10 Ways to be Safe in the French Quarter

Man on a bicycle in the French Quarter, New Orleans, LA

 

UPDATE — This blog is two years old. Since writing it, a lot of improvements have been made in policing the area. I’m still happy to answer questions, but keep in mind, I do not have the free time (I am a full-time author, a contractor in the middle of a huge project, and a grandmother) to list all of the attractions / places to see / things to do. There are great tour sites and constant activities listed in the paper (NOLA.COM). There are free magazines / papers here updated each week with a huge smorgasbord of opportunities for entertainment. (These are available in nearly every hotel and restaurant, for free.) I hope to have more updates for you, like favorite places to stay / eat / sightsee, but they will have to wait ’til I have the huge project completed (a big building in the Quarter). There are a lot of answers in the comments section which tend to be general enough to apply to most of you, so check there, too.

 

 

This is a perennial list. As I’m writing this, it’s spring, 2014, and we’re about to run headlong into French Quarter Fest (my favorite festival here), and then Jazz Fest (also awesome). We just came out of Mardi Gras, and there are multiple smaller festivals nearly every weekend. Add in big games (the SAINTS and the Pelicans), and various big-league music acts, and the French Quarter, where I live, stays hopping year round.

And every single year, I see the occasional tourist falling victim to various crimes and accidents that they probably could have prevented. Not everything is preventable, but many are, with a little attention.

Keep in mind, we’ve lived here in the Quarter over three years, and we’ve never been a victim. Most people aren’t. Here’s how not to be:

10 WAYS TO BE SAFE IN THE FRENCH QUARTER

Please feel free to share if you know someone traveling here. (Honestly, these are probably great for any big city, but it’s specific to the French Quarter in New Orleans.)

1) Buddy system. We tell this to our kids when they’re on field trips, and we forget that we need it, too, when we’re in a strange place. I cannot emphasize this enough–always have someone with you when you’re out and about. If you absolutely must go out on your own, make sure someone is aware of where you’re going and when you should return. Especially if you’re planning to drink somewhere.

I was standing in the cop shop (visiting a cop friend) (334 ROYAL STREET — phone 504-658-6080) last year when a very embarrassed man came in. He was well-dressed, and seasoned, and he’d fallen prey to two local scam artists who pretended to be tourists, like him. They were drinking, and he didn’t realize it, but someone slipped something in his drink. He vaguely remembers them leading him over to the ATM, where he happily got out a few hundred more dollars to spend. He woke up without his wallet, not sure where he was (he was in a lobby, and not the hotel where he’d been staying), and his room had been cleaned out of his computer and valuables.

This is common. The bars on Bourbon are the particular playground of thieves like this, so stay with buddies, and have someone always always ALWAYS pay attention to any open drinks you have with your group.

2) The French Quarter is NOT Disneyland for adults where all of the streets are for pedestrian traffic only. It may seem like it, especially on Bourbon St., but don’t walk down the middle of the street, or step out to take a photo, without first making sure that the street is blocked to traffic at that time of day. If it’s NOT blocked, then look for oncoming traffic. If there is none, feel free to take your shot. If you’re taking multiple shots, and someone pulls up, step aside, let them go by, and then step out again. I promise you, the buildings won’t move in the few minutes you’re being gracious.

Only TWO streets are routinely blocked to vehicle traffic, and those are ROYAL (from Talouse, I think, all the way to Bienville) DURING THE DAY–to 4:30, and then BOURBON STREET from about 5:00 onward into the night. That means that all of those other streets are there for the locals, the delivery guys, and the drunken tourists to travel on, and they are not always paying attention. Particularly the drunken tourists. We locals try really hard to be patient and to let you cross, but if you see someone who’s been blocked in by people crossing for several minutes, please be kind and let them through. Some of them may have urgent things going on in their lives, too.

There are occasions when other streets are blocked, too, particularly from construction. There’s a lot of construction going on in the Quarter right now as it’s rebounding from after Katrina. This is great news, and we locals are used to it, but it can make navigating in and out a little crazy. That’s our issue to deal with, not yours, but it’s nice when you’re aware–it’ll keep you safe when you know to stay on the sidewalk instead of stepping out and around that giant man-lift that I can’t see around. If I hit you when I’m going five miles an hour and you’re walking, I’m pretty sure you’re going to feel it more than me.

3) Wear flats, or very comfortable shoes when you’re out and about. One of the “new” crimes is guys running by really fast, aiming at the woman in the high heels, knocking her down, grabbing her purse or phone (or both) and continuing to run. They don’t care, they know you can’t catch them, and if you’re in high heels and the other people around you are in flats, you’re going to be the target. If you’re dressing up to go to dinner and want to wear heels, then go in a group and pay attention to what’s going on around you. It’s not like this is happening every day, everywhere, but it does happen. Don’t be the one it happens to because you’re tipsy, happy, waving your phone around while trying to stay balanced on your high heels on our slate (UNEVEN AND SOMETIMES WOBBLY) sidewalks.

