City Guide to Living in New Orleans and Its Neighborhoods

City Guide to Living in New Orleans and Its Neighborhoods
Credit: f11 Photo/Shutterstock

New Orleans is a city of food, music and culture. Learn about the best schools, weather and more.

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“Laissez les bons temps rouler” (“let the good times roll”) may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of New Orleans, the epicenter of jazz music and the home of Mardi Gras. But this phrase doesn’t just apply to letting loose on vacation in the Big Easy; New Orleans is actually drawing a lot of young people, particularly millennials, to relocate there. Read on to learn key facts about living in New Orleans.

Living in New Orleans: What to expect

New Orleans is rich with energy and flavor, and people generally move there for the culture, rich diversity, food, music and nightlife.

“Far outside of the touristy areas such as the French Quarter and the well-publicized events like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, New Orleans is really a cluster of neighborhoods which host their own local events nearly every weekend,” said Katie O’Leary, a New Orleans-based real estate agent. “There is generally a feeling that there is always something new to do and see—it would be difficult to move to the city and ever have trouble finding entertainment.”

In addition to food, art and nightlife, O’Leary said there are many offerings for families with children, thanks largely in part to the region’s warm climate, which allows for outdoor activities at the city’s many parks, a world-class zoo and outdoor festivals that welcome adults and children alike.

Regarding job opportunities, New Orleans has a diverse economy, with tourism and hospitality, energy, advanced manufacturing, healthcare and international trade (because of the Port of New Orleans and Port Fouchon, about an hour drive from the city proper) being its leading industries.

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“These industries attract young professionals and entrepreneurs with an independent, creative spirit,” O’Leary said. “New Orleans is also the type of city to value locally-grown, independent businesses.”

Walkable areas in New Orleans

New Orleans, unfortunately, isn’t super walkable on the whole, receiving a 58 walkability score from WalkScore, meaning some errands can be accomplished on foot. It also has respective scores of 44 and 66 for public transit and biking, meaning it has some public transportation stations and some biking infrastructure.

“New Orleans proper is pretty walkable within neighborhoods, although the surrounding suburban areas do require driving,” O’Leary said. “Without a reliable public transportation system, vehicles are a must to navigate most areas of the city outside of one’s own neighborhood.”

Best public schools in New Orleans

New Orleans’s school district is NOLA Public Schools. It notably has seen significant high school graduation and college entry rate increases post-Hurricane Katrina, with a 78% graduation rate in 2018 compared to 52% in 2004 (pre-Katrina) and a 61% college-entry rate in 2017 compared to 37% in 2004.

Top three elementary schools

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  • Edward Hynes Charter School
  • Benjamin Franklin Elementary Math and Science
  • Mary Bethune Elementary Literature/Technology

Top three middle schools

  • Edward Hynes Charter School
  • Benjamin Franklin Elementary Math and Science
  • Homer A. Plessy Community School

Top three high schools

  • Benjamin Franklin High School
  • Haynes Academy School for Advanced Studies
  • Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy

Commute time in New Orleans

In New Orleans, the average commute time is about 27 minutes, according to the US Census Bureau. About 11.1% of the population has a commute that lasts less than 10 minutes.

New Orleans weather

Table of New Orleans weather

If you live in New Orleans, you can expect hot and humid weather for much of the year, paired with wet and partly cloudy weather all year. Winters tend to be short, mild and windy. Summertime temperatures can certainly reach the high 90s or hotter, whereas winter temperatures rarely go below 47 degrees, on average. The rainiest month in New Orleans is July, with an average of around five inches of rainfall.

New Orleans crime rate

Chart of crime rates in New Orleans

Like many large US cities, New Orleans gets an F rating for crime, according to AreaVibes. Violent crime, which includes rape, murder, assault and robbery, is 242% higher than the national average, while property crime, which includes burglary, theft and vehicle theft, is 132% higher than the national average.

New Orleans city population

Graph of population growth in New Orleans

As of July 2021, the population in New Orleans proper was 376,971, up from 343,829 in 2010, according to the Census Bureau.

Cost of living in New Orleans

Chart of cost of living in New Orleans

According to PayScale, New Orleans’s cost of living is 12% higher than the national average. Broken down further, housing is 41% higher, while utilities and groceries are 24% and 1% lower, respectively. The median home price is $560,141, and the median rent is $1,711 per month.

Median household income in New Orleans

According to the Census Bureau, the median household income in New Orleans was $64,994 between 2016 and 2020.

New Orleans neighborhood map

Top 5 New Orleans neighborhoods by population density

The below five neighborhoods are New Orleans’s top five neighborhoods by population density. They all are part of the area of New Orleans known as Uptown, which is close to Downtown and the Central Business District and offers an urban/suburban mix with walkability to shops, restaurants and bars.

