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Hey guys, I've considered moving down to New Orleans for a job and I was wondering what the city is like nowadays. I don't hear much about it anymore and was unsure what the atmosphere is like with regards to affordability, cell phone reception, safety, owning a car down there, ect. I know the French Quarter is back to normal but I've heard much of the city is abandoned. How true is that? How much of the city would you say is "back to normal"? Thanks.
 

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Hey guys, I've considered moving down to New Orleans for a job and I was wondering what the city is like nowadays. I don't hear much about it anymore and was unsure what the atmosphere is like with regards to affordability, cell phone reception, safety, owning a car down there, ect. I know the French Quarter is back to normal but I've heard much of the city is abandoned. How true is that? How much of the city would you say is "back to normal"? Thanks.
Most of the metro area is back to normal for the most part. If you want to live in the city, you'll have to live in either Uptown/Garden District or downtown in order to avoid the recovery. In those areas, you'd never know a hurricane hit. But they are pretty expensive, but still affordable compared to most other major cities. In other areas, destruction is still painfully obvious, but there are signs of life even in the hardest hit areas. The suburbs are pretty normal. Cell phone reception is better than it ever was. If you don't deal drugs, you are pretty safe. Everyone owns a car there except the poor people. The roads suck, but they always have. Louisiana car tags are cheap. Some people I know that live there can't wait to get out. Other people I know wouldn't leave if a hurricane hit every year. New Orleans is a love-it or hate-it kind of city. Most people that really like it live in Uptown.
 

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Just hope another hurricane doesnt come and wipe the whole city out again. Then it will be back to square one. It wouldnt want to live in a disaster prone area. Any area can have a disaster but the coast has some very bad hurricanes some time. Thats just my opinion though .
 

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Life is fine. We are in a recovery mode, but, basically, life is not inconvenient, and, basically feels like pre-Katrina to me now-a-days. The city is more expensive than it was before the storm. Your question about cell phone reception is a little confusing...it's never been an issue for me before or after the storm. No area of the city is abandoned. Every corner of the city has inhabitants. Some more than others. The worst areas remain New Orleans East and the Lower Ninth Ward. The population of the city is somewhere close to 300,000 and the metro area is around 1.3 million, still a decrease of around 100,000 pre-Katrina. In regards to another hurricane, it is important to remember one thing....We stand the same chance as any year in getting hit by a hurricane as any year, including 2005 when it occurred. Katrina did not change any of the chances of us getting hit. Yes, it was horrible and the Federal Government did fail us, but, the fact remains, including Katrina, New Orleans has been hit twice directly by a hurricane in the last 80 years. In regards to New Orleans being struck any more...there are no statistics out there that says we are more likely to get struck by a hurricane since we got hit in 2005. It is very interesting how we hear people predict doomsday on New Orleans since Katrina. In reality, that just shows the drama and the simple-mindedness of some individuals. Good luck in your decision(s). Also, your quesiton about owning a car is confusing. Owning a car in New Orleans is really no different than owning a car anywhere else, IMO. Insurance is higher in New Orleans, due to 24 hour bars, but, not really because of the storm. I own two cars and live in the middle of the city. I can't imagine it being any different than owning a car in Kansas City.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the info guys. It sounds like New Orleans is getting back on its feet quite nicely. This is encouraging news.

I asked about the cell phones because my co-worker's friend is down there now and he can only get reception on Interstate 10, but he's probably an exception to the rule. Also, about owning a car, I wasn't sure if parking was expensive or hard to come by or what public transit was like. Being from the KC area, it's almost imperative to have a car unless you live in the urban core. I've been to New Orleans a couple times before and enjoyed the city, but didn't stay there long enough to get to know it like I would have liked.

What are the suburbs like? Are they your typical suburbs with sprawling neighborhoods and SUV's? I ask this because looking at aerial maps of N.O. it seems rather compact compared to most cities of similar size...like there isn't much in the way of traditional sprawl. I'm just so used to seeing sprawling neighborhoods in KC and N.O. doesn't seem to have this problem (due to geography?).
 

