What is the safest suburb of New Orleans?-Ranked Here from Least to Most Favorite

Jessica Bordelon Mashael
5 min readSep 17, 2023

So you are planning a move to New Orleans but you have decided you would rather live outside of the city. Before you choose a place, here is a bio on each smaller city just outside of New Orleans.

All of these areas have something to offer so let’s break it down.

If you are ready to get started with a local guide, like myself as your Realtor, let’s talk — 504–535–4353. I will ask about your needs and help you choose the ideal location to rent, buy or invest in, also available to assist with commercial spaces.

Now let’s get into the details.

Slidell

Slidell is the furthest away than the rest but there is a trend for a lot of locals to buy homes in Slidell and here are the reasons.

Slidell has more yard and space options. Since New Orleans is squeezed between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, there are few homes with larger yards. Slidell on the other hand has lots of space.

The food is relatively similar, so many folks who grew up on New Orleans flavors find what they need here as well.

The downside is the 30–45 minute drive over the bridge. Slidell is on the other side of the point where the Lake and the Gulf of Mexico meet. In the early fall, that waterway is crazy windy, and I personally do not like the drive.

Otherwise, you will love places like Roots + Coffee and Jazzy Pete’s Poboys are 2 of my local favorites.

Chalmette and Arabi

Arabi is the only other jurisdiction inside of Orleans besides New Orleans. Chalmette is actually in St. Bernard Parish. A quick snippet of unfortunate history is that Chalmette was built due to “white flight” as Euro Americans reacted negatively to desegregation of public schools.

While there remain some tensions (just keeping it real), Chalmette has become more diverse in recent years and some of my clients have bought great homes for really good prices there.

Chalmette is a little more industrial than New Orleans but Arabi has a blend of both the beauty of New Orleans architecture and the industry of Chalmette.

The trip to and from the city is relatively quick, averaging 10–15 minutes but there is a drawbridge to contend with so expect occasional delays when the boats are coming through the canals.

Gretna, Harvey and Marrero

These 3 are located on the opposite side of the river and there are 2 bridges to use when you want to get to the city or the other side of Jefferson Parish.

This area is locally known as “The West Bank.” Those born and raised on the West Bank also call it the “Best Bank” with pride. In recent years, there have been many advances to the West Bank, bringing in many local restaurants and entertainment options. Most of this area is also available for the HUD USDA no down payment mortgage option, and that’s another reason many of my clients enjoy buying homes there.

The West Bank feels like small towns with quick access to everything in the city. The drive from Gretna to downtown New Orleans usually takes 15 minutes but at peak traffic it can take 30 minutes.

Metairie

Metairie is another city created during the “white flight” era. It is locally understood that the wealthier Euro Americans moved to Metairie and those of lower incomes moved to Chalmette from 1960s — 80s.

Metairie today has all the feel of a major suburb next to a major metro area. There are several neighborhoods interspersed among lots of retail and commercial space.

Old Metairie is the quietest part of the city, while the homes north of Veterans Memorial (lakeside) are more crowded and in the midst of much more thru traffic.

Nevertheless, Metairie is a cozy place for many locals, with many great restaurants, lots of shopping and amenities. Plus there is an uninterrupted trip into New Orleans, unlike the locations discussed above.

From the middle of Metairie, you can use the interstate, Veterans Memorial, Airline Hwy, and Esplanade Ave to get into New Orleans at various points. The trip can range from 10–30 minutes depending on the route you chose and the traffic.

Kenner

Kenner is next to Metairie, making the trip to the city a little longer. Kenner and Metairie have both seen rapid increase in diversity since Katrina and the floods, as many folks from Central America have relocated here after rebuilding the areas homes and infrastructure on various workcrews. We appreciate and embrace and honor their hardwork and commitment to Orleans and Jefferson Parish.

If you don’t like diversity, you will have a hard time anywhere around these 2 parishes and personally, I prefer a reduction in the number of people who don’t support diversity and equality. So maybe if you don’t like increase in the number of melanated people, just don’t come here. We celebrate diversity and opportunity for all.

Kenner is a little more industrial than Metairie, but still has many of those suburb amenities. It’s also the location of the Louis Armstrong Airport.

Locals also know that the Kenner police are far more strict than most other local PD, so mind your speed when driving through Kenner.

Harahan and River Ridge

These 2 have more recently become ideal places for many locals, looking to be close by the city without the crowd and concerns of city life. Both Harahan and River Ridge feel similar to most smaller suburbs around the US, with their parks and kids’ sports teams, etc.

Some interesting new eateries have opened up recently and Harahan is also home to one of the areas largest shopping centers and thoroughfares along Clearview Pkwy just before you reach the Huey Long Bridge.

What about the city? What are the safest neighborhoods in New Orleans? Click HERE to learn more about the 3 safest parts of New Orleans.

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Jessica Bordelon Mashael

I am all the stuff of Millenials — Multitasker, Hustler, Unapologetic, Humanitarian. I write about Growth: wealth, relationships, spirituality and more. :-)