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Old 02-20-2009, 01:09 AM
 
17 posts, read 46,471 times
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For us there is a good chance to be moving from Midland, TX to Lafayette, LA in summer 2009.
We've got two kids...one starting with kindergarten in summer and one attending 2rd grade next, but my wife and the kids are still living in Germany and will join me here in the US from June on.
I've got an offer that I hardly turn down.

Who can tell me some more about Lafayette.
Where is the best area to live (I won't have a problem with commuting if neccessary)....focus here on the elementary schools first of all.

How does the housing situation look like?
Is it easy to find a house to rent (for us a 4bedroom would be good because we already got enough "threats" from german relatives who wanna come visit LOL).

What else can you do in Lafayette with kids?
My son loves to play soccer. Is there any youth soccer ass. that takes 8 year olds?

How is the weather like?
Is Lafayette affected a lot by hurricanes?

I know...I have got a lot of questiones, but this offer came so unexpectately that I really am struggling because here in Midland, TX everything was more or less set and now we've got to start back over again.

Every input is really welcomed.
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Old 02-20-2009, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
1,357 posts, read 4,978,794 times
Reputation: 367
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peanut1 View Post
For us there is a good chance to be moving from Midland, TX to Lafayette, LA in summer 2009.
We've got two kids...one starting with kindergarten in summer and one attending 2rd grade next, but my wife and the kids are still living in Germany and will join me here in the US from June on.
I've got an offer that I hardly turn down.

Who can tell me some more about Lafayette.
Where is the best area to live (I won't have a problem with commuting if neccessary)....focus here on the elementary schools first of all..
In general, south and southwest Lafayette are where you want to live.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peanut1 View Post
What else can you do in Lafayette with kids?
My son loves to play soccer. Is there any youth soccer ass. that takes 8 year olds?
For a while, Lafayette was crazy about hockey, so that's something to look into as well.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peanut1 View Post
How is the weather like?
Is Lafayette affected a lot by hurricanes?
Very humid from about May to October. Outside of those months, it's fairly pleasant and mild. Some exposure to/risk from hurricanes, but not being directly on the Gulf helps.
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Old 02-20-2009, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, La
2,047 posts, read 4,675,440 times
Reputation: 1437
First off I want to welcome the new future resident to our city.

there are plenty of schools around, but the ones around the southside are definitely better. I lived on the northside growing up, so I went to Evangeline elementary and Acadian middle, though those schools have since fallen by the wayside. The southside is fine to raise kids though.

The housing situation has gotten a bit worse, as with the rest of the nation, but probably still well above average. Houses are still being built and the market hasnt collapsed like some places.

My Aunt enrolled her son into youth soccer, football, and basketball. Im pretty sure you can find some youth programs around town.

Weather is generally warm and temperate all year round, occasionally getting around freezing in the winter, but here the humidity is very ihgh, so its either very very hot and muggy, or very cold and wet. Youll get used to it though. Its not one extreme or the other. It snows about once every 6-7 years. Hurricanes are an issue every 4-5 years, but Lafayette has thus far in my lifetime experienced gusts to around 60-80 mph. It is about 30 miles inland so it wont feel high category winds unless a truly intense storm heads straight inland over Vermillion Bay. Even then, Lafayette has weathered storms fairly well. It has flood prone areas, but you wont encounter a situation like New Orleans or anything.

Overall, you are coming to a business oriented, fast growing town with a lot of hope for its future and all sorts of festivals and events. LUS just laid outv a fiber optic network line, so odds are you will have fast internet access in many areas, and living on the Southside means just about everything is well within reach and a short drive. Its all convenient and easy to access, but watch out for the traffic. Traffic is very bad.
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Old 02-20-2009, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
128 posts, read 396,485 times
Reputation: 102
After living here for ten years I'm moving back out of state next weekend...the people here are generally nice but there is a very high rate of drunk driving fatalities (we have drive-through daquiri shacks...need I say more?) and traffic is horrendous for a city this size. Traffic infrastructure is about 15-20 years behind what it should be. Many of the newer neighborhoods have one entrance and exit and is often on to a main road so everyone has to take that road and causes serious congestion. Also, be aware we have red light cameras here although its legality is still in question...and you are guilty until proven innocent.