4) LEAVE THE BLING AT HOME. Seriously. I know you’re going to want to dress up for something, some event, and fine, if you just feel like you absolutely have to wear your bling, by all means. But I’m telling you right now, you will be making yourself a target. I was walking down Chartres in a fairly safe area, when a pack of boys were eyeing a tourist who came out of K-Paul’s restaurant–which is directly across from the back of the Supreme Court building–because she had on some serious bling. And she was in heels. They were easing over toward her, and I could hear them planning. Luckily for the woman, I saw a cop, motioned him over and pointed out what was going on, and the boys, knowing they’d been seen, dispersed. I happen to be pretty pro-active here, as are most locals, but if you’re just determined to mark yourself as a target, there’s not a lot we can do about it. If you do bring it, obviously, there are safes in most of the hotel rooms. These are not 100% guaranteed, so if you have something valuable, put them in the hotel’s safe. (I cannot vouch for every hotel in the Quarter, but a lot of them have a bigger safe somewhere near check-in.)

5) Cameras / purses. Please. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Have a strap on these, and have it either wound around your wrist (phone, small camera), or a long strap where you can wear it diagonally across your body. And if you think wearing it on one shoulder and holding onto it tightly will do you a lot of good, see the “drive-by runners” above, and then go google purse-snatching in the French Quarter. There’s some security video up online showing a few purse snatchers in action. Nine times out of ten, the thieves target someone alone who’s focused on what they’re doing (taking photos, scrolling on their phone), i.e., not paying attention to their surroundings. The thieves will come up on your blind side, grab the purse and yank forward. Even if you have a good grip, it’s going to extend your arm outward, trying to hold onto that purse. One good elbow chop to your arm, and your grasp is broken and they’re off and running. Strap it across your body, they don’t bother trying to get it.

Edited to add: Grabbing iPhones out of the hands of tourists happens frequently, because people constantly check their phones. Most people will stand on the sidewalk, facing out (the street), while looking at the phone. I don’t know why. If you’re going to do more than glance at the time–if you’re looking down at it and scrolling, step closer to the wall of the building and turn so that the phone can’t be easily grabbed by someone running past. It’s harder for them to run on the sidewalk, too many people to weave through, so you’ll have a little protection. [Best case? Step inside somewhere if you are looking up something. Much harder to snatch and run.]

Edited to add: pickpockets will bump into you in some fashion. If you’re carrying your wallet, don’t let it hang half-way out of your pocket. If the Quarter is crowded, people are going to naturally bump into you, and that’s what the pickpockets thrive on–they know you’ll get used to being bumped into, which makes it that much easier to pull your wallet.

6) MAPS. There are free maps in several of the tour booking places. Most hotel concierges will give you a free map (and they don’t ask if you’re staying there–they don’t care). Know where you’re going before you walk out of the hotel. Most concierges are happy to tell you where to go to get to what you want. Most of us locals will be happy to help. Don’t see anyone local? Go inside a shop or restaurant and ask–they’re happy to help. We thrive on tourists. We want you to have a good time. You wandering around looking for something, getting blisters while you do, is bad for business. We want you happy. ASK. This will keep you from wandering off into an area that’s sketchy and dangerous.

Also – there are quite a few phenomenal APPS out there, for all phones, which give detailed information about what’s in the Quarter, where it is, what they have/serve/sell, their hours, and consumer ratings. I’d strongly advise you getting one or two of these ahead of time and start familiarizing yourself with what’s here. And keep in mind, people go out of business here at an alarming rate. That cute little dress shop someone once shopped at may no longer be there. Check online before you hike across the Quarter.

I would not recommend walking on Burgundy or Rampart at night. For any reason. It’s fine by day (in a group), but it is absolutely not fine by night. Even though there is another cop shop on Rampart. Trust me on this.

7) Do not take a ride from anyone. If you know me? I’m safe. I honestly cannot vouch for anyone else. I know of one girl who went missing right on Bourbon; her friends thought she’d gotten into a cab when she got into a car that stopped for her, but it wasn’t an official cab (these are CLEARLY marked), and she has never been found. Have any hotel doorman signal you a cab, if you aren’t sure. There are several prominent locations in the Quarter with cabbies in line–it’s easy to find them, and the official cabs are pretty obvious. There are also bicycle cabs (Pedi-Cabs) here now. I know the owner, and he screens the employees, so these are pretty safe. (They charge $2 per person in the cab, per block, even if you’re sharing.) They’re all over the Quarter, and if you’re tired of walking, they’re a great option.

8) Do not engage with the panhandlers. The panhandlers are not the same thing as the performers or the artists–the latter are working for the money you give. They’re entertainment, and NOLA has a long history of some fine fine people who performed first (or for a long time) in the Quarter. However, there are quite a few panhandlers who’ll roam around the Quarter, running scams. Some of them, I’ve seen here for years. Some of them have apartments in my  building. Our apartments are nowhere near cheap. That should tell you something right there.

