The best way to avoid danger is to keep avoiding danger in mind. Don't carry more than one credit card or more than $50 in cash. Leave expensive jewelry in your room's safe or at home. Try to have an idea of where you're going before you go and remember that if you think you've wandered into a bad neighborhood, you probably have. Also, avoid talking to street people. They are professionals at getting money out of tourists. They'll have it before you even know what happened.
New Orleans loves tourists and tourism...sometimes for the wrong reasons, this is true.
But I always laugh at people's well intended warnings of "try not to look like a tourist with a camera or map"...
Here's the Reality Check: You ARE a tourist - and you're visiting a slick, established, world-weary, seen-it-all city. In fact, New Orleans is probably the ONLY place in the United States where, if you're NOT from there, the natives will smell it even before your plane lands or your car pulls in to the driveway.
So don't be afraid to weld your camera like a weapon (after all, if you stumble around the upper blocks in the Quarter after dark or anywhere near the levee day OR night, you may need it).
... and about the map, well, the Quarter is easy to get around since it's laid out like a grid, so you might find you won't need a map. But if you like maps, then bring one along for the fun of it.
Because whether you're carrying a camera or not, you're already pegged as a tourist simply by virtue of not being a local. It's like being a human on Mars - or vice versa.
I love New Orleans for all of its vices, I've been there several times, and will return. But as a traveler, you have to be smart and pay attention to your surroundings, maybe more here than anywhere. A lot of people have warned about wandering outside of the Quarter at night, this is all VERY accurate, but people get robbed and killed during daylight hours too. Jazz Fest is a big event every spring, and many are going to and from the fairgrounds and the Quarter via Esplanade street. It was here, during Jazz Fest, in daylight, around 3:00 pm, that a gun was put to my head by a very young teenage boy, not older than 15, who demanded that I hand over my very SMALL purse. I am by no means flashy (was wearing old jeans and t-shirt at the time), and was right in front of my friend's house where I was staying. I'm from Chicago, so I'm not naive when it comes to crime, but you have to be aware that your number can come up anytime. AND, I don't try to negotiate or argue with YOUNG criminals, they have no value for human life and will kill you in a second for a $5 purse. Just hand it over. The wallet can be replaced....you can't.
Also, in this post 9-11 time, it is really a pain in the butt to recover or attain proper identification when you are out of town, and need it to board the flight back home. I suggest making a photo copy of your IDs to keep in a safe place. Also, before you leave home get a State ID or extra work ID, or some kind of ID with your photo and have a close friend or relative keep it while you are gone. They can express mail it to you if, God forbid, something happens.
People advise you not to look like a tourist. I think they mean don't wear flashy jewelry, have a bulging wallet in your back pocket, or carry a big expensive camera and don't go around reading a map. But that's crazy. There's no way I would ever be mistaken for a local, and if I don't carry a camera, I won't have any photos for VT. And I do carry and look at a map in order to know where I am and where I'm going.
But I don't wear any jewelry except a plain gold wedding ring and a Timex watch, and I don't even carry a wallet when I go out. I put a couple of dollars in a calculator, and a credit card in my camera case (or sometimes in my bra) and leave all my precious ID (drivers license etc) back in my hotel. My husband has a tiny wallet with a bunch of rubber bands on it.
NOPD tip: "Use credit cards instead of cash whenever possible. Carry the fewest items possible to reduce your burden and thief's targets. Keep your wallet or purse under your direct control at all times. When using bathrooms, don't put valuables on the floor. When at restaurants or other public places don't hang your purse on the back of a chair. Particularly when traveling out of town, keep a major credit card and a picture ID separate from your wallet or purse. If you should lose your wallet or purse you will not be stranded..Avoid wearing valuable, loose fitting jewelry..If you need information or become lost do not talk to anyone on the street... Report suspicious behavior to the police immediately."
I think though that the best hint to avoid crime is to ask what areas to stay out of and stay out of them (you might need the map for this), trust your instincts, and don't go to New Orleans during Mardi Gras. If you avoid getting falling down drunk, you will not have nearly as much trouble avoiding crime.
sadly the city of new orleans is ranked 8 th in the nation for violent crime. as a result for tourists not familiar with the city there are only three areas of the city were you are unlikely to be a victim of crime. the french quarter during the day is perfectly safe for tourists. because of the economic importance of tourism to the city the french quarter has a visible police presence and you are unlikely to have any crime related problems with the exception of pickpockets and obnoxious drunks. the french quarter is bounded by n. rampart st. to the west, esplanade ave. to the north, the mississippi river to the east, and canal street to the south. at night in the french quarter you should stay in the main tourist section of the french quarter which is bounded by dauphine st. to the west, st. phillip st. to the north, decatur st. to the east, and canal street to the south.
