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Old 05-14-2009, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Lakewood, Ohio
560 posts, read 1,593,395 times
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Hello. I posted a thread a couple of years ago about moving to the Lake Charles and Lafayette areas. Unfortunately I am still in New Mexico, but now that my parents are healthy, I have some money saved, and since I just got laid off... a move might be a strong possibility later this year.

Anyway, I was in Louisiana (Lake Charles and Lafayette) from Saturday until Wednesday and thought I would share some thoughts and observations. Please feel free to post corrections, thoughts, or any comments.

1. For early May, I was surprised at the temperature! It was more humid than I expected, but that was cool since I like the humidity.

2. What the hell happened to the Lake Charles mall? I didn't go in on this trip, but I drove by and it appears that JC Pennys and Macys went out of business?!?! Also, Lafayette has a pretty mall! Since I am a bit of a Mall rat, Lafayette get extra points for having such a nice mall.

3. We decided to get some Mexican food while were were in Lafayette and ate at a place called Tampico. (not sure if I spelled that right?) Anyway... YUCK!!! Maybe I just ordered the wrong thing... I will have to try some of the Mexican restaurants in Lake Charles on my next trip. I don't expect Louisiana to have the finest Mexican cuisine, but I will need something better than what I had.

4. Ate at Steamboat Bills in Lake Charles!!! This was great! The shrimp were huge!

5. People were friendly in both places.

6. Went to Moss Bluff.... this seems like the up and coming area for Lake Charles? We saw a lot of new and very pretty homes.

7. We were told that Harrah's sunk and never re-opened after Rita, so we went to L'Auberge du lac in Lake Charles. Nice place, but what the hell?!!?!? $15 minimum for Craps and Blackjack??!?! Even Bellagio and Mandalay Bay in Vegas have $10 tables.

8. Between Lake Charles and Lafayette... Lake Charles seems better because it has lots of fishing and the casinos... Lafayette seems better because it has more culture and and probably more shopping.

Last edited by mdmagana; 05-14-2009 at 10:33 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 05-14-2009, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
128 posts, read 410,434 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdmagana View Post

1. For early May, I was surprised at the temperature! It was more humid than I expected, but that was cool since I like the humidity.
After having lived in Lafayette for eleven years...go back in July-August and let me know if you still like the humidity. It gets old...fast. I thought it was great at first too after growing up in Alaska. You do get used to it though, I think I actually handled it better than some of the people I knew who grew up there judging by their reactions if I didn't immediately roll the windows down in the car or turn the A/C on or when they'd come visit and comment on how warm the house was lol. Typical day goes like this:

1) Wake up and take a shower to get nice and clean

2) Eat breakfast and open the door to go somewhere which immediately (ok, maybe 2-3 seconds) causes you to become covered in sweat.

3) Wonder why you even bothered to shower since you knew you'd be covered in sweat almost the instant you set foot outside (including the shade, there is not much relief in the shade).

4) Turn around and go back inside to the A/C or rush to the car and crank up the A/C and hope it doesn't die.



Quote:
2. What the hell happened to the Lake Charles mall? I didn't go in on this trip, but I drove by and it appears that JC Pennys and Macys went out of business?!?! Also, Lafayette has a pretty mall! Since I am a bit of a Mall rat, Lafayette get extra points for having such a nice mall.
Both JCP and Macy's were hit hard by the recession and did some downsizing. Lafayette's Mall of Acadiana is ok, but I don't normally enjoy going to the mall so that was a non-issue for me. Btw, that area (Johnston/Ambassador Caffery) becomes a horrendous traffic nightmare starting the day after Thanksgiving...not that it's all that great any other time. Too much traffic and not enough road.

Quote:
3. We decided to get some Mexican food while were were in Lafayette and ate at a place called Tampico. (not sure if I spelled that right?) Anyway... YUCK!!! Maybe I just ordered the wrong thing... I will have to try some of the Mexican restaurants in Lake Charles on my next trip. I don't expect Louisiana to have the finest Mexican cuisine, but I will need something better than what I had.
Tampicos...people go there to drink, not for the food. You'd have been better off at Taco Bell probably There are some other Mexican restaurants in town that are probably a bit more authentic but I'm not a huge fan of Mexican food either. Coming from New Mexico you are probably going to be highly disappointed in the Mexican food in Lafayette.