The panhandlers want to start a conversation with you, in some way, to get you to feel sorry for them, and give them money. They will tell you all sorts of stories. I was in line once when a woman (dressed in a sari) walked up and down the line, telling how her husband had abandoned her, left her with nothing, and she didn’t know what she was going to do. She just needed enough money to get her and her kids back to Florida, where her parents lived. People gave her money. (Not me. I am a cynic.) The next day, I saw the same woman, dressed in ragged jeans, telling a similar story at a different location. The details were close, but not identical. Same woman (she had a distinguishing mark on her face). I mentioned to her that I had seen her the day before, and unless she wanted to explain her con to the cops, she needed to leave the people alone.

There are several cons–the woman who sits near the Montelone, who has a sign out by day that she’s homeless, and has (and this changes) four kids. By night, she puts up a “read your fortune” kind of sign. There are the guys who share a puppy. I don’t know where they get the puppies, or the dogs, and I’ve seen the same dog often with different members of a group. They’ll send someone out to make rounds, someone who’s asking for help to feed their dog, and then when it dries up for that person, another one takes the next shift. I’ve watched a pregnant girl hand off her purse and nice shoes to a friend, and then go beg on the corner for a while, then re-join her friend, put her (Coach) purse and shoes back on and go spend the money. Please don’t be susceptible to the cons.

Keep in mind there are charities for the homeless right here in the Quarter. There’s St. Jude’s (on Rampart), which feeds quite a lot of people every day, and then there’s another place a block or so away from that where the homeless can bunk for the night. There’s a police van which rides around and will pick them up, help them, get them to a place for the night, or get them food. I’ve met the police officer in charge of helping the homeless, and you won’t find someone with a bigger heart. If you want to help, God bless you, and I mean that, but I’d ask you to consider giving directly to St. Jude’s or to the police officer in charge of helping the homeless. You will know that your money will go to actually help, and not to alcohol or drugs. [I cannot count the number of times I’ve seen someone give money to a panhandler, who then goes one street block up or over and buys drugs. Happens so frequently, it’s sad.]

If you hand them money, you’re marking yourself as a target. If they see you with a wallet, see other cash in it, they will call a friend stationed a block away to look for you. If they stop you with a “I’ll bet I can tell you where you got your shoes?” — and you take that bet, you’re going to lose, because the answer is, “You got ’em on your feet!”

If you see someone passed out (tourist or homeless), call the cops–they will tend to that person (usually pretty quickly).

9) If you feel slightly uneasy with someone, listen to your instincts. If you don’t like someone’s attention, and you’re in a restaurant or bar, tell the manager. They’re used to handling this sort of situation. Most of the places in the Quarter are safe. Truly. The majority of the people who are here will be happy to help. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for that help. We’d rather get you where you need to go, safely, than you feel scared or threatened.

10) There are cops everywhere here, especially on Bourbon St. at night. There are doormen, security guards, etc., if you cannot find a cop, and now there are civilian cameras all over the Quarter. The French Quarter Security Task Force (of which I am a member) has created a network of these civilian cameras to assist the police in apprehending anyone committing a crime. Where we used to have to rely on only a couple of hundred police cameras, we now have more than a thousand private cameras. We have better lighting, we have better patrols, we’re improving situations where there used to be easy places for drugs to be sold–that’s all changing fast. Overall, it’s actually fairly safe here, but if you have trouble, report it immediately. Pay attention to what the perpetrator looks like, pay attention to your surroundings, and report it immediately.

 

I’m going to have a local’s viewpoint on where to eat and shop

as well as things to see and do, all in the next few weeks.

 

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Toni

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94 thoughts on “10 Ways to be Safe in the French Quarter”

  1. Thanks Toni! That was a quick reply to my query! Your answer made sense. You made a good point that daytime is shorter in December. Plus if we have to watch fireworks for New Years Eve, I’m not comfortable walking with my husband in streets I’m not familiar with. Is getting a cab in NOLA during New Year Eve a breeze? available 24 hours?

    Even before we made that first trip early April, I spent a tremendous time researching about NOLA. Now still doing the same thing for our planned second trip in December. We know our way around the main streets and avenues. Somehow I firmly believe, it takes a local to know the real New Orleans.

    By the way, could you please enlighten me on this: is the area directly above Faubourg Marigny considered part of 7th ward or the St. Roch District/Ward? Seems I come across some people calling the area ‘New Marigny’ in some of my search online.

    Thanks Dani for keeping this site. This is a BIG help for first time visitors to NOLA. By the way, your pictures of NOLA sights online are gorgeous! I plan to keep up with your blog. Great job!

    Sara

  2. Hi Larry — this got caught in spam as well. I’m going to have to start watching that closer!

    Le Pavillion is on Poydras (which is smack in the middle of the CBD — Central Business District) — and is a gorgeous place. The walk to the outer edge of the Quarter from there is about five city blocks (short blocks). Then crossing Canal and going into the Quarter = another block, just for point of reference.

