Free New Orleans

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Founded in 1718 by the French, the city experienced a brief period under Spanish rule before Napoleon sold it to the United States in 1803. Possibly the most unique of American cities, New Orleans has a thriving music and arts scene, and is known for its varied cuisines and traditions such as Mardi Gras. The city's economy is sustained by tourism. New Orleans was hammered hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and more than 3 years later still bears the wounds and scars. New Orleans is bounded by Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River, and a great deal of the city is in fact below sea level.

Like a lot of old cities, New Orleans' geography can be confusing. It's streets are not laid down in a regular grid; instead, they follow the twists and turns of the Mississippi River. Locals give directions in relation to the river: 'up' means up river, 'down' means down river, 'towards' or 'in' mean to go towards the river, and 'towards the lake' or 'back' means towards Lake Pontchartrain. Driving in New Orleans can be tricky because many of the streets were laid out before the advent of the automobile, and thus are so narrow that many of them are one-way only.

The French Quarter is New Orleans' oldest and most famous neighborhood. Home to dozens of shops, restaurants, and of course Bourbon Street.

Just up the river from the Quarter is the Central Business District, or CBD, also sometimes called Warehouse District (although many of it's warehouses have been converted into condos and galleries).

Down the river from the Quarter you'll find Faubourg Marigny, the arts and music scene, and the LGBT center of New Orleans. Unfortunately, the Marigny is fast becoming a very expensive place as yuppie hipsters move in and drive up the rents to live in an artsy place.

Down from the Marigny you'll find the similarly bohemian but more residential Bywater.

Above St. Claude Avenue to the north of the Marigny and the Bywater is St. Roch which is a mixed neighborhood with a bit more affordable rent and where more working class folks and artists are moving lately to escape the ever increasing, price gouging rents of the Marigny and Bywater. St. Roch Avenue even has newly put in bike lanes and a children's theater in the works.

Down from Bywater and across a bridge you'll come to the Ninth Ward. This is the largest ward in New Orleans, and is divided into three sections: the Lower Ninth Ward along the river, which suffered massive damage during Katrina; the Upper Ninth Ward which is home to the Musicians Village; and New Orleans East.

Back (or away from the river) from the Quarter is Treme (pronounced "Treh-may"), a historically Creole section of the city. Treme has received a lot of press lately due to the television special exaggerating what happened in the area post Katrina. Treme is a wide section covering almost to the superdome all the way to St. Benard Avenue and bordering the French Quarter and ending at Claiborn Avenue.

The Garden District is located up river from the CBD, and is famous for it's many gorgeous, historical homes.

Back (or away from the river) from the Garden District is Central City and Uptown. Uptown has a number of parks, a zoo, and historic cemeteries. Central City, which lies between the Garden District and Uptown, is the most crime-ridden section of New Orleans, and is to be avoided.

Across the river is the Westbank.

Not part of New Orleans, but should be mentioned are the suburb cities of Metairie and Kenner. The airport is actually out in Kenner, though Kenner itself is all suburban sprawl and private club residencies. Many services are out in Metairie, and the housing is a bit more affordable. Metairie also has a poor man's bar district called Fat City, though Metairie lacks much of New Orlean's charm.

Note: Natives do not call the city 'The Big Easy'. Their nickname for New Orleans is 'the Crescent City'.


Good deals on housing can sometimes be hard to come by. Unlike most cities, there are no massive apartment complexes in the city unless you go all the way out to Metairie or in some parts of the West Bank or New Orleans East. Most of the rental properties are all converted shotguns. Many turn their noses up at shotguns because guests must walk through someone's bedroom to go to the restroom. They are called shotguns because you can fire a gun from the front room and it will go through every room in the house before exiting the back door.

The landlords typically are demanding very high deposits and rent on top of other fees even for trashy apartments in high crime areas. One bedrooms are very rare. If you where here before Katrina, you may remember that the Bywater area and even some parts of the Marigny used to be both filled with revolutionary thought and affordable. However, much like the former artsy areas of other cities, these areas are falling to gentrification. Apartments that went for 450 USD back in 2005 are now fetching 1200 USD a month due to rich yuppies moving in to be "trendy". Unfortunately, the prevailing wages in New Orleans for the average wage slave does not cover the cost of living there. The gentrification is even spreading across St. Claude avenue into the St. Roch area.

