The Quarter is a neighborhood, pure and simple. Many, many, many people visit the place every year, but to them it's more like a Disney French Quarter Pavilion. A tourist attraction, nothing else. But it's a thriving neighborhood, with many interesting people (despite developers' efforts to convert the whole place into condos).
I live here, and I have to put up with annoying gawkers/drinkers who come down for Mardi Gras, spring break, the summer... oh, hell. They just come down all year. And they all have seen E!'s Wild On New Orleans, and they all want to get drunk off of day-glow beverages in "glasses" shaped like aliens, walk in the middle of the street, and just scream at the top of their lungs, "NEW ORLEANS (insert year here)."
I have nothing against people visiting New Orleans. I have nothing against people having a good time in the Quarter... I've done it myself. But there's a place for drunken hedonism and exhibitionism, and that place is called Bourbon Street. If you find yourself stumbling on to, say, Chartres St., put a lid on it. People live there. People sleep there. People are trying to sleep because they have to get up and work tomorrow.
And beyond the simple loud-mouthed revelers, just treat the place like what it is... a neighborhood. Not just a tourist attraction. Just the other day I was standing on my balcony and a group of about four old tourist ladies stopped on the sidewalk across the street and started pointing at me and talking amongst themselves. I wasn't naked, and I wasn't wearing antlers or anything (at least not that I remember), so all I can figure is that they were surprised to see somebody just hanging out on a balcony. "I wonder if he's allowed up there!" etc. I felt like a robot in the Hall of Presidents.
In other words, come to New Orleans, party in the Quarter, spend your money. Have a great time. Just treat the place with respect.
(You can go home now.)