How Safe Is New Orleans for Travel?

New Orleans, United States
Safety Index:
57

United States FlagUnited States : Safety by City

United States - safety as a country

The cradle of jazz music, New Orleans is located in the southeast of Louisiana and developed on both sides of the Mississippi River.

This cross-cultural and multilingual city is more of an experience than a city per se, with a blossoming culture that is so different than anything else than can be seen in America, that many say it’s like a completely another country.

It is also one of America’s oldest cities, at is has been founded as far back as in 1718.

New Orleans is a boiling pot of cultures and nations: it offers a mix of impacts: French, Creole, African-American, Caribbean, Irish, Haitian, German, and Vietnamese.

Unfortunately, New Orleans has been devastated by Hurricane Katrina in the recent past, but it’s slowly coming together.

What it hasn’t lost and it doesn’t seem it will ever, is its hip, jazzy, vibrant sound and feel.

If you come to New Orleans, be sure to visit during the city’s world-famous festivals Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest.

Come and enjoy New Orleans’ Creole cuisine and feast your ears.

Warnings & Dangers in New Orleans

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

New Orleans is overall a safe city, especially for tourists. It has some dangerous areas that should be avoided, but they are far from the usual tourist landmarks. You are advised to remain vigilant around tourist landmarks, since pickpockets are an issue there, and keep an eye out for suspicious activities wherever you go.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

If you want to see most of New Orleans, driving your car might be your best bet, as there are no buses that run through the heart of the city. The Regional Transit Authority offers bus and streetcar services, but don't completely rely on them, particularly if you're staying for a longer period.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

The most common types of petty crime are pick-pocketing and purse-snatching in the French Quarter and during Mardi Gras. Apply common sense and precaution measures like holding your purses tightly and being wise when carrying them, keeping wallets in front pockets, and being alert to one's surroundings. This should be enough to prevent these incidents.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

When it comes to natural disasters in New Orleans, the most dangerous threats come from hurricanes that are a huge threat to the city. The hurricane season is from July to October, so be sure that you're informed about the weather conditions during that time.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

There is a reason for concern when it comes to muggings in New Orleans. There are some parts where tourists should avoid, but apart from those parts of the city, tourists should be fine elsewhere. Stick to the main streets, move in groups and avoid suspicious areas and neighborhoods, or getting in altercations with individuals that appear to be gang members or just intoxicated.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

New Orleans hasn't been the target of any terrorist attacks recently, but possible attacks shouldn't be ruled out. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

Count on people trying to sell you anything from a flower to a hat. There's a popular tourist scam where the scammer bets a tourist $20 that they know where the tourist got their shoes. After you take that bet, the scammer says "You got them on your feet" and demands the $20. There are also the so-called "gutter punks" on lower Decatur Street.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

New Orleans is generally safe for women to travel to, apart from drunk men that can be an annoyance to women around the French Quarter and especially during Mardi Gras. You should avoid dangerous neighborhoods (and this doesn't only apply to women). Just follow your basic common sense and general rules of things to avoid, like poorly lit streets and deserted areas and you should be fine.

So... How Safe Is New Orleans Really?

Most of the crime in New Orleans happen in areas in which tourists would have little reason to go to.

Few tourists have had any bad experience with those drug-related incidents and gang-related activities within which the murders usually occur.

There are many places are perfectly safe, but you should avoid certain dangerous areas.

Such places in New Orleans are, for example, the Central City neighborhood which has the worst crime problem, and should be avoided by visitors, and “Back of town” sections of the 7th 8th and 9th Wards.

Then there are parts of the city where you are advised to go only in a group, like St. Louis Cemetery #1, and areas near I-10 which are hotbeds for violence and have almost nightly gunshots.

As for tourist attractions like the French Quarter, they are safe, but here you should keep an eye out for pickpockets looking for a chance to snatch something from visitors.

Also, around parts of the French Quarter, you may encounter scammers and hustlers trying to get a few dollars from you, offering to sell you anything you can think of, and they’re also offering all kinds of services like foot massages, or cleaning your shoes.

Bear in mind that if you want to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras, it’s smart to be extra careful during those days and remain aware of your surroundings at all times.

As for the hurricanes that remain a danger in this part of the country, they at least give warning.

The hurricane season is from July through October, so during that time check the weather service going to New Orleans.

How Does New Orleans Compare?

