Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Along Lake Pontchartrain Outside of New Orleans, Slidell Has a Cute, Historic Downtown, Great Festivals, Reasonable Prices and a Leisurely Pace
Slidell (population 29,000) sits along the northeast shores of 630-acre Lake Pontchartrain in southeastern Louisiana. It is just 25 miles northeast of New Orleans via a 24-mile long causeway across the lake.
Residents are generally a conservative bunch, and 38% of them are age 45 or better. Nearly 30% of locals have at least a four year college degree. The crime rate is slightly above the national average. The cost of living is 28% below the national average. Slidell has maintained its population during the last decade.
The median home price is $250,000, reflecting an 1% increase since last year. Neighborhoods are populated with everything from bungalows and ranch ramblers to farmhouses and Cajuns. Many properties were built during the Victorian era when well-to-do New Orleanians headed to the "Northshore" for summer relaxation.
Southern hospitality, and a bit of a "good ole boy" attitude, are hallmarks of this leisurely spot, and it has a cute, 10-square-block historic downtown. Cultural amenities are not in great supply, but annual festivals include the Bayou Jam Concert, the Art League's Artist of the Year Exhibit, the Antique Fall Street Fair, the Arts Evening Festival and Christmas Under the Stars.
Scenic bayous abound, and boating and fishing keep many a residents busy. With New Orleans so close, fun shopping, French Quarter strolling, professional football and dining in eclectic restaurants are close at hand. The Gulf itself is just a 45 minute drive away.
City parks keep Slidell looking green, and three golf courses, Oak Harbor, Pinewood and Royal, give duffers and low handicappers plenty of places to play. Tammany Trace is a 31-mile long paved trail, with a parallel equestrian path, that runs through not only Slidell but through four other towns as well and overlooks bayous and streams.
Two wildlife preserves, the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge and the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, are home to endangered species, including the ringed-sawback turtle and the gopher tortoise. Canoe companies offer swamp tours.
The St. Tammany Parish has a branch library with a library loan program, public computers with Internet access, computer classes, tax assistance and even books. When it comes to dining and shopping, there are some local BBQ joints and antique galleries, but chain restaurants are the norm.
There is no regularly scheduled public transportation, but goSTAT provides on demand, curb to curb transportation services in the rural and urban areas of Tammany County, including Slidell. Reservations are required, and prices are determined by miles traveled.
Slidell Memorial Hospital is a teaching hospital and is accredited by the Joint Commission. Medicare patients are accepted, and 71% of patients would recommend SMH to a friend, which is above the national average. Ochsner Medical Center, Slidell's other hospital, is also accredited by the Joint Commission.
The Slidell Senior Center is managed by the Council on Aging St. Tammany (COAST) and is open to people age 60 or better. Services include noon congregate meals, delivered home meals, curb to curb van transportation within town limits, social activities, home repairs (restrictions apply), exercise classes, legal assistance and more.
This area has a humid subtropical climate with hot, muggy summers and temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Winters are generally mild and a bit cooler than on the south shore of New Orleans. Winter temperatures are in the 40s and 50s. On average, the area receives 62 inches of rain each year.
Hurricanes, tropical storms and the flooding that comes with them are always a threat (especially south of Interstate 12). Hurricane Katrina in 2005 brought significant damage. Hurricane Issac in 2012 caused flooding, as did Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Hurricane Ida in 2021. The tornado risk is 120% higher than the national average.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Louisiana Tax-Friendly at Retirement? Yes
The hurricane threat is real, but Slidell's easygoing pace, reasonable cost of living, historic homes, cute downtown, good hospitals and solid senior programs make it worth a look at retirement time.
Louisiana is unique in that it is divided into parishes, which in other states are known as counties. In its early days, it was home to American Indians and was a French colony and a Spanish colony and saw an influx of African slaves. Even the British and Germans settled in the area in the 1700s. This mix of cultures gives many modern Louisiana towns a heritage not found anywhere else in the U.S.
In the early-1800s, President Thomas Jefferson, worried about having a foreign nation on the western border of the up and coming United States, wanted to purchase the port of New Orleans. Instead, his representatives negotiated for a land package that doubled the size of the U.S. literally overnight, and on October 20, 1803, the U.S. Congress ratified the Louisiana Purchase. The deal cost the U.S. 3 cents per acre and dramatically enlarged the young country without a shot on either size ever being fired.
People known as Cajuns and Creoles are dominant in the southern part of the state. Cajuns are descendants of French-speaking people who were expelled from Acadia (now Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Canada) and then settled in what is now southwestern Louisiana in 1765. White Creoles are predominantly of French and Spanish ancestry, and Creoles of color are descendants of slaves who were born in either the French and Spanish colonies. Today, the term Louisiana Creole usually refers to people who are of mixed-race.
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