Rooms for rent can be found, still. However, even the ones in high crime areas can be as much as 100 to 200 USD a week. Deals can be found, but expect a long search and it really helps to know a local.

Cheaper apartments can be found in the Lower Ninth, Gentilly area, and outskirts of St. Roch across Claiborn if you do not mind a bit of crime or living in an area where half the houses are empty and gutted to this day from Katrina. Indeed, rents go from 300 USD to 600 USD for one bedroom and 450 USD to 800 USD for two bedrooms. Only thing is that many of these apartments are "unfurnished". In the Ninth Ward and Gentilly this means more than just no furniture like you would expect - it means no stove, refrigerator, or air conditioning units as well! A well known slumlord is Carson Company Realtors who owns these places. They are brutal on rent and never fix anything, but if you need cheap rent in a less than desirable area, these guys are the place to look.

The best times to look is right after Jazzfest right before it gets hot (May). New Orleans has a very transient population and many seek to move to better climates to avoid the nasty humidity. Many of the local French Quater restaurants and hotels also cut hours or layoff folks after Jazzfest because of decreased tourism business volume. Also, the major colleges of Tulane, Xavier, UNO, Dillard, and Loyola are graduating.

Ancona's Gym and Martial Arts. While originally a training camp for Mixed Martial Arts in Metairie, fight promoter Joe Ancona rents cots to folks needing a place for 100 USD (2011) a week. You get free use of the gym and classes as part of the deal. Hard drug use is grounds to get your ass kicked by a guy that wrestles gators, pot use is do not ask/ do not tell and may still get your ass kicked, and drinking is tolerated as long as it is done in Fat City and not the gym.

Belle Reve

  • Belle Reve
  • 504-945-9455
  • Transitional, permanent, and hospice care for adults with HIV.

Desiree Community Housing Cooperation

  • 504-944-2727
  • Will cover one month's rent if you have a job and a lease.

Homelessness Prevention Program

  • 504-872-0347 (ask for Darlene)
  • Will cover one month's rent, mortgage, or utilities.


  • 1024 Elysian Fields Ave
  • 504-943-0044
  • Six month waiting list for free housegutting.

The Green Project

  • 2831 Marais St
  • 504-945-0240
  • [ The Green Project]
  • Recycles and sells used building materials.

New Orleans Women's Shelter

Covenant House

  • 611 N. Rampart, open 24 hours
  • 504-584-1111
  • Covenant House New Orleans
  • Offers shelter to homeless youth 16-21. Education, case management, job readiness program, gardening and restaurant work programs, daycare, GED programs, drop-in medical clinic are among its services. Rent on sliding scale. No facilities for couples, will take families on case-by-case basis.

Section 8 is not available unless you either had a voucher before Katrina, or can document that you were homeless in New Orleans before Katrina. Even if you had a voucher before Katrina, section 8 is such a mess right now that there are massive wait lists lasting years.

Some landlords are now affiliated with the Road Home program. If you were a Hurricane Katrina evacuee, you may qualify for lower rent. Most of these places are located in Treme and Mid-City and are usually houses divided up into efficiencies on up towards 2 and 3 bedrooms.

Squatting is fairly easy as there are still numerous damaged houses left over from Katrina where folks never had the money to fix them and never moved back. Theses houses are spread throughout the city and the suburb towns. Most of these houses are located in the high crime Gentilly area and lower ninth, however, we have seen abandoned houses even within the Marigny and Bywater proper. Just be careful because many of these houses are very unsafe and about to fall apart from being in bad shape before Katrina and are outright insane unsafe after.

If you are going to go the cheap tent outdoor homeless camp route, New Orleans is pretty much building sprawl from the Airport at Kenner to near NASA in New Orleans East and everything beyond that is swamp. However, if you go to the Westbank and head past 90 towards Boutte, there are actual woods. Just be careful because the cops in Westwego, Gretna, and those areas have a reputation of being evil pricks. And, of course, being out in Jefferson Parish/ St. Charles Parish kind of defeats the whole selling point of New Orleans... but at least you are somewhat close. Sadly, last year the homeless tent camp on the Westbank in a patch of woods between the Mississippi River and Algiers was "cleared out" by city officials and they cut down all the brush and trees, making it not campable.

