New Orleans is known for a host of attributes like its famous Creole food, abundant alcohol, music of many styles, nearby swamps and plantations, 18th & 19th century architecture, antiques, gay pride, streetcars, museums. Nicknamed the Big Easy, New Orleans has long had a reputation as an adult oriented city. However, the city also offers many attractions for families with children and those interested in culture and the arts. It is a city with a majority Roman Catholic population owing to its European origins.
Famous festivals like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest bring in tourists by the millions, and are the two times of the year when one needs to be sure to book well in advance to be sure of a room. The city also hosts numerous smaller festivals and gatherings like the French Quarter Festival, Creole Tomato Festival, Satchmo SummerFest, the Essence Festival hosted by the magazine, Halloween parading and costume balls, Saint Patrick's Day and Saint Joseph's Day parading, Southern Decadence, and so many more. The city takes almost any occasion for an excuse for a parade, a party, and live music, and in New Orleans most events often have a touch of Mardi Gras year round. Like they say, New Orleanians are either planning a party, enjoying one or recovering from one. Party down!
In the late 1600s, French trappers and traders began settling in what is now New Orleans, along a Native American trade route between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain via Bayou St. John. In 1718 the city was officially founded as "Nouvelle-Orléans" by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, Governor of the French colony of Louisiana, with the intent to build it into a provincial capital city. The early French city grew within the grid of what is now the French Quarter. Louisiana was transfered to Spanish rule in the 1760s, but much of the population retained French language and culture. After briefly returning to French rule, Louisiana was purchased by the United States in 1803. At first the new "American" settlers mostly built their homes and shops upriver from the older French parts of the city, across wide "Canal Street" (named for a planned canal that was never built). Canal Street was the dividing line between the Anglophone and Francophone sections; the street's wide median became a popular meeting place called "the neutral ground" -- and "neutral ground" became the common phrase for the median of any street, still in use in the New Orleans dialect today.
A British attempt to seize the city in 1815 was repelled downriver from the city in [wiki=1586f8a488a08db9904053d62722522e]Chalmette[/wiki] by local forces led by Andrew Jackson, whose equestrian statue can be seen in the square named after him in the center of the old Quarter.
Early New Orleans was already a rich melting pot of peoples and cultures. French Spanish African and Anglos were joined by immigrants from Ireland, Germany, and the Caribbean. While a center of the slave trade before the American Civil War, New Orleans also had the USA's largest population of free people of color. The city grew rapidly as a major trade center on the mighty Mississippi River. In the American Civil War of the 1860s, New Orleans fell to the Union early in the conflict without battle within the city, sparing the city's rich historic architecture from the destruction suffered by much of the American South.
At the start of the 20th century, the then largely neglected old French Quarter started gaining new appreciation among artists and bohemians for its architecture and ambiance. Around the same time, a new musical style developed in the city; the music developed and swept around the world under the name of "jazz".
Although far from the big battlefronts, New Orleans is proud of its contributions to the Allied victory over Fascism in World War II, especially the development and construction of landing craft such as "Higgins Boats" which made rapid landing masses of troops on hostile beaches possible. This legacy is why America's National World War II Museum is located in the city.
A local joke has it that New Orleans really does have four seasons: Summer, Hurricane, Christmas, and Mardi Gras. Summer is certainly the longest; for about half the year, from about late April to the start of October, the days are usually hot, or raining, or hot and raining. Winters are generally short and mild, but subject to occasional cold snaps that may surprise visitors who mistakenly think the city has a year round tropical climate. The high humidity can make the cold snaps feel quite penetrating. Snow is so rare that the occasional light dusting of flakes will make most locals stop what they are doing to stare; they'll excitedly show the phenomenon to local children too young to remember the last time snow visited the city. If you happen to be visiting town during a rare freezing event, be forewarned that most locals have no idea how to drive on iced or snowy roads.
