For many visitors to New Orleans (or any city, really), the first thing that comes to mind when choosing which neighborhood to stay in is safety. And that's not unfounded: the crime rates in New Orleans are relatively high.
The Big Easy has seen more than 100 murders annually since 1966, and although that figure has dropped from its mid-1990s high of more than 400 per year, New Orleans still has one of the highest murder rates in the country.
Like other heavily populated cities, most violent crimes in New Orleans take place far from neighborhoods where tourists traditionally visit and, by correlation, where most hotels and B&Bs are located.
Here's an overview of which parts of New Orleans are safest for tourists.
New Orleans Garden District and Uptown
The Garden District and Uptown are the safest areas of the city in terms of low crime rates There are a few traditional bed and breakfasts in this area which are quite pricey but equally elegant and upscale.
The downside is that there aren't many attractions or restaurants in the neighborhood (with the possible exception of Commander's Palace), and you'll find yourself often traveling into other neighborhoods at night anyway in search of things to do
New Orleans Central Business District
As the nickname suggests, the city's Central Business District is home to many of the city's finer hotels. There are stretches of the neighborhood that can be a bit unsafe at night. If you choose to stay here, hotels closer to Canal Street are generally safer.
New Orleans French Quarter
The best bet for a low crime area, like any big city, is New Orleans' busiest section: the French Quarter. You're least likely to see violent crimes in this section, particularly in the heavily-touristed blocks from Bourbon Street to Decatur Street and from Canal Street to Ann Street.
The popularity of this stretch means, however, that it can be a magnet for pickpockets and low-grade scammers. But that volume of people means that violent crime against visitors is very uncommon. Also, the neighborhood is packed with restaurants, so the need to travel to other neighborhoods at night is diminished.
Chef Menteur Highway and Other New Orleans Neighborhoods
Overall, though, most hotels in New Orleans are in areas that are quite safe for tourists to visit and circulate in (the standout exception being those on Chef Menteur Highway, which are largely by-the-hour places).
Folks who are not city-dwellers or experienced travelers, though, should really consider sticking with one of the neighborhoods previously mentioned here, as they are simply safer for various reasons. And you're more likely to be able to find a police officer or some other official who can point you in the right direction if you get lost.
Rental Options for New Orleans Tourists
If you're looking at an Airbnb, VRBO or another unofficial short-term rental, you can use the crime maps provided by NOLA.com or the NOPD, as well as the review functions on your rental website to get a sense of the immediate neighborhood.
It's worth reiterating, however, that less-experienced travelers, newbies to New Orleans and those who aren't familiar with staying safe in an unfamiliar place should consider the neighborhoods above.