The Big Easy. NOLA. The Crescent City. Hollywood of the South.
New Orleans, Louisiana remains one of America’s most exciting, eclectic cities in which to spend some time. With so many unique attractions and a deeply historical culture, it’s no wonder that nearly 20 million people flood the cobblestone Bourbon Street every year. With round-the-clock nightlife, a melting pot of cultural heritage, and uniquely-delicious cuisine, New Orleans remains a must-visit place on many people’s bucket lists.
If you’re planning to visit New Orleans soon, be sure you know what to expect from late summer, early fall temperatures and conditions. Keep reading to discover what the weather’s like in September in New Orleans.
Officially, the city has a humid subtropical climate with mild winters and hot summers. September is one of the hottest months of the year for New Orleans.
September is a hot month in New Orleans. Based on historical data, the temperature doesn’t stray far below the 80s for the entire month. Some of the highest temperatures in the communities within New Orleans reach as high as 95 degrees. Because New Orleans entertains visitors all night long with its vibrant nightclub and live music scene, the nightly temperature is important to know, too. In September, nights have an average temperature of the mid-70s, only decreasing slightly at the end of the month to the high 60s.
At the beginning of September, New Orleans has its hottest days. This weather brings on excessive heat warnings, with “feels like” temperatures ranging up to 120 degrees. Heat indexes, calculated by the temperature and air humidity, can cause negative health impacts for vulnerable populations. Those working outside or in already hot conditions with poor ventilation should drink plenty of water and limit their activities in September to deal with the advisory.
As the month turns into October, temperatures drop slightly and the air becomes less laden with moisture. Early September brings muggy days while late September brings about slightly brisk nights and an excitement for fall activities.
Hottest Temperatures Recorded in September in New Orleans
The hottest September day in New Orleans occurred in 1980 when the thermometer outside read 101 degrees Fahrenheit. It was followed closely by September 2, 2000’s temperature reading of 100 degrees. Following that is a four-way tie between September dates in 1927, 1924, 2000, and 2019 for 99 degrees Fahrenheit.
Coldest Temperatures Recorded in September in New Orleans
Conversely, the coldest temperature ever recorded in September in New Orleans happened on September 30, 1967. At a frigid 42 degrees, this temperature beats the second-closest by three degrees (it occurred the day before, on September 29).
September Rainfall Patterns
On average, the precipitation in the month of September in New Orleans hovers just around five inches of rain in total. In September 1929, however, a massive amount of precipitation befell the city — 13.0 inches!
During an average September in New Orleans, you can expect about 12 days of rain throughout the month. Each shower tends to aggregate around a half-inch of rain.
Hurricanes During September in New Orleans
While the official NOAA-named outlined hurricane season spans from June through November, August, and September are the peak months for hurricanes to make landfall. If you happened to still be in New Orleans when meteorologists predict a hurricane will make landfall, know what to do. Have your belongings ready to pack at a moment’s notice, know if you need to evacuate or shelter in place, and follow weather alerts.
The two worst hurricanes in the state’s history — Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Hurricane Ida (2021) — both hit Louisiana on August 29, 16 years apart and just days before September. Hurricane Ida even stuck around throughout the first week of September as a low-grade cyclone.
Is it guaranteed that New Orleans will be hit with a hurricane in September? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a higher chance of hurricanes in September than in the other months of the year. Even if a hurricane doesn’t hit, large storms can become detrimental quickly because New Orlean sits about six feet below sea level and is prone to floods.
Pros and Cons of Visiting New Orleans in September
Hurricane season may be off-putting to some travelers, but to others, the slight risk of staying in the Crescent City during hurricane season doesn’t outweigh all the other opportunities September in NOLA affords.
The pros of visiting New Orleans in September include:
- Tourist season hasn’t started yet. It won’t start until early spring for Mardi Gras festivities, so your trip to the Big Easy in September will afford a quieter, emptier city to explore.
- With a lack of tourists, dining and other attractions have much fewer crowds to fight.
- Signature festivals outside of the infamous Carnival season are unique to experience and highlight the city’s diverse, vibrant cultures.
- Prices are cheaper. With hurricane season and the off-season, accommodation prices, events, and even some restaurants are much less expensive in September than they’d be in February or March.
Still, September in New Orleans carries some risks of not having the perfect vacation. A few of the cons include:
- The beginning of the month is hot, humid, and muggy.
- The beginning of the month is also peak hurricane season.
- Unseasonal rain could cause flooding.
What To Pack for September in New Orleans
If you’re traveling to New Orleans in September, you should remember to pack a few things in particular.
Most important: pack light clothes that will keep you cool as you walk around the neighborhoods of New Orleans. Lightweight layers will be your friend as you enter and exit retail places with blasting air conditioners onto the muggy street. Walking shoes are also a must — there’s a lot to explore in the city, and walking is one of the best ways to get around. If you enjoy the nightlife scene, pack appropriate outfits to experience the vibes of different bars and speakeasies.
Finally, if you have room in your carry-on, consider bringing an umbrella on the off-chance it rains.
Alternative Activities in Case of Bad Weather
New Orleans has so much to do, you’ll never be at a lack of activities if the weather is too hot or wet. The museums in New Orleans provide hours of exploration on a few small blocks of the city while restaurants will whet your appetite for Cajun, Creole, and French cuisines.
During your day of activities inside, start at the French Quarter, where you can eat breakfast, shop at Riverwalk or the Shops at Canal Place, and then peruse M.S. Rau’s Antiques. Wander through exhibits at the Audubon Aquarium and Insectarium after leaving Canal Street, or pop your head into one of the many historical spots. The 1850s House in Jackson Square and the BK Historic House & Gardens remain well-preserved historical homes open to visitors.
Finally, the nightlife in New Orleans happens rain or shine, hot or cold. The French Quarter has bars like the Carousel bar and Hotel Monteleone, which were frequent watering holes of historical figures like Wiliam Faulkner and Truman Capote.
Is September a Good Time to Visit New Orleans?
Yes, September is a great time to visit New Orleans. The low tourist traffic and cheaper prices make the experiences of swap tours, plantation visits, bar crawls, festivals, and ghost tours even more enjoyable.
Festivals and regional events you won’t want to miss in September in New Orleans include Beignet Fest, the New Orleans Art Fest, Labor Day Weekend activities, and the New Orleans Beer Fest.
The Big Easy in September Is Better Than Ever
While it’s hot at the beginning of the month and the chance for hurricanes or tropical storms remains high, New Orleans offers a lot to visitors in September. As long as you keep an eye on the weather report to see any trajectory-changing storms, the last month of summer brings excitement and fun to NOLA. The Alligator Festival, happening just outside of New Orleans, as well as Restaurant Week are can’t-miss events in September.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © f11photo/Shutterstock.com
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