The food here is great, lots of festivals so there's almost always something to do in that respect, we used to have an air show every two years but until last fall we had not had it since 2004 or 2005. Sometimes it is the Thunderbirds and sometimes the Blue Angels along with various other stunt teams. Fishing is very popular here as is hunting but there's not much to do in the way of outdoor activities such as hiking or biking as sidewalks are either nonexistant or dangerous. I have to disagree with a poster above who said temps are generally temperate...they were right about it always being either hot and humid or cold and wet though. Ten years I have gotten used to the heat as much as one possibly could but the fact remains that after May until October or so you can simply open your front door and be drenched in sweat...shade or not. And that's part of the reason I'm leaving, I'd like to be able to walk or bike around outside without being soaking wet in 15 minutes.

Very long growing season so if you like to garden you will be in heaven

Housing market is still good although it has slowed considerably, prices are a bit above what I would call average. I compared homes here to similarily priced homes elsewhere last spring (Seattle, Minneapolis, Houston, and Dallas) and you generally get less for the money. If you buy a newer home CLOSELY inspect the build quality, I am renting a new house right now and have noticed quite a few bits of shoddy construction (probably from being rushed but not necessarily) as have coworkers and others I know that have bought new houses over the past couple of years. I'm not saying every new house is this way but it's something that I've heard people mention more now than in years past. For example, I have walls that are noticeably not square, grout that was smeared across the ceramic tile and allowed to dry, poor caulking jobs, unsealed window frames (fire ants clued me in to this one), less-than-professional painting, and so on. Nothing major but stuff that can get old over time or cause bigger headaches down the line.

You also have the Audobon Aquarium and Zoo (also recently opened the Insectarium) in New Orleans which is about 2.5 hours down the road to the east and you have Houston three hours to the west so you're pretty centrally located to two major cities. Baton Rouge is about an hour to the west, less depending how fast you drive. Dallas is about 6-7 hours to the north too if you have any reason to go there...ticket prices out of Lafayette seem to run around $200-350 depending when and how far in advance you buy. I find the Lafayette airport to be fairly priced, it's not as cheap as New Orleans and usually no more if not less than out of Baton Rouge and you don't have to deal with driving home an hour or more on an interstate that shuts down if there is an accident on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge between Lafayette and Baton Rouge. It's a very small airport and you can usually clear security in five minutes or less...well worth a few extra dollars to me to save some driving time and big airport hassle.

Hurricanes...as mentioned unless they are big and come straight up in to Vermilion Bay you don't have to worry too much. Still a good idea to have some supplies in case you lose electricity and water for a little while. Fill the bathtub(s) with water before the storm so you have water to use to flush the toilets if the water goes out Some people buy a small portable generator to run their refrigerator, a window A/C unit, and a few other small items in case power goes out...do NOT wait until the day or two before a storm is supposed to hit or you will be sorry. People were waiting at Lowe's for over seven hours last fall for a shipment of generators to come in the day before Gustav was supposed to hit...I got lucky and ended up only waiting 45 minutes but I learned my lesson that day.

Schools on the southside are generally better than the north side (they're working on some gentrification and are now calling it "Upper Lafayette", don't be fooled) but I believe Teurling's Catholic is on the north side and it's a good school from what I hear. The popular areas to live in and that are close to most of the jobs are on the south side or out in Youngsville/Broussard. Hwy 90 between Lafayette and New Iberia can become quite congested during rush hour and if there's an accident I hope you brought something to eat while you wait, but that's anywhere you have a road with no alternate routes. Where will you be working? (i.e., south Lafayette, Broussard, etc)

Housing is readily available but not the cheapest out there. I am renting a 3 bedroom, 2 bath (master bath has a whirlpool tub and a seperate stand up shower) 1400sq. foot home just north of Carencro that has a 2 car garage, fireplace, fenced in back yard, patio, and a walk-in closet in the master bedroom for $1100/month just to give you an idea. This house was brand new when I moved in, I am the first tenant. There are two houses across the street that are new and for sale that are similar size and construction...they are selling for around $160-170k. Also, be aware that buying property south of I-10 will cause your home insurance to be quite high. That's the catch, you can live north of I-10 and be pretty safe from hurricanes and have lower insurance but the majority of the jobs are on the other side of Lafayette so you will have to commute with the influx of people from Opelousas (not much for work up there so everyone commutes south). Recently a new shopping center has opened up off of I-10 and Louisiana Ave that has a Target (not Super Target), JCPenney, Petco, Chick Filet (I know I spelled that wrong, i don't eat there though lol), some sporting goods store (not Academy), and some other places that allow for fewer commutes to the shopping area in south Lafayette. There is a produce market called Fresh Pickin's on Kaliste Saloom (Call-E Saloom...like "saloon" but with an "M") that sells fresh and frozen produce, much cheaper than the local grocery stores like Albertson's and Winn-Dixie. There is also a Fresh Market just down the road from Fresh Pickin's in the River Ranch area (this is the new rich neighborhood, Joey Durel's pet project) where they have a good selection of fresh meats and some foods that you can't find anywhere else in Lafayette (at least not that I could). It is a bit higher priced due to it's location but still affordable.

