Simply put, just use common sense. Don't go into the alleys alone (there's little to do there anyway), don't get too lost, etc. I would say you should be weary of anyone giving you free things before the night gets started, as they are bound to hit you up for money for some cause by the end of the discussion. If you are with a group, be sure to keep a close eye on each other during the parade, it's easy for smaller members to get swept down the flow of the street and its difficult to get them back. Also, the Quarter is a reasonably fine place for families with kids during the day, but once the place gets heated up (which is rather early in the evening) its best to get the young ones out. Also, Bourbon street has some particularly lude photos on some buildings, its a fun quirk for some, an offensive trait to others. Just a friendly warning
New Orleans is a great city that could be enjoyed without any problems if you use very simple common sense.....avoid badly lit area's and alleys in the French Quarters......avoid people who approach you trying to sell you drugs.....and avoid the street walkers that often come out very late at night to prey on the extremely drunk........If possible walk in groups or pairs.....
As you walk around the French Quarter, there will be a number of people who will approach you. They will offer you bead, balloons, jokes, songs, etc. They want some money in return.
I have stopped for some of these people, and once the transaction is completed, they are usally very willing to talk to you and give you tips about what to see and what to avoid. But do not feel that you have to stop!! The best thing to do when approched is KEEP MOVING and say "No thank you" quickly and calmly.
IT SEEMS AS THOUGH MOST COMMENTS ARE REVOLVING AROUND MARDI GRAS, I HAVE BEEN ATTENDING JAZZ FEST FOR 9 YEARS, AND AM FEMALE. I HAVE NEVER HAD A PROBLEM IN THE QUARTER. I BELIEVE IF YOU ARE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS AND HAVE FRIENDS YOU ARE FINE. I THINK NEW ORLEANS GETS A BAD RAP SOMETIMES. YES BAD THINGS HAPPEN THERE, BUT KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN AND YOU CAN HAVE A GREAT TIME. JAZZ FEST IS BEST
I agree with most posts, you do need to be careful in the Quarter, especially at night. BUT, I have to say that for the most part, people are out for a good time, a little partying, a lot of good food and a few hurricanes. We have never had any problem. One year during Mardi Gras a guy came up and offered a "line"...... but when we refused (nicely) he told us to have a good night and left us alone. If you aren't looking for trouble, it won't find you.
The famous wicked clowns of New Orleans are vicious and will strike without impunity.
Sometimes they recruit Japanese ninja and Siberian tiger assassins to commit their dirty work.
Beware of these nefarious people.
For all of you family travellers out there, hopefully you have heard about New Orleans and what it is about. If not, then please be warned that Bourbon St might not be the place for that wholesome family outing you have been planning. With strip clubs beckoning, and a cast of hundreds of shady characters on every corner, it might be time to take the children to an amusement park. As you can see in the picture, "Big Daddy" is not a Disney character!
If you are in a small group and going out on Bourbon St. I would recommend staying on Bourbon or 1-2 streets over. Females, you will get harassed no matter where you are. But, if you stay on Bourbon at least people will be around you. Also, don't *** off any locals wearing really weird outfits or that work in stores like this, you might get a voodoo curse put on you!
I had always heard that the French Quarter is dirty, but that is far from true. Granted Bourbon Street can get a bit messy, but every morning it is hosed down, so I didn't think it was too bad. However, I can imagine that it would be pretty bad during Mardis Gras with all the drunks and revelers. My warning is to watch out for the business owners who will be spraying down the sidewalks in the morning. There's nothing like a splash of cold hose water in the morning!
Be very careful when taking a cab out of the French Quarter, many are known to rip you off-BIG TIME. It happened to me and I lived there, the driver got lost, I had to get out and call a friends' mom to come get me, so know where you're going or better yet always have the hotel you're staying at call a cab-- they know the reputable ones.