We've all heard the horror stories about New Orleans. I almost didn't go to New Orleans because of them. Gladly, I took a chance and went. It didn't take us long at all to realize most of what you read and hear is either media hype or an isolated incident. Run enough people through a city and someone is going to have a bad day - just don't let it be you. A little common sense goes a long way. Walk around any city at 3AM and you take your chances. Stay with the crowds - these three areas have so many people around that trouble is unlikely. If you aren't sure if an area is safe - ASK !! Concierges, police , shop owners - they all want to make sure you have a good safe trip and are great sources of info. I even asked the meter maid if my car was safe were I parked (it was) - she even gave me tips on what to order - Hurricanes and Hand Grenades are apparently a must when on Bourbon St.
I bought tickets for the Creole Queen excursion to Chalmette to the battlefield of the Battle of New Orleans. The boat was supposed to leave at 2 and we had to be on board by 1:30.
Lunch was available on board for an additional $7@ and I thought it was too late in the day and too expensive for lunch.
What I did not realize was that they did not allow any food to be brought on board, and also I did not know that the morning City Tour would run over.
So I had to bolt my McDonalds hamburger down before I boarded. I ate it in the Plaza de Espana - the first picture was taken from the boat with Bob's sandwich from Cafe Maspero in the corner. It was taken through the railing which has a warning about keeping your feet off the rail (another picture of that in photo 2) Photo 4 has a picture of the plaque in the Plaza.
They did not try to keep us from taking photos (photo 3), but they did make us pose for a photo before we boarded. You don't have to buy it though.
The two boats the Creole Queen and the Cajun Queen are still operating in New Orleans, but at this time they only have a dinner cruise, and a harbor cruise. They aren't going to Chalmette
Maybe it is just that we were on vacation and people could smell it, but everyone wants and EXPECTS a tip, from waitresses (obviously) to cashiers- yes we went to several souvenier stores and the cashiers had tip jars out. And people will tell you to- I had one guy at the airport even say to me "Mam we work on gratuity". And a bartender even specify on their cup what was an appropriate tip and what wasnt. If an employee is being particulary nice to you, it is probably because they want a tip.
these two beautiful residental neighborhoods are perfectly safe to visit during the day. on st. charles ave. you can see beautiful homes, audubon park, loyola and tulane universities, and the carrollton historic area. at night there is little to do or see in the garden district with the exception of the commanders palace restaurant. the small carrollton entertainment area is safe after dark. at night if you stay in the french quarter and warehouse district tourist areas you are unlikely have any crime problems. there is really no reason to venture out of these areas unless you have some local knowledge of the city.
Because of trees growing, or the area below sea-level, or simple neglect, the sidewalks in many areas are cracked and impassable if you're in a wheelchair. I walked a lot in the garden District, and along St Charles and it was very evident there.
for the most part the central business and the warehouse districts are perfectly safe for tourists during the day. the central business and warehouse districts is where most of new orleans' museums are located. during the day these districts see a lot of business activity which is a deterrent to crime. at night i suggest you stay in the tourist area of the warehouse district. there are several good bars and restaurants near the intersection of tchoupitoulas and julia streets and this area of the warehouse district is well patrolled. also the canal street area around harrah's casino is safe at night. just use common sense in this area after dark. stick to the streets where you see nightlfe activity and most likely you will not encounter any violent crime.
Have lots of one dollar bills on you - or a very strong will. Everyone who talks to you, opens a door for you, touches you, points you in the right direction, or simply makes eye contact with you expects a tip. This was my first vacation in a city, so I'm sure that this is common to city travelers, but I was not ready for it. I'm also very compassionate, (gullible, maybe) so it was hard not to throw money to every tap dancing child or homeless person w/ beads. By day 4 I was hardened a bit. I did tip practically every musician on the street - some of those guys are way more talented that the people IN the bars. We met Mike the Hippy Bum in the French Quarter & not only gave him money, but also bought a CD. Hilarious - he performed a Nine Inch Nails medley - hillbilly style. Fantastic. So, anyway, be prepared to tip a lot of people!