If you like church you will fit in great here, quite the conservative area too. But that's the traditional South It ain't changing so if you don't like it the only thing you can do is leave.

Oh, did I mention the food is awesome??? I'm going to miss having fresh boiled crawfish and crabs, crawfish boils are great social occasions!

Jobs are doing well here for the most part although people are starting to notice a slowdown...I was laid off from my job as a project engineer last month along with 20% of our statewide work force, I also know of about 10-12 other people who were laid off in the last month or so too. Some have found new jobs, some haven't...with prices for oil falling so suddenly so far and staying low the oil companies aren't spending like they were just a year ago and that has a ripple effect on the economy here since it is oil based. It booms when oil is good but when oil is bad...it can get pretty bad, ask the local residents about the bust during the 80's.

Also, LUS (Lafayette Utility Systems...they provide electricity and water) has recently begun to offer fiber optic to the home in certain areas of Lafayette. They may have a map on their website showing where it is now available and where it is slated to become available. If I recall correctly the first batch of publicly available fiber was mostly centered in the north part of town but I may be wrong.

Overall it's not a bad town but it does have some aspects that may bother you over time...namely the unreal traffic for this size city (the problem is the roads aren't meant to handle the volume of traffic and the fact there are very few alternate routes to get anywhere, only a couple main roads that cut through town), the blatantly corrupt local politics from city all the way to state (many people complain about Mayor Joey Durel but nobody ran against him last election...apathy? I dunno), the poor driving skills made worse by traffic congestion (turn signals are apparently optional here, if you buy a new car ask to leave them off and save some money...then again half the time when they do use them they use them incorrectly such as to signal that the person in front of them is turning, people don't understand the left lane on the interstate is for passing and don't care if there are 10+ cars piled up behind them, people stopping in the road with a green light to let someone pull out of a parking lot even though traffic is already moving again, and so on), and depending on your personal views the close-mindedness of many people to accept others who don't fall within their narrow view of "normal" (I am sure this is due to the strong religious presence, many churches preach tolerance but few seem to practice it).

If you can get past the culture shock (you really will feel like you have moved to a different country) and don't let some of the stuff above bother you than I think you will like it here. You may not settle down here for long term but it's not a bad place to be for a few years. When I moved here I said I was leaving as soon as I graduated college in five years...well, it took me five more after graduating and even then mainly because I was layed off and had been wanting to move anyway. Best of luck to you!

Oh...and yes, there are youth soccer leagues.

Last edited by edesign; 02-20-2009 at 03:51 PM..
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Old 02-20-2009, 09:59 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, La
2,047 posts, read 4,675,440 times
Reputation: 1437
I would like to clear up the misconceptions about the Northside though. Its true that many areas of it are crime ridden and dangerous, but on the northernmost part of Lafayette, right at the parish line, is a very nice area to live in. I had lived there over 20 years before moving in with some friends on the Southside (my parents are still there on the northside and I am typing this from their house actually). There is a thriving and large church community in the area, that attends St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church. If you are Catholic by all means find some time to visit this church because it is wonderful.

Traffic...yeah that takes some getting used to. Frankly it is poorly designed to accomodate this much traffic as Lafayette grew by about 70k people in 60 years. It has well outgrown its road infrastructure. Its not AS bad as the above poster makes it seem though, if you know good times to drive and can schedule around peak hours. Also, learn which roads you can turn left on and which might get you killed doing it. I do not recommend taking the bus though.

By temperate, I meant that all year round, you can find sunny, warm weather. It rains a lot though. I think the third most aside from Florida and Washington. There are a few tornadoes around the area occasionally, but they rarely reach Lafayette and are generally weak.

The food and festivities and family traditions are what keeps many of us here, and frankly we have kind of fallen in love with this city and state, despite its many faults. But every state has downsides.
The upside to this state is that people here love to party and find many creative ways of doing so. One of my favorite festivals that I mention a lot is Festivale Internationale in APril, when bands from across the world join local cajun bands for a weekend of exotic sights and sounds. Really really fun event and it is free to attend. The food is always dynamite.
Drinking is a problem all over Louisiana, but just keep your wits about you and drive carefully. Especially when it is raining. Just know that drunks are on the road with you and dont drive around too late at night if you dont have to.

