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New Orleans in a wheelchair.

Cedar City, UT
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307 posts
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New Orleans in a wheelchair.

I realize this is a dilemma that probably has limited solutions as New Orleans is a city best experienced on foot, but thought perhaps some of you might have some ideas.

We have old friends who we visited Nola with in 1975 who will be part of our Slidell reunion next month. They've decided to also join us for the first 3 days of our extended 6 day city stay, following the reunion.

The husband has lived with Parkinson's for the past 5 years, has limited arm and leg mobility so travels primarily in a wheelchair, powered by his petite wife.

They've always been hardy world travelers and have continued to do as much as possible since his illness, but in curtailed form.

The TA research I've done verified my memory that New Orleans is best done on foot with sidewalks that aren't terribly wheelchair compatible. I also wonder about tours, restaurants, music venues, etc in an older city with historic buildings that weren't originally constructed as ADA compliant?

I assume that most travel for them will have to be via taxi. I've read that United seems to be a recommended company. What sort of general wait times can be expected week days, weekends, days and nighttime? Do any of the streetcars have wheelchair lifts?

Our friends, like us, enjoy funky food and music spots (of which I've accumulated a long list) and are easy going, flexible and positive. They make the most of every situation so will have a great time regardless, but I thought that perhaps some of you might have particular suggestions of locations that will be better suited to wheelchair access, seating, bathrooms and so forth.

What do you think about Snug Harbor, Rock n' Bowl, Spotted Cat?

We want to do the Honey Island swamp tour while in Slidell so I'll call to see if our friends can participate and maybe we can chain the wheel chair to a lamppost and do a city tour in a carriage?

Where there's a will, there's a way.

Thanks all,

Randi

Mississippi
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1. Re: New Orleans in a wheelchair.

Randi..........I wish your friends the best. NOLA is not the most friendly city in America for disabled persons but it's not the worst. The streetcars have lifts. Most all restaurants are friendly. The problem is the NOLA streets are not in the best shape for wheelchairs but they are not the worst. I have never read complaints here about persons with disabilities. If your friends are used to traveling with a wheelchair they will not have any problems in NOLA. I hope you all have a great trip. The Honey Island Swamp tour is excellent. Where theres a will theres a way. Enjoy your visit. Someone with more knowledge than myself will reply soon.

Los Angeles...
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2. Re: New Orleans in a wheelchair.

Randi - I would never have commented on your post - up until October last year, when my Mom broke her ankle and I was responsible for getting her to and from doctor's appointments and other errands in her wheelchair. Unless you have been there, I think you don't realize all the issues, e.g. getting the chair folded and into the trunk of a car, "ramps" in sidewalks at streetcorners that we have here in LA, getting through doors that open towards you, narrow pathways, etc. My suggestion is to be happy to have your good friends with you, but be prepared with a lot of patience for things taking a little longer than they might otherwise take with just the two of you. Though many chairs fold and can fit in the trunk of a regular car, it would depend on the size of the trunk and being sure it is empty. I would just take a litte extra time to plan ahead, e.g. make restaurant reservations and inquire at the time about the ability to accommodate a wheelchair, when you call United, ask if they have a wheelchair friendly van/SUV available, or at least give them a head's up about the need to put the chair in the trunk. Wheelchairs are pretty solid, so I don't see real problems with maneuvering through the streets, except at corners. I can't remember if NOLA has the built-in ramps and, if not, your friends have probably already figured out a way to deal with that. The trouble I foresee is in older buildings, which may have narrow hallways and/or no elevators, but the majority of places should be able to accommodate. And, like I said, calling ahead should be able to help you weed out the places that just won't work.

Enjoy!

AR
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3. Re: New Orleans in a wheelchair.

Jeremy Davenport Lounge at the Ritz (Jeremy is there on weekends) is wheelchair friendly, as is Irvin Mayfield's at the Royal Sonesta...both have great music. Across the street from the Royal Sonesta is Legends Park which has Steamboat Willie playing (outdoor venue) and on Decatur The Gazebo Cafe has outdoor live blues on Thur-Mon. For Cajun and Zydeco, you might like The Old Opera House, The Bayou Club, Turtle Bay or Krazy Korner. For RnB or early rock, try Fat Katz If and only if Kevin and the Connection Band is playing, also, Bourbon Live, if and only if BRW is playing. Except for the Gazebo all of these clubs are on Bourbon which is, I'm sure you know, blocked off in the evening and easier to navigate in a wheelchair. They all are "ground floor" without any steps and all provide excellent music. Busses and streetcars have wheelchair accommodations and the streets have ramps of a sort...however, many are potholed and/or have missing bricks, etc. Wait time for a cab will depend on what is ongoing in the city/weather, etc. ....I live in the Quarter and have waited from 0- 30/45 minutes for United, ....since I live near the Bourbon Orleans hotel, I usually just catch one there...

Cedar City, UT
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4. Re: New Orleans in a wheelchair.

Thanks for the very helpful information, particularly the specific music venues.

We'll be with these friends Thurs., Fri. & Sat. so I assumed that advance planning and reservations will be the smart way to go. I'll also call United to be sure that their cab trunks accommodate fold up wheelchairs, which is how this couple operate, and good to know the wait time so that we won't miss restaurant reservation or music starts.

I did the same, chair in the trunk, when my Grandmother, who passed away last year at 109, lived with us so fortunately we all have lots of practice.

Knowing that the streetcars have lifts is good so that we can do the St. Charles line together and we'll save the GD walking tour for a day after they've departed.

They also love casinos, which hold little interest for my husband and I as we retired from a lifetime of work in gaming, but it looks as though there's a lot to do in the vicinity of Harrah's while they're enjoying the slot machines.

A couple of the Honey Island tours say that only a few steps are needed from dock to boat, which our friend was able to do the last time we were together.

It all sounds very encouraging with lots of good selections. We're really happy to have the time with them, as we live on opposite sides of the country, but when in a special town like New Orleans we want that great visiting to be wrapped around the wonderful food, music and people.

Thanks all,

Randi

Breaux Bridge...
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5. Re: New Orleans in a wheelchair.

Are we sure that the St Charles line has lifts? I seem to recall that only the newer cars do.

Breaux Bridge...
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6. Re: New Orleans in a wheelchair.

Are we sure that the St Charles line has lifts? I seem to recall that only the newer cars do.

College Station...
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for New Orleans
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7. Re: New Orleans in a wheelchair.

The St. Charles streetcars DO NOT have lifts; the other routes do. See:

http://www.norta.com/accessibility/index.html

Mississippi
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8. Re: New Orleans in a wheelchair.

You are correct Lisbette. The SC streetcars are the historic green ones that don't have accessibility due to historic laws. The Canal and Riverfront do. You must take the Magazine bus if you want to ride out to the GD and Uptown for accessibility.

http://www.norta.com/accessibility/index.html

Cedar City, UT
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307 posts
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9. Re: New Orleans in a wheelchair.

OK....good to know,

I'll reconfigure that outing and make some more calls.

Thanks again.

Greenwich...
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10. Re: New Orleans in a wheelchair.

Glad for all the info. I will be going to NOLA for the AARP Conference in Sept. I use a mobility scooter to get around. You need to do a lot of upfront research and planning.