It's so easy to fall in love with New Orleans. This was my second visit to New Orleans--my first visit was in April 2004. This time my husband had a conference to attend so I decided to tag along. The French Quarter is great--it's open for business but tourism is way down. We remember long lineups, full bars, and having to make dinner reservations in 2004. There was none of that this time. People were super-friendly and everyone kept thanking us for visiting and asking us to tell our friends that New Orleans is a great place for a holiday. So here I am, tellin' y'awl 'bout it.
There's been a lot of press about the crime rate in New Orleans post-Katrina. But honestly if you use your common sense, no one will bother you. Some of the other spouses of the conference attendees were surprised when I said I was walking around the French Quarter by myself. As long as you stick to crowds and major streets, there's no problem. I even spent Friday night on Bourbon Street by myself because my husband had a networking session to attend. I sat at the bar and had dinner at Acme Oyster House, walked along Bourbon Street and then listened to the Paulin Bros. jazz band at Preservation Hall. It was awesome.
It was, however, sad to see the devastated areas outside of the French Quarter and Garden District. Entire neighbourhoods, apartment buildings, suburban malls and hospitals are completely abandonned. There are still a lot of scars from Katrina all around the city, 18 months later.