I will be visiting New Orleans at the beginning of April, and I've narrowed down my choices of lodging to either a bed and breakfast at Rampart and Ursulines, or an apart-hotel at Carondelet and Perdido. Is one of these in a better neighborhood than the other? I will not have a car but I'm used to walking long distances and have no problems doing so during the day or early evening.
I've not been to NO for years but Rampart Street is the outside edge of the French Qtr and probably would not be my first choice. I'm not very familiar with where the other one is but I think it might be the better choice. Personally I would prefer something more in the center of the French Qtr, where I would feel more comfortable walking in the evenings because of all the other people around. I'm not sure I'd be comfortable walking along Rampart Street after dark.
I would take care not to be too far from the quarter, since you will likely be walking back at night and NO has its problems with crime. Not familiar with the hotels, but the closer to the quarter the better.
The first one is in a quintessential NOLA residential neighborhood just a few blocks outside the French Quarter and the second is in the central business district surrounded by tall office buildings - it's like apples and oranges in terms of "feel". I would pick the first by a long shot - Rampart and Ursulines, just as I would pick staying in a residential neighborhood in Chicago as opposed to the Loop. I would personally have no problems walking there (whereas I may be actually creeped out walking in the central business district in off-hours where I expect less foot traffic). I too went to New Orleans solo a few years back and explored lots of neighborhoods outside the French Quarter. I went to a jazz club one evening in Fauberg Marigny and enjoyed that neighborhood quite a bit, and walked back to my hotel afterward. That was a definite highlight of my short trip.
I would do a Google Street view of both your options and see the difference. You can avoid walking on Rampart Street altogether to get to your B & B, so even though it's on the border of the Treme neighborhood, I don't think it's a major deal. Traffic and noise may be more of a problem because it's a wider, two-lane street and it looks like they're putting in a new trolley line on Rampart.
So I was just there in October and I did a lot of research on lodging and Google Map walking myself around neighborhoods. In the end, I used Rampart as a street to be 2 or 3 blocks further in from. It looked less nice out that far - and it turned out to be accurate when I visited. We stayed at the Olivier House Hotel, which was one block off Bourbon St. It's really nice, well-reviewed and you can get a unit with a full kitchen. I also liked the look of the Garden District but I was glad we stayed right in the French Quarter.
As someone who lived in NO for 26 years, I would second the suggestion to pass up the Rampart location. It's improved a lot since Katrina, and the vibe is certainly youthful, but I don't think it's particularly safe. I wouldn't ever walk there from the Quarter after dark. You may want to look into hotels/b&bs and similar in the garden district, uptown, or University area. All are great neighborhoods with adquate public transportion via the street car (slow but tourist-friendly and fun).
I know you didn't ask for hotel suggestions and I'm not sure what your budget is, but I do have a couple that are both well located in the French Quarter and are reasonably priced. My daughter and I stayed at Place d'Armes Hotel in 2005 and loved it. It has a beautiful secluded courtyard with a pool and gorgeous garden. Located on St Ann Street in the FQ. Prices in April <$150 with breakfast included. Gets great reviews. The other one I haven't stayed at since 1998 but I enjoyed it a lot also. Hotel Le Richelieu on Chartres Street, also in the FQ. They have free parking if you have a car so that was convenient. They also have a nice heated pool and priced around $150, but I don't believe breakfast is included. Also gets great reviews.
Agree with staying in the French Quarter. We used to go every year (pre Katrina). Lots of things I would do during the day, but I'd prefer to stay close in at night. Walking long distances is not the issue - pay the extra and stay in the FQ.
Thank you to everyone who replied. While I was searching, room availability opened up at the Royal Barracks House, on the north end of the quarter. Most appealingly, it is a super short walk to Frenchman Street and all the jazz clubs! It looks great, gets amazing reviews, and is decently priced for the quarter. Feedback for this location is appreciated, especially since they offer free cancellation up until the day before my arrival.
I don't know what the exact boundaries of the French Quarter are but, according to Google, both locations (Rampart and Ursulines and your current pick) are in the French Quarter. I think either property would be great because they're far enough from the over-touristed main drag. I also like your approach to picking a place that looks like it has a lot of New Orleans style and flair (and somewhat eccentric and fun). I'd be comfortable in either one as a solo female. Definitely go to Frenchman Street in Faubourg Marigny and listen to some music in the evening. I went to Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro and enjoyed how small and intimate it was (the audience wasn't as diverse as more authentic jazz clubs but oh well...I still enjoyed it very much).