I've put together a little map that identifies the neighborhoods of New Orleans according to my own subjective judgment as good, medium, and bad. Click here:http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=112662247823185489828.00044e60274e72c2e6da8&ll=29.972781,-90.09613&spn=0.138294,0.32135&z=12
You should be taken to a map of NOLa with red, yellow, and green neighborhood markers. I've tried to notate each "grid" in the New Orleans residential area nearest Tulane, putting an icon within each region. The regions are defined by major streets, but the first caveat to keep in mind is that, often, houses ON a major street will be quite stately but the neighborhood a mere two or three doors BEHIND that major street can be disastrous.
If you zoom the map to the point that yellow thoroughfares appear with names, but white ones don't, you'll be able to see how I selected my grid zones. (New Orleans is definitely NOT laid out to a grid pattern.) Mostly I just put one icon within each major city "big block" (a.k.a. grid, zone, call-it-what?). The icons are:
++ red exclamation point: avoid this area
++ yellow house: this is a between area. Some good, some bad. Single females living alone who have not ever lived on their own might consider avoiding this area. If you have street-smarts, are an experienced urban dweller, come from downtown Philly or the Bronx, etc. ... then you might be fine there.
++ green camping tent: this is a "safe" zone. Supposedly. But, nothing's guaranteed.
Truthfully, no neighborhood in New Orleans is entirely safe. This is a major American urban area with all the typical signs of decay, deline, and death. Currently have the country's highest murder rate (though most of it is criminal-on-criminal crime, such as feuding between rival drug distributors and the like), so there's not ANY place where I'd say you were OK to NOT look over your shoulder. Campus police do a pretty good job in the area right around Tulane, and the "sliver by the river" and Uptown neighborhoods are booming.
Tulane's information identifies "Uptown" as a region much larger than the definition I have used on my map. They would say, basically, Jackson Avenue "up" all the way to campus, and beyond; from the River to Claiborne; would be their Uptown. Mine are just a few small grids within the larger map.
This is because "up" is actually a cardinal point on the New Orleans compass, so it's a MAJOR region and also a SUB-region of that major region. The compass is:
Lakeside (roughly North)
Riverside (generally South: the river flows left-to-right in the Google map)
Uptown (generally West, or left, or up-river)
Downtown (generally East, or right, or down-river)
Thing is, the "downtown" area of town -- the Central Business District -- is, itself, UP-river from much of the interesting part of New Orleans which tourists will first encounter -- the French Quarter. Consequently, the terms "up" and "down" require adequate context for successful definition. Going "up" always means going up-river-wards; but going TO "uptown" might mean going either up-river-wards or down-river-wards.
Is this making sense?
The biggest point to understand is the big "T" shape of bad neighborhoods, with Gert Town dove-tailing into Central City. This zone has as its epicenter the Broad Street overpass over Interstate 10, right at the jail (where I've put a volcano icon). You'll see that it cuts off -- in fact, suffocates -- transition among several nice neighborhoods of town. As long as you avoid going too far afield from Tulane that you're in that "T" then you're likely to be in a safer zone. But always watch your back. The city is no more dangerous than, for instance, Times Square or Greenwich Village, as long as you aren't foolhardy. But also no less.