Many homeless are lately congregating under the I 90 overpass right near the downtown bus and train station in an ad hoc camp with sleeping bags and occasionally even tents. However, we encourage you find a different area as NOPD occasionally roughs up and harasses folks that hang in this area as it is right out in the open.


Common Ground

The Ozanam Inn

  • 843 Camp St
  • 504-523-1184
  • Ozanam Inn
  • Provides 3 meals a day no questions asked. Also has a limited number of beds for men only and can assist with missing IDs and birth certificates, and basic legal services.

Feed the Hungry Food Pantry

  • 1528 Oretha Castle Haley St
  • 504-524-2959
  • Open 1-3 pm, must bring ID, proof of income and utility bill.

Broad Street Mission

  • 138 N. Broad St
  • 504-822-1342
  • Provides hot lunch weekdays at 11:30. Also provides basketball (Monday, 5:30), men's addiction recovery group on Saturdays, and a learning center for children aged 4-12. Habla espanol.

Holy Faith Temple Baptist Church

  • 1325 Governor Nicholls st, around back
  • 504-525-0856
  • Food bank on Tuesday and Thursday 10-4, hot lunch Thursdays 12-2

Food For Families

  • 1800-522-3333
  • 7649 Townsend Pl
  • 8-5, M-F. Free food boxes for seniors and mothers of children under 6 who are not already on WIC. Must provide ID and proof of income.

St. Joseph's Church

  • 504-273-5577
  • 1803 Gravier St
  • M-F, 8-2:30. Arrive at 12:45 for lunch at 1. Also provides laundry services, last load at noon. Showers provided until 12:45. Food pantry on Thursday and Friday for neighborhood residents only; also provides financial assistance for neighborhood residents. Legal services provided include legal aid (Monday and Wednesday, 8am), notaries T,W,Th at 12:30, birth certificates and IDS Monday and Tuesday 8-noon, as well as mental health and prescriptions daily.

St. Augustine

  • 1210 Governor Nicholls
  • 504-943-0594
  • Provides outreach and utility assistance to Treme residents Tueday and Thursday, 10-2.

- Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter used to give out free day old donuts around 9 or 10 each night. - Also the Food Quarter in Jackson Brewery Mall would give out free food to those who came in and politely asked right at closing time around 9 at night. These may no longer be doing this. This info is what was done when our contributor was growing up in the area before Katrina hit. But it doesn't hurt to check it out and see because it could get you a free meal.

Farmers Markets[edit]

If you're interested in buying or selling locally grown food, art, or other goods, then check out some of NOLA's many public markets.

Arts Market of New Orleans

  • Palmer Park, S. Carrollton and S. Claiborne Ave.
  • Fourth Saturday of each month 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Broad St Bazaar

  • Robert's Parking lot, Broad St. at Bienville.
  • Fourth Saturday each month 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Bywater Art Market

  • Royal St at Piety.
  • Third Saturday each month 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 504.944-7900

Camellia City Market

  • 333 Erlanfer St, Griffith Park in Olde Towne, Slidell.
  • Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to noon.

Crescent City Farmers Market

  • Corner of Magazine and Girod Street
  • Saturday and Tuesday 8-1 p.m.

Covington Farmers Market

  • 609 N. Columbia Street, Covington.
  • Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and the Covington Trailhead Wednesday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 985.892-1873

French Market

  • 1008 North Peters St.
  • Open 7 days a week 504.522-2621

Freret Market

  • 4400 Freret St.
  • First Saturday of the month, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 504.638-2589

German Coast Farmer's Market

  • East Bank: Ormond Plantation, 13786 River Road, Destrehan.
  • Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon West Bank: 13969 River Road, Luling (0.7 miles north of I-310 exit) Wednesday 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Gretna Farmers Market

  • Huey P. Long Avenue between 3rd and 4th, Gretna
  • Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Harrison Avenue Marketplace

  • 801 Harrison Ave
  • Every second Wednesday of the month, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Mandeville Trailhead Market

  • 675 Lafitte Street in Mandeville, LA.
  • 985.624-3147 or

Mid-City Green Market

  • 3700 Orleans Avenue at the American Can Company
  • Thursday 3 pm to 7 pm rain or shine. 504.483-6314

Sankofa Marketplace

  • At the corner of Caffin St. and Claude Ave, Lower Ninth Ward
  • Every second Saturday.

