Tourism plays a huge role in Louisiana’s economy. In 2018, 51.3 million people visited the state, setting a new record. Tourists spent nearly $19 billion and brought in nearly $2 billion in state and local tax revenue.
In New Orleans alone, more than a million visitors flood the city’s streets for our parades and celebrations during Mardi Gras each year. People from all over the world visit destinations across Louisiana to take in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Bayou State. Whether you are visiting for Jazz Fest, Mardi Gras, to enjoy world-class dining or fishing, or to tour the bayou or an antebellum plantation, Louisiana offers unforgettable experiences.
Safety Tips for Louisiana Visitors
Disaster can strike anywhere, from a slip and fall in a hotel lobby to a neck injury from a boat grounding or a fender-bender in an Uber. While some accidents are unavoidable, taking precautions can lower your risks while enjoying your Louisiana vacation.
Louisiana has made strides, especially in New Orleans. Still, it consistently ranks among states with the highest rates of violent crime. This crime tends to be localized, and most tourists never encounter a problem. Still, it’s important to exercise caution when traveling in the state:
- Avoid walking alone or in small groups late at night.
- Don’t consume alcohol in excess or take any illegal drugs during your visit.
- Be aware of your surroundings, take extra care, and note anything that doesn’t seem right.
- Trust your gut. If somewhere does not seem safe, get out of there.
- Leave expensive jewelry and large amounts of cash at home, or in a hotel safe if you must bring them.
Tips for staying safe on Louisiana’s roadways
Rental Cars or RV Rentals
If you are driving a rental vehicle:
- Double-check that you are clear on the rental company’s insurance policy and who to call if you have an accident.
- Be sure you have your personal auto insurance information with you, either in your cell phone or a paper copy of your insurance card.
- Take time to get to know the rental vehicle and be sure that you are comfortable with it before you leave the lot:
- Adjust your mirrors.
- Learn how to use a vehicle’s safety features and controls (windshield wipers, turn signals, high beam and daylight running lights, etc).
- Get a feel for the vehicle’s blind spots and turning radius–both will invariably be different than the personal vehicle to which you are accustomed. This is especially important if you are renting an RV.
- Know where you are going before you set out so that you’re not putting an address into your cell phone at a stoplight.
- Once you are on the road, follow all Louisiana traffic laws, always buckle up, and drive defensively. Exercising caution is especially important on unfamiliar roads.
- Never text or otherwise use a handheld device while driving.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
- Understand and observe the rules of the road when it comes to pedestrians and bicycles. For example, bicyclists are not required to wear a helmet if they are over 16 years of age but must have a functional front and rear light for riding at night.
- Know where you are going before you set out. This can ensure you will have a manageable route to your destination, not all roadways in the state are safe for travel on foot or by bike. If in doubt, call a cab or use a rideshare app.
- Avoid alcohol in excess or use of illegal drugs that can impair your judgment and reaction time.
Boat safety tips for Louisiana visitors
With more than 7,000 miles of coastline and its unique and beautiful waterways and aquatic habitats, Louisiana is a boater’s dream come true. Whether you are chartering a vessel for the amazing saltwater fishing in Bayou Dularge or taking a kayak swamp tour, it’s important to keep you and your family’s safety in mind.
- Understand and follow all Louisiana boating regulations. For example, Louisiana law requires a Coast Guard-approved Personal Flotation Device be worn at all times by:
- All children age 16 and younger
- Everyone onboard a motorboat less than 16 feet propelled by an outboard motor
- Anyone in a pirogue, canoe, or kayak
- Anyone riding on a personal watercraft or being towed on waterskis, tubes, wakeboards, etc.
- Never drink to excess or use illegal drugs when on board. Boat operators found to be driving while intoxicated face the same penalties as someone operating a vehicle on the highway while intoxicated. As a passenger, being impaired also greatly increases your risk of injury.
- Trust your gut. If a vessel doesn’t feel safe, don’t get on board. If a vessel seems in disrepair, overloaded, without proper safety equipment, or otherwise unsafe, better to be safe than sorry. Ask for a refund and report unsafe operators.
Tips for Staying Safe During Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras in New Orleans for the vast majority of participants is a raucous but safe affair. Still, tragedy has struck in years past. Follow these tips to keep yourself safe:
- Travel with a group.
- Discuss what to do and where to meet up in the event of an emergency or if someone gets separated from the group.
- Designate at least one member of your group to remain sober and make sure everyone gets home safely.
- Plan plenty of time to get to and from your destination, and dress for the weather and the amount of time you’ll be on your feet.
- Use common sense in large crowds. Don’t wear expensive jewelry. Only bring what you need and keep it close.
- Observe all posted pedestrian rules and police instructions. Never cross a barricade and exercise extra caution when crossing streets.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If something feels unsafe, trust your gut. Watch out for folks who have had way too much to drink. Unfortunately, drunk drivers and parade-goers can put everyone at risk.
What to Do If You Are Injured in Louisiana
It can feel overwhelming when disaster strikes while we’re on vacation. An injury on vacation doesn’t just ruin plans, it leaves a confusing aftermath of hospital and doctor visits, bills, insurance forms, and adjusters calls. Legal elements of negligence, liability, and responsibility–which are complex, to begin with under Louisiana law–are especially complicated when it comes to tourism. Several third parties may share liability for your injuries and the damages you have suffered. The best thing you can do if you or a loved one has been injured is to speak with a skilled Louisiana personal injury attorney right away.
Contact the Charbonnet Law Firm Today
If disaster strikes you or a loved one while vacationing in New Orleans or anywhere in Louisiana, call the Charbonnet Law Firm’s skilled legal team today. We understand how difficult an injury can be while on vacation: you want to get home. You want answers. You want to know who is responsible, how you will be compensated for your injuries, and how long the process will take. Most of all, you want to feel better.
At the Charbonnet Law Firm, we are here to help. We can guide you through your case and the various Louisiana statutes that govern negligence, personal injury, premise liability, and other civil case law that could affect your case. Our skilled attorneys have handled car, rideshare, motorcycle, and boat accident cases, as well as slip and fall and other personal injury and wrongful death cases. Call today for a free consultation. We will help you understand your case and how to pursue it, and help you win the best possible settlement for your damages — so you can focus on getting better and getting back to your life.