Moving to New Orleans | 2021 Cost of Living & Relocation Tips
The city of New Orleans is anything but boring. It’s almost like that one flavourful bright dish at the dinner table that everyone awaits to see. Everyone has their eyes on it and this is probably why it’s widely recalled as the “most unique” city in the nation. The city is packed with a distinctive spirit and possesses a charm that most people chase to find in cities like New York or L.A.
But it’s the captivating music scene, cuisines with a regional flair, the vibrant lively nightlife, rich historic districts, scenic riverfront and much more that make New Orleans stand apart. In its essence, the city is beautiful and aesthetic to the eyes. However, there’s much more to New Orleans than what meets the eye, so let us unveil other interesting factors that could help you with your move to this dreamy city.
Weather in New Orleans
The city of New Orleans is situated in the deep south and specifically in the state of Louisiana. Now if there’s one thing that Southerners can confidently claim to enjoy, it is the pleasant mild winters with rarely any presence of snow. And this is exactly a feature that the residents of New Orleans also get to profess. So, if you’re looking to escape brutal winters and your preferences lean towards humid subtropical climates, then this city could be to your liking. On an average, you can expect to enjoy 216 sunny days.
Overall, the weather here is boxed as “warm humid climate”, since this is the dominant weather condition. And to simplify things further, this means you could be wearing your spring and summer attire throughout the year, except in January (coldest month) and September (because of thunderstorms). Although there isn’t a worry of preparing for a harsh snow, locals in New Orleans have to do their bit to keep an umbrella and a light raincoat for the occasional rains and thunderstorms.
Something that you would have to bear in mind as a transplant is that during summer months, (i.e June to September) the midday heat could get really unbearable. Another aspect of the weather that’s worth nothing down is that New Orleans is prone to thunderstorms, especially in the month of September. In September, temperatures fall in the range of 74°F (23.3°C) to 89°F (31.7°C)
With winters, transplants mostly have to be prepared for the coldest month (i.e January), where temperatures fall in the range of 47°F (8.3°C) to 62°F (16.7°C). All in all, winters aren’t an issue, since conditions are pretty mild with sufficient sunshine, roughly 6 to 7 hours.
In a nutshell, heat and humidity won’t be strangers to you, and would accompany you a majority of the time. The city weather is classified as humid subtropical and you can expect mild winters.
See also: 8 Most Sunniest Cities in America
Few things to bear in mind:
- The city experiences rains and scattered thunderstorms from July to September.
- Specifically be prepared for odd stormy days of rain in June.
- September is peak season for thunderstorms, so always carry an umbrella or light raincoat.
Transportation In New Orleans
The transportation of the city is mainly handled by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (referred to as NORTA or RTA). The main aim of the NORTA is to get residents from point A to B and be a reliable source of public transportation to the public. To do so, this system has organized streetcars, ferries, bicycle lanes and bus services following routine schedules. Among these, the bus service is the most heavily commuted mode of getting around the city. So, chances are, as a newcomer, you’d probably be taking the bus more often, as it is the most reliable and efficient mode for intra city travel.
The bus services consist of 34 bus lines that cover much more of the city than the streetcars. It is much more practical in nature, since it is spread out and feasible even for individuals that reside in the suburban areas.
Ticket Fares: The standard bus fare is $1.25 and the express bus fare is slightly higher at $1.50.
The streetcars might seem like more of an aesthetic joyride with a majority of tourists opting for it to get a gist of New Orleans. However, it could be a great option if the key areas it covers coincide with the places you wish to commute to.
The service consists of four lines namely:
- The St.Charles Streetcar with main stops at World War 2 Museum, Garden District, Lafayette Cemetery and Audubon Park.
- The Riverfront Streetcar with main stops at Jackson Square, Convention Center, Cafe DuMonde and Harrah’s Casino.
- The Canal Streetcar which connects residents and tourists to spots around New Orleans cemeteries.
- The Rampart St Claude Streetcar with main stops at St. Louis Cemetery, Louis Armstrong Park, The Treme, Frenchmen Street and Faubourg Marigny.
- Loyola/UPT Streetcar which connects you to the financial areas of the city namly Poydras and other notable areas like the Tulane Avenue and Warehouse Arts District.
Ticket Fares: The standard one way ride would cost you $1.25.
Westbank and Algiers are the two destinations you could easily reach via the ferry service available in New Orleans. Most people in the city ride it to get to work on the other side of the Mississippi river that cuts through the city of New Orleans. Both the available ferries operate 7 days a week, making it a convenient and scenic mode of commute. The two operating ferries of the city are:
- The Algiers Point-Canal Street Ferry
- The Lower Algiers-Chalmette Ferry
Ticket Fares – The standard fare is $2 (one way).
