Navigation Search Map (504) 658-4000

Translate this page

The City of New Orleans

Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu

Leaving New Orleans

If a mandatory evacuation is ordered, all residents and visitors must leave.


The City recommends that you evacuate as early as possible. New Orleans has limited roadways so the longer you wait, the harder it will be to leave the city. 

Deciding when to leave

Hurricanes are placed into categories based on on wind speed. The faster the wind moves, the more damage a hurricane can cause. 

Below are guidelines for evacuating, but you should always listen to city officials and follow their instructions.  

  • If you live in a mobile home or trailer, evacuate for Category 1
  • If you live on the coast, evacuate for Category 2
  • If you live inland, evacuate for Category 3
  • Listen to the radio or watch TV for updates on the storm.

Prepare not only for larger storms, but also for Sheltering-In-Place in smaller ones without water and/or power. 

Back to the Top

What is the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning?

A hurricane watch means dangerous weather could happen.

A warning means dangerous weather will happen within 36 hours.

Back to the Top

What is Contraflow?

During Contraflow external link traffic on both sides of the interstate will go only one direction out of the city.  Traffic no longer flows two ways on the highway. 



Some interstate exits will close so you cannot enter some cities.  You must stay on the interstate until you reach a major city like Baton Rouge.

Click here for a map of contraflow including  close up maps showing the I-10 entrance at Williams Boulevard, Clearview Boulevard and Veteran's Boulevard, click here external link.  

Back to the Top

Estimated evacuation drive times

During an evacuation, estimate that it will take you about 4 times as long as it usually does to travel to your destination.  You can avoid traffic by leaving early.  If you cannot leave early, plan to spend 50 cents per mile on gas.

Back to the Top

Where are the evacuspot pick-up points?

There are 17 evacuspot locations spread across the City. Four of these evacuspots are designated for Senior Citizens to help seniors and those with minor medical issues evacuate.

Click here for an online map of evacuspots and get directions to the one closest to you. 

Click here for a printable brochure with a map of all the evacuspots. Also available in Spanish and Vietnamese

Back to the Top

How do I locate shelters once I have left the City? 

You can find out where shelter are during an emergency at one of the shelter information points in Louisiana. You can find these locations on the Get a Game Plan external link website or by calling the American Red Cross at toll-free number, (866) GET-INFO or (866) 438-4636.

Back to the Top

Emergency alert radio stations

In your emergency kit we recommend you keep hand-held radio so you can hear updates from stations like WWL 870AM in case your phone dies or your electricity fails.

Back to the Top

Trailer and mobile home safety

Those living in trailers or mobile homes face greater risk of damage to their property and their lives.  You should evacuate for any storm, and are required to evacuate during a Category 3, 4 or 5 storm.  Before leaving:

  • shutter windows
  • shut off fuel lines but DO NOT disconnect them
  • turn off water where it enters the home
  • secure outdoor items inside
  • use both types of ties to secure your home – “over the top” and “frame ties.”

Back to the Top

Evacuation and pregnancy

Pregnant women should take special care during an emergency and evacuate early. Even if the city does not require a mandatory evacuation, smaller storms can still knock out power for long periods of time.

Don’t do too much, it is important to pace  yourself when you are pregnant.

  • Ask your doctor for the name and phone number of a doctor where you will be evacuating.
  • Take a copy of your health record.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Do not lift heavy items.
  • Do not travel alone and take turns driving.
  • Try to walk around every hour.
  • Take time to eat and drink – bring snacks and water with you.
  • Don’t take any medication not prescribed for you.

Back to the Top

Links to airport, train and bus information

New Orleans International Airport

(504) 303-7500 | Website external link
900 Airline Drive  Kenner, LA 70062 (map external link)

New Orleans Greyhound Station

(504) 525-6075 | Website external link
1001 Loyola Ave, New Orleans, LA 70114 (map external link)

New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal (Amtrak)

(800) 872-7245 | Website external link
1001 Loyola Ave, New Orleans, LA 70114 (map external link)

Back to the Top

Why you must evacuate New Orleans during a storm

Even in smaller storms, New Orleans is much more likely have extreme loss of life, injury and property damage.

In a mandatory evacuation, all residents are required to leave, and the City will not have shelters in Orleans Parish. Hotels and businesses will close and curfew put in place to prevent theft. Those who stay may be arrested if they leave their homes.

If the Mayor declares an emergency evacuation, you must leave to protect your own health and safety, as well as those around you, including first responders and volunteers.

Back to the Top

I’m a tourist and I need to leave town

Contact your airline or car rental company to arrange emergency transportation out of town.  If you do not have transportation, you can go to a staging center at the Sheraton Hotel (500 Canal Street external link) or the Harrah’s Casino (8 Canal Street external link) to take a bus to the airport.  You will be met by airline staff who will help you arrange a ticket out of town.

Click here to learn more about the New Orleans Tourism and Convention Center Bureau’s Tourism Crisis Management Plan external link.

Back to the Top

Add to Twitter Add to Facebook Add to LinkedIn Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Reddit

Last updated: 12/6/2016 2:45:10 PM

Was this page helpful?


 Security code