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Moving to New Orleans

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.

Weather in New Orleans

New Orleans has a humid subtropical climate featuring short, generally mild winters and hot humid summers. 

The weather in New Orleans is known to change rapidly. Rainfall is likely at any time of year, so it’s always best to have an umbrella to hand. Humidity is also a prominent feature of the city’s climate. It is said to be the US city with the highest relative humidity and it's quite noticeable how muggy the city can get. 

Summers in New Orleans, especially July and August, are hot and steamy. The humidity can be quite brutal and new arrivals will truly appreciate the value of having a good air-conditioning system during this season. Rainfall is common, with tropical storms known to cause havoc in the city. The wet weather also gives rise to increased numbers of bugs and mosquitos so it's best to be armed with repellent at all times. 

Winters, although generally relatively mild, can be unpredictable. One minute it can be overcast and fairly chilly and the next there will be bright sunshine. That said, generally speaking, the months from December to February are cooler. Temperatures range from lows of 44°F (7°C) to average highs of 64°F (18°C). As mentioned, rain falls throughout the year, but in the winter this can turn to sleet, which isn’t particularly pleasant. 

One weather hazard that new residents should be aware of when moving to New Orleans is hurricane season, which runs from June to November. When hurricanes occur in the city they bring with them high winds, tornados and severe flooding. Any government directives with regard to hurricane safety should be followed carefully.

 

Pros and Cons of Moving to New Orleans

New Orleans is a city rich in history and culture, and filled with life, colour and vibrancy. But as with any destination, life in the city comes with its downsides too. In order to make a well-informed decision, prospective residents should carefully weigh up the pros and cons of moving to New Orleans before taking the plunge.

Below are some of our insights into the main benefits and constraints of life in New Orleans.


Accommodation in New Orleans

+ PRO: Accommodation is affordable

Property prices in New Orleans are reasonable and the market is on an upward trajectory which means this is a great place to invest in a home. Property taxes in New Orleans are significantly less than the USA’s national average. The majority of residents rent rather than buy property, and rental rates are quite affordable. 

- CON: Limited real estate options and lots of hidden expenses to consider

While the cost of property is affordable further away from the downtown area, those looking to live close to the action do have to pay disproportionately more as a result of demand for accommodation among tourists. As crime rates are particularly high in some suburbs, residents will have to take in the cost of insurance premiums. The city’s susceptibility to flooding means that it’s also wise to take out flood insurance to protect one’s home. 


Working in New Orleans

- CON: Economy lags behind other US cities

Despite the fact that Hurricane Katrina occured over a decade ago, the devastating impact that it had on the New Orleans economy can’t be underestimated. Pre-Katrina, the city’s economy was dynamic and vibrant but to this day New Orleans remains in recovery mode. Unemployment is still higher than the national average and average wages here remain low. 

+ PRO: Lots of potential for growth

While the economy of New Orleans may lag behind those of other major US cities, the city has shown an impressive resilience and certain industries such as tourism have been drivers in its economic recovery. The incentives offered by the state of Louisiana have also made New Orleans a great place for setting up a new business and many entrepreneurs see value in starting their operations in the city. 


Cost of living in New Orleans

+ PRO: Affordable cost of living

Mostly as a result of the exodus of residents out of the city after Hurricane Katrina, the real-estate market in New Orleans has become incredibly competitive. It is possible to live comfortably in the city for a fraction of the cost residents pay in similar metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, Baltimore and Atlanta.

- CON: There are some socio-economic issues

New Orleans has its fair share of socio-economic problems that can’t be overlooked. Poverty is widespread and the wealth gap is pretty apparent. Crime rates are high in parts of the city as a result of this, so new residents can expect to pay higher insurance premiums to protect their property. 


Lifestyle in New Orleans

+ PRO: A foodie's dream

Visitors from all over the world rave about New Orleans's soul food, and new residents of the city will find plenty of delicious treats to satiate even the greatest of appetites. From legendary beignets at Cafe du Monde to those famous po’boys and fried chicken, New Orleans takes gastronomy seriously. 

+ PRO: Festivals galore

For those who love to party, New Orleans is the place to be as residents are treated to an exciting line-up of events each year. The city is perhaps most renowned for its famous Mardi Gras, but it has plenty of other exciting happenings going on that new arrivals will not want to miss. From French culture and oysters, to bourbon and beer, there are celebrations to suit an array of individual tastes.