Upper Ninth Ward Market

  • St. Claude Avenue at Gallier Street
  • Saturday, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. 504.482-5722

Vietnamese Farmers Market

  • 14401 Alcee Fortier Blvd
  • Saturday, 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Westwego Farmers and Fisheries Market

  • 484 Sala Avenue and Fourth Street, Westwego.
  • Saturday 10:00 a.m. 504.341-3424 ext 209

Medical Care[edit]

You should first check Nola Free Healthcare a guide to the free and low-cost medical clinics in New Orleans, created by a Tulane medical student. En espanol y en Portuguese.

Healthcare for the Homeless

  • 504-658-2825
  • 2222 Simone Bolivar, 2nd Floor
  • You must have a letter from a homeless shelter. Includes dental and pediatric services.

Drop-In Center Youth Counseling

  • 1428 N. Rampart
  • M-F, 1-5.

Covenant House Tulane Walk-In Clinic

  • 504-584-1167
  • 611 N. Rampart
  • Helps with prescriptions

Common Ground Health Clinic

  • 504-361-9800
  • 1400 Teche St. (Algiers)
  • Walk-in health care, an herbalist, HIV testing, vaccines, and physical therapy. Mon 2-5 pm, Tues *9am-12noon, Weds 10am-3pm, Sat 12-3pm.

Causeway Medical Clinic

  • 1800-749-7265 (24 hrs)
  • 3040 Ridgelake Dr. (Metairie)
  • Pregnancy and abortion services.

Ida Hymel Clinic

  • 1111 Newton St.
  • 504-364-4024
  • Free pap smears.

Women's Health Clinic

  • 504-524-8255
  • Gyno, prenatal/midwife, sexual health care, counseling. Tues and Thurs only.

Planned Parenthood

  • 504-897-9200
  • 4018 Magazine St.
  • Contraception, STD testing, OBGYN, etc.

Tooth Bus, Children's Hospital

  • 504-342-7874

Rivertown Optical

  • 400 Williams Blvd
  • 504-461-5500
  • Low-cost eyeglasses (about $22 for a complete pair)

Louisiana Agenda for Children

  • 1720 St. Charles Ave
  • 1-800-486-1712
  • Excellent resource if you have children, are under 19, or are pregnant.

New Orleans Musicians Clinic

  • 2820 Napoleon Ave
  • (504) 412-1366
  • Provides low-cost health care to all New Orleans musicians, vocalists, Mardi Gras Indians, and their family members over 17. Copay is $10, and they may be able to arrange a free ride for you to and from the clinic.

Free Care Program at University Hospital

  • 504-903-3136
  • 2021 Perdido St
  • Provides six months of free healthcare to those who make $2k or less. Apply in person.

Access Pregnancy

  • 504-469-9996
  • Free pregnancy tests, MD referrals, and Medicaid applications. 8:30-4:40, M-F.

St. Thomas Community Health Center

  • (504) 529-5558
  • St. Thomas Health Center
  • 1020 St. Andrew St
  • Mammography, breast exams, HPV tests, gynecologic exams, and Pap smears provided.

Take Charge

  • Take Charge
  • 1-888-342-6207
  • A program for Louisiana residents who are female, aged 19-44, and who are without health insurance (or who's private insurance does not cover family planning) but who do not qualify for Medicaid. Take Charge will provide up to four visits per year for the purposes of reproductive health, and supply IUDs, diaphragms, laboratory tests, etc. You must re-enroll every year.

Legal Aid[edit]

If you get arrested in New Orleans proper, you will be going to Orleans Parish Prison located at the corner of Broad Street and Tulane Avenue. Bear in mind that if you get hauled in on the weekend before Mardi Gras, you will be in there until after Mardi Gras (even for simple things like disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct) because all legal and judge's offices close.

The Pro Bono Project

  • 615 Baronne St, Suite 201
  • 504-581-4043

ACLU of Louisiana

  • 504-522-0617

Katrina Legal Aid Project

  • 504-861-5600
  • Katrina Legal Aid
  • A project of the Loyola Law Clinic that provides legal assistance to Katrina survivors. Call to schedule an appointment. Habla espanol.

Orleans Public Defenders

  • 2601 Tulane Ave, Ste 700
  • 504-821-8101
  • Provides legal assistance to homeless individuals accused of committing crimes in Orleans Parish.

