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. You will find residents fishing, hunting, boating, camping, and hiking at excellent parks and wildlife refuges. Houma is the largest city in the bayou region of Louisiana.
You won’t lack entertainment. The Houma area offers a variety of entertainment options, including casinos, movie theaters, live music venues, and museums. The Terrebonne Museum, the African American Museum of Louisiana, and the St. Francis de Sales Cathedral are a few of the examples of the unique culture, which is influenced by its French, Cajun, and Native American heritage.
Enjoy some revelry at the many community events and festivals. Check out the festivals, fairs, and parades sure to invoke fond memories. Some of the most popular events include the Houma-Terrebonne Mardi Gras Parade, the Bayou Terrebonne Folklife Festival, and the Houma Christmas Boat Parade.
Excellent dining will tempt the palate with seafood, Cajun, American and other flavors. A popular restaurant in Houma is the Bayou Bistro offering Cajun and Creole cuisine. The Blue Crab and The Houma House are two more local favorites.
In a city this size, you will find excellent schools including accredited public schools and private schools including Catholic schools, Christian schools, and college preparatory schools. Healthcare services including inpatient, outpatient, emergency services, women’s and children’s services and cancer treatment can be found at Terrebonne General Medical Center and Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center.
Terrebonne General Medical Center is the largest employer in the area. The Houma-Terrebonne Parish School District comes in second. The economy is based on a variety of industries, including oil and gas, agriculture, and tourism. The oil and gas industry are the largest industry in the area while the agriculture industry is also important to the area’s economy with a growing tourism industry taking hold as well.
This moderately conservative city is a popular choice for new homebuyers. Start your search for a new home in the Houma area. Want to move to the suburbs? Check out popular choices like Thibodeaux, 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, Louisiana is a small town with a big city heart. This northern Louisiana city is home to multiple museums, including museums dedicated to art, military, 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. The city is home to the Neville Brothers Museum, the Biedenharn Gardens, and the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum. The vibrant and friendly culture is influenced by French and Cajun ties.
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. The Monroe area has hot, humid summers and mild, wet winters. The average temperatures range from 42 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit. With ideal outdoor conditions, fishing, hunting, camping, and boating are all popular activities.
Monroe knows how to bring its residents together for fun. From music to the arts and food, head to the Louisiana Purchase Festival, the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council Riverfest, and the Christmas on the River Parade. You will also find plenty of delicious dining with a terrific menu of Cajun and Creole cuisine at spots like The Palace and The Crawfish Pot.
For medical care, folks have their choice of 21 facilities in the area. Glenwood Regional Medical Center is the largest hospital in the area. It offers a variety of services, including inpatient and outpatient care, emergency services, and cancer treatment. Another excellent option offering women’s and children’s services as well is St. Francis Medical Center.
Accredited public schools, Christian schools, private schools, and more are here to serve your family. The University of Louisiana Monroe is a great public university. The economy of the Monroe area is based on a variety of industries, including healthcare, education, and manufacturing with healthcare as the largest industry in the area. Century Link is one of the larger employers in the area along with an array of small businesses.
Monroe leans politically conservative, and popular suburbs include Sterlington, Claiborne, Swartz, and West Monroe. When you’re ready to find the new home of your dreams in the Monroe area, check out some of the inviting new home communities.
- 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! Some local favorite dishes include gumbo, jambalaya, and crawfish pie.
The Lafayette area offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities, including fishing, hunting, boating, camping, and hiking. Some of the popular community events in the Lafayette area include the Festival International de Louisiane. Imagine a 10-day music and cultural festival drawing over 400,000 visitors in April. The Cajun Country Fair provides 12 days of fun, food, rides, and music in the fall. The holidays bring a beautiful tree lighting ceremony, fireworks, and parade at the Lafayette Christmas Lighting Festival.
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. Be sure to check out the Vermilionville Historic Village, the Acadiana Center for the Arts, and the Lafayette Science Museum.
From public to private schools, Lafayette has your children’s education covered. Make the ideal choice for your family with a variety of accredited schools including college preparatory schools, Christian schools, Catholic schools, and the public schools. Healthcare is at its finest at the many hospitals and health care facilities in the area including the Lafayette General Medical Center, the largest hospital in the area, and Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center. The healthcare industry is the largest industry in the area along with education and manufacturing industries. Adding to the vibrant economy with varied job opportunities are major employers like Lafayette General Health, Lafayette Parish School District, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
If you are looking for a place to live with a vibrant culture, delicious food, and friendly people, then Lafayette is the perfect place for you. Lafayette is somewhat politically conservative, and popular suburbs include Youngsville, Broussard, and Milton. Begin your search for the perfect new home in this welcoming part of the state!
- 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
Alexandriais a thriving community located in central Louisiana, along the south bank of the Red River. This inviting city is known for its friendly demeanor and abundant attractions. Downtown Alexandria features museums, a performing arts center, and parks, all with a beautiful riverside view. New homebuyers will appreciate the distinctive culture, amenities, and strong economy.
