There are a few misconceptions about the people of Southern Louisiana. For instance, many newcomers have the impression that we all live in the bayou with the alligators. Naturally, that is a rumor that could cause a bit of apprehension for anyone considering moving to Baton Rouge.
Rest assured. Even though there are people in Louisiana who support their families by hunting and fishing in the bayous where some also live, most Louisianans live in houses and have dogs and cats as pets.
In actuality, the swamps of Louisiana are beautiful and provide an abundance of natural resources that play a huge role in the economy. They are definitely one of the many beautiful features you will want to see after you arrive. With a guide, of course — there really are alligators out there!
The people of Baton Rouge are one of the first things that will grab your attention. Many people who were born and raised here speak with a heavy Cajun accent. They are warm and friendly, so don’t be surprised if you receive an occasional hug.
Baton Rouge residents are also passionate about sports and politics and they share an enormous love for music.
From this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about Baton Rouge. In addition to where to live, work, and play, you will also know about the uniqueness of your new home and come to love and embrace it like the rest of us.
How big is the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Area?
After the vicious winds of Hurricane Katrina destroyed a major portion of New Orleans, the population of Baton Rouge exploded and almost doubled after taking in approximately 200,000 of the displaced residents. Eventually, most of them returned to New Orleans and other parts, many which are unknown and Baton Rouge was left with a population of a little over 225,000.
Metropolitan Baton Rouge is a sprawling area. The 40 or so cities around Baton Rouge have a total population of around 600,000, making the total approximately 800,000. If you’re moving to Baton Rouge, you will no longer live in a county. In Louisiana, we have parishes instead.
There are nine parishes in Metro Baton Rouge, including:
- East Baton Rouge
- East Feliciana
- Pointe Coupee
- St. Helena
- West Baton Rouge
- West Feliciana
Where to Live in Baton Rouge
If you will be house hunting, there is an abundance of homes to suit you and your lifestyle. Or, take advantage of the surge in new construction here and build your new home the way you want it.
If you need advice, just ask Nancy Lovejoy with ReMax Real Estate Group about the best places to live in Baton Rouge. She says the real estate market is on fire. Anyone moving to Baton Rouge will be delighted with all the new residential development construction. A few developments include the upscale homes in Lexington Estates, The Settlement at Willow Grove, The Preserve at Harvison, and Pointe Marie.
In addition, there are new starter and investment homes near LSU and several beautiful new small subdivisions around Tiger Bend Road and Long Farm, to name a few.
Popular Neighborhoods in Baton Rouge
If you’re looking for some of the best neighborhoods in Baton Rouge, start here:
The Baton Rouge Garden District is situated in the heart of Baton Rouge. Many of the homes were built before 1930. Original families in Baton Rouge commonly keep the family homes for up to six generations.
Some of the most striking visual aspects are the magnolia trees, live oaks and multi-color azaleas. They are admirably maintained and due to their unbelievable beauty, they are the setting for many movies and TV productions. So, don’t be surprised to catch a glimpse of a movie star on occasion.
A large percentage of the residents are retirees and empty nesters. However, you will also find college students, young professionals and families. They consider the many bars, coffee shops, restaurants and parks an attribute to the area. The Garden District is a quiet and safe neighborhood in Baton Rouge, great for raising a family.
If you favor an urban lifestyle, the Downtown Arts and Entertainment District offers many places of interest within walking distance. The Capitol View North neighborhood has magnificent views of the Mississippi Riverfront, the State Capitol and Capitol Lakes. If you intend to rent, downtown is the perfect choice.
Also in the works: an assortment of refurbished historical buildings are being transformed into single-family homes and high-rise apartments. New construction will consist of condominium and apartment communities, many of which will include new restaurants and art galleries. All are within walking distance to business offices and entertainment.
Advice From a Baton Rouge Realtor
“There are many new office parks being built for professionals,” Realtor Nancy Lovejoy mentions. “Great new restaurants and retail shops are opening. New teardowns are making way for additional construction in the Southdowns, Capital, Heights and Inniswold neighborhoods. Almost every part of Baton Rouge is experiencing growth or redevelopment. Luxury apartments are popping up all over!”
If you’re relocating to Baton Rouge and need a realtor, contact Nancy Lovejoy at 504-339-5590.
Baton Rouge Cost of Living Index
When determining the cost of living index, the U.S. average equals 100. A number below the U.S. average indicates a city is cheaper than the average, and a number above the national average means a higher cost of living. Those moving to Baton Rouge can expect a cost of living slightly below the national average.