- CON: Things happen slowly

Of course, the slower pace of life with its physical and emotional benefits are a major draw for new residents of New Orleans, but those moving from more fast-paced cities may struggle at first. Everything takes a little longer in New Orleans. Whether it’s the relaxed pace of service at a restaurant or public transport delays, new arrivals will need to lower their expectations and embrace the slow charm of the city when it comes to getting things done.


Weather in New Orleans

- CON: Bugs everywhere

The climate in Louisiana gives rise to a large population of creepy crawlies that new residents will take some time getting used to. Pests include the buck moth caterpillar, which regularly falls out of oak trees and can cause nasty stings, as well as brown recluse spiders and fire ants.

- CON: Frequent rain and flooding

No matter what the season, it’s best to be prepared for rain in New Orleans. The city’s low elevation makes it vulnerable to flooding, especially in the city centre. This is something worth factoring in when deciding where to live in the city. 

Working in New Orleans

New Orleans has a diverse economy and an abundance of job opportunities. As one of the largest states, it plays an important role in international trade and export, hosts several multinational companies.

Beyond trade and exports, New Orleans has a strong tourism sector, which generates a large part of the city’s annual income.


Job market in New Orleans

The job market in New Orleans is fairly robust and has shown impressive recovery since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. That said, unemployment remains higher than the national average, but prospective residents should not be put off, as there are plenty of opportunities for skilled newcomers.

Due to its size, New Orleans has historically been a major port of entry and is still a significant player in international trade. The state mainly imports coffee, sugar and bananas, while the export sector is dominated by rice, cotton, corn, oil and petrochemicals. Individuals with experience in import and export can find work in many of these areas.

The education and healthcare sectors also offer career opportunities in New Orleans, as these areas have shown a remarkable capacity for growth. With the recent upturn in the New Orleans property market, its construction industry is also flourishing.

More and more businesses are establishing operations in New Orleans because of the low costs, and incentives offered by the local government. Some employers operating in New Orleans include Ochsner Health Systems, Whitney Holding Corp, Boh Bros. Construction, Superior Energy Services and the Entergy Corporation. The city is also home to several prestigious universities, including Tulane University.

Tourism and related hospitality industries have played a notable role in the city’s economy in recent history. It is estimated that tourism contributes around USD 9 billion per year to the city’s economy.


Finding a job in New Orleans

Many employers in New Orleans advertise positions on online portals such as Indeed.com, and Glassdoor.com, but networking can be useful too. Some sites, like WorkNOLA.com and Monster.com are specifically designed to help its users find work in New Orleans, and these sites can be especially useful for expats who don’t have contacts or knowledge of the local area. The official New Orleans government website also offers a wide range of civil service positions.


Work culture in New Orleans

New Orleans offers an attractive lifestyle and a favourable cost of living, and most businesses generally try to ensure a good work-life balance for their employees.

Big corporations operating in New Orleans also offer employees great benefits packages, including transport allowances, health plans and opportunities for training and subsequent career progression.

The local government in Louisiana has also offered lots of support to small businesses looking to set themselves up in New Orleans. As such, the city has become a popular place for start-ups. Employees at these smaller enterprises benefit from greater flexibility in terms of working from home, Flexi-time and job sharing.

Cost of Living in New Orleans

It’s wise for any prospective resident to draw up a budget and try to predict their monthly expenditure before relocating to New Orleans to establish whether the move will make financial sense.

The cost of living in New Orleans is just below the average for the US and new arrivals should be able to afford a good life in the city. A favourable cost of living teamed with a wealth of lifestyle benefits and a good quality of life make the New Orleans a big drawcard for citizens from elsewhere in the US and expats alike. 

Depending on the sector, opportunities for career progression can also be good, even if wage growth is fairly slow compared to that in more dynamic economies. It is important to consider living expenses alongside job opportunities, lifestyle preference and family situation when looking into the option of moving to this Louisiana state.


Cost of accommodation in New Orleans

Accommodation often forms the largest portion of a new arrival's budget when relocating, but thankfully the cost of renting accommodation in New Orleans is pretty affordable. In fact, despite being around 10 percent higher than the Louisiana average, it is still about 23 percent cheaper than the US national average. Those relocating from other prominent metropolitan areas such as New York City, Chicago, San Francisco or Austin will certainly notice a massive saving.

While the majority of new residents opt to rent rather than buy property, the city has great investment potential, especially for those looking to buy in the downtown area. In addition to its steadily growing resident population, New Orleans is a hugely popular tourist hotspot so having a holiday rental here can be quite lucrative. 