“These areas also offer more diversity in population than other areas of the city or surrounding suburbs, along with a good mix of rental properties and single-family homes,” O’Leary said.

According to O’Leary, these areas are all fairly close to Tulane and Loyola universities, which, combined, employ about 5,000 people and host enrollment of about 20,000 students in their programs. They are also near Touro Hospital, Children’s Hospital and Ochsner Baptist Hospital, which each have large work forces. In addition, the Uptown area is home to Lusher Charter School, one of the state’s top schools for both elementary and secondary schools.

East Carrollton

Image of East Carrollton in New Orleans Photo credit: Infrogmation of New Orleans via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

East Carrollton is close to the Riverbend, Audubon Zoo and Audubon Park and Tulane University and Loyola University New Orleans.

“The area is a mix of single-family homes and doubles and multi-unit properties and a mix of homeowners and renters,” said O’Leary. “This is a popular area for students and employees of the two universities to live, due to the proximity to the two campuses and the walkability of the neighborhoods. The Maple Street corridor is a street in the neighborhood with trendy boutiques, bars, restaurants and coffee shops, all very walkable as well.”

East Riverside

Image of East Riverside in New Orleans Photo credit: Infrogmation of New Orleans via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

East Riverside is an area bordering the Mississippi River between Tchoupitoulas Street and Magazine Street in the Garden District area of Uptown.

“The area is one of the most sought-after ZIP Codes in New Orleans, and East Riverside is home to mostly young professionals and young families,” O’Leary said. “People move to this area because it gives a more urban feel with walkability and easy access to the posh boutiques and antique stores that dot Magazine Street, along with a plethora of restaurants, bars, cafes, salons and other businesses.”


Image of Milan in New Orleans Photo credit: Infrogmation of New Orleans via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Milan is located between St. Charles Avenue and Claiborne Avenue is close to Tulane University and the Fontainebleau neighborhood, O’Leary said.

“There is the same urban/suburban feel here as in other areas of Uptown New Orleans, but this area has more renters than homeowners,” O’Leary said. “A popular area for young professionals as well as graduate students attending the many law and grad programs at Tulane and Loyola, and the area is close to Freret Street commercial district, which is a new(ish) developed area with a mix of popular chain restaurants and local bars, cafes and shops which appeal to the young adult demographic.”

The neighborhood is also close to Ochsner Baptist Hospital, making it appealing to nurses, residents and doctors practicing at the hospital.


Image of Touro in New Orleans Photo credit: Infrogmation of New Orleans via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Touro is both close and very similar to East Riverside, bordered by Magazine Street and St. Charles Avenue and surrounding Touro Hospital.

“Like East Riverside, there is an urban/suburban mix, with trendy shops and restaurants and a close proximity to Downtown and the Central Business District,” O’Leary said. “It is also walking distance to the hospital, with a mix of rental properties and single-family homes, making it a popular area for residents and nurses as well as physicians working at the hospital or the surrounding clinics.”

O’Leary also noted that while the area is fairly diverse, home prices are also quite expensive and higher than the average in the city.


Image of Broadmoor in New Orleans Photo credit: Infrogmation of New Orleans via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Broadmoor is a low-lying area of the city that sustained much flooding damage from Hurricane Katrina and has seen a revitalization in the last 10-15 years.

“The neighborhood features the Broadmoor Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003,” O’Leary said. “Similar to the other Uptown neighborhoods, the area is popular with young professionals, young families and graduate students of the nearby universities but with a bit more diversity in the population.”

According to O’Leary, Broadmoor residents pride themselves on living in a family-oriented area where neighbors know each other, offering a great neighborhood feel.

Median home price in New Orleans

According to, the average listing home price per square foot in New Orleans is $238.

Average rent in New Orleans

According to PayScale, the average rent in New Orleans is $1,711.

Moving to New Orleans

New Orleans has a lot to offer residents in terms of culture, entertainment, diversity and great schools. It really shouldn’t be a surprise that more and more people are choosing to live there rather than just visit for celebrations and special occasions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the downsides of living in New Orleans?

One of the biggest downsides of living in New Orleans is it’s not very walkable or bike-friendly. You more than likely will need to own a car in this city. A lesser-known downside is that you can drink in public, which might be good news for the visiting partiers and bad news for residents who would rather not deal with disturbances of the peace.

Is it expensive to live in New Orleans?

New Orleans has a 12% higher cost of living than the national average. While the rent certainly isn’t cheap, it’s worth noting that other expenses, such as groceries and utilities, tend to be lower.

Where do hipsters live in New Orleans?

According to the New York Post, the Bywater District is New Orleans’s most hipster-centric neighborhood, even dubbed “the East Village of New Orleans.”

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.