First Impressions Of New Orleans

Driving into New Orleans, I noticed the city was far dirtier than I’d imagined. Whenever I saw photos of New Orleans it always looked so beautiful. I shook it off and decided I’d make my decision on this city after my four-day visit.

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street is the most well-know street in New Orleans, there are always people walking down this road, and it’s always lively. I was pretty excited to check out Bourbon Street and it was one of my first stops. But after experiencing it for myself, I didn’t like it at all.

I would describe myself as being a pretty laid back person and I’m sure the atmosphere here is different during Mardis Gras. But Bourbon was, in my opinion, disgusting. And I’m not talking about the strip clubs and bars; I’m no stranger to either. It was physically dirty, trash everywhere and the sidewalks crumbling apart.

The thing that put me off most was when a homeless beat up drunk followed me along the street, shouting at me for what seemed like ten minutes. It was probably three minutes at most, but in those situations it always seems longer. I felt unsafe on Bourbon, and after that wonderful encounter, decided to avoid it all costs.

I’m not a stranger to being harassed in foreign places; I’ve been cornered by groups of men in Vegas before. But this was something else; it was late at night, down a dark quiet street.

This wasn’t the only time in New Orleans I felt unsafe, but as with anywhere in the world I kept my wits about me and was just fine.

Royal Street

Royal Street was the place I spent most of my time, it was quieter, quaint and was what I imagined New Orleans to be. It was full of antique shops and the area in general was a world away from Bourbon.

My hotel was located on Royal Street. The area we were staying was quiet at night and mostly filled with ghost tour groups.

Decatur Street

We ventured down Decatur Street a few times to get to Frenchman Street. This seemed to be another area where homeless people would hang out and once again I had comments thrown at me. Not near as bad as my previous encounter but still unwanted nonetheless.

Decatur was full of, shall we say, interesting people. A woman wearing nothing but a very small towel was wandering the streets and I noticed another lady peeing against a lamppost in broad daylight. You gotta do what you gotta do, but perhaps somewhere more private would be better?

Overall Impressions

If anything it’s fair to say New Orleans definitely had character. It was a sad sight in some cases. But despite all of this I didn’t let it tarnish the good parts of the city.

If you can look past the bizarre things you might see here, you’ll enjoy the city so much more. My only advice would be to ask your hotel which areas to avoid, or do a little research online.

While bourbon may not have been to my particular taste, it’s fairly safe to walk around as I did numerous times during my trip. Just make sure you avoid the dark quiet areas at night.

There were of course areas of New Orleans that I absolutely loved and knowing what I now know, I wouldn’t hesitate to return to New Orleans.

Have you ever visited New Orleans? What did you think?