    For regular schedules, I can highly recommend Preservation Hall. They have jazz just about every night and a low cover charge. It can get crowded on weekends, just FYI. Also, that’s a fair hike from Le Pavillion, so you may want to grab a cab. It’s a casual place. Brennan’s Tableau restaurant is on the cover of Jackson Square (St. Peters and Chartres) and has a Sunday Jazz brunch. I’m not 100% sure it’s every Sunday, but check their schedule. On Canal, The Palace also has a jazz brunch on Sunday. I’m told Commander’s Palace does, as well (which is in Uptown — on Washington, which would be a cab ride for you from Le Pavillion). If you google jazz and French Quarter together, you’ll get a lot of other places. I’m not fond of the ones on Bourbon (you’re about our age), but there are a couple of places on Decatur, and occasionally over on Frenchman (about 13 blocks — the far side of the Quarter from Canal) — mostly, you’ll have to see what they advertise. Also recommend asking the concierge–he’ll likely know some other places as well. There are several clubs in and around the CBD, but I don’t get to them much, so I won’t know as much as the hotel staff might, and a place like Le Pavillion is going to have top staff.

    You’ll definitely be okay waking to the FQ from your hotel, safety-wise. It’s a business area until you get to Canal and then cross into the Quarter. I’d just advise wearing comfortable shoes, and keep in mind that by that point in May, it’ll be hot and humid even into the night, so light colors/layers.

    Hope you enjoy!

  3. Hi Toni,

    I am a solo traveller going to New Orleans and I will be staying at the Atlas House, 1354 Magazine Street. I saw that you had a blogpost on the safety of New Orleans and I was hoping to ask you some questions if you don’t mind. Firstly, is my area safe as I will be travelling alone. Is the routes around my hostel safe to walk in the day to the French Quarter. Secondly, is there any areas I should avoid other than Burgundy Street and Rampart Street?

    Thanks so much for the wonderful tips and I apologise for bothering you.

  4. Hi NG — It’s not a bother–am happy to help. The area that you’re staying in is, I hate to say, a little sketchy to walk on foot alone — particularly at night — if you’re walking from there to the Quarter, or back again. There are great areas of Magazine and St. Charles (which run roughly parallel for a while and then branch out kinda as they both go toward the river). There are great pockets of areas in and around, but that particular area has had a lot of crime. I would suggest that you try buddying up with someone if you’re walking, or taking a cab, if that’s not financially impossible, into the Quarter, especially at night. From that area, it’s 16 blocks to the Quarter… and the first 8 can be iffy at night. I feel like once you cross under the interstate and go a couple more blocks, you’re getting into the CBD (Central Business District), which is safer than on the other side of the interstate (and especially underneath the interstate), but it’s really not until you get on into the CBD proper (around Lafayette St.) that you’re in a safer area, walking wise (at night). Daytime, you’re probably okay, but right around the interstate, there have been a lot of homeless (and some are legitimately homeless and harmless, while others are actually more into pretending and tend toward crime).

    New Orleans neighborhoods are difficult to characterize as “safe” vs. “dangerous” because even within a neighborhood, some streets are safer than others just because there’s more activity and/or cameras. Even parts of Rampart are changing now that they’re in the process of putting in a streetcar line there… though that won’t be finished for a few months, if I understand correctly.

  5. Thanks to all those tips! I am a frequent traveller, but mostly in Europe and not in the US (for large cities, I have been mostly to Boston and San Francisco). I have been using similar behaviour that you suggest when travelling, often alone. I will be in NOLA in January and I consider staying on Loyola avenue just near Lafayette Square, and will go to the Convention Center. From your description it seems that this area is better, and has good access to the FQ without going through sketchy areas. Any particular concerns or tips?
    Thanks so much!!

  6. Hi Christian — keep in mind that Loyola is about 5 city blocks from Lafayette Square (though they are relatively nice / safe blocks), and quite a few more (I think 5 or so) from the Convention Center. All of that is the CBD (Central Business District) and there are a ton of hotels closer to the Convention Center if you’re looking for a place still. There’s a new hotel called Aloft which just opened a month or so ago which is quite nice and it’s about half the distance to the Convention Center vs. anything out on Loyola, and it’s only 2 blocks from the Quarter, so it’s a win win. Since it gets dark so early in January, you may want to be a tad closer in.

    If you’re at the Convention Center, there’s a new outlet mall adjacent to it now, so you might want to check that out. I have really got to do that restaurant guide I keep meaning to do… I hope to try to do that next week, after I finish up some stuff on deadlines. Overall, though, I think the main tips above, and a few scattered through the comments are what I’d focus on. And, of course, common sense, but if you’ve done that much traveling, you should be fine! I hope you enjoy!

  7. Hello – My boyfriend and I just booked our flights to NOLA Sept 13 – 16. We are very excited and can’t wait to see the sights and enjoy some good food and wine! We have not pinned down which hotel we will be staying at yet though. We are seriously considering Dauphine and the French Market Inn as we would like to be within walking distance to everything in the French Quarter. I was wondering if you had any recommendations (especially safety-wise) or if you could tell me if either of the above hotels are in sketchy areas.

    Thanks in advance!!

  8. Hi my husband and I are visiting in a couple weeks, we typically stay in the bigger hotels but thought we would try something different and stay in the lafitte guest house, I was just concerned about the area seeing as it’s more of the resedential end of Burbon st. Do you have any advice or can you tell me about the safety of this area?
    Thank you!!