Cost of eating out and entertainment in New Orleans

New Orleans is known the world over for being a party city but thankfully having a good time doesn’t need to cost the earth. With annual events alongside the city’s vibrant nightlife offerings in the form of bars, restaurants and live music venues, new residents are sure to have a wonderful time getting acquainted with their new home.

When it comes to eating out, New Orleans is a dream. While gastronomy enthusiasts will certainly have the opportunity to indulge in fine-dining experiences, what New Orleans is undoubtedly known for is its Southern soul food – hearty portions of humble dishes such as jambalaya and gumbo served at reasonable prices. New arrivals will soon see that it's easy to eat out in the city without having to fork out a small fortune.


Cost of transport in New Orleans

While the it has better public transport than many other major cities in the South, getting around in New Orleans doesn’t come cheap. In fact, transport costs are significantly higher than both the Louisiana state average and the national average for the US. 

And while having a car isn’t essential, it certainly makes life easier and will help new arrivals get acquainted with the city. A personal vehicle is particularly useful for those who don't live close to the central parts of New Orleans. 


Cost of schooling in New Orleans

Those moving to New Orleans with children will, of course, need to consider the cost of schooling, much of which will depend on specific schools. 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the public schooling system in New Orleans experienced some major restructuring. As a result, a system plagued by underfunding and low staff retention levels saw an impressive transformation with the rise in the number of charter schools. New arrivals to the city will, therefore, find there are several excellent public schooling options that come at little to no cost.

There are also a large number of private schools in the city and a small handful of international schools. These schools are believed to offer greater opportunities and a higher standard of teaching, but at a cost. While the fees of private education are generally known to be high, tuition at private schools in New Orleans are slightly more affordable on average than in other US cities. 

Louisiana’s state government has also made good provisions to support students with special needs or disabilities at no extra financial cost to their families. 


Cost of healthcare in New Orleans

New Orleans is becoming noticed as a bit of a healthcare hub for the South and new residents can rest assured that their medical needs and those of their family will be well taken care of here. That said, as is the case throughout the US, to access the better healthcare facilities residents will need to be in possession of a comprehensive medical insurance policy. 

Those who are being relocated to New Orleans for work should negotiate some sort of healthcare allowance into their employment contract as this is likely to offer a significant saving in an individual's monthly budget. 


Cost of living in New Orleans chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for New Orleans in February 2022.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 1,400

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,050

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 2,500

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 1,800

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

USD 2.50

Milk (1 litre)

USD 1.15

Rice (1kg)

USD 4.15

Loaf of bread

USD 3.65

Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 8.55

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

USD 7.50

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

USD 8

Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 1.85

Cappuccino

USD 4.30

Local beer (500ml)

USD 3.50

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

USD 67

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

USD 0.15

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 72

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 210

Transportation

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 2.15

Bus/train fare in the city centre

USD 1.25

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

USD 0.60

Accommodation in New Orleans

The New Orleans property market is fairly robust and competitive. As tourism is such big business in the city, investing in rental properties makes good business sense as it can be used by holidaymakers as well as longer-term New Orleans residents. 

The majority of new arrivals to the city opt to rent property rather than buy, at least initially. Only once they’ve found their feet, become familiar with the various neighbourhoods and are ready to lay down roots in New Orleans do residents really start to explore the option of purchasing a home in the city. 


Types of accommodation in New Orleans

Anyone considering a move to New Orleans will be sure to find a rich variety of property options in the city. Architectural styles here are beautiful and unique, and properties are full of character. Here are a few of the most common types of property found in New Orleans. 

Apartments and condos

Apartments and condos are self-contained units within a larger building or complex and can be found scattered around various parts of New Orleans. These tend to be pretty modern with all essential facilities available. Living in an apartment or condo is a great option for new arrivals as there is a sense of communal living. Residents share various amenities including communal fitness centres, swimming pools, gyms, gardens and laundry facilities. 

Townhouses

Townhouses are two- to four-storey buildings which tend to feature arched openings and iron balconies. They have steep side-gabled roofs made of brick or stucco. In New Orleans, townhouses are either built in the standard American style or a Creole style which can be found mainly in the French Quarter. 

Creole cottages

These humble single-storey, ground-level properties with steeply pitched roofs and stucco or wood exteriors tend to be unique to the French Quarter of New Orleans. These properties are perfect for young couples looking to get their foot on the property ladder as well as small families. 

Shotgun houses

Shotgun-style houses are those most commonly seen all over New Orleans. They are usually one-storey properties but many have a second floor at the rear of the building. Shotgun houses are very narrow structures built on brick piers with the distinctive front porches covered by a roof that is supported by Victorian-era columns. 


