How do I move back to New Orleans?
July 10, 2008 11:03 AM   Subscribe

How do I move back to New Orleans? Or, in light of the economy here and elsewhere, should I stay in Baton Rouge and suck it up?

I moved (reluctantly and luckily) from New Orleans for a job about a year before the storm. I've been an hour down the road in Baton Rouge for four years, and I just never made friends with this town. Also, I never made friends in this town. I'm paid pretty well for what I do, but all I do is go to work and come home. My boyfriend is in NOLA, and that's starting to be a problem, now that I'm getting sort of old for that kind of arrangement, especially when it costs $30 in gas just to get there and back.

I work in academia and could almost certainly get a similar job there at about a 20% pay cut. When I sell my condo here I'll end up with about $10k profit when all is said and done, which will be a nice cushion but is not enough for a down payment on anything (my current mortgage was no down payment, but since people bought million dollar houses with those and defaulted, I'm unlikely to get another one even though my credit is excellent). I have around $30k in retirement but I know I shouldn't even think about tapping in to that. (Right?)

So how do I do this? I make a good living here but have literally nothing else. Moving to New Orleans is risky for the obvious reasons, but it's the only place I can imagine having an actual life, with friends and a real boyfriend and things to do. Should I stay here and suck it up, having a weekend boyfriend, until something miraculous happens? Should I even be thinking about buying real estate there? (Obviously I'll be looking at the higher ground, probably Metairie.)

I guess I'm just looking for thoughts on the New Orleans economy in general (as perceived from inside and out), and thoughts on whether or not it's worth the sacrifice, in the midst of this economic clusterfuck, to give up a decent job and a decent (but boring and isolated) life to take a chance at a real relationship and a life that includes some friends who live in the same zip code.
posted by ultraultraboomerang to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You need to just figure out what you need to do to make you happy. I live in New Orleans myself. I earn a pretty measly salary and rent an apartment from a slumlord. But I love my job, my friends, and this city, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. You just make tradeoffs.
posted by radioamy at 11:29 AM on July 10, 2008

God, I grew up in Baton Rouge and have lived in New Orleans for the last 8 years. Move back, I beg you. Baton Rouge is soulless and soul-sucking.

I live in the best neighborhood in New Orleans - Algiers Point. Higher ground, and still in New Orleans. And way more affordable than Uptown. Just a suggestion.

Do it, do it, do it. Yes, salaries suck here, but it's so much better than Baton Rouge!
posted by pyjammy at 12:07 PM on July 10, 2008

Is 20 percent more money really worth living in a place you just don't like? For me it wouldn't be.
posted by Airhen at 12:58 PM on July 10, 2008

I miss New Orleans and I almost hate everywhere else I go because my 5 years in New Orleans was amazing. So, yeah, I know what you mean. But, yeah, New Orleans doesn't have much money to hand out in general.

I'll take your word for it that Tulane and Loyola won't pay you enough ... but if you know you can get some job there, just for less, I would go for it. You have friends there. You have a man there. And if you have $10k at all, depending on your age, you could be doing better than most of your friends who live there. Personally, I'd go back if I wasn't in debt to Tulane.

Don't stay in Baton Rouge if you don't like it there. I don't know how you feel about "shackin up" (thanks, Dr. Laura) but if you move in with your boyfriend in New Orleans, it might even save you money in the long run ... as you directly support one of the greatest cities in the world.
posted by metajc at 3:27 PM on July 10, 2008

Response by poster: Everyone is right, of course!

And yeah, the money situation is only an issue because of student loans and the debt I accrued when I was poor (and not the fun kind either! Not the iPhone/nice shoes/vacations kind, but the medical bills/car repair/vet bills kind). Sharing a place would definitely help with that, even with the pay cut (I actually transferred from Tulane, so that's probably where I'll end up).

I was hesitant about Shackin Up™, only because going from "once a week" to "in my house all the time" might be a shock to the system. But hey, my system would probably benefit from a shock or two.

pyjammy, The only problem with Algiers is finding a landlord who won't mind my cat scampering around his/her nice hardwood floors - mail me if you know one!

Thanks for the encouragement, folks.
posted by ultraultraboomerang at 4:13 PM on July 10, 2008

I agree with pyjammy, Baton Rouge is souless and soul-sucking. I have to get away from this place every once in a while just to find my soul again. According to some news headline I saw yesterday, New Orleans is supposed to be the quickest growing city in the country right now.

So, yeah, move back. At least New Orleans has soul, even if some of it got washed away a few years ago. Besides, the commute from Baton Rouge to New Orleans sucks (had to do it for a week once, I was ready to drive my car off the spillway toward the end of the week).

Good luck!
posted by rand at 6:08 PM on July 10, 2008

Go back to New Orleans for me. I love that city and it still needs people to come home to it.

If you're unhappy where you are and not tied to stay there, then go to where you think you can be happy.
posted by 26.2 at 7:41 AM on July 11, 2008

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