New Orleans in June with Mobility issues
March 23, 2022 2:18 PM   Subscribe

I’m hoping for advice regarding accessible activities and renting a car in New Orleans in June. My family, including my 86 year old dad, will be going for 5 days. I’ve been there before, but not for many years. I’ve never rented a car, but am thinking I need to because of my dad’s mobility issues.

Sometimes he’s fine, but sometimes he uses a walker or chair, and I can’t predict what his status will be in June. Renting cars is expensive! I thought about looking into another solution like a driver where the expense would stay local rather than to some massive corporation. But I’m guessing renting would give us the most flexibility, so any tips regarding minimizing that cost would be appreciated.

He wants to go to the WWII museum, and they have first come first serve wheel chairs available, so I’m not worried there. I’m heartbroken I can’t take them to the Backstreet Museum. I’m wondering if anyone could report on how accessible the Whitney Plantation and the Bestoff Sculpture Garden are.

I’d like to minimize our covid risk by finding out door dining options. Everyone is adventurous eater, so they’ll try anything. We’re staying on the Mid-City on Esplanade and nearby I’m looking at Lil Dizzy’s, Liuzza’s by The Track, 1000 Figs, Lola’s. We’ll drive to other neighborhoods, but wanted to give some examples.
posted by Phyllis keeps a tight rein to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: New Orleans streets and sidewalks are notoriously uneven and thus bad for wheelchairs. That said, the French Quarter and CBD, as prime tourist sites, are an exception. In the CBD, besides the WWII museum, there is the Ogden Museum, which is worth checking.

Never been to the Whitney, but the Bestoff Sculpture Garden is fine, and I'd be surprised if NOMA doesn't have wheelchairs available.

In terms of getting around - public transportation in NOLA is really hit or miss, though if you can get somewhere mostly on one bus/trolley line it's okay. But why not just rely on Uber? Depending on how much a daily rental car is, it may or may not be cheaper to do, especially if some days you plan on mostly being in one area.

The main thing to keep in mind is that in June, it will be most likely oppressively hot and humid. Unless you are immune to such weather, planning a day around a museum + lunch is likely a good target, especially given your dad's age and mobility.

Other ideas: if you rent a car, going out to Cajun Country can be fun- if interested in that feel free to memail me for music ideas - but even if you just make a day trip of it, though they are silly and touristy, the Swamp Tours are fun, and accessible.

The Zoo is also not bad (if you like Zoos) and very accessible - the park is pleasant as well, and there are plenty of nearby restaurants.

Food: I really, really, like Marjie's Grill - they have a lovely outdoor courtyard. 1000 Figs is tasty though unless there was some backyard I've managed to overlook, they don't really have outdoor dinning beyond a couple of small tables out front- you'd be better off with Lola's down the street. If your budget allows, Maypop was the best fancy meal I've had- really special. Addis NOLA is very good Ethiopian, though not much in terms out outdoor dining.
posted by coffeecat at 3:41 PM on March 23

Best answer: You might be able to catch the Backstreet Museum at its temporary home at the African American Museum, but definitely call ahead to check.

It will be much easier just to rent a car, as you say. My only tip is that it tends to be cheaper to pick up and return at the airport than it is at a rental lot in town.

The main building of Whitney is accessible, but the tour of the outbuildings much less so. The sculpture garden is accessible via paved paths, as far as I can recall.

There are tons of restaurants with outdoor dining nowadays, but +1 on Marjie's and maybe check out their sister restaurant Seafood Sally's over in Carrollton. I do also love Lola's. Cafe Degas is right there too, it's not very wheelchair accessible but would be a short walk from car or sidewalk to outdoor table. Have fun!
posted by CheeseLouise at 5:43 PM on March 23

Best answer: The St. Charles streetcar line is considered historic, so it's exempt from ADA and does not have a wheelchair elevator. The Canal streetcar line does. Many of the sidewalks in the French Quarter can be narrow and crowded to navigate in busy areas. On the other hand, Royal and Bourbon Streets have hours where they are closed to vehicles, so you can easily push a wheelchair down the middle of the street.

Yes, Lola's has a lot of outdoor seating. The CC's coffee shop on Esplanade does, too. So does the Ruby Slipper on Broad (breakfast and lunch).

If you don't want to rent a car, you can just try ride sharing or a cab company like United Cabs.
posted by Leontine at 5:52 PM on March 23

Best answer: Just wanted to add that at the new airport you have to get on a bus to take you a long way to get to the rental car area. You might want your family to wait in the terminal while you go get the car if possible.
posted by serendipityrules at 7:34 PM on March 23

Anecdotal data point: I was last in NOLA during Mardi Gras, when public transit usually goes haywire due to the parades; but rideshares like Uber and Lyft were still working, and I found them extremely reliable.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:52 AM on March 24

Oh duh, forgot to add my actual point: If Lyft and Uber were still reliable during MARDI GRAS, then this speaks well of them also being reliable the rest of the year as well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:57 AM on March 24

Go get po'boys at Parkway, which IMHO is the best in the city and also located in Mid-City. Plenty of outdoor seating.
posted by radioamy at 10:26 PM on March 24

Response by poster: Thank you all for the answers!
I found this list (New Orleans Patio Guide 2022) and thought it might be helpful to someone else as well.
posted by Phyllis keeps a tight rein at 4:32 AM on May 12

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