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I'm writing this today because I do see a lot of threads on here from people who have moved here and have moved away that were dissatisfied with their experience, so I thought I'd post a positive one as my experience has been quite different in Louisiana. I grew up in central Louisiana originally and there wasn't a whole lot to do to speak of, but I did receive a pretty good education at my local public high school and met many lifelong friends. I went on to attend college at LSU and got a free education with the TOPS scholarship so I graduated with $0 in debt, which was nice. I wanted to move out of state for greener pastures after college and lived and worked in Colorado for a while. I did love the mountains and the people I met there. There was always something to do outdoors, but I missed the warm weather, southern lifestyle and the people.
I went back to New Orleans for jazz fest one spring where I would meet my future wife and was reminded of how unique this place was. I've been to 60+ countries and there really isn't anything else like it in the world - the live oaks, St. Charles Avenue, the live music scene, the architectural integrity, the history, the warm weather, the art scene, the independent film culture, the festivals, the cuisine obviously and the renaissance after Katrina among other things made me want to move back. I moved to Houston from Colorado for two years to get a masters degree and did not enjoy it as much. For a city 7x the size of NOLA, it seemed like there were less things to do and everything was at least a 20 minute drive including the work commute. I didn't like the big corporate businesses and cookie cutter buildings. I like the small locally owned businesses, the grandiose old wooden houses, and the dingy dive bars. I moved to New Orleans soon after graduating and over the past 8 years of living here I have seen the city change mostly for the better - neighborhoods that were once uninhabitable are now thriving like freret st, new small businesses are opening up around the city, university medical center opening up, newly renovated theaters like the joy, civic, orpheum, saengar, and the filmore, a 47 year low in homicides in 2018 and people are renovating old abandoned buildings all over the city. It is starting to look and feel like a small boutique city now. For a city that is so small, it has a ton of things to do, a town with a big city feel if you will. Everything is within biking distance, sometimes walking distance. I can walk to the saints/pelicans games and LSU is only an hour away if I want to tailgate and catch a game there. I bought a pretty large house here for only $240K with both front and back yard in 2015 and fixed it up nicely. Since I bought the house, the value has appreciated to $350K in just three years so it has been a great investment although the flood insurance has been a drag. I got a good job working at a hospital when I moved back, and have moved on to work in health insurance and have moved up the ranks since and now enjoying a solid salary, vacation time, and short,easy commute to Metairie. I think if you are able to find a good job here or are flexible to a career change and getting education for the jobs that we do have here, you're going to have a better overall experience.
I'm not preaching that it is some kind of paradise, it definitely isn't, but it has been great for me personally. Sure there are potholes, bad public education, crime , and no mountains to speak of but that is not so different than some other cities like Chicago. It doesn't have everything I want but it has what I need in terms of infrastructure and some things have improved like a new airport being built and now offering direct flights to Europe and Latin America (great for a city with 350K people). Everyone I know that comes to visit including friends from Australia and the United Kingdom absolutely loved it. There is never a shortage of stuff to do and I've actually been able to find some outdoor recreational activity within driving distance: fountainbleau state park, bogue chitto state park, desoto national forest, kisatchie national forest and that doesn't include the things I could see if I had a boat or kayak. The streets are fun and interesting to run/bike on. For instance, I've never run down a more beautiful set of streets than Uptown. If I ever moved away again, I would miss it constantly and just want to be back. I have no plans to move nor would I want to live anywhere else. The only thing that truly frightens me is the prospect of another apocalyptic flood in which case I would probably have no choice but to leave for good, but right now I'm very thankful this place exists and that its citizens have warmly accepted a transplant like me.