How Safe Is New Orleans for Travel?

New Orleans, United States
Safety Index:
57

Let the good times roll in New Orleans, Louisiana, commonly referred to as NOLA.

This Cajun slice of Louisiana life is filled with parties, history, and wild nights – and that’s even before Mardi Gras season starts!

New Orleans is known for its distinct neighborhoods that go beyond the French Quarter, which is what most people are familiar with when they think of the city.

The Garden District is a calmer side of the city with gorgeous homes and lush landscapes.

Frenchman’s Street is still lively but without the chaos (and smell) of Bourbon Street.

Treme is the oldest African American neighborhood in the city, with culture and history worth seeing.

The riverfront brings activity from paddleboat tours to outlet shopping with some of those amazing beignets on top of it.

Art lovers should see the Warehouse District with galleries and trendy shops and cafes.

If you want to visit during Mardi Gras, you can visit up to a month ahead of time, but the parades start a few weeks before Ash Wednesday.

Check the calendar because Fat Tuesday is on a different day every year.

Expect prices to go up and bookings to sell out months ahead of time the closer you get to Fat Tuesday.

The weekend before is especially packed.

To get out of the city, you can take tours of historical battlefields or take a swamp boat ride to see alligators.

Ghost tours are popular here with the incredible number of sinister and otherworldly stories that haunt this historic city.

Be prepared for sensory overload in most of the NOLA city area.

There’s always live music, something cooking, and loud crowds.

It’s a lot to take in, so plan ahead of time.

You’re on a good start with this safety article.

Warnings & Dangers in New Orleans

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

There's a strong, solid medium risk here due to the crime rates and the ongoing potential for crimes of opportunity. I've been to NOLA several times, and it's truly a unique test of personal safety skills and situational awareness.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

You can easily get around NOLA without having a car, but there are plenty available. There's a street car and bus system that gets you to all the hot spots. Shuttles are available to and from the airport. Parts of the city are walkable, but some neighborhoods are too far away for tired feet to handle.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

Treat this with a high risk. I would never walk any NOLA streets with a normal purse. I bring a small crossbody bag with just one credit card, my ID, and I keep cash stored somewhere out of sight, but not with my purse. Not only should you be wary of large crowds, which you really can't avoid in places like Bourbon Street, but you'll be hounded by homeless people begging for money. They aren't aggressive in a physical sense, but they won't give up with a simple "No" and might follow you for a while, begging even more desperately.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Hurricanes and flooding are the biggest concerns here. If there is a hurricane approaching, get out of town or cancel your trip. NOLA is below sea level, and even heavy tropical storms can cause a lot of problems. Tornadoes and thunderstorms can happen too. Hurricane Season runs from June through November, with a heightened alert from August to October.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : HIGH

Robbery rates are nearly four times higher than the national average, and that number has gone up since the official data reported in 2020. While many robberies are in bad neighborhoods among people who know each other, there's always a risk if you walk down the wrong alley or are showing off valuables, you could be targeted. Treat this with a high risk.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

NOLA is always considered a top potential target for its booming economy and wild lifestyle. There's a lot of law enforcement presence from Homeland Security down to the local level, but you'll need to be vigilant and attentive during your stay. Every lit bit of information can help.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : HIGH

You should also treat this with a high risk because a lot of people here are looking to make money, and they are in your face about it. Don't ask anyone on the street to take your picture because they might try to charge you for it before giving you your phone back. If you are approached by someone who seemingly wants to "give" you a shot, they'll demand a payment - up to $20 a shot - on the spot. Don't trust anyone who isn't part of the tourism industry, like a concierge or business manager. Tip kindly for good information.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

I'm a woman, and I've gone to NOLA several times, once alone and twice with female friends. Even on a Sunday morning at 8:00 am, I was harassed by endless homeless people wanting food and was cornered at one point. I didn't feel unsafe, but I felt incredibly uncomfortable. After dark, stay on well-lit streets. I know that's a cliche, but it is SO true here. There are too many alleys and dark corners here to feel safe at night. Always travel with a buddy if you can.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK : LOW

The 2021 Water Quality Report shows one violation that wasn't an emergency and was resolved. All other standards were fully compliant. If there is any flooding before or during your visit, don't use tap water until you confirm there isn't a water quality issue. You can also follow @SWBNewOrelans on Facebook to keep up with water quality information.NOTE: The Mississippi River was at historic lows in late 2022, which impacts many cities along the route - including New Orleans. This could affect water quality, as salt water from the Gulf is pushed into the riverbed. There's no end in sight for the record low river levels, and you should check the status before you arrive. For tourism questions on the river, email internet@neworleans.com.