Finding accommodation in New Orleans

Generally, the best place to begin the search for a new home in New Orleans will be online. Consulting reputable property portals is a great way for prospective residents to get a feel for the different types of property available in each neighbourhood, and how much to budget.

Real estate agents with knowledge of New Orleans are often another fantastic source and can assist new arrivals in familiarising themselves with different parts of the city.

Factors to consider when looking for a home include its proximity to places of work, amenities, shopping hubs and access to major roads. Lifestyle considerations will also come into play. Those moving to New Orleans with children should also consider the proximity to good public schools and space requirements when searching for a home. 


Renting accommodation in New Orleans

Despite New Orleans’ increased popularity as a destination for expats and transplants from other parts of the USA, supply has managed to keep pace with demand in terms of housing stock. For this reason, new arrivals shouldn’t struggle to find a suitable home in the Crescent City. 

Making an application

Once potential tenants have found a property to their liking, they’ll need to express their interest either to the agent or the landlord directly. Subsequently, credit and reference checks will be carried out. Once these have come back clear, the tenant and landlord can go ahead and sign the lease. For those moving to New Orleans from outside the USA, having a US bank account and a social security number set up before applying for rental property will certainly make life easier. 

Leases

Generally, rental contracts are valid for a year with the option to renew at the end of the initial term. At the discretion of the landlord, it may be possible to request a shorter lease which can be useful for those who need a short-term rental that’ll enable them to find their feet in the city. 

Utilities

Before signing any contracts, renters should meticulously study the terms of their lease agreements to determine which utilities are included in the rental price. Generally, landlords cover standard utilities such as water and electricity. Optional extras such as internet, cable TV and landline telephone services are usually for the tenant's personal account.

Deposit

Prospective tenants will be required to put down a security deposit to secure a rental contract, usually equivalent to a month's rent. These deposits are fully refundable once the lease terminates, provided that the property is left in an acceptable state. For this reason, it is essential that tenants and landlords carry out a detailed inventory at both the beginning and end of the rental term, as damages will need to be deducted from the deposit.

Areas and Suburbs in New Orleans

The best places to live in New Orleans

New arrivals to the Crescent City will soon learn that New Orleans is an eclectic mix of neighbourhoods. From bohemian Bywater, full of art galleries and live music venues popular with a creative crowd, to the oak-lined Garden District, which is perfect for couples and active retirees, there really is a place for everyone in this culturally rich and vibrant city.


City living in New Orleans

As a city rich in culture and history that is also renowned for its nightlife offerings, it is understandable that new residents may want to be close to the action. There are a number of great neighbourhoods located close to downtown New Orleans that allow residents to make the most of the city and truly immerse themselves in the vibrancy of it all. 

New Orleans French Quarter

Marigny/Bywater

These adjacent neighbourhoods are famous for their vibrant art scene. Full of local art galleries, relaxed live music venues and craft markets galore, Marigny and Bywater embody the creative spirit of New Orleans. Residents will also be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. From trendy local eateries to humble soul-food spots, foodies really can take their pick. Distinctive Creole cottages, a type of residential architecture quite unique to New Orleans, line the streets. The community is relatively young with most people in the area renting properties.

Uptown/Garden District

The leafy Garden District with its ancient magnolia trees and scents of Jasmine transports visitors and residents to a grander, more opulent era. It's no wonder this is one of the most popular places to live in New Orleans. With loads of sophisticated bars, smart restaurants and trendy coffee shops there is rarely any reason for residents to want to leave the Uptown area. Home to a diverse community ranging from young professionals to retirees, the area has a liberal and welcoming spirit, and is a great place for new arrivals to start their New Orleans experience.

Gentilly/New Orleans East

A lesser-known part of the city, Gentilly and New Orleans East are hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered. Shotgun homes were once a common architectural feature of the area, but since the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, the neighbourhood has seen the rise of more modern houses. The communities in this part of New Orleans are ethnically diverse and well established. Historically home to large African-American and Vietnamese populations, new arrivals will find themselves surrounded by a real depth of culture in everything from the festivals to the food. Gentilly and New Orleans East are particularly popular with families as well as young couples looking to get their foot on the property ladder.


Family-friendly areas of New Orleans

New arrivals relocating to New Orleans with a family, or those looking for a slightly slower pace of life, will find that living in one of the many outlying areas of New Orleans might just be perfect for them. Properties in the suburbs tend to be larger and, in many cases, more modern. Each area has its own unique vibe with a range of restaurants, bars and other lifestyle offerings to keep residents suitably entertained. 

