Life in Jefferson Parish
Located just outside the City of New Orleans, stretching 60 miles between the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain and the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, Jefferson Parish offers a wide range of communities, from bustling suburban commercial areas to historic downtown districts to rural and coastal towns. A leading Louisiana parish in terms of population and industry output, it is an economic engine within the Greater New Orleans region, playing host to a diverse industry base and engaged business leaders and elected officials.
Access to excellent healthcare providers, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, major shopping corridors, beautiful waterways and parks, and proximity to several distinguished colleges and universities are just some of the benefits of living and working in Jefferson Parish.
Educational Opportunities in Jefferson Parish
The Jefferson Parish Public School System plays a critical role in the region’s economy, culture, and attractiveness to new and existing residents. Recent statistics indicate numerous improvements throughout the Jefferson Parish Public School System. There are now 13 A-rated schools in the system, with six Jefferson Parish Schools ranked in the top 15 in the state and over one-third of schools scoring either an A or a B in recent Louisiana rankings.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, in 2020, Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy is ranked #65 of the top schools in the country, and the Jefferson Parish Public School System is home to three of the top 10 High Schools in Louisiana: Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy (1st), Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies (3rd), and Thomas Jefferson High School for Advanced Studies (5th).
Variety of Sports, Recreation, Arts, and Natural Wonders
Jefferson Parish is home to a variety of indoor and outdoor recreational and cultural offerings presented in new and historical venues:
Lafreniere Park – 155 acres located in Metairie featuring several highly-ranked soccer teams and a forthcoming FIFA-certified soccer complex; 24 holes of frisbee golf; sports fields, picnic areas, lagoons and marshland, a carousel, dog park, tot lots, spray water park; and a special event venue available to rent
Bayou Segnette State Park – offers 98 campsites, cabins, and lodges; outdoor recreational activities like boating, fishing, camping, canoeing, hiking, picnicking, playgrounds and a wave pool; and swamps and marshland that offer salt and freshwater fishing options galore.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park – named after French pirate Jean Lafitte, the area consists of six separate sites and a park headquarters that offer swamp tours while protecting the natural and cultural resources of Louisiana’s Mississippi River Delta region
Grand Isle Beach Front State Park – a great location for water sports, swimming, fishing, and crabbing in the Gulf of Mexico – and home to the annual International Tarpon Rodeo, the oldest fishing tournament in the U.S. – the park features camping opportunities right on the beach
Parc des Familles – 610-acre park that features four baseball fields (one converts to a soccer/football field), an 18-hole disc golf course, batting cages, concessions, and press box – plus, a boardwalk, nature trails, pavilion, restrooms, and picnic area
Jefferson Parish Performing Arts Center – new, 86,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility with an 1,100-seat theater
Bucktown Marsh Boardwalk – a 1,000-foot raised walkway along the Bucktown shore of Lake Pontchartrain with informational exhibits on coastal issues, bird blinds, and informational signs about plants, wildlife, fisheries and the coast
NOLA Gold Rugby – an exciting, affordable experience for sports fans, NOLA Gold Rugby is New Orleans’s professional Major League Rugby team
Swamp & Bayou Tours – there are many options in Jefferson Parish for tours through the parish’s waterways, including sightings of resident alligators and other native wildlife
Shopping Hub for Greater New Orleans
As the center of retail and shopping in Greater New Orleans, Jefferson Parish boasts numerous options that allow residents to find whatever they need:
Lakeside Shopping Center – located on Veteran’s Memorial Blvd and Causeway in Metairie, anchored by Macy’s, Dillard’s, and JC Penney with 120 stores and restaurants
Oakwood Shopping Center – located on the West Bank Expressway and Terry Parkway in Gretna, anchored by Dillard’s, JC Penney, and Dick’s Sporting Goods
Elmwood Shopping Center – A traditional strip shopping center that is being transformed into a live-work-play with new retailers and housing options
The Esplanade Mall – located on West Esplanade Avenue in Kenner, “the Esplanade” is anchored by Dillard’s, Target, and the Grand Theatre Esplanade 14
Metairie Road – A 30-block-long business district that includes a wide range of dining, recreation, and upscale shopping options from 50-plus retail stores
Clearview City Center– A regional shopping center also being converted into a live-work-play, “Clearview” is conveniently located in the heart of Metairie to reach families from all over the region
Downtown Historic Gretna – One of Louisiana’s largest national historic register districts, Gretna features unique architecture and landmarks, shops and restaurants
Where to Live in Jefferson Parish
A brief jaunt across the Mississippi from downtown New Orleans, Gretna is home to the Jefferson Parish government and the 24th Judicial Court District.