  9. Thanks so much for all these tips! I really appreciate all your responses to comments. I’m currently living at a distance to NO that would make a doable day trip into the city, but I’ve never been before. I definitely don’t want to be there after dark… What kind of condition is the FQ in between about 7am and noon 0n a Saturday? Safe and pleasant enough, still totally trashed from the night before and not worth it, or still kinda sketchy no matter how early in the morning you go?

  10. Hi thank you for your blog! I was born in Nola and my family still works and lives outside the city. I have been visiting every year by myself or with friends/my husband and in summer of 2014 was the first year I did not feel al that safe- it has never felt that way to me ever but it was also off season. I usually come a few weeks before Mardi Gras. My family will not let me stay in the city alone even though I have been doing that for 15 years. They claim it is worse than ever but I refuse to believe it. There are plenty of people that are having safe wonderful visits to the city. This is a crazy question but do you think it would be a good idea to hire someone to be our guide in the evening? I’m bringing my girlfriends for a girls trip so I want to be safe. Even thinking about asking the hotel if we could hire someone to walk us to and from the hotel to the house of blues for a concert. i refuse to believe this city is being overrun by crime. I love my city and I’m not giving up on it. I live really far away so I want to make sure everyone has a safe time in our group.

  11. Hi Toni,
    Thanks for the very helpful article and replied to comments.
    My wife and I are planning a trip to New Orleans in November. Everyone warns us about safety. I was in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina, I spent a weekend there and do not recall ever feeling unsafe. Now that I am going with my wife I want to make sure she has a pleasant experience without any serious hitches.
    We will be staying in an apartment on Saint Phillips St and Royal St. The furthest NE I ventured while I was there was Jackson Square which is close by. I am just wondering, is this a safe neighborhood? Should we be safe walking a couple blocks in the early evening without feeling worried?
    Also, aside from the places you listed above let us know if there is anything else close by that we should visit while we are there.
    Thanks again.
    Sincerely,
    Charlie

  12. Thank you so much for this website. It’s so helpful and enlightening! We are going to be in New Orleans at the end of December 26-30 for a Saints game, our 20th Wedding Anniversary and just all around tourist things. We are planning to stay at the Chateau Lemoyne. Is this a safe choice or do you have any other recommendation for places to stay that are in the safest area. Also are the walking tours you can take safe? Thank you!

  13. I’m sorry I missed a few comments on here — we were migrating some things around and some of you got caught in the spam folder. I’ll try to answer the ones whose travel dates are after today’s date.

    Denise — I think Chateau Lemoyne is terrific — I’ve had many friends and family stay there. It is a safe place (as are the walking tours). Dauphine is 1 block off Bourbon, and Chateau LeMoyne is between Iberville and Conti. Yes, there has been some crime there, but it’s typically in the wee hours of the morning and it’s typically when some drunks get into a brawl. There have been a couple of other incidents, but it was clear these were people who were angry at each other (not random stuff with people walking). That doesn’t mean it’s not something you need to be aware of, but like I said, I’ve had people stay there (including my mom), so I think you’ll be fine.

    The walking tours are so well attended, usually, and even if they’re not, there’s always a big enough number there that you’ll be fine. Hope you enjoy!

  14. Charlie, my apologies for taking so long to respond. Yes, that’s a pretty safe area (and pretty area), so I think you’ll be fine.

    The crime was less right after Katrina frankly because there weren’t as many people back here yet (and not enough here to steal, etc.) Now that it’s grown back into itself so much, there’s more people… which, of course, attracts back a criminal element. That’s always going to be true of any city. I think the extra state police patrols, the task force patrols, and the officers on the ground are making some headway. We have a ways to go, though, so yes, common sense care definitely applies.

    There’s so much to recommend all around the Quarter, it’s hard to even know where to start. I will tell you that there are two or three apps for both the iPhone/iPad or Android that are pretty stellar. My favorite (I’m an android user now) has all sorts of categories and you can find anything and everything, know when it opens, cost, etc. I’d recommend familiarize yourself with that first, and check on nola.com — there’s an entertainment section and they’ll show a lot of the things to do. Plus there are free newspapers (the Gambit is probably the best) which are in just about every restaurant / bar / hotel and they will have everything going on that week. Plus the ads there will often give you discounts to cool places / events. Also, even though your’e not staying in a hotel, most concierges do not know that, and you can stroll in and ask them what they would recommend–you will always get things they’ve either vetted or know are great (it’s their job). Hope you have fun!

  15. Well, Allison, in some ways it is getting worse, but I think they’ve begun turning it around. After last summer, the state police have a constant presence in the Quarter, all over the Quarter, so you should be fine.

    If your hotel is really far away from the House of Blues and you know you’re going to be walking late at night, I think it’s not a bad idea to have someone walk with you. I wouldn’t know who you could call ahead to ask for something like that or what that charge would be–but I would imagine if your’e leaving House of Blues really late (wee hours of the morning), it’s a safe choice. You might want to check with your hotel and see if they have a referral / recommendation for something like that.

