Reviews & Comments
Bossier City, LA
re: SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY - LOUISIANA'S OTHER
"Louisiana's Other Side?" What an odd tag line. I'm not sure I know what the TOP side looks like, much less the "other," presumably bottom side looks like. Why define yourself in terms of something else? It's like Colgate saying (of Crest): "Toothpaste's Other Side."
Are you referring to Shreveport? "Shreveport, without the crime." Or is it some veiled reference to New Orleans? "New Orleans is fun. Bossier is sane."
Bossier City, LAWhite Flight
Bossier City is pretty much where people from Shreveport go when they get fed up with the crime, dysfunction, and high taxes over there. That said, it is no paradise. OK schools. You are best off sending y our kids to private schools.
Not much to do other than dine out at national chain restaurants and fast food places or go to the casinos or hunt and fish.
The city itself is ugly. Strip malls, no landscaping, big signs and bill boards, and urban sprawl everywhere. It's as if there were no zoning at all. Reminds me of the lower income parts of Houston.
On the positive side, if you are religious, there are many churches. A lot of these churches are less about religion and about recreation -- like community centers. And housing is very cheap compared to the rest of the country.
Downside: taxes. Sales taxes are high -- near 10% through most of Louisiana. And there is a 6% income tax that kicks in at low income levels. Property taxes in Bossier parish are lower than Caddo, but I suspect just about in synch with the national averages. This idea that southern states are tax havens is bogus if your are upper middle class.
Shreveport, LABad Economy, High Crime, Poor Schools
The facts: +7% unemployment. One of the highest violent crime rates in the nation. High drop-out rates, low test scores. Almost no population growth (who wants to live there?). Bad roads and bridges. Poor health (lots of diabetes and obesity). And, save for a few areas, ugly: strip malls (many boarded up), big signs for gas stations and fast for joints.
Shreveport-Bossier City, LABad Economy, High Crime, Poor Schools
I lived in Shreveport in the early 1980s and return once or twice every year for visits with family and friends. I've also researched Shreveport and a lot of other cities for retirement. Let me start with the many negatives:
--The violent crime is out of control. Shreveport, the city, has 4X the national average for murder, and similarly high rates for rape, robbery and assault. Anecdotally, I'm told that property crime is a real and growing problems as well. And every time I turn on the local TV news there are more reports of mayhem and violence, often drug related.
--The economy is awful, and has been since, well, the 1970s. Population of Shreveport itself is about where it was in 1975, despite annexing huge swaths of unincorporated Caddo Parish. The metro is very slow growing, due to lots of out-migration. People will tell you Bossier Parish is the hot growth area, but its growth is basically the result of people fleeing Shreveport.
--Unemployment is well over 7%. Many of the major employers I remember have left: GM, GE, and ATT, not to be replaced. The Casinos are big, but those jobs are service oriented and low paying, and I suspect this sector is getting competition from on-line gambling and Indian reservations. There are no major corporate HQs there, so all of the career starting jobs are in branches or small local offices, which makes it hard for young people to get noticed and advance early on. The underfunded LSU medical school may move to Baton Rouge, so that would be a blow to a small, but growing bio-medical sector. Even if it does not it is hard to recruit doctors into Shreveport (low pay, high uninsured rates, shakey state finances.)
--I do not have school age kids, but I understand you really need to send K-12 children to private school. The Jesuit high school there I understand is quite good. Higher education is scarce and expensive as the state has made sharp cutbacks the last decade. Best bet is to go out of state.
--Infrastructure is poor. Bad, pot-holed roads. Water main breaks. (And weird tasting water). Almost no mass transit (plan for your housekeeper to need a ride). And last trip, still no Uber or Lyft.
--Air travel there is expensive and difficult. Basically three options for getting there: DFW (AA), ATL (DL) and IAH (CO). Routes operated by smallish commuter jets. And airfares can be pricey -- $600 r/t during holiday travel season, with long advance purchase. For me in Florida, London, Paris and Rome are cheaper.
--Some good local cuisine, with a cajun influence, which was not there in the 80s. But also lots of fast food joints. Not a place for foodies.
-Aesthetically there are some very nice areas of the city. Tree lined Fairfield Drive and some of the older areas of Broadmoor. Even some of the McMansion suburbs to the SE. But so much of the city is pock marked by boarded up strip malls, garish signs for fast food and gas stations, and just general urban "junk" buildings. It looks like the worst areas of Houston, with zero zoning. Worse: ugly electric wires and poles everywhere, some literally inches from the street (Kings Highway). This is the 21st century. No underground utilities?
--High taxes if you are upper middle class and have a nice home. 6% income tax! 10% sales tax. High property taxes on +$500K properties. You get a much better deal down here in Florida.
OK, the positives.
+ Great city if you are religious. Churches of all kinds everywhere. Even a synagogue and a mosque. Some of the larger churches are like recreation centers.
+Easy parking everywhere. I've lived in dense urban areas, and appreciate the ability to just roll up to a supermarket and park - no hassle.
+Very little traffic. Have never been in a jam there. Worst case you wait one or two cycles for a light to change.
+Friendly, very hospitable people. But I am white, and have friends there, so not sure how you would feel if you were a minority. Or a newcomer. Or single and young. If you are family oriented with kids (in private school) and have a close circle of friends you will probably love this place.
--Nice climate. Definitely four seasons, and summers can be a bit steamy. I suspect it is good for gardening -- the Rose Center is nearby -- and golf. Hunting and freshwater fishing is a big deal, I understand.