Well, I don't think living in Metairie constitutes having a "bunker mentality."
I went to undergrad in Los Angeles and lived in South Central LA. My roommate got mugged and we saw a dead body being taken away by an ambulance once. For a young, single guy it's fine to live in that kind of place I guess, but I'm in my late 20's now and have a fiancee from another country who doesn't really know America very well, so I'm going to skip the hassle of living in the city center. I still intend to take advanyage of what New Orleans has to offer.
BTW, what is the parking situation on campus?
Uptown New Orleans != South Central LA. I live 60 feet a away from a home that recently sold for $850k. I walk down Carrollton every day to eat/drink/buy groceries. There was a purse-snatching down the street that made it into the local Carrollton newsletter. I'm not saying you shouldn't think about these kind of things but in my two years in New Orleans I've never seen: a dead body, a shooting, a mugging, a robbery, etc. I've also never purchased crack, walked through a terrible neighborhood while intoxicated, etc. Come visit - if you still want the suburbs, well, I'd be shocked.
My fiance, whom I've never once felt was unsafe in New Orleans, literally LOLed when she read your post.