The Atlantic hurricane season (which includes all of the Gulf of Mexico) is June 1 through November 30. The most active month is September.
Between October and April the temperatures are more comfortable. Although heat and humidity can be intense in the summer, a rewarding visit can be made even during this season: start your day early, and do your outdoor sightseeing in the morning. The lush local flora can display a wealth of colorful flowers. In the afternoon, retreat to air-conditioning by visiting a museum, having lunch at a cafe or restaurant, or take a siesta at your hotel. Come back outside when the sun gets low. After dark the night shift of flora comes on duty; especially in older neighborhoods such as Esplanade Ridge, Carrollton, the Garden District, etc with an abundance of night-blooming jasmine, the sweet deliciously scented air can be almost intoxicating.
Despite what many visitors expect, the population, food, music, and traditions of New Orleans are not predominately Cajun. The Acadian or Cajun (from 'Cadien, pronounced kay-juhn) people developed their rich culture to the west of the city, in the [wiki=aac2c1a191ba04cba75ec3d5fcb99c1c]Acadiana[/wiki] section of Louisiana. While there are some good places for Cajun food and music in the city-some are branches of famous Southwest Louisiana Cajun places that opened up locations here-understand that Cajun food and culture are a recent import that has no roots in New Orleans. Unfortunately a number of businesses in the most tourist heavy parts of town decided to profit by selling visitors what they thought they wanted, slapping the term "Cajun" on dishes and products with little to do with Acadiana.
The oldest aspects of New Orleans culture are Creole, which designate the people that were already here before the city became part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. French, Spanish, and African are the primary ethnic and cultural groups in old Creole culture, with additional input from Native Americans and early German immigrants (who became much more numerous later in the 19th century).
Since the Louisiana Purchase, other major immigrant groups and influences on local cuisine and culture have included Italian (mostly Southern and Sicilian), Irish, German, Caribbean and Central American. Hondurans are traditionally the largest Hispanic group in the metro area, but after Katrina, there is now an influx of Latinos, mostly hailing from Central America and Mexico that have decided to stay after helping in the construction boom in the aftermath of Katrina. Smaller populations of Cubans, Dominicans, and Puerto Ricans are also sparsely located throughout the area. In the late 20th century a sizable Vietnamese community was added to the New Orleans gumbo. They can be found in greatest concentrations in New Orleans East and portions of the Westbank suburbs (Marrero, Harvey, & Gretna).
[wiki=6dac511ec18491180fad555980178143]Jefferson Parish[/wiki], includes [wiki=5d7d2a9ec76ab476aa87fde52c655c08]Kenner[/wiki], the location of the New Orleans International Airport, and [wiki=67543032ccefa5cb0ef43cbefd0a8076]Metairie[/wiki], the largest suburb; many hotels and conventions are based here.
*[wiki=dcb98b3e15ceacc1c429ec95224ab522]Saint Bernard Parish[/wiki]: Down river from New Orleans, includes the town of [wiki=1586f8a488a08db9904053d62722522e]Chalmette[/wiki] where the "Battle of New Orleans" took place in 1815.
* [wiki=9408cf546bc310df0d68f58f920a36ba]St. Tammany Parish[/wiki] on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain; includes [wiki=da62093097c16d17c321f1f277bc6d20]Slidell[/wiki], [wiki=6649c69b3404878ff11a14b8338e7bbf]Covington[/wiki], [wiki=698547f9aff3ec9837a7ad435aa6f65e]Mandeville[/wiki] and [wiki=472c5b34864d7295971e926054c5a39f]Abita Springs[/wiki]
*[wiki=be90c5c6728b5c6b7b8c4fcefe6366c9]Plaquemines Parish[/wiki] on both sides of the Mississippi south to the Gulf.
*[wiki=0a90d204dcd96ee1253efe63e38754ea]Destrehan[/wiki]: contains Destrehan Plantation [url=http://destrehanplantation.org],]one of the South's best-preserved antebellum homes.
