With a city-wide theme of "Let the Good Times Roll", New Orleans attracts a large influx of young visitors, especially during Mardi Gras. Staying in a hostel is an easy way to save money while seeing popular sites.
Located in the Mid-City area, India House is everything that you would want, and expect, in a hostel: affordable rates, decent location, communal atmosphere, idiosyncratic vibe, and a friendly welcoming staff. The offerings at the India House run the hostel gamut: mixed dorm rooms, single-sex dorm rooms, and private rooms for groups up to four with or without en-suite bathrooms. The only potential gripe is that it is something of a trek to the French Quarter, though it is still less than two miles away.
AAE Bourbon House
Do not let the name throw you: AAE Bourbon House is not located on Bourbon Street. In fact, for New Orleans tourists, it is a bit off the beaten path. However, these facts are offset by the free shuttle that the hostel offers guests, as well as the opportunity to see a different side of New Orleans that visitors do not often get to see. There is also a clean kitchen and a free breakfast that trumps what many other hostels provide, a welcome offering after a late night out. The staff here are very knowledgeable about what is going on in the city, and organized events are frequent, including walking tours. Both mixed dorms and private rooms are available.
Auberge Nouvelle Orleans
If you are making the bold decision to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras, you are likely to be pleased with the location of Auberge Nouvelle Orleans in the Lower Garden District steps from St Charles Avenue. If you are visiting any other time, the nearby streetcar is extremely convenient for getting around, and will bring you right to the French Quarter. As for the accommodations they are spacious, clean, and modern, especially the communal areas. The contrast between the interesting exterior of the old building and the contemporary interior is wonderful. The breakfast is good,but the kitchen is exceptional for doing your own cooking. You can choose from mixed or female-only dorms, and there are private apartments that are much more substantial than you would find elsewhere.
Old Historic Creole Inn
If all you can afford is hostel rates but you still want the experience of staying in a hotel, the Old Historic Creole Inn has you covered. The rooms and suites are shockingly affordable, and the old-fashioned rooms are charming, comfortable, and well-kept, all with private en-suite baths. You might not find the usual glut of communal spaces here, but this establishment is for travelers who like privacy. The staff, however, is exceptionally nice. The location is about a 20 minute walk from the heart of the French Quarter, and free on-street parking is offered. There is also central air conditioning, and if you are visiting during the summer, the importance of this cannot be stressed enough.