New Orleans is one of a handful of truly unique cities in the U.S. You will certainly enjoy your time here.
Tulane itself is loacted in one of the most beautiful areas of the city, called the "Garden District." It is surrounded by hundreds of million-dollar manions. Right across the street from Tulane is Audobon Park, a very popular park which has, amongst other things, a 2-mile paved track perfect, newly re-built golf courses, and an excellent zoo. Behind the zoo on the Mississippi River is an area called "The Fly". It's basically just a big park where college students visit on a frequent basis. Perfect spot for people watching and a great view of the river with lots of green space. There are numerous small eateries and several nice clubs in the area of Tulane. Also, one of the best features is that Tulane is loacted on the St.Charles Avenue streetcar line, which will take you right downtown in about twenty to thirty minutes depending on the time of day. The streetcar runs 24/7 and you buy a commuter pass on it. It's a very scenic ride and it's usually always packed full of locals and tourists. Overall Tulane is a very nice place. I have several friends who are in graduate programs there and they love the place.
As for the city itself, there is a lot more to do than just Bourbon Street obviously...which some people do not realize unfortunately. The French Quarter in and of itself is a gorgeous area, home to hundreds of small clubs, cafes, art galleries, and eateries. I never get tired walking around there. Many places are open 24/7 which can be good and bad at the same time lol.
On the riverfront downtown is the Aquarium of the Americas (a great place)and IMAX theater, the Riverwalk (home to about 150 stores/eateries), the always bustling cruise ship terminal, the World Trade Center (home to the world's largest revolving lounge on the 33rd floor...great skyline views1), the Hilton Riverside, plus some national chains including Virgin Megastore, Hooters, Hard Rock Cafe, and Ripley's Believe it or not.
The new Canal Streetcar line will be opening in about two weeks. With this opening you'll be able to finally get to City Park from Tulane (and downtown) without driving. City Park is actually larger than Central Park and features the New Orleans Museum of Art, a newly-opened Sculpture Garden, Botanical Gardens, 32 tennis courts, four golf courses, plus fishing and boating in the numerous lagoons. It's a very nice place overall.
There is of course the new Six Flags New Orleans loacted about 15/20 minutes from downtown...pretty nice place, not as large as some of the other one's but it's worth a few visitis. A water park is in the works currently.
There are a couple of bad things about New Orleans: 1) Lousy streets. Since the city is built on swampland, it doesn't make the best base for streets and sidewalks. The streets get pretty bumpy down here. 2) Crime. As I'm sure you have heard, N.O makes the news every now and again for its crime rate. While it is bad, be certain that 99% of all violent crime occurs in poor residential areas, areas that you will most likely not be going through. Most of the crime is drug related. The Garden District area, downtown, and French Quarter are all very safe. Just use common sense like you would in any large city. It's no different really. 3) For some people....the heat. Be prepared for some very very hot and humid Summer's. If you like the heat, this is your place.
Overall the positives outweigh the negatives here. There is always something going on in the city, the people are nice, the food is top notch. Basically, you won't get bored here. Get out and explore the surrounding areas whenever you get a chance. White-sand, turquoise water Florida beaches are only 3.5 hours away.
I hope this was of some assistance to you. Send me an email and I can send you more info if you want it.