Safest Places to Visit in New Orleans

Neworleans.com is the official tourism website for the city, and I strongly recommend using this website for attraction information if you aren’t going through the website for a specific attraction.

There are just too many potential third-party scam sites out there.

When you’re in Jackson Square near the French Quarter, you’ll be drawn to the Cabildo and St. Louis Cathedral.

Even if you aren’t a religious person, it is worth taking a peek at the intricate work of this stunning house of worship.

The Cabildo is a museum full of New Orleans’s history and artifacts.

I don’t want to ruin the tour, but you will be amazed at the history of this building that has been here since the late 1790s.

The National World War II Museum might now have the vibrant atmosphere you expect in NOLA, but it’s a treasured piece of history honoring the great veterans who served and sacrificed in the war.

You’ll find interactive exhibits, audio tours, and unique mementos from soldiers here.

The Audobon Zoo and Aquarium of the Americans give you a two-for-one tourism experience since they are right next to each other.

They do have separate admission prices.

Be sure to check the schedule closely because prices are different each day, and you’ll save money the earlier you book.

These are located in the Garden District, so you can also explore that unique area before or after your adventure.

Seeing NOLA on a tour gives you the safety of a group and the experience of a local to learn more and make the most of your time.

There’s literally a tour for everything here.

Even haunted tours cater to different elements, like vampires, voodoo, haunted places, cemetery tours, etc.

You can get tours of Mardi Gras warehouses where the preparation is always underway for the next celebration.

Steamboat tours are available on the Mississippi River and can be just for a jazz cruise and dinner or take you to plantations.

I took the Steamboat Nachez tour, and I loved it.

We had a great lunch with sunny skies and plenty of time to explore a plantation with a really funny tour guide.

The only tour advice I would give is to check your bank statements after the charge clears.

We had one ticket charged multiple times, and whether it was a simple error or intentional, we were able to get the situation resolved.

Even if you don’t take the Mardi Gras tour, you can still visit Mardi Gras World near the riverfront.

Self-guided tours are available for safety and convenience.

This attraction even offers an on-demand free shuttle to get there and back to your hotel!

Places to Avoid in New Orleans

Anyone who knows about Hurricane Katrina knows the 9th Ward and Lower 9th Ward were devastated when the levees failed, and the neighborhood still hasn’t and probably never will recover completely.

Do NOT go there to treat it as a tourist opportunity.

I say that first and foremost, out of respect for the people who live there and the people who lost everything there.

It’s also not the safest place, especially if you are there for that insensitive reason.

The 7th Ward is also a dangerous part of town you have no business being in.

The tourism guide for NOLA lays out all the options you have, and if you start driving around aimlessly, you’re likely going to end up in a dangerous neighborhood.

In some parts of the city, the danger is on a block-by-block basis.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid the neighborhoods around I-10.

I have been to NOLA for work projects, and quite honestly, so neighborhoods just made me sad and wondering what we can do to help underserved communities.

Here’s a bit of information that comes from the simple act of sharing information – not from a viewpoint one way or the other.

The proliferation of Airbnbs and other short-term rentals has taken over many neighborhoods.

This has forced out people who call them home because landlords realize they make more money off ongoing tourism than rental residents.

The complaint from neighbors is that this is ruining communities and driving out generations of families that call a certain place home.

This is just something to consider if you are looking at a short-term rental instead of one of the many hotels.