CitySafety Index
New Orleans57
St Louis58
Los Angeles56
Oakland57
Baltimore56
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61

Useful Information

  • Visas - The US is famous for its harsh policy for acquiring a tourist, let alone a resident visa. The US embassies usually ask for interviews before granting tourist visas, and tourists usually have to pay up to 160 USD to get a visa. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - The United States dollar is the official currency in New Orleans. Credit and debit cards are accepted nearly everywhere, and ATMs are widely available. The prices vary but you can plan on spending about 100 dollars per day.
  • Weather - New Orleans has four distinct seasons. Summer is certainly the longest, and lasts for about half the year, from April to the start of October. Summers are hot and wet, while winters are short and mild. Snow is extremely rare. The hurricane season is June 1 through November 30. It's best to visit New Orleans between October and April because the temperatures are more pleasant.
  • Airports - Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is an international airport in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States. It is located 18 km west of downtown New Orleans.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to New Orleans, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

New Orleans Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 13° C
Feb 14° C
Mar 18° C
Apr 21° C
May 25° C
Jun 28° C
Jul 29° C
Aug 29° C
Sep 27° C
Oct 22° C
Nov 17° C
Dec 14° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
171923263033333331272218
Low
°C
891316202324242317129
High
°F
636673798691919188817264
Low
°F
464855616873757573635448

Where to Next?

29 Reviews on New Orleans

  1. A beautiful place

    New Orleans is such a beautiful place especially during Mardi Gras. It has a certain feel to it all the time but in that period, it just lights up. It’s very exciting to be here and feel that energy. I can’t compare it with anything else.

    1. M
      Miss ME says:

      Beware

      I live right outside of New Orleans about 25 miles from downtown.. New Orleans USED a to be a great place to visit. Not so much anymore. It’s so dangerous I avoid it at all costs. I wouldn’t suggest anyone come here unless you like getting scammed, mugged, carjacked, or possibly murdered!! It is NOT safe people. Stay away if you value your life.

      1. Thank you for staying away. Suburbanites don’t like New Orleans and the feeling is mutual 🙂

        1. Um dont be an *** to someone to is telling the hardcore truth.I live downtown. its not a joke

          1. unfortunately its reality of 2021, no such thing as “bad areas” anymore, its so random it can happen anywhere. Almost everyone has a crime story at work, and this past week we’ve had several car jackings on our street. I’ve never been one to not visit somewhere interesting because of crime, so wont say “stay away” but rather keep your guard up at ALL times, and come fully aware that you might be a victim. And worse, the residents in all their twisted “wisdom” just elected a “woke” sheriff who’s policies will further make the city more dangerous by not locking up the criminals….because their “just misunderstood”. Maybe the BEST way to bring change is by people NOT visiting to send a message.

    2. NOLA owes me money for therapy

      We were there for 3 days January 2022. First night we saw three men shot, one killed. Second night I saw a man beat to death in the French Quarter. Third night we stayed in and had a 60 plus round gun fight outside our airbnb while another shooting killed a man in the French Quarter. No, it isn’t beautiful and it isn’t safe.

  2. C
    Cecilia says:

    Must come back

    Amazing city, I never expected it to be so full of life. I booked a ticket on a whim and had the time of my life. The food was to die for and the people are so bubbly, my perfect combination!

  3. Pick Pockets in New Orleans

    Three hours after arriving Friday night 12-13-19, several of our group went to ACME Oyster House – great food. After dinner walked out the front door approximately 50 feet and a pick pocket took my billfold – driver’s lic., credit cards, cash etc. Not High on New Orleans at this moment, since the NOPD were/are under a cyber attack. They couldn’t even take the report and the street cameras were down due to the cyber attack. We even heard of several womens’ purse straps being cut and their purses stolen. It was not a good trip.

  4. Not Safe

    I was warned that New Orleans is not safe – a co-worker shared a robbery story from last month – but the group went anyway. Well three stolen iPhones and two purses (5 total victims) tell the story. Joined A crowd of the police station of other victims and the policeman came out and told the crowd don’t bother please report won’t get to it for 60 days anyway. So no, New Orleans is not safe.

  5. D
    Dynamodeb says:

    Safe if you keep you head up.