Garden District New Orleans

Algiers Point

Located on the other side of the Mississippi River, Algiers Point allows residents to see a different side of New Orleans. A historic neighbourhood where jazz once flourished, the pace of life is a little slower here but the sense of community is strong, with Confetti Park being a popular gathering spot among the locals. The suburb is full of architectural gems with beautiful Victorian touches. Living in Algiers Point will allow new arrivals to take a step back and embrace a more relaxed way of doing things.

Audubon

Home to one of the city's largest parks, after which it is named, Audubon is one of the most popular residential neighbourhoods in New Orleans. Also known as the ‘University District’ thanks to its proximity to Tulane and Loyola Universities, the area is home to a large student population. The presence of several good public schools makes this a great suburb for those looking to raise a family in New Orleans. Properties are spacious and comfortable, and house prices are reasonable. New arrivals will also benefit from the strong sense of community here. 

Lakeview

This family-friendly suburb of New Orleans is home to a small population of around 1,500 residents. Located on the lakefront, Lakewood offers residents a sparse urban feel which combines the best of city living with the benefits of being part of a tight-knit community. Nestled by City Park, Lakeview residents enjoy having the Besthoff Sculpture Garden on their doorstep. Being close to the StoryLand amusement park is a bonus for those with children. Harrison Avenue is the place to be when it comes to shopping, restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

Healthcare in New Orleans

In recent years, New Orleans has built a reputation for itself as a healthcare hub in America's South. The healthcare landscape of the city is constantly evolving and these developments have gone hand in hand with innovation in the city’s biotech industry.

Newcomers will be pleased to learn that the city is home to a number of first-class healthcare facilities that compete to provide excellent care to patients. That said, as is the case throughout the USA, treatment is expensive and it's best to invest in a comprehensive health insurance plan. If possible, those moving to New Orleans for work should try to negotiate a healthcare allowance into their employment package.

Some of the most prominent hospitals can be found in the downtown Bio District, including the University Medical Centre and Tulane Medical Center. Below you’ll find our list of some of the most well established medical facilities in New Orleans


Recommended hospitals in New Orleans

New Orleans East Hospital

Website: www.noehospital.org
Address:  5620 Read Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70127

Children’s Hospital New Orleans

Website: www.chnola.org
Address: 200 Henry Clay Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118

Tulane Medical Center

Website: tulanehealthcare.com
Address: 1415 Tulane Ave, New Orleans, LA 70112

University Medical Center New Orleans

Website: www.umcno.org
Address: 2000 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70112

Education and Schools in New Orleans

Similar to the rest of the US, the schooling system in New Orleans is divided into three levels: elementary school (Kindergarten to Grade 5), middle school (Grade 6 to Grade 8), and high school (Grade 9 to 12). New Orleans Public Schools (NOPS) is the authority in charge of education in the city.

New residents with children should take schooling into account when choosing where to live.  But with over one hundred different schools to choose from, this is no straightforward matter.

Factors to consider when choosing a school in New Orleans include the type of school, the standard of teaching, the cost, extra-curricular activities and proximity to the family home and the parent's place of work.


Public schools in New Orleans

Hurricane Katrina had a big effect on public schools in New Orleans. After the destruction, the city attempted to rebuild and raise the standards of public education, and the result is a somewhat improved system.

Charter schools

Charter schools are a sub-set of public schools overseen by external boards. Although they do have more freedom in terms of teaching methodology and admissions, these schools remain accountable to NOPS.

The destruction caused by Katrina allowed the authorities to rethink public schooling in the city and, as a result, New Orleans saw the emergence of a larger number of charter schools with greater financial investment. It is estimated that over 90 percent of New Orleans’ student population attend charter schools.

These institutions have charters that detail the school's operations, programme, goals and methods of assessment. This independence allows charter schools to adjust their teaching methods and largely set their own objectives. Special-needs children are also better catered for at charter schools.

While catchment areas for charter schools tend to be wider, new residents should still factor in proximity to schools when deciding where to live.

Magnet schools

New Orleans is also home to a handful of magnet schools. Like charter schools, these are state-funded to an extent, but because they receive external funding as well, magnet schools have more autonomy when it comes to shaping their curriculum. These schools allow students to pursue a more vocational path in line with individual capabilities.

Magnet schools generally focus on a particular subject area such as the performing arts, languages, sports or STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).