    Mardi Gras comes really early this year, so a few weeks before is right after New Year’s. If you ask around and strike out, let me know. And if I come across anything like that, I’ll post back here.

  16. Dee — so sorry it took me so long to answer. Your question got caught in the spam filter.

    Daytime is pretty nice / pleasant. Every single morning, 365 days a year, the trash people go out and clean up the streets in the super early hours of the morning, then the suds truck (liquid soap) drives up and down all of the streets, shooting out soapy water, and then the water pressure truck follows behind him and washes everything away… all usually between 5 or 6 am to around 8 a.m. So it’s usually pretty nice. Also, so many people sleep late in the quarter from the night before, that it’s kinda nice and empty in the mornings. Except for a few super breakfast spots, which fill up early. You’ll enjoy it.

  17. Shannon, I’m sorry I missed your question — you’re another one caught in the overzealous spam filter. I think there was a filter upgrade and several of you were caught in it.

    Since I missed your visit, let me know what you thought of the Lafitte Guest house. I haven’t talked with anyone who’s stayed there.

  18. Hi Toni
    My daughter & I are visiting New Orleans next May . After reading some articles about violence. We have become a little concerned but realize that by following the advice of some of your contributors we will be fine. We have the Best Western Landmark on Rampart Street booked for our visit. I’m wondering if this area was safe.

    denni

  19. Hi Dennis — I would say your daughter is completely right about the crime on Rampart — I would not advise staying in that area. I know people do without issues, but there really is more crime along the Basin St. / Rampart Boulevard (they run parallel) than in most of the rest of the Quarter.

    There are a bunch of other hotels — from Chateau LeMoyne (on Dauphine) to Bienville House (on Decatur), from the tiny Cornstalk Hotel (may be called the Jackson Hotel, I’m not sure), to (my favorite) Place Des Armes (I think that’s the spelling) on St. Ann, and many many others, there are safer places to stay. Basically, if you’re in the Quarter, you’re a little safer than on the Rampart side walking in. The CBD (Central Business District) is *just* on the other side of Canal Boulevard and has a dozen more hotels — from A Loft hotel (right on Baronne… which becomes Dauphine when it crosses Decatur) to several hotels around the Magazine / St. Charles areas… all just a block or two off Canal, really a pretty safe area to walk to as far as walking back and forth to the Quarter, and with lots of great restaurants popping up around there, too.

    Additionally, the city is building a new street car line down Rampart (which may, in the future, help reduce the crime because there will be more consistent witnesses…)… but for about another year, rumor has it, that street will stay torn up. Which means less vehicular traffic and more places for criminals to hide or escape to.

    I hope you find something good. I walk around all the time in the Quarter–basic safety kept in mind, and I’m always aware of my surroundings. Most people do fine, especially if they’re alert and paying attention.

  20. Hello Toni, I have been looking at renting a house on the corner of n. rampart and governor nichollis street for a group of 6 people for my girlfriends birthday. I was wondering how the area is and about the walk to bourban st

  21. James, there are a lot of locals who consider that area dangerous. I know people stay in the area and do okay, but honestly? I would not recommend it. I had some long-time residents commenting to me that they wouldn’t walk down Rampart, unless it was mid-day, and they were in a group. Just fwiw.

  22. Hi Tony,

    I am loving your articles. I have been researching NOLA and enjoy your recommendations, especially coming from a source of knowledge and experience instead of just trip advisor reviews.

    I am going to NOLA for NYE. Me and my husband are big foodies and love to walk. We are open to the options in the French Quarter and are looking for something nice…extra nice, great location, and especially, safe. We are in our late 30’s and love to go around, explore, drink and eat but are no longer in our club phase haha. We are staying for a special occasion for four days. If you have some recommendations of great hotels for us would be very appreciated. Thank you.

  23. Hi Christine – thank you, and so glad these are proving helpful to anyone visiting here.

    re: nice hotels — I think my favorite is the Monteleone – it’s in the Quarter (as opposed to the Ritz, which is on Canal, but it also gorgeous). Hotel Monteleone is beautiful, big, two block into the Quarter so very convenient to everything, and its Carousel Bar is world-famous. What I happen to love about them, though, is that during and after Katrina, they are the only hotel here who kept paying their employees and took care of them when they needed something. When they had no customers, and it didn’t look like they would have anyone for a long while, they still kept everyone who wanted to stay on payroll. I don’t know of a single other business who did that, and how amazing is that?

    If they’re already booked up for NYE, and that happens, then other very nice hotels are: the Omni (smack in the heart of the Quarter), the Ritz (on Canal), and I’ve been told the W (which is on Chartres and was recently bought out by someone else, so I’m not sure if they’re keeping the name). Of those three, I’ve stayed in the first two (long ago, before I moved here). I would also recommend a couple of boutique hotels which aren’t ~quite~ the 4 star level, but are still wonderful: Place D’Armes and French Market Inn. I’ve stayed in the former when a friend visited and I hung out with her there and the courtyard is very pretty. They have some really large room which are stunning, so ask for something like that if you can splurge. I’ve recently had a friend stay at The French Market Inn and he was quite impressed with it and its courtyard–and they have the added advantage of being on Decatur, fairly dead center of the Quarter, and essentially across the street from where the most NYE activity will happen, which is a couple of blocks further up Decatur from the hotel.

