The southern US state of Louisiana shares land borders with Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi, and also has a long stretch of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico.
The 31st-largest (or, 19th-smallest) state, you’ll find no counties here in Louisiana. Instead, the state is the only place in the country to divide its areas into parishes. That’s not the only thing Louisiana does differently; the legal system is unlike in other states too.
Famous for lively and colourful Mardi Gras celebrations that are full of soul, jazz music, distinctive foods and flavours, and for its many festivals all throughout the year, Louisiana is also home to the world’s longest water-spanning bridge and the USA’s tallest state capitol.
Unfortunately, the weather in Louisiana is unpredictable, to say the least. Plan to experience all four seasons in just a few days! Temperatures can vary wildly and while one day may be perfect beach weather, the following day could be wet and windy or shiver-inducing cold.
The laid-back lifestyle and rich diversity of the state make the Bayou State a great place to live. Here are some of the best places to live in Louisiana:
1. New Orleans
The largest city in Louisiana, New Orleans comes in at top place for its staggering variety of amenities, activities, opportunities, and for letting people live right in the heart of the action. With a population of 391,495, there are lots of friends to be made too!
As with any big city, of course there are some neighbourhoods that are more desirable than others.
Some of the city’s best areas to live include Marlyville-Fontainebleau, where the median rent of $1,154 may be higher than the state average of $1,062 but educational standards are high and family life is easy, the affordable Lake Terrace and Oaks, where rental averages are just $544 per month, and Audubon with its good safety record and educational facilities.
The neighbourhoods of Lakeview and Lakeshore-Lake Vista offer outdoor recreational pursuits at your fingertips.
New Orleans is perfect for people who love big city living and all the hustle and bustle of a fast-paced life. There’s definitely no time to feel bored. If a suburban lifestyle is more up your street, however, you may prefer to live elsewhere in Louisiana.
Coming in at number two, Inniswold is part of East Baton Rouge Parish. A good all-rounder with a population of around 5,000, the area is especially known for its lower-than-average crime rate. Residents generally enjoy a good quality of life and there are many local amenities. The city’s top-notch restaurants especially are raved about.
The student-to-teacher ratio is low, meaning parents can send their kids off to school knowing they’ll be getting lots of attention.
There’s great news for commuters too, with relatively short commuting times. More chances of a lie-in for people living in Inniswold! Interstate 10 runs to the south of the parish and the Jefferson Highway is also easy to access.
Housing prices are fairly high, at $210,600 on average. The median monthly rental costs for a two-bedroom property are $1,192. Living costs are higher than the state and national averages, but you do get what you pay for, especially living in Inniswold.
Moving from east to west, the town of Brusly is located within West Baton Rouge Parish. While you may need to travel a little way to reach your favourite amenities, that doesn’t mean there’s not a good choice almost right on your doorstep. Get some fresh air and exercise in the two local parks.
Sunny summers, high income levels, low unemployment figures, and low crime rates more than make up for a few extra minutes to reach certain leisure facilities and stores, though!
Great for families, the brainy kids of Brusly have a 17% higher high-school pass rate than the average statewide figures.
The median monthly rental price comes in under the national average at $765, although there are more privately owned homes in the town than rented properties.
Lafayette Parish’s Scott has a fairly large population, of around 10,000. The median age is 31, helping to create a place to live that has got bags of energy with a mature outlook.
The median income is under $49,000, so it’s not one of the highest earning areas on the list. Quality of life is still great here, though, and there’s plenty of potential to save some pennies thanks to the area having some of the lowest living costs when compared to other popular places to live in Louisiana.
Scott also boasts high employment rates, with just 4.7% of the community out of work.
Scott’s a healthy place to live too; the air quality score is a low 33. When it comes to air quality, bigger numbers definitely aren’t better! Past accolades also include awards in the Clean City contest.
5. Baton Rouge
The state capital and second-largest city of Louisiana, Baton Rouge’s diverse neighbourhoods typically score highly on the livability scale.
The city is a major centre for the medical, industrial, shipping, research, and petrochemical industries, and the technology industry is flourishing and seeing rapid growth. If you work in one of these areas you won’t have a busy commute to work each day living in Baton Rouge. Of course, there are many other job opportunities as well.