*[[LaPlace|LaPlace[/url]]: A fast-growing town upriver from New Orleans
Louis Armstrong International Airport (IATA: MSY, ICAO: KMSY)  is the city's largest and primary airport. It located in the suburb of Kenner. Following a dip in service after Hurricane Katrina, the airport has since continued to rebound, hosting 10 million passengers in 2012. It is currently the 6th busiest airport in the southeast. Louis Armstrong International serves 37 destinations throughout North America along with international flights. It is one of only four cities given permission to fly to and from the country of [wiki=33cac763789c407f405b2cf0dce7df89]Cuba[/wiki]. Additional flights are continuously being added and the airport in currently preparing for one its largest expansions by building a new terminal. European vacation packages are available from the UK on several British airlines who offer charter/cruise services nonstop to the Crescent City.
Airlines with regularly scheduled service to New Orleans:
* [url=http://www.aircanada.com/us/en/home.html]Air Canada[/url] (Toronto)
* [url=http://www.alaskaair.com/]Alaska Airlines[/url] (Seattle/Tacoma)
* [url=https://www.allegiantair.com/]Allegiant Air[/url] (Orlando/Sanford)
* [url=http://www.aa.com/homePage.do]American Airlines[/url] (Charlotte, Chicago-O' Hare, Miami, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Philadelphia, Washington-National)
* [url=http://www.copaair.com/sites/gs/es/pages/homepage.aspx]Copa Airlines[/url] (Panama City)
* [url=http://www.delta.com/]Delta[/url] (Atlanta, Detroit, Minnespolis/St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia, New York-JFK)
* [url=http://www.flyfrontier.com/]Frontier Airlines[/url] (Atlanta, Denver)
* [url=http://www.jetblue.com/]Jet Blue[/url] (Boston, New York-JFK)
* [url=http://www.southwest.com/]Southwest[/url] (Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Dallas-Love, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston-Hobby, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Nashville, Oakland, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington-National)
* [url=http://www.spirit.com/Default.aspx]Spirit Airlines[/url] (Chicago-O' Hare, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Houston-Bush)
* [url=http://www.united.com/web/en-US/default.aspx?root=1]United[/url] (Chicago-O' Hare, Denver, Newark, San Francisco, Washington-Dulles)
To get into town a taxi ($33 for one or two people, $14 per person for three or more) is quickest; that's the flat fee from the airport to any spot in the French Quarter or Central Business District. Limo service is also available for rates starting at $35, and the airport shuttle [url=http://www.airportshuttleneworleans.com/]]is $20. See the airport website [url=http://www.flymsy.com/Transportation-Parking[/url]]for other options.
A cheap way to get to town is the Jefferson Transit Airport Express route E2-Airport [url=http://www.jeffersontransit.org/e2airport.php[/url],]which is only $2 (But be warned: The bus has no luggage racks and sometimes the driver won't leave until the aisle is free of luggage).
On weekdays, the bus runs straight down Airline Highway (US 61) to "Tulane at Loyola" in the New Orleans Central Business District; the trip takes 45 minutes. (From this intersection, you can take the Loyola-UPT Streetcar down to the French Quarter. Or simply walk toward the river, deeper into the central business district, and take a left, crossing Canal Street and into the French Quarter.). On weekends the bus terminates at "Airline at S Carrollton" which is far from downtown. From there you can walk 7 blocks northeast until Canal St. from where you can take a streetcar.
The Airport bus stop is on the second level of the airport, outside door #7 near the Delta counter on the west end of the terminal, in the median (look for the sign and bench); the stop is a fair walk from the east end baggage pickup, and you'll probably have to ask at an information desk to find it.
Many major hotels have shuttle buses from the airport. Even if you're not staying at one of those hotels, the shuttles can often be a value for those getting in to town if their destination is near one of the hotels.
