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Old 03-30-2011, 12:29 PM
3 posts, read 13,103 times
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Need some information. We may be moving to Mississippi in the next year or so. My husband's company will be opening a small office in Laurel and would love for him to run it. I need some information on the best places to live. We currently live in a small KS town but close enough to the KC metro area for easy shopping and entertainment. I would like to find something similar in MS. We don't mind a commute so long as its a drive we can make to Laurel in say 45 minutes or less. Smaller towns (say 15,000 or less) would be preferred but the bigger cities are fine, so long as they have some nice "small town-feeling" neighborhoods. Our son is 12 and very bright, so we are DEFINITELY looking for good schools to continue his education. I will most likely not have to be working so career opportunities for me aren't terribly important.
As a parent, I am looking for low crime and a true neighborhood atmosphere for my son. I also want a place with plenty of community sports leagues for him and a place that will be welcoming of a new kid from the midwest. We don't need a big fancy house, just something comfortable, preferably with a large yard for dogs or a small acreage (1 or 2 acres).
As you can see, I don't have too many requirements.... . Anybody who knows the area, I would love your insight! Admittedly, after checking some of the towns on here my biggest concern is the schools. My son's current school was rated 81 out of 100 on this site, and I saw some in Laurel rated 7 out of 100!!!!!
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:09 PM
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Laurel is a beautiful, very elegant town of 18,000 people. so there's no need to commute from elsewhere. For schools you can do West Jones, which is in the Jones County school district which covers the entire county except for inside Laurel city limits. West Jones is about 5 to 10 minutes outside town and there are homes and neighborhoods all around there with normal sized, comfortable family homes on multiple acres. You can go to schooldigger.com to get more data on every school in the state.

South Jones in Ellisville is also okay, a modest small town with a sizable community college that sits between Laurel and Hattiesburg.

Nearby Petal has highly rated schools and a semi-rural atmosphere just outside Hattiesburg. There are plenty of nice subdivisions in this area. All the schools in Lamar County on the other side of Hattiesburg are fine (Oak Grove, Sumrall, Purvis), with Oak Grove being suburban and a very nice, upscale area and the other two being the more rural but charming communities further out in the county. (Bret Favre regularly works out with the Oak Grove football team, as he lives in the area.)

Meridian is a bit further (population about 40,000) but has several well rated schools (West Lauderdale on the northeast outskirts of town with several nice subdivisions) and Enterprise, to the south which is very rural.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:42 AM
Location: 'burbs of NYC
8 posts, read 20,735 times
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We're moving to Mississippi and will be renting in Laurel for the first six to twelve months starting this August/September. Our main interest is in Hattiesburg area, i.e. Oak Grove or even some areas of Hattiesburg itself. Our daughter and her family live in Oak Grove. I've visited Laurel two weeks ago when we checked out apartments and loved it. My grandson will be going to Sacred Heart school in September rather than the Oak Grove public school only because his Mississippi born and raised father prefers a Catholic school education.

Homes are relatively inexpensive in comparison to where we live and on a fixed retirement income a "can do" situation for us. Apartments are a bit on the expensive side both in Hattiesburg and Laurel. But still doable.

Good luck with your move.
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:09 PM
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Hattiesburg. Stay away from Laurel!
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:40 AM
Location: Mishawaka, Indiana
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I've lived in Meridian for about a year now. Haven't explored much of the rest of the state. I came here from Indiana, and it's a culture shock. You mentioned your son is very bright and you're looking for good schools. you may want to avoid most of the public schools then, last I checked Mississippi's public schools are some of the worst in the nation. A lot of other people I know with kids say when they moved here from Virginia or Washington, that their kids were a year ahead in their studies, that they were doing class work in 5th grade here that they did in 4th grade at their old school.

