Ever wonder if someone has moved to New Orleans and regretted it? Do you think anyone ever has? Me neither. The decision to move to and live in New Orleans is a pretty easy one to make. The city has so much to offer in so many ways. It caters to the desires of millennials, students, families, working class, middle class, upper class … essentially, New Orleans can be the perfect fit for anyone. This is due to the diversity of the city's people, as well as the diversity of the city's areas. Two adjacent streets can often offer completely opposite spectrums of the city's values and qualities.
The fact that you can walk through five different sub-neighborhoods in the span of five minutes makes each "neighborhood" hard to define. You can be "Uptown" all day, but be in plenty of different areas inside of Uptown that have plenty of different things to offer. For people looking to settle down here, or even just rent a house for a lease period, this makes it difficult to choose which neighborhood to live in. The area one chooses to live in is obviously an important choice to make, and should be an informed decision.
Again, it's hard to describe each neighborhood definitively because of how loosely-defined they are in many ways, but here you will a find a general, somewhat broad, brief description of the advantages of living in a few of the major neighborhoods in New Orleans, along with a couple of the disadvantages to balance them out.
Mid-City is one of the many neighborhoods that is quickly changing at the moment. New restaurants, stores, and boutiques are constantly opening. This can be seen as both an advantage and a disadvantage, because when a neighborhood is experiencing these fast-paced changes, old icons and traditions can be erased. However, because of the preservation of some of the iconic restaurants and sights, it's fair to say that in Mid-City's case, this is almost 100 percent an advantage.
Some of the other advantages of living in Mid-City are the facts that it's easily accessible to the attractions of Downtown, but far enough away to avoid some of the craziness. It has proximity to the beloved City Park and a good selection of food and restaurants, and all of this while still being relatively affordable rent-wise.
Just a couple of issues that tenants of the area often deal with are the slow driving (because of numerous school districts) and the fact that when the city gets flooded, much of Mid-City gets hit fairly hard.
Like Mid-City, Uptown is a large expanse with many sub-neighborhoods, but it has its own broader identity and feel to it as well. Uptown is often thought of as the area surrounding Tulane and Loyola's Uptown campuses. This area has a lot of college bars and is a great area for both students and families to live (however I might suggest that families avoid living on Broadway near the frat houses).
If you're a student, the advantages are almost endless: close to campus (assuming you attend Tulane or Loyola), close to the fly and the rest of Audubon Park, great college bars, tailgating, great affordable food, an abundance of nightlife … the list continues. Essentially, anything a young adult or college student could want, you can find here.
However, this is far from all of Uptown. This is just the area around the universities. Only a few blocks west of Broadway, you can find yourself in Hollygrove, known for being Lil' Wayne's stomping ground. Much of Hollygrove is actually quite a bit nicer than how it used to be (see Lil Wayne's lyrics for Hollyweezy) and still has very affordable rent prices.
The Garden District is also a distinct part of Uptown. It's mostly known for St. Charles Avenue and the streetcar that runs down it. It's a completely beautiful section of Uptown that boasts amazing houses, walking/running routes, the streetcar, and most importantly, Mardi Gras parade routes. The Garden District, as well as Central City, are just two parts of Uptown that are more suitable to families than the notoriously intoxicated areas directly surrounding the universities.
This is the area that's most closely associated with "New Orleans culture." This neighborhood, in many ways, is the heart and soul of New Orleans. It has all of the shops, restaurants, bars, sights, and street culture that someone looking for the New Orleans experience could want. If you want to live right in middle of all this activity and truly live it, this is absolutely the place for you to live. However, nobody will judge you if you want to live 10 blocks away and observe it from a comfortable distance; it can be a bit much to handle sometimes.
The Bywater has a very interesting combination of new and old cultures of New Orleans. While much of the Ninth Ward was devastated by Katrina, this part of the area was largely spared, so it still has a lot of its old physical structure and architecture. It continues to hold its artistic roots, while adopting a lot of new hipster-y, artsy culture.
It's a great area to live in if you want access to the French Quarter, but don't necessarily want to live right in the middle of all that action. Because of its preservation, it still has many of its classic, traditional stores and restaurants, while also being close to the newer, hotter, often fancier attractions of the French Quarter.
Central Business District:
This is another example of an area to live in that is very close to Downtown and the French Quarter, but not directly in the thick of it. It's perfect for young professionals and post-grads who want to live in New Orleans at a relatively affordable price. One of my favorite things about the CBD is that it's right in the middle of most of the major Mardi Gras routes.
While still up-and-coming, the CBD sees its fair share of crime, which is obviously a disadvantage, but the crime statistics in the neighborhood have been steadily decreasing in recent years.
This short and somewhat broad list of neighborhoods and some of their perks is not meant to describe each sub-neighborhood of these areas. They all have their different streets and corners, but for someone thinking of moving to New Orleans, this list will prove useful, as these greater areas are some of the most sought-after for newcomers. The decision to move here, again, is an easy one. Deciding exactly where to move, however, is a decision best made after examining the choices.