In April of 2015, Uber was introduced to Orleans Parish. It is a great and affordable way to get around town. Be aware that while you can Uber to the airport from Orleans Parish, you cannot be picked up at the airport unless you use an Uber Black/SUV.
New Orleans Lakefront Airport (IATA: NEW[2[/url], ICAO: KNEW, FAA LID: NEW) is a primarily charter and private airport, however commercial flights are available to destinations within the Gulf South Region.
The primary artery into and out of the city is Interstate 10, which travels east to west.
Principal north and south bound arteries are Interstates 49, 55, and 59.
Greyhound [url=http://greyhound.com]]and Amtrak [http://www.amtrak.com[/url] service the Union Passenger Terminal, an intermodal facility located at 1001 Loyola Avenue in the Central Business District. It is within walking distance of the Super Dome and Champions Square.
Three Amtrak routes pass through New Orleans: City of New Orleans, Crescent, and Sunset Limited.
The new Loyola Avenue Streetcar line links the Union Passenger Terminal with Canal Street.
LA Swift [url=http://www.laswift.com]]offers service to New Orleans from Baton Rouge. Stops located at Loyola Ave/Howard Ave (in front of the Union Passenger Terminal) and Tulane Ave/Loyola Ave (near the New Orleans Public Library). $5 one-way.
Express bus service to/from [[Atlanta[/url]], [wiki=a25b2dff7d13c650e6c7e6bfb3bba5a3]Houston[/wiki], [wiki=938256dbbd2dc32e07ec3230533e3644]San Antonio[/wiki], [wiki=0d4202ede83d91da6cd4482e1ca91783]Memphis[/wiki], [wiki=87d17f4624a514e81dc7c8e016a7405c]Mobile[/wiki], [wiki=ddbed11cd7be780d4412b0cd78e2872e]Montgomery[/wiki], [wiki=08fa23b4368cabfcc89a4428fc261a2d]Tallahassee[/wiki], and [wiki=d4d2ea493b6a2460e9b9f00712e0a234]Orlando[/wiki]. Double Deck Coaches with WiFi, Restrooms, Power Outlets and seats starting at $1.
Be alert that the streets of much of the city were laid out before the automobile, especially in the older parts of town of most interest to visitors. There are many one way streets, and in some neighborhoods two-way side streets may be so narrow that cars going one way may need to pull to the side to let vehicles going the other way pass when someone has parked on the street.
Due to consolidation of the underlying soils, potholes are common and road conditions are often poor for a developed country.
Street signage is sometimes unclear or missing, and some signage lost in Katrina not yet replaced, although the situation has been improving significantly.
Parking is often hard to find around many areas of interest to tourists, but there are generally pay lots in the area. Hotel parking can cost over $30/night downtown and in the French Quarter. One garage in the Quarter offers a discount coupon that can be printed out before hand. They only charge $15/night when a customer presents the coupon. Here is a link to the coupon: [http://premiumparkingservice.com/promo_overnight.shtml].
Those who don't know how to parallel park may wish to just leave their car in a pay lot when visiting much of the city.
[[Image:New_Orlean_Streetcars.jpg|thumb|New Orleans streetcar network ([url=http://sharemap.org/public//New%20Orlean%20Streetcars]interactive version[/url])]]
Those staying in or near the French Quarter can easily get around by foot, with optional occasional trips by streetcar, bus, or cab if they wish to visit other parts of town. Bicycle rentals are available on Bienville and on Decatur Streets in the French Quarter and Frenchmen Street in the Marigny among other places.
The Riverfront, Canal Street and St. Charles streetcars travel to or near many of the sites listed here. In 2013 a spur streetcar line opened on Loyola Avenue, linking Canal Street to the main branch public library and Union Terminal. Fares for buses or streetcars are $1.25, 25¢ extra for a transfer (good only on another line but not a return trip on the same line). Express buses are $1.50. Day passes are available for $3. Have exact change ready; operators do not provide change.
Public transit is by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority ("RTA") [http://www.norta.com/].