    Whenever my husband and I visit a big city I never take my purse. I only take my drivers license, debt/credit card and cash and put them in my front pockets. Whenever we come out of a store, we look at our surroundings to determine which route to take. If there are scammers or drummers who hustle you for money we go around. Keep an eye on your surroundings, don’t venture off from the main roads and don’t talk to scammers and you should be fine. Do some research on YouTube about the scammers in NOLA. We had a great time!

  6. As Safe as anywhere Else

    I have been coming to New Orleans for the past 40 years and have never had an issue with crime. Of course I am vigilant and don’t get too intoxicated, as do many NO visitors. Just be careful where you place your purses, cameras, backpacks and don’t display a lot of money and you should be fine. Don’t go to the “bad” areas just to show you can. Be careful/ cautious at night when walking around side streets.

  7. Oh K

    I born here, not really good. But at least k

    1. Not as safe as it was

      It’s just gone downhill, especially since the pandemic. I was also born in NOLA.

  8. J
    Jennifer says:

    STAY IN THE NORTHSHORE!

    ALL sections of NOLA are dangerous including Uptown and Garden District. Always keep your head on a swivel and NEVER get obnoxiously drunk in public as you’ll have a definite target on your back. I live on the Northshore and advise you to stay there if you have safety concerns. Mandeville, Madisonville and Covington offer wonderful food and great places to stay. Only a 45 min drive in to NOLA over the Causeway.

  9. NOT SAFE YALL

    Nothing at all safe about New Orleans. I’m from here…well about 25 miles outside downtown. It used to be a great place to visit. Not so much anymore… Unless you want to get scammed, mugged, carjacked, or possibly murdered please stay away. Even the cops are corrupt!! I would not recommend coming here if you value your life.

  10. C
    CaliforniaLove says:

    Not what it used to be! Dangerous.

    I don’t know how old this article is, but believe me, New Orleans is FAR from a safe city. Born & raised there, moved away to California. Take caution before deciding to visit, and if you absolutely feel you must visit, make sure you are traveling with a large group of people. Even then, that won’t help you if someone tries to come around with guns. Happens way too often and it DOES take place in tourist areas. At night be extra weary, especially if you’re a woman. It’s unfortunate because New Orleans has such deep rooted, rush history in so many ways and it’s a very unique, beautiful city in some parts. But a lot of its beauty has been drowned out by crime, and actually looks pretty dirty these days. Mardi Gras isn’t worth the trip honestly, it’s WAY to over crowded and to many risks involved. Trust me.

  11. A
    Anntoinette says:

    Have never had a BAD time in NOLA. Love the people and the BEST FOOD EVER!!!!

    Just go to enjoy every minute. The music is always GREAT. Been 27 times.

  12. Nope!

    NOLA not safe! My family was there for 2 days and shocked by what we saw and experienced. Lots of drugs , drinking and social demise. Total loss of care for anyone but themselves, blowing pot in your face. Saw open drug deals, police right THERE! We are not longer protected people as police only respond when shots fired. Really sad state of affairs #societynomore

    1. WTF

      You can find some killer bud and good coke if you look. Most consider this a plus. My favorite city to catch a live band or eat.

      1. S
        Snow man says:

        Import

        Well Jack H , you should consider never buying drugs off the streets of NOLA . I am fully aware of people wanting to get drunk and do drugs , believe me I get it . Unfortunately the dealers in the tourist areas are lacing blow with low cost fentanyl and carfentanyl . People are losing their lives that come to party all so the dealers can get a better profit on sales . Do yourself a favor and don’t trust drugs sold to tourist because those friendly street dealers don’t care about your life as friendly as they seem . Stay safe and bring your own from a trustworthy source.

  13. D
    D Maloney says:

    I live here and we NEVER go for any reason to New Orleans, Way to scary and not enough police to help. The mayor is the worst. Don’t go there.

  14. Love New Orleans

    Have been going to N.O. for 60 plus years. Have never had any issues. Of course as in any place you visit, you should always be aware of your surrounding, don’t carry or flash a large amount of cash. People who are scammed are often intoxicated and unaware.

  15. R
    RJ Thompson says:

    New Orleans is the greatest city ever

    Greatest city in the world ! I’ve been to every continent and have lived in 13 cities and there is no place as magical as New Orleans – besides the best restaurants on the planet from Italian to Soul and Cajun to Vietnamese , the fact that many genres of music were born here (not only jazz), and that we have festivals constantly – there is a joy and energy here like no other city anywhere. Anyone can be themselves here without labels or boxes. I could live anywhere on earth and choose New Orleans . If you like generic strip malls, puritanical conservatism , you’re a white supremacist , afraid of poor people, or anti -vaxxer this is not the place for you.