With parks and a levee that offers sensational views of downtown, it is perfect for those who want to be close to the city, but avoid the clutter of urban living. It also is home to Gretna Festival, one of the region’s most popular events featuring national artists.
Harahan and Elmwood are quaint communities located in Jefferson Parish, sitting at the foot of the Huey P. Long Bridge that brings you to the west bank of Jefferson Parish.
The area provides a strong suburban feel conveniently located next to a large number of retail and dining options. Appealing to young professionals, families, and retirees, many residents of the area live in single-family homes, but there are also a number of attractive condominium and apartment complexes. Harahan also has its own police department and fire department.
Conveniently located between Gretna and Marrero, Harvey is home to the West Bank’s busiest retail corridor – Manhattan Boulevard.
Housing a variety of big box stores, as well as locally owned shops and restaurants, it is a shopping destination visited by residents throughout the parish. From simple ranch-style homes, to large houses on golf courses, Harvey’s diverse neighborhoods provide an array of lifestyle options.
A bustling suburb, Kenner grew in population during the 1950s and has consistently remained among Louisiana’s largest cities.
Home to historic Rivertown, Laketown and its accompanying waterfront activities, the Kenner Planetarium, and Lafreniere Park, Kenner offers ample opportunities for work and play. It also is home to Louisiana’s busiest travel hub, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
The largest community in Jefferson Parish, Metairie is a bustling city with ample amenities.
Veterans Boulevard is the main thoroughfare and home to many national chain stores, restaurants, and the region’s most popular shopping destination, Lakeside Mall. With a variety of neighborhoods, featuring homes at varying price points, Metairie is a great choice for those seeking an active, suburban lifestyle.
Elegant homes, both large and small, can be found on landscaped streets in Old Metairie, an historic and affluent community.
Evolving at the turn of the century as a Jefferson Parish alternative to the most expensive areas in New Orleans, the high-end shops and restaurants along Metairie Road give this community a small-town feel, just a few miles away from the city.
Situated along the Mississippi River, between Harahan and Kenner, River Ridge was once an area of rich farmland.
Today, it boasts some of the largest lots in Jefferson Parish, complete with mature trees, bucolic neighborhood parks, and a popular bike path that extends along the river’s grassy levee. Developed in the 1960s and 1970s as a bedroom community to New Orleans, River Ridge is a popular choice for families seeking more space, and those who prefer a quiet, low-key quality of life with convenient access to the city.
Just minutes from downtown New Orleans and historic Gretna, Terrytown offers affordable options for homebuyers who want to be close to the action of the Greater New Orleans area while still enjoying a suburban vibe. Terrytown is the oldest planned suburb in Jefferson Parish with a strong civic association; mid-century modern architecture; excellent public facilities; and close proximity to general shopping, commercial, and health amenities.
Terrytown’s many opportunities for growth and development made it the ideal community for Jefferson Parish’s first Neighborhood Revitalization Pilot Program. Through this program, local leaders developed a toolbox of information and resources for homebuyers interested in building and renovating homes in the area, including architectural design guidelines by Tulane’s Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, and began a model home construction program to create new houses that showcase these architectural guidelines. In fact, the first model home built through the pilot program was on the market for one day before it was scooped up by interested homebuyers. New zoning, bike trails, and a focus on increased quality of life make Terrytown an ideal location for area newcomers.