From the blues to the bayou, Louisiana is known for its own brand of beauty and culture. You’ll find Southern hospitality in every nook and cranny — not to mention delicious Cajun and Creole food. Whether you prefer to tour the swamplands or catch a live blues show at your local bar, Louisiana has you covered. If you’re ready to move and build your dream home in the Pelican State, we’ve compiled a list of the top eight places in Louisiana to call home.
8 Best Places to Live in Louisiana
- Housing cost to income ratio: 1.95%
- Average childcare cost to income ratio: 0.72%
- Violent crime index: 29.2
- Nonviolent crime index: 61.1
- Cost of living index: 87.1
Houma ranks as the best place to live in Louisiana! Located about 55 miles southwest of New Orleans, Houma boasts bayou culture everywhere you turn. Go kayaking through the swamp, visit one of the art and history museums, or catch live Cajun music at your favorite bar; no matter what you choose, you’re in for a good time. Hot and humid weather reigns in Houma, with an average of 219 sunny days and 66 inches of rain expected every year. Take your dog to one of the 19 area dog-friendly restaurants or bring your pooch along with you as you hike Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge Nature Trail. Houma is moderately conservative politically and is home to 29 health care facilities and 32 schools. Want to move to the suburbs? Check out popular choices like Gray and Schriever.
- Housing cost to income ratio: 3.20%
- Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.73%
- Violent crime index: 95.2
- Nonviolent crime index: 95.6
- Cost of living index: 77.7
Monroe is a small town with a big city heart. This northern Louisiana city is home to multiple museums, including museums dedicated to art, military and aviation, and English gardens. For another taste of culture, catch a live performance at the Monroe Symphony Orchestra. The presence of the University of Louisiana Monroe gives the city a youthful feel and also offers a natural history museum. While Monroe experiences an average of 55 inches of rain per year, you can take advantage of the 213 sunny days by visiting the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo or taking your dog on a walk through one of the city parks. For medical care, folks have their choice of 21 facilities in the area. Monroe leans politically conservative, and popular suburbs include Claiborne, Swartz, and West Monroe.
- Housing cost to income ratio: 3.34%
- Average childcare cost to income ratio: 0.95%
- Violent crime index: 38
- Nonviolent crime index: 72.9
- Cost of living index: 87.7
With a population of more than 126,000 residents, Lafayette is the fourth largest city on our list and has the attractions and amenities to match. 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. With 23 hospitals and health care facilities in the vicinity, you can rest assured that medical care is never far away. Lafayette is somewhat politically conservative, and popular suburbs include Youngsville, Broussard, and Milton.
- Housing cost to income ratio: 3.44%
- Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.21%
- Violent crime index: 83.8
- Nonviolent crime index: 95.4
- Cost of living index: 81.5
Alexandria is a thriving community located in central Louisiana, along the south bank of the Red River. Downtown Alexandria features museums, a performing arts center, and parks, all with a beautiful riverside view. Deeper in the city, visit the animals at Alexandria Zoological Park, shop to your heart’s content at one of the shopping malls, or browse the local farmer’s market. If you’re feeling hungry, try one of the great local restaurants, 10 of which welcome your pooch to accompany you as you dine! Alexandra’s climate runs warm and wet like the rest of Louisiana; residents can expect an average of 59 inches of rainfall and 219 sunny days per year. For medical care, you’ll have your choice of 15 area hospitals. Alexandria’s political climate is on the conservative side.
5. Lake Charles
- Housing cost to income ratio: 3.63%
- Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.22%
- Violent crime index: 40.5
- Nonviolent crime index: 61.2
- Cost of living index: 83.4
Lake Charles is a somewhat politically conservative city in southwest Louisiana that’s filled with culture and activity. Enjoy the city’s average of 213 sunny days per year by swimming at North Beach on the city’s namesake lake or picnicking at Prien Lake Park. On rainy days, visit local museums and art galleries or try your luck at one of the multiple casinos throughout the city. Lake Charles is a dog-friendly city, with many parks and restaurants welcoming your furry friend. The city also hosts great community events, including music festivals and fishing tournaments, which are sure to entertain you. With 13 hospitals in the area, you won’t have to look far for medical care. Prefer to live in the suburbs? Check out neighborhoods like Prien, Westlake, and Moss Bluff.
6. Shreveport-Bossier City
- Housing cost to income ratio: 4.05%
- Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.43%
- Violent crime index: 42.2
- Nonviolent crime index: 70.6
- Cost of living index: 77.5
The Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area is located in northwestern Louisiana, near the Texas-Louisiana border. If you’re looking for a lively place to call home, look no further. As the third largest metro area in the state, Shreveport-Bossier City is home to more than a dozen museums, riverboat casinos, and family entertainment centers. With an average of 52 inches of rain expected per year, Shreveport-Bossier City is one of the drier locations on our list. As for the 211 sunny days, you can jog on trails along the Red River or take your dog to the dedicated off-leash dog park. Shreveport-Bossier City is somewhat liberal politically and is home to 23 medical facilities and 71 schools. If you’re interested in suburban life, be sure to check out Benton and Blanchard.
7. Baton Rouge
- Housing cost to income ratio: 4.30%
- Average childcare cost to income ratio: 1.17%
- Violent crime index: 47.2
- Nonviolent crime index: 66.41
- Cost of living index: 90.4
Baton Rouge, the capital city of Louisiana, is full of culture, history, and entertainment, and you’ll never find yourself bored. Spend your days checking out the latest exhibits at the art galleries, eating your way around the delicious Creole and Cajun restaurants, or visiting one of the downtown museums. Dog lovers will be thrilled to know that Baton Rouge is dog-friendly — more than 100 restaurants allow dogs! Much like the other cities on this list, Baton Rouge is warm and wet. On sunny days, cool down at Liberty Lagoon, the local waterpark, or float on the Mississippi River. Baton Rouge leans politically liberal and is home to 27 medical facilities.
8. New Orleans
- Housing cost to income ratio: 7.35%
- Average childcare cost to income ratio: 2.40%
- Violent crime index: 49.1
- Nonviolent crime index: 56.8
- Cost of living index: 96.3
There’s nowhere like New Orleans! Every year, visitors flock to Louisiana’s largest city to enjoy Mardi Gras and visit the French Quarter, but New Orleans offers more than just these attractions. This politically liberal city has rich arts and cultural scene, and residents can enjoy opera, symphonies, and museums all year round. While the city averages 64 inches of rainfall per year, sunny days can be spent at the Audubon Zoo, taking your pooch for a jog through New Orleans City Park, or picnicking on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. New Orleans offers ghost and cemetery tours for those interested in supernatural history, and many tours allow your dog to come along! In addition to entertainment, New Orleans has all the typical urban amenities you’ll need; with 31 hospitals and 86 schools in the area, families have vast options for their medical care and children’s education. If you prefer to live in the suburbs, take a look at neighborhoods like Harahan, Boutte, and Elmwood.
This list was compiled using statistics for cost of living, average housing costs, average childcare costs, and crime indices.
Sarah graduated from Trinity University in 2012 with a degree in International Relations and Political Science. She writes blogs on new homes, decor, communities, and more for NewHomeSource. When she’s not writing, you can find her spending time with her three cats.