I noticed that earlier this week there were a lot of comments in the NPJ about a posted article saying Natchitoches was cited as a good place to retire. And the great majority of the comments were quite negative.
I’ve also noticed over recent years that no matter what the subject, readers’ online comments do tend to be negative. And that’s not just here. When I was still a reporter for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, readers’ comments on news stories seemed to be overwhelmingly negative, often downright nasty.
And by gosh, as Americans we certainly have the right to offer our opinions and to criticize, no matter how often we see the glass as half empty rather than half full.
But — and this is a big but I’m talking about — I think we’d all be happier if we tried to see things in a brighter light rather than always talking up the downside.
Specifically, let’s talk about Natchitoches as a retirement spot. We first started visiting Natchitoches in the early 2000s, when — even before Katrina — lots of hurricanes seemed to be heading for New Orleans and we would evacuate NO and come here. Thankfully, those storms turned at the last minute.
Then the Big One, Katrina, hit and we stayed here, at Bobby DeBlieux’s guest house, for several days. By this time we knew the city and area pretty well and decided that when I retired shortly afterward, we would move here, principally to get out of Hurricane Alley. So we did.
I love history and there’s certainly lots of it here. For a town our size, we’ve got some neat places to visit. We take advantage of the speakers’ program at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum. And the university offers much to do, everything from sports to drama productions to taking courses. Did you know senior citizens get free tuition for a limited number of courses at a state university ?
One thing that I didn’t see mentioned in the comments is the extremely reasonable cost of housing here. The house we live in would have cost tens of thousands of dollars more if it were in the New Orleans area. I don’t consider property taxes too bad, either.
People are certainly friendly here. We joined a number of organizations when we first moved here and I detected no evidence of any cliquish behavior. We were accepted right away and made to feel like old friends.
Several people mentioned crime. I must say I feel very secure in my neighborhood, far more than I did in Gretna, on the West Bank of New Orleans. And Gretna is a lot safer than the city itself, too.
Do I miss the New Orleans area? Yes, very much. There was, naturally, very much to do there, with some world class museums, programs, entertainment, etc. But, giving the fact that we felt we needed to move away from another potential deadly hurricane landfall, I can think of few places that I’d enjoy more than here.
Again, everyone has their right to criticize. And perhaps I see Natchitoches with the eyes of a relative newcomer (12 years now). But I like what I see and I hope more of you will too. Thanks for reading.