Louisiana : Safety by City
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Marrero, Louisiana, is a suburb of New Orleans, just nine miles from where the good times roll, yet it feels like a world away.
This mostly residential area of 33,000 people sits in an area known as the Westbank, which is west of the Mississippi River.
However, with the way the river curves here, Marrero is actually due south of the river.
If you’ve ever wondered how the Westbank can be on the south side – now you know!
Marrero is also closer to the gulf, and one of the benefits is the proximity to numerous wilderness and wildlife areas.
There is also a casino on this side of the river.
While Marrero only has two small hotels, you’ll find more hotel options nearby in Harvey.
(Spoiler alert: the south side of Harvey is the safest)
While the Westbank looks like a good option on the map if you’re looking to get away from the wild streets of New Orleans, this area is prone to flooding.
The same bayous and marshland that draw people here bring some of the greatest risks during periods of heavy rain or tropical weather.
Warnings & Dangers in Marrero
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here when compared to some incredibly high crime rates in nearby communities, but this is still a working-class and somewhat impoverished area. Marrero is a tight-knit community with little reason for visitors unless you know someone in the area. It's not that you would be unwelcome; it's just that it's not tourism-focused like the heart of New Orleans. It's also not as dangerous, but that doesn't mean it is not dangerous at all.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Jefferson Parish Transit is the bus system on both sides of the river, but you'll likely have to switch bus lines a few times to cross the river. Taxis and rideshares will be easy to find, and rental cars are an option too. Having your own car, especially if you want to explore the wilderness areas, is the best option.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
The risk here is low, but that's because there aren't a lot of crowded spaces. That risk increases exponentially in New Orleans and the more tourism-focused parts of the parish.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
You do need to worry about tropical weather here and flooding. The city is three feet above sea level and surrounded by water. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible too. Review the Jefferson Parish Emergency Management disaster and evacuation plan if you visit between June and November.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here and in Jefferson Parish, according to 2021 data. This parish has managed to avoid the onslaught of violent crime but don't get too comfortable. Crime from the New Orleans area is seeping into parts of Jefferson Parish. While the statistical risk is low, treating this as a medium risk is wise.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
The greater New Orleans area is considered a medium risk due to the large population, massive numbers of tourists, and the busy port here. While Marrero wouldn't be a target, its location doesn't have easy exit points if there was a major attack in NOLA. You can sign up for terrorism advisories from Homeland Security through the Jefferson Parish Emergency Management website.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There aren't scams to be worried about as a tourist in Marrero, but in New Orleans, there are a lot of potential scams. Read our review of that city to learn more about the risks across the river.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women should feel safe in Marrero but use the standard precautions as you would anywhere in this region. There's not really a reason to be in Marrero unless you have friends or family here, but knowing people in the neighborhood will also help with your safety concerns.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Here's a comforting statement on this topic from the Jefferson Parish Water Department from the 2021 Water Quality Report, "Jefferson Parish has always provided safe drinking water to its residents and, in its history, has never incurred a serious violation of a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation." That doesn't mean water quality issues don't happen, especially when flooding. You can rest assured knowing that the city will alert the residents and visitors if a breach happens.
Safest Places to Visit in Marrero
Since Marrero isn’t a direct tourist destination, there isn’t a website just dedicated to attractions there.
You can go to visitjeffersonparish.com or louisianatravel.com for sub-sections on Marrero.
It’s worth noting that Jefferson Parish is a tall and slender parish, spanning more than 100 miles from the north end to Grand Isle at the south end.
One of the best views in Marrero is of the Mississippi River.
You can see cruise ships and barge traffic coming and going.
While most of the waterfront here is industrial, there is a section of park benches along the Harvey Canal with a historical marker explaining how it came to be.
Definitely visit this area during the daytime.
Marrero is also close to local, state, and national parks.
Bayou Segnetter State Park is the closest and offers all kinds of activities on and off the water.
The water here has spots of freshwater and saltwater, so keep that in mind if you are fishing because you’ll need a license for each type of water.
There is also a clean swimming pool here with an accompanying wave pool.
Barataria Preserve is located at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve.
It is one of six sites that fall under the National Park Service, but those six sites are not in the same areas.
Visit nps.gov to see the full list of them.
The Barataria Preserve is 26,000 acres of wetlands.
In minutes, you can move from a forest to a swamp to a marsh.
Some parts of the preserve are only accessible by boat.
On Wednesdays, at 10:00 am, there is a guided walk, which would be a great way to explore this place for the first time.
There is a wooden boardwalk through part of the preserve, so you won’t always be walking in dirt or water.
Jean Lafitte Swamp and Airboat tours offer great options to see the swamp from a new perspective.
Yes, there are alligators in the water, but the airboat captains are great at getting you close without any danger.
Be sure to look up, as there are some dynamic birds in this area as well, like the Brown Pelican, which is the state bird!