Note on Mardi Gras: During [wiki=446a677798412c669fe95e698a57f682]Mardi Gras[/wiki] in February or March (check calendar since it changes but the final day known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday), transportation of any sort will be a challenge. If you decide to get your own car, parking will be exorbitant (as high as $10 per hour) in the French Quarter and the City Area. Should you try to get a taxi, chances are you will have to call more than one company, and several times each, before you get a booking. After that, you will probably have to wait an average of 45 minutes to one hour. If you wish to travel from across town during Mardi Gras, is strongly recommended that you do get a car and park close to the streetcars or just outside the city area.
The older neighborhoods of the city, (which comprise nearly 45% of the city), were laid out along the banks of the Mississippi River. Except for the grid of the French Quarter, streets were laid out either following the river's curves or perpendicular to them, not according to compass directions or a grid.
For this reason, locals in these parts of town often don't give directions according to "north, south, east, and west". The four directions, instead, are "up" (or "up river" or "up town"), "down" (or "down river" or "down town"), "river" (or "towards the river" or sometimes "in"), and "lake" (or "towards the lake" or "back" or sometimes "out"). Don't be daunted, this makes sense when you take a moment to understand it.
Look at a map of the city. If, for example, you are taking the streetcar that runs along Saint Charles Avenue from the French Quarter to Carrollton, you see that the route starts off going south, then over some miles gradually turns west, and winds up running northwest. This is because Saint Charles reflects a bend in the river. From the local perspective, the entire route goes one way: up (or on the return trip from Carrollton to the Quarter, down).
Know that Canal Street is the up river boundary of the French Quarter. (Keep going further "up" away from the Quarter and you'll be in "Uptown".)
Some streets are labeled "North" and "South", this reflects which side of Canal Street they are on (despite the fact that Canal Street runs from southeast to northwest). The part of Rampart Street on the French Quarter side is North Rampart Street; the part on the Central Business District side is South Rampart. Also, a good map of the entire city is a must, as people from out of town may have to learn to simply match letters on signs to letters on the map. You see, most street names are French and Creole in origin and may be hard to pronounce. For instance, try to pronounce these example street names : Urquhart, Rocheblave, Dorgenois, Terpsichore, Tchoupitoulas, Burthe, Freret. (For the record, locals say "Urk-heart, Roach-a-blave, Der-gen-wa, Terp-sic-cor, Chop-a-two-lis, B'youth, Fa-ret.") Now you understand.
Many major New Orleans streets are divided, with a "neutral ground" (median) running down the middle. For this reason, the traffic lights have no dedicated cycle for a protected left turn. On streets with a wide neutral ground, there is a solution. Imagine turning from an avenue to a street; the solution is to turn left on green, queue in the stretch of the street between the two halves of the avenue, then proceed once the traffic light on the street has turned green. On streets with a narrow neutral ground, there is not enough room for cars to queue. In these situations, left turns are often prohibited; the solution is to go straight, take the next U-turn, then take a right turn when you arrive back at the intersection. Streets such as Tulane Avenue famously have "No Left Turn" signs posted for miles. In these situations, the adage "three rights make a left" comes in handy.
Swamp tours - those with a car can make an easy day trip to the Jean Lafitte Nature Preserve, a free park, with as good a view of local swamp flora and fauna as various pay tours. Honey Island Swamp Tours Inc. - nearly 70,000 acres of the Honey Island Swamp is a permanently protected wildlife area. Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours - Cajun-style boat tour takes you out on an 1 hour and 45 minute trip through the heart of Southern Louisiana's swamplands. Some swamp tours also have vans that can pick you up at your hotel and take you to the swamp tour location, though this can be significantly more expensive option than driving yourself.
*Plantation tours - the Great River Road between New Orleans and [wiki=35c9317e0121c11e32199f94ab6a8be8]Baton Rouge[/wiki] has several fine plantations, "Laura"and "Magnolia Mound" (Creole Plantations) and "San Francisco" are of special interest.
