Louisiana : Safety by City
- Baton Rouge
- Bossier City
- Lake Charles
- New Iberia
- New Orleans
New Iberia, Louisiana, is simply a fascinating place in many ways.
Where else can you be less than 200 feet above sea level but standing on top of something taller than Mount Everest?
How does the environment accommodate a massive salt mound and one of the top sugar-producing areas of Louisiana?
So many questions to explore in New Iberia and the surrounding Iberia Parish.
We’ll also spice things up with some tobacco and hot sauce brands found here while exploring the sugar cane festivals and Mardi Gras parade.
Did we mention there’s a Gumbo Festival too?
Fans of author James Lee Burke might remember Detective Robicheaux’s fictional adventures in New Iberia.
The stories are so popular that a literary festival is held annually.
Outside New Iberia, you can find the Five Islands of Louisiana with wildlife adventures and beach activities while exploring historic sites along the way.
This region is a blend of cultures dating back centuries and explored through architecture, cuisine, and traditions, whether it’s at an antebellum home or riding the Bayou Teche.
Warnings & Dangers in New Iberia
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Louisiana has crime issues statewide, but New Iberia is one of the safer communities. Iberia Parish has lower crime rates but also brings more wilderness risks. You can enjoy this area at low risk if you're up to speed on the safety advice discussed in this article.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You'll need your own car or a rental car to get around, but some taxis and rideshares are available. You can also rent a trolley or limo for special events. There isn't a proper public transportation system if you want to explore the entire parish, so having a car would be valuable here.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
On a regular day, there's a low risk, but you should raise your awareness level during big events because bigger crowds can also bring thieves looking for a crime of opportunity. Use the basic precautions, like not carrying a large designer purse or a wallet full of cash in your back pocket.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
You need to keep an eye on the weather here because there is a medium risk potential throughout the year. From June through November, this area is in hurricane season. You don't want to be anywhere near this area during the week before and the month after a hurricane. Severe thunderstorms and tornados can happen any time of the year, and flooding is also a risk at low elevations here.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
2021 saw just two armed robberies, down 75% from the previous year. While that's a low risk on the surface, Louisiana has a lot of violent crime, and crime trends can quickly turn in this state. Just use the standard caution as you would in any tourist area.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
New Orleans is really the only city in this region to be considered a medium-risk target. New Iberia has a lot of tourist sites, but it's all pretty remote and scattered.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The biggest scams here impact residents or local businesses, so you don't have to worry about any specific tourist scams. You should be cautious when booking rental homes or cabins. Ensure the landlord has a permit to lease, and don't ever wire money to reserve a place to stay.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women shouldn't face a greater risk than men, but the standard advice applies, like not walking around at night. If you're going between Lafayette or Baton Rouge, be aware that crime risks can change drastically from city to city.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows no violations and full compliance with all federal standards. Keep in mind this report doesn't gauge the water that comes out of the tap. If you are staying in a place with old pipes, you should let the water run for at least 30 seconds to clear out any debris or build-up in the pipes.
Safest Places to Visit in New Iberia
IberiaTravel.com is the entire parish’s tourism website, including the city of New Iberia.
A parish is the Louisiana equivalent of a county.
This website will also give information about attractions and events on Avery Island, Jefferson Island, Jeanerette, Loreauville, and Delcambre.
Tabasco Factory Tours will likely be on everyone’s “to-do” list.
While it’s technically on Avery Island, it does have a New Iberia address.
It’s still nine miles from New Iberia.
You should just know that for planning and travel time.
Fun Fact: Avery Island is on a Salt Dome believed to be as deep as the height of Mount Everest!
In the 1860s, Edmund McIlhenny decided the food was too bland and he created a hot sauce known as Tabasco.
You can tour the factory where the same Tabasco recipe is made and pay a little extra for a culinary experience.
Admission also gets you access to the Jungle Gardens, spanning 170 acres.
New Iberia’s downtown is a historic district with cuisine reflecting the culture and the crops.
Whether you want sweet, salty or spicy – it’s all available here.
The food also reflects the heritage of the region, which includes:
- Native American
- African American
You can purchase a “Historic District Pass” for 20% off admission to the main attractions.
This includes the Bayou Teche Museum, Shadows-on-the-Teche, and the Conrad Rice Mill.
James Lee Burke fans can download the Dave Robicheaux walking tour as well, with 25 stops that were named in the book or among Burke’s most inspirational locations.
While Avery Island has the salt, head to Jeanerette to learn about the Sugarlands of Louisiana.
“Sugar City” has a historic walking tour as well.
Start at the museum to get the best history lessons for the places you’ll see along the way.
The Bayou Teche has a driving scenic tour and a water/paddle trail if you prefer to explore in a kayak.
Music lovers might want to explore the Bunk Johnson Jazz Trail.
Wildlife lovers can explore the Iberia Parish Birding Trail.
Flower enthusiasts can walk the New Iberia Azalea Trail.
International tourists might enjoy the New Iberia Trilingual Marker Trail.
There’s literally something for everyone.
Jefferson Island is home to the Rip Van Winkle Gardens, named after actor Joseph Jefferson who played Rip Van Winkle nearly 5000 times in his career.
Now, you can tour his mansion and the gardens dripping with Spanish Moss, history, and a few ghost stories (look for a little girl in the garden).
You can also stay in one of the cottages on-site if you’d like.
