The region around New Orleans has long been the subject of books, films and folklore alike. Known for its rootsy jazz music, mysterious black magic and a party scene that rivals Vegas or New York, this swampy neck of the woods offers intrigue to all who visit. The annual Mardi Gras Festival is perhaps the best-known feature of the region, though locals know it is much more than shiny beads and “Girls Gone Wild.” Jefferson Parish (Louisiana counties are still called “parishes”) offers its residents beautiful outdoor landscapes, rich historic culture and a wide variety of places to live to choose from.
Kenner, LA, which sits 13 miles from downtown New Orleans, dates to the late 1950s when developers drained the swamplands around the city and began sectioning it into subdivisions. In the following decades, newcomers poured in as residential housing complexes went up and apartment complexes were built. Nowadays, though many people who live in Kenner call themselves “New Orleanians,” the town has nevertheless maintained a quieter, suburban feel.
One key advantage to living in Kenner, which draws people out from New Orleans, is that rent is cheaper and the city is generally safer. It boasts a convention center, two malls, a historic district called “Rivertown” and a lovely park with a boat launch, two piers and a bike path. It is also home to one of the Herzing University trade colleges. Newer than other suburbs such as Metairie, it likewise has a fluffier, suburban vibe. Though much of New Orleans’ culture spills in, Kenner is described by almost anyone you ask as more “bedroomy” than the big city.
Finding a place to rent in Kenner is not the chore it is in some cities. For the most part, there are rental units available and a nice assortment of apartments, condos, or houses to choose from, depending on your preference. The town doesn’t suffer significant housing competition although the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce recommends not arriving when public schools are starting or letting out. During this time, they say, many parents are moving kids around and there will be more renters on the scene. Their best advice? “Look around, drive around, talk to people. Always ask questions.”
Kenner is a truly a great place to live with plenty of access to nightlife and culture. With a little initiative, you won’t have any problem finding something that fits your lifestyle. The following is a more complete, neighborhood-by-neighborhood breakdown:
This is the upscale, higher-end section of town up by the lake. There is a casino and one commercial avenue (Williams Boulevard) with strip malls and big box stores. The vast majority of this area contains residential subdivisions and housing developments, many of which are owner-occupied. That said, North Kenner also offers several large apartment complexes that have 300 to 400 units each. Like any large apartment community, these complexes also tend to have more amenities and luxuries than smaller buildings. The area is full of families with children and singles with middle and upper incomes. In addition to the nicer apartments, there are also select houses and condominiums for rent in this neighborhood. Crime is low and the scenery is beautiful. If you can afford it, North Kenner is a great place to live.
This section of town, mostly set between Williams and Power Boulevard, offers a mixture of apartments and houses for renters. The living is not quite as upscale as it is in the North end but there are still plenty of lovely homes and apartments to be found at reasonable prices. More than that, you don’t find the crime that begins to seep in as you get closer to the airport. In East Kenner, you will find a nice combination of young people, families and elderly alike.
This area, according to the Chamber of Commerce, is “less desirable.” Crime is higher here and the apartment complexes are smaller, older and not as well-kept. It is close to the airport which means a lot of noise and less of a neighborhood feel. That said, prices are more affordable here and even with its disadvantages, there are some nicely maintained rental houses, as well as apartments and duplexes. NOTE: As you move farther south to the riverfront area, there again will be some mid-range options. The farther you move toward the swamplands, the more rural it becomes.
Public transportation is huge in Kenner. The fact that, A) it is close to a big city and, B) it is a suburb which many people commute back and forth from, has made Kenner’s metro quite modern. In fact, the number of people regularly using public transportation in Kenner is nearly two and a half times the state average for Louisiana. It is 30 percent higher than the national average. Services into New Orleans include the Jefferson Transit (JeT) buses, which you can also use to get around town, along with a number of taxi cabs, bike lanes, and pedestrian walkways. If you are thinking about moving to the Kenner area and don’t have a car, it is definitely a place you will be able to get around.