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Old 01-08-2008, 03:38 PM
 
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This will be my first visit to the USA. I am flying in to the International Airport in New Orleans later this month for a three day stay in Metairie. Then I need to get to Baton Rouge, near LSU, staying for two days before flying out to Austin, either from Baton Rouge or New Orleans. What are my transport options? Can I rely on buses and taxis, or would I be better off hiring a car? I will be arriving at the airport about 10 in the evening, and trying to find my hotel in the dark by myself in a foreign city may not be the best idea.

I was thinking of taking a Greyhound from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Is that a safe means of transport?

I'd like to see something of the two cities while I'm there - French Quarter, Algiers Ferry, streetcar ride, downtown Baton Rouge - can this be achieved using buses and taxis, or do I need a car? I'd prefer to get by without a car if public transport is available and is safe.

Thank you for any advice you are able to provide.
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Old 01-08-2008, 03:56 PM
 
Location: Baton Rouge
794 posts, read 3,148,697 times
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Sorry to say it, but there aren't many places in the country, let alone the south, that have good mass transit. You'll like the NOLA streetcars, but that won't get you in from the airport. You'll need a taxi at least which is fine for NOLA. Then you can pretty much do everything else by walking, streetcar or cab if you need to get further out. You may not need a car unless you plan to tour areas outside of Orleans Parish, like Jean Lafitte National Park.
From NOLA to BTR, I would strongly suggest renting a car. There is no mass transit between the two cities and a cab would likely be expensive. It's 80 miles. Rent a car, drive to BTR. It's an 80 minute drive outside of major traffic or rush hour, and it's fairly simple to get here if you just take I-10 west out of NOLA. The signs will say "Baton Rouge". There will even be two exits off of I-10 in Baton Rouge that direct you to LSU's campus, Acadian Thruway and Dalrymple. You can take the hour drive across the river to drive over the Atchafalaya Basin. It's a different type of drive if you've never driven it before, and they have great food over there in Henderson/Breaux Bridge.
Oh yes, Baton Rouge transit, bus, is not reliable. Some routes are ok (say around LSU's campus), but most take forever and they come by maybe once an hour or so on the weekends.
From Baton Rouge, you're only an hour's drive back to NOLA to catch a flight to Austin. You can fly Southwest out of NOLA and they typically have cheap fair and they fly straight to Austin. From BTR you'd have to connect through Houston or Dallas.
I've been to Austin several times and I love it there. Austin is fairly spread out so you may need a car again although their bus network is fairly good. But it won't get you everywhere, like the hill country. That's a nice drive along the Capital of Texas Hwy.
There is a lot downtown along 6th Street although it doesn't really start up until after dark, usually 6-7pm. Then all the UT students come out. If you can rent a bike, that might be a good deal as well. Austin is a pretty awesome biking city. There are parks everywhere and they build bike lanes with every road that they resurface or reconstruct. The Texas freeways are a madhouse if you're not used to them. Probably best just to stay off of them if you're not confident.

BTW, where are you visiting from?

Last edited by darylwi; 01-08-2008 at 04:01 PM.. Reason: BR buses
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Old 01-08-2008, 08:41 PM
 
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When your in austin be sure and rent a car and see the beautful Texas hill country.Well worth the trip and you can get maps of the hill country trail from most chambers of commerce in the area.
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:16 AM
 
5 posts, read 30,051 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darylwi View Post
Sorry to say it, but there aren't many places in the country, let alone the south, that have good mass transit.
[snip]
BTW, where are you visiting from?
Thanks for your response! Austin sounds great, very visitor friendly.

I'm visiting from New Zealand.

I've been reading the threads about the crime problem in New Orleans and that's really put me off heading into the city. The problem doesn't seem to be under control by the authorities.

Is downtown Baton Rouge safe to visit alone?
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:29 AM
 
Location: New Orleans, LA
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You really are missing out by not coming to New orleans, especially if you are going to B.R.

