Cheap neighborhoods in New Orleans?
March 7, 2009 2:05 PM   Subscribe

What are some fun neighborhoods to live in on the cheap in New Orleans?

I'm moving from Detroit to New Orleans this summer and I'll be attending Tulane (School of Public Health - I hear the university is split in two campuses, and I don't know where it sits in relation to the rest of the city). I want to find a place to live that will be affordable to a poor grad student, one who hates to drive.

I'll be heading down in a week or so to scope out the city. Any tips on places to check out ahead of time would be most appreciated.

And feel free to drop any random wisdom that you think would help a stranger find her way in a strange land.
posted by palindromic to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Everything is affordable (except the french quarter) -- I'm not sure where the school of public health is, but you can't go too wrong living in the garden district. Be close to Canal and you'll have the streetcar to get you to the CBD (where I believe the Tulane med stuff is?) and the Quarter.

Also, the Marigny (SP?)/Bywater neighborhood is a hip kind of place. But hard to get to if you're not on that side of town.
posted by paultopia at 2:13 PM on March 7, 2009

Does it have to be - "New Orleans" per se? You may want to look into living in the burbs. Unless you are tactically aware I recommend Metairie, Harahan, River Ridge maybe old Jefferson. I think there is a Tulane Campus in Metairie?

Good luck.
posted by winks007 at 3:05 PM on March 7, 2009

Broadmoor is pretty good, although closer to the Uptown campus than the Public Health campus. Lower Garden District can be pricey or somewhat cheap, it ranges. The streetcar system is pretty reliable, although the buses on the same system can have reliability issues. I think this is because the streetcars get a lot of tourist traffic (so they run about every 15 minutes). Also, Tulane has an Uptown/Downtown shuttle that starts from the Uptown campus that could get you to where you need to go and still allow you to live uptown. You might therefore consider living in the University area, depending on how much of the other university resources you may want to take advantage of. There are often students on Broadway/Willow streets near the Uptown campus who are looking for roommates.

Get a map, preferably one with streetcar "schedules". The city is laid out in a grid, but it follows the river, so it's awkward to get used to.

Good luck!

On preview: don't try to live in the burbs if you don't want to drive.
posted by Night_owl at 3:08 PM on March 7, 2009

Metairie's transit system can get you to all the way to the N.O. RTA. Trustme.

IANTSFNOT (I am not the spokesman for New Orleans Tourism)
IDLITM (I do live in Metairie)

To N.O. and it's denizens, sorry - but I grew up there. New Orleans, proper - Is probably the last place I would ever live.

Once again my apologies, maybe you shouldn't listen to me. Having been born there, lived there, went to school there, I call them as I see them.

It may be really nice to live in New Orleans, if you're rich or if you don't see "color."
posted by winks007 at 3:30 PM on March 7, 2009

Tulane's School of Public Health is at the downtown campus meaning that it's near the French Quarter. The marigny is a good place to look for affordable housing near to there. Apartments in the central business district are a little pricier, my fried is paying $800/mo for a studio there. I know others have said to check out Metarie, but while it is cheaper, it requires a car. I would never want to depend on public transport in New Orleans, ever. Tulane runs shuttles to uptown New Orleans where student housing is pretty cheap, but they don't run any shuttles to the suburbs.
posted by entropyiswinning at 5:22 PM on March 7, 2009

Does it have to be - "New Orleans" per se? You may want to look into living in the burbs. Unless you are tactically aware I recommend Metairie, Harahan, River Ridge maybe old Jefferson. I think there is a Tulane Campus in Metairie?

Good luck.

Do not live in the suburbs. Those who say it's "five minutes to the city" must have flying magic carpets. Tulane owns a hospital in Metairie and has a campus of their "School of Continuing Studies" in Harahan but the school is based in the city.

The school's main campus, where all the undergrads, law students, MBA's, etc, go is Uptown in the University Area. The Hospital, Med School, and Public Health are all downtown in the Medical District.

The majority of New Orleans is affordable. I'd recommend Uptown/Garden District or Mid-City/Bayou St. John. Both are close to downtown. Avoid the French Quarter or any high-rise apartment/condo buildings, those are going to be pricey.

I'd say "fair market" value in New Orleans, for a decent place uptown will run you approximately. $500 for a studio, $700 for a one-bedroom, $900 for a two-bedroom.

Now, all that said, if you don't have a car, your options are a bit more limited. You'll either have to be on the route of the Uptown/Downtown shuttle (which, as the name implies, takes people from one Tulane campus to another) or the St. Charles or Canal Streetcar.

The best place to look for housing is on Craigslist. As with any city, you need to read between the lines on postings. "Close to streetcar" could mean it's a 20-minute walk. "Drive past before calling" means it's a total dump. New Orleans is weird because the neighborhoods are "checkered" - I live in a fine area but a couple blocks back is pretty ghetto.

There are a lot of independent landlords that only own a building or two, and a couple of big companies. I recommend staying the hell away from my landlord, HR Properties (listed under the phone numbers 616-3986 or 616-3759). I've also heard bad things about Riverlake properties.

I'm sorry, have I blabbered on and on too much?
posted by radioamy at 9:42 PM on March 7, 2009

The Tulane uptown campus area is nice. You can stroll through Tulane and Xavier, walk through Audubon park thru the zoo to the Mississippi.
posted by forrestal at 7:45 AM on March 8, 2009

I second what radioamy said (hi radioamy!), and add that you really, really shouldn't take a place without actually visiting and getting a sense firsthand of the neighborhood and block where you'll be renting. Conditions change significantly block-to-block.
posted by umbĂș at 8:40 AM on March 8, 2009

stroll through Tulane and Xavier

Actually it's a pretty far walk from Tulane to Xavier...and unfortunately for Xavier's students it's not in a great neighborhood.

As a graduate student, you might want to live a little further "downriver" (towards downtown) from Tulane's campus to get away from all the undergrads' noisiness in the University Area. I lived near Tulane's campus for a bit after I graduated and once I was out of school my tolerance for them went way down. However, the riverside of St. Charles Ave by Audubon Park is very nice but probably a little pricier than other parts of Uptown.
posted by radioamy at 9:45 AM on March 8, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice, everyone. We're leaving to visit this Saturday or Sunday depending on the schedule.

A little bit of ghetto doesn't bother me (I live in freaking Detroit, for chrissakes), but I am a little weirded out by the pictures on google maps of one house alone in a sea of boarded up houses, blah blah.

An other responses are more than welcome.
posted by palindromic at 7:47 AM on March 11, 2009

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