OK, the hurricane didn’t change everything, but it did lend a few challenges to the housing market in the years following 2005. Use the NOLA Times-Picayune and the alternative weekly The Gambit to brush up on local trends and employment opportunities in various districts. Expect most units to require at least 6-8 months on a lease and a deposit to match the first month’s rent. In addition to these normal stipulations, be informed about the following:
Flooded Areas. Rent is lower in areas where flooding was extensive. But beware the condition of these units. Make extensive visual and verbal inquiry into the damage done and renovations performed since. Generally, areas that experienced the most flooding are located east of City Park and the CBD.
Transportation. The European feel of NOLA isn’t just in the food and architecture. This city is ranked 6th in the U.S. for most bicycle commuters, and the historic streetcar system was fully restored to working order in 2008. Maybe it’s one of those chicken-and-egg things, but there’s also not much parking in and around the CBD. Car insurance is also higher here. Might make sense to join everyone and grab a bike or rely on public transportation. We’d advise taking a look at the Regional Transit Authority’s website (http://www.norta.com) to view streetcar and bus line maps in order to determine which area of town you’d like to be in and what your transit options are.
Air Conditioning. There’s an eternal debate raging in NOLA whether the heat or the mosquitoes are worse. Whoever wins, there are a couple of tips you can follow to ensure you don’t get the short end of the stick. First, ask your potential landlord if the A/C is operated centrally or if you have climate control of your personal space. If utilities are not included, expect to chunk about $150/month in Entergy’s direction during the hottest summer months. Second, ask your landlord to put screens on the windows you aim to leave open for circulation. (For some reason, this little perk is not par for the course in NOLA…)
New York may have bagels and lox and Minneapolis may have lefse (what—you’re not Swedish?), but NOLA has…well, a lot! Check out these Cajun dishes and the neighborhood/apartment options they correspond to before sitting down to dinner in your new home.
King Cake—$25: The French Quarter. This rich and royal bread is consumed by most only once a year—between January 6th and Mardi Gras—but perhaps you’re the type that requires others to address you as “Your Highness” in daily communication. Fully furnished courtyard studios run $1500-$1850/month, courtyard suites max out at $2500/month (all utilities included). Another mint julep, Mr. Percy?? Hmm, yes!
Gumbo—$12: Calling all seafood-loving hipsters! Marigny is adjacent to the French Quarter and boasts heaps of coffeehouses and bars (Mimi’s, anyone?). Bywater, just east of Marigny, gets less expensive but retains most the excitement. East and north of Bywater, however, gets ugly… Half double apartments (these have four rooms, any of which can be a bedroom) in Marigny begin at $850/month. Expect higher for studio units and lower for the same in Bywater.
Po-Boys—$8: The bread-and-butter of NOLA neighborhoods, Uptown is a diverse and all-American district perfect for anyone with ties to Xavier University or needing to get to the airport quickly. A solid, but often mundane, daily diet for those practical-minded hunters. Primarily residential, Broadmoor was the only neighborhood hit hard by Katrina in Uptown. Two-bedroom shotguns in Broadmoor start at $900/month. Nicer units usually run $500-$600/month per room.
Jumbalaya—$11: Mid-City is a coveted hodge-podge of classic NOLA. Essential for the streetcar commuter or frequent City Park runner, Mid-City is residential without losing that special urban and commercial hype. Luxury one-bedrooms on Tulane Ave. average $900/month (add $250/month for a balcony). Humbler one-bedroom units on South Carrolton rarely exceed $700/month.
Beignets—$15: If you loved Gone With the Wind and Miller’s Crossing, typically lounge around the veranda on Sunday afternoons sipping coffee, and prefer to drive at least twenty blocks to see some commercial action, you’ll savor being a Garden District resident. Rent is a wee higher in this leisurely neighborhood, around the Lower Garden District (Upper GD = more houses and less apartments) and Tulane a one-bedroom should cost around $700-$800/month. Apparently, Garden District apartment managers despise cats; so prepare to shell out an extra $250 flat fee to keep Fluffy in Southern comfort.
“Sir? Ma’am? Did you get a chance to look over our menu?” Oodles of landlords and apartment managers stand ready to take your order in this city of plenty. What are you waiting for? Go ahead—dig in!