Home Buying in New Orleans>Question Details

Showard, Home Buyer in Los Angeles, CA

What areas are safest from flooding & other hurricane damage in or around New Orleans?

Asked by Showard, Los Angeles, CA Wed Nov 5, 2008

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Crime stats are difficult to interpret in New Orleans because so much of the violent crime is gang related and not opportunistic crime. Still, I would buy within the corridor between the river side of St. Charles Ave. and Magazine St., starting from Esplanade Ave. and moving Uptown, through the Quarter, through the Warehouse District, through the Lower Garden District, through the Garden District, and so forth, continuing up to Audubon Park. For me, the problem with Algiers Point is that it is like a peninsula. To get out of Algiers Point, you HAVE to run through some of the worst areas in Orleans and Jefferson Parish both, unless you take the ferry. In the corridor I've described, you can more or less go about your business without going through scary spots: you can get to I-10 easily, and you can enjoy long evening walks without being approached by drug sellers. Along St. Charles Ave. and along Magazine Street there is constant commerce--restaurants, pubs, shops, so it's never empty. The Garden District has private security patrols and these guys are really great. I was shocked to find them on call during my Katrina exile--they were in the city and able to check on my house for damage [no damage and no looters]. I think other Uptown neighborhoods also have private security and I highly recommend buying in an area that does. Again, I love visiting Algiers Point--I just would rather not live there, especially after that awful video on You Tube where some drunken rednecks, unfortunately living in Algiers, describe shooting blacks on sight during Katrina [I think these idiots weren't native New Orleanians, which explains that kind of racism--I am from New York and the single most wonderful thing about moving to New Orleans was leaving all that stuff behind--we are culturally heterogeneous in NOLA, or at least we were before Katrina.] I still keep in touch with my former students on the Westbank and that video has created an awful rage in the black community, and rightly so. Since then, I feel nervous in Algiers. I avoid it--bad karma, you know? Again--that's just my take on things. I have never lived in Algiers Point, nor do I know anyone well who does....I admit that I could be wrong about the place.

Now, there has been a lot of development in the Irish Channel--the blocks between Magazine Street and Tchoupitoulas [not sure what it's called further Uptown]--and there are excellent deals on some really beautiful renovations in this area since Katrina. It's the driest place in New Orleans, period. If this area, on the natural Mississippi levee, floods, we're all dead! However, before Katrina, crime was an issue pretty much all the way up to Jefferson Ave, but spotty--more a block by block thing. From what I hear, this part of town is gentrifying quickly and neighbors are close and committed to their homes [have young families]. So I would definitely look at real estate opportunities there. You can get a renovated 3/2 Victorian for under 300K and live within walking distance of Magazine Street and all its goodies.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
Regardless of where you decide to live, you MUST accept the fact that you will have to carry flood insurance. The entire city is below sea level with a deep, dangerous river on one side and a huge lake, open to the Gulf, on the other. And if you look at satellite images of SE Louisiana, you can see that the Gulf is creeping toward the West Bank and the river. So many of our friends who lost their homes to Katrina, did not carry flood because of this bizarre elevation map, meaningless because the city is constantly settling and sinking, so elevation changes every year. I recommend you carry flood insurance, buy close to the river, and find a house like mine, with an eight foot high 'basement', set back from the street. By the grace of God, I have the only house on my block that hasn't had some kind of flood event. And look--NOLA will flood if a pumping station malfunctions during a regular rain storm; or if it rains hard enough to overwhelm sewer capacity. Insurance companies are not your friends. If there is a hurricane and you don't carry a hurricane clause in your policy, you are screwed. If your home owners' insists that any water coming into your home due to storm surge is flood, it will not matter what your elevation is. You're screwed. You should also carry replacement insurance, in case your home is so damaged it must be rebuilt. I know it seems like a lot of risk, but it is absolutely worth it. This is the most beautiful city in the US. Our historical neighborhoods are not small pockets of Antebellum homes scattered here and there--when you live here, you live history. You leave your home and you are in the 19th century. It's amazing. Buy here. Follow your heart. It will be worth it and everything will work out. New Orleans has learned from Katrina; and, besides, this is a 300 year old city that has survived tragedies beyond comprehension. New Orleans will live on so long as we, her residents, realize that we are the custodians of history, of this pearl amongst cities. The passion you'll develop for New Orleans will enrich your life in ways you can't imagine.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Areas with some higher elevations in the New Orleans area are located along the Mississippi River. You would need a Flood Elevation Survey of the specific address you are interested in. Algiers, the famous French Quarter area, Parts of Uptown New Orleans, and a suburb west of the city. Some of the highest elevations (south of Lake Pontchartrain) in the area are located in Harahan, Louisiana. As far as wind damage it depends on the exact path of a Hurricane. No two are alike. We can't always escape the wind. Thanks for having an interest in our area.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Thanks, Dana! I hope I'm not scaring folks away with all these opinions--New Orleans is the most beautiful city in the USA, architecturally, culturally, and spiritually. You know, during Katrina, a woman was killed by a hit and run--probably a stolen vehicle. Her family buried her in an open lot , which had been a public green space, at Jackson and Magazine, and she was later moved from that place. But people still keep a shrine there for her. Sometimes the Realtors take down the shrine--understandably--but as the years pass and the lot goes unsold, back goes the shrine. And it's not just her family. It's the community. Everyone lays flowers there. I wish that lot could go back to the little park it was, with a bench and flowers, and something permanent could be erected for this poor woman, Vera. You don't see this kind of thing anywhere else. In New Orleans, we venerate our dead, even those we never knew in a personal way. Being part of this city means becoming one with its history, with its endless march of souls, This is a city that fills the heart--just taking a little walk past landmark homes and the scents and colors of spring full upon us, I feel so blessed to have lived here and known all this. So all y'all buyers: come and find a home here. You will not regret it, not even with the hurricanes. Hell, Hurricane Gustave, we had a kind of block party with barbecue and beer and everyone complaining about the heat. This year my husband is buying a generator and window a/c [we have central], which we intend to sell with the house! God, I don't even want to think about selling...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
I don't want to knock Algier's Point: I taught at Delgado right near there for years. However, anyone who lives in New Orleans without flood insurance or replacement insurance is playing with fire. Just Google map southeastern La. and watch the Gulf storming closer and closer, each and every DAY, right toward the Westbank. Flood is not just an issue for the Lakeside areas of New Orleans. EVERYONE SHOULD CARRY FLOOD. I remember Algier's and most of the Westbank flooding quite severely during Tropical Storm Fay [Fay or Flo--I forget]--I was trapped at Delgado for 10 hours. Now, I LOVE the Westbank--do all my shopping there. Algier's Point is beautiful, but there is a serious crime issue in that area. Very serious. The Point itself is safe, but coming and going....I never drove around that area after dark. However, the ferry does take cars from Algier's right to the Quarter and that is a definite plus. I don't want to discourage anyone from moving here--it is wonderful. But if you become a resident, be smart, be realistic, and be passionate enough to fight for conservation and other solutions to hurricane threats. I live in the Garden District and I am particularly in love with my neighborhood, but I did almost close on a house in Algier's Point back in 1995. And that house is worth a fortune now! Do consider it, but, as I said, be smart.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 25, 2009
Hi! Your answer is Algiers Point, directly across from the French Quarter by short ferry trip. Lowest crime rate in the city and has never flooded. It was originally the blue collar neighborhood for the French Quarter. Plenty of place to park. See http://www.algierspoint.org. Laissez bons temp roulez. I know what it means to miss New Orleans.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 24, 2009
Don't listen to Daniel. When someone from Baton Rouge calls New Orleans ignorant, dysfunctional, lazy, and corrupt---that's hilarious. Without New Orleans tourism and the Port of New Orleans, Baton Rouge would starve. Without New Orleans, Louisiana is a redneck backwater known for the KKK and frat parties where kids die of alcohol poisoning. Sorry---it's true.