    Best wishes and safe travels!

  24. We will be in NOLA for Thanksgiving, staying at the Courtyard on Iberville in FQ, with three pre-teen kids. We take them everywhere with us and we’d love to take them to hear some music (esp. Zydeco). Do you know any places that it would be ok / appropriate to go hear a show with children. We’d go to early shows, of course, but we like to expose them to the things we enjoy. Thank you!

  25. Matt, I’m sorry I’m not going to be much help with this one. Other than Preservation Hall (they have a site online with the musical line up listed as well as times of the shows), I’m not certain what else is age appropriate for your children. I applaud this, and I will try to look into it more in the coming year so I can have better suggestions. Meanwhile, you may want to ask some of the locals working in the hotels (your own as well as those around you), because the concierges typically have a better handle on that. Also, pick up the free newspapers you’ll see nearly everywhere — like the Gambit. They have the schedules of the acts all over the French Quarter and surrounding areas, as well as other entertainment activities.

  26. Love all the great information here! We are staying at the Quality Inn Maison on St. Charles this weekend. We plan to ride the street cart into the French Quarter and also over to the Garden District late Sunday morning for a walking tour. Since we are bringing my 10 year old daughter we won’t be doing much at night. We do plan to attend Celebration in the Oaks Sunday Evening. Would a cab ride to and from there be the safest bet?

  27. I will be in NOLA next week staying at the French Market Inn on Decatur. My friend, another girl, and I want to walk over to the Roosevelt Hotel just across Canal. My question, would it be safe to walk back into the French Quarter from the Roosevelt say around 10:00? Also, what do you think of walking from Frenchman Street back to the French Market Inn, before midnight.

  28. Hi Corey — The French Market Inn is really lovely. I think you’ll enjoy it.

    Walking to the Roosevelt isn’t that bad at that time of night — I’ve done it alone, but as you get closer to Iberville (the street running parallel to Canal in the inside of the Quarter), you’re going to see plenty of cops — it’s a staging area. I’d stay in the most traveled streets, though–Decatur to Canal, Royal, and then Bourbon in that order.

    Walking back from Frenchmen is dicey at that time of night. A *lot* of those streets on that side of the Quarter are purely residential (and there are tons of lovely people there), but they are not patrolled nearly as much as on the other side of the Cathedral. I’ve done it, and we recently walked around over there when Tom Cruise was here last week shooting because we were invited to eat with some of the crew we met, but if they hadn’t been present, that side of the Quarter would have been very vacant feeling, and I think if I weren’t from here, I’d have been worried. It is really worth it getting Uber out to pick you up and bring you back–there are some really good things being said to me by people who only use Uber now as their main transportation. Just plan ahead.

  29. Chris, I’m sorry I missed this–you got caught in the spam folder and I just found it. I hope your stay here was terrific and safe.

  30. Hello. Thank you for all of this information; it is very informative. I’m planning a trip to New Orleans for my wife and I near therms of April(I’m 29 she’s 34). Neither of us has ever been there; but we are wanting to stay in the FQ. We don’t plan on getting into any craziness/heavy drinking etc… I know, if it’s possible, we’d like to do a cemetery tour, listen to some live jazz and other FQ tourist stuff.

    I’m wondering which you’d recommend for safety(of staying and walking around outside), proximity to “touristy” attractions, beauty and overall enjoyability ; the Bourbon Oreleans or the Hotel Monteleone? They both look nice online; but I don’t know which is closer to where we’d want to be an which is the safest all around etc… Thank you.

  31. Coming for Mardi gras but need to find parking since not staying in the quarter want to walk to parades and quarter

  32. Hi

    Loved your article, thank you for the great tips! My fiance and I are visiting New Orleans as part of our honeymoon in May and will be staying at Bienville House. I want to do some walking tours but am worried about the ones finishing around 10pm-11pm at night and then walking back to our hotel. What are your suggestions? Also, is the area we are staying in pretty safe?

  33. Hi Tony!

    My mom and I are planning on visiting New Orleans at the end of February for a business trip. The hotel the business suggested, the Lafayette Hotel, is booked during our dates. We are considering The French Market Inn but were concerned if walking from there to Julia Street would be okay (our meetings are on Julia Street)? If not we considered the Best Western Plus St. Christopher Hotel or the Country Inn & Suites. We hoped to walk most of the distance, so we don’t have to shell out a parking for the hotel and the meetings. If you have any advice, we would greatly appreciate it! We are so excited for our trip. If you have any dining suggestions, those would also be appreciated!

    Rachel

  34. Hi Rachel!

    The French Market Inn is really really lovely, but it’s a little hike from there to Julia St. I’m not sure how adept you are to walking–I think it’s about 10 – to 10 1/2 blocks from there to Julia Street if you go down Decatur. If you’re referring to the Country Inn that’s on (can’t remember, Magazine or Tchopatoulas), that’s much closer, and also a very nice place.

