Louisiana : Safety by City
- Baton Rouge
- Bossier City
- Lake Charles
- New Iberia
- New Orleans
Metairie, Louisiana, is part of the greater New Orleans area and the first city you’ll see if you drive into the city using the Lake Ponchatrain Causeway.
This is a dense residential and business area and the largest city in Jefferson Parish and sits halfway between the New Orleans airport and downtown NOLA’s famed Bourbon Street.
Metairie is pronounced “met-uh-ree,” named after the French farmers who settled here in the 1700s.
The city weathered many hurricanes and floods before becoming the business and shopping hub it is today.
We’re going to address weather and flooding safety in this article, but a main point is that the canals of Metairie are a big reason flooding is more under control now than at any other time in history.
The city is also known for its more family-friendly Mardi Gras celebrations, called “Family Gras.”
You can also visit shopping and restaurant areas that aren’t quite as wild as eight miles away on Bourbon Street.
New Orleans is broken up into parishes, which are similar to counties.
Then there are the Eastbank and Westbank districts, which simply means which side of the Mississippi River a neighborhood is on.
It’s a bit confusing but makes sense when you understand that the river technically flows north and south but curves in Southern Louisiana.
That puts the “Eastbank” on the north side of the river and the “Westbank” on the south side of the river.
Warnings & Dangers in Metairie
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Metairie has a medium risk since it's such a large and dense city with a lot of "through" traffic. New Orleans is dealing with massive increases in violent crime in 2022, and that crime is spilling over into nearby communities like Metairie.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Jefferson Parish Transit (JET) gets people around by bus through fixed route services. You can track the buses live with the JET Bus Tracker app. Taxis and rideshares are readily available, and you can also get a rental car easily. Any travel throughout New Orleans should be treated with a medium risk, not just the transportation method you choose. You should also be aware of the neighborhoods where you are parking or being dropped off.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here, too, especially in entertainment or shopping areas. You should watch out for anyone who bumps into you but also be aware that some pickpocketers work in teams. A common scam is when one person approaches you in a friendly manner and asks questions while the other person grabs your wallet or valuables.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible throughout the year, but hurricanes and tropical storms are the big risks here. Hurricane season runs from June through November. You can review the emergency management plan on the Jefferson Parish Emergency Management website. If you aren't familiar with hurricanes, being informed is all the more important
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
Armed robberies are rising in 2022, with carjacking and business robbery sprees. One woman was sitting in her car when a gunman opened the door and forced her out. She wasn't hurt, and it's a good reminder that you shouldn't fight back when confronted by a robber. Treat this as a medium risk, and we'll discuss carjacking safety tips later in this article.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
The New Orleans area and surrounding parishes will be under a medium risk and a high level of security. The port, border, tourism, and population all add up to a potential target. You can review the terrorism safety plans on the emergency management website as well. It's important while visiting this area to report anything suspicious you see.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
You should be aware of scammers everywhere in the New Orleans area, although outright scams are more common in the French Quarter. Anyone who approaches you in a friendly manner offering a "great deal" or threatening arrest unless they get payment should be reported immediately to the police.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women must use caution across the New Orleans area, and avoiding walking alone at night is especially important. Use rideshares and taxis, even if you are just going a couple of blocks. Don't carry large and/or valuable purses, and keep jewelry to a minimum.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Jefferson Parish met or exceeds all requirements in 2021 and every year since Water Quality Reports have been required. That doesn't mean there won't be water quality issues, but it does mean the city is quick to address them and alert the public. Any flooding should prompt you to check the city's social media pages for water quality issues. Old pipes in this area can lead to water main breaks or reduced pressure. It doesn't hurt to keep a case of bottled water with you in the hotel.
Safest Places to Visit in Metairie
To find the official tourism information for the Metairie, you’ll need to use the website VisitJeffersonParish.com.
Metairie doesn’t have its own tourism site.
Bucktown is one of the most popular sections of Metairie, right near the lake and restaurants lining the streets, many serving fresh seafood.
This 20-block area isn’t as “touristy” as the French Quarter but focuses more on family and community than beads and feather boas.
You’ll love hearing stories from the locals of how this region has been flooded and rebuilt time and time again and still manages to bring in the biggest crowds outside of downtown NOLA.
Take a walk along the boardwalk at Bucktown Harbor, where you can enjoy the serene view of the lake, sunsets, and some great bird watching.
Lakeside Shopping Center is one of the biggest malls in Louisiana and is right next to a neighborhood known as Fat City, which is an extension of shopping, dining, hotels, and businesses.
It’s worth noting that international visitors can get a refund on sales tax at most shopping centers in the area. Visit the Louisiana Tax-Free website to learn more.
New Orleans City Park, with a children’s museum and art museum, is just a few miles east of Metairie.
This is also where the Couturie Forest is located, marking the highest spot in the city, surrounded by eight ecosystems and dozens of bird species.