Southern Poverty Law Center

  • 1800-613-0342
  • M-Th 8-8; F 8-5; Sat & Sun 2-6pm.
  • Manages migrant-worker cases dealing with wages, safety, and health. Habla espanol.

CCANO Project Save

  • 504-310-6872
  • Provides legal support for survivors of domestic violence in Orleans Parish. Habla espanol.

Legal Notes[edit]

Alcohol can be served 24/7 in New Orleans. Hard liquor can even be purchased in liquor aisles of convenience stores and grocery stores. It is legal to walk down the street in public drinking alcohol. However, it must not be in a glass container. NOPD will screw with you if you act an ass, though. Bear in mind, that while you can drink pretty much anywhere you want that there are almost no public toilets to drain all the beer away. In the French Quarter, almost all businesses will not let anyone use the restroom unless they are buying something there. Also, while you can drink a beer at the bus stop, you may not drink on the bus.

UPDATE New Orleans city council in December 2010 has voted unanimously to declassify minor pot possession and will be prosecuted by municipal courts instead of criminal courts. Before this measure, you could go to jail immediately regardless of minute amount to await trial or hope someone bailed you out while waiting on court. However, the penalties have not changed, and you will still get a stiff fine and have to pee in a cup for a certain amount of time at your expense and may still end up in jail depending on the judge and your record.

Be careful with drugs outside of New Orleans. Louisiana, despite all the extremely liberal laws concerning booze, still has some of the most oppressive drug laws in the country. Getting caught with even residue in a pipe means going directly to jail to await trial - no begging or pleading allowed.


New Orleans is a party city, and the locals use every excuse to throw a parade. You can find your fill of jazz, amazing food, bars, museums, dancing, art, drinking, buskers, flirting, and every other vice. There are bars on almost every corner and every theme from Goth to service industry to yuppie to tourist and everything in between. There are even 24 hour hour Laundromat bars here where you can get a buzz on while washing clothes! In fact, the only complaint one might have about play in New Orleans is that EVERYTHING has something to do with drinking. There is also sometimes a lack of family friendly activities at times that do not involve drinking. A common saying in New Orleans is that just because you can do something at anytime does not mean it is a good idea to. Use moderation or this Scorpio city will sting you.

Bourbon Street and the French Quarter[edit]

Of course, when discussions come up about New Orleans, images of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street come to mind. Indeed, New Orleans is inseparable and best known world wide for this unique area. Yes, do walk down Bourbon Street once. But, be aware that Bourbon Street is all about over priced beverages, food, and strip clubs to rip off dumb tourists with more money than research abilities. Worse than that is over priced bead shops charging huge mark ups to rip the unwary off located throughout the Quarter. The majority of these shops are owned by the Matwani family and are well known locally to rip off tourists with 9 USD packs of smokes and a reputation of horrid treatment of employees. The oppression can smell as bad as the combination of beer, urine, and mule crap permeating the more touristy sections.

But all is not bad... Go where the locals go for non rip off prices. Unique Grocery on Royal cashes checks for all the service industry no questions asked and has reasonable prices unlike the Matwani's sweat shops. Verti-mart and the Quartermaster not only deliver and have really good food, they are affordable as well. Sydney's on Decatur also serves a local crowd with fair prices.

For bars, with few exceptions, try to go where the locals go. Lower Decatur has a great local and punkish scene. Aunt Tikis, The Abbey (if you like lots of tattoos), and even the bar/laundry mat of Check Point Charlies are great scenes and dive bars with good prices (2 to 3 USD plus tip for PBR).

If the artsy thing is your scene, try Frenchmen Street which is a bit more expensive than lower Decatur but less trashy, much more reasonable money wise, and a much cooler scene than Bourbon Street. There is even a bar off of Frenchmen on Royal Street called the R Bar that gives 10 USD haircuts on Mondays with a free shot of liquor!