Covington, like all of Southeast La., floods. And New Orleans is settling unevenly, so you might believe that a house around Tulane is safe because it's Uptown, but it floods there all the way up and past Claiborne. Take a look at an elevation map showing where Katrina flooded. Nola.com, through the Times-Picayune, has a graphic that you can find in the archives. I live three blocks south on the river side of St. Charles and the water stopped a half block from my house.

Not everyone Uptown is rich. In fact, some of the driest and highest elevated neighborhoods are Section 8. I live in the Garden District and I am far, far from rich. My neighbors are teachers, accountants, and artists. We all bought into our block when it was run down--the Archdiocese owned some blighted properties on the block and we bought them and neatened them up. I suggest you do the same. There is a condo on the 3300 block of Chestnut that needs work and has been on the market a while. I'm expecting to get under 300K for my 3/1 house on that same block because we didn't really care too much for a sterling renovation--just a pleasant, neat house was enough for us. So you see there are deals, depending upon your comfort level.

As for crime, I live in walking distance of three housing projects and some troubled blocks. I have never been a victim of a crime here. I even leave my car unlocked. The crime situation, sadly, is a gang thing, involving rivalries and turf battles...and I taught many of these kids at Delgado and they are good kids without proper community support. When I lived in my native NYC, in a very good area, a desired area with good schools, my mom was car-jacked at the supermarket; my car was stolen four times; I was mugged; I was approached by a pervert masturbating in his car while following me as I walked home; in the light of day some robbers took the front door off our neighbor's house and then stole everything in it with a moving van; teenage hoodlums prowled the streets at night breaking car windows and tail lights with bats; and two of my friends were raped. This was a GOOD neighborhood. In NOLA, the only time I had trouble was when I lived in the Quarter. The homeless would break the windows and steal jackets, loose change--whatever I left in the car. But in the Garden District--never. Nothing in 15 years and I like to take long, late evening walks when I can't sleep--like at 2 am. And once, I got a flat at the Magnolia Projects and all the hoppers came running over to help me put on the donut--if that had been NYC, I would have been raped, beaten, killed, and my car would have been stripped and burned. I kid you not.

New Orleans is a wonderful, magical place. If you feel its pull--don't over-rationalize, come over. Come home.

