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A row of two-story brick townhomes with plant-hung balconies in the French Quarter of New Orleans
The French Quarter is first on the list
Via Shutterstock

8 must-see, wheelchair-accessible destinations in New Orleans

Nola Rolla creator Jesse Bascle shares his favorite New Orleans destinations and tips for getting around

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The French Quarter is first on the list
| Via Shutterstock

For Jesse Bascle, a lifelong New Orleanian and self-described foodie, eating out can be a hit-or-miss experience. Although New Orleans is one of the world’s culinary and cultural capitals, there’s a dearth of information when it comes to local accessibility.

“Going out to eat with my friends a lot, it would be annoying not knowing which places were accessible or not,” said Bascle, who uses a wheelchair.

A 30-something smiling white man wearing a hoodie sits in a busy restaurant with a staircase behind him
Jesse Bascle is working to make New Orleans easier to navigate for tourists who use wheelchairs.
Photo by Daniel Balazs

When Bascle started traveling internationally in 2015, visiting London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Munich, Prague, and Vienna, he employed an elaborate research system, cross-referencing Yelp reviews, travel blogs, Google maps, phone calls, and more to plan his trips.

“It’s hard to find stuff about accessibility,” Bascle said. “You have to go deep.”

Vienna was unusual in that the city website had a whole section devoted to accessibility—which gave Bascle the idea to create something similar for his hometown.

“I thought there was a need to do one for New Orleans, just to make it easier for people to travel here,” Bascle said. “They don’t have to research so much—they can just go to one place to find out if a restaurant is accessible and get tips to get around the city.”

Bascle launched Nola Rolla, a wheelchair user’s guide to New Orleans, in 2019. He plans to continue adding to its listings. Eventually, he will expand the site to include more cities.

In terms of accessibility, New Orleans isn’t the easiest city to navigate, but it also isn’t the hardest, Bascle said. Its cracked slate sidewalks can pose a challenge to wheelchairs, but they’re nowhere near as bad as Prague’s.

“Cobblestones are the worst,” he said, laughing.

Keep reading for Bascle’s favorite accessible destinations in New Orleans.

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1. French Quarter

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French Quarter
New Orleans, LA

New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood is also first on Bascle’s must-see list. Most French Quarter sidewalks are easy to navigate, but at times he finds it necessary to ride in the street. He suggests visitors who use wheelchairs bring a travel ramp just in case they encounter a building with one small step and no ramp. And while Bourbon Street is a popular tourist attraction, Bascle gives it a wide berth.

“I go around Bourbon Street, because it’s too many people and hard to go in and out of in your chair,” he said.

2. Pat O'Brien's

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718 St Peter
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 525-4823
Visit Website

Pat O’ Brien’s shady courtyard is close enough to Bourbon Street to benefit from its energy, but far enough away to be easily accessible. “You can watch all the drunk people, and I was able to use the bathroom, so that is also a plus,” Bascle said. His take on the bar’s famously sweet-but-potent hurricanes?

“You start drinking it, and you’re like, ‘This is terrible,’ but halfway through, you’re like, ‘This is kind of good,’” he said.

3. Harrah's Casino New Orleans

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8 Canal St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(800) 427-7247
Visit Website

A Vegas-caliber casino sits at the base of Canal Street, and its Fillmore theater will host everything from drag brunches to a concert by Lizzo.

“Harrah’s is very accessible—most casinos are, because they know old people are coming,” Bascle said. “Now that they have the Fillmore in there, you can see shows, and that’s very accessible too. I saw Garbage and Dungeon Family there.”

4. The Westin New Orleans Canal Place

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100 Iberville St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 566-7006
Visit Website

This high-rise hotel sits above a luxury mall and boasts stunning views in its newly renovated lounge.

“I do like going to the Westin, because of the pretty great view on the top floor,” Bascle said. “You can see all of the Quarter while you sit up there and have a drink, and they have the best accessible bathrooms I’ve seen.”

Incidentally, although hotels are required to have wheelchair-accessible vans, many don’t comply with that rule, so Bascle suggests taking the Airport Express bus from the airport.

5. GW Fins

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808 Bienville St
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 581-3467
Visit Website

Gulf seafood is a must in New Orleans, and the ever-shifting menu at GW Fins highlights each day’s fresh catch.

“It’s a good seafood place that’s somewhat fancy, but not too fancy,” Bascle said. “I’ve had the lobster ravioli, the fried soft-shell crab, and the salty malty ice cream pie a couple times.”