Places to Avoid in Metairie
There aren’t street-by-street designations of places that are too dangerous in Metairie, but there is an overall sense of “watch your back.”
Even after reading pages of recent news articles focused on crime in Metairie, it’s the brazenness and ruthlessness of the crimes.
If someone wants your car, they take it.
They’ll break a window if they want to burglarize your parked car.
If they fight with a rival, they’ll shoot and not care who is caught in the crossfire.
If you’re driving a car while you’re here, be sure to always drive with the doors locked, and windows rolled up.
When you reach a stoplight, leave two car lengths between your car and the one in front of you.
This is so you can get away quickly if needed.
Stay on the main roads, even with the increased traffic, to avoid going through unfamiliar neighborhoods.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Metairie
- The First Patrol District of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office is in Metairie in Fat City. You can stop by the station or call (504)598-5928 to speak with an officer about safety concerns and advice based on the latest trends.
- Follow the sheriff’s office on Facebook @JeffParishSO. This will help you see more crime trends in the parish, and you can search for specific mentions of Metairie. They also have Twitter and Instagram accounts.
- The sheriff’s office wants all calls for law enforcement help to go through 911. While some departments will have an emergency and non-emergency number, Jefferson Parish just uses 911 for all calls for help. If you need help outside Jefferson Parish for a crime that happened in the parish, call (504)227-1400.
- You can help report any criminal activity you know about in Jefferson Parish. If you suspect illegal drug use or drug crimes, call the hotline at (504)366-3784. You won’t speak to a live person and can remain anonymous. You can also call Crime Stoppers at (504)822-1111 to report any crime and be eligible for a reward while remaining anonymous.
- JP Alert is the emergency notification system in Jefferson Parish. You’ll get civil, criminal, and weather-related alerts on your phone or email. This is also how you can get water quality alerts.
- The New Orleans area is a mix of saltwater and freshwater, so you’ll need a license for each one if you want to go fishing. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Hatcheries issues those licenses, but review the new pricing structure for non-residents before you purchase.
- The canals of Metairie run parallel to the streets, and there are large stretches of road without guardrails. This has led to some car accidents going into the canals. Some of those accidents have been deadly. Don’t drive while distracted or under the influence.
- A lot has been done to make Lake Ponchatrain safer for water activities, and some beaches open along the shoreline. To be 100% transparent, sharks and alligators are in the water. if you choose to swim, please review shark and alligator safety advice before doing so.
- When booking a hotel in Metairie, check the price of parking. Some hotels offer free parking, while others can charge $20 or more per night.
- Check the parade schedule and routes if you are visiting during Mardi Gras. The parades can close off dozens of streets and make traffic a mess. You can also ask your hotel concierge about the best detours to avoid the parade routes.
So... How Safe Is Metairie Really?
Metairie is safer than New Orleans, but in 2022, that’s not saying much.
The city is more upscale and residential, geared toward “locals” than the more touristy areas of town.
In 2022, sprees of car burglaries, carjackings, armed robberies, and shootings happened.
Some of that is spillover from the increasing crime in New Orleans.
For those from bigger cities, there aren’t crimes here you haven’t been exposed to before.
Even some people in New Orleans would laugh at the thought that Metairie is dangerous.
Since these articles are for travelers of all ages and from all global locations, we just want to be transparent with the overall risks.
Small-town people might find this region a bit intimidating.
Visiting the New Orleans area is truly a cultural experience with so much history and some of the best food you can find in the South.
You just need to have good situational awareness and a lot of common sense.
Don’t get involved in illegal drugs or get close to a fight brewing or a crime scene.
How Does Metairie Compare?
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- Visas - Whether you arrive at the cruise terminal or fly into New Orleans, you'll need a passport and a U.S. Visa. The U.S. State Department offers a "Visa Wizard" module on its website so you can get the correct Visa for your trip. Start this process at least three months before your trip.
- Currency - Limit the cash you carry around Metairie. If you do need to enhance currency, go into a bank to do it. Don't use a public ATM. Never throw a receipt away in public if you used a credit card to pay. Check your credit card transactions daily to look for fraudulent charges.
- Weather - Even on the coldest winter day, you'll just need a warm jacket, but most of the year will be warm to hot mixed with oppressive humidity. Summers can feel suffocating at times because the humidity is so intense. You'll sweat a lot, so you might want to bring a few extra t-shirts and undergarments. Bug spray is a must.
- Airports - Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is just seven miles from the center of Metairie. You'll drive down I-10 to get there, which gives easy access but can also leave you sitting in traffic. If you're traveling during rush hours, double the length of time to get there.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is a smart idea, especially in a hurricane-prone area. Airports can shut down several days in advance if a storm is approaching New Orleans or anywhere on the Gulf. Car insurance should also be double-checked due to high traffic volume and car burglary risks.
Metairie Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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