Could I Live Here? New Orleans Edition

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The beautiful city of New Orleans has always been one of my favorite places to visit. I think it’s one of the liveliest and most fun cities in the world. And judging by how happy the locals are, it seems like it would be an excellent place to live.

Atmosphere

One thing I’ve always loved about New Orleans is that it’s so musical. I love jazz, and especially that fun Dixieland style of jazz that you can’t help but tap your feet to. And in New Orleans, music is everywhere. Aside from the extensive night life scene, that heavily favors live music, you can find musicians on street corners and parks ready to brighten your day with their brass tunes. You can even hear jazz played during funeral processions. Sure, there are buskers all over the world from Paris to Tokyo to the subways in New York. But no city has as much soul as New Orleans.

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Having visited Key West right before going to New Orleans this time around was really illuminating. While everyone in Key West is happy because they’re all retired and at the beach, I realized that the people in New Orleans are actually happy living their lives and working their asses off. Most of us would kill to be as content on a day-to-day basis as the guys shucking oysters at Acme. Everyone is in a good mood even though everyone is busy. And when they’re not busy, they’re having an even better time.

I feel like I could never get bored of New Orleans. All the neighborhoods in the city have a different feel to them. Between the art fairs, the music, and the gorgeous architecture all around, I would always have something new to appreciate. And how fun would it be to sit in a cozy café and drink spiked coffees and write all day long?

People

I adore the people of New Orleans. I think they’re some of the nicest and funniest people in the US. Though I usually prefer to be left alone as I go about my day, I kind of love how genuine and chatty everyone is there. That kind of honesty and openness is rare so it’s refreshing. No one minds lending a helping hand or doing you small favors for no reason other than the fact they’re awesome. I think that Southern hospitality is bolstered by the fact that they love and appreciate life. Sure, New Orleans can be dangerous, poor, and dirty as fuck. But man, those people are happy. When you’re visiting from a city like Miami, where everyone is super committed to being miserable and cunty, it’s the most beautiful thing.

Food

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I probably would have died if I finished eating this fried oyster eggs benedict (side of candied bacon not pictured). But man, it’s one of the best meals I’ve ever had. This Man vs Food brunch is from Elizabeth’s.

I almost have no words to describe how much I love the food in New Orleans. If there’s a heaven, they serve Cajun there. Nothing else compares. Most cities are lucky if they have one or two signature dishes. New Orleans has so many onto itself that you almost have to live there to appreciate them all. I’ve visited four times, and I’ve still haven’t even tried a muffuletta sandwich. Because there isn’t enough time in the world to enjoy all the shrimp po’ boys, gumbo, and jambalaya that I want. But more than anything else, because when I visit New Orleans, I have chargrilled oysters at least once a day.

For how much I crave New Orleans food, I don’t care much for their iconic rum-based hurricane. But who cares? You can get wasted on just about anything in New Orleans for a few bucks. Which brings me to cost.

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Cost

Though there are some parts of the city that can be quite expensive, like the Garden District, it’s not impossible to get affordable housing in New Orleans. I could probably find a suitable apartment for under a thousand in Bywater or Mid-City. If you split that with someone, that would be less than $500 per person, which is a totally livable standard without sacrificing comfort or safety. According to one of our Uber drivers, she can make upwards of $600 per week driving around 20-25 hours. So you could be a taxi driver there and live a real cushy lifestyle. I think my problem with living there would be how much I would spend on food. At $20 a dozen, those chargrilled oysters don’t come cheap. And a dozen oysters is just an appetizer for another dozen.

Getting around

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I think one of the things that kills the idea of living in New Orleans for me is that I would need a car (especially if I’m going to start a new lucrative career as taxi app driver). The city is huge and though it has a cute little system of streetcars and buses, I don’t think it would be comfortable to get around that way, especially if you don’t live close to the transit lines. And though many parts of the city are walkable, the distances are long, and depending on where you live, they may not always be safe or pleasant.

Weather

Though I’m willing to make exceptions, I really can’t live near the equator. The humid unrelenting heat of the Louisiana bayou makes me feel like never leaving my house. Muggy weather is gross, sticky, and makes my hair and complexion look terrible. New Orleans is also prone to those random torrential downpours that are so common in the southwest. And I can’t stand that. I think the umbrella is a brilliant endeavor of human creation and I refuse to put myself in the kind of weather that renders it totally useless.

Total Livability Score: 7/10

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If it were up to my taste buds, my car would have been packed and I’d be moved into a cute purple shotgun house with a white picket fence and a rocking chair on the porch. But despite the downsides, the living conditions are not half bad.