Private schools in New Orleans

In addition to the variety of public schools in New Orleans, the city also has around 50 private schools. Many private schools in New Orleans have a religious affiliation, most commonly with the Christian faith.

Generally, private schools offer a higher standard of teaching and more modern facilities than the average public school. Also, there are more options in terms of various honour programmes for academically-gifted students as well as those who demonstrate an aptitude for arts, sports and music. 

Naturally, the downside of private education is the hefty price tag. Although the average cost of private schools in New Orleans is slightly less than the national average for the US, they still don’t come cheap. Extra tuition fees, uniforms, books, stationery, extra-curricular expenses and field trips can all weigh heavily on the wallet.


International schools New Orleans

Foreign residents moving to New Orleans may wish to have their children educated at an international school to receive an internationally-recognised qualification or allow them to maintain a degree of continuity despite starting at a new school. While there are no schools in New Orleans that follow the curricula of foreign countries, there are a few private international schools that offer the International Baccalaureate (IB qualification). Like private schools, international schools are very expensive.

That said, a number of charter schools offer students the opportunity to study for the IB at a fraction of the cost of a private institution. There are also a few public schools that offer French immersion programmes.


Special-needs education in New Orleans

Students with learning difficulties and disabilities are well catered for in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana endeavours to support all students with special needs up to the age of 21, at no extra cost to the parents. The support structures in place are extensive, multi-faceted and cater to a range of disabilities, ranging from autism and ADHD to physical mobility problems.

Students with special needs are accommodated in public schools as far as possible, but specialist facilities are available if a child’s disability is too severe for mainstream schools.


Tutors in New Orleans

Private tuition in New Orleans is fairly limited. Some schools do provide extra lessons for those with minor learning difficulties, but no school is obligated to fund private tuition. Schools can often provide a list of recommended tutors in the local area.

For students in need of extra academic support, there are many reputable tutoring companies in New Orleans. Some of the well-established companies include HYPE Tutoring, Tutor New Orleans and Kumon Learning. These companies offer a range of services, including one-to-one tutoring and small group sessions.

Lifestyle in New Orleans

New residents and expats to New Orleans won’t be disappointed when it comes to the city’s wealth of lifestyle offerings. It is abundantly clear why tourism is such a booming industry. There really is something for everyone here.

Whether one’s idea of fun is spending hours absorbing the city’s rich history, admiring art or taking in some of its performing arts – culture enthusiasts will love life in New Orleans. As the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans is known the world over for its nightlife, and prospective residents will be spoilt for choice when it comes to evening entertainment.

Foodies, too, will be well taken care of in New Orleans. From Southern soul food and Creole cuisine to international fusion foods, the New Orleans boasts a number of gastronomic delights.

New Orleans is a city that is full of life, colour and vibrancy and new arrivals are sure to find plenty of exciting things to do with their downtime. 


Art and culture in New Orleans

Art, theatre and music are the lifeblood of New Orleans, a city filled with colour, vibrancy and sound the whole year-round. The city has an impressive history when it comes to the arts. In 1796, New Orleans played host to the first documented opera performance in the US and became home to the first ever commercial movie theatre on Canal Street in 1896. It is also, of course, the undisputed home of jazz. 

New Orleans is home to a rich stock of museums and art galleries: from the world-renowned National WWII Museum and New Orleans Museum of Art to slightly more quirky offerings such as Mardi Gras World, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum and the Historic Voodoo Museum.


Nightlife in New Orleans

As the sun goes down, New Orleans comes to life and you’d expect nothing less from a city that produced musical giants such as Louis Armstrong, Dr John and Trombone Shorty. From the smooth sounds of the live jazz clubs to vibrant cabaret shows, residents have great entertainment on every street corner. 

Nightlife spots in New Orleans are strewn across the city, so newcomers will have their fair share of exploring to do. A stroll from Frenchmen Street in Marigny through to the French Quarter will reveal block upon block of lively little cafes, music clubs and restaurants. The world-famous Bourbon Street is another popular haunt for revellers, and the Bywater also showcases some brilliant local talent. 


Eating out in New Orleans

New Orleans has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the USA’s food capitals. The food scene is a real mix of tradition and innovation. From Creole delicacies such as the iconic shrimp gumbo, mouth-watering jambalaya or delectable crawfish étouffée, to more eclectic offerings featuring flavours from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa and beyond, New Orleans has a myriad of offerings to suit even the most worldly and sophisticated of palates. 

New residents will be thankful to learn that eating out in New Orleans doesn’t need to cost the earth. While there are certainly plenty of opportunities to get a fine-dining fix when one is looking to push the boat out, New Orleans is very much about comforting soul food, which can be found dished up at an array of the humble eateries and fantastic foothill markets throughout the city. 