The best known festival is Mardi Gras. The actual date for Mardi Gras changes year to year based on when the Catholic holiday Ash Wednesday is, so check your calendar. The actual festivities start about two weeks before actual Mardi Gras and end on Fat Tuesday. Vast sections of the city are shut down for multiple parades with floats and fabulous costumes. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get around during this season as many bus routes may be shut down or wide swaths of the city may be blocked off. During the festivities, parts of the city can become so crowded with folks to be impassable. There has been a tradition of women flashing tits for beads and for the most part (unless it is being very disruptive), the NOPD turns a blind eye to this. However, if you are a guy and attempt to show your penis, the pigs will slam you to the beer and urine soaked ground and haul you to an overcrowded cell cage with 5 others.

Jazzfest is by far the second most popular festival. It occurs during the last week of April till the first week of may. The actual event is held at the Fairgrounds in Mid-City but unofficial events occur throughout the city. Indeed, while NOLA is a musical city, the city gets even more saturated with music everywhere!There have even been surprise appearances of major artists showing up to local open mics!

Essence Festival is usually held at the Convention Center, and like Jazzfest, has events throughout the city. Essence festival is the largest African American music festival in the region and you can get your fill of old time gospel, blues, R+B pop, and jazz.

Decadence Festival is on Labor Day where gays and lesbians converge on the city for drunken revelry. Occasional (but risky) public sex and gay pride parades are common sights.

Other Play[edit]

Radio Free New Orleans streams NOLA/Louisiana music 24/7. [1]

Julia St, in the CBD near the Superdome, is famous for it's architecture (especially 13 19th-century townhouses known as "The Thirteen Sisters") and for it's art galleries. On the first Saturday of every month, hit Julia St. for an artcrawl and score complimentary cocktails.

A block and a half down from Julia St. you'll find the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) at 900 Camp St. The CAC provides a home for local art, dance, theater, sculpture, and even burlesque. Currently the gallery admission is FREE through July 12, 2009.

Municipal free wireless (ESSID: CityOfNewOrleans) is sometimes available in downtown NOLA. Most coffee shops and some bars have free wireless for customers. The St. Bernard library out in St. Bernard parish has free 24/7 wireless as long as you're sitting next to their library.

The New Orleans Healing Center's mission is to "tend to the mind, body, and environmental health of the resilient citizens of New Orleans." They are opening a yoga center, a cafe serving vegetarian/vegan food and offering job-training to at-risk youth, a food co-op, and an art gallery, among other projects. [2]

The Hands On New Orleans Tool Lending Library will rent out tools for building, painting, fencing, and planting for $10/month or $100/year. An excellent place to get tools if you only need them briefly and/or have nowhere to store toolboxes. 1204 S. White St, open Mon-Sat, 504-304-4705. [3]

Three chemistry students at Loyola manufacture and give away bio-diesel to anyone who wants it. You can contact them at 504-861-5882.

The Cabildo museum in the French Quarter and the Museum of the Confederacy used to be free on Wednesday afternoons.

New Orleans has an I-Max and an aquarium located at the foot of Canal Street in the French Quarter.

The New Orleans Saints play in the Superdome and are considered demigods here (and in the entire region including Mississippi) regardless of how much they suck or rock year to year. Most folks in New Orleans love the Saints and will become angered if anything bad is said about them. Pray to your god Drew Brees, but realize that his temple at the Superdome may leave you taking out a small loan even for nosebleed seats to be able to come worship. However, if you are here during preseason practice or spring training, you can watch the Saints practice for free. The Saints training facility is on Airline Drive in Metarie and is usually free to all comers.


New Orleans is the "San Fransisco of the South" and has a large open gay and lesbian population. There is even a festival during the summer called "Southern Decadence" where thousands of GLBTs converge on the city. There is a bath house, numerous gay bars and clubs, and even a gay nudist place called "The Country Club" located in the Bywater! In fact, many folks flock to NOLA from the more conservative and oppressive cities in the region like Jackson, MS and Baton Rouge, LA to live an open and accepted lifestyle free of religious right oppression. There are also a number of gay-friendly churches, if that is your thing and a Gay Men's Choir to get involved in if you are spiritual minded.

Lesbian and Gay Center of New Orleans

  • 2114 Decatur St.
  • 504-945-1103
  • Sponsors several support groups and a LGBT book reading group.

Gay Pride New Orleans

NO/AIDS Taskforce

  • (504) 821-2601
  • 839 St. Charles Ave
  • Provides HIV testing, counseling, and a health clinic.


