Unique, offbeat and colourful in more than one sense, New Orleans is fast becoming a top destination for both holidaymakers and people looking to relocate for a more long-term adventure. Music, arts and celebration are its lifeblood and contribute to New Orleans's international allure. From its famed soul food and festival culture to its eclectic art scene and distinctive architecture, New Orleans is a destination that is just waiting to be explored.
Located along the banks of the Mississippi River in the southern state of Louisiana, the city has historically served as a prominent trading port and is steadily developing into a flourishing economic and commercial hub for the broader Gulf Coast region of the USA. New Orleans is a city of many names – the Crescent City, NOLA and the ‘Big Easy’ are just of a few of the terms locals like to use.
La Nouvelle-Orleans, as it was known before the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, had once been home to communities of Native Americans, French, Spanish and enslaved West Africans. The legacy of this rich, diverse history is evident in all aspects of life in New Orleans. From its arts and culture scene to the food and world-famous musical offerings, its storied past truly allows New Orleans to stand out from the crowd.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on New Orleans with severe flooding causing destruction to over 80 percent of the city. Thousands of residents either lost their lives or were displaced as a result and New Orleans’s overall population declined by almost 50 percent. The hurricane also took its toll on the city’s economy by causing interruption to the oil supply and exports of key commodities such as cotton.
Over a decade later, the Crescent City has experienced quite the turnaround. Redevelopment efforts and investment from local and national government have resulted in a rebound in the city’s population. But this transformation has not been without its issues and New Orleans continues to suffer from significant socioeconomic issues.
That said, economic growth has brought with it lots of new jobs and business opportunities. Government incentives have successfully lured companies to the city, many of which are enticed by the low operation costs in New Orleans as well as the lifestyle benefits NOLA offers prospective employees.
Historically known for being the ‘home of jazz’, music and entertainment are the 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. And if its events a person is after, then NOLA is the place to be.
Another major draw for New Orleans is that it offers residents a great quality of life at an affordable price. Rental rates and the general cost of living in NOLA are reasonable in comparison to national averages in the USA and the city boasts an impressive array of properties that provide good value for money. While New Orleans may not compare to more established cities such as New York and San Francisco when it comes to sophisticated public transport networks, its offerings are fairly solid and while having a car offers certain freedoms it is by no means essential.
Those moving to New Orleans with children will be pleased to learn that the city has seen tremendous improvements to its public schooling system in the post-Katrina period especially with the increase in the number of charter schools. The city is also building a reputation as a bit of a healthcare hub so prospective residents can rest-assured that their medical needs will be well-catered for.
As with any city, life in New Orleans does have its downsides which are important to be aware of when pondering the prospecting of relocating. The weather in the city can be difficult to deal with at times and while the redevelopment in the city has certainly been quite remarkable, New Orleans still has some way to go before it really reaches its full potential.
That said, the benefits of living in New Orleans do outweigh the pitfalls which is demonstrated by the increasing number of people choosing to relocate to the city. Ultimately, anyone moving to city with a sense of adventure and desire to be exposed to a unique blend of fascinating cultures is sure to have a wonderfully rich experience in the Crescent City.