Remember we just hosted 200,000 people in the city within a week span or so for 2 national sporting events and you didn't have anyone get murdered. It really is overblown unless you go wondering around in places alone without any idea where you are.
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Old 01-11-2008, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
1,357 posts, read 5,121,441 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekkie View Post
I've been reading the threads about the crime problem in New Orleans and that's really put me off heading into the city. The problem doesn't seem to be under control by the authorities.

Is downtown Baton Rouge safe to visit alone?
Couple of things: (1) If you're within a few blocks of the river downtown in BR, there are crowds, and it's safe, (2) Yes, New Orleans has crime problems, but the areas tourists would frequent (French Quarter, Canal Street, St Charles) are safe. Just don't get creative and wander into neighborhoods outside of those safe zones.
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Old 01-11-2008, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Baton Rouge
794 posts, read 3,148,697 times
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Downtown BTR is perfectly safe, but there isn't 10% there that you would find in the NOLA CBD and the Quarter. If you stick to those areas (since those are really the main tourists areas) you'll be fine. Don't worry. NOLA really is a one of a kind city, especially in this country.
People don't come to BTR for nightlife (although we are trying to improve on that somewhat). When it comes to entertainment and nightlife, most revolves around LSU, but we do have plenty of festivals that start up a little later in the spring. Not to mention, Mardi Gras is coming up and there will be parades going on especially in NOLA the last weekend of January.

Trust me, seeing NOLA and BTR and then going to Austin will be night and day. Austin is great for young people.

Also, when I say that there isn't good mass transit in the south, I mean more terms of the lack of mass transit and the unreliability of it as opposed to crime, although certain routes can be iffy. You really don't want to have to rely on it anywhere down here.
Driving is fine, although driving in NOLA is always tricky for people not from there. Also BTR can be tricky depending on the time of day and where you are. And if you drive to Texas, it isn't a bad drive, but Houston freeway traffic can be murder if you aren't prepared. Avoid the Katy Freeway at all cost while it's still under construction. That is I-10 on the west side of downtown Houston. They're widening that thing to like 6-8 lanes in each direction! You can take the Northwest Freeway which is US 290 to Austin. It has much less traffic. I-35 can be a headache in Austin though. Don't forget the Hill Country which isn't far outside of Austin at all.

New Zealand, awesome. I thought about heading down that way once, but the airfare and the fact that I would have to see Australia while I was down there which would add on costs considerably really changed my mind, at least for now. Hope to make it down sometime though.
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Old 01-11-2008, 04:19 PM
 
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Thanks for all your reassurances. I just get freaked out by all the reported gun related and random violence. Shooting deaths are almost unheard of here in NZ - hunting accidents would be the most common cause.

The thing is I have prior engagements in Metairie during daylight hours and I was planning to visit the French Quarter and the other tourist areas in the evening. But the advice seems to be to not go there at night alone. Has crime settled down a little over the last couple of months to the point where this advice is no longer valid?

I suppose I could try to use some free time during the day to do a few of the tourist spots. Is it safe to wander from the French Quarter to Canal Street and St. Charles alone, or would it be best to use a cab to go everywhere? I'm only hiring the car for Baton Rouge. I'll need a cab the rest of the time.

Regarding cabs, are all the companies operating in NOLA pretty reliable?
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Old 01-12-2008, 06:04 AM
 
Location: New Orleans, LA
595 posts, read 2,221,809 times
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You could take the streetcar from the Quarter all the way Uptown down St. Charles.

The Quarter isn't too bad at night...when I first moved here I wondered around the Quarter alone at night...I just made sure there were people around wherever I was.

There is good shopping Uptown along Magazine Street. And the old huge houses in the Garden District off Prytania Street.

I personally only use cabs at night...walking + streetcar works for most during the day.
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:09 AM
 
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Hi - I am born and raised in the New Orleans area. Crime is the same now as when you read about it months before, sad to say. ON A BRIGHTER NOTE
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