What N Rampart and Ursulines -- is that a safe area?
I have been following the other thread about the area around Clarion Hotel.
I will also be visiting New Orleans but I am going to be staying at the French Quarter Courtyard Hotel at 1101 N Rampart Street, at the corner of Ursuline St.
How safe is this area?
Thanks in advance.
I grimace when this sort of thread starts, because they always veer into indignant tirades about race, class, etc. I really wish we wouldn't do them, and if this one turns into a brawl, we'll wipe it off the boards. We've had a nice taste of different sorts of answers, it's been addressed, I hope we can move on and not get stuck.
But first, I'd like to offer some quick general thoughts about this sort of question.....
NO neighborhood is safe. The presence of BMWs and fur coats won't assure your safety. In fact, if I were a mugger, I'd make a beeline to such areas. If you're hoping to travel in a bubble of safety, be advised that that bubble is illusory.
And EVERY neighborhood is safe, so long as you don't make a spectacle of yourself. All sorts of people go to all sorts of nabes every day, and while the evening news is full of horrendous crime reporting every night, the victims are very very very unlucky indeed. I don't know a single neighborhood in the country where one can expect to encounter likely murder or mayhem.
Nobody can assure your safety. But there's no reason to shun any neighborhood. Be smart. Take precautions. Don't go alone late at night, avoid deserted areas, don't flash your Rolex, try not to give off anxious victim vibes. You know, the usual sensible stuff. Which are good ideas EVERYWHERE.
Other than that, I'd urge you to just bust out and live and eat and enjoy the richness of life. A bubble works both ways; it's also a prison. Actually, it's MORE a prison than anything, seeing as how it's illusory and thus locks you in more effectively than it keeps anyone out.
I lived in TREME (supposedly unsafe) for three years, still own rental property there and NO, it is not unsafe! (I am white and female!!!) It only gets unsafe when some people come looking for drugs!!!! And then complain about being robbed etc.So if you are not looking to do anything stupid, it is actually safer than French Quarter any day!!! Check the police reports if you do not believe me. N Rampart is perfectly OK.
If you're used to life in a big city, you won't find Rampart Street threatening. Peristyle, a wonderful NO restaurant, is located on Rampart. Many locals "fear" to tread on Rampart, but it is home to several popular clubs like Donna's, the Funky Butt, and others. There's even a nice little used cookbook store just down the way from the FQ Courtyard hotel. I worked at the JazzFest offices on Rampart and never felt threatened at all when walking around. Some folks are afraid of anyone who doesn't look like them, if you get my drift.
Just a word in defense of Rampart St. While sections of it may be considered by some to be "iffy", it is quite busy with traffic and well-lit in the Quarter area, especially during the days, and at night is also busy with several of the city's hottest clubs and restaurants along the section in the Quarter (Funky Butt, Donna's, Peristyle Restaurant,etc.)
Beyond Esplanade, Rampart veers and ceases to be the main thoroughfare, which becomes St. Claude at McShane Place, about 3 blocks out of the QUarter. Beyond that point it is a pleasant, shady, one-way residential street and is not the war zone some posters make it sound. Things in New Orleans and especially in the Faubourg Marigny (beyond Esplanade) have changed drastically in the last few years. Check out Travel & Leisure's writeup of the nieghborhood in this month's issue for details. Most of the new restaurants on Frenchmen St. are reviewed/listed, and the neighborhood is emerging as a destination in itself.
I guess I'm just trying to encourage everyone to get out of their little box way of thinking, and to stop being so alarmist about the safety issue here. It's not as bad as it was even 5 years ago, and by limiting yourself to a few blocks of the French Quarter, you're missing a big chunk of the city which has its own undeveloped charm. People do occasionally run into problems, usually by not being aware of their surroundings or by being lost, however there are hundreds of thousands of people who visit New Orleans every year with no hassels - you just don't hear about all of them - it's the problems that get blown out of proportion. I've been here 24 years, and the only times I've EVER had trouble I was drunk, alone, and at night in a dumb place to be, so don't do that and you'll be fine. Enjoy!
My wife and I stayed there during the 2001 French Quarter Fest; we had no problems. I should note, however, that we live in Baltimore City, and (fortunately or unfortunately) we are sort of used to being in "iffy" neighborhoods.
So I would say it would depend on a couple of things--one, when you're going (i.e., how much foot traffic is going on while you're there); when you think you'll be going out and how frequently you think you'll want to walk back to the hotel; and whether you feel comfortable in these kind of environs. My wife and I felt like we had to be careful (e.g., stay in lighted areas; stay aware of people around us, don't linger in any one place), but if we were careful, we would be okay.
One big drawback is that the hotel is an awfully long way from Cafe du Monde in the morning!
Last year during Jazz Fest I walked to the Morris FX Auditoruim (which is in Louis Armstong park) during the daytime to figure out where it was for the Van Morrison concert and had no problems nor felt any fear. I sat in the park there off of Rampart outside the auditorium and drank a beer with a fellow who had just got off work and we talked. I then returned that night crossing Rampart at Orleans or St. Peter St, I forget which, and entered the Auditorium entrance area which is on the opposite side of the building away from Rampart.
Granted my nighttime travel was during a high traffic time but it was very lightly populated during the day but neither time was I worried or in fear. Even saying all of this I would not stroll any further along Rampart towards Esplande than I had to, especially at night.
As for the comments of including portions of the CBD in your "safe area", I have had many more confrontations or hinky situations on the opposite side of Canal away from the FQ and the side streets leading into the CDB than I ever had in the FQ or the Fauborg Marigny area.
All that said, NO is a big city with all the components that make big cities what they are and the advice to always be aware is very sound. Almost all experts agree, always look like you know where you are going. Study those maps ahead of time, know the street names and note the crossing streets ahead of and after your target area. Preperation is key.
NO! NO ! NO !!!!!!!
STAY AWAY FROM ANYTHING ON N. RAMPART ST !!!!!
This is NO JOKE !!!
This is NOT just not some KINDA bad neighborhood......
THIS IS FRIGGIN B A D NEIGHBORHOOD !!!!
I use to work a block away and one day almost got raped !!!!
THERE ARE OTHER PLACES !
DON'T TAKE A CHANCE !!!
We stayed there one year during Mardi Gras, before we moved here. It was fine. You don't want to walk behind the hotel, into the area that is called Treme, but crossing the street into the Quarter in the daytime is not a problem. At night, stay on well-lighted streets. Just use common sense and be aware of who is around you, as you would in any city. You should take cabs if you are going to other areas.
My night time safety zone includes Bourbon Street on the west (but possibly the 100-300 blocks of Dauphine Street), St. Peter maybe St. Ann to the north, the river to the east, and Canal (Street maybe Common Street to include the Hampton Inn in the CBD) to the South. My daytime boundaries could extend north to Esplanade Avenue and south through the CBD. Always always watch over your shoulder and who's approaching you on the sidewalk ahead - same as in any city USA.