rates go down and you'll have no difficulty getting into the best resaurants... but it is hot and rainy.The humidity is terrible.New Orleans has not been hit by a major hurricane since Betsy,but you never know.
People from New Orleans working on the streets. They will give you something and then expect money for it. Only take the black and white taxi's. I think they are called united taxi. If you plan on using credit cards not many places in the French Quarter accept them.
While the French Quarter is the place to go, just beware of the street beggers/traders/con men. Saw many people ripped off. Just say no and walk away.
Also, after the beer session, get a cab. The area around the French Quarter is seedy and dangerous after dark.
Bourbon Street looks like a safe place during the day. However, at night (specially around Mardi Gras time) it is packed with pick pockets and thiefs... guard your belongings carefully and keep your eyes and other senses open.
I only go to Louisiana because my little brother lives there. Otherwise, I would not be caught dead in the state. I lived there for a short time, and didn't like it. People are clanish. And watch out for the Hiways. They have the worse roads imagineable. Not to mention the State Troopers. But they are not as bad as the local law enforcement in the state. Do you remember Buford T. Justice in Smokey and the Bandit? Well, there you have it. I always expect them to come up with something like, 'Boy, you in a heap'o trouble now! You in Boone County, Boy!!'
The road system in New Orleans is supremely scary from a Midwestern point of view...and possibly from the point of view of the entire rest of the world, I'm not sure:) Regardless, be very careful and try to have a map and know where you are! Also, avoid Lee's Circle at all costs:)
THE HUMIDITY IS.... UNBEARABLE... at least at first. Seriously, one thing I hated there was the climate... too hot in Summer and ... in winter it was... weird, from 85 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit in like one day!
Though the nature is amazing, be careful, there exist crocodiles, huge spiders and heck knows what else. ...But who if not them makes these places so attractive? (Here's a warning which accompanies a ticket to the Jungle Gardens)
Be careful when walking around. Don't walk down any alley's or paths that are not well lit. Be careful where you park. Lots of tow away zones.
Be sure to have a map. One wrong turn and you may end up in the middle of the housing projects. The projects can be very dangerous.
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