Best Places To Live In Louisiana: Top 5 Cities Most Recommended By Experts

Louisiana is famous for its jazz, Cajun and Creole cuisine, and, of course, Mardi Gras festivals, but did you know the state is named after King Louis XIV of France? The U.S. purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million. And instead of counties, the state is made up of parishes. If you’re interested in moving to the Pelican State, we’ve compiled a list of the five best places to live in Louisiana, according to 12 experts.

Single and ready to mingle? You might be happy to note that the state is home to one of the highest populations of single men and women in the nation. With plenty of places to eat, drink and be merry, it’s no wonder! Louisiana residents claim to tolerate spicy foods better than most, so get ready to spice up your (love) life! Plus, New Orleans ranks as one of the friendliest places to live in the U.S. Dating scene, here you come!

Jobs — and potential vacations from those jobs — abound in Louisiana. The Port of New Orleans is investing in the creation of a premier container shipping terminal known as the Louisiana International Terminal. Due to the sharp increase in volume of shipping containers arriving in and out of the port in the last decade, this new terminal is slated to open in Violet, Louisiana, in 2028. Once complete, it will have a capacity of 1.2 million containers and will provide thousands of jobs and opportunities for local businesses. And when you’re ready for a break from your new job, the Port also makes a convenient jumping-off point for popular cruise lines including Carnival, Norwegian, Disney and Royal Caribbean, ready to take you away on a relaxing getaway!

Moving to a new state can be intimidating. Which area is right for you? Getting familiar with your options is key to choosing the right new home sweet home. Get to know the top five best places to live in Louisiana with our list below. Don’t see your favorite city? Let us know in the comments!

The List: Best Places to Live in Louisiana, According To Experts

1. New Orleans

No list of best places to live in Louisiana would be complete without mention of New Orleans, a city praised by most sources. About this vibrant and convivial locale, Touropia says, “As one of the top tourist destinations in the United States, much has been written about New Orleans’ famed nightlife and voodoo culture. But what elevates the Big Easy as a place to live in is the local community, the artistic flair, great public parks, and excellent universities. New Orleans has a population of almost 400,000 people, making it the largest and most populous city in Louisiana. Importantly, newcomers won’t have a hard time fitting in. A part of this is because of the transient nature of New Orleans. But also because of its welcoming community, where everyone can be who they want to be.”

Extra Space Storage recommends the Business District of New Orleans, writing, “Residents can enjoy sleek bars and elevated Creole eateries, excellent shopping, performing arts venues, and many other things to do just a short walk from their front door. In addition to being highly walkable, this affordable NOLA neighborhood is also extremely bike-friendly, so getting around is easy! The Central Business District is popular among singles and young professionals not only because of its many fun activities and budget-friendly apartments and condos, but also because the neighborhood is a major hub for jobs in New Orleans.”

Money Inc. touts Lake Terrace & Oaks: “Thanks to a booming job market, residents can expect the very robust median income of $116,979, while students can expect to enjoy an outstanding education at any one of the excellent schools servicing the district. Amenities are plentiful, while the excellent transportation links mean you can get anywhere you want in New Orleans without a bother.”

building in New Orleans
A building in downtown NOLA (Photo by Aya Salman on Unsplash)

2. Baton Rouge

If you don’t want to be in the heart of a lively tourist site, but you’d still like to enjoy the benefits of urban life, Baton Rouge may be your match! “Baton Rouge, the ever-expanding capital of Louisiana, increasingly absorbs the flavor of New Orleans without adopting the bustle of a tourist spot. Warm year-round and located right off the Mississippi River, the metro area moves at a suburban pace while offering the opportunities of a flourishing cultural hub,” says U.S. News.

The Crazy Tourist emphasizes its economic strength: “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.”

Only in Your State says it’s also one of the best places to be a student, writing, “With many of the top elementary, middle, and high schools in the state as well as the premier university of Louisiana, LSU, Baton Rouge offers a unique place to grow and learn for students from around the nation. Plus, the incredible sports culture, vibrant bar scene, and small-town feel of the city give college students here the full scope of the American university experience.”

tiger statue
Louisiana State University’s mascot (Photo by Jessica Tan on Unsplash)

3. Lafayette

Lafayette is a buzzing center of the oil and gas industry. “Located along the Vermilion River is Lafayette, nicknamed ‘The Hub City’ because it serves all of southwestern Louisiana. Lafayette has one university and three colleges, and a pair of major health care facilities serves residents. The city has a revitalized downtown, and Lafayette is home to a National Guard headquarters,” says Livability.

This southern Louisiana city also boasts a thriving arts and culture scene. NewHomeSource writes, “Downtown Lafayette is home to art galleries, charming retail experiences, and excellent eats. In fact, you’ll find top-notch Cajun and Creole cuisine plus other restaurants all throughout the city, and 57 restaurants welcome dogs! Lafayette residents can expect an average of 62 inches of rain per year, so be prepared for soggy conditions at times; if you’re rained out, spend your time at one of the museums or entertainment centers throughout the city. During the 217 sunny days, you can enjoy community activities like the Festival International de Louisiane and Festivals Acadiens et Créoles.”

Trip101 adds, “Home to great food, good music, and vibrant culture, it’s for good reason that the city has been named ‘the happiest city in America.’ People come here for the quality of life and stay for the dining and entertainment options and the general laid-back atmosphere.”

boat in a marsh
Lafayette’s marshes (Photo by Nicole Herrero on Unsplash)

4. Thibodaux

If quiet small-town life is what you’re looking for, you could do much worse than this charming spot with its pleasant shopping and dining. CreditDonkey writes, “This quiet little town is home to some 15,000 residents, many of whom work in the Gulf’s booming petroleum industry. Downtown Thibodaux is where you’ll find the local farmer’s market, along with shops, art galleries and restaurants like Fremin’s, which prepares its signature dishes with a blend of Creole and Italian flavors.”

