There’s an App for That

The latest technology to enhance your New Orleans experience

Jennifer Gibson Schecter was once a tourist in New Orleans herself and is now proud to call NOLA home.


Technology has made many aspects of travel easier than ever — from price comparison booking websites to text alerts with real-time flight updates. And now, the vast majority of Americans carry miniature computers in their pockets.

According to a 2021 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 85% of adult Americans own a smartphone, while just 35% of them did 10 years prior. When divided by age, 96% of those 18-29 are smartphone owners with no significant percentage decrease until the 50-64 range, which reported 83%, and ages 65+ report 61% smartphone ownership. These trends imply it is increasingly important to provide tech that supports tourism. If someone has a need, there better be an app for that.

Official tourism apps like GO NOLA and New Orleans Official Visitor’s Guide were launched 10 years ago and in the lead-up to the Tricentennial, but they are no longer available for download. That said, cultural institutions like the Preservation Resource Center and The Historic New Orleans Collection, as well as festivals, have continued to develop and offer useful apps that both visitors and locals can benefit from installing. As with all things tech, be sure to check each app’s privacy and tracking information and adjust your settings to your comfort level.

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Tours

New Orleans Historical: A joint project of University of New Orleans and Tulane University, this app covers many of the lesser-known stories of our past (more than 500 of them) and guided historical tours to accompany the stories.

New Orleans Jazz Houses: Music lovers will rejoice at this app by the Preservation Resource Center. Explore by neighborhood or artist and be guided to birthplaces and homes of New Orleans’ great jazz performers. You can even listen to select songs via the app.

French Quarter Tours: This incredibly well-researched app by The Historic New Orleans Collection helps you explore the French Quarter using themes like Slave Trade and Literature, with place-specific details in the map function.

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Wine and Dine

New Orleans Dining: This app is not exhaustive, but it provides restaurant lists in alphabetical order as well as a map that can access your location to show you what is nearby. Many of the restaurants also allow reservations via the app.

Eat Fit: Developed with Ochsner, this app helps diners locate restaurants that participate in the Eat Fit program, a culinary health project that works with chefs to adjust recipes. Since the majority of New Orleans’ most famous restaurants take part, you’ll find them, and healthy menu options, via the app.

Drinker’s Edition: Looking for happy hour specials, BYOB options or certain food-and-drink pairings? This app has a great search function and can use your location to show you drink specials just steps away.

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Getting Around

RTA GoMobile: New Orleans has invested significantly in its public transportation tech. Use this app to track streetcars, busses and ferries, plan ahead with the schedules, and even purchase your rides.

Waze: This crowdsourced map app helps navigate the highways to get here, as well as walk and drive around the city, by providing users with fairly accurate road closure information that includes recent accidents and the latest potholes.

ParkMobile: Most of New Orleans’ parking meters are part of the ParkMobile system that allows you to pay at either a nearby kiosk and leave a receipt in your car, or pay via the app, which has a convenient function to add time without having to go back to your car to feed the meter. A word to the wise: do not mess with New Orleans parking meter attendants.

Uber and Lyft: Ridesharing is relatively easy in the Big Easy and these apps make getting home or back to your hotel seamless, especially after a few drinks. If you intend to partake in our party scene, plan for someone else to do the driving.

Seasonal

WDSU Parade Tracker: This app isn’t just for Mardi Gras, although that is when it is most useful. Visitors can also get information on St. Patrick’s parades, Mid-Summer Mardi Gras, and most permitted parades (not including organized second-lines).

Jazz and Heritage Festival: Find that poor-boy vendor and plan your stages with this easy app.

French Quarter Festival: See above.

Essence Festival of Culture: Personalize your schedule and find the concerts and special events that take place across multiple locations. T


 

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