Louisiana : Safety by City
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Prairieville, Louisiana, is a bedroom community southeast of Baton Rouge, but quickly being adopted as a suburb thanks to increasing growth and development.
This community and several other small towns make up Ascension Parish, known as the “Sweet Spot” of Louisiana for the sugar cane fields, the perfect position between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, with a mix of small-town and big-city adventures to explore.
While Prairieville is highly residential, the nearby cities of Gonzales, Donaldsonville, and Sorrento rival even New Orleans for history and cuisine.
Prairieville got its name from the rolling hills of the region.
After Hurricane Katrina, the population in this area exploded as people sought to start over after the devastation.
Now Prairieville is known more for its safety ratings and great schools than its tourist attractions, but the location is perfect for exploring many areas of Louisiana.
Warnings & Dangers in Prairieville
OVERALL RISK: LOW
The risk here is low, which is a nice change of pace for this writer, who has read some pretty scary crime statistics in Louisiana. Keep in mind we can only offer crime data for the parish areas, which doesn't include cities with their own police forces. Gonzales is one of the other cities in the parish without a police force, as it was disbanded in 2016, and Donaldsonville is also covered by the Sheriff's Office. Gonzales has its own police force and has higher crime levels than the national average. You should know that Louisiana is one of the most dangerous states overall, with crime growing exponentially in some areas.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
The Baton Rouge public transportation system doesn't come to Prairieville, so you'll need to rely on taxis or rideshares if you don't have a car. We strongly recommend getting a rental car for your visit here.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
The risk is low, and the theft rate is lower than the national average. You should focus mostly on keeping your car from being broken into, as that is one of the higher risks in this residential area.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
This region can get severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, tropical storms, and flooding. You should treat hurricane concerns with the same severity as you would in New Orleans.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Since 2018, robbery risks have plummeted in the parish. With just 18 robberies in 2021, there's a low risk, but don't let your guard down.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
The risk is low in Prairieville as it's a growing residential community with nothing that would make it a potential target.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Scams are highly targeted to locals and focus on the typical scams from fake IRS or law enforcement officers. You can always report suspicious activity to the sheriff's office, but there isn't a big risk of this happening to you.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM
Women should use all the standard precautions, but there isn't an abnormal risk in Prairieville or Ascension Parish. Gonzales has a higher crime rate than other parts of the parish, so use extra caution there.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. There is a risk of water smelling like "rotten eggs," but you can alleviate this by letting a faucet run for a few minutes before using tap water. The smell is more common in pipes that have been stagnant for a few days. BRWater.com address the concern of the smell and sometimes brown-tinged water. I wouldn't blame you if you chose to use bottled water for drinking.
Safest Places to Visit in Prairieville
To learn about tourism in Ascension Parish, you’ll use the website visitlasweetspot.com.
This refers to the “Sweet Spot” related to the nearby sugar cane fields.
To learn about Baton Rouge tourism, go to visitbatonrouge.com.
Aside from basic amenities, like stores and restaurants, you won’t find tourist attractions in Prairieville.
The city is known for having unique Louisiana-style restaurants, so don’t overlook that great aspect.
Blue Bayou Water Park is one of the closest attractions to Prairieville, and it’s just up the interstate on the way to Baton Rouge.
This is a great way to cool down and have some safe fun in the sweltering Louisiana summers.
Gonzales is the closest city to Prairieville and is known as the Jambalaya Capital of the World.
Be sure to try some while you’re there.
Two popular places to visit include:
- Tanger Outlet Center: Major shopping mall with name brands offering discount prices.
- Various antique shops throughout the community
Darrow is a small, rural town along the Great River Road of the Mississippi River but offers several key attractions you don’t want to miss:
- The Great River Road Museum
- Houmas House: The plantation and mansion are known as the “Sugar Palace” and are worth a special trip.
Donaldsonville is a city where you should arrive hungry.
It’s a modern culinary capital and was once the state capital.
This city holds more historic buildings than any other Louisiana city outside of New Orleans:
- River Road African American Museum
- Self-Guided historic downtown tours with seven unique tour options.
- Mississippi River Riverwalk
- Atchafalaya Water Heritage Trail Site: Where the Mississippi River and Bayou Lafourche meet.
Sorrento is a perfect souvenir stop with several Cajun-branded businesses set in historic buildings.
Just visiting the stores can be worth an Instagram photo or two.
You can get hand-crafted pottery, hand-painted art, and various knick-knacks you can’t find anywhere else outside Louisiana.
Places to Avoid in Prairieville
You can safely travel throughout the parish without worrying about dangerous neighborhoods.
Donaldsonville and Gonzales have seen crime rate increases, but again there isn’t a concern near the levels in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Prairieville is known to flood and is one of the residents’ biggest complaints.
While you’re likely to be at a hotel safely near the interstate and above a high-risk flood zone, it’s important to know if you’ll be driving through the neighborhoods to get food.