Sport and outdoor activities in New Orleans

Sports fans won’t be disappointed with a move to New Orleans. NFL fans can get behind the New Orleans Saints while basketball enthusiasts will love following the New Orleans Pelicans in their NBA games. The New Orleans sporting calendar is full throughout the year, so there's unlikely ever to be a dull moment. 

New arrivals keen on spending time outdoors will find plenty to keep them occupied in New Orleans, as long as the weather behaves. The city is home to a number of lovely parks that are perfect for a lazy day in the sun. The Mississippi River provides endless opportunities too, from boat rides to fishing trips.


See and do in New Orleans

As an old French colony, New Orleans has a lot of interesting history, and new arrivals can always find new sights to explore.

French Quarter 

Exploring the streets of the French Quarter is a must for anyone new to the city; the quaint Creole townhouses will transport visitors to a bygone era. The Vieux Carre is full of top-notch restaurants, vibey bars, antique shops, eclectic clothing boutiques and mysterious voodoo dens.

Mardi Gras World

Mardi Gras World is the brainchild of Blaine Kern, or ‘Mr Mardi Gras’, who has been building floats for the city’s famous Fat Tuesday parade for over 50 years. Here, visitors can take a tour on the history behind the Mardi Gras experience. Expats can get wonderful insight into one of New Orleans’s signature festivals.

Steamboat Natchez

New Orleans used to be the centre of the Mississippi River’s shipping and steamboat travel industry. Nowadays, Steamboat Natchez is the only working steamboat left. A ride aboard this historic vessel can take visitors into the past, and the dinner jazz cruise is a particularly memorable experience.

New Orleans Jazz Museum

Naturally, as the home of jazz, New Orleans would be the place to visit a jazz museum. The New Orleans Jazz Museum provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about a genre of music that lies at the heart of this city. The museum hosts a spectacular array of concerts throughout the year, including various kids programmes.


What's on in New Orleans

With more than 100 festivals taking place each year, New Orleans residents always seem to have a reason to celebrate, and new arrivals are sure to find an event that is right up their street. 

Mardi Gras (February)

Traditionally, Mardi Gras was a celebration of Fat Tuesday, but lately the entire season from Epiphany until Ash Wednesday is considered a celebration. Though famous as a parade of debauchery and revelry, Mardi Gras is, in fact, a family-friendly affair. Festivities centre around the French Quarter, Marigy and Bourbon Street.

New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (April)

For more than 20 years, NOWFE has showcased the city’s best culinary experiences along with fabulous wines from around the world and demos by top local and international chefs. There is also a range of seminars, wine pairings and breakfast events to keep festival goers occupied throughout the day.

Essence Festival (July)

Since the 1990s, the Essence Festival has been a popular music event dedicated to contemporary black music and culture. For three days in July, New Orleans welcomes established and up-and-coming black musicians the Superdome stadium. Events such as the Essence Marketplace add to the buzz.

New Orleans Film Festival (October)

With a rich history in film and a reputation as ‘Hollywood South’, New Orleans fittingly hosts the New Orleans Film Festival. The festival showcases the talent of filmmakers, actors, producers and scriptwriters in the film industry. With around 200 movies on the circuit each year, this event is a must for any movie buff.


Where to meet people and make friends

New Orleans is filled to the brim with social events and opportunities to make friends if you look in the right places and are open to new experiences.

World Kickball Association New Orleans

Kickball is a fun sport for all ages and a popular social sport in New Orleans. The WKA has leagues in many states, and joining can help expats integrate and have fun in their new environment.

NOLA Social Ride

The NOLA Social Ride club comes together to celebrate a love of bikes. They ride them, build them and enjoy each other's company on bikes. Weekly 'Happy Thursdays' events are the perfect opportunity for bike-loving expats to socialise.

Chewbacchus

The Krewe of Chewbacchus opens its doors to all Star Wars fans and sci-fi lovers. This sci-fi themed Mardi Gras parade celebrates science fiction, fantasy and horror in a giant march and a range of themed after parties. Memberships aren't free, but the entertainment is surely worth it.

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop

This enchanting venue is rumoured to be America's oldest bar. A great place too order a pint and make new friends.

Getting Around in New Orleans

Exploring a new city, whether by foot, car or public transport, is a good way to get acquainted with it. Luckily for those moving to New Orleans, the transport infrastructure is fairly solid. Buses, streetcars and ferries make up the city's public transport network, and getting around New Orleans is safe and easy.


