Louisiana : Safety by City
- Baton Rouge
- Bossier City
- Lake Charles
- New Iberia
- New Orleans
Slidell, Louisiana, sits on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain in the New Orleans metro area.
The city is located at the intersection of two major interstates and offers plenty of hotels for those who want to be outside the city’s noise and hustle.
“Sly-dell” is a city with nearly 30,000 people and plenty of wildlife and waterfront activities, as well as close to the Mississippi Border near of NASA’s rocket test locations.
Even being on the other side of the lake, Slidell is still in a dangerous position for Gulf Coast hurricanes.
When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Slidell was one of the hardest hit cities outside of New Orleans and in the aftermath, many people left NOLA to start over in Slidell, despite the damage.
Louisiana is made of parishes, which are similar to counties in other states.
Slidell is in Tammany Parish in a region known as the Louisiana Northshore.
The unique location makes it perfect for swamp tours, fishing, tubing, and you can even enjoy several Mardi Gras parades here during the season.
You might even be one of the few who spots the Honey Island Swamp Monster during your visit, feeding into the folklore that has intrigued this area for generations.
Warnings & Dangers in Slidell
OVERALL RISK : LOW
When I say a city has a low risk in Louisiana, it's the same as a medium risk in many other states. Louisiana as a whole is dealing with increased crime rates, but Slidell is definitely one of the safer parts of the New Orleans area with access to plenty of good times and attractions.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You'll need to use a rental car, taxi, or rideshare to get around. If you have a large group, you can also rent shuttles if you'd like. There isn't a fixed route bus service here, but Amtrak does stop in Slidell.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here with an elevated risk during Mardi Gras because of the crowds. You should use the same safety precautions as if you were in a bigger city and keep your car doors locked when you park.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Any city near the Gulf Coast is going to have a medium risk and Slidell can get hit with some dangerous hurricanes, thunderstorms, and tornadoes. Given the area is surrounded by water, flash flooding is a risk too.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
The robbery risk here is lower than the national average and much lower than the New Orleans average. Even a recent carjacking spree started in New Orleans and was stopped by the Slidell Police who proudly stated, "We always catch these guys."
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Between New Orleans to the south and NASA to the east, there's a certain amount of prevention and awareness a visitor should have about terrorism concerns. However, Slidell would not be one of the targets. You can also check the terrorism alert level at the website of the Department of Homeland Security. Sign up for bulletin alerts while you're there.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Many phone scams are reported in Slidell, but the biggest thing tourists should watch out for is rental scams. With so many home, cabin, and camping rentals, scammers could post a fake listing and demand payment upfront. To ensure a rental is legitimate, ask to see a renter's permit and check the business listing on the Better Business Bureau website. The local Chamber of Commerce can also recommend legitimate rental companies.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women should use the same safety precautions as they would in any new city, like not walking around at night alone. This is a much safer city for women than New Orleans. There is a "Girlfriend's Getaway" itinerary on the Northshore tourism website, and some glamping options if you don't feel like "roughing it."
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Bayou Liberty Water Association provides the tap water here. The 2021 Water Quality Report shows no violations and full compliance to all federal standards. You should question water quality after a tropical storm or flooding, and the city should send out alerts about boil orders in the event of an issue. You can call the water association at (985) 643-1216 if you have questions closer to your visit.
Safest Places to Visit in Slidell
You’ll want to use the website LouisianaNorthShore.com to find official tourism information.
Using an “official” site from a tourism bureau offers a cyber-safe search environment and links to other safe websites.
This site also gives details about eight other cities in addition to Slidell.
The city website, myslidell.com, also has details about local parks and museums in the city.
Start at the Slidell Museum if you can to learn about the history of the region, from a stop on the railroad line to a bustling brick industry through the NASA years and into the future.
The museum is free.
The Slidell Cultural Center offers rotating exhibits and events throughout the year.
Artwork is also displayed by local school children.
Old Town Slidell is worth a few hours of strolling through antique shops and boutiques with cafés along the way (you’ve gotta try the beignets!).
A series of murals make great Instagram moments and the Mardi Gras Museum in Slidell is a way to experience the excitement of a Krewe any time of year.
When heading into the Louisiana wilderness, you have options on every side of Slidell:
- Northshore Beach: Sandy beach along Lake Pontchartrain.
- Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge: The swamp and marsh are on both sides of the city, with plenty of airboats and kayak tourist available, plus fishing charters, wildlife viewing, and hiking.
- Pearl River Wildlife Area: East of Slidell and between two rivers, with the eastern boundary being the Mississippi state line.
- Bouge Chitto National Wildlife Refuge: Another outdoor adventure in a more rural area. This is about as “roughing it” as you can get in Louisiana.
Slidell has a slew of great restaurants cooking up Cajun cuisine.
Be sure to add Po’ Boys, Etouffee, Gumbo, Crawfish, and Oysters to your dining list.
Be warned – the food here is very spicy.
You’ll get a funny look if you ask for it “mild.”
Believe me, I’m not a fan of spicy food, and I’ve been judged several times for asking “How spicy is that?” when ordering food.
The city and parish host events throughout the year, like an All-You-Can-Eat Crawfish competition to the St. Tammany Crab Festival to the Great Louisiana Bird Fest.
Places to Avoid in Slidell
You’ll want to stay on the main interstates and surface streets in Slidell.
