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New Orleans has long drawn unwelcome attention for its high crime rate. Tourists are seldom the target of major crimes but can, like other citizens, be the target of pickpockets and handbag-snatchers. The New Orleans Police Department regularly patrols the French Quarter. Still, common sense is invaluable.

Know where you're going or ask the concierge at your hotel about the best route. In the French Quarter, particularly if you're on foot, stay on streets that are heavily populated. In other areas of the city it is often advisable to drive or take a taxi. High-end neighborhoods and derelict properties back up to one another throughout New Orleans, making aimless strolling a bad idea outside the Quarter. Try to stick to the recommended walks and areas in this book, and be aware of your surroundings.

Call a taxi late at night or when the distance is too great to walk; this is even more important if you've been drinking.