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. Of course, some other attractions worthy of your time include the Kent House Plantation, the Louisiana Cotton Museum, and the Alexandria Museum of Art. Culture continues in a former torpedo factory with a variety of studios, shops, and art galleries. Discover some amazing art at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.
If you’re feeling hungry, try one of the great local restaurants, 10 of which welcome your pooch to accompany you as you dine! Enjoy Cajun and Creole cuisine at The Parlor or savor the seafood at The Roux. For more American cuisine options stop at The Riverfront. These and many more restaurants will tantalize your taste buds.
Alexandra’s climate runs warm and wet. Residents can expect an average of 59 inches of rainfall and 219 sunny days per year. Temperature ranges vary from around 44 degrees Fahrenheit in January to 91 degrees in July. This Sportsman’s Paradise locale will have you fishing, boating, hiking, and hunting. Residents and tourists make their way to the area lakes, golf courses, and historic sites. Get out and enjoy the popular community events including the Central Louisiana Balloon Festival, the Alexandria Museum of Art Oktoberfest, and the Alexandria Christmas Parade. The revelry continues at the Red River Festival, Mardi Gras, and the recently returned Louisiana Dragon Boat Races at Lake Buhlow.
For medical care, you’ll have your choice of 15 area hospitals. Rapides Regional Medical Center is the largest hospital in the area as well as one of the largest employers. Veterans are served by the Alexandria VA Medical Center. As the third-largest city in the state, the educational system includes Louisiana State University at Alexandria, private and public schools.
Alexandria’s political climate is on the conservative side. The strong economy, diverse culture, and welcoming feel put this city on our list. When you’re ready to enjoy a mild climate, outdoor recreation, good schools, and beautiful new home communities, Alexandria and its suburbs are sure to catch your eye! Begin your search for the perfect new home in Alexandria today!
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, Louisiana 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. Lake Charles Mardi Gras is one of the largest in the state. Enjoy live music, food, and dancing at the Southwest Louisiana Zydeco and Blues Festival. The Lake Charles Christmas Parade will wow the entire family with its floats, marching bands, and Santa Claus.
Lake Charles checks off the boxes for both health care and education. With 13 hospitals in the area, you won’t have to look far for medical care. Calcasieu Parish Public Schools along with several private schools are at the ready to serve your family. Lake Charles Memorial Hospital along with Christus St. Patrick Hospital offer outstanding health care.
Lake Charles is the fifth-largest city in Louisiana and the largest city in Southwest Louisiana. Residents enjoy historical landmarks, including the Prien Lake Cultural Center, the Imperial Calcasieu Museum, and the Charpentier Historic District. A unique, scenic highway with stunning views of the marshes, swamps, and wildlife is the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. Live music venues and casinos give you other great entertainment options.
The strong economy is supported by many small businesses and major employers like Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, the Calcasieu Parish School District, and Entergy Louisiana. The employment opportunities are growing in this city.
Hungry? You will appreciate the restaurants here. Fresh seafood, Cajun restaurants, and a variety of cuisine are available. Be sure to stop by Steamboat Bill’s with its Cajun and Creole offerings. Fresh seafood awaits at spots like the Lucky Fisherman or try a delicious steak at the Riverside Steakhouse.
Overall, Lake Charles is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. It offers a variety of amenities, including a mild climate, outdoor recreational opportunities, community events, good schools, and a strong economy. Lake Charles is also known for its friendly people, its delicious food, and its annual rodeo. Prefer to live in the suburbs? Check out neighborhoods like Prien, Westlake, and Moss Bluff. The new home communities in Lake Charles will elevate your quality of life.
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. Each city has a unique character with Shreveport sporting riverboat casinos for locals and tourists. From the community parks to great shopping, Bossier City is bustling.
Shreveport hosts the annual Prize Fest showcasing film and music. Try your luck at the table games and slots at Boomtown, Bally’s, Sam Town’s, and Margaritaville. The well-known Mardi Gras celebration here includes parades, balls, and fun. The Independence Day Celebration and Christmas in the Ark-La-Tex are two of the fun celebrations that bring the community together.
Spend time checking out the hands-on science exhibits at the Sci-Port Discovery Center. Stroll the gardens and check out the R.W. Norton Art Gallery collection. This area combines large Louisiana cities to provide a great place to put down roots in a friendly area. You will also get your fill of delicious eateries, bars, and nightlife. From music venues to Creole and Cajun cuisine, Shreveport-Bossier City doesn’t disappoint. Some local favorite restaurants include Herby K’s, The Southern Table, and Strawn’s Eat-A-Lot.
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. Bike and hike in this section of the state appropriately named the Sportsman’s Paradise. The Boom or Bust Byway goes through ten towns where you can enjoy some great dining, history, and parks.
