Avoid the 9th ward, and the bywater. Frenchman Street is fun, its across esplanade from the quarter. Kind of a hike, but has some great live music (Everyday not just during MGras.) The gay clubs are around St. Ann and Bourbon. Oz, and The Bourbon Pub are the two major "club" type ones, there's also Napoleon's Itch, Lafitte's, Good friends, and a bunch of other small ones.
You definitely should try get out of the quarter one day and catch some of the parades uptown along St. Charles Avenue. It's the highlight of my year. It might be chilly this year since MGras is so early, but usually we get at least one or two beautiful clear blue sky days, when the most awesome thing to be doing in the world is sitting in the neutral ground of Saint Charles Avenue drunk off your ass with a bunch of friends. Talk to people who seem nice. Don't to those who don't. For the most part we're very friendly. For some reason all my friends are amazed that we can sit outside and drink openly, in front of the police. As long as your not a total drunk fool no one will bother you.
Also, and this probably goes without saying, but... Don't get arrested. You will spend the rest of your trip in Orleans Parish Prison. If you've seen the news recently you probably know that the New Orleans jail is not where you want to be... Don't pick up beads off the ground. Pack some extra travel sized bottles of hand sanitizer.
Have a blast!