Quote:
5. People were friendly in both places.
People are friendly in and around Lafayette...until you flash your lights at them because they are driving slow or blocking traffic in the left lane of the interstate. People in that area are the worst drivers I have seen anywhere...Seattle, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Denver, and some other smaller towns.

Maybe it's the drive-through daquiri shacks (very high rate of drunk driving related fatalities and accidents...go figure). You should check to see what your insurance is going to go up to for both areas...prepare for sticker shock When I moved to Denver recently my six month premium for 250/500/250 coverage with $500 deductibles for collision/comprehensive and some other extras which are only a few bucks went down almost 40%...with ZERO accidents or tickets I was paying about $1400/year (includes a longevity bonus with my insurance company) for an 04 Grand Prix. Here I pay just under $900/year.

South Louisiana has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation...the people drive like they have never been taught basic rules of the road (wait until your first four-way stop intersection lol), they drive like idiots (everyone says that about their area, I know...but I have spoken to many people from other areas who have driven in Lafayette and they almost all agree with me), lots of drunk driving, and then there are the threats from hurricane damage (rare, but it can happen).

Quote:
8. Between Lake Charles and Lafayette... Lake Charles seems better because it has lots of fishing and the casinos... Lafayette seems better because it has more culture and and probably more shopping.
Depends what you like to do...there are plenty of places to fish near Lafayette but you have to drive a little bit to get to some of them. Lafayette definitely has more culture and also hosts some very popular festivals year round (check their tourism web site or chamber of commerce, one or the other). I'd also venture the Cajun food in Lafayette is going to be better than what you would find in Lake Charles...not to mention that Baton Rouge is about an hour's drive west (more if there's an accident on I-10 as there are no alternate routes once you are on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge) and New Orleans is about 2.5 hours away. Lake Charles is closer to Houston but the drive is boooooooooring to say the least. Driving that once a year from Lafayette was more than enough for me lol.

Just my insight after living there for eleven years and not being from the area originally (do have family there that is native to the area though).

What kind of work do you do? Lafayette's economy is doing ok right now...been better, been worse. I was laid off from my job back in January and decided it was finally time to make the move I'd been talking about for years. Lafayette is very dependent on the oil and gas industry...when it goes bust so does Lafayette, but when it is booming it's a great place to be.

Also, don't worry about the hurricanes too much...they really are pretty rare and when they do hit the state the worst damage is limited to a relatively small area. Also, home insurance in Lafayette south of I-10 is going to be much MUCH more expensive than north...something else to take in to consideration. North of I-10 you are pretty safe from most flooding due to hurricanes but check the flood maps before you buy.
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Old 05-14-2009, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, La
2,056 posts, read 4,909,508 times
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I want to make a suggestion for much better mexican cuisine in Lafayette. Try the Coyote Blues restaurant across from the mall. It is more upscale and more expensive than Tampicos, but the food there is really great.
Coyote Blues Fresh Mexican Grill
Mexican food is definitely not a priority here though that is for sure.

Also, I never really thought of our mall as particularly pretty, but its nice to see an outsiders view of Lafayette. the humidity definitely takes some getting used to (like 10 years or so) and the traffic is quite frankly atrocious.
There are some ambitious changes planned, but the projects have been stuck in limbo for a very long time.

Overall I reallyl ike Lafayette and really dont have any particular desire to move away. Its comfortable, reasonably safe, and there is more to see and do by the day. Lots of interesting urban redevelopment projects are underway and of course the festivals just keep getting better.
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Old 05-14-2009, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
1,357 posts, read 5,122,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Innotech View Post
I want to make a suggestion for much better mexican cuisine in Lafayette. Try the Coyote Blues restaurant across from the mall. It is more upscale and more expensive than Tampicos, but the food there is really great.
Coyote Blues Fresh Mexican Grill
Mexican food is definitely not a priority here though that is for sure.