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What are the suburbs like? Are they your typical suburbs with sprawling neighborhoods and SUV's? I ask this because looking at aerial maps of N.O. it seems rather compact compared to most cities of similar size...like there isn't much in the way of traditional sprawl. I'm just so used to seeing sprawling neighborhoods in KC and N.O. doesn't seem to have this problem (due to geography?).
There is nothing even remotely close to sprawl anywhere on the southshore of Lake Ponchartrain. On the northshore, however, it's everywhere. That is indeed because of geography. On the southshore, you're surrounded by Lake Ponchartrain, swamps, and the gulf, so there is simply no room for sprawl. On the northshore, however, land is abundant, so sprawl is just about everywhere. Saint Tammany Parish(northshore) is the fastest growing parish in the state, and Jefferson Parish, just west of Orleans Parish on the southshore, is growing like crazy and leads the nation in job growth. Traffic is bad all over the area, but I'm sure it's no worse than anything in KC.

I grew up in the French Quarter, and now spit time between Covington, LA in Saint Tammany Parish, and Uptown New Orleans. You need a car in New Orleans, but if you live in the city, you may not need to use it as much as you would in KC. There are local shops, clubs, restaurants, etc. in every neighborhood throughout the city, and because of its density, it's very easy to just walk to those places in the city. When I lived in the Quarter, I could always ride a bike or hop on a streetcar if I needed to get somewhere outside of walking distance. All depends on where you live, really.

The city looks much better than it did a year ago, and the fastest growing neighborhoods are those that were the most heavily damaged, which is definately positive recovery news. You'd never know a hurricane hit if you were in some parts of the city, but in others, you'd think Katrina just moved out yesterday. Some people can't wait to leave, others wouldn't even consider it.

I've got to say though, the things everyone love about New Orleans; culture, food, nightlife, etc...they're still here. You're never bored or hungy in New Orleans, and coming from KC, I'm sure that's something you appreciate. :)

Good luck with whatever you choose!
 

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Be sure to pick your neighborhood carefully though. Crime is still a problem and from what I understand there is no crime lab in the city, so many criminals are never tried for their crimes. Also, the public schools are notoriously bad but supposedly they are under new management so this may change. I personally love the city. It is great with tons of culture and lots of beautiful architecture, but still dangerous if you don't know your way around. All I can say though is avoid walking around alone at night and be careful where you leave your car.
 

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Most people that really like it live in Uptown.
Boy..is that wrong. People who live in New Orleans, for the most part, really love the city...that's why they are there. That would include people from all parts of the city & surrounding suburbs who consider themselves New Orleanians in some way or another. In fact, if you move here you will find a people who ferociously love their city and have endured much to reclaim their lives here. That can be evidenced at every Saints game, festival, Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest or any event that is part of our culture which we love so much.

A few facts:
1) We actually have more restaurants (not counting chains) open now than before the hurricane....close to 900. They are doing a booming business
2)Much of the "cleanup" is over. Some of the hardest hit areas are beginning to rebuild...in much cases better. The milder hit areas are pretty much back to normal. The infamous 9th ward which has gotten a lot of press time is an area you would not have lived in even before the hurricane...having said that is historically significant area.
3)If you drive the streets of the city you will find activity that resemble pre-K status
4) Many of our institutional problems (schools, litter etc) are being addressed...although not perfectly...like never before.
5) Except in a couple of very small pocket areas...9th ward....everyone has phone, cable & all other utilities...and for some time.

Bottom line...are there problems? Sure. But one thing I can promise you is a vibrant, interest & beautiful city like no other (in its own way) that will love you back if you give it a chance.

Good luck
 

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Be sure to pick your neighborhood carefully though. Crime is still a problem and from what I understand there is no crime lab in the city, so many criminals are never tried for their crimes. Also, the public schools are notoriously bad but supposedly they are under new management so this may change. I personally love the city. It is great with tons of culture and lots of beautiful architecture, but still dangerous if you don't know your way around. All I can say though is avoid walking around alone at night and be careful where you leave your car.
walking around at night is not anymore of an issue than probably KC or even Houston...it just depends on the area like any big city. You will find a lot of foot traffic at night in the French Quarter, warehouse district, CBD, many parts of uptown with similar activity in the suburbs like any other city.
 

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I lived there for 3 years and will never live there again. There is no middle ground in New Orleans. Everything is to the extreme. The restaurants, nightlife, and culture cannot be matched anywhere in country. On the flip side, the corruption, the deterioration, the trash, and the violence are all off the chart as well. It is truely the city that care forgot.