NOLA Motorsports Park is also on the Westbank, with motorcycle and kart rides for those of a certain age and height.
Review the rules and restrictions on the vendor’s website, but this is a unique opportunity to go for a thrill ride or just watch others while eating at the snack bar.
Places to Avoid in Marrero
River Road in Marrero is an industrial area, so we suggest taking in that great river view during the daytime.
At night it could feel a little sketchy.
Since this is a highly residential area, you should avoid going through the neighborhoods and stick to the main roads.
Without sounding alarmist, this is also a neighborhood you should avoid if you don’t have a reason to be there.
In late September of 2022, a weekend of violence in Marrero was the tipping point for some residents as four people were killed in one weekend.
You should also avoid going into wilderness areas without bug spray and clothing designed to avoid bug bites.
That means no sandals, exposed ankles, and UV-resistant clothing if you have it.
The sun, heat, and humidity can be oppressive throughout the year.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Marrero
- You can review each month’s crime statistics on the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office website, but again, those will be parish-wide, not by each patrol district or city. You can also see the year-to-year comparison of each month.
- The Third Patrol District of the sheriff’s office is in Marrero. The address is 6001 Leo Kerner Parkway, and the phone number is (504)598-5840. You can call closer to your visit to ask questions about crime rates at that time.
- Follow the sheriff’s office on Facebook. The handle is @JeffParishSO. The agency does a great job of updating crimes and giving information so you can know what’s happening during your visit. They are also on Twitter and Instagram.
- If you are in a national park or preserve and need to reach law enforcement, call the National Park Service at 1-855-677-5352 if you don’t see a park ranger nearby.
- To punctuate the need for bug spray, there are mosquitos, stinging caterpillars, and fire ants here. Avoid sitting on the ground or letting a child play in the dirt. Fire ant mounds are not as easy to spot with all the swamp plants, and they can cover an entire leg or child in seconds. Take it from someone who sat on a red ant hill – it’s very unpleasant and painful for weeks.
- You should research alligators through the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries department. It helps to know their mating habits and prey. An alligator will not target a human but could mistake a human for prey, especially when wading in water. They are very fast too.
- If you are outdoors and see a storm forming, even far in the distance, get inside. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to get hit by lightning. Wait until 30 minutes after the last thunderclap before going back outside.
- Sign up for JPAlert, which is the emergency notification system throughout Jefferson Parish. You need to get alerts for developing weather, water quality issues, or civil/criminal emergencies.
- If you are traveling during Hurricane Season, have a backup plan in case a storm is approaching New Orleans. Stores will sell out of supplies, evacuations will likely start, and businesses will put up safety boards. Don’t ever assume the storm “won’t be that bad.” New Orleans has sadly seen how bad storms can be.
- Don’t swim in the Mississippi River. The water quality could be dangerous, there is a lot of debris, it’s muddy, and the current can sweep you under. If you want to enjoy the water, head down to the beach at Grand Isle.
So... How Safe Is Marrero Really?
Starting at the top, Louisiana is ranked as the most dangerous state in the nation for 2022.
That’s due to violent crime rates and weather risks.
The New Orleans area is one of the more dangerous metro areas, and the surrounding neighborhoods will be influenced by those crime rates.
While many of the recent crimes in Marrero were between people who know each other, there are random crimes, like the 9-year-old boy shot as a car burglar was running away.
The influx of crime, like the deadly weekend in September, has neighborhoods on edge, with one person telling a local news outlet, “This doesn’t happen in Marrero.”
With a 20% poverty rate, Marrero is a working-class neighborhood and a tight-knit community.
You won’t find the Victorian homes synonymous with NOLA here.
You’ll have the basic amenities like grocery stores and restaurants, but you’ll also need personal safety tactics and special attention to locking your car doors.
How Does Marrero Compare?
|New York City||67|
|Phnom Penh (Cambodia)||61|
|Niagara Falls (Canada)||87|
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)||60|
The U.S. State Department requires all foreign travelers to have a U.S. Visa or a Visa Waiver to get through Customs and Border Patrol upon arrival at the airport or cruise terminal. You'll need to plan that process several months ahead of time because there are several steps to complete.
Only the U.S. Dollar is accepted here, and limiting the cash you carry is smart. You can exchange currency at a local bank or the airport, but don't wait until you get to Marrero since it's so small.
You'll need clothing that can handle a lot of sweat because it's very humid here. Wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing. Bring sunscreen and bug spray. The winters can get chilly, but you won't have to deal with bitterly cold temperatures. You'll need comfortable walking shoes.
Marrero is 16 miles from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, but plan for up to an hour to get there with traffic.
You'll want travel insurance to cover any tropical weather delays or closures. Airports can close several days ahead of an approaching storm. Be sure you have some kind of health protection just in case of an accident or heat-related illness.
Marrero Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Louisiana - Safety by City