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Growing up and living in Louisiana for years was a treasure. I had great friends and a great home. It stands out in my mind as the best time of my life. I had a lot of milestones in Louisiana, and for a long time, it was my home. Now, you’re looking to know if it could be your home, too.
Originally an administrative district for New France, the French eventually sold the region to President Jefferson in 1803. This purchase, known as the Louisiana Purchase, doubled the size of the country.
Louisiana, named for King Louis XIV, has become one of the nation’s most underrated secrets. As with any state, living in Louisiana has its pros and cons, but I loved it there. Leaving Louisiana is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Is Louisiana a Good Place to Live?
Louisiana was a wonderful place to grow up, and I enjoyed it immensely. It was a different time in my life, but Louisiana was my home.
There are perks to living in Louisiana. People are kind, and the Southern hospitality will make it feel like home. They’ll treat you right and make sure you always go home with a full belly.
The Southern hospitality is unparalleled. It’s a way of life. The locals will make you feel genuinely welcome whether you’re a resident or visitor. The kindness is evident in every gesture, from sharing stories over a cup of coffee to ensuring you never leave without a hearty meal.
There are some drawbacks to the Pelican state. The weather will have you sweating inside out. There are two seasons in Louisiana: hot and hotter. If you can’t stand the heat or enjoy your winters, Louisiana might not be the place for you. It might just be a place to visit.
Natural disasters are a real threat, but the communities are strong and stand together in the face of disaster. Being a part of Louisiana means that you have an entire community at your back, and the state’s liveliness isn’t too bad, either.
The state still has French influences, which is evident in the Rajun Cajun country. Ultimately, you have to weigh the pros and cons and make your own decision.
Living in Louisiana: Pros
Living in Louisiana can be an absolute treat. Louisiana has so much to offer, and it was amazing to grow up in.
My favorite time of year was Mardi Gras. For those who don’t know, Mardi Gras translates to “Fat Tuesday.” Mardi Gras is a festive day celebrated in France on Shrove Tuesday.
It’s a custom of removing all the fats before the seasons of Lent, which begins the following day on Ash Wednesday. Lent is all about fasting and abstinence, so Mardi Gras marks the last hurrah before then.
Lent is a time of abstinence commemorating the 40 days Jesus spent fasting leading up to Easter Sunday.
Mardi Gras itself was always a festival. It meant we got school off, and more importantly, it meant king cake. Your Mardi Gras is not complete until you’ve had at least one king cake.
King cake is a delicacy & tradition. It’s a beautiful blend of coffee cake and cinnamon roll filled with decadent cream cheese. If you’re lucky, you’ll receive a small, plastic baby that is placed in the cake.
Don’t worry, this isn’t weird! The baby signifies luck and prosperity, and whoever ends up with the baby is sure to have plenty of luck and prosperity. It’s one of the most delicious foods and only available during Mardi Gras season.
Speaking of delicious foods, Louisiana is the place to be if you want good food. The unique blend of cultures, including French, African, and Native American, combine to create the most spectacular food you will ever eat.
With 400 miles of coastline, Louisiana is one of North America’s most productive shrimp, oyster, and crab fisheries.
Sample some of the best foods while in Louisiana, including:
Everything in Louisiana is festive. There are festivals and spreads everywhere; you don’t want to miss out on them. Look forward to crawfish season because Louisianans will lay out a full table of them to eat.
I hope you know how to eat with your hands because that’s how most food goes down. The unique culture lends its hand to Cajun and Creole influences, and they know their food. They know how to flavor their food, make it good, and cook it right.
New Orleans is full of heart and soul. Often referred to as the “Big Easy,” New Orleans has round-the-clock nightlife, a vibrant live music scene, and some of the best food you’ll find in the South.
It’s a place where history, culture, and artistry converge, producing a backdrop you can’t resist. From the moment you step on the cobblestone streets, you’ll hear jazz players on every corner and see horse-drawn carriages.
A trip to New Orleans is incomplete until you stop by Tout le Monde and get some of their world-famous beignets. You won’t get food like this anywhere else.
Beignets are deep-fried fritters covered in powdered sugar, golden and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. You never thought it could be so good, but it is.
New Orleans’ spirit is captivating and will have you under its spell in no time.
If you’re looking for fun outdoor activities and festivals, you don’t have to look far. Louisiana has them all.
No matter where you are in Louisiana, there’s always some kind of festivities nearby. With over 400 festivals in Louisiana, this state is known for its celebrations.
Louisianans will take any excuse to throw a fête (a party or festival). They know how to live loud and proud.
Carnival and Mardi Gras are ones that are well-known, but there are a host of other festivals you can look forward to. Be on the lookout for festivals such as the:
- Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival
- Festival International de Louisiane
- French Quarter Festival
- Louisiana Catfish Festival
- Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival
- Red River Revel
- International Rice Festival
- Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival
- French Food Festival
- Natchitoches Christmas Festival
If there’s one thing you know about Louisianans, it’s that they know how to throw a good party.
