I advise working with an agent AND keeping an eye on Craigslist. When you see something that will work, don't hesitate in giving an application and putting down your deposit. Prepare to spend at least $1 per square foot and $2 per square foot in higher demand areas.
Finally, don't rent a place sight unseen. There is a LOT of variation in the quality of the rentals here so you'll want to see the place for yourself. Also keep in mind that the laws are not tenant friendly here so if the apartment/house you see looks neglected, don't expect that the landlord is suddenly going to start fixing stuff when you move in. You won't have any rights for getting repairs made, your deposit will be on the line and you will be on the hook for the term of the lease you sign.
Finally, think about buying, rather than renting in this tough rental market. There are many people who do well by purchasing a "double" and offset their payments with the rental income they receive on the rental half. If you have the stomach for being a landlord, you will end up paying 1/2 what you'd pay for rent AND you'll save money on your taxes while contributing to your overall wealth. Late March or April would be a great time to being searching for a home to buy but beware, the real estate market is heating up.
I hope that helped.
Licensed Real Estate Broker
I'd recommend touring the area when you visit so that you can decide where you want to focus your search (Northshore, uptown, Westbank, mid city, Metairie, Kenner, etc). Then you can connect with an agent who keeps up with leasing inventory in you preferred area.