Safety Tips for Traveling to New Orleans

  1. Let’s get one thing out of the way. Bourbon Street, and some surrounding streets, stink. It smells so bad you can almost taste it. That is a mix of alcohol, urine, and vomit – and Lord knows what else. There’s no getting around it, and it’s futile to complain about it. Even on a beautiful Sunday morning on my way to House of Blues Gospel Brunch, I lost my appetite.
  2. People will be in your face here. While it’s not always a direct safety threat, you shouldn’t get into verbal arguments or push back hard. Firmly say “No” and go into a local business if you need to get away from someone.
  3. Keep wallets in front pockets or hidden pockets. Anything in a backpack or back pocket could easily be manipulated by a pickpocket. If you are carrying a purse, walk with your hand over the seam so nobody else can stick their hand in it.
  4. Pay attention when crossing the street, especially on Canal Street. With car traffic, the trolley, and lots of people, it feels like chaos and can be dangerous if you aren’t paying attention.
  5. This is an old city, so watch where you walk. I tripped over cracked sidewalks or random cobblestones more than once. Avoid sandals or flip-flops unless you want grimy feet with the aforementioned body fluids on them.
  6. If you are driving in New Orleans, be prepared for some of the most narrow streets you’ve ever seen. You’ll also have to navigate around cars and vans parked on the street. Many roads are one-way streets, so you must be ultra-vigilant when driving. It’s not uncommon for a drunk person covered in beads to jump in front of a car without realizing it.
  7. Use NOLA 311 to get a direct line of contact with the city. You can report issues like potholes, ask safety questions, or get local event information. You just need to dial 311 to get in contact, but if, for some reason, that doesn’t work, call (504)539-3266.
  8. The state of Louisiana wants to know about any fraud or scam attempts you might encounter. Call 1-844-50-FRAUD (1-844-503-7283) to report suspicious activity and be as detailed as possible. If you have photos or videos of the scammer, ask for an email so you can send them.
  9. Bookmark Routewise on your computer or mobile device to check for upcoming parades that could block streets or delay traffic. Any company or organization can book a parade that will shut down or block certain roads. Police assist with the roadblocks, so there’s really no way around them.
  10. Call 911 for emergencies, but the non-emergency number for NOPD is (504)821-2222. The police force is broken down into districts, and the area around the Fench Quarter is the 8th district. You can find contacts for each district on the NOPD website.

So... How Safe Is New Orleans Really?

New Orleans is facing both a police officer shortage and rising violent crime rates, including an increase in homicides that is staggering in 2022.

Here’s one example – in the 24 hours of Labor day, three people were killed in five shootings, four armed robberies happened, along with five carjackings.

The police department is also struggling to find enough officers needed to keep the community safe.

In a new step, the department is now looking to hire dozens of civilians to take over some less dangerous parts of the policing requirements, like parking tickets and paperwork.

Overall, from 2020, which is the last year NOPD gave official crime data:

  • Violent crime was 3.4 times higher than the national average.
  • Robbery was 3.6 times higher.
  • Rape was 5 times higher.
  • Theft was 3 times higher.

I’m from St. Louis, so dangerous cities aren’t really going to phase me much.

I know how to handle myself, and I know the places to avoid.

That said, New Orleans can be a sensory overload, and the moment I’d stop to admire a cool building, a panhandler would approach.

I turned around so many times from shady people arguing on a street that I lost count.

You just have to be completely aware of your surroundings at all times.

Stay confident and firm, and exude a “don’t mess with me” attitude without being mouthy.

Don’t give any signs you are so intoxicated you might be an easy mark.

As much as possible, stay with a group of people you know.

You can have a safe time in NOLA, whether it’s a family vacation or the height of Mardi Gras.

Just stay in the tourist areas and don’t let your guard down for a minute.

Be especially vigilant during parades because that’s when pickpockets will be working the crowd.

How Does New Orleans Compare?

CitySafety Index
New Orleans57
Atlanta58
St. Louis58
Los Angeles56
Oakland57
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63