*Battle of New Orleans Site - Battlefield history fans will want to visit the site of the famous battle where Andrew Jackson defeated the British at the end of the War of 1812. It didn't actually happen in New Orleans, but in the nearby community of [wiki=8fb0bbf165ed305546638ac2d7729c2a]Chalmette, Louisiana[/wiki]. Drive there or take a riverboat.
In addition to year-round attractions, a series of celebrations and festivals provide additional interest:
* [wiki=446a677798412c669fe95e698a57f682]Mardi Gras[/wiki]
* New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, [url=http://www.nojazzfest.com].] Also known just as Jazz Fest. Held the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May every year at the New Orleans Fairgrounds, F-Su 11AM-7PM. It is second only to Mardi Gras for importance and size for New Orleans. The festival has been held every year since 1970. The true heart and soul of the Jazz Fest, as with New Orleans, is music. That includes jazz, both traditional and contemporary, Cajun music, blues, R&B, gospel music, folk music, Latin, rock, rap, country music and bluegrass. But it's not just music. This is a cultural feast with food and crafts. There are thousands of musicians, cooks and craftspeople at the festival and 500,000 visitors each year. Visit the two large food areas where you can sample [[Louisiana[/url]] cuisine and see demonstrations from top New Orleans chefs. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen.
* French Quarter Festival [url=http://www.fqfi.org/frenchquarterfest/]]Big free music festival at multiple locations all around the French Quarter each Spring, usually the week before the start of JazzFest.
* Essence Festival [url=http://www.essence.com/sites/all/themes/essence/flat/essence-music-festival-2012/[/url]]Big music festival in the Superdome and Convention Center in early July.
* San Fermin en Nueva Orleans [url=http://nolabulls.com/index.asp?id=0]] Started as a bit of silliness by a bunch of friends in 2007: The idea was to replicate the famous "running of the bulls" in [[Pamplona[/url]], but with roller-derby girls with plastic baseball bats serving as the "bulls" chasing the runners. It caught on, and now attracts thousands of participants and even more spectators each July in the French Quarter and CBD.
* Satchmo Summer Festival [url=http://www.fqfi.org/satchmosummerfest/]] First held in 2001 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of New Orleans jazz legend Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong. Organizers were unsure how many people would come out for a music festival in the August heat, but it was such a success that it's been repeated ever since. On and around the grounds of the Old Mint on Esplanade in the lower French Quarter, first weekend in August.
* Southern Decadence [url=http://www.southerndecadence.net[/url]]Each summer, big event for Gays and those who love and respect the Gay community. This event is on Labor Day weekend.
* Halloween. While not as large a celebration as Mardi Gras, Halloween is still a big deal in New Orleans. Locals begin costuming two or three days in advance, with most of the action Halloween night being, of course, in the French Quarter, which becomes a veritable parade of costumes ranging from the traditional to the satirical. Families can enjoy Halloween festivities in their own neighborhoods or at various events around the city specifically geared for children.
* Voodoo Experience [http://thevoodooexperience.com/[/url] - The pop/alternative/contemporary counterpart to the Jazz Fest hosting multiple stages in City Park over 3 days around Halloween time.
* Neighborhood festivals. Some of the smaller neighborhood based events are listed in the individual neighborhood articles; they often offer great local music and food in a more intimate setting.
Although the city has made great strides in its post-Katrina recovery, many neighborhoods like Gentilly and the Lower Ninth Ward remain in need of help as their residents rebuild their lives. Volunteers and work groups do much of the work for organizations like the St. Bernard Project [url=http://www.stbernardproject.org/]]or Rebuilding Together, working alongside homeowners to restore their lives. Annunciation Mission[http://www.annunciationmission.org/[/url] links volunteers to work projects and provides lodging and meals to individuals, mission trips, and groups of all faiths and sizes.