Use extra caution when driving during or after heavy rain.
Hurricane season runs from June through November.
If you aren’t familiar with hurricanes and how they move, you should know that Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas can take quite a beating even after a storm hits New Orleans.
Don’t mess around with hurricane watches.
Reschedule your trip or get out of town.
Even the Ascension County Emergency Management Office states, “The first 48 are on you,” meaning that if you are in town during a hurricane, you won’t get help for 48 hours.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Prairieville
- Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office (APSCO) doesn’t have a location in Prairieville, but there are offices in Gonzales and Donaldsonville. The main phone number is (225)621-8300.
- The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office posted a 2022 Special Report on crime, safety, and budgeting. This is a great way to see what’s happening in the fast-growing parish to ensure crime doesn’t reach the levels other Louisiana cities face.
- Since Prairieville is a growing community, there’s not a lot of infrastructure like streetlights. Some residential streets could be very dark, so use extra caution at night since families live here. You might also see more traffic because the city is growing faster than road construction can keep up with.
- Use 511la.org to get updated traffic information. There are two main highways that go north/south to Baton Rouge/New Orleans. I-10 is the larger interstate with higher speed limits, but the closest exit to Prairieville is off the Airline Highway. You will have more stoplights on the Airline Highway. The 511 website offers real-time accident and traffic data with construction alerts and weather impacts.
- If you’re fishing in this area, you must have a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Hatcheries license. Get the combo license if you plan to fish in saltwater and freshwater during your visit. Getting a hunting license requires extensive training.
- Sign up for weather alerts from the Ascension County Emergency Management Office. You can’t afford to be in an area with so much severe weather without having reliable weather information.
- There are alligators in this area. Assume that any body of freshwater has an alligator in it. Don’t swim in the bayou or river, and avoid the shoreline of any water near sunrise or sunset, as that’s when alligators are most active.
- Before you do anything on or near a river, check the river stage levels. Since many areas across the parish are prone to flooding, you don’t want to risk being trapped or stuck by floodwaters.
- Wear bug spray in this area, even when visiting the cities. Mosquitoes thrive in the warm and humid environment here and can carry West Nile Virus. You should also bring calamine lotion to soothe any bug bites.
- Download the Ascension Parish app to get a list of contacts, social media links, and a portal to report any issues, such as downed trees or potholes.
So... How Safe Is Prairieville Really?
All the crime categories under the jurisdiction of Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office are below the national and Louisiana averages.
The parish now has a K9 force to help crack down on drug problems, and three patrol districts cover the region.
Prairieville is in District 3.
Since this is a residential area, the top crimes will be home, and car burglaries as thieves look for high-value items.
Prairieville is also one of the wealthier areas in the parish, with the average income being near $100,000 and the poverty rate lower than 5%.
That gives a sense of safety but also the knowledge that expensive items are to be taken.
Lock your car each time you park, and don’t leave the windows rolled down or cracked.
Take all items out of plain sight, and don’t leave rental car paperwork in the vehicle since it contains personal information.
Prairieville and Ascension Parish can give a false sense of safety to those who will be traveling between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
New Orleans is seeing an exponential increase in crime and has been dubbed the “Murder Capital of America.”
Please review each city you plan to visit on our website and reach out to law enforcement agencies to ask specific questions and how you can report the crime while you’re there.
Prairieville is a bit boring, but it’s a safe place to rest your head at night before exploring all the wonders of Louisiana.
How Does Prairieville Compare?
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The U.S. State Department issues visas, so you need to go to its website to read the abundance of information about the detailed process. Start with the Visa Wizard program, so you're going after the correct Visa, as there are several varieties. You might be from a country that is part of the Visa Waiver program. Plan for this process to take up to three months.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. Bring cash, but keep it in a safe place for those small-town businesses that don't accept credits. You should aim to purchase as much as possible on a credit card as it offers the best fraud protection, even if it gets stolen. If your cash gets stolen, you'll likely never get it back.
Bring comfortable clothing with shoes you can walk in for hours at a time. Bringing waterproof boots will help, too, if you plan to visit a swamp. Winter occasionally brings a cold snap, so it's important to check the forecast ahead of time. The outlet mall in Gonzales has plenty of stores if you get caught off guard without necessary clothing items. You can expect extremely warm and humid days and nights from late spring to early fall. You'll sweat a lot, so bring some extra options unless you'll have access to laundry facilities.
You can get to Baton Rouge or New Orleans airports in less than an hour, but Baton Rouge is much closer. New Orleans is a larger airport, so you can choose the best option.
We always recommend travel insurance for those traveling to high-risk weather areas. You should also know how your rental car is covered in the event of severe weather. There isn't free healthcare in the United States, so consider health insurance supplements if you need urgent care assistance.
Prairieville Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Louisiana - Safety by City