Acadiana Business

Retire here, cher

by Heather Miller

The Wall Street Journal's Smart Money Magazine lists Lafayette's festivals, low cost of living and ‘a passion for all things Cajun' among the reasons why retirees would be wise to choose the Hub City as a retirement destination. Food lovers with an inkling for new culture and community involvement should consider Lafayette a prime place for retirement. That's according to the most recent "Retire Here, Not There" column featured in The Wall Street Journal's Smart Money Magazine.

In the March 26 Smart Money column, Catey Hill writes that the cost of living in Lafayette is 6.5 percent lower than the national average, also pointing out that the median home price in the Hub City is $159,000. With an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent, Hill says in her column that one of the only drawbacks in selecting Lafayette as a retirement destination is a crime rate that's considered high when compared with other cities across the country. But she also notes that "experts say the town is generally safe for retirees, and that criminal activity is concentrated in just a few rough neighborhoods:"

On the plus side, it's both inexpensive to live there ... and easy to get involved in the community, especially if you share a passion for all things Cajun. The frequent festivals and events are popular things for retirees to volunteer with and get involved in, says Kelly Strenge, the public relations manager for the Lafayette Convention and Visitor's Commission. Retirees also like the continuing education classes in gardening (an art form in Louisiana), foreign language and many other subjects offered by the nearby university, she adds. And birdwatchers, prepare for heaven. This town is home to one of the largest wading-bird rookeries in the nation where tens of thousands of birds, including spoonbills and herons, nest each spring.

In effect: This is a good town for the foodie retiree who wants to dive into a different cultural experience.

Read the full column, where Hill also highlights Natchitoches and New Orleans as prime Pelican State places for retirees, here.