Daniel--New Orleans is a cultural pearl and there is a true and vibrant intellectual life here. So who is ignorant and numb? Shame on you. It's people with your attitude that denied us the levee protection we should have had before Katrina...and scoffed at the cries of environmentalists who warned La. what would happen if the marshlands died. BTW, it's 'you're in a fish bowl', not 'your'. That's third grade English. Forgive me, but it's true.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 8, 2009
Thank you for this review. It's pulling me. I'm trying not to over rationalize and come home.
Flag Mon Jan 11, 2016
A good guide is the FEMA flood maps which rate risk and is the basis for assessing homeowners flood insurance premiums. This link will take you to New Orleans area and give you explanations for various zone classifications.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 6, 2008
I live on the Northshore. my previous house here had almost 20" elevation. some areas of Pearl River and Washington Parish are even higher--no flood insurance required. My flood insurance even after a katrina claim is still only about $450/yr. Flood insurance is FEMA program and is relatively inexpensive. It's homeowners that can be quite pricey.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 2, 2009
The entire city of New Orleans & surrounding areas are NOT all below sea level. There are different elevations & ponding areas scattered throught the entire area. Northshore areas are naturally higher than the Southshore. No doubt everyone in southeast Louisiana should carry flood insurance on the structure and their personal contents. Areas of Harahan, Louisiana are 8'-11.5' ABOVE SEA LEVEL. There was a Flood Zone map in the Times Picayune Newspaper on 02-06-09 with recent updates to the areas Flood Zones accordindg to FEMA. New Orleans is a wonderful city and worth any of the cost associated with living here. If you love it here you can survive anything. The people, food, culture, arts, entertainment, weather, climate, history & beauty of the area make you love it. It is a unique & special place to live. Contrary to what others believe that are not from this area, It is a wonderful place to raise a family.

May be able to look up the newspaper archives @ NOLA.com
This may show FEMA's new digital flood insurance rate map that was in the paper about a month ago.
Web Reference: http://www.nola.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 2, 2009
Thanks again, Dana. Feel free to print my posts and share them with prospective buyers. I just love the city so much and I want to encourage people to come here and invest their lives here, so I keep returning to this site. What does that say when I am supposed to be on Trulia looking for a Southwestern retirement house?

I've published a bit, here and there, so if you want to use my posts, just have my full name attached for copyright purposes. I am Angelica Kiedrowski.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
Thumbs again,Ange! you are so eloquent--I really wish you would put all your posts here into a blog. i would love to be able to print it out & share it with people wo are new to the area.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
Thumbs up again,Ange. keep 'em coming!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
Very true, we certainly carry flood insurance. And yes, there was a bit of a gauntlet around The Point, but I never thought it was as challenging as any of the other ones I have run in NOLA. Have the crime stats changed to show another area of the city is safer now?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 25, 2009
Thumbs again from me.Ange! you are so realistic!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 25, 2009
Thanks,Ange for another terrific answer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 9, 2009
safe / new orleans?? LOL

Your in a fish bowl! So, your rich enough to buy on St Charles avenue or perhaps somewhere in the french quarter....then what, the levys break, the hood runs rampant!.....

New Orleans is a dysfunctional city, a numb, lazy ignorant population, and lets be honest, a corrupt government!

If you want safe, go to Covington
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 7, 2009
The highest elevevation in the City of New Orleans is along the riverbend area uptown. Naturally, through years of sediment being deposited from the, then anual flooding of the Mississippi. This flooding came every year and was responsible for the architecture Uptown, and the fertile ground of the Garden District/ Uptown Plantations of years past.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 5, 2009
Email me with details on what you are considering...there are many options in our beautiful livable city..homes where you can walk to restaurants, listen to live music, be part of the Mardi Gras minutes from your home and so much more.
Web Reference: http://iansellsnola.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 30, 2008
While no area of southeastern La. is completely immune to hurricanes, if you are planning to relocate to the New Orleans area, you should consider the Northshore communities of Mandeville, Covington & Madisonville. We have great municipal services, wonderful public schools and many recreational areas to suit all interests and ages. Let us know if we can send you a relocation packet. Our website is below:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 11, 2008
if you are looking in the outlying metro area,I would suggest the Northshore--St.Tammany Parish. some areas have 20+ ft. elevation & have never flooded.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 6, 2008
The French Quarter, parts of Uptown, anywere within 1 block of the Mississippi levee....and that is for flooding.
Hurricanes reach as far north as Tennessee...so there are no places not vulnerable for hurricanes...and then from Tennesse to Chicago you have tornadoes...and Chicago to LA you have tornado's, snowstorms and earthquakes.

So at the end of the day, the French Quater is one of the safest places in the world to be, AND have fun 7 days a week.
Web Reference: http://iansellsnola.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 5, 2008
It depends, are you looking directly in the city or in the metro area. In the city there are plenty of spaces like downtown area, many areas uptown, some area on lakefront, etc.
There are plennty in the outlying cities like Metairie and Kenner.

Tell me more info about what area specifically, email if you like realtorcraig@cox.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 5, 2008
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