Underground Papers[edit]

The Gambit, NOLA's 'alternative' newspaper. [4] This is a weekly paper. You can pick these up for free. Look for them near coffee houses or other high-traffic areas. The paper usually has scathing political commentary,covers pretty much all entertainment events in greater NOLA, and has a somewhat decent room share and rental classified.


Vialink CopeLine (24 hrs) 1800-749-2673

Metropolitan Center for Women and Children (24 hrs) 504-837-5400

Lesbian and Gay Community Center 504-658-4020

Artist and Musician's Resources[edit]

New Orleans is a musician's city. Whether you busk on Royal Street, play the clubs on Bourbon or Frenchmen, or just jam with your friends on homemade instruments, there are resources to support and help you.

  • Tipitina's Music Office Co-Op provides fully-equipped work space for musicians. Membership runs $10 a month, or $100 for a year. [5]
  • Sweet Home New Orleans provides social services, financial, and relocation assistance for the city's musicians, Mardi Gras Indians, and Social Aid & Pleasure Club members. 1201 St. Philip St, 504-596-4098. [6]

Public Transit[edit]

Getting around New Orleans by car can be an adventure, as New Orleans is a very old city and many of its major roads were laid down before the automobile. These narrow roads are often one-way, and some like Tulane Ave have "no left turn" signs posted for miles. New Orleans' roads are also extremely rough and prone to potholes compared to most other US cities. If you are just visiting the French Quarter and nearby areas such as the CBD or Uptown, it might be easier to just not bring a vehicle at all. A great deal of New Orleans can be navigated on foot, by bicycle, in a streetcar, or on a bus.

Do not attempt to cross the Crescent City Connection bridge or Huey P. Long bridge on foot or bike as it is illegal and pigs have been known to harass folks attempting to cross.

RTA runs the buses and streetcars. Fares are (as of 2011) $1.25 for local buses (except for the Kenner Loop, which is 80 cents) and for streetcars. A one-month unlimited ride pass is $55. The bus system is pretty much 24/7, but in the wee hours of the night only the main lines are run and service cuts back to once an hour. [7]

JET is the bus you need to take to get to some places on the Westbank, Metairie, Kenner (and the Airport). It costs $1.25 ($1.50 for airport) [8]

Both JET and RTA have bike racks equipt on the front of the buses, so you can use the bike and bus in tandem. However, the worrisome folks at JET require you to show a bike card to use it and are strict about it. Getting a bike card is free and only requires you to watch a short video on how to properly use the racks. JET has offices on the Westbank and out in Metairie if you occasionally need to take a bike out to these places. Call there for days when they issue passes.

The Algiers ferry leaves the Canal St. docks every half-hour starting at 6 a.m. and ends around 11 PM. The trip is free for pedestrians and about $2 for cars. The city skyline at night from the ferry is quite a spectacular view, and should be seen by everyone at least once.

The LA Swift is a cheap way if you need to go to Baton Rouge, the state capitol. It is cheaper than Greyhound. It costs only 5 bucks and leaves you at the main public bus terminal of Baton Rouge. Pick it up at Elk Place and Canal in New Orleans. It runs every day from around 5-6 AM till 6 PM depending on day about every 2-3 hours. They will also let you stick a bike in the luggage compartments under the bus, You will be glad you brought that bike in Baton Rouge due to the unreliable nature of that bus system in many parts of the city. [9]

Assorted Freebies[edit]

Baptist Friendship House

  • 504-949-4469
  • 813 Elysian Fields Ave
  • Offers GED counseling, helps pay for test.

Louisiana Community Prisoner Restoration

  • 1125 N. Tonti, corner of Gov. Nicholls
  • 504-270-7388
  • Employment and housing assistance for non-violent, non-sexual offenders on parole or probation.

God's Kingdom Builders

  • 504-821-1151
  • 2229 Ursulines Ave
  • Faith-based, 15-month recovery and housing facility for adults. Offers GED prep and job training.

Treme Community Center

  • 1600 St. Philip St.
  • Hosts after-school and evening activities such as basketball, weights, piano, choir, sewing, etc. Walk-in after 5pm, ask for Coach Stewart.

North Rampart Community Center at St. Mark's

  • 504-529-1681
  • 1130 N. Rampart St.
  • M-F, 3-6:30 pm
  • After-school program for K-12, includes art, homework help, computer literacy, snacks, also runs a summer camp. Ask for Coach Parker.