Useful Information

  • Visas - The U.S. State Department website offers a "Visa Wizard" to get you quick information about the requirements for a visa. Since there are different types of U.S. Visas, this is much easier than reading through pages of documents. Common reasons for denial include false information, lack of all required information, and criminal history. Be sure to pay attention to document details and never lie about any information.
  • Currency - The U.S. Dollar flows freely here, and despite what you might have heard, you can't pay for anything with beads. You'll be able to widely use credit cards, but you'll want some cash for tipping. Never assume the person you are tipping can offer change, so have a mix of $1 and $5 bills.
  • Weather - December through February can be a little chilly, but not enough to need a winter coat. A warm jacket and jeans will work just fine. Wear closed-toed shoes as much as possible, or your feet will get very dirty. The rest of the year, be prepared for stifling humidity and excessive sweating, especially if you're drinking a lot or eating a lot of fried foods.
  • Airports - Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is about 30 minutes from the French Quarter. You can also go to Baton Rouge, which is about 90 minutes away, but NOLA has the larger airport.
  • Travel Insurance - There are SO many things that can lead to accidents, falls, cuts, and other health issues that you should ensure you have some kind of health protection if you need assistance. Driving in NOLA is also very white-knuckled, so get as much rental car insurance as you can afford. Before booking your flight, ensure you know what protection you have if travel gets canceled due to an approaching hurricane.
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 13° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
181923262932333331272218
Low
°C
791216202324252217128
High
°F
646673798490919188817264
Low
°F
454854616873757772635446

Where to Next?

53 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. TOO DANGEROUS

            Anyone who goes to NOLA is insane anymore. We used to go all the time – we live 90 miles away and heading over for the weekend or for a dinner date was the norm. Never again. It’s so violent and the crime is everywhere. Used to you could just avoid certain neighborhoods but now it’s all in the French Quarter, ransom crime, and extremely violent. My son’s friend was recently kidnapped, taken to an ATM, forced to withdraw money, and was shot. Then they stole his car. Luckily he will live, but we won’t be back. We spent thanksgiving weekend there this year and 5 people were shot on Bourbon. A few days later a man was beaten to death by an intruder in his hotel room. NOLA has gotten the last of my money. What a shame. It used to be so much fun.

        2. J
          Jane Q Publix says:

          No more safe parts of town

          Wow what a petty reply. Miss ME is telling the truth to out of towners and you have to climb up on your high horse. Unless you’re the one causing all the crime there’s absolutely no need to take it personally. The whole na-na-na-boo-boo we love to hate on Metairie/Kenner/etc is just so old. I’m writing this is 2022 as a seasoned New Orleanian. Lots here to love, but it’s also a crime hot spot with a decimated police force and (as of now) zero accountability to the actual people. If I weren’t from here, I would not come here. As it stands the city is losing population by the year. Here’s a thought, why don’t you go thumb your nose at all the people who’ve pulled up stakes to try to (re)make a decent life somewhere that has a good educational system and less violent crime. Have fun and stay safe.

      2. New Orleans Crime

        I agreed with you!!

        1. S
          Sheila Smith Vero Beach Fl says:

          Flavor of New Orleans

          I am in downtown near the Hyatt, car broken into by kids, caught by building security! Nothing taken! Can happen anywhere! Visited by car, Treme, French Quarter, Bourbon Street, Armstrong Park, ate at Morrows, ate famous Hurt donuts, had the (spelling may be wrong) beignets from Cafe Dumonte, seafood at Dragos, shopped at Riverwalk and had a damn great time! New Orleans didn’t disappoint!!!!

      3. A
        Anonymous says:

        Yes!! Been here 10 years. Pickpocket should be high risk for sure. Really all of these determining factors of safety should be high risk for this town unfortunately

    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.

      1. Where did you stay

        Amanda, where did you stay? We’re planning to go early March and want to stay safe. Thank you

        1. J
          Jane Q Publix says:

          Not safe

          If staying safe is your priority I wouldn’t suggest New Orleans in a million years. I’m a local and staying safe (including not witnessing traumatic events) is not really possible. There’s no way to shelter yourself from it, violence and danger are our way of life sad to say.

      2. yep

        My sis lives in New Orleans and also witnessed a shooting.

    3. G
      Gretchen Armbruster says:

      I am from New Orleans

      I’m from New Orleans. Grew up there. Live just across the lake . I don’t travel to New Orleans unless absolutely necessary! Yes, it’s safer in the tourist areas. Sometimes. But if you stray a block off of the suggested street, you may be hit by a stray bullet. There is a shooting every day. It’s so bad that road contractors can’t get employees mainly because of stray bullets. If you go. Be very aware of your surroundings. Car jacking safe horrible too!

  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.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      I agree on your comments about crime, but the restuarants on the North Shore are knockoffs of the real thing. If you can’t go into New Orleans then you are not getting the real thing. As a native living in a suburb of Houston, I would not go to the New Orleans area because of the crime and I would not go to the offshore cuz I can get that here in Sugar Land.

