Well-loved for the ever-growing Southern charm of the area, Lafayette, Louisiana is a wonderful place to live. The area also receives lots of tourism year-round, especially around the time of Mardi Gras!
While there are many wonderful aspects of life in Lafayette, the area does have its downfalls as well. It can be important to know good aspects of life in the city before making a large move. Here are a few of the cons to living in the city.
17. High Crime rate
The crime rate in Lafayette is 105% higher than the national average. The rate of violent crime rates in Lafayette is 5.92 per 1000 residents, and the rate of property crimes in Lafayette is 47.84 per 1,000 residents. An individual has a 1 in 169 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Lafayette versus a 1 in 157 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in all of Louisiana.
With these high crime rates, you may want to think twice before moving here, especially if you have a family to care for. Placing children in danger is never the best option. If you are going to move a family here, it is highly recommended to research the safest neighborhoods and areas, and hope that there are available houses in the market there.
Lafayette is at high risk for damage from hurricanes. Hurricanes are such a large concern for Lafayette residents that the government releases warnings whenever hurricane season starts each year. The local Lafayette government also provides detailed, annually updated hurricane handbooks for citizens to turn to for information on how to stay safest during hurricane season. There are also detailed evacuation routes that residents are expected to know and use in the case of a hurricane occurrence.
Lafayette is one of three metro areas in Louisiana that is highly ranked on the national status of highest hurricane risk. If you are moving to Lafayette, be ready to evacuate or suffer from damage in an emergency.
15. Bad Traffic
Lafayette’s roads are congested and poorly cared for which results in awful traffic conditions. An additional reason for Lafayette’s traffic is that there are two highways that both pass through Lafayette which leads to increased amounts of people driving through.
Incredibly high amounts of tourists also flood the city throughout the year. The week of Mardi Gras will always be specially packed, and you should not count on getting anywhere during regular commute times. Summers, in general, will also show a high influx of cars that are on the road and throughout the city. If you get road rage from sitting still on a highway too often, Lafayette is most definitely not the kind of city you are looking for.
14. Risk of Extreme Flooding
Due to Lafayette’s low elevation and being surrounded by swamps, the city is at high risk of flooding. The nearby Vermillion River is the city’s main flood hazard, and residents are warned to be aware of their area’s flood risk and to be prepared for floods during hurricane season as the season is often accompanied by heavy rainfall.
There will be warm rain showers all throughout the winter. Those who love a fresh blanket of snow will have to get used to some winter rain storms instead of a white Christmas.
13. Hot and Humid Summers
As with most cities in the South, Lafayette’s summers are extremely humid. This is the kind of wet heat that sits in the air and leaves you damp from sweat and moisture, something no one looks forward to. July has the highest relative humidity in the city throughout the entire month. The lowest relative humidity rates are in October, at about 64.71% humidity.
For those who are accustomed to hot and dry heat out west, this will most definitely leave you with some adjusting to do. Humidity makes hot days significantly hotter than before. Mold grows quickly in these conditions as well, which means that you will need to work twice as hard in keeping all surface areas freshly wiped and sanitized to avoid unwanted growth.
12. Large student population
Lafayette is home to the University of Louisiana, the Remington College Lafayette Campus, and the South Louisiana Community College – Lafayette Campus. Together, these colleges have an incredibly high amount of college students that they draw into the city. Anyone looking to live surrounded by older residents may need to be careful about which neighborhood they select.
Lots of college students in an area lead to high turnover, which can be difficult for long-term residents to develop relationships with their neighbors, grow mutual respect, or grow accustomed to those in nearby living situations.
It is also true that many college students attend school during certain times of the year and then go home for a semester. This means that at some times of the year there will be significantly fewer residents just to have another major influx in population when the start times for larger or more popular semesters arrive.
College students are also known to have large parties, be out late, draw crowds, and make a lot of noise. There will be no shortage of thriving city life, that is for sure. This can, however, be a nuisance to older locals who may not be as energetic or wild on the weekends, or even weekdays, and are hoping for a more sophisticated atmosphere.
11. Mardi Gras
Louisiana loves to celebrate Mardi Gras, and Lafayette is no exception. The name Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” and is a Christian celebration held before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. As time has passed, however, Mardi Gras celebrations have escalated and grown into week-long festivities and events in many areas.
With one of the largest Roman Catholic populations in the country, Lafayette is a highly appraised and sought-after location to pass the holiday. There is music, parades, picnics, floats, food, and thousands of people celebrating during the time of Mardi Gras. It will be a week of loud and lively parties, drinking, blasting music, laughing, and crowded streets.
If you aren’t ready to be surrounded by a giant party during all of Mardi Gras season, then Lafayette is not the place for you. For those who are living in Lafayette, however, a peaceful environment should be sought elsewhere. You may consider booking a vacation or out-of-state trip during Mardi Gras times if you are not ready to party with the city. If not, there is no escaping the celebrations.