6. City Park

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City Park
New Orleans, LA

From the French Quarter, Bascle recommends riding the Canal streetcar line to City Park, where a host of activities await, as do the world’s largest collection of ancient live oaks. Some are more than 600 years old.

“You can even get beignets at City Park, and the middle pond has a good bike lane that you can ride your wheelchair around,” Bascle said.

7. Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

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1 Collins Diboll Cir
New Orleans, LA 70124
(504) 658-4100
Visit Website

Recently expanded to include six more acres of art, oak groves, lagoons, and walkways, the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden features mostly contemporary work by living artists. Admission is free—and the garden is completely accessible, Bascle said.

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8. City Putt Miniature Golf Course

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33 Dreyfous Dr
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 483-9385
Visit Website

The holes at this 18-hole, Louisiana-themed course “aren’t too crazy or too hard,” Bascle said, and “they made it so you can go in a wheelchair, which is nice. “ He recommends players choose the right side of the course, because the greens are a little bit more fun.

1. French Quarter

French Quarter, New Orleans, LA

New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood is also first on Bascle’s must-see list. Most French Quarter sidewalks are easy to navigate, but at times he finds it necessary to ride in the street. He suggests visitors who use wheelchairs bring a travel ramp just in case they encounter a building with one small step and no ramp. And while Bourbon Street is a popular tourist attraction, Bascle gives it a wide berth.

“I go around Bourbon Street, because it’s too many people and hard to go in and out of in your chair,” he said.

French Quarter
New Orleans, LA

2. Pat O'Brien's

718 St Peter, New Orleans, LA 70116

Pat O’ Brien’s shady courtyard is close enough to Bourbon Street to benefit from its energy, but far enough away to be easily accessible. “You can watch all the drunk people, and I was able to use the bathroom, so that is also a plus,” Bascle said. His take on the bar’s famously sweet-but-potent hurricanes?

“You start drinking it, and you’re like, ‘This is terrible,’ but halfway through, you’re like, ‘This is kind of good,’” he said.

718 St Peter
New Orleans, LA 70116

3. Harrah's Casino New Orleans

8 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

A Vegas-caliber casino sits at the base of Canal Street, and its Fillmore theater will host everything from drag brunches to a concert by Lizzo.

“Harrah’s is very accessible—most casinos are, because they know old people are coming,” Bascle said. “Now that they have the Fillmore in there, you can see shows, and that’s very accessible too. I saw Garbage and Dungeon Family there.”

8 Canal St
New Orleans, LA 70130

4. The Westin New Orleans Canal Place

100 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70130

This high-rise hotel sits above a luxury mall and boasts stunning views in its newly renovated lounge.

“I do like going to the Westin, because of the pretty great view on the top floor,” Bascle said. “You can see all of the Quarter while you sit up there and have a drink, and they have the best accessible bathrooms I’ve seen.”

Incidentally, although hotels are required to have wheelchair-accessible vans, many don’t comply with that rule, so Bascle suggests taking the Airport Express bus from the airport.

100 Iberville St
New Orleans, LA 70130

5. GW Fins

808 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70112

Gulf seafood is a must in New Orleans, and the ever-shifting menu at GW Fins highlights each day’s fresh catch.

“It’s a good seafood place that’s somewhat fancy, but not too fancy,” Bascle said. “I’ve had the lobster ravioli, the fried soft-shell crab, and the salty malty ice cream pie a couple times.”

808 Bienville St
New Orleans, LA 70112

6. City Park

City Park, New Orleans, LA

From the French Quarter, Bascle recommends riding the Canal streetcar line to City Park, where a host of activities await, as do the world’s largest collection of ancient live oaks. Some are more than 600 years old.

“You can even get beignets at City Park, and the middle pond has a good bike lane that you can ride your wheelchair around,” Bascle said.

City Park
New Orleans, LA

7. Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

1 Collins Diboll Cir, New Orleans, LA 70124

Recently expanded to include six more acres of art, oak groves, lagoons, and walkways, the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden features mostly contemporary work by living artists. Admission is free—and the garden is completely accessible, Bascle said.

1 Collins Diboll Cir
New Orleans, LA 70124

8. City Putt Miniature Golf Course

33 Dreyfous Dr, New Orleans, LA 70119

The holes at this 18-hole, Louisiana-themed course “aren’t too crazy or too hard,” Bascle said, and “they made it so you can go in a wheelchair, which is nice. “ He recommends players choose the right side of the course, because the greens are a little bit more fun.

33 Dreyfous Dr
New Orleans, LA 70119