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To Park, Or Not To Park...

While in the Crescent City during Essence Festival weekend, they’re good challenges, and they’re bad ones.

The choice of Gumbo or Shrimp Etouffee: good challenge. Finding legal parking in downtown New Orleans: bad challenge.

Visitors to the city should not feel too bad; for even locals find the rules of the parking game daunting.

Rule Number One: Read The Signs Very Carefully.

When travelling through different neighbourhoods, visitors may notice the rules may change a bit.

My tip is, if the rules seem unclear, it may be a good idea to opt for a commercial lot.

Now keep in mind that the ‘special event’ rates may seem like much, but surely not as much as the costs of parking violations; which can range from 20 to 300 dollars!!

Sistas, think of the good fun you can have with that cash…’s not worth taking the chance!!

Most recently, the city has modernized many of its parking meters, and some accept dollar bills and credit cards which give you a printed receipt to place on your car dashboard.

Downtown meters usually cost a quarter for about 12 minutes, enforced from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Parking is prohibited at meters in designated rush hour zones from 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Please read the meters before you park!

Keep in mind that broken meters do not mean free parking. They are off-limits and will likely land you a ticket!

Parking is free on "meter holidays observed by the City of New Orleans:

  • New Year's Day

  • Independence Day (yes, day 2 of Essence Festival, but be mindful off all other parking offences)

  • Martin L. King, Jr. Day

  • Labor Day

  • Mardi Gras Day

  • Thanksgiving Day

  • Memorial Day

  • Christmas Day

The city of New Orleans's list of parking offences includes:

  • Blocking driveways or fire lanes

  • On sidewalks or neutral grounds

  • Near fire hydrants (within 15 feet)

  • On corners and crosswalks (within 20 feet)

  • In loading and service zones (buses and cab zones too)

  • On a parade route within two hours of a parade

  • During rush hours (7-9 a.m., 4-6 p.m.) on major streets

  • On-street cleaning days (usually Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 a.m. - Noon)

  • At bagged meters (during special events) and broken meters

  • Near railroad crossings (within 50 feet)

  • On-street for more than 24 consecutive hours

  • Vehicles longer than 22 feet overnight in the Central Business District

  • On a narrow street without allowing 10 feet of unobstructed roadway

  • More than 18 inches from the curb

  • Having 3 or more unpaid parking violations.

If you have any questions concerning parking while visiting my wonderful city, call 504-658-8200. And if your vehicle does get towed, contact New Orleans towing information at 504-565-7451.

Be safe, be smart and enjoy the city!!

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