Warnings and Dangers in New Orleans: Bad Neighborhoods
New Orleans may have king cakes, jazz sensations and muffalettas, but they also have their fair share of criminals and sketchy areas too. Learning more about the warnings and dangers of New Orleans can make any traveler have a better time with a safe and memorable trip.
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The Neglect in Mid-City and Basin Street Projects and Baudin Road
One of the best ways to tell that a neighborhood holds the promise of crime is by checking how well-kept its homes and businesses are. People who know New Orleans will tell you that if you want to play it safe, you should be sticking to places like the Garden District or Carrolton — both of which are spots swimming with tourists. A select few people will say that the tourists will attract the muggers, but there seems to be safety in numbers when it comes to The problem is that mid-city (which includes Treme), Baudin and Basin are close to the places you want to be. For example, mid-city is just north of the French Quarter. It includes Canal St, and is right by the famous cemeteries that are practically a must-see when you’re in town. It also means that if you take a wrong turn, you can quickly lose your way.
Unrest in the Wards and on the Streets
The 8th and 9th ward are also places to avoid, as are the streets of North Rampart, South Claiborne and Esplanade — especially at night. You’ll meet homeless people or teenagers who are looking to cause trouble. Typically the people will be out for your wallet rather than to physically harm you, but it’s best to skip these scenarios altogether lest something get out of hand. There’s also Marais Street inside of Iberville which may result in an encounter you will not want to remember when you return home. If a person starts to harass you, do not engage. Neither be rude or give them what they’re asking for. The key is having advanced knowledge to keep away from the dangers, but then also staying street smart if you do head down the wrong path.
The people of this city are mainly friendly, meaning you’re going to get some expert recommendations and tips from the locals, store clerks, and bartenders you’re no doubt going to interact with constantly. Most tourists report feeling safe and have a tendency to blame themselves if something does go wrong — essentially they knew they were taking chances and did so willingly. If you want a stress-free trip, stay in the well-kept, well-populated parts of town, and you should be fine. For the most part, locals and tourists agree that going here is no more or less dangerous than other big cities, but there are still bad neighborhoods to avoid.
Dangerous for Tourists
One of the neighborhoods in New Orleans that tourists should avoid is Mid-City. This area is north of I-10 and runs along Tulane Avenue and Canal Street. It is generally safe to tour the area along Canal Street (North to Esplanade), especially if you are touring the city by way of the streetcar, which runs from Canal to Lakeview. The good news is there is actually several cafes, restaurants and bars in this area and it is where the larger, frequently visited cemeteries are. However, going too far South-West of Canal can be dangerous for tourists. This area was hit extremely hard by hurricane Katrina and it has not fully recovered, so there are a lot of unoccupied homes where the homeless gather.
Basin City Projects
Some of the most iconic cemeteries are located just north of the French Quarter, so tourists often try to visit this area. However, as soon as cross Rampart from either side of Canal Street, you will be going into a dangerous neighborhood, known as the Basin Street Projects and the further you go over I-10, the worse it gets. You should completely avoid this area, especially at night and if you do need to travel in this neighborhood, be sure to do so only by streetcar.
The main thing to remember is that New Orleans is like any other large city, if you aren’t familiar with the area, use caution when going to less tourist populated neighborhoods. The tourist section of the French Quarter is extremely safe, just be careful if you go beyond this area. Also be careful at night, even in the French Quarter and take a cab or streetcar whenever possible to avoid walking into an unsafe area.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 3 Spots to See New Orleans Like a Local
- New Orleans Travel Guide
- Crime in New Orleans and Other Warnings and Dangers
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Editor’s note: The information found here was compiled using real traveler reviews of New Orleans warnings and dangers.