  35. Bienville House is a great place in a very good location. You’re going to be central to most everything you want to do, which is a big plus, and in May, it stays light so late, you should be good walking around. There are many more police officers staged all around the Quarter now than back when I originally wrote the blog. If you go out clubbing late at night on Bourbon, just be smart that at least one of you is sober walking back, or get one of the pedi cabs to take you back. It’s not that expensive from Bourbon to your hotel, but you’re safer that way in the wee hours of the morning.

  36. Sorry, Sue, just saw this–it was caught in the spam filter. If you’re not already here, google Premium Parking and Central Parking — they have tons of lots all over the French Quarter and the CBD (Central Business District) which will very likely be the most convenient places to park for the parades.

  37. Hi Matthew — if you had the choice between the two and can afford the Monteleone, stay there. Not only is it really a gorgeous place, but they are family owned and they were the only hotel who kept paying all of their employees after Katrina, even when they had no customers. Really good karma should go back to them.

  38. Hi, I’m coming in the Fall of this year with a group of women in my family. I have been to Nola many times with my fiancé and we are pretty adventurous and have rode our bikes all over the city from uptown to Midcity. However, my family has never been to Nola and we will be all women. We’re considering staying in the Milan neighborhood around General Taylor Street. Is this neighborhood safe enough to walk to the St. Charles street car and ride it into the Quarter? We would use uber at night. Thanks.

  39. Hi Toni, thanks for making this info available. You do cover some of my questions in your previous responses – I think I’m just looking for an “current status of the area” update . We’ve never been to NOLA, going with my 18 yr old son & 19 yr daughter for a weekend in a couple of weeks. hoping to see some Jazz etc. We are staying at the French Market Inn. (should we walk from there anywhere or take cabs) I was really excited about going, but while reviewing some of the recent crime maps and reading more & more posts, I’m having second thoughts – how can I relax and enjoy if I’m looking over my shoulder everywhere, I just want to make sure my kids are safe and not harassed. sounds like we should just go out during the day and head back to the hotel early to avoid problems but maybe I’m reading just all the bad reviews.

  40. Hi Bob… I do need to update this blog… since writing it, there has been a lot of overhaul of the policing done in the area, with permanent state police assigned in addition to the city police and sheriffs, so on weekends, you’ll see quite a lot of police on the corners to maintain order. (They stay very low key, but they’re there if needed.)

    The French Market Inn is one of my favorite places to recommend–it’s lovely and within walking distance to everything you’ll want to see. For the most part, you can walk late in the evenings into the night–just stay in the well-lit, well-traveled areas and you should be fine. People tend to get into trouble when they’ve been drinking and it’s in the wee hours of the morning and their judgment is impaired. Short of doing something like that, you really all should be fine. I’d say to always walk as a group when it’s late, watch out for the typical pick pockets and such. There are the con artists who’ll bet you $20 they can get you where you got your shoes, and the answer they’ll give is “You got them on your feet,” and they’ll expect you to pay up. There are a few panhandlers who will share a dog and try to appeal to sympathy, but they’re actually working in in shifts, sharing the dog, who gets turned loose when it gets too big. They’re probably the worst of what you’ll see.

    Lots of positive things have been happening, though, and for the most part, I think you’ll find it a really fun experience. Stay safe and I hope you all enjoy.

  41. Michelle, I’m not really familiar with that neighborhood, so I can’t give you any real opinion about it. I think Uber is a safe bet when in doubt.

  42. Hello! Me and my husband are visiting New Orleans for the first time late September and are having a hard time determining a safe place to stay thanks to the abundance of “advice” on the Internet. Most of the hotels for the weekend we are visiting are already full thanks to Monday Night Football and some major concerts. We decided to look at some rental homes on Airbnb to help put the money into some local’s pockets, so I was wondering if you could help me determine which home would be in the safest area.
    House one is a flat in the French market directly across from the market cafe.
    House two is a cottage in the Marigny Triangle on the 900 block of Touro.
    House three is a condo in the French Quarter above a French quarter visitors center and states it is on the same street as the House of Blues.

    I apologize for such a specific question, but I’ve researched quite a bit and just can’t figure out which would be best to stay in since safety, especially in the late evening, is our top concern.

    Thank you so much for the information and continued responses to the questions posted!

  43. Hi there! I am so happy to have come across your blog! My boyfriend and I, like the girl above me, are going to New Orleans in late September and are staying at an Airbnb. We are staying on a street called “Common Street” and it is on the corner of Canal St and Bourban St. I’m hoping that this is a good area to be in, as well as walk around, but wanted to verify with you since you seem to really know your stuff! As someone who is a little “nervous” anytime I’m somewhere new, I’d really love to hear your opinion! Thanks SO much!

  44. Hi Katherine — Common at that intersection is fine. I lived one block up from it for a while at an apartment near Common / Barrone, and walked all over the place around there, day and night. Of course, not super late into the wee hours of the morning, but you’ll see when you get there that there are a lot of high end hotels all around that area. Lots and lots of cabs, too, if you’re out later at night.

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