As far as shopping and a lot to do? There is nothing even comparable to Kansas City in this entire state. I suppose Jackson, a decent sized city of about 180,000 will have some shopping. But Jackson was ranked as the 11th most dangerous city in the nation, when pertaining to violent crimes. I hear Hattiesburg has a decent mall, and good shopping outlets. Meridian has a small mall, and minimal shopping outlets. Can't stress it enough, there is nothing even close to Kansas City in this whole state. You won't have a tough time finding rural areas in this state though. Wish you the best.
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Old 05-11-2014, 10:11 PM
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I will be moving to the area soon. Hattiesburg is a good size with plenty to do. I'm coming from a top 20 city and have only been down once, but it seemed nice to us. Very friendly people...New Orleans less than 2 hours...Memphis in 5. We are considering the same towns as the original post. Really like Oak Grove, but would be a long commute (job in Laurel). Strongly considering the Petal area near Eastabuchie. Any opinions?
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Old 05-12-2014, 06:39 AM
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If you want to go the public school route, look at Petal. There are also plenty of sports leagues in the area also and you are close enough to Hattiesburg for easy trips to restaurants/shopping.

If you don't mind paying for private, Hattiesburg has some good choices in private schools.

There is nothing in Mississippi that is even remotely close to KC metro area or its suburbs. However, for Mississippi, Hattiesburg is one of the nicer areas.
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Old 05-12-2014, 02:44 PM
Location: PNW, CPSouth, JacksonHole, Southampton
3,681 posts, read 5,512,575 times
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Originally Posted by MovingPilot View Post
I will be moving to the area soon. Hattiesburg is a good size with plenty to do. I'm coming from a top 20 city and have only been down once, but it seemed nice to us. Very friendly people...New Orleans less than 2 hours...Memphis in 5. We are considering the same towns as the original post. Really like Oak Grove, but would be a long commute (job in Laurel). Strongly considering the Petal area near Eastabuchie. Any opinions?
Congratulations! Your job is in the town most likely to be in the top five, if a literate Mississippian were asked to "Name the loveliest towns in the state, with the loveliest people." Laurel has a reputation for intellectualism. And it's on the good side of the state.

You'll be able to find a suitably-priced "Fine Brick Dream Home", regardless of the locale you select (assuming you're an exec or high-level 'tech', being transferred-in). And that corner of the state, having had land too poor for plantations, is not over-burdened with the residue of Slavery. That means that it is not absolutely critical, for your personal safety, to live in a good area. That said, I have been menaced, on Highway 49 South, by a drug dealer in a dark ragtop Corvette (he tried to get me rear-ended on the highway). There's a lot of Meth being made, and a lot of Pot being grown, out in those woods. Find out who the neighbors are, if buying outside a ritzy subdivision.

First, in the Home Selection Issues Hierarchy you need to find a congregation within which you will feel comfortable. Mississippi is chock-full-o'-religion, and so that should be easy. The Brain Drain has removed all but a few Episcopalians and Jews from the state. But, I think that Hattiesburg and Laurel still have Episcopalian congregations. I just heard that Mississippi's only fully-functioning Synagogue is in Jackson, although I think that Hattiesburg's is still nominally active. But most Jews in the South have, for centuries, simply chosen whatever Protestant sect corresponds to their social class. In the smaller communities, there were three choices: Methodist, Baptist, or "Churcha". Jews became Methodists. In slightly larger towns, where there were still some Presbyterians (the Brain Drain has removed most Presbyterians, too), Jews became Presbyterians.

In Mississippi, the Religion Ladder has Episcopalians and Jews (who, in that state, are virtually ALL Fiscal Conservatives /Social Moderates) at the top, followed by Presbyterians, then by Methodists, and then Baptists. Below Baptists are the "Churchas" Church of (fill in the blank)). All the power is now in the hands of the Baptists and Catholics. A big Baptist church will have its own Activities Director, its own gym, and its own Food Services Director (like the head of catering at a country club.) There are plenty of Baptist congregations, with a range of social classes and political bents being addressed (center to far-right). Generally, the First Baptist is the one you join, if you plan on having a quarter-million-Dollar wedding for your Daughter (and some of those weddings are exceeding one million, these days). Larger towns have ultra-ritzy step-up-from-First-Baptist churches, for people who want to remain nominally Baptist, but who prefer to go easy on the dogma. Frequently, those people switch to Episcopalian, as soon as Mama dies (Mama typically owns a lot of stock in the family's various corporations). Anyway, the best networking is at the big Baptist churches.