Places to Avoid in New Iberia
If you stay in the areas near the historic districts, museums, and attractions, you won’t have to worry about anything other than common petty theft.
You shouldn’t explore neighborhoods unless they are on historical district maps, but that holds true in any city.
See the Tabasco tour and Avery Island while you can, as the entire platform is eroding.
The mix of saltwater on a salt done with salt mines underneath has made the land vulnerable to sinking and collapse.
The intense hurricanes and rising sea levels are also gobbling up land.
Salt mines can be dangerous and one closed after more than two centuries of operations following a deadly collapse and the site being deemed unsafe.
If a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching this area, make other plans.
With the marshes and bayous surrounding this region, flooding can happen quickly.
It’s just not worth the risk.
Safety Tips for Traveling to New Iberia
- The New Iberia Police Department was re-organized in 2018. You won’t find a lot of information about the department on the city’s website. There is a Facebook page with daily arrest reports, criminals-at-large, and safety information. The handle is @NewIberiaPolice. The phone number to the main line of the department is (337)369-2306.
- Follow the city of New Iberia on Facebook as well @CityofNewIberia. They post a lot of local events, road closures, and construction projects, so you can be aware of things happening during your visit.
- You really have to take precautions against mosquitoes in a place this humid and hot. Buy a bug spray with DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Having a citrus-based cologne or perfume will also help. Reapply often, especially after swimming or heavy sweating.
- Sign up for Iberia PINS, which is the emergency notification system for Iberia Parish. This gives weather information, civil emergency details, and evacuation routes. You can also get immediate information about road closures or major traffic accidents.
- Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office has its own app you can download. This will get you direct contact information with the Sheriff’s Office, which will be very helpful outside the New Iberia city limits. You can also submit a crime tip or get links to social media pages.
- You’ll need a fishing or hunting license from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Hatcheries. Don’t try to do either activity without one. The state is very strict about poachers.
- The wildlife department has a hotline with seasonal and safety information. Call 1-800-256-2749. You won’t be speaking to a real person as it’s just a recording, but it is updated as needed.
- Study up on alligator safety before you visit this region. For example, do you know the difference between a regular alligator and a nuisance alligator? Do you know the time of day you face the biggest alligator risk? While the animals generally avoid humans, there are too many people that encourage the creatures to feel comfortable around humans. Being alligator savvy will help you enjoy your time in the wild. And, no, there aren’t parts of this area that are alligator free.
- If you aren’t familiar with the habitat of bayous, marshes and swamps, don’t go wandering into the water by yourself. The mud and varying depths can cause problems for first timers. Schedule a marsh tour with a guide or ease into the marsh with an airboat tour. Always wear a safety vest, even if the water is just a few feet deep where you are standing.
- Spanish Moss drapes the trees of New Iberia. If you are thinking about grabbing some as a souvenir, you should really talk to a botanist first. The moss can have bacteria or bugs in it, some so small you wouldn’t even see them with the plain eye. You could infest your whole hotel room or suitcase if you just grab some off a tree and stash it. There are proper ways to disinfect it.
So... How Safe Is New Iberia Really?
Without having specific crime data as reported to the FBI, we can’t really give a solid overall look at the city’s crime rates, much less compare it to previous years.
On top of that, the law enforcement agency switch in 2018 would’ve made crime comparisons unbalanced anyway.
What we do know is that from 2020 to 2021, crime went down in New Iberia.
Here’s a sample of some information that Police Chief Todd D’Albor shared in early 2022:
- Shootings were down from 33 in 2020 to 30 in 2021
- Armed robberies were down from 8 in 2020 to 2 in 2021
- Sexual assaults were down from 10 in 2020 to six in 2021
Police Chief Todd D’Albor stated, “And not giving all the credit to the New Iberia Police Department, but it’s a credit to our community that there are people that are looking out for others and trying to steer them in a direction away from crime.”
Even looking at crime reports for six months in 2022, it appears the majority of crimes are among people who know each other.
A good deal of crime solve rates are about 70%, which is just about unheard of in most American cities.
Since there are a lot of tourists here, you’ll want to use basic security steps and focus on your own personal safety while walking, driving, parking, and sleeping.
This is truly a unique experience for a region that is eroding due to global warming.
Enjoy it by using common sense and studying the safety of the streets, waterways, and wildlife.
How Does New Iberia Compare?
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- Visas - You'll need a U.S. Visa or Visa Waiver from the U.S. State Department to get through Customs at the airport or port. Don't delay your application because it can take months to go through the process. Start with the Visa Wizard module on the department's website to ensure you get the correct Visa.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. Purchasing bulk tickets, like the discounts we mentioned in this article, is a safe way to save money and avoid having to pull your wallet out often.
- Weather - It's likely going to be hot and humid while you're here. The summers can be oppressively humid and it can cause dehydration or heat exhaustion if you aren't careful. Winters rarely get below freezing, but it's not unheard of so study the forecast before you arrive. Bring extra clothing because you'll easily sweat through clothing each day. You might want to bring some odor eaters too.
- Airports - Lafayette Regional Airport is just 30 minutes north of New Iberia. If you want a larger airport, you'll drive about 90 minutes to get to Baton Rouge and two hours to get to New Orleans.
- Travel Insurance - Buying travel insurance when you book your airfare offers immediate protection. This is especially beneficial in case you get the flu or COVID before your trip and need to cancel. You should also have health insurance of some kind since there are health risks here. Even dehydration could send you to an urgent care facility.
New Iberia Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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