The economy is booming in Baton Rouge. Not only has the city been placed in the top ten destinations around the US to start a new business, but it has also been named as one of the top ten places overall for young adults.
Not to blow its own trumpet too loudly, Baton Rouge has also been listed as one of North America’s top twenty cities when it comes to economic strength. Pretty impressive! Entrepreneurs, investors, and young professionals should definitely keep their eyes on Baton Rouge.
Life’s not just about work, though, and Baton Rouge strikes a good balance between work, rest, and play.
Breaking the city down further, Oak Hills Place, Village St, George, and Prairieville are some of the best neighbourhoods and suburbs for day-to-day life. If public schools are an important factor for you, though, Zachary might be a better option.
The small city of Youngsville can be found in Lafayette Parish. The population of 10,109 enjoys a suburban vibe coupled with the facilities and amenities of city life. It’s the best of both worlds.
The average age of the local population is 32, making it neither old nor young, despite the city’s youthful name. Nightlife may be somewhat lacking when compared to other cities around the state, but the opportunities for a happy family life attract a generally more settled crowd.
85% of Youngsville’s residents are property owners, and the median cost of home ownership is $220,900. It’s considered a great place to buy a property and household incomes are above the national averages ($97,043 compared to $53,889).
Locals are warm, welcoming, and friendly, and people take pride in keeping the city looking clean and tidy.
Not as highly ranking as Inniswold but still a great place to live, Westminster is another feather in the cap for East Baton Rouge Parish. Part of the state capital’s metropolitan area, you can benefit from easy access to the city and myriad opportunities while still maintaining a peaceful suburban home life.
High graduation rates might be inspired by the fact that there are two major universities close to hand. Or, perhaps the universities were founded because of the abundance of bright kids in the area! In any case, those seeking further education opportunities have good options.
The total number of crimes is a whopping 81% lower than the state as whole. Maybe the great amenities keep people too busy to think of nefarious acts?
Although the high living costs may deter some people (15% higher than the state’s average figures), the median household income is significantly higher (87%) than the state average.
Part of the greater New Orleans metropolitan area, Mandeville sits on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain in the parish of St. Tammany.
One of its major claims to fame is having the world’s longest continuous bridge that crosses over water. Sure, that alone might not be reason enough to move to the city, but we’ll give you plenty of other compelling reasons to add Mandeville to your list of potentials.
The population is a little over 12,100. Low rates of crime, high graduation rates, pleasant weather, and good household income levels combine to keep locals smiling. Even the higher-than-average living costs can’t bring out a frown.
You won’t have to look far to find a decent selection of restaurants and shops, and you can work off all the delicious local food in one of the fitness centres. Plus, the vibrant city of New Orleans is within close proximity.
9. Belle Chasse
Sitting on the edges of the Mississippi River, Belle Chasse is the biggest town in Plaquemines Parish.
With some of the state’s highest property prices for both ownership and renting, it’s not a place for a typical first home. The prices do, however, reflect how sought-after the area is, making it a terrific choice for people looking to make an upgrade to existing living arrangements.
Median rents are $1,130 per month in Belle Chasse, while the average home costs in the region of $227,200. The affluence of the area can be seen in the median annual income for a household: $66,730.
When it comes to cutting loose and having some fun, Belles Chasse has great fishing spots, a shooting range, various sports facilities, a dirt-bike track, and restaurants that dish up some of the best Cajun food you’ll ever taste.
And let’s not forget the great lineup of annual celebrations too. Belle Chasse hosts Crawfish Fest, Orange Fest, Gamers Fest, and more.
Sandwiched between New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain, Jefferson Parish’s Metairie has a farming heritage. You’re more likely to find parks than pastures today, though. The greenery helps to break up the apartment blocks and other tall buildings.
Metairie has a sporty vibe. The New Orleans Baby Cakes baseball team is based in the area and the NFL team of New Orleans Saints train in Metairie. There are many sports facilities, such as basketball courts, football pitches, and baseball grounds, to keep you feeling fit and healthy. No problem, though, if being a spectator is more up your street.
The huge amount of amenities in Metairie total more than 7,200. There are certainly many ways to keep yourself entertained and occupied.
The area has more ethnic and racial diversity than many other parts of the state. The crime rate is lower than the state average by an impressive 47%. Home prices are fairly high, at $210,900 (median).
Found in Jefferson Parish, Elmwood has a fairly modestly sized community of around 4,700 people. It’s a particularly good area for single occupants, couples, and small groups of friends who want to strike out and live away from the family homes.
Elmwood scores especially highly for good safety and low crime rates, excellent amenities, and pleasant weather. While schooling isn’t bad, there are places in the state that would probably be better suited for families with children still in education.
Housing and transportation costs are slightly higher than the national average, but lower health care, utility, and grocery bills bring average day-to-day living costs just below the national average. Renters can expect to pay in the region of $1,075 for their home. The majority of Elmwood’s residents rent properties, with just 17.6% of the community comprised of owner occupiers.
Prien is a small town that’s seeing rapid growth; it’s probably not going to hang on to that small-town vibe for too much longer. Prien is located in Calcasieu County and natural attractions in the locale include Prien Lake and Lake Charles.
Looking at the town’s demographics, there’s a good balance between families, couples, and solos, and young and old.
The town is often an all-round high ranker, including being one of the best places in the state to buy a home and one of the top places to raise a family.
Crime isn’t a big problem in town, with just 1,823 crimes per capita.
Commuters can relish the short journeying times and spend more time doing the things that they love. A typical Prien person spends just 22 minutes a day commuting.
Another huge plus point for Prien is the combination of a low cost of living and high median incomes. Having that extra cash in your pocket will sure come in handy with the extra time saved in travelling to and from work.
13. Abita Springs
Previously a Native American settlement, the small town of Abita Springs is located in St. Tammany Parish. Home to around 2,530 people, life in Abita Springs today offers all the trappings of suburbia.
Local places of interest include the UCM Museum and Abita Brewing Company, where you can swig a glass of beer made using water from the local wells. A cultural highlight is the Abita Springs Opry, an organisation that works to preserve and promote Louisiana’s musical heritage.
This probably sounds great for a visitor, but how about living?
We’ve included Abita Springs in our top 15 places to live in Louisiana because of its affordable housing (median monthly rents are $1,000), family-friendly factor, and strong community bonds. If you want to be pals with your neighbours and join in with an array of community events, there are few places better than close-knit Abita Springs.
Diverse, safe, and within a 30-minute ride of cool city features, like restaurants, malls, bars, and museums, Destrehan is the only place in St. Charles Parish to make our list. That’s not to diss the rest of the parish, but rather to show that Destrehan shines.
Destrahan’s median monthly rents are $982, which is $55 higher than the national average. The average household income is, however, around $13,000 more per year ($67,099 in Destrahan, versus $53,889 nationally).
Statistically, Destrahan is also one of the state’s safest areas; it is in the top 20 places statewide with the lowest crime rates. That should help you sleep quite soundly at night.
The biggest plus point for Destrahan is, though, related to education. Parents, take note! Of all cities and towns in Louisiana, Destrahan spends the most, per student, on learning and development.
If you’re looking for nightlife on your doorstep, Destrahan isn’t for you. If, on the other hand, good housing, education, and work opportunities are important to you, Destrahan could be ideal.
A cultural hotspot, southern Louisiana’s Lafayette is a real gem of a city. Nicknamed the Hub City, the population stands at around 125,000. It’s the state’s fourth-biggest city.
The city’s long and diverse history has helped to shape its present. The heart of the nation’s Cajun and Creole cultures, life in Lafayette is often vibrant, colourful, and extremely tasty! With a packed calendar of events covering varying themes, a wicked night scene, top-notch restaurants, and amenities galore, Lafayette life is full of flavour.
Youngsters are unsurprisingly attracted to the city. Almost one third of Lafayette’s residents are young adults below the age of 34.
There’s almost a 50-50 split between renters and owners. Median rents are an affordable $800 a month, and home prices, at $173,900, are also below the country’s average. Unemployment figures are low, at just 4.7%. Flip that, and you have a large city where more than 95% of the population is employed. That’s impressive!
Throw in the facts that Lafayette has short commute times, good air quality, and enviable weather, and it’s easy to see the appeal.