Mr TTR & I are travel nuts (we are semi-retired, so we have the time at this point in our lives)
We did a Pre-Wedding – Wedding – Honeymoon Extravaganza around the Christmas Holidays when we got married (US South – Florida Keys – Caribbean Cruise)… 1 Province, 14 States & 8 Countries in 5 Weeks.
We spent 3 Days & Nights in New Orleans. Our first trip there ever, and we loved it, we will be returning.
Like yourself, I’d heard all the stories, so I admit I was a bit apprehensive.
In the end I used my good old “everyday street smarts” and was fine.
We stayed in the Garden District… and loved it. Gorgeous area (big old Southern Mansions). It was cheaper than staying downtown or in the French Quarter… it was also quieter, cleaner, and the distance wasn’t a factor, cause even with cab-fare it was waaay cheaper than elsewhere.
It is true that in New Orleans a “good area” will border closely onto a not so great one. We took a City Tour one day, and our Driver was a great chap… and when driving us back to the Hotel, we went thru the neighbourhood adjacent to the Garden District (short-cut) and I don’t know the name. BUT he pointed out that we shouldn’t venture in this area as a Tourist, and certainly not safe after dark (when the area is alive / wakes up). He said there was a lot of violence in this area, and it is home to a lot of drug-dealers and the like.
We heeded his info, and as I said, we took cabs most places anyhow
Daytime, I never felt unsafe anywheres (altho we were also told by several people… Hotel Front Desk – Tour Books – our Tour Guide etc) that the old Cemeteries are a favourite place for muggers to corner tourists. Something to be aware of (we went there on an organized group tour… so no worries)
We never felt unsafe in the French Quarter, Day or Night **.. there were plenty of Police around (visual presence). And we also walked after dark along Decatur to Frenchman so as to check out the places that “the locals” love for food & music.
** Now mind you, I have a very sparkly ERing… so I made the conscious decision to leave it back in our Hotel Room Safe when we were going to be out after dark. In my world, where we Travel a lot, I always play it safe, and make a point of not as they say “flashing” any jewellery or large amounts of money… especially so after dark. It is bad enough that you “look like a tourist” you don’t have to attract any unwanted attention on top of that.
Hope this helps,
PS… Are you flying into N’awlins… or are you driving. We drove in from the North (I-55) and then left to the Northeast (I-10), and I can say that the geography around the Crescent City is spectacular… nothing like I’ve ever seen before… Lake Pontchartrain must be seen to be believed (got a good long look at it and the Levees on our City Tour)… as well as “the Swamp / Bayou”. The bridges alone in this city are spectacular… the I-10 Bridge (The Causeway) that crosses Lake Pontchartrain at 23.83 Miles is the longest continuous bridge in the world… and the one to the west (I-55) that crosses thru the Bayou (Manchac Swamp Bridge) at 22.8 Miles is just as impressive … maybe more so because of the views of the Bayou and the life within.
My Best Advice… start reading up on New Orleans and surrounding area…
Wikipedia and a Good Map (I like Google Earth / Google Maps when I am on-line) is a great way to start. Wikipedia is especially nice cause you can click around.
There is so much to see and do in New Orleans one could EASILY spend a week there (which is WHY we are going back)
After Wikipedia, you should also check out the Tourism Websites for New Orleans & Louisiana
New Orleans Tourism = http://www.neworleansonline.com
Louisiana Tourism = http://www.louisianatravel.com
And don’t forget TripAdvisor… the best way to plan a vacation or getaway IMO
Travel Guide – Reviews (Hotels – Restaurants – Attractions) – Traveller Tips – and of course their Forums where you can ask Questions and get replies from those who know the area best… TA Destination Experts & Locals
TripAdvisor (New Orleans, LA Travel Guide) = http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Tourism-g60864-New_Orleans_Louisiana-Vacations.html