In the end, the down side was too much for us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Why are there such opposite views on the city? I just got done talking to a friend whose sister and husband lived in New Orleans for a couple years and they hated it. They both had good jobs and apparently they could only afford to live in the "slums". She said people got shot on their street. So is it really that expensive? Even now? I wouldn't be making more than 50k probably so would I be stuck in the burbs or the slums, or is the Garden District and downtown a realistic option to rent in with that kind of income?
 

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^New Orleans is one of those "hate it or love it" cities. You either can't stand the place, or you love it beyond belief. There are alot of problems here, but the amazing culture of this place has always offset them for me. IMO, the crime is so overblown. Crime is confined to a few parts of the city, and if you don't have a habit of dealing drugs at 2 in the morning, you should be fine.

BTW, are you looking at a house, or would a condo/apartment work?
 

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IMO, the crime is so overblown. Crime is confined to a few parts of the city, and if you don't have a habit of dealing drugs at 2 in the morning, you should be fine.
I could not disagree more. Violent crime is everywhere and a daily occurance in New Orleans. Some people chose to turn a blind eye or they simply tune it out. In the three years we lived in New Orleans, we had two unrelated murders happen within a block of our house and that was in the suburbs in a supposedly "good" neighborhood (Metairie/Old Jefferson). Whats worse is the corrupt NOPD could care less. They know they're out-manned and out-gunned when it comes to the streets of the murder captial of the country.

Some people will try and tell you it's a different city since Katrina, but I was just down there a few weeks ago and it looked like the same rotting sess pool it always did, except that the entire eastern side of the city is an abandonded ghost town now.
 

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I could not disagree more. Violent crime is everywhere and a daily occurance in New Orleans.
If you're talking about murder, which is the only crime statistic that has gone up since Katrina, then no, it isn't "everywhere." It's rare to have a murder in the Garden District, any part of the CBD, the Quarter, the Marigny, Lakeview, Gentilly, parts of Mid-City, etc. However, violent crime is everywhere in Central City and other parts of the 13th Ward and 17th Ward, it's there in Treme, and it can be there in the Lower 9 and often in Algiers.

I've lived here for 22 years, and you'll never hear me dispute that New Orleans is a dangerous city. I was here in the early-mid 90's when New Orleans officially was the "Murder Capital." You always need to watch where you park your car, where you're walking, who's around you, etc. In other words, always use common sense. But just about all of the violent crime in this city is concentrated in certain low-income areas, especially housing projects, and just about all of it is because of drug trade in the city.
 

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BTW, when I said I thought crime was "overblown" I wasn't saying that it isn't a problem; no way. I was talking about the way the national media has made New Orleans look like it's a giant warzone, and that anyone visiting the city will be shot as soon as they get off the plane. That was hurting the tourism industry here at times after Katrina, but thankfully events like Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, and the French Quarter Fest have been able to show that violent crime isn't everywhere in the city.
 

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I
Some people will try and tell you it's a different city since Katrina, but I was just down there a few weeks ago and it looked like the same rotting sess pool it always did, except that the entire eastern side of the city is an abandonded ghost town now.
Uninformed comments by individuals like you are the reason there are so many misconcetions by outsiders. I live in New Orleas east...been back since April 2006. My house did not flood. There was an estimated 95K in NO East pre-K....now there are approx 45K & more coming back all the time. Hardly a ghost town. I know you have issues with the city...but please say what you know and not baseless info just to trash the city.
 

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This article was in the Courier-Journal today and I thought I'd share:


High-rises are put on hold in New Orleans
Slow pace of recovery gets blame for delays


NEW ORLEANS -- Lured by congressionally authorized tax credits and other financial incentives after Hurricane Katrina, a procession of developers announced plans to build high-rises.

But 20 months after the storm, most have fallen by the wayside. The slow pace of the recovery gets much of the blame. New Orleans still has no comprehensive rebuilding blueprint, and funding is falling far short of planners' expectations.



Adding to the tension for commercial investors: Construction and insurance costs have soared.

"There have been a lot of announcements, but you don't see a lot of cranes, do you?" said Michael Siegel, executive vice president of Corporate Realty, a New Orleans brokerage. "I think we all underestimated how long this (the recovery) was going to take."

