Welcome to Arklatexoma! For the uninitiated, this funny moniker describes the region where Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma intersect. And in Bossier City, Louisiana, you’re in the heart of Ark-La-Tex country. That means a combination of big city living with laid back southern lifestyles. You’ll find fellas in cowboy hats next to tall, modern buildings and bustling city streets.
Home to the Twin City Knockers (Hooters restaurants is suing for trademark infringement)— roller derby champions (and the “toughest gals in the American South”) —Bossier City has a fun edge. Yet with the Barksdale (my dog is suing for trademark infringement) Air Force Base, it also has a serious and patriotic streak. The city has birthed famous Hollywood stars like 1970s T.V. actress Sherry Boucher (Lassie – one of her shows, not descriptive of her looks) and current hunky heartthrob Jared Leto. It was the site of one of the biggest shelters for Hurricane Katrina evacuees and each year it continues to pull in outsiders with its low taxes and friendly citizens. There’s a lot to do in Bossier City and great people to do it with. If you’re contemplating a move this way, we’ve got the scoop below on how to find the apartment or rental house of your dreams.
Folks may argue about how low taxes are or where to find the best steak but one thing they seem to agree on is this, people in Bossier City are friendly. People smile on the streets and neighbors help one another out. Traffic is admittedly horrendous but the drivers behind the wheels aren’t jerks. You don’t hear blaring horns or see grumpy people shuffling down the streets. Bossier City has a pleasant vibe that beckons visitors to come and stay awhile (the casinos don't hurt either). Recent transplants will notice people around them are helpful and folks do what they can to make them feel at home.
The city is nestled on the Red River in the Northwestern tip of the Louisiana (the top part of the “L.”) It is the little sister city of Shreveport and the two towns are connected with a bridge into one metropolitan area, doubling the number of dining, shopping and nightlife options. The city houses three casinos, a horse racing arena and a number of yearly festivals.
In addition to hosting young people, it is also stomping grounds for a large number of active retirees who like to gamble and hear live music (played really loudly, of course). With all the activities aimed at young singles, as well as senior citizens, some complain there isn’t a lot offered to families. For example, there is no zoo or children’s museum and parents don’t have a lot of major shopping outlets. The slot parlors sadly don't have baby sitting (You have to drive to Dallas to go to Macy’s). That said, the big city is only 3 hours away— an easy day trip. The same is true for Baton Rouge and Little Rock. Beyond that, taxes are low and the cost of living is among the cheapest in the nation. With all of this, there are many reasons to make Bossier City home.
Bossier City has a couple of technical schools and an LSU campus across the river in Shreveport. Nevertheless, is not a major college town so that means finding somewhere to rent is less of a hassle. According to the Chamber of Commerce, you can almost always find vacancies with very little competition. Any time of year is good though one of the best times is when elementary schools are letting out. Many people move during this time and you’re likely to find more openings. Keep in mind most places will want a one-year lease, so give yourself enough time to find something you know you like.
Here is a description of some of the different parts of town:
North Bossier City
The Northern section of Bossier City above Highway 220 is the nicest part of town with tons of subdivisions and beautiful homes. While many are owner-occupied, you can still find rentals up here and if you have the money it's a lovely option. This area is full of big, modern homes with great parks nearby. The streets are well-lit, crime is low and kids can play outside. In addition to homes, there are a few larger apartment complexes to be found.
Downtown Bossier City is a great option for young people or retirees. Though the main drag along Benton Avenue is mostly commercial, there is a section by the river filled with lots of newer developments. It houses several big apartment complexes and large rental buildings, ideal for urban living. Living here you will be close to retail and shopping centers, as well as food and entertainment. The downtown area has a fun, urban beat but without the towering skyscrapers. Prices here are reasonable too.
The section of Bossier City nestled between the two highways (Highway 20 and Highway 220) is one of the best places in town for renters to live. It is close-in and you won’t have to drive far to find food and shopping along Benton Road or Airline Drive. Despite this, it's far enough from the city center to offer a little peace and quiet— and the feel of a family neighborhood. Prices are decent here and the quality of building is good. You have a mixture of older homes and apartment buildings blending with new developments. The neighborhood is safe and you won’t pay through the roof. Most places here are well-kept and you will have access to restaurants, grocery stores and the shopping mall.
Although there are some okay parts, the area south of Highway 20 is generally the more rundown part of town. Crime is pretty low in Bossier City so that is less of an issue, but homes are shabbier and not as well-maintained in these parts. A few newer area of South Bossier exist, particularly closer to the freeway, but once you get to the intersection of Airline Drive and Barksdale Road, things take a turn for the worse. Streets are dimly lit and the buildings are more dilapidated. Of course the upshot is that you will find cheaper rent.
As you move east of town toward Princeton and Haughton, the roads take on a more rural feel. There are more wide open spaces and the landscapes are beautiful. In this part of town, there aren’t as many rental options because it is less densely populated, however, those that are available are cheap and offer more space than in the city. You will likely have a yard out here and it is a safe place to raise kids. The downside of choosing to rent out here is you’ll be farther away from downtown, as well as the bridge into Shreveport.
A little note on transportation: The public version isn’t good here. If you are thinking about moving this way and don’t have or want to use a car, you may want to refer to a recent conversation with the Chamber of Commerce:
Q: So, are there bike lanes in Bossier City? A: No, we don’t have bike lanes. We have sidewalks though. Q. Oh, okay. So you can walk? A. Well, we don’t really walk either. It’s too spread out. Q: Is there a bus? A: There is a bus - but I wouldn’t use it. Q: So what sort of public transportation is there? A: We drive here.
The average commute time in Bossier City is 18 minutes. Compared to the national average of 28 minutes, that isn’t terrible but the take-away lesson should be that if you’re planning a move here, be sure to have a car. As noted above, there are some public transportation options, but they aren’t plentiful or very appealing. Factor the price of gas and car maintenance when drafting your expenses.