  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!!!

    1. Thanks for your honesty – and for everyone else who’s being upfront and transparent about the situation in New Orleans. Had I not known, I would’ve travelled there alone and God only knows what would have happened.

  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.

  22. N
    Nola Resident says:

    Unsafe and not worth the trip

    As a resident no this city is not safe. Especially for young women. This city is known for drinking, staying out late, becoming overly intoxicated, and it’s a port city. I’m sure you can figure out what I’m getting at. Crime here is awful. The city is smelly and we have an overload of homeless people.

    By that I mean they are at every light asking for money. There’s a village of tents under the bridge at downtown which shows how poor the city is.

    If you’re coming as a tourist sure you’ll go to the “nicer” areas and see the main “sites” but this article is completely off base it’s not safe and if you visit don’t let the bourbon street workers scam you. Living here has turned gunshots into background noise. Last week I sat in traffic, got to the front to see a man dead in the street from a hit and run. Is that graphic yes well wishes to his family but my point is that’s the norm here.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been out at night and not seen multiple cop cars in the same area, ambulances speeding somewhere, a shootout, men trying to harass you, someone asking for money, someone drunk/high passed out on the road, or someone getting pick-pocketed. Don’t listen to the tourists in these replies they don’t know the real New Orleans.

    1. Curious to know if you think it is so horrible why do you stay?

      1. Exactly! As long as you take certain precautions, New Orleans is relatively safe.

      2. Not always easy to leave the Big Easy

        I have a love/hate relationship with New Orleans. I love the food, culture, history, and traditions that living in New Orleans brings. At this time, I cannot leave because of my job and cannot afford the costs of moving and starting over. I stay because I have elderly family members that will not leave the City. Emotionally I stay because I want to share with my children everything living and being born in NOLA brings (minus the crime.) I stay because I have hope that NOLA will be the great city I know it can be.
        When Covid restrictions were lifted, violent crimes (carjackings, murders, armed robberies, assaults) increased; I hate what New Orleans has become. I hate that I must be on alert, head swiveling, at all times. I hate that I need to tell my children how to be safe when they go out alone. I tell them when driving to school, a football game, or a friend’s house, to always be aware of their surroundings, what to do if they are carjacked or robbed and where to and not to park so their car is less likely to be broken into or stolen. I should not have to do this. I do not think anyone in the New Orleans area does not know someone that has been affected by crime. There are no “safe” parts of town anymore. The criminals are so brazen they will do their criminal activities at any time of the day, and they do not care who sees them. They know if arrested, they will be back on the street in 24 hours. New Orleans is not safe to live or visit right now, but sometimes it is not always possible to leave.

  23. 10 STARS for the most Marvelous city in the world!!!

    New Orleans is a marvelous place if you love jazz, like horse-drawn carriages, walking or steamboats. I fell in love with it the first time I went there. I hope that one day I can move here, maybe in a few years, we will see.

    When you first arrive you should head to the French Quarter. The old, French-influenced buildings that date back 300 years, with beautiful red-tiled roofs and arcades. I’m telling you, it’s something you have to see and if you are into it, you’ll absolutely feel at home here.

    Then head to Bourbon Street but do it at night when it comes alive. If you’re into fine cuisine or/and shopping or art then Royal Street should be your next destination. For a particularly nice experience, I recommend going to the Court of Two Sisters which offers a wonderful jazz brunch.

    For more music go to Frenchmen Street where a lot of artists hang out. St Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square are filled with musicians and artists that will keep you entertained for hours.

    Besides the world famous Mardi Gras which is a beautiful event if you like the agitation and joy. If you’re more of a quiet person, maybe visit the National WWII Museum. While here, I HIGHLY recommend you undertake a magnificent experience and that is watching “Beyond All Boundaries”. This is a movie narrated and also produced by Tom Hanks, shown in a 4D theater. This experience was like nothing else for me. The chair I was sitting on was moving as tanks were going by on the screen plus there are other stage props used which turned this movie watching into something else entirely. A one of a kind experience!

    The city is generally safe, but as it gets crowded often, you can expect pickpockets. Also going out at night alone, especially as a woman, can be dangerous. Other than this, it’s generally ok.