Apart from the services provided by NORTA, the city by itself is extremely walkable and bicycle friendly. The French Quarter, the Central Business District and the Arts/Warehouse District are the most walkable areas of New Orleans. These areas have been ranked as “Walkers Paradise” by WalkScore. New Orleans also has multiple bike-share programs making it remarkably easy to bike your way to work or your local grocery.
As a resident of the city, you would also have easy access to one international airport (i.e. the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport). This airport lies in close proximity to Kenner and Metairie.
The job market in New Orleans is identical to the diverse and cosmopolitan nature of the city. There is no easy way of pointing to a single industry that dominates the city’s economy. However, several sectors work towards building a strong portfolio for the city, post the hurricane Katrina. The job market in New Orleans isn’t just for white collar workers, but those who are creatively driven to stand out when it comes to entertainment.
The city is also home to one of the world’s largest ports and has its own massive central business district (CBD). Entrepreneurs flock to CBD in search of jobs among the huge companies that have their headquarters up in skyscrapers and office buildings here.
Few Of The Top Employers Of The City Include:
- Ochsner Health System
- Tulane University
- Woodward Design + Build
- Entergy Corporation (a Fortune 500 company)
- Whitney Holding Corp.
- Boh Bros Construction
- Superior Energy Services
Apart from having a diverse economy, a notable contributor to the economy of the city is the tourism, entertainment and hospitality industry. So, if you’re particularly inclined or tied to these fields, you would probably have a higher chance of finding lucrative opportunities in New Orleans.
The average median rent in New Orleans is $1,166. But in a few competitive areas, you can expect to find rent costs that cross the $2,000 per month mark.
Places where the rent costs can be termed as “exorbitant” are – the French Quarter (surprise surprise), Lower Garden District, New Orleans East, Algiers and the Brechtel neighborhood.
Cost of Living in New Orleans
When you begin to put together an overall estimate of the cost of living, housing costs is probably the first factor to consider. When it comes to this aspect, the average median value of homes of New Orleans is considered to be $236,873. To give you a price point, this means you would be paying roughly $219,600 for a home in New Orleans while the national average for the same property would stand at $184,700.
Housing costs in comparison to the state of Louisiana itself is also on the higher end of the spectrum. Median house value in Louisiana is set at $143,600 while in comparison to this, New Orleans average stands at $178,500. There is a moderate difference in costs that makes homeownership a slightly expensive ordeal for transplants.
In regards to utilities, a single person’s estimated monthly costs is $2,000 to $2,500 (without rent). The cost of living in a world-class city like New Orleans can be considered modest in comparison to living in bigger cities like New York or San Francisco. But do note that the average median household income in New Orleans is just $39,576. Now, this is comparatively way lower than the national average of $55,322. Unless you’ve secured a high paying job, there could be a possibility that the income levels don’t really match the living costs and expenses of the city.
So what is the average median income required to live comfortably in New Orleans? It is suggested that the average annual salary should fall in the bracket of 55k to 65k annually. But then again, this completely depends on your lifestyle habits and the region you choose to live in. Keep in mind that New Orleans is also an extremely tourist-friendly city. At times, groceries could be more expensive if you choose a store that caters to tourists, so we suggest choosing stores wisely to curb expenses.
Top Schools And Universities In New Orleans
Top 5 Best Rated Universities
- University of New Orleans
- Tulane University
- Loyola University
- Xavier University of Louisiana
- Southern University
Top 5 Best Rated Schools
- Lusher Charter School
- Lake Forest Elementary Charter School
- Belle Chasse Academy
- International School of Louisiana
- Lycee Francais de la Nouvelle-Orleans
Best Neighborhoods In And Around New Orleans
Bayou St. John
This is a quiet beloved neighborhood that has its own historic stretch with closely knit communities. This part of the city is filled with clothing stores, whole food markets, convenience stores, plenty of restaurants all lined up in close proximity to residential areas. You also have plenty of parks, playgrounds and excellent school systems in the vicinity, making it an ideal place for families. As a resident of Bayou St John, you can also take advantage of the waterfront to unwind and take part in the various activities organised by the community.
Median value of homes – $382,916
Median rent – $1,200
Marylyville-Foutainebleau is part of the city that boasts of being safe, family-friendly and picturesque. It is presently recognised to be the second best neighbourhood of New Orleans (according to the renowned review website Niche). But do keep in mind that the costs of living and housing here is relatively higher.
On the plus side, residents here enjoy easy access to the streetcar, bus service, parks, great schools, grocery stores and much more. This part of the city also lies in close proximity to Tulane University, which also happens to be the more vibrant part of NOLA.
Median value of homes – $428,859
Median rent – $1,350
Audubon Park is home to both Tulane and Loyola universities, which contributes to the atmosphere of this neighborhood. You can expect to find quiet lanes which are perfect for bicycling, jogging, huge mansions and friendly communities. Audubon Park also has several areas where you can easily set up a picnic table and have a get-together under a big old oak tree. The neighborhood is extremely green, safe and residential in nature. However, do note that real estate here is extravagantly pricey and could touch 7 digit figures.