Public transport in New Orleans

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA or more commonly referred to as RTA) is the body that oversees the public transport network in the city. While New Orleans may not boast the most sophisticated public transportation network, it has been deemed to have one of the safest systems in the US.

New residents will also find the NORTA GoMobile app to be a useful resource. Commuters can use this app to pay for passes on all forms of public transportation, and it allows them to map their journeys, access transport schedules and track when the next streetcar, bus or ferry is due to arrive.

Jazzy Pass

Public transport rates are reasonable in New Orleans. That said, for those who plan on using the system regularly, it is worth investing in a weekly or monthly Jazzy pass, which offers the user unlimited travel on RTA buses and streetcars.

Buses

The bus network in New Orleans is extensive, comprising more than 30 different routes, most of which operate around the clock. On average, buses run every 30 minutes, but services are often more frequent along the busier routes.

Streetcars

Trams, commonly known as streetcars in New Orleans, are a popular mode of transportation in the city. Four main lines extend through the city’s central neighbourhoods. The NORTA website and mobile app come in handy when checking whether streetcar routes run through the night or stop at midnight. The frequency of streetcar services varies depending on the route and the time of day, but they generally run in 15–30 minute intervals.

Ferries

There are two ferry routes in operation in New Orleans. The first route connects Chalmette in the east of the city with Algiers on the west bank of the Mississippi, and it transports cars as well. That said, the route is made a bit redundant by the presence of a bridge. The second, more frequently used Canal Street ferry connects the French Quarter to Algiers Point. This ferry is only for commuters, pets, bikes and scooters.

Ferries run every hour from 6am to 9.45pm on most days, but from 10.30am to 11.45pm on Fridays and Saturdays. During the Mardi Gras and other large annual festivals, extra ferry services are provided with extended operating hours.


Taxis in New Orleans

While taxis are readily available in New Orleans, they aren’t always easy to flag down. Having said that, most New Orleans taxi companies have mobile apps nowadays, which make it easier to schedule a ride ahead of time.

United Cabs is the most prominent cab company in New Orleans and has the largest fleet of vehicles. This company mainly operates in the downtown part of New Orleans. New arrivals should also investigate which taxi operators work in their particular neighbourhood, as these may offer better prices in some cases.


E-hailing services in New Orleans

Popular e-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft are well established in New Orleans. Fares are similar to taxi prices, but most people find e-hailing to be more reliable and efficient. Users simply need to download the app of their choice and register using a credit card.

It is important to note that there are regular price surges on these apps during big annual events such as Mardi Gras.


Pedicabs in New Orleans

Pedicabs are a type of rickshaw-style vehicle that commonly operates throughout the French Quarter, downtown New Orleans and Warehouse District. Although these are unlikely to be used on a daily basis, they are a good option for short trips in high-traffic areas.

Generally, they tend to be used by tourists and visitors to New Orleans, as the operators tend to act as tour guides as well, providing useful information and recommendations.


Cycling in New Orleans

New Orleans is a bicycle-friendly city and the authorities have made a concerted effort to improve infrastructure for cyclists by expanding cycle routes, accommodating bikes on buses and ferries, and installing safe bicycle storage facilities around the city centre.

Blue Bikes is the name of New Orleans’ bike-share programme. Users simply need to register online to see a map of all the bike hubs in the city. The app allows people to reserve a bike at a particular hub ahead of time. Cyclists using Blue Bikes can either opt to pay by the minute or, if they plan to use the service more regularly, a monthly flat rate for unlimited usage.


Walking in New Orleans

Walking is a great way to see New Orleans during the day and early evening but some areas are more suitable for exploring on foot than others. Central areas such as the French Quarter, downtown New Orleans and Marigny are well suited for walking.

Public transport tend to be less reliable further from the city centre, and expats who live in outlying suburbs may prefer to have their own wheels, especially those with children.


Driving in New Orleans

Driving isn’t always easy in New Orleans. Much of the city was designed before people were using cars to get around, so newcomers will find that many of the streets are incredibly narrow with plenty of one-ways. Road conditions are also sub-par for what is considered a developed city and drivers should be aware of potholes. Parking is often hard to find and expensive in central parts of New Orleans. Also, drivers moving to New Orleans should brush up on their parallel parking skills before getting behind the wheel.

That said, a personal vehicle can certainly simplify the lives of residents in the suburbs, particularly parents. A car also gives new arrivals more freedom to explore the city and its surroundings at their own pace.