Also, I never really thought of our mall as particularly pretty, but its nice to see an outsiders view of Lafayette. the humidity definitely takes some getting used to (like 10 years or so) and the traffic is quite frankly atrocious.
There are some ambitious changes planned, but the projects have been stuck in limbo for a very long time.

Overall I reallyl ike Lafayette and really dont have any particular desire to move away. Its comfortable, reasonably safe, and there is more to see and do by the day. Lots of interesting urban redevelopment projects are underway and of course the festivals just keep getting better.
Ditto to the Coyote Blues. We're supposed to be getting one soon in BR, and the one I tried out in Lafayette was pretty good.

And while Mexican is not our strong suit, we have gotten some more variety in recent years. We now (in BR anyway) have a Brazilian, a South American, a Latin American, and several respectable (Ninfas, Mi Padres) Tex-Mex restaurants. In other words, we have enough of a critical mass to where we can be picky now - in the old days, Chi Chis and El Chico were our (yawn) choices.
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Old 05-14-2009, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Baton Rouge
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Lafayette is a great place to be right now. Lost of festivals and great nightlife downtown. Low, low crime for a major city in Louisiana. I think it should be the poster child for what Louisiana cities can be if the leaders do their jobs correctly and the people take pride in where they live.

I really don't have much of an opinion on Lake Charles. I don't have any sort of connection to the city, and every time I've been there, it didn't really speak to me. Not necessarily a bad thing. For me, Lake Charles is one of those places that is just there. I have neither positive things to say nor negative things to say. I'm in the middle.
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Old 05-14-2009, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
1,357 posts, read 5,122,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroBTR View Post
Lafayette is a great place to be right now. Lost of festivals and great nightlife downtown. Low, low crime for a major city in Louisiana. I think it should be the poster child for what Louisiana cities can be if the leaders do their jobs correctly and the people take pride in where they live.

I really don't have much of an opinion on Lake Charles. I don't have any sort of connection to the city, and every time I've been there, it didn't really speak to me. Not necessarily a bad thing. For me, Lake Charles is one of those places that is just there. I have neither positive things to say nor negative things to say. I'm in the middle.
Other than the lack of interstate, I've found Lafayette to be a very clean place. And I'm with you on Lake Charles - it's tucked away in a corner of the state, so it's not a place you'd visit just because.
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:10 PM
 
Location: Lakewood, Ohio
560 posts, read 1,593,395 times
Reputation: 416
Thank you to everyone for all the replies!

I found the auto insurance rates comment interesting. I grew-up in southern California, so I probably won't get sticker shock from them, but I never would have guessed they'd be so high. Definitely something I will need to look into.

Also, I have been SW Louisiana in August and experienced the humidity. I really didn't mind it... it think the difference is that I was expecting it then... I wasn't expecting it at all this past trip.

When driving around Lafayette, I did get the sense that it could get really congested. I'm sure Lake Charles can get busy too, but it seems like Lafayette would have much worse traffic.

I don't want to sound like a jerk, but having learned how to drive on LA and Orange County freeways, I think we SoCal drivers rock in general. However, we do totally suck whenever there is the slightest touch of weather outside. I've driven from one end of the country to the other several times and and have been to 22 states at last count. I have no idea what the statistics are, but in my opinion no one is worse than New Mexico! Santa Fe in particular has the stupidest drivers I have ever seen. As far as Louisiana drivers go, some of them seem to go a bit slow, but in my three trips to the area, I haven't had any real complaints about them. The only two cars that cut me off in Lake Charles had Texas plates.

Interesting side note... I did hear some Louisiana folks complaining about Texas drivers. Louisiana and New Mexico have that in common... for some reason they both don't like Texas drivers. LoL

As far as work goes for me, until recently I was a manager at a department store chain that went belly-up. (A west cost chain called Mervyn's) I was thinking of trying to get in at a supervisor or manager level with Pennys or Macys here in New Mexico and then look into transferring to Lake Charles or Lafayette But, since Pennys and Macys have left Lake Charles, maybe I'll have to rethink that.
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Old 05-16-2009, 12:05 AM
 
Location: Lafayette, La
2,056 posts, read 4,909,508 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdmagana View Post
Thank you to everyone for all the replies!