Median value of homes – $730,464
Median rent – $1,523
Garden District is an aesthetically pleasing looking neighborhood where you’ll quickly notice that no two buildings look alike. You have beautiful views, mansions lined up and historic homes all clustered together in this part of New Orleans. Garden District is specifically recognised for its close proximity to St Charles Avenue (prominent residential area) and its stunning architecture. You’re sure to be surrounded by houses that stand out in Garden District. It’s overall extremely family oriented with parks, cafes, boutique stores you can walk or bike to.
Median value of homes – $766,282
Median rent – $1,237
Quirky, groovy, active and artsy are the few adjectives that perfectly describe the atmosphere of living in Marigny. A visit here will prove that it is very easy to spot hip cafes, funky stores, bohemian bars and much more. The housing here is relatively affordable compared to the other neighborhoods. If you’re looking for a region in New Orleans that is filled with diversity and events happening year round, then Marigny could be the place for you. But do keep in mind that there could be times when this part of the city is noisy, because of the vibrant nightlife and music scene.
Median value of homes – $373,627
Median rent – $1,209
FAQs About Moving to New Orleans
How much should I save before moving to New Orleans?
If you’re moving to New Orleans from cities like NYC or Los Angeles, you’ll be happy to know that the overall cost of living is lower in the Crescent City. On an average, we would suggest that you save at least three months’ worth your expenses before moving to New Orleans.
From a price perspective, living in New Orleans could cost you between $2,200 – $7,000 per month, depending primarily on your family size as well as your location. So, if you could save around $4,500 before making your move, you would have something to help you settle down in the Big Easy. Do keep in mind that this would only make sense if you’re moving all by yourself and will be starting a job fairly soon after you move.
Is it expensive to live in New Orleans?
Bestplaces calculates the cost of living index of New Orleans to be around 96.3. This means that the overall living expenses in New Orleans is slightly below the national average, if you consider it to be at 100. A major factor contributing towards this affordability is the housing expenses. The median home value in New Orleans is around $235,500, while the average monthly rent is around $1,200. Keep in mind that these figures could vary depending on the area you choose to reside in.
As for your monthly expenses, it could range between $1,000 to $3,500, depending on your family size. Overall, most people will not find it very expensive to live in New Orleans, if planned well with smart choices.
What places to avoid in New Orleans?
There are a few places which you could avoid in New Orleans for your own safety. These are Desire, Florida, Pines Village, Hoffman Triangle and Zion City. If you do still happen to be around these places, we suggest you keep your guard up and be alert of your surroundings.
Can you live in New Orleans without a car?
Yes, absolutely! New Orleans is a city designed in a way that’s easily accessible on foot for most areas. Their public transportation system is quite efficient and if you do want to get around beautiful places like the Garden District and City Park, New Orleans has historic streetcars that are also very accessible. The Crescent City is also very bicycle-friendly, so you can always hop on your bicycle to explore the beauties of the city.
What is the racial makeup of New Orleans?
According to the US Census Bureau, New Orleans has a total population of 390,144 inhabitants. Out of these, 33.9% are white, 59.5% are black or African American, 2.9% are Asian, 1.9% are from mixed races and 5.5% are Hispanic or Latino.
What do I need to know about living in New Orleans?
Reasonable cost of living, vibrant neighborhoods to choose from and a diverse culture is what New Orleans is all about. In case you didn’t know, the city has a great number of African American population. What’s interesting is that New Orleans is notoriously known for its lenient drinking laws.
You’ll be experiencing pleasant weather almost throughout the year, with humid summers and cool winters. Buses and streetcars are the most common modes of transport that you may use, while the city is also very walking and bicycle friendly. Homes in New Orleans have a median home value of around $235,000 and the median household income is around $42,000.
What makes New Orleans so special?
Lively music, vibrant festivals, diverse cuisine, and unique architecture, these are just a few of the many that make New Orleans a special and attractive place to live for many. In a true sense, New Orleans can be called a melting pot of cultures. The Crescent City offers a welcoming vibe which is synonymous with how the city is believed to be one of the friendliest in the country. Still wondering what makes the city special? Check out Mardi Gras in New Orleans and you’ll know for yourself!
Our Take On New Orleans
New Orleans is not a good old traditional city, but is made up of adventure and multicultural communities. You could perhaps describe the city as a social butterfly. Trust the city to nudge you to have a spring in your step, since it is filled with festivals and events happening year round. However, don’t just discard it as a laid back party place New Orleans sure knows how to work hard and play harder. There’s lots to savor when it comes to food, drink, music and culture. There’s lots of reasons to love New Orleans. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if you resonate with what the city offers, after taking into consideration your personality, finances and ambitions.
Also Read: Best Moving Companies in New Orleans