The amount of tourism in Lafayette, Louisiana is astonishing. In fact, Lt. Gov. Bill Nungesser spoke about this when visiting the city in 2019.
Tourism is actually the second-largest part of the local economy in Lafayette. Spending on local tourism has reached more than $18.8 billion, and taxes from tourism are at $1.9 billion! Lafayette continues to support this tourism as well. In fact, there are more than 100,000 hotel rooms in the state ready to accommodate these visitors. Approximately 237,200 jobs are provided by tourism, making the tourism industry the fourth largest employer in the entire state!
From 2017 to 2018, there was a 4.2 million increase in the number of visitors Louisiana received. These rates only continue to rise. High tourism is an incredibly large and even foundational part of Lafayette. The city encourages tourism, and locals there rely on this tourism industry heavily. For those who prefer to keep their space from large groups of people, or prefer a small and tight-knit community, tourism in Lafayette will likely hinder or completely deny you these pleasures.
9. Thick Cajun French Accents
The region has thick Creole and Cajun roots. Cajun people have found refuge in Louisiana since being expelled from Canada beginning as early as the year of 1775. Once arrived in the state, these individuals settled into a simple agrarian society life.
They also began to mix with the African-American Creole people in Louisiana at the time, who are responsible for the French that is still spoken and widely present throughout the city today! This combination of people led to a diverse and highly unique society that hosts a large variety of food, music, and other community-based tendencies.
Though many years have passed since they first began to arrive in the state, there are still many locals that speak Cajun (a form of French) and Creole! In fact, the thick accents these people have even while speaking English can make it incredibly difficult for newcomers to understand what they are saying. You may want to brush up on your Cajun French if you plan on finding your way around town, or even asking some locals for directions!
Louisiana is home to some of the last natural swamps and wetlands in the nation. Many of these are located nearby Lafayette. These swamps do, however, bring downsides to locals. First of all, swamps attract, house, and breed millions of bugs! You will have a hard time leaving your house, especially in the evenings, without coming home with bug bites all over you.
Swamps also bring animals such as alligators, herons, nutria, cottonmouth, a plethora of snakes, frogs, otters, turtles, wild pigs, and more! Many of these animals can be poisonous and or venomous, and all can cause some sort of nuisance or threat to you or your property when running wild.
7. Drive-Thru Bars
It is far too easy to get a drink in Lafayette, Louisiana. In fact, there are even drive-thru bars! You can order alcoholic beverages and receive them while in your car through a restaurant window. As you can imagine, this can make for incredibly dangerous driving, even though the law states that you cannot take a sip of your drink until you have arrived at your destination.
This is also dangerous for those who can’t have just one drink. If this is you, Lafayette will destroy any amount of self-control you thought you had in terms of alcohol consumption. Ease of access and small amounts of time loss will definitely have you driving through those lines again and again.
6. Be Ready to Party at Any Moment
Lafayette is most definitely a party city! In terms of entertainment in the city, music and dancing are tied at the very top of the list! Locals love to go to parties and clubs, and it is not uncommon for large parties and gatherings to break out suddenly! This can get incredibly tiring for some after a time, and also inconvenient when you have responsibilities or other things on your schedule.
5. Bugs for Dinner
Red Swamp Crayfish are found in Louisiana, and many locals actually farm the critters! When hot and boiled, they are considered to be a delicacy! They are served at local restaurants, and some people even buy the bugs alive and then proceed to cook them in boiling hot water and seasonings for an afternoon feast.
Don’t be surprised if you are asked to go out and have some later on, eating these bugs is a popular social outing, especially when they are in season. And yes, there is a season for the red swamp crayfish here in Lafayette.
4. You May Need to Purchase a Boat
Some of the most beautiful local wildlife in Lafayette is found deep in the swamps. You will need to have a boat to access and appreciate most of this, and don’t forget about alligators!
3. Have to Bury the Dead Above Ground
As aforementioned, Louisiana has many swamps and is considered to be below sea level, which is a large attributor to the area’s high danger of hurricanes. The graves there need to be above ground because inground graves would fill with water if dug too deep. If this bothers you, it would probably be best to start looking at another state.
2. Healthy Eating Habits Will Go Out the Window
Between the hundreds of restaurant options in the city, true southern homestyle cooking, and authentic Cajun dishes offered, everything in Lafayette will have you oohing and awing.
Everyone who has been to Lafayette has eaten at Prejean’s Restaurant. The prices may seem that the place is no more than a tourist trap, but even locals go to eat there. Besides the delicious food offered, Prejean’s also provides an incredible environment. There is even a real 14-foot, 600-pound alligator overlooking the dining room! Cajun, seafood, and classic southern dishes are available.
There really are wild alligators in Louisiana. In fact, it shouldn’t be incredibly uncommon to see them out and about, even on campus of the University of Louisiana!