According to BestPlaces, the cost of living in Baton Rouge in 2019 is:
- Overall index = 99.5
- Housing = 86.9
- Food = 92.9
- Median Home Cost = $162,500
Baton Rouge Job Market
If you will be seeking employment in Baton Rouge, available jobs go hand and hand with the growing availability of housing. Some of the largest employers in Baton Rouge are expanding and new ones are moving in.
New housing construction means more construction jobs. New restaurants and bars mean a boost in food and drink industry employment. Other common employers are in the medical, industrial and education fields.
Oil Industry Expansion
ExxonMobil, the largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, recently stated in the Baton Rouge Advocate that it will move forward with an expansion of its polyolefins plant in Baton Rouge.
According to Exxon, the plant is expected to add 45 permanent jobs, 20 permanent contractor jobs, and support 600 temporary construction workers. The project will add a new polypropylene line with a capacity of 450,000 tons a year. The first unit that will start up in 2021.”
“Growth in feedstock supply along with the increase in global demand for chemical products continues to drive our strategic investments and expansion along the Gulf Coast. We’re well positioned to meet the demand for these high-performance products and investing further in Baton Rouge enhances our facility’s competitiveness,” says John Verity, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company.
The Rev. Lee Wesley, an organizer with “Together Baton Rouge”, said, the expansion of the polyolefins plant is a new project that creates jobs. The group is delighted about Exxon’s expansion .”
Baton Rouge Weather
The weather in Baton Rouge is unpredictable, to say the least. It may be raining on one side of the river and dry on the other side. In addition, it can be 70 degrees one day and 40 degrees the next. Those moving to Baton Rouge should expect to bring a variety of clothing and dress in layers.
Summers are exceptionally hot with temperatures frequently reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and if that’s not enough, the high humidity makes it feel much hotter.
Winter seems to be short-lived. We have a few days of below freezing temperatures every year and sometimes, it even sleets and snows for a day or two. About the time you think winter is over, we always seem to get one more freeze.
Temperatures in the Spring and Fall are just right. Naturally, we wish they would stick around a little longer.
Best Things to Do in Baton Rouge
There is always a never-ending assortment of fun places to go and things to do in Baton Rouge, including:
Live After Five
Live After Five is a great place to meet the gang after work or on weekends. It’s produced by the Baton Rouge Downtown Business Association and happens on Fridays most of the time. They host great bands in every music genre you can think of, sometimes pulling in as many as 5,000 people.
When we think of Baton Rouge, the next thought is usually football. Tiger Stadium is the 6th largest campus football stadium in the United States. That’s where the Tigers will be on game day, along with hundreds of fans yelling “Geaux Tigers!” (By the way, the letter “O” is frequently represented as “eaux” around here.)
In addition to classic children’s movies, Manship Theatre is the place to catch favorite comedians, plays and musical acts.
For the people of Louisiana, music is a necessity of life. The annual Blues Festival always has an impressive line-up of blues and jazz greats every year.
Louisiana Old State Capitol Building
It’s said that Mark Twain described the Louisiana Old State Capital Building as the “ugliest thing on the Mississippi”. But others think the Gothic Revival architecture is remarkable, with an impressive spiral staircase and stunning stained glass throughout. Be sure to visit the museum if you want some history of your new home. Don’t miss “The Ghost of the Castle” presentation!
Schools, Colleges and Universities
Baton Rouge is home to three major universities and colleges: LSU University, Southern University and Baton Rouge Community College. Locating a quality public or private school for you or your children will be a simple task. Baton Rouge has 56 elementary schools, 16 middle schools and 18 high schools.
Locating a quality public or private school for you or your children will be a simple task. Baton Rouge has 56 elementary schools, 16 middle schools and 18 high schools.
East Baton Rouge Parish has an outstanding magnet program. The middle school programs offer pre-engineering, visual and performing arts and foreign language. The high school level has specialty programs, including visual, medical, performing arts, business and governmental affairs and much more.
Baton Rouge Transportation
When living in Baton Rouge, it will be necessary to travel by car or one of our public transportation options.
- Public transportation is one of the best and most reliable options for traveling around Baton Rouge.
- Trolley service is a free method of transportation in Downtown Baton Rouge, the Historical district and other main areas.
- Several other types of private transportation are available in Baton Rouge, including Yellow Cab, Uber and Reliant.
