Relocating to Lafayette, LA area (New Orleans, Breaux Bridge: sales, apartment, rentals)
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My fiancee and I will be relocating to the Lafayette, LA area in mid June of this year. We are moving from SE Minnesota for his job. I am mostly trying to figure out where to look for an apartment/house rental. Are there areas of town to avoid? Areas to try to look at specifically? We're mostly looking at Lafayette or Broussard. We live in a fairly small town now, about 25k people with hardly any crime. Are there areas that have a better crime rate? Also, what are the major employment fields in Lafayette? Any advice would be appreciated, as I will be job hunting once we move as well! I will be making my first visit to Lafayette in early May. Are there any places I should be sure to visit? Thanks in advance for the help!
Nursing field is always open. Plenty of hospitals hiring nurses and medical professionals. You should take the opportunity to visit downtown Lafayette. That area was remodeled and renovated and really looks nice. Come spring time, take a trip to Avery Island where there's a bird santuary and lots of beautiful flowers. The local festivals are always fun. If you enjoy hunting and fishing, there's plenty around. If you instead love photography as a hobby, go Butte la Rose with a boat in the early morning hours just before sunrise. Go out into the water and wait. If there's a light low hanging fog then you'll see a wonderful sunrise worthy of a poster photo.
Where you look for a house or apartment depends on how you want to live. Do you want stores and such right around you? Then you will probably want to look on the southside of Lafayette, in the mall areas. Do you want the country, try Broussard or Youngsville, but be aware they are both getting built up. Lafayette traffic can be brutal at times but it does keep moving pretty much. Do you have children? You might want to research schools for each area. Are you looking at re-locating permanently or is this just a temporary move? There are many really nice areas in Lafayette, just pretty much stay away from the 4 corners area and Evangeline Thruway, I lived in that area when we first moved here years ago, it hasn't gotten any better.
Breaux Bridge is right on the edge of Lafayette. Sweet people, and it's a tiny town, right off the interstate. I have no idea what might be available, though. Carencro is neat, too, but a bit farther out. And all of the little towns are neat. Down Broussard way is nice, too...maybe more airport/industrial...
If your fiancee has a really good job, there's an award-winning planned community (River Ranch) that's much bemoaned by locals as destroying the local flavor. But I think big box retail is doing more damage. River Ranch is attracting people from outside Acadiana (Cajun Land). If River Ranch is rented up, or too pricey, I bet they can refer you to the next best thing. Lafayette's a university town, and so there are a lot of safe-but-noisy complexes/rental houses near the U.
But frankly, the existence of Acadiana is such a miracle, it would be a pity if you didn't rent in a small town and get to know the wonderful people. You can show them how to make Tater Tot Hotdish, and they can show you how to make a Roux. However 'safe' is sort of on a block-by-block basis. It's hard to generalize.
If you have no particular skills or certification (but are bright, presentable, and polite), you might try to get hired at Red's. It's one of the best health clubs in the world. Really. If anything's available, it would be like maybe working the desk, the accounting office, in the Ladies' Locker Room, or in the Grill: but it's worth a try. Wonderful atmosphere.
One warning: Katrina destabilized everything within a day's driving distance of New Orleans. From Hattiesburg, Mississippi to Houston, Texas, every town has felt the effect of the displacement of a lot of scary people...some of whom did not move back to New Orleans. Before Katrina, bad did not mean much in Acadiana...maybe a dysfunctional family with a yard full of trash...irritating but harmless. Today, bad, means bad, as in New Orleans Ninth Ward bad. But like when there's a tornado over Minnesota, you need up-to-the-minute, block-by-block information, to avoid the hot spots.
But there's lots to look forward to: Mardi Gras is coming up, and the Cajun version is not a show: it's the real thing. And don't miss Festival International de Lafayette: it's big, truly international, and super sophisticated: World Music from all over the French-Speaking world. People fly in from everywhere.
Come to think of it, Broussard is on the side of town with Poupart's Patisserie. Our decorator sent us there, and it's like stepping into the best pastry shop in Montreal...maybe better. He's Cajun, she's French. They met in pastry school in Paris....Need I say more? I work out two hours a day, and so can afford to go there. Oh, the Dobash cakes!!!!!!!
the crime is a lot more about assault and robberies than murder around here.
Theres a lot of it, but I think its more a function of Lafayette just being a more populated place each year. Business attracts people to the region, and with that comes the trouble. But most of Lafayette is still entirely safe to be in. This region is actually home to about 500k people, so its more populated than you might think. All those small towns and cities surrounding Lafayette really add up. But in any case, you will probably find a home in town that hasnt ever been a crime hotspot. Even on the Northside (Lafayette tries to call my old stomping ground "upper Lafayette" for sophistication) you can find lots of places that have low crime and nice surroundings. I really think the worst thing youd find is the traffic at certain times of day, but thats any fairly populated area. Lafayette still sticks to its roots and you still hear that lovely Cajun French o the radio and on TV and see it written on signs.
Thanks everyone for the replies! I do have a sales degree and currently work in telecommunications. I'm pretty open employment wise, I don't feel like I need to stay in the same field. No kids, but pets. That's been the biggest challenge in finding a rental. Most likely, this will be a long-term or permanent move. We are currently looking in Broussard and Youngsville, but I will be sure to check out some of the other areas. I would prefer to lean towards a smaller town for our home. We also currently live in a college town, so I definitely understand about noisy rentals!
Broussard/Youngsville is far enough away from the university. There are some brand new housing complexes being built in or near those areas. Before buying or renting a home, request info on the flood plane. Even if your home isn't in a flood area, you should consider flood and hurricane insurance. Don't buy a home with water oak trees in the yard. Several of these trees came out of the ground, roots and all, during hurricanes. If you have kids and pets, look into products to control and kill fire ants. Read the instructions carefully because some fire ant products say to keep pets out of the yard for a few hours to a whole day.
You should also pay a visit to Acadian Village. It's a collection of historical Acadian homes. People love to go there for their Christmas lights display. Too much traffic and people for me. I'm not comfortable around a lot of people anymore.
Does anyone have any ideas on places that may allow large dogs? We have a 50 lb black lab mix, and I'm currently finding a lot of places that don't allow dogs that large. I'm also looking at the Breaux Bridge area, if anyone can recommend some places I can look for available rentals. Newspapers in the area? Websites? Thanks so much!
If I were you I would definitely put an ad in the Daily Advertiser newspaper looking for a home that allows pets. When we moved here in 1981 we could not find one place that would allow us to have our small dog. The kids were heartbroken but my best friend took our pet in and he lived a wonderful life for the next 12 years, still we felt bad about leaving him behind and still do all these years later. I don't know what your time frame for this move is but the sooner you do this the better chance you will have of finding a place to allow your pet to come with you. If you don't find someplace right away then maybe you could find a place to board him until you can. I really hope this all works out for you, I hate to hear of anyone giving up their pets. We once agreed to watch a Lab for a guy I worked with, supposed to be for 2 months.....he came back 6 years later to tell us we could keep the dog, we had him for almost 10 years when he passed.
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