Only in Your State lists Thibodaux as the small town with the best economy. “Recently named by as one of the fastest growing small metropolitan areas in the country, the greater Houma/Thibodaux area has seen tremendous job, income, and population growth in the past decade.”

And if you’re looking for love? HomeSnacks names it the third-best city in Louisiana for singles, writing, “If you live in Louisiana, there’s a pretty good chance there are a lot of singles in your area. The Pelican State ranks in the top 10 when it comes to number of people over the age of 18 who aren’t married, or in a serious relationship. That’s great news for people looking for their match.”

green water in Louisiana
A mossy bayou in Thibodaux (Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash)

5. Mandeville

Chamber of Commerce praises this industrious lakefront town, perfect for fishing, cycling, shopping and dining. “Mandeville, a cozy little city in St. Tammany Parish, is Louisiana’s best city to live in. Mandeville is separated from New Orleans by Lake Pontchartrain, and shares much of the character and musical legacy of its larger neighbor while avoiding the crime and hedonism. In 2013, Mandeville won an eCity award due its forward-thinking small businesses aptly using internet marketing to attract consumers.”

CreditDonkey adds, “A combination of higher median incomes and an average commute of under 26 minutes attract plenty of professionals, while families appreciate the great schools and favorable crime rate. The Broken Egg Cafe is a local favorite among the breakfast crowd, and a visit to La Provence is a must if you’re having dinner on the Northshore. One of Mandeville’s most famous landmarks is the Seven Sisters Oak, the largest Southern live oak tree in the country.”

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  1. New Orleans is the murder capital of the nation. Baton rouge is also high crime city. I’m from Louisiana, we only go there if we have to.

    1. The author must be living on the moon. Those of us who have actually lived in the three cities know that we will never again live in New Orleans or Baton Rouge. They do not compare to Lafayette.

  2. I’m from northeast Louisiana and have always heard horror stories about New Orleans!! I’m scared to go there, so therefore I have never been!!

    1. A wise choice indeed. Lived here my whole life. We just had a baby. And we are making plans to move out in the next 3 years to a safer city near by, then out of state after our son grows up a bit more and family support might not be as crucial as it is now.

  3. Where in the world did the “various” companies/people that gathered “their information” about these cities come from? I agree, each of the cities have many “social activities” one can participate in…. BUT, come on! Look at the crime in New Orleans and Baton Rouge!!! I moved to LA for my doctorate degree at LSU. Would I do it again, not no, but HELL no! Between crime, racial tensions, and corrupt politics… it’s not a place to live no matter where you are in the many stages of adulthood. I hope they post my true thoughts of living in Louisiana!

    1. I agree that my hometown is now violent and filthy. But, on the racial tensions I have to disagree. The one thing I’ll say for New Orleans (where I’m also no longer living) is that it is still a friendly welcoming city without the hate crimes and bigotry of places like Phiadephia, Lis Angeles and New York City. As a matter of fact, take away the Gangstas who are terrorizing the communities and New Orleans can and most likely would be the same town I grew up in…a friendly safe city chock full of history, culture, diversity and good old fashioned Southern hospitality.

    2. As a nola native my entire life I would have to second the lack of racial tensions. During the peak of BLM riots. Nola was extremely calm compared to other cities with large black populations where they tore the cities apart.
      We have a lot of interracial marriages here. My house hold being one of them.

  4. How outdated is the research? Broken Egg is not in Mandeville anymore and La Provençe is an event center not a restaurant open to the public for lunch, dinner or any other meals.

    1. Hahah that’s exaaactly what I was going to say. Especially BR and Nola. As I was reading this article, I got a news alert about “click the link for video of Tigerland shootout” which is one of the biggest areas of bars for college students. Also, as a business owner in the area, I would not say it’s the best place to open. Unless you’re selling burgers, pizza or tacos!
      People are great, sports/nightlife are a hit, but I don’t plan on living around here much longer.

  5. Regarding Mandeville, the two restaurants they mentioned closed years ago. This is a dumb article. No one lives in Batin a Rouge by choice, it is a dangerous dump.

  6. Someone really needs to visit these places and actually do some research in person, this author is clearly living on the moon.

    New Orleans and Baton Rouge are over crowded, with more “projects” and poverty than let’s say… Elkins WV.. the crime rate in both cities have sat at the top of the murder, drug and theft lists for YEARS.

    The only thing either city has going for them to keep them from total poverty is tourism for Mardi Gras and LSU.

    Most of the people who can afford to get the hell out of there, already had.

  7. The Lafourche / Terrebonne parish area of Louisiana is a wonderful location to live . With both Thibodaux and Houma the people are beautiful and friendly with a diverse mixture of race and nationality as well as culture. Everyone is equally important and free to celebrate their on cultural and heritage without racism or the fear of being judged . The Creole and Cajun food here is authentic and the best in the world , It seems everyone knows everyone and you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere on the planet that people or willing and ready to help one another .

  8. Incredibly lazy. As a New Orleans resident. I wouldn’t wish anyone to move here. Once again the murder capital of the country, I literally just heard gun shots a little while ago. Our mayor is facing a recall, we just got all the signatures needed. Terrible infrastructure, jobs are limited to mostly hospitality and service, terrible schools… the list goes on. Don’t live in Louisiana period.

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