  16. Police don't care about crime

    We were just over 24 hours from arrival, walking back to our condo from Frenchmen Street, my partner felt it was safer to walk down Bourbon Street, where there were people and lights and activity. Well, it wasn’t safe. Someone tackled us like we were wide receivers on the Saints team. When I gathered my wits, I saw my partner laying lifeless in the street. He was knocked unconscious and police on horseback arrived and then an ambulance. He was transported to the hospital and diagnosed with a severe concussion. Two days later I contacted the police for a copy of the report, only to be told that unless we asked for the police to write a report that night, there wouldn’t be one. The police officer actually said to me on the phone, “do you know how many drunks we pick up off Bourbon Street?” Well, no, because we weren’t drunk, we were assaulted. No police officer ever got off their horse to ask me what happened, and as I was focused on making sure my partner was alive, made it to the hospital, and hopefully didn’t suffer a life-altering TBI, I didn’t think to ask the police to do their jobs. Where I come from, police are the ones asking the questions and determining if it’s just an accident or a crime.

    When we got to the hospital (I was allowed to ride in the ambulance with my partner) I was told to wait outside. So I sat on the cement sidewalk for over two hours, until I finally asked about my partner’s condition and I was allowed in to see him. If they make you wait outside, at least put chairs out there.

    Horrible experience and we will never visit New Orleans again and I don’t recommend anyone else does, either. I’ll go back to any part of Europe or Southeast Asia and feel safer than we were in New Orleans.

    Oh, and my call to the Mayor’s office went unreturned. Great city. Just great.

  17. A
    Anonymous says:

    I lived in New Orleans for a number of years back in the early ‘90s when crime, particularly violent crime was at an all time high and have been back to visit regularly over the years. I can say honestly that my most recent visit was the least threatened I’ve ever felt. Stayed with a friend in the Touro neighborhood Uptown and spent time all over town: Garden District, Irish Channel, Fauberg Marigny, Bywater, 9th Ward, Mid City (intentionally avoiding the Quarter). So frankly not sure what to make of some of the doom and gloom opinions here and elsewhere. Yes, New Orleans has deep seeded institutional problems with regard to law enforcement. And certain types of crime have been spiking recently. It shouldn’t prevent a would-be visitor from coming. Every big city in America has areas that tourists should avoid and it is no different in NOLA. It also helps to avoid making yourself a target. Consider foregoing the overpriced hurricanes and Mardi Gras beads on Bourbon St and head out to the neighborhoods where to locals go for food and music if you really want to experience what the city is all about.

  18. I LIVE HERE THIS IS FALSE

    UMMMM……UMMMM!!! WHY ARE YOU LYING TO PEOPLE!!! 😂😂😂 I live so close to the french Quarter.People are getting shot alllll the time.Mugged alllll the time.It is not a safe city! And I cant beleive people take their kids down Canal St at night….THIS IS ALL WRONG! It’s dangerous af.No female doesnt have a taser and pepper spray on her okay…..and right now it’s getting worse….The tourists areas are not safer!!!

  19. Not safe until something changes

    Gunshots throught the night and dealers openly selling questionable drugs in open sight.
    New orleans has charming food, music, and architecture, but is far from safe.
    I’d advise tourists to stay away until the gov of LA and nola reform the area.

  20. Great City, As Fun As You Make It

    I live in the French Quarter and would not live anywhere else. Great food, music, history, architecture and REALLY friendly people. The city is as safe as any big US city and a lot safer than many.

    New Orleans may not be for everyone. It is a high energy, noisey and very accepting environment. Those that get it seem to really love it and come again and again. It is really not a children-friendly environment geared far more to adults. It is also not a theme park, where everything is highly controlled. New Orleans and particularly the French Quarter are living neighborhoods where people live and work. A small bit of courtesy goes a huge way to having a great experience.

  21. A wonderful experience

    New Orleans is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s the home of jazz music which I’m a big fan of. While here you can feel the warmth of the people and I always feel like dancing when I’m here. I love the mixture of all these different cultures and nations – it makes for a great place to be in. Mardi Gras is amazing plus I wouldn’t miss Jazz Fest.

Rated 2.83 / 5 based on 29 user reviews.

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