Hurricane Katrina alerted the world to the danger of hurricanes in this part of the world. However if one visits a place vulnerable to natural disaster, at least hurricanes give warning. During the height of the hurricane season, from July through October, be sure to check with the weather service before going to New Orleans, and if a large storm is threatening the Gulf Coast, consider a change of plans. If one threatens the city while you're there, play it safe and leave early; don't wait for an evacuation order to head away from the coast. If you cannot get out of the area you should at least be sure to get to a hotel located on high ground (as a rule in New Orleans, the older the neighborhood, the higher the ground).
Worries about health risks in New Orleans remaining after the post-Katrina cleanup were fortunately unfounded. The main health concerns are the same for the rest of the U.S. South: If you're not accustomed to the sub-tropical heat, drink plenty of liquids and pace yourself in the sunshine.
The majority of the city's notorious crime problem is manifested away from the parts of town of interest to most visitors, but always be aware of your surroundings. The [wiki=7b82ae7e30ae2aaad098e4c3efbd2731]Central City[/wiki] neighborhood is having the worst problem, and at present should be avoided by casual visitors. The "Back of town" sections of the [wiki=8dd08bbf6a1d7476d4d6e5ac0672c13b]7th 8th and 9th Wards[/wiki] have also been having serious problems. Visitors are advised to check on current local conditions before visiting these neighborhood and take extra care if they go. St. Louis Cemetery #1 should only be visited with a tour group. The city's housing projects should generally be avoided.
While the French Quarter and attractions most visited by tourists are some of the safest areas from violent crimes, beware opportunistic thieves looking for a chance to snatch something from visitors who are not keeping an eye on their valuables. A famous 19th century sign from the Quarter reads: "Beware Pickpockets and Loose Women." Not much has changed. Tourists can be so distracted that they are separated from their common sense and, theoretically, other things. Keep things in your front pockets, and be careful with your digital on Bourbon Street. Don't mess with the cops or the bouncers.
Around parts of the French Quarter and nearby areas with many tourists, visitors can encounter hustlers who will try to get a few dollars from visitors offering anything from a flower to a hat, a foot massage, or even to clean your shoes. Another popular tourist scam is to bet a tourist $20 that the scammer knows where the tourist got their shoes. If the tourist takes the bet, the scammer responds, "You got them on your feet" and demands the $20. Remember that you are under no obligation to talk to people and it's just best to ignore them; the same with the "gutter punks" sometimes congregate on lower Decatur Street.
All and all, though, the government and police are aware of the problem and are there to help you, but you can help them (and yourself) also by using one simple rule: use your common sense (as one would do in any other sizeable city). Being alone and utterly drunk is not the the best state to be in when walking through a deserted alley in downtown New Orleans on a regular busy Saturday night, and during massive crowd-drawers like Mardi Gras or Southern Decadence, one should be more careful than on an average Wednesday afternoon.
Last but not least: looking for drugs or illegal activities will not only expose you to danger; if someone you just met is trying to lure you into a strange part of town for something decadent, assume you're probably being set up for a robbery or worse. Also be advised that Louisiana has the harshest sentencing laws in the country as most felonies carry a mandatory prison sentence, so conduct yourself accordingly.
The Advocate, [url=http://theadvocate.com/news/neworleans]]The city's only daily.
* The Times-Picayune, [url=http://www.nola.com[/url].]Three times weekly.
* Gambit, [url=http://bestofneworleans.com[/url].]Free weekly. Dated Tuesdays, listing events of the week; often available the weekend before.
*AntiGravity Free monthly. New Orleans alternative culture. Found at coffee houses, alternative music venues, comix shops.
* Tulane Hullabaloo, [url=http://www.thehullabaloo.com[/url].]Weekly student newspaper of Tulane University, published Fridays.
* The Maroon, [http://www.loyolamaroon.com[/url]. Weekly student newspaper of Loyola University, published Fridays.