Restaurants of All Kinds (And More to Come!)
If you’re moving to Baton Rouge and are looking to eat at a great restaurant, you only have to open your eyes and look around. The people of Louisiana are very fond of food, to say the least. However, if you ask anyone around here where to eat the best Cajun food, they will undoubtedly tell you it’s in their Mama’s house! Here are some options for dining out to try:
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House – Fine dining at its best, Ruth’s Chris Steak House is pricey, but you won’t mind after the first bite. They specialize in USDA prime steaks cooked in a renowned 1800-degree oven and served on a 500-degree plate. You can hear it sizzle all the way from the kitchen to your table!
- Mansurs on the Boulevard – Mansurs offers elegant fine dining, including American, Seafood, Cajun & Creole and Vegetarian. You’ve got to try the crab bisque.
- Zea Rotisserie and Bar – Zea is moderately priced and a great place to meet friends for some great American food of all types. Try the shrimp and grits or the strawberry and chicken salad.
- Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant – There’s no fancy décor at Parrain’s — just excellent down-home Cajun seafood. This is the place to eat on days when Mama doesn’t cook! It’s medium-priced and a good place to try alligator for the first time.
- Christina’s Restaurant – For some good down-home cooking, try Christina’s. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with daily specials at great affordable prices. Bon Appétit!!
Outdoor Activities in Baton Rouge
The biggest outdoor sports in Baton Rouge, other than football, are fishing and hunting. The fishermen have their choice of rivers, lakes and bayous. Plus, the Gulf of Mexico is less than 150 miles away. Catfish and seafood are always fresh at home and in restaurants. Sometimes, you can even buy shrimp as long as your hand!
Once hunting season starts, the men become noticeably scarce. They typically hunt for deer, squirrel and turkey. The goal is to bring home the most deer and the biggest rack.
Fishing is typically just as important. The main type of fishing in Baton Rouge is for bass, catfish and perch. There’s usually a fishing tournament close by on the weekends where the goal is to catch the biggest bass. Sometimes, the prizes get pretty hefty.
Baton Rouge Hidden Gems
Some points of interest in Baton Rouge are not immediately visible, but they are great when you want to do something different.
Riding the Levee
Around here, instead of running the roads, we ride the levee. You can drive for miles without fighting traffic and bad drivers. You are apt to see deer and other animals, so drive carefully. The sunsets can be pretty awesome as well.
You’ll have to drive about 30 miles, but it’s well worth it for hiding away on beautiful False River. It’s not actually a river, but a long and skinny lake. The swimming, sailing, boating and skiing are awesome, but some say the fishing is challenging.
You can spend the day bar hopping or trying out the various restaurants near False River.
Hot Topics in Baton Rouge
There is always something fun coming up in Baton Rouge or in the smaller cities and towns nearby.
Bayou Country Superfest
The Bayou Country Superfest is back again! Names like Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia and many more are only a few of the entertainers that show up each year. What better venue than Tiger Stadium with plenty of room for music, food, and unforgettable fun every year.
Zapp’s International Beer Festival
Cold beer anyone? Zapp’s International Beer Festival will knock your socks off. This annual benefit for the LSU Rural Life Museum happens every year and is for adults only. Come by and try out over 200 foreign and domestic beers and you can’t forget the homebrew.
Ghosts of Baton Rouge
It’s no secret that Louisiana is spooky. For instance, the Baton Rouge Cottage Plantation is an eerie example, where rumor has it that Civil War prisoner Angus Holt makes his presence known almost every night.
Then there’s the former morgue, which is known as one of the most haunted places in not only Louisiana but in the whole country.
Tips for New Residents Moving to Baton Rouge
Finding a reputable and experienced mover is important. Knowing that someone reliable is taking care of your stuff can take away a lot of stress at moving time. Use our moving checklist and free printables kit to plan ahead and avoid getting overwhelmed as you prepare for your move.
Moving is always a perfect time to purge and get rid of all that stuff you don’t need or want. It will make your load a lot lighter and can save some money as well. If you need a little more room, we can help! Life Storage has over 20 locations in Baton Rouge to assist with all of your storage needs.
As you can see, we think living in Baton Rouge is unsurpassed. Our best advice is to soak up all the rich culture that the south has to offer, immerse yourself in the delicious and unique cuisine of Louisiana and let your hair down at the year-round fun events.
If you ask us, “is Baton Rouge a good place to live?” We will most assuredly respond, “Ça c’est bon” (it is good)!