A friend and I are traveling by car from MI to New Orleans in December. We want to stay in a safe location, and in a place that isn’t too expensive as we are both college students. Does anyone know of great places to stay that are cheap and possibly close to attractions/things to do? We’ve searched sites like hotels.com to get an idea, but we are looking for some more direct insight.
If anyone can give us hotel info, area info, things to do, or forewarnings about bad things, that would be great!
The "safe" part of your question is probably because NOLA made the news due to drug dealers killing each other, and the still-reduced population caused the murder rate to go through the roof (rate = population divided by crimes). However, almost all of the serious violent crime happens within the illegal drug community and all you need do to be safe in New Orleans is use the same basic common sense required in every city in the world. To be blunt, stay away from people who buy/sell/use illegal drugs and the chance of you being the victim of anything worse than a hangover or parking ticket are remote.
All of the hotels in the French Quarter are safe, as are all of the hotels downtown except the "Canal Street Hotel" (which used to be a Days Inn and fell on hard times when it ceased being part of the chain).
Check www.frenchquarterhotels.com and www.villaconvento.com for some non chain hotels in the French Quarter. Two offer free parking for guests: the Le Richelieu has on-site parking and the Villa Convento has off-site parking.
There is always music, but the bands change: Go to www.bestofneworleans.com and click on Music then Listings or to www.offbeat.com and click on Listings, then Music.
Note that music clubs often advertise "No Cover", meaning there is no charge for entering. However, clubs with "No Cover" often require that customers buy a beverage each for every "set " of music (which can be every 20 minutes) so KNOW THE PRICE before you sit down. Clubs do that because some people will sit in the club all evening drinking nothing (clubs only make money from the drinks they sell – not from the music). It is also a good idea to pay for each round of drinks (in clubs on Bourbon Street) as it is delivered so there can’t be any confusion at the end of the evening.
An incomplete guide to bars & clubs:
About certain alcoholic beverages: Realize that some famous drinks are VERY potent compared with regular cocktails that have only 1 to 1 ½ ounces of alcohol. For example, a Hurricane is basically 3 or 4 ounces of rum in something like red Kool-Aid, and a Hand Grenade has at least 4 ½ ounces of Everclear + rum + vodka mixed with melon liquor. They don’t necessarily taste like an alcoholic beverage and it is easy to over-indulge.
Restaurant suggestions: http://www.10best.com/New_Orleans,LA/Restaurants/
Check www.frenchquarter.com and http://www.nola.com/visitor/ for ideas about other things to do.
Hope you have a great time!