Whenever you’re intent on relocating, whether it’s to a city or to the suburbs, there are always a ton of questions to be answered.
For starters, you’ll be wondering, what’s it actually like living there?
Is there anything in particular that I should be aware of before making the move?
Internationally, New Orleans is recognized for the active nightlife, for being what most believe to be the home of jazz, and for its easy-going Southern vibes.
To help you out further with your quest for knowledge, here are a few advantages and just a couple of disadvantages of living in New Orleans.
Advantages of Living in New Orleans
1 Low Cost of Living
Though you may have thought that NOLA is an expensive city to live in, it’s actually not so bad.
New Orleans “fails” to make the top 20 list of costliest cities in the U.S. to rent property.
Median prices for rent are at $1,310 for a one-bedroom apartment, and $1,450 for a two-bedroom apartment.
That makes it quite a bit cheaper to rent than in Philly, Baltimore, and Atlanta.
So, what should you do with the “extra” cash? The festivals in NOLA are plentiful and the bars are open far later here than in other cities.
2 NOLA offers a festival for every occasion.
If you love your festivals, you’ll find that New Orleans has a festival for almost everything.
In February every year, there’s the Mardi Gras. Most people know about that, though.
But there are dozens more, year-round.
New Orleans is, albeit self-proclaimed, the Festival Capital of the World.
Among the most popular are the NOLA On Tap, the Boudin, Bourbon and Beer Festival, the French Market Creole Tomato Festival, and the New Orleans Oyster Festival.
3 Drink, drink, and more drink – almost anywhere and at almost any time.
It’s perfectly legal to consume alcohol in public places in NOLA.
What’s more is that the bars are open much later here than in almost every other city in the country.
And what’s even more is there are some bars that are open 24/7.
4 Restaurants to fit in with every taste.
New Orleans, because of the colossal variety and array of restaurants, is nothing short of a foodie mecca.
If you wish to escape the touristy-type restaurants, explore New Orleans’ neighborhoods where you’ll come across a diversity of real gems.
5 NOLA caters to a slow pace of life, believe it or not.
The traffic in New Orleans moves along slowly. The people in New Orleans are leisurely in their activities. It’s a lackadaisical pace of life here, even though there’s so much going on.
People have a tendency for lingering in conversation in NOLA.
There’s no rush to get to anywhere.
Folks like to sit around and just let the world go by of its own accord.
It’s quite the opposite to places like SF and NYC. It’s all about slow-paced charm here.
6 Flat as the proverbial pancake.
If you have a dislike for hills, you’ll like New Orleans all the more.
The roads are long and incline-free, making it easy for the pedestrian and cyclist to traverse.
Disadvantages of Living in New Orleans
1 The bugs.
Though it’s not ever easy to get used to bugs, New Orleans comes with its very own unique type of pest.
In springtime, the buck moth caterpillar unceremoniously falls from the oak trees, stinging as they go. So take care.
There’s the brown recluse spider, too. Be sure to check over your bedsheets, your clothing and your shoes on a regular basis. You never know where they are lurking.
Then, the fire ants. The fire ants are all the more voracious at the time of the Mardis Gras.
2 Zero beaches.
New Orleans is not landlocked. But there’s no beaches nearby.
If you want a beach, you’ll have to drive.
The nearest beach is Biloxi Beach, and that means going all the way to Mississippi – no less than about 1.5 hours distant.
So, if you really need a beach on a frequent basis, you can forget New Orleans because you’re not going to find any here.
To Sum Things Up…
It’s a city that is filled to the brim with festivals, and there are plenty of booze-riddled streets.
Nevertheless, New Orleans hosts many a charming restaurant in which you can relax and witness the world move on by at a relaxing pace.
It’s affordable, too.
Just watch out for the bugs.
Do Residents of New Orleans Like Living There? Let’s Find Out…
Perhaps Steven Michael says it best…
I moved here in November.
I fucking love it. I haven’t lived a summer yet, so maybe in September my opinion will change some. But I think whatever inconvenience the summer brings will be the reckoning needed after such a good time so far.
Here’s the ugly:
Crime is an issue. It’s probably less of an issue than the news lets on but I definitely don’t enjoy walking alone in some places.
Gentrification – it’s creeping and may be on a lull right now because the movie industry stopped loving NOLA, but it’s there. Prices are going up and there are rumors and fears about starbucks or other terrible fucking things coming into the neighborhoods.
The weed ain’t great. I moved here from California, so I’m not enjoying having to find drug dealers instead of doing things the proper way with dispensaries and choice.
Driving on these streets is like driving on the moon. Don’t bring a low-profile vehicle, potholes will eat your bumper. Only the drunks drive straight lines in New Orleans. Everyone else is weaving around pot-holes.
The rest is good:
Music everywhere. People don’t move here for the peace and quiet. If you’re the kind of scumbag who calls the cops on a musician trying to make a dime or people celebrating…get the fuck out of New Orleans. Even the crickets and cicadas are in tune. Even on a Tuesday night at 3am you’ll find talented live music in New Orleans. The city is infected with music…and the music is infected with the city.
Nightlife. This is a 24hour party town. Things get kicking after midnight, not before. You can drink outside, unlike the rest of this god-forsaken-police-state where you fear government imposed violence and taxation over having a fucking beer outside, where God intended us to drink.
Dating. Maybe it’s cuz I have a decent job, and maybe it’s cuz I’m new…but the women in this town are fire. They’re gorgeous, they’re sweaty, and they’re sexy as shit. Everyone’s got a story to tell and people enjoy their sexuality.
Introversion/extroversion: Even the introverts are extroverted here. If you’re someone who doesn’t like talking to strangers, stay away. You can set a timer on your phone, sit in a bar, drink a beer, and within an hour someone will want to know your story. Especially if you’re new or not a regular.
Food: The best. Only. always. Chain restaurants are few and far between.
Biking: The city’s flat and there’s lots of groups that do social rides. I bike everywhere and have made most of my friends doing so.
Friends: People here go out of their way for each other. I get tearful sometimes thinking how fucking kind and generous people have been to me. In Los Angeles, people treat each other like garbage. Here, casual acquaintances will help me move, or buy me dinner, or just go out of their way to make me feel cared for. Making friends is easy. Sometimes people move away to often (lots of people come and go), and that’s the sad thing. But people are just kinder here, I think.
Diversity: New Orleans is FAR less segregated than Los Angeles. There are neighborhoods that are whiter than others and blacker than others, but the trend is that most neighborhoods are integrated.
Second-Lines and Mardi Gras: Except in the high summer, there are always parades. Second line parades are community affairs where anyone can join in and dance behind the band. It’s the best thing ever. And Mardi Gras is the most intense 6 week party ever, the last 4 days of which are the party by which all future parties in my life will be judge.
Costumes: People wear costumes here. Best to step up your costume game.
The list could go on for ages. I fucking love it here. Please be nice if you’re coming. We don’t take kindly to racists or sexists or homophobes.
To conclude: New Orleans is the least US of all US cities. It’s the far north of the Caribbean, not the far south of the US. People enjoy life here, and values each other and friendship over material advancement. If Louisiana could get its act together and stop locking people up, kowtowing to the bible thumpers in the north of the state and tax the oil conglomerates, it would be even greater. But I love New Orleans, and hope I can stick around as long as it’s not under water.
Photo by kendall hoopes from Pexels