I hate the red light cameras.
I got caught by a speeding camera on Johnston going 7 over. Be careful. Theyll nail you for 50$ before you realize it.

If you want to go for a safe jog, go to Girard Park during the day. There is a long jogging track all around the park sheltered by trees. It is a great park located just off ULL campus and is in a safe area. There are gazebos and a lake with ducks in it. Its a fun place to hang out or have a party.

If you like to eat, Lafayette's got you covered.
Greek/Lebanese, Italian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese/Sushi, Cajun/French/Creole, Mexican....lots of diverse things to sample.
On the northside though, they just opened up a charming little ice cream place off of Moss Street called La Palatera's. I love the ice cream there.
The southside of course has lots of franchise places and coffee shops and ice cream parlors. You can get fat and happy really easily.

I dont have personal experience buying a house (Im 26) but from, observing my aunts house during and post-construction it is true that some builders will do sloppy work. And her house is worth several hundred thousand. Theres no excuse for it. Nothing truly dangerous, but very annoying and occasionally costly blemishes can be found.

the shopping center is located closer to the good part of Northside, and seems to be well frequented. The layout is ok, but can be confusing at first. Right now, the road parallel to I10, Pont Des Mouton, is heavily under construction so try to find alternate routes like Alexander St. if you go to this shopping center. There are lots of routes to get to it. (and its called Chik-Fil-A and I love that place)

I think everything else has been said. Its a nice city, but not going to top many lists. But for a louisiana town it is very progressive and open to change. It is becoming a lot more high tech, with the Light Center (a 3d imaging room), a brand new computer technical center on campus, and of course almost ready LUS' fiber optics program. Odds are, obtaining high speed internet wont be a problem for you if you want it. Lafayette is a pretty unique place with the mixture of Cajuns and outsiders and longtime citizens, and it has alot of character to make up for its faults.

Now as for close-mindedness, its true that Lafayette is very conservatively minded, but for a Louisiana town I find it rather accepting of many kinds of people. Certainly more than the Northern parts of Louisiana. Thats not to slight northern Louisiana, but it is generally true. This area isnt like "true deep south" as it were. I guess its because of the Cajun/French culture.
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Old 02-20-2009, 11:27 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
14,089 posts, read 24,215,463 times
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For the kids there's roller skating, the Hockey Plex which has ice skating, they're about to open a skateboard park soon, and plenty of parks and recreation centers. Biggest of all of them is Girard Park. Down town Lafayette has a children's museum and a planetarium. Fantastic food all around. If you're REALLY willing to commute, there's some beautiful homes and land just north of the parish line. I don't know anything about their schools though. Part of the reason for the city road design is the canals and river that run through the parish. If you like nature trails and biking, there's state parks north of here that offer that kind of entertainment along with fishing. Get with the locals for areas to avoid. Every city has such areas. Some of these areas are perfectly fine in the daytime but don't stop and get out the car in these areas afterdark. University ave. between I-10 and Cameron ST is one such area. There are others but talk with co-workers and neighbors. Before buying a home, go door to door in the neighborhood to find out about flooding conditions and who is your utility provider. If the utility provider is Entergy, then go elsewhere for a home. They are a very unreliable utility company. LUS and SLEMCO are the more reliable and have the most affordable rates. Anything in the River Ranch community is going to be expensive and restrictive in what you can do to your home or property but it offers access to great shopping and other things. Even if you're not religious, visit the local Catholic churches. They have great artwork and wood carvings. If you haven't seen one, you must see in person an Evangeline Oak tree. Photos don't do this tree justice. Magnolia tree flowers smell fantastic and feel so soft. Avery Island is a must visit in the spring.
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:03 PM
 
17 posts, read 46,471 times
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Thank you already for your kind answers. They helped a lot.
I am trying to figure out now how much yearly income would be enough to be able to live comfortably with two kids, wife and maybe two cats (though they are not yet part of our family)...my comp. asked me to give them an amount of yearly income that they'd have to pay me so I would be relocating there. So that's what's going to decide in the end if we are going to live there in the next future or not.

Keep your fingers crossed cause reading about Lafayette I really liked it (except the humidity, but in the end the money makes the difference in our days)
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