United States : Safety by City
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- New Orleans
- New York City
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- St Louis
- Washington DC
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 other 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 : 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 : LOW
If you want to see most of New Orleans, driving your own 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 of time.
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 : 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 : MEDIUM
There is 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 : 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 : 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 : MEDIUM
New Orleans is generally safe for women to travel to, apart from drunk men that can be an annoyance to women around 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 happens 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 areas that are dangerous.
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.
- 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 beacuse 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.