While planning a trip is always exciting, visiting a new city in a wheelchair often comes with a laundry list of logistical questions. Learn how to navigate the city and make the most of your visit with these Frequently Asked Questions about wheelchair accessibility in New Orleans.
Alert Transportation's fleet of vehicles includes a wheelchair accessible van with a lift. The company can transport one wheelchair user and up to three additional passengers. Traspotts must be booked in advance.
The Airport Shuttle provides a shared ride service to or from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Handicapped accessible vehicles can be reserved by calling ahead. Reservations are highly recommended. The New Orleans areas it serves includes the French Quarter, Downtown, Central Business District, Warehouse District, and Uptown.
Another option for travelers is to rent a wheelchair accessible minivan from Superior Van & Mobility. Handicapped-accessible minivans have lowered floors, power doors, and power ramps, and hand controls and steering knobs are available upon request (license certifications required). A minivan seats up to three wheelchair users and three ambulatory passengers (one being the driver). The company also offers convenient delivery and pick-up service for a fee.
Almost all of the big red City Sightseeing New Orleans buses are wheelchair and scooter accessible. A full two-hour loop takes passengers to 18 narrated stops all across the city. The Hop-On Hop-Off feature allows travelers the option of exploring a specific area at their own pace, but please note that the buses can only carry one wheelchair user at a time. The service operates from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. The buses do not operate when there are city-wide street closures (often for parades and holidays)—check directly with the company for specific dates. Guests with disabilities are asked to contact City Sightseeing 24 hours in advance.
The Canal Street, Riverfront and Rampart streetcars lines are accessible to wheelchair users. These red streetcars have motorized lifts that elevate riders and a designated seating area where a wheelchair can be secured. The green streetcars on the St. Charles Avenue line are National Historic Landmarks and unfortunately were not designed to accommodate wheelchairs and cannot be altered due to the historic designation.
The RTA asks wheelchair users to please arrive five minutes earlier than the streetcar is scheduled to arrive. The door to the lift is located in the middle of the streetcar. Wheel your chair onto the platform and tell the operator you need to use it. The streetcar operator will tie down your wheelchair to prevent it from moving while the streetcar rumbles down the track. Be sure to tell the streetcar operator your destination. As the streetcar approaches your stop, tug on the pull cord.
The Regional Transit Authority—RTA—system map can be viewed online and a handy brochure can be downloaded here. A free GO MOBILE app allows travelers to track buses and streetcars in real time, purchase tickets and plan a route. The app is available for download here.
Mr. Wheelchair rents mobility equipment (wheelchairs, scooters, and knee scooters). Delivery and pick-up are complimentary. Just call the company in advance of your trip to arrange.
Famous for its food, New Orleans is a culinary paradise. Fabulous and wheelchair accessible establishments can be found in every neighborhood. When making a reservation, always mention you use a wheelchair. Given that many restaurants are located in historic buildings, some dining areas/bars may be inaccessible and the restrooms might not accommodate a wheelchair user.
While it’s true that the historic nature of the French Quarter presents some logistical issues (broken sidewalks, narrow entrances), there’s still a lot of the famous neighborhood that can be enjoyed via wheelchair. Use our Guide to Accessible New Orleans for trip planning inspiration in the French Quarter and beyond.