People who try to social-climb into Episcopalianism before they make a lot of money and acquire suitable gentility, end up having nervous breakdowns, losing all their money and their "museum-quality reproduction Williamsburg manor house on the hill - and the Lagonda, too...", getting sent to prison, or having little murder-suicide situations. Gate-crashing is thus highly discouraged.

So, once you've found the congregation which corresponds to your mindset, race, and social class (I'm not exaggerating the importance of this, at all.), you're ready to consider gyms. Aside from Church, Wal-Mart, beauty pageants, and Football, there is nothing else to do in Mississippi, except go to the gym. Most Mississippians do not go to the gym, which is why they look like cartoon characters.

But there's a giant dichotomy in Mississippi, between those who can and do, and those who can't and don't. If you want to be on the good side of that dichotomy, you'll spend a lot of time at the gym. So finding a good one is rather crucial.

Public schools are not really considered an option in most of Mississippi - particularly after Third Grade, when the Underclass starts hitting puberty and becoming violent. So if you have kids, basically, you can plan on having a gargantuan SUV (choose according to safety rating: Mississippi leads the nation in Deaths-per-mile or something...), and spending hours each day, driving the kids around. We used those hours for foreign language lessons, math drills, etc. Oh, and if you have boys at a public school, it is critical, unless they can 'hold it' all day, to have someone come, midday, and take them to a safe restroom. It is not safe for boys to go into the restrooms at school: that's where the most violent of the bullies hang out. I have friends who suffered from the effects of dehydration, because they were afraid to drink anything at breakfast, or all during the school day, because going into the bathroom was just not an option. And, from what I'm hearing, the situation has only gotten worse.

For most responsible people in Mississippi, where kids are concerned, the options are: Have yourself sterilized, because you might not be able to afford private schools; send the kid(s) to private schools; homeschool (plenty of really outstanding, classy, smart, non-crazy people do this, despite what you've heard); move to another part of the country.

Oh, and once you've selected your church/gym/private school, it's time to select your Fine Brick Dream Home. That's the easy part. They abound. Many are value-priced. Just be aware that Mississippi is high on the list of Pit Bull Risk States. You don't want to discover that the meth dealer down the road failed to adequately cage the Pitties he's raising for dogfighting Mississippi Dogfight Broken Up, Feds Make 50 Arrests During Raid, and that one or more of those little wigglebutt love machines has/have wandered onto your property, and is/are about to use you as a chew toy. Being eaten-alive by the Fire ants is unpleasant enough. But for that to be happening in conjunction with having your eyes eaten out of their sockets - and your hands chewed off - by the gentle, loving 'Nanny Dogs'.... well... that's just a bit much. Either choose a property with substantial fencing and gating, or budget for having those installed prior to moving in.

Choosing a house in a really nice subdivision generally eliminates the threat from 'Pitties'. But those subdivisions are prone to dotty old men running around spraying herbicides, tanker trucks spraying chemical lawn enhancements (herbicides & pesticides, which will reek, and undermine your health, for weeks after application), and trucks driving around the neighborhood spewing poisons which make the mosquitoes even worse, while giving people sinus problems, cancer, and premature dementia (But you don't dare say anything, because "everybody" has agreed to pretend - as they collectively pretend so many things - that the spray "won't hurt you". In Mississippi, there is no acknowledged difference between consensus and reality.).

Last edited by GrandviewGloria; 05-12-2014 at 03:39 PM..
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Old 05-12-2014, 06:47 PM
1,098 posts, read 3,043,571 times
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Laurel is absolutely lovely. The historic district around Lauren Rogers museum of art on 5th Ave and the newer homes amid hills and giant trees just north along Audubon Drive are nice. There are also nice homes just west and north of Laurel Country Club, one of the state's oldest. If you need schools, you want to find something 5 or 10 minutes out of town in the county, and there is plenty of space in that area.

Petal is pleasant of as you said Oak Grove especially Canebrake and Lake Serene are extremely pretty.
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