Unique, offbeat and colourful in more ways than one, New Orleans is fast becoming a top destination for both holidaymakers and people looking to relocate for a long-term adventure.
Hurricane Katrina devastated the city all those years ago, but New Orleans is once again a vibrant, thriving hub ready to welcome newcomers from all over the world.
Music, arts and celebration are the city's lifeblood and contribute to its international allure. From its famed soul food and festival culture to its eclectic art scene and distinctive architecture, New Orleans is a bountiful destination, just waiting to be explored.
Living in New Orleans
Historically known for being the ‘home of jazz’, music and entertainment are at the forefront of New Orleans. This is a city that knows how to have fun, with bars, clubs and live music venues lining the streets. New Orleans is also home to many famous festivals, chief among them the Mardi Gras. Lovers of art, music and entertainment alike will find much to do in this culture-rich city.
Work-wise, there are plenty of opportunities in New Orleans. It has historically served as a prominent trading port and is steadily redeveloping into a flourishing economic and commercial hub. Jobs are plentiful in education, healthcare and tourism, and the city has become attractive to startups as well, many of them lured by the low operation costs and the exciting lifestyle in New Orleans.
Housing in New Orleans is as varied as the city's cultures, but is overall much more affordable than in other major US cities. Many of the buildings are new (built post-Katrina), and these tend to be more expensive than older blocks, particularly those near downtown.
New Orleans’ public transport may not compare to that of New York, but it does have multiple reliable options. While having a car offers certain freedoms, it is by no means essential.
Cost of living in New Orleans
New Orleans offers residents a great quality of life at a reasonable cost, particularly when compared to the national average. Affordable accommodation, schooling, healthcare and even reasonably-priced entertainment make the cost of living in New Orleans attractive to (especially young) families.
Expat families and children
New residents with children will be pleased to learn that New Orleans has seen tremendous improvements to its public schooling system post-Katrina. The number of charter and magnet schools has increased, while private schooling is also an option in New Orleans.
The city is also building a reputation as a bit of a healthcare hub, so prospective residents can rest assured that the medical needs of their family will be well catered for. Having said that, healthcare is expensive, as is the case in the rest of the US, so comprehensive health insurance is highly recommended.
As a city steeped in rich culture, New Orleans offers its residents many interesting things to do. Families can stroll through the French Quarter, admiring the old architecture and the shops. Here, in Decatur Street, residents can find the Café du Monde, famous for its sugary beignets. No visit to the oldest part of New Orleans would be complete without one of these deep-fried doughnuts. The city park is a lovely spot for a relaxed picnic, and the Lafitte Greenway offers a multitude of family-friendly attractions.
Climate in New Orleans
The weather in New Orleans can be difficult to deal with at times and some seasons may be worse than others. July to August tend to be the hottest months, while December to February offer some respite, but can be unpredictable. June to November is hurricane season and high winds, tornadoes and floodings are common.
The benefits of living in New Orleans certainly outweigh the drawbacks, evidenced in the increasing number of people relocating to the city. Ultimately, a sense of adventure and a desire to explore a unique blend of fascinating cultures in a vibrant setting will ensure a wonderfully rich experience in New Orleans.
►Learn more about areas and suburbs in New Orleans from our guide
Are you an expat living in New Orleans?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to New Orleans. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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