I really want to visit NOLA this June and I keep hearing different ideas of how safe it is. I am pretty street smart: I’ve lived on my own in Chicago and London and have visited Bologna, Florence, various parts of the UK by myself, and spent a few days in Paris partly on my own (with the added fun of semi-crap Italian and French language skills) and never had a problem. So I think I’m pretty street smart. Added bonus, I would have my own car down there (I know not to bother driving into the Quarter and I am a big fan of walking). I would obviously visit Bourbon Street and the Quarter, but I’m more interested in tooling around the Garden District, a museum in Treme (during the day, of course), look at some old houses and antiques and records, maybe a cemetery tour (I know not to go into one alone), catch Rebirth at the Maple Leaf, eat some regular people southern food (Emeril’ s and similar ilk are out of my budget and not really what I’m after), and visit a lady in Holy Cross (also during the day). I’m not a huge drinker so I won’t be getting stupid wasted…I see myself drinking a lot more coffee and eating a few beignets. I don’t think this sounds outrageous, but my family knows a guy who is from there and says it’s nuts. I haven’t been there myself, so it’s hard for me to have any reasonable comeback. So…to those who live there or have been there recently, is this a nutty idea and am I asking for it? Or if I watch my back as I’ve always done and use sound judgement, will I be fine? I just want a more real experience of the city than just Bourbon Street. Thanks.
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You sound like a savvy traveller and it’s good to think of all this before you go – and not let it rule your trip while you are there! It’s good to listen to advice (especially when a family friend knows the city), but let’s face it there would be no tourism if visiting was a “nutty idea”. And there’s loads of tourists. The city has picked itself up after Katrina and needs people to come and spend money and support the community.
There’s a good common sense write up about staying safe on the site here:
I’d also recommend talking to the visitor centre about free or very cheap walking / bike tours if you’re interested in New Orleans’ architecture and culture and want to get out and about a bit more (as you mentioned, ALWAYS visit the cemeteries as part of a group).
The ebook snapshot of USA South will be published on May 8th (see the shop on this site) and has a really good chapter on New Orleans. Or if you are going to do a lot of travel over the years in the US and fancy some inspiration and advice, then the Rough Guide to the USA has just been published. Let us know how your trip goes!