Say goodbye to the hustle and bustle of big cities. In a refreshing twist, Louisana is slower and more deliberate, like many other Southern communities. It stands out as a serene and heartwarming reprieve from the constant hustle.
Unlike cities where your neighbors are mere faces, you actually get to know your neighbors. The people on our street were so close we would walk in and out of each other’s houses as if they were our own.
People are kind and will go out of their way to help you. It’s much slower-paced living than the rest of the country. They’re warm and welcoming to strangers.
It isn’t unusual for people to say hi in the streets and strike up a casual conversation while in line at the grocery store.
Louisiana is home to 40% of America’s wetlands, with more rivers, lakes, and bayous than you can count.
Avery Island, frequently known for its tabasco production, is a charming place to visit. This beautiful nature reserve is home to countless birds and wildlife.
Be sure to check out Slidell and the Honey Island swamp as well. Slidell is one of the best places in the state to experience swamps, and it’s home to Honey Island. Honey Island is a 250-square-mile swamp that’s considered one of the least altered in the entire country.
You can explore wild swamps that were once hiding places for pirates and learn about the legends of swamp monsters. There are multiple tours in the swamp.
Also, check out Kisatchie National Forest. The 604,000-acre forest is in north central Louisiana and features many walking trails for visitors to explore and enjoy the scenery and wildlife.
There’s also the Atchafalaya Basin, the nation’s largest river swamp. It’s located in south central Louisiana, where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico meet. The basin is even larger than the Florida Everglades.
It’s perfect for bird lovers as over 250 bird species fly through the basin, and about 65 species of reptiles and amphibians inhabit the area.
Living in Louisiana: Cons
For all the wonderful things about the Pelican State, Louisiana also has its share of cons. There will be drawbacks wherever you go, and Louisiana is no different. Here are a few things to consider.
You get two seasons in Louisiana: hot and hotter.
The summer months in Louisiana can be awful. They’re hot, muggy, and sticky. The heat and humidity make it feel over 100 degrees.
You have never known heat until you’re in Louisiana during the summer. It’s hot and humid. I remember the days would be scorching hot.
It was so hot you couldn’t go out in the daytime without experiencing heat stroke. You had to save your outings to mornings and evenings, and it remains that way today.
The blistering midday heat isn’t just uncomfortable; it can be downright dangerous. Venturing out during peak hours without proper precautions, like a hat, sunscreen, or ample water, can quickly lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Louisiana doesn’t get cold or snow. During the winter, it’s mild at best. You’ll get temperatures more in the 40s to 50s, but it warms up fast.
Stick to light layers that you can remove easily if necessary.
Natural disasters pose a significant threat as well. Louisiana is one of the most susceptible states to natural disasters. In Louisiana, there’s the threat of hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding.
Major weather events can range from mild annoyances to life-threatening. And don’t let hurricanes deceive you.
Hurricanes start as tropical storms and gradually get more intense. They’re rated on a 1 – 5 scale, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest threat.
You may think a category 1 is no big deal, but they can still dole out a fair bit of damage. When Hurricane Lili hit Louisiana, she was only a category 1, but she created wreckage in her path.
Don’t forget about tornadoes, either. Be on the lookout for a tornado warning and a tornado watch. The difference is critical.
A tornado watch means there’s a potential for tornadoes in the area, but a tornado warning means one has been sighted, and you should find a safe space.
If there’s one thing for sure, Louisiana will keep you on your toes.
Bugs & pests
Among the most reviled, at least in my book, are the roaches. Not only are these creatures unappealing to the eye, but their resilience and ability to infiltrate homes make them unwelcome guests for many.
They creep into corners, crawl out from under appliances, and can give anyone an unsettling feeling when stumbled upon unexpectedly.
Don’t forget about the snakes and alligators. While they may not be bugs, they can pose a threat if you get too close to them. There are forty-seven species of snakes in Louisiana, but only seven of them are poisonous.
Limited job opportunities
The Pelican’s state economy is brushing the bottom of the barrel. Louisiana is ranked 49 out of 50 for job and economic opportunities.
The oil and gas industry, tourism, and healthcare are strong fields, but there are not many other industries growing in the state.
The cost of living remains low, but it makes it harder to get out of poverty.
What are the best places to live in Louisiana?
There are many great places to live in Louisiana, but here are some of the best:
Hitting number one on the list, Lafayette is where I grew up. Lafayette is a hub of Cajun and Creole. You’ll find excellent cuisine in Lafayette. It doesn’t have a lot of public transport, and it requires you have a car. But I love it and got to call it home.
Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana and ranks number two as the best place to live. It’s right off the Mississippi River and some of the charm of New Orleans has rubbed off on it. It’s also home to Louisiana State University.