I found the auto insurance rates comment interesting. I grew-up in southern California, so I probably won't get sticker shock from them, but I never would have guessed they'd be so high. Definitely something I will need to look into.

Also, I have been SW Louisiana in August and experienced the humidity. I really didn't mind it... it think the difference is that I was expecting it then... I wasn't expecting it at all this past trip.

When driving around Lafayette, I did get the sense that it could get really congested. I'm sure Lake Charles can get busy too, but it seems like Lafayette would have much worse traffic.

I don't want to sound like a jerk, but having learned how to drive on LA and Orange County freeways, I think we SoCal drivers rock in general. However, we do totally suck whenever there is the slightest touch of weather outside. I've driven from one end of the country to the other several times and and have been to 22 states at last count. I have no idea what the statistics are, but in my opinion no one is worse than New Mexico! Santa Fe in particular has the stupidest drivers I have ever seen. As far as Louisiana drivers go, some of them seem to go a bit slow, but in my three trips to the area, I haven't had any real complaints about them. The only two cars that cut me off in Lake Charles had Texas plates.

Interesting side note... I did hear some Louisiana folks complaining about Texas drivers. Louisiana and New Mexico have that in common... for some reason they both don't like Texas drivers. LoL

As far as work goes for me, until recently I was a manager at a department store chain that went belly-up. (A west cost chain called Mervyn's) I was thinking of trying to get in at a supervisor or manager level with Pennys or Macys here in New Mexico and then look into transferring to Lake Charles or Lafayette But, since Pennys and Macys have left Lake Charles, maybe I'll have to rethink that.
the JC Penneys and Macy's in the Acadiana mall are alive and well as far as I know. the mall is still bustling and serves an area of about 200,000 surrounding residents and possibly up to 500k in surrounding towns without a central mall.
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Old 05-16-2009, 01:25 AM
 
Location: Baton Rouge
1,734 posts, read 5,329,771 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdmagana View Post
Thank you to everyone for all the replies!

I found the auto insurance rates comment interesting. I grew-up in southern California, so I probably won't get sticker shock from them, but I never would have guessed they'd be so high. Definitely something I will need to look into.

Also, I have been SW Louisiana in August and experienced the humidity. I really didn't mind it... it think the difference is that I was expecting it then... I wasn't expecting it at all this past trip.

When driving around Lafayette, I did get the sense that it could get really congested. I'm sure Lake Charles can get busy too, but it seems like Lafayette would have much worse traffic.

I don't want to sound like a jerk, but having learned how to drive on LA and Orange County freeways, I think we SoCal drivers rock in general. However, we do totally suck whenever there is the slightest touch of weather outside. I've driven from one end of the country to the other several times and and have been to 22 states at last count. I have no idea what the statistics are, but in my opinion no one is worse than New Mexico! Santa Fe in particular has the stupidest drivers I have ever seen. As far as Louisiana drivers go, some of them seem to go a bit slow, but in my three trips to the area, I haven't had any real complaints about them. The only two cars that cut me off in Lake Charles had Texas plates.

Interesting side note... I did hear some Louisiana folks complaining about Texas drivers. Louisiana and New Mexico have that in common... for some reason they both don't like Texas drivers. LoL

As far as work goes for me, until recently I was a manager at a department store chain that went belly-up. (A west cost chain called Mervyn's) I was thinking of trying to get in at a supervisor or manager level with Pennys or Macys here in New Mexico and then look into transferring to Lake Charles or Lafayette But, since Pennys and Macys have left Lake Charles, maybe I'll have to rethink that.
Up until a couple of years back, Mervyn's was in Baton Rouge, too. I didn't realize it was out of the West Coast. I always thought it had been a southern chain. I guess you learn something new every day.

As far as bad weather, Louisiana driver's are okay. It rains almost every afternoon in the summer months so we are no strangers to driving in inclement weather.
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Lafayette, La
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while that is true, you see alot of accidents when it rains because the road design uses chert, which is a very hard, very slick rock that is almost equivalent to ice when wet. Its very hard to stop on this surface and doing so requires very careful braking and low speeds.
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