Jan 12, 2013 - Countries, Louisiana, Travel, USA    6 Comments

Is New Orleans Safe?

I’ve been getting comments and emails about how dangerous New Orleans is or feels and to be really careful.

My guide today brought up this issue and said that New Orleans’ recovering tourism industry can’t afford to take tourist security lightly. If you’re not feeling safe, then you’re in an area where you shouldn’t be, or you had too much to drink at a pub on Bourbon Street and wandered into the wrong alley. Plainclothes police abound. The usual precautions for tourist areas (watch your belongings) are in order, of course, but you’re not going to get mugged wandering around Decatur Street at any time.

I’m going to be exploring the French Quarter exclusively on foot, so I’m not concerned about my safety. I’ll just be keeping a tight hand on my valuables, the way I would anywhere else.

I can’t wait to start exploring!

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6 Comments

  • New Orleans, like any city, is as safe as you want to make it. If you keep aware of where you are and what is going on around you then YOU are in control of your own situation.

    This does not apply to you specifically Rae, but to travelers in general, wherever they are. Do not flash money or wealth around when you are in poor areas. Use a money belt or other secure hiding place for emergency cash and keep only small bills in your pocket or wallet, just enough for the day. There is nothing worse than pulling out a hundred dollar bill to pay for a cup of coffee in a crowded cafe. If you do, you are asking to be robbed. Stay away from suspicious activity like drug sales areas or gang activity. If suspicious looking characters start assembling near you, leave. This could be in a restaurant, bus, neighborhood or whatever. Always know what is going on around you and soon this will become natural. Be respectful of the locals, you are in their neighborhood and they are your hosts. It is their country and they deserve your appreciation and respect.

    This advice was given to me by a retired CIA employee who we met in Mexico. He has served all over the world. It is what he calls “Situational Awareness” and it has kept us safe while traveling mainland Mexico for six winters now.

  • Well stated.

    I recommended reading Gavin De Becker’s The Gift of Fear, which is about honing, and listening to, your instincts.

  • Good subject. How many times have we heard people say, “I should have known better” or, “I should have seen it coming”? We do not have to stop exploring to be safe.

  • 30 years ago I was followed back to my hotel in the Frenc Quarted after a solo dinner. You know when you are being followed if you keep you eyes and ears open. I ducked into the hotel bar, and my tail did too, but when I walked up to the bartender and said “please call security, I think someone is following m e” my tail quickly darted out the door. I wasn’t scared, I was just cautious. I was working as a traveling trainer for McGraw Hill Co. Another time I asked some cops todrive me to my motel that was just up the street from the Dennys I was at. An older guy was being way to attentive and watching me. I knew the parking lot of the motel was darkish. No problem. The cops were having coffe and quit happy to provide a safe escort.

    If something isn’t right. Don’t put youself in a vulenerable situation.

    If nothing else, knee them in the balls! 🙂

  • Good advice merikay!

    It is never possible to be 100% safe even if we never leave home but it is easy to reduce the odds of trouble finding us.

  • The Peace Corps also teaches Situation Awareness as the primary safety tool for their volunteers. Most tourist get in trouble because they are in what is known as “White Fog”, that is not aware of the situation around them.

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