After Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana is a lot more affordable than it has been—and the state is coming back. Home to picturesque small towns on sleepy bayous, spicy Cajun and Creole food and culture, and the vibrant cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana has a lot to offer retirees—and at surprisingly affordable prices.

Summers in Louisiana are hot and humid, with mild winters. Located directly on the gulf, Louisiana is vulnerable to hurricanes.

Housing prices are around the national average in Louisiana if you live in one of its metropolitan areas—they’re considerably less in more rural areas. The top marginal income tax rate is relatively low, ranging from 2% to 6%. Military pensions, public sector pensions, and Social Security benefits aren’t taxed; and some of private sector pensions are exempt from taxes as well. If you’re over 65, you may qualify to have your home’s asset value frozen—reducing your property tax bill.

Louisiana is one of six states in the country with a certified retirement community program. Under this program, the state identifies specific areas that are excellent prospects for retirees—and assists them with state grants, marketing, and other funding to establish programs and marketing campaigns that attract retirees. Certified retirement communities in Louisiana include Crowley, Thibodaux, St. Landry Parish, Covington, Lake Charles, Jefferson and Natchitoches Parish.

In addition to these, there are several other areas that make excellent retirement communities in Louisiana. These include:

New Orleans

Battered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans is bouncing back. It’s a vibrant city that brings together a unique blend of cultures, offering boutique shopping, a happening night life, world-class dining, and entertainment. A center for jazz, New Orleans is the place where many famous musicians got their start—and there are still many top-rate jazz clubs in the city. There’s also the French Quarter, Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, the Ponchartrain Hotel—the list goes on. Retirement living in New Orleans is more expensive than the rest of the state, but for seniors who can afford it, it’s worth it.

Baton Rouge

Located along the Istrouma Bluff upriver from the Mississippi River Delta, Baton Rouge is protected from flooding, hurricanes, and other natural disasters that sometimes strike New Orleans. With a population of 229,553, Baton Rouge is the state’s second-largest city, and is influenced by Cajun and Creole culture. It’s a bustling college town, the home of Louisiana State University, Southern University, and several other colleges.

Natchitoches

A charming small town that’s surprisingly affordable, Natchitoches offers fine dining, theatres and libraries, excellent medical care, Natchitoches is located near the banks of the beautiful Cane River Lake. It was named by US News & World Reports as one of the country’s Top Ten Bargain Spots to Retire.

Monroe

Monroe is the 8th-largest city in Louisiana and is home to the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, several museums including the Masur Museum of Arts and Aviation Military Museum, the Louisiana Motor Speedway, and several top-ranked golf courses.

If you’re looking for a state to retire in, Louisiana offers plenty of options. From fun and fascinating college towns to the vibrancy of New Orleans, the beauty of the bayous and the Mississippi River Delta, the sweeping beaches of the Gulf, and more, Louisiana offers plenty of activities for active seniors. Louisiana retirement communities offer services for a wide variety of needs, from assisted-living facilities that provide a high level of independence to communities that offer more comprehensive medical and memory care. Check out our listing of Louisiana senior living communities, and see what the state of Louisiana has to offer.