Wildly popular, booking a bed at the India House Hostel in New Orleans may be your biggest problem.
Travellers love its location and the true spirit of New Orleans India House displays both in its atmosphere and in the ways its staff interacts with its guests.
Beyond the usual dormitory bunk beds, you can choose among a wide selection of India House rooms priced right for solo travellers, couples, and groups of three or four friends.
If you cannot find the room you want for your entire stay, try booking two separate room types.
India House enjoys a fantastic location
Above: I love the India House Hostel location in Mid-City New Orleans. Mid-town offers a tree-covered mixed-race environment with much charm and much to do. As the video shows, people love living in this part of New Orleans.
Above: At the Inida House location in Mid-City close to the French Quarter, you are just far enough from the Quarter to be able to sleep well.
Two 24/7 streetcar lines along Canal Street take you quickly to the French Quarter and to adjacent downtown. These streetcars stop just two doors down from the India House entrance.
An 11-minute ride puts you at the foot of Bourbon Street. You are also close enough to walk to the French Quarter.
Major Mardi Gras parades pass on Canal Street just steps from the hostel.
What does it feel like to be at India House?
Above: In Voodoo City USA Halloween lasts year-round. In front, India House Hostel kindly provides a cemetery for the possible convenience of its guests.
Atmosphere? Laissez le bon temps rouler! Quirky in the best New Orleans tradition.
The friendly staff goes out of its way to provide an uplifting and fun experience for its guests.
Enjoy guided oyster crawls, pub crawls, crayfish boils, on-site bands, outdoor movies, jazz nights, pool parties, barbecues, and much more.
India House has a layout with many areas to socialize ideal for making new friends. These range from small spaces to the outdoor swimming pool area. No other NOLA hotel has one.
Above: Although much of the in Mid-City remained above water Hurricane Katrina hit India House hard. It took an extraordinarily challenging four months to reopen. You might say the hurricane had an uplifting impact on India House. Do not worry. You will not need to access this entrance!
In my experience, guests tend to be a fun group of international travellers.
Party hostel or quiet hostel?
(c) India House
Although it owns every building on its side of its block except one, all India House’s extensive outside social and dining areas, including its swimming pool, are at its north end.
That means you can request the south end if prefer a quieter spot.
(c) India House
India House has been renovating its buildings. The last one I stayed in had been completely redone with repainting, new bunk beds, and totally reequipped washrooms.
Over time, I have stayed in four different rooms (one twice). All were clean with comfortable mattresses.
The public areas inside and out are kept clean.
The updating has not diminished the hostel's character. I am sure I speak for many when say we do not want a blandly antiseptic-feeling hostel.
It works! It’s free.
Above: Take a quick walk through a portion of the India House Hostel. The video does not show the pool area well. Artists have splashed their creativity on the hostel’s walls both inside and out over the years.
Amenities include what you expect. Air conditioning, linens, blankets, irons, hair dryers, security lockers, safety boxes, laundry machines, PlayStations, books, DVDs, and much more.
The hostel remains open all day and has no curfew.
Above: Neyow's Creole Café.
India House serves an inexpensive breakfast and dinner daily. Many opt for this instead of preparing their own meals.
I found the well-equipped kitchen kept clean. You can stock up on organics at a Whole Foods Market within easy walking distance.
Neyow’s daily special offers great value in a sit-down atmospheric restaurant. Locals fill it and Parkway. Nothing on their menus is terribly expensive.
Above: A portion of the "small" Parkway shrimp poor boy.
Parkway Bakery serves simply celestial shrimp poor boys. Try them and its many others with a side of New Orleans remoulade sauce from the condiment bar. I also love this local treasure with sweet potato fries in lieu of ketchup.
(c) India House
With 24/7 reception and its only entrance through that lobby area, India House seems secure.
India House sits in a primarily single family neighbourhood of mostly single- or two-level homes. That means lots of eyes are on the streets. Nevertheless, stick to busy streets after dark. You should follow this rule throughout New Orleans and in all other U.S. large urban areas.
The hostel offers a few free parking spaces and the street in front has more. People often walk on the street after dark and guests frequently sit out in front of the hostel at night with eyes on the street.
NOTE: The India House Hostel accepts solely international travellers with foreign passports and out-of-state students with valid university IDs.
Minimum payment on credit cards is $80. You can use an ATM bank machine in the lobby.
Two-week maximum stay.
An alternative if India House booked up?
Try the NOLA Jazz House Hostel just over two blocks away on Canal Street.
I stayed there and liked it, but have not been back since the Jazz House company purchased the previous hostel.
Reviews on Hostel World rank it 8.5 out of 10.
Get to know New Orleans local transit
Above: Take a ride on the famous Saint Charles streetcar line—the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world (since 1835).
Buy the 24-hour unlimited ride bus and streetcar pass offered by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority ( RTA ) for sale on its streetcars for $3. Use this on the entire NOLA bus and streetcar system. RTA also offers a “GoMobile App” to make navigating its system easier.
Some bus lines operate infrequently. Check schedules online.
Many RTA buses have windows darkened to keep out the heat. Sit close upfront to at least see out well that way.
Directions to India House Hostel
From Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
Via shuttle van
Official airport shuttle service became Airport Shuttle New Orleans. It lists India House in its drop down destination menu. The costs as of August 2019 are $24 one-way and $44 return.
If a group of three or more check out rates on Uber. You must use its app. However, if arriving during a big event be wise and book a confirmed shuttle reservation in advance.
Via public transit
Both RTA and Jefferson Transit operate out of the second level of the terminal at the same stop. Walk outside near the Delta counter and look for the Jefferson Transit sign and bench in the median. (Medians are called “neutral ground” locally. There is a history behind that.)
Currently (August 2019), RTA bus line 202 operates daily from 06:10 to 19:00 to Elk Place at Canal Street its last stop.
Jefferson Transit provides its E-2 bus line weekdays only (currently 05:37 to 18:14) to within two blocks of Elk Place at Canal Street its last stop.
On Canal, take any streetcar marked “Cemeteries” or “City Park” on Canal Street heading to your left as you face Canal Street. Ask the operator to let you know when he or she reaches Lopez Street. You find India House just a few steps down at 124 South Lopez facing the side of the church.
On weekdays only, India House suggests taking the E-2 and getting off at the corner of Tulane and South Jefferson Davis Parkway. Then walk north on Jefferson Davis towards Canal Street. Take a right at Canal and then right on South Lopez to #124. Have a map to guide you. Ignore this option if carrying heavy luggage.
From Amtrak and Greyhound at the New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal:
Take any RTA Rampart-Saint Claude Streetcar from its stop to your right as you exit the terminal. Once at Canal Street, take any streetcar named “Cemeteries” or “City Park” on Canal Street heading to your left as you face Canal Street. Ask the operator to let you know when he or she reaches South Lopez Street. You will find India House just a few steps down Lopez at 124 South Lopez facing the side of the church.
The Rampart-Saint Claude Streetcar does not operate late at night.
Above: Look closely at that tree. Thrown up during Marti Gras parades. :-)
Enjoy your stay at the India House Hostel in New Orleans!