The neighborhoods aren’t necessarily dangerous, but you should avoid any place where you can’t be certain of the safety as crime rates evolve.
The city is small, but laid out very well for where the places to visit are located vs. the residential areas.
Avoid this area if there’s a hurricane approaching New Orleans.
The city can get hit by hurricanes as much as New Orleans, and there’s not a lot of time for the storms to lose potency before hitting Slidell.
There’s also a risk of flooding on the side streets during any rain event, which is another great reason to stay on the main roads.
There’s a bit of a battle between the people of New Orleans and those in the suburbs.
It’s a (mostly) friendly rivalry, but don’t let social media threads lure you into the belief that Slidell is cursed.
You might also hear about the Honey Island Swamp Monster, but it’s about as true as Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Slidell
- Slidell Police Department has a Facebook page @SlidellPD. Here you’ll find information about crimes happening during your visit, road closures for special events, and other safety information. You can also follow them on TikTok @slidellpolice.
- Sign up for emergency alerts through the St. Tammany Parish website. You’ll need weather information while you’re here, and these alerts will include evacuations and road closures. Never drive on a flooded roadway. You won’t find a place to stay that has no risk of flooding here, so researching flood safety through the emergency management websites is paramount.
- Visit the website for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. You can create an account there to bookmark certain roads to check traffic each day. Since this is a busy interstate cross-section, you should be prepared for traffic any direction you head.
- You’ll need bug spray here with DEET in it and because of the humidity you’ll need to re-apply it often. Mosquitos here can be annoying but also dangerous if they carry a disease. While you can’t avoid the mosquitoes, you can reduce the risk of bites by wearing bug spray and bringing bug bite lotion with you into the wilderness.
- Slidell has a drug problem, like many American cities facing the opioid crisis. A summer sting led to more than 100 arrests and hundreds of fentanyl pills taken off the streets. Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that can be fatal even with just a few grains of the product. Usually a person won’t even know there is fentanyl in the drug, as it’s used to “bulk” products like cocaine or meth. If you suspect any drug activity, please call the police to help the fight against drugs.
- You should check with your mobile phone provider to see coverage areas in this part of Louisiana. With so much rural and wilderness space, you might end up in a lot of dead zones. If you are kayaking or using a SUP, bring a waterproof case for your mobile device. I prefer the ones that float in case I drop mine in the water.
- You’ll be about 30 miles from the French Quarter of New Orleans and traffic can be pretty intense in this area. You might want to rely on taxis or rideshares to cross the lake, so you don’t have to find parking and risk a car break-in. Just be sure to arrange a ride home ahead of time, so you aren’t left on the New Orleans streets looking for a ride.
- If severe thunderstorms are in the forecast, plan for a day inside. Many tour boats won’t go out in severe weather, and you don’t want to use any company that would anyway. You should stay inside from the first rumble of thunder under 30 minutes after the last rumble.
- You’ll need a fishing license from the Department of Wildlife and Hatcheries, even if you’re going on a fishing tour. Some guides might provide the license, but you can also purchase one online before you arrive. Be sure to carry a legal ID and the license whenever you are fishing.
- Yes, a man was killed by an alligator here after Hurricane Ida in 2021. It was in a flooded area during a very chaotic situation. This is not a common occurrence, but it’s a good reminder to study alligator safety because you won’t find a part of this region that is alligator-free.
So... How Safe Is Slidell Really?
Louisiana is one of the most dangerous states in the country, so being a safer city in Louisiana is still going to come with some risks.
However, Slidell is leaps and bounds safer than New Orleans, making it a great place to stay with your family.
Theft rates are very high here, but half of those are from shoplifting.
If you see someone taking items from a store, don’t intervene.
Let the store manager know and leave.
You never know when a thief is going to be armed.
You should also lock your car when you park and don’t leave valuables inside.
In 2021, 23% of violent crimes were against strangers, making the risk for a tourist even lower.
Don’t go looking for trouble (or drugs or fights) and you should be able to enjoy your time here.
Please know the safety rates in Louisiana can vary greatly from city to city, so review all our New Orleans area cities to get a better picture of the region.
How Does Slidell Compare?
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- Visas - You'll need a U.S. State Department-issued Visa or Visa Waiver to get through Customs at the airport or port of entry. You won't need to show the Visa as you travel around the area, so store it somewhere safe during your visits. Keep your passport on you as a legal ID.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar in Louisiana and Mississippi. Try to book as much as you can ahead of time, so you limit the times you pull out a wallet. Exchange currency from the safety of the airport and don't use public ATMs.
- Weather - Winter can have some bitterly cold days, but it's pretty rare. Mostly you want to find ways to keep cool, and that starts with packing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Pack more than you think you'll need because you'll easily sweat through your clothing, especially in the summer. Summers can be oppressively hot. There's no way around that. Bring sunscreen and keep hydrated.
- Airports - Louis B. Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is 45 minutes from Slidell, and the Baton Rouge Regional Airport is about 90 minutes away.
- Travel Insurance - You'll want travel insurance for your flight or cruise and be sure to purchase it when you get the tickets, so the policy goes into effect immediately. Review the paperwork you'll sign for swamp tours, as you'll likely sign away all responsibility of the tour company. You'll want some kind of health insurance just in case of an accident or health emergency.
Slidell Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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