Shreveport misses out on the Cajun-Creole flair, but ranks at number three on the list. This city is located right at the meeting spot of three states, creating a different type of culture. It’s next to northeastern Texas, southern Arkansas, and Northwestern Louisiana.
New Orleans rounds out the list at number four. You’ll fall in love with the New Orleans culture. While many TV shows depict it with debauchery, New Orleans is quite family-friendly.
Is Louisiana a good place to retire?
Louisiana can be an excellent place to retire. There’s a bit of everything, from the vibrant streets of New Orleans to the calm shores of Lake Charles to the breathtaking beaches on the Gulf of Mexica. There’s a mix of history, culture, and the natural beauty of the bayous.
For retirees over 65, your cost of living is dramatically reduced. All income sources, including retirement income from pensions and social security, aren’t taxed by the state.
The state has several tax breaks and exemptions to help make it affordable for retirees. Good news for your beneficiaries: there’s no estate or inheritance tax.
The state income tax doesn’t apply to Social Security benefits or public pension income. Some retirement income is taxed, but there’s an income exclusion of up to $6,000 for retirees 65 and older. While sales taxes in Louisiana are high, property taxes are very low.
However, the state’s hot and humid climate may not be for everyone, especially those with health conditions. It’s worth considering natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods. With the right location and precautions, the charm outweighs the cons.
Is Louisiana safe?
When addressing the safety of Louisiana, it’s essential to approach it with nuance and consider several factors, much like any other place. Safety often hinges on specific locations, the type of crime being examined, and the comparative measures in play
The bigger cities may have inherently higher crime rates, reflecting patterns in urban areas across the country.
The safest cities to live in are Baker, Jennings, Rayne, Harahan, Broussard, DeRidder, Slidell, Kenner, Westwego, and Lake Charles.
Property crime is the most common type of crime in Louisiana. There are 26.72 property crimes per 1,000 residents. Though some property crimes target tourists (like pickpocketing), many crimes also target Louisiana residents’ homes and apartments.
People in Louisiana have a much higher-than-average risk of facing things like burglary, theft, and vandalism. You have a 1 in 37 chance of encountering property crime in the state.
It’s also worth noting that there will be safe and unsafe places wherever you go. As always, you should stay aware of your surroundings and take precautions.
Is Louisiana a good place to raise kids?
Many families call Louisiana their home, but you want to know if it’s right for your family. Choosing where to plant roots and raise your family is one of your most crucial choices. With its southern charm and vibrant cultures, Louisiana is home to numerous families, but is it the right choice for you?
The Pelican state is unique in the way residents are more like neighbors. There’s a close-knit intimacy you don’t find in many places. Your children grow up with a strong sense of community and belonging.
It’s a special place where your kids learn about various cultures from a young age. Mardis Gras is always a fun family experience, nothing like what you see on TV.
I have great memories of growing up in Louisiana. Granted, a lot has changed since then, but the state retains its charm and beauty.
Is Louisiana a good place to date and meet new people?
The dating landscape varies based on where you live. You’re more likely to meet someone when you’re closer to a busy metropolitan area.
New Orleans draws a younger crowd than other areas, making it an interesting dating scene. It’s definitely possible to meet people out, but many younger generations turn to online dating.
Dating isn’t impossible, but the dating culture has changed. Depending on your demographics, like age, sex, location, and others, it can be difficult.
The key to meeting people lies in your attitude. If you approach it with an open heart, a sense of curiosity, and a dash of resilience, you’ll find this state a wonderful place to make connections.
Is it expensive to live in Louisiana?
Louisiana ranks 34th in lowest cost of living, and several factors play into this.
The cost of living runs about 9% lower than the national average, but some of it depends on where you live.
Housing is often the most expensive part of your budget. The good news, is Louisiana’s housing costs tend to be lower than the national average. Housing costs are about 17% lower than the national average, and utilities run 13% lower.
The top ten cities in Louisiana, except for New Orleans, are all lower than the national average, ranging from 3% to 19% lower. New Orleans is a whopping 22% higher than the state average and 11% higher than the national average.
When it comes to basic necessities, such as groceries and clothes, groceries rank 4% lower than the national average, and so does clothing.
Let the Good Times Roll
If you live in Louisiana long enough, you’ll hear the phrase “Laissez les bon temps rouler.” It is a Cajun French phrase that translates to “Let the good times roll.” It’s often used around Mardi Gras, but it really encompasses the essence of Louisiana.
Louisianans are all about the joie de vivre (joy of life). It’s a pervasive attitude in Louisiana that reminds you how strong and full of life they are.
No matter what comes their way, they face it with kindness and strength. While I may not live there anymore, Louisiana will always have a place in my heart. So, if you’re looking for the life and soul of the party, you’ll find it in Louisiana. For now, laissez les bon temps rouler.