  24. O
    Ohioans says:

    Spring Break Girl Travelers

    Just be careful. We – my adult daughter & I – had a great time St. Patrick’s Day week. We stayed on Rampart St at Homewood Suites & felt well protected. We walked a lot in the French Quarter & Garden District. We took Uber to parks & Frenchmen. In French Quarter 2nd night we saw a big fight between some young guys almost got ugly. But fortunately cooled off. One morning we called 911 & assisted a poor old guy who had ODed and fell off the curb into the street (my daughter has first responder training). Uber drivers were often saying “Be careful”and “be safe” when dropping us off places. We didn’t get drunk and were in our hotel room by 9:30-10 pm. I think being aware, taking usual big city precautions and staying sober, or at least in a group, is recommended. I’m glad we went. Most people there are so friendly and beautiful. We loved the culture and party atmosphere and New Orlean people were great hosts. Bless everyone there and bless this city. Despite some bad things, you take a little NOLA home in your heart. ❤️

  25. New Orleans / Don't go without a local guide

    New Orleans is not a safe city. All of the historic restaurants and eateries I wanted to go to had shootings nearby just a week prior.
    People are drunk, on drugs, and generally desperate.
    It’s best to know where you are and go with someone who lives in the city.

  26. L
    Long time resident says:

    I’ve lived in Louisiana for forty years, and every time I need to travel to New Orleans for business, the crime and filth gets worse. I would never recommend to any of my friends to visit New Orleans.

    If anyone tells you New Orleans is a safe and pleasant place to visit, they’ve got to be with the visitors bureau.

  27. L
    Los Angeles native says:

    My favorite city in the US

    Some of these reviews feel incredibly over exaggerated or downright false. I’ve been to New Orleans several times over the last 6 years almost recently this past august and have stayed in the bywater neighborhood, the lower 7th ward and most recently the lower Decatur area of the French quarter. The most recent visit was absolutely fabulous and I felt safer than I do in parts of Columbus, OH (where I currently live) and leaps and bounds safer than anywhere in Los Angeles. If New Orleans feels like the most dangerous place to you then perhaps a staycation is more your vibe. The city is definitely becoming more gentrified and the amount of white, affluent residents around the French quarter specifically has increased significantly since my first trip there. Definitely go with an open mind and as with ANY American city be cautious.

  28. Still on the fence.

    As far as I am concerned without any type of date stamps these reviews are worthless. Anybody reading these has no idea if they are 10-20+ years old or from last week (Nov ’22).
    I’ve only been to NOLA once (Mar ’22) and it was more exploratory to see if it was someplace I would like to revisit. I do know, unfortunately, I can’t put much stock in these reviews to help with that decision.

  29. not safe

    Some of the harshest criticisms of New Orleans are from Natives. We love New Orleans or what it once was. Take that for what its worth.

  30. We visited New Orleans for one day because my oldest daughter wanted to check it out and we were staying at the beach about an hour away for vacation. June 2022 for reference. Not knowing the city very well I purposely went early Sunday morning, parked at the visitors center and we did the hop on hop off bus. My theory being all the late night partiers would still be sleeping and hungover. Anyways, we had a blast and loved it! I didn’t realize that there was so much to do and see and we all want to go back. Obviously I stayed in the high tourist areas, we didn’t drink and we were back in our car and out of there by 6 PM.

    I always assumed it was a just a major party town but was pleasantly surprised at all the “family friendly” activities. We went to the Mardi Gras museum. We’d like to check out the WW2 museum and go to the aquarium next time. I love Halloween so the cemetery tours and oddity museums were a plus for me. My oldest is a foodie so she loved that aspect. Riding around on the bus and seeing the garden district was great. We caught some people playing jazz music at one of the parks. We walked around the French Quarter. I feel like you can check out New Orleans and be safe about it.., just avoid the nightlife.

  31. Most dangerous city to visit in N. America

    No police..shootings every single day, no matter what part of the city, trash everywhere, city streets are impassable…gross mismanagement of money by local government… it is safer in any other city in the world…what happened in the last five years? it looks like a bomb went off in what was once a beautiful, historic, wonderful place.

Rated 2.94 / 5 based on 53 user reviews.

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