At least one big plan -- a $400 million proposal by Donald Trump to construct the city's tallest building -- is going ahead, although the only visible sign at the planned site of the Trump International Hotel & Tower is the tycoon's name painted on a brick-wall mural. Every weekday morning, cars fill the parking lot where the 70-story building is to be built.

Not to worry, said Trump's son, Donald Jr. The city's slow recovery, he said, hasn't derailed the plan to build more than 700 units of condos and hotel rooms in the city's central business district. A sales office is expected to open near the site in less than three months, he said.

But while the Trump proposal is making its way through the city approval process, most other projects have seen more hype than hard hats. Many have stalled or fallen apart.

David da Cunha, president of the commercial investment division for the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors, said many developers are waiting for government leaders to devise a clear rebuilding plan before they invest. "I think that's what is slowing things down," he said.

Redevelopment proposals are making their way through the city approval process, and the city's recovery director, Ed Blakely, hopes the pace of reconstruction will pick up by fall. Blakely envisions a $1 billion program of mixed-use redevelopment, but his funding source -- the federal government -- has only $117 million available for the task.

Doubts about the strength of the city's flood protection system also are weighing on developers' minds, said city planning administrator Arlen Brunson. When Katrina struck on Aug. 29, 2005, levees broke and flooded about 80 percent of New Orleans. The water extended well into the business district, and hurricane-force winds blew out windows in many high-rises.

The Army Corps of Engineers is pumping billions of dollars into flood protection improvements. But the corps itself acknowledges that some levees are not up to federal standards set before Katrina.

The Trumps, at least, have not been deterred. "This is going to be a big statement for the city and its recovery," Donald Trump Jr. said recently. "It's not charity, but we do think it's one of America's great cities, and we want to be there to support it any way we can."

The Trump project is one of eight luxury condo complexes, totaling more than 8,000 units, approved by the city planning commission since Katrina. At least one of those projects, Vantage Tower, has fallen apart.

In January 2006, Trey Cefalu announced plans to build the 25-story condo complex in the central business district. Prospective buyers reserved 105 of 219 units at Vantage Tower, but about half of them backed out after the developers raised prices to offset a 30 percent increase in construction costs.

Cefalu said he decided to shelve Vantage Tower in February.

"We're taking a wait-and-see attitude to see where construction costs go," he said.

Other developers say they aren't giving up on the market. The first high-rise project to break ground could be Tracage (the French word for "loft"), a 24-story condo complex planned for the Warehouse District.

Jason Voyles, the Jackson, Miss.-based developer of the $60 million project, said he acquired rights to the property before Katrina, but didn't close the deal until after the storm.

"We were committed to New Orleans and wanted to make it happen," Voyles said.

Voyles said he has pre-sold 65 percent of 126 units, which range in price from $266,000 to $2.5 million. Construction will begin this fall, he added.

"We believe in the project. We believe in the city. We are not scared to take calculated risks," he said.

The city hasn't seen many commercially driven projects that match the scale of the residential high-rises proposed by Trump and other developers. A notable exception is a $715 million redevelopment announced in May 2006 by Strategic Hotels and Resorts, Chicago-based owners of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans.

The company's blueprint called for opening a park, a National Jazz Center and government offices along with repairing and renovating the hotel, which is next to the Louisiana Superdome. The high-rise hotel was heavily damaged by Katrina and is expected to reopen next year. Strategic hasn't set a timetable for construction on the rest of the project.

Next to the Hyatt and across from the Superdome -- the refurbished stadium that's perhaps the most positive symbol of the city's recovery -- is a pockmarked office building that sends a very different message about progress in New Orleans.

The storm-shattered windows on Dominion Tower seem out of place at the heart of the city's bustling business district, where top-of-the-line high-rises have more tenants than before the hurricane.

Market watchers say that's because many smaller or older office buildings have not been repaired.

The 26-story Dominion Tower, which includes the New Orleans Shopping Centre, is one of several office buildings owned by Judah Hertz.

The Santa Monica, Calif., real estate investor said he will begin repairing broken windows soon, but doesn't have any firm plans to reopen either the office building or the shopping center.

Macy's, the shopping mall's major tenant, has said it will not reopen its downtown store or another in suburban Kenner.
 
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