"Well, you get down the fiddle and you get down the bow / Kick off your shoes and throw them on the floor / Dance in the kitchen till morning light / Louisiana Saturday night." - Mel McDaniel, "Louisiana Saturday Night"
Louisiana is America's unofficial festival capital, with over 400 festivals a year celebrating everything from jazz, hot air balloons, and alligators to the infamous Mardi Gras. Colorful, historically vibrant and with a variety of scenery that includes swamps, farmlands, and big cityscapes. In 2013 it was the location for more major motion pictures than any other city. Louisiana has long been known for its joie de vivre and simply living in this state is an experience of continuous celebration and hospitality.
Louisiana has a true diversity of scenery. The main constants across the state are a truly Southern climate (read: hot and humid) and endless opportunities for participating in the outdoor sporting lifestyle. Finding home rentals or rental apartments in Louisiana is easier in larger cities and surrounding suburbs, but those desiring historical homes have options in almost every city. Condos, apartments, duplex living (known as a "double" in many parts of the state), and grand mansions exist in a crazy commingling especially in New Orleans.
Festivals and good food are found in every part of the state, but knowing if you prefer a large city, suburban space, or more rural areas where sugarcane fields offer sweet privacy can help in deciding on a specific city. Hurricanes are a fact of life, but clearly offer a greater threat to areas closer to the Gulf of Mexico due to the possibility of flooding. When looking at homes know that some require flood insurance, so ask upfront in order to understand all the costs of living.
Shreveport and Bossier City: Shreveport is the state's 3rd largest city, and has a well-developed downtown where condos, apartments, and homes are all easily found. Living here offers water views of the Red River with extensive cultural opportunities as well as casino and race track fun. Looking a little outside of the cities, potential residents could live among cotton fields or pine trees, or with amazing water views. Note that Shreveport has the highest property taxes in the state.
Monroe and West Monroe: Nicknamed the Twin Cities of North East Louisiana, these two cities sit on either side of the Ouachita River. The Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, and several museums make up the cultural offerings of this small town which hosts the Miss Louisiana Pageant every June. In addition to beauty queens, expect a strong military presence due to the location of the National Guard here. There is no centralized public transportation, but the Greyhound Bus Service dues offers transportation from Monroe to other Louisiana cities.
Central Louisiana: Alexandria is the largest city in central Louisiana. Its location on the Red River has allowed it to grow as a port city, while it has also asserted itself as a manufacturing center. The National Guard and healthcare remain two of the largest presences here. It embraces the outdoors with the Alexandria Zoological Park, Cotile Lake Recreation Area, Kisatchie National Forest, and Indian Creek Lake and Recreation Area. Nature lovers have their choice of Louisiana Longleaf Pines and bayous when settling in central Louisiana.
Acadiana: Officially including 22 of Louisiana's parishes, Acadiana is named for the Acadian exiles of the 18th century and settled in South West Louisiana. The Acadian people are known as Cajuns, and so Acadiana also tends to be known as Cajun country. The area has preserved this unique culture through festivals, encouragement to teach Cajun French, Zydeco music and culinary delights such as boudin (rice sausage). Lafayette is Cajun living for those who desire more of a big city feel, while Crowley and Breaux Bridge offer a more rural version of Acadiana. Grasslands are plentiful, with bayous in the more Southern parishes.
Baton Rouge: The state capital and home to the wildly popular L.S.U. football team, Baton Rouge offers large shopping areas, museums, cultural opportunities and politics. There are diverse housing options such as townhouses for rent, or the ability to live on large piece of land outside of city limits. It is important to note that Baton Rouge traffic is something that people across the state dread, so factor that into home and work decisions.
New Orleans: The Crescent City offers an incredible array of neighborhoods and culture, with a thriving tourism and port economy. The city has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Large homes divided into several rental units are fairly common, while architectural styles offer something for nearly every taste and budget. Certain neighborhoods in the city require parking permits to park on street for extended periods of time. Premier apartments in the French Quarter can be pricey due to the location. New Orleans offers public transition in the form of buses and street cars and is working to develop more bike-friendly streets.
Apartment List has released results for Louisiana from the second annual Apartment List Renter Satisfaction Survey. The survey, which drew on responses from over 30,000 renters, provides insight into what states and cities must do to meet the needs of the 105 million American renters nationwide.
“Overall, renters in Louisiana were dissatisfied with their state,” says Andrew Woo, Director of Data Science at Apartment List. “They gave below-average scores across the board.”
Key findings in Louisiana include the following: