Article Overview: Pros & Cons of Living in Louisiana
I’ll be straight with you – if you’re thinking about living in Louisiana there’s some real considerations you need to make. My name’s Sam and I’ve lived here for more than a decade now. I love Louisiana but life here it ain’t all sunshine and crawfish boils.
While we have some of the most delicious cuisine in the world and amazing affordability, we’ve also got some serious challenges that might mean moving to Louisiana isn’t right for you. In this quick run down I’ll give you the unvarnished truth based on my first-hand experience. Let’s get started!
Editor’s Note: As long time readers of this website will know,the fun lives in the comments. We pride ourselves on creating honest lists with no ulterior motive in mind (no fluff, no pitches, no BS). Don’t forget to take a look below to see what other locals are saying too! We update this post regularly based on feedback received to keep things as helpful as possible. Cheers!
Living in Louisiana
Table of Contents: Pros & Cons of Living in Louisiana
Table of Contents: Pros & Cons of Living in Louisiana
- Living in Louisiana
- Pros of Living in Louisiana
- Cons of Moving to Louisiana
- FAQ – Living in Louisiana
- Compare the Pros & Cons of Living in Louisiana
- Summary of the Pros & Cons of Living in Louisiana
- Map of Louisiana
- Pin Living in Louisiana
Pros of Living in Louisiana
1. Life in Louisiana is Affordable
Forget the exorbitant costs of big city life, Louisiana welcomes you with open arms and an open wallet. In fact, Louisiana clocks in as the state with the 10th lowest cost of living in the US. Here, your dollar stretches further than a bowl of jambalaya on a Mardi Gras float. Let’s break it down:
Housing: Ditch the shoebox apartment and imagine owning a spacious home with a yard for the price of a cramped studio in New York. The median home price in Louisiana sits at a comfortable $195k, compared to the national average of $427k. Even in vibrant New Orleans, you can find affordable gems, just avoid flood zones like a pro.
Groceries: Skip the pricey imported produce and savor the taste of locally-grown vegetables and seafood that won’t cost a king’s ransom. Think plump shrimp plucked straight from the Gulf or juicy crawfish simmering in a fiery pot – freshness that won’t break the bank.
Bills: Utilities will vary depending on your location, but Louisiana boasts lower average energy bills than many colder states. And while taxes aren’t the lowest, they’re certainly not the highest. Imagine it like the perfect roux for your gumbo – a balanced blend that keeps things flavorful without burning a hole in your pocket.
Sure, you won’t find fancy lattes on every corner here, and that designer bag might need to wait for a post-festival splurge. But honestly, with sunshine on your skin, friendly faces around you, and a backyard bar-b-que every other weekend, who needs those things?
2. Great Food Scene
To quote one of my favorite movies (Almost Heroes), one of the characters when speaking about Louisiana says “the food alone is worth the trip.” Having lived here now for more than a decade I can safely say that’s no exaggeration and the rankings back it up (Louisiana was ranked the 4th best food state in the country).
One of the best parts about living in Louisiana is the culinary delights you get to experience on a weekly basis. What we have here is nothing short of a cultural gumbo simmering for generations – a way of life where every meal feels like a celebration.
From the moment that first whiff of garlicky sausage hits your nose at a Sunday morning crawfish boil to the delicate dusting of powdered sugar on a piping hot beignet, Louisiana’s food scene is a tapestry woven with history, passion, and the freshest ingredients Mother Nature can muster.
The marriage of flavors here is unlike anywhere else in the world combining French, Spanish, African, and Native American influences.
And while yes, we know our spices (Louisiana is home to Tabasco after all), we’re spoiled rotten when it comes to seafood. Shrimp boiled, grilled, or blackened; plump oysters on the half shell; catfish so fresh it practically leaps onto your plate – the bounty of the sea is unending.
3. Bask in the Lovely Subtropical Climate
One of the top reasons I considered relocating to Louisiana in the first places was to escape the cold – I can’t stand winter. At least I used to loathe winter until I moved to Louisiana.
While it’s not for everyone, the subtropical climate here agrees with me famously. Sure it’s hot and humid in the summer (more on that below), but I can handle it. What I couldn’t handle was the ice and snow – you won’t find any of that here!
The average yearly temperature is over 67 degrees (more on that below as well)!
4. Live Music & Festivals
Not everyone is into music (weird), but for those who are life in Louisiana is all the better. Music isn’t just a soundtrack here, it’s the lifeblood pulsing through our streets. Depending on where you live, the weekend explodes with all sorts of festivals, each a celebration of rhythm, revelry, and the undeniable joie de vivre of this sunshine state.
Forget stadium concerts and overpriced tickets. Here, music spills from open doors, floats on balmy breezes, and ignites impromptu dance parties on any patch of green. Picture yourself:
- Swept away by Zydeco: Sway to the infectious accordion-fueled rhythms at a dusty field festival, boots kicking up red clay as you twirl under the setting sun.
- Lost in the soulful blues: Let the raw emotion of Delta blues wash over you in a juke joint with peeling paint and a stage barely bigger than a closet. Each note tells a story, each guitar lick a brushstroke on the canvas of your soul.
- Caught in the Mardi Gras maelstrom: Don a mask and feathers, and become part of the world’s greatest free party. Brass bands blare, beads fly, and the streets pulsate with an electrifying energy that’s impossible to resist.
This is just a taste of the musical feast Louisiana offers. From Cajun fiddles to New Orleans jazz, every genre finds a home here.
5. Southern Hospitality
Living in Louisiana, warmth isn’t just the sun shining down – it’s the way folks welcome you in like family, even if you just met over a plate of beignets. Southern hospitality here isn’t a cliché, it’s a way of life, woven into the fabric of every community.
- Strangers as friends: Forget cold shoulders and hurried whispers. Here, a smile and a “howdy” open doors and spark conversations. Ask for directions and get a mini-tour complete with local recommendations. Need a helping hand? Neighbors jump in before you even finish asking.
- Open doors and open hearts: Whether it’s a steaming pot of gumbo shared on a neighbor’s porch or a plate of fresh-baked cookies left on your doorstep, generosity flows freely. Invitations to barbecues and crawfish boils come easily, and you’ll never feel like an outsider.
- Kindness as a compass: From offering to carry your groceries to checking on you during storms, small acts of kindness are the norm. Lost your phone? Someone will walk you home. Need a ride? Chances are, you’ll hitch a ride in the back of a pickup truck with laughter filling the air.
- Community spirit that binds: Louisiana feels like a big, messy family. Church potlucks, town festivals, and even hurricane prep parties bring everyone together. You’ll find yourself learning to two-step at a dance with octogenarians and sharing stories with folks you just met.
Sure, it ain’t perfect. There’s the occasional gossip and family feuds, like in any family. But the overwhelming vibe is one of genuine warmth, acceptance, and a shared love for good food, good music, and good company.
6. Hunting & Fishing
For those who crave the thrill of the hunt and the peace of casting a line, Louisiana’s a paradise.
Sunrise finds hunters stalking through misty fields, heartbeats syncing with the rhythm of the forest. Ducks whistle overhead, deer tread with cautious grace, and the satisfaction of a well-placed shot hangs heavy in the air.
Meanwhile, on sun-dappled bayous, fishermen cast their worries with their lines. Lures skip across mirrored water, the tug of a fighting fish a primal thrill. From bass leaping in the heat to salty redfish battling the tide, each catch whispers a story of the wild.
One of my favorite memories living here is the first time I got to go fishing on Lake Pontchartrain with my aunt and her friend Kenny’s on his boat – what a dream! We must’ve caught 10 redfish and 30 speckled trout that day. Even if we hadn’t caught a single fish it still would’ve been a great time.
Cons of Moving to Louisiana
Living in Louisiana ain’t all sunshine and crawfish boils. While we’ve got some really great things to be proud of, there’s lots that still needs work. Here’s a breakdown.
1. Pollution Is A Major Health Concern
One of the most frustrating cons of living in Louisiana to me is the pollution – there’s no excuse for this! Louisiana is the most polluted state in America – why!? Because we let it happen.
Louisiana is infamously home to “Cancer Alley”, the stretch of the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge so nicknamed because of its concentration of petrochemical facilities.
And we let it happen for the sake of the economy and “jobs”. Well what has that gotten us? Try (spoiler alert!) the worst ranked state in America economically by US News & World Report.
2. Economic Devastation
I teed this one up in my last downside of living in Louisiana, but it’s worthy of its own full consideration. Louisiana has the worst ranked economy in the nation – full stop.
In terms of job growth and economic opportunity, Louisiana has no rival – it’s abominable. Jobs here are largely limited to places that are generally considered hazardous to work. We’re talking oil & gas industry jobs and chemical plants.
Sure there are some decent career oriented jobs in New Orleans,Shreveport, and Baton Rouge, but outside of that it’s slim pickens.
3. Crisis Level Poverty
Louisiana has the highest poverty levels in the nation with nearly 1 out of every 5 residents living in poverty (19.5%). That translates to over 857,000 individuals struggling to make ends meet. I know many families that juggle multiple jobs yet still facing food insecurity. The ripple effects touch every corner of society, impacting economic growth, public safety, and social mobility.
Child poverty, at 1 in 4, paints an even more heartbreaking picture. These children face not only the material hardships of poverty, but also the emotional and developmental disadvantages that come with it. Limited access to nutritious food, early childhood education, and healthy environments can have lasting consequences on their health, education, and future prospects.
It’s not just a number, it’s a lived experience that reverberates through every aspect of life, affecting housing, food security, healthcare, education, and overall well-being.
4. Horrendous Public Education
The education system here, unfortunately, mirrors the state’s poverty crisis in many ways. Louisiana has the 3rd worst public education system in America.
A System Strained:
- Funding inequities: Louisiana allocates less funding per student than most states, creating disparities between schools and districts. These resource gaps often impact high-poverty areas the most, perpetuating a cycle of disadvantage.
- Teacher shortages and challenges: Attracting and retaining qualified teachers, especially in rural areas, remains a struggle. Low salaries, limited resources, and demanding workloads contribute to this issue, impacting classroom quality.
- Limited early childhood education: Access to quality pre-K programs, crucial for cognitive development and school readiness, is unevenly distributed across the state. This lack of early support further reinforces existing inequalities.
- Standardized testing focus: An overreliance on standardized tests can narrow the curriculum and limit opportunities for individualized learning, neglecting the diverse needs and learning styles of students.
The Human Cost:
These systemic issues translate into real-world struggles for students.
- Low graduation rates: Nearly a quarter of students in Louisiana don’t graduate high school, putting them at a disadvantage in finding decent jobs and pursuing further education.
- Poor academic performance: Louisiana consistently ranks near the bottom in national assessments in math and reading, indicating a need for comprehensive curriculum improvements and targeted interventions.
- Limited college readiness: Many students enter higher education ill-equipped for the rigors of college coursework, resulting in higher dropout rates and lower completion rates.
5. Abominable Healthcare
Louisiana has the 5th worst healthcare system in America factoring in cost, access, and outcomes. Despite boasting the nation’s second-highest Medicaid enrollment rate, access remains riddled with gaps.
Many residents lack health insurance, a stark reality further amplified by rural doctor deserts. The consequences? Preventable chronic conditions like diabetes (double the national average) and heart disease surge, fueled by limited preventative care and delayed diagnoses.
6. Staggering Obesity
Surprisingly to no one (ok, maybe to the good folks in Mississippi), Louisiana is the 2nd most obese state in the nation. It turns out that delicious home-cooking comes with a hefty price tag. But it’s not just the tasty food.
Combine a tasty (but largely unhealthy) diet with high poverty and scant access to quality healthcare and you’ve got the recipe for all sorts of terrible outcomes, obesity included.
Seeing the struggle for adults is one thing but to see it with children is a whole new sort of tragic.
7. High Violent Crime Rates
There’s no sugarcoating this one – Louisiana is the 5th worst state for violent crime. These aren’t just abstract numbers; they represent real situations affecting people in our communities. We’re talking about serious offenses like murder, assault, and robbery.
The high poverty rates play a big role in this as we know economic struggles often lead to increased crime. This isn’t an overnight fix; it’s a complex issue that needs long-term solutions.
As residents, we adapt to this reality. Most folks I know take extra safety measures like installing security systems and being extra cautious at night. If you’re thinking about moving to Louisiana, it’s important to be aware of this. Yes, Louisiana is a fantastic place to live with rich culture and history, but we also face challenges.
8. Tragically Low Life Expectancy
At just 73.1 years, Louisiana has the 3rd lowest life expectancy in America.
There are many reasons behind this. Among these, access to quality healthcare (like I mentioned above) is a big one. In some parts of Louisiana, it’s hard to find good health services, and for many, healthcare is just too expensive. Then there’s the lifestyle factor. We’re known for our rich food, which is delicious, but not exactly the healthiest. Rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are staggering here.
We also can’t ignore the environmental factors. Louisiana has areas with high pollution levels, which definitely impacts our health. Plus, the stress from frequent natural disasters, like hurricanes, takes a toll on people’s well-being.
If you’re thinking of moving to Louisiana and raising a family here, these are things to consider.
Louisiana is the 3rd most hurricane prone state in Ameica and the impact of these hurricanes can be absolutely devastating. We’re talking about serious property damage, flooding, and unfortunately, loss of life. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Laura in 2020 are stark reminders of how destructive these storms can be. They caused billions of dollars in damage and deeply affected the lives of thousands of Louisianians.
This one hits close to home for me. You’ll recall the aunt I spoke of earlier that I have such fond fishing memories with. She lost her house in Katrina and had to relocate her entire family to live with my grandparents in California as a result. Nothing in that house was salvageable afterward, nothing.
For anyone living in or considering moving to Louisiana, being prepared for hurricane season, which runs from June to November, is a part of life. We’re constantly monitoring weather reports, and have evacuation plans in place. We also invest in home reinforcements, like storm shutters, to protect against high winds and flooding.
10. It’s So Hot
Now the heat usually doesn’t bother me, I’m used to it. But for a lot of folks it’s just too much. The stats bear this out. Louisiana is the 3rd hottest state in the country with annual average temperature in excess of 67 degrees (Fahrenheit).
And while this is lovely in the winter, the summer is different. Think lots of sweat and air conditioning as a means of survival. If this doesn’t sound agreeable then perhaps living in Louisiana isn’t your cup of (sweet) tea.
11. And So, So Humid
Yes, the humidity deserves it’s own special place on this list. Louisiana is the 3rd most humid state in the US and the first is Alaska which is a totally different kind of humidity so it’s really second.
During the summer you can count set your watch by the 3pm rain that comes as a result of this humidity. Personally I don’t mind it. I can’t stand the dry climate of the southwest with constant chapped lips and need for lotion.
But in terms of having to change multiple times a day due to the sweating caused by the humidity, well, that part I could do away with.
12. Bugs & Mosquitoes
If you’re afraid of the “creepy crawlies”, then life in Louisiana is going to be a bit of an adjustment. After all, Louisiana is the 2nd buggiest state in the country.
What kinds of critters are we talking about? Oh just about everything you wouldn’t want. Cockroaches of course, mosquitoes, gnats, flies, spiders (the real nasty kinds like brown recluses & black widows), fire ants, scorpions, the list goes on.
FAQ – Living in Louisiana
Is Louisiana a good place to live?
Is Louisiana a good place to live?
Louisiana’s not for everyone. Hot, humid, and prone to storms, it rewards grit with vibrant art, soulful food, and wild adventures. Kayak sun-dappled swamps, fight Gulf giants on your line, or launch your dream venture in booming ports. If affordability and diverse opportunities outweigh occasional weather drama, Louisiana might just fit your beat.
Is Louisiana a good place to retire?
Is Louisiana a good place to retire?
Louisiana, land of Mardi Gras magic and low property taxes, welcomes retirees with open arms (and open mic nights). Swap gated boredom for vibrant communities, where Zydeco beats trump bridge club gossip and history whispers from mossy oaks. Kayak serene bayous, hook Gulf giants, explore plantation mysteries – Louisiana’s your adventure oyster. Embrace humidity & occasional storms, they’re the price of paradise.
What is Louisiana known for?
What is Louisiana known for?
Louisiana is renowned for its vibrant culture, blending French, African, Spanish, and Native American influences. Famous for its unique Cajun and Creole cuisines, Louisiana offers signature dishes like gumbo and jambalaya. The state is home to the legendary Mardi Gras festival, celebrated in New Orleans, known for its jazz music, historic French Quarter, and lively Bourbon Street. Louisiana’s rich history and diverse landscapes, including bayous and the Mississippi River, add to its allure.
Compare the Pros & Cons of Living in Louisiana
|Finest Cuisine in America
|Crisis Level Poverty
|Lovely Subtropical Climate
|Horrendous Public Education
|Live Music & Festivals
|Hunting & Fishing
|High Violent Crime Rates
|Tragically Low Life Expectancy
|Bugs & Mosquitoes
Summary of the Pros & Cons of Living in Louisiana
- Finest Cuisine in America
- Lovely Subtropical Climate
- Live Music & Festivals
- Southern Hospitality
- Hunting & Fishing
- Economic Devastation
- Crisis Level Poverty
- Horrendous Public Education
- Abominable Healthcare
- Staggering Obesity
- High Violent Crime Rates
- Tragically Low Life Expectancy
- Bugs & Mosquitoes
Map of Louisiana
Pin Living in Louisiana
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