The economy is based on a variety of industries, including healthcare, education, and manufacturing. Major employers like Ochsner LSU Shreveport, Caddo Parish and University Health Shreveport, and Louisiana State University Shreveport bolster the economy with a wide array of employment opportunities. The medical facilities here cover the bases for inpatient and outpatient care along with emergency services and cancer treatment. With a lower cost of living, your money goes a long way to enjoying a new home that will surpass your expectations.
Education is key to any family so along with LSU Shreveport, there are several options for your family from private schools to public schools. The Shreveport area has 21 private schools serving nearly 4,800 students with 55 public schools serving nearly 33,000 students. Highly ranked private schools to consider include Evangel Christian Academy, Our Lady of The Blessed Sacrament Academy and Loyola College Preparatory High School.
The Shreveport-Bossier City area is located in a beautiful part of the country, with easy access to both urban and rural areas. It offers a variety of amenities and opportunities for residents of all ages. Popular suburbs include Benton and Blanchard. Settle into a new home and welcoming community. Your search for a beautiful new home in the Shreveport-Bossier City area can begin now.
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
You can’t be in Baton Rouge without seeing a sea of purple and gold. Home to Louisiana State University, LSU, residents and visitors cheer on the Tigers at Tiger Stadium. This outstanding university is a premier, prestigious land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant university earning national respect for programs in petrochemical engineering, marine/coastal science, landscape architecture, political science, and more. This capital of the state is full of culture, history, and entertainment.
Spend your days checking out the latest exhibits at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum, the USS Kidd Veterans Museum, and the Magnolia Mound Museum & Historic Site. Eat your way around the delicious Creole and Cajun restaurants like The Chimes and Drago’s Seafood Restaurant. As the birthplace of Tabasco Sauce, you can expect that the flavors in Baton Rouge are bold! 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. This diverse city has plenty to keep you busy. Don’t miss all the fun at the Festival International de Louisiane and the annual Louisiana State Fair. It goes without saying that the LSU football games are a must-do. Tailgating is big with the locals and alumni. Tour the tallest state capitol building in the United States.
As the second largest city, Baton Rouge enjoys a strong economy supported by education and healthcare. The largest employer in the area is Ochsner Baton Rouge. This hospital is known for its outstanding care. East Baton Rouge Parish School District closely comes in as the second largest employer. The petrochemicals industry is also making its presence known in Baton Rouge. The largest chemical complex is found here. LSU is another bolster to the economy. Additional schools in the area include Southern University and Baton Rouge Community College.
You will also find its great location puts you just 80 miles from the Big Easy. This city leans politically liberal and is friendly and welcoming. Baton Rouge is sure to check off your wants and needs list with its new housing market. Find the perfect fit for your family in a great neighborhood. Peruse the many new homes available in the Baton Rouge area and start living the life you deserve! Some of the popular suburbs include Denham Springs, Walker, Robert, and Brusly.
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
It goes without saying that New Orleans would make the list. The largest city in the state is filled with visitors and residents enjoying a vibrant Mardi Gras or the enticing French Quarter. This politically liberal city has a rich arts and cultural scene, and residents can enjoy opera, symphonies, and museums all year round. Making their home here is Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, and the University of New Orleans.
Entertainment, food, and beverage are part of the tapestry that makes New Orleans legendary. New Orleans is a melting pot of cultures, with influences from French, African, and Native American heritage. This diversity is reflected in the city’s food, music, and art. From the famous hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s to the iconic beignets and coffee at Cafe du Monde, discover the flavors of the South. Creole and Cajun flavors are found at great restaurants including Antoine’s, Cochon, Galatoire’s, and Clancy’s.
The birthplace of Jazz is known for its nightlife. Bourbon Street is where it’s at for revelry, bars, and live music. Mardi Gras is synonymous with New Orleans. Jazz, blues, and other genres of music are popular at the two-weekend Jazz Fest. The French Quarter Festival is another popular music festival held in the French Quarter.
There’s plenty to explore from historic sites to cemetery tours. Visit the Audubon Zoo or take a riverboat cruise. See some rich history at the WWII Museum. While the city averages 64 inches of rainfall per year, sunny days can be spent taking your pooch for a jog through New Orleans City Park or picnicking on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. Sports fans will wear their black and gold to the Saints’ games. Home to the annual Sugar Bowl, golf classics, and racing, New Orleans will never have you lacking for something to do.
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. Ochsner Medical Center and the Tulane Medical Center offer a variety of services from inpatient care to cancer treatment.
The thriving economy is bolstered by tourism, education, and healthcare. Count Ochsner Health System, the New Orleans Public Schools, and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans among the major employers. New homebuyers have a variety of amenities, recreation, community events, culture, and a lower cost of living all drawing them to this great Gulf Coast city.
Discover the perfect combination of new homes and location where neighbors are welcoming and willing to help. If you prefer to live in the suburbs, take a look at neighborhoods like Harahan, Boutte, and Elmwood. New homes in the New Orleans area are filled with the latest features and finishes.
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.