Where should we live in the US?

Hello !

I'm a French man and I'm going to marry an American citizen (i just got my visa).
She currently lives in Monroe, Louisiana.

We will try and move to a bigger city, with more opportunities.
We selected 3 cities (but we are open to any suggestion), and we are trying to compare the pros and cons for each and it's quite difficult to chose.
So, we selected Dallas/Fort Worth, New Orleans and Orlando.
As a French speaker, I naturally thought of New Orleans. It might be easier to get a job there, being bilingual, and I am more confident about getting a job here than in any other city. I might be wrong though. And we love the city and culture here. But rents are quite expensive and NOLA is certainly not the safest city in the US. It's a good city to visit. I'm not sure about living there.
Dallas and Fort Worth seem cheaper. Economy is great there. And there is an international airport with direct flights to Paris. She also has an aunt living there. And although the culture is different, there are many museums to visit.
I've never been to Orlando myself. But my fiancée loves it. And there are tons of amusement parks and we both love it (the idea of living near Disney World is really something we like). Rents and houses don't seem too expensive. And Kissimmee seems to be a good place too. Apparently there are some museums too and a lot of things to do.

I'd like to know if some people on this forum have experienced those cities or lived in them and have some advices for us. Because we are a little bit lost and it seems like we are changing our mind all the time, and if someone with some experience can tell us more about at least one of them , we will be really grateful!

Thank you!

Good Morning

I am English and have been living on Orlando since 2002.  My boyfriend Charles is from Paris and has been in Florida 19 years.  He splits his time between Orlando and St Pete/Tampa way.  We have French Friends in both places, but more on the west cost.


I would think that job opportunities and your expertise/degrees would probably be the biggest factor in your decision. If you're in the high tech industry, Orlando might not be the best place to move to. If you're in the financial industry, New Orleans is not the best place either. That's probably one the first thing you guys should consider.

there is little french spoken in NOLA, what there is is a colonial french spoken by a few in nursing homes.  There are website that plot the location of crimes just avoid those areas.  cant imagine a good reason to live in orlando.  theme parks are fine but will get old.  it would obviously help if you stated your professions

Hello everyone, and thank you for your answers!
I will try to be as clear as possible, but since it's not even clear in my mind, it's complicated!

Orlando was something we were thinking about because my fiancée loved it when she went there (but it was 10 years ago and she was still a teenager. And Orlando might have changed since she went there.)
I read many comments about it, and it seems like the city used to be better than how it is now. If we want to go to Disney World, well we still can take a flight.

I have a bachelor degree in 3D, animation and visual effects. I worked in a paleontology laboratory as a 3D modeler, and I got some freelance jobs in infography. I'm currently trying to make a portfolio with only interior design in it, since it's something I like to do.
I've seen some jobs related to it in the DFW area. And I know there are some paleontologists there and if I can work in the paleontology field again, I'd like it too.

New Orleans was something we kept in mind because of the culture we love and because there is the codofil in Louisiana, the consulate, l'alliance française..  and because I would not mind working in the tourism field, at least at first,  if the fact that I speak french can help and make me get a job.

Yes there is a strong French heritage in New Orleans and Southern Louisiana I would just say that actually speaking French is pretty much died off in terms of the animation in 3D I would think Disney and related companies would be the thing to look at and they're going to be in Orlando so that's actually a good idea to look at and Southern California so look at things like Pixar and Disney and Warner Brothers and go to a website called make sure your resume has all the appropriate keywords in it and post your resume seems like your profession is specific enough that you're not going to have a lot of choice about what city you live in getting the job will be the key thing

Orlando is a great city for entertainment, but keep in mind that being the case, there are year round tourists and traffic that you'll contend with as a resident there.  I experienced this even living in Tampa.  I definitely would not pick LA/NO, and I think you're overrating the French language and Louisiana connection honestly.  Out of the three city choices presented, I'd go with DFW.

Romaniac Experts Team

For Orlando, your fiancee went there on vacation as a teen. Although it is a nice city and surrounding places like Kissimmee are very nice (been there too), it's still very different living there.

As a 3D animator, the video game industry hire a ton of them and they pay decently, especially if you're talented. California has a big chunk of the market and a ton of video games companies (other states like Texas, Washington and Oregon have a few as well). Even if it's not your dream job, it could get you started easily in the US and it's really easy to get hired in that industry even as a newcomer.

French is very little used in the US, even in New Orleans. From what I know and heard, New Orleans isn't one of the safest place in the US, and this coming from a black friend and co-worker who was born and grew up in New Orleans and who moved his family to San Diego. I think that the city is awesome to visit and experience Mardis Gras, but I wouldn't move there.

There are very little jobs where speaking french would be of any advantage. It's just simply too marginal. Spanish-speakers on the other hand are on demand.

There are other french consulates in the US, but I don't think that this should be a criteria to choose where to live. Maybe you may use it a few times at the beginning (I never did myself) but if you need them once a year, that's a stretch.

Same for the Alliance Francaise. There are present in a lot of places. Personally, I only had bad experience with them. I was mostly going to these meetups for my ex, who's french, but you couldn't pay me enough to get to one of their meeting again. But that's personal, obviously, some people love these groups.

People commenting on the safety of New Orleans are just indulging in urban myth

Thank you again for your answers!

I spent a week there and I saw many people speaking french. Actually French people visiting Louisiana, not people from Louisiana. Tourism is apparently growing there, and New Orleans is opening itself to Europe through direct flights, 
But yes, maybe i'm overrating it. I've been here for only one week, in early September, there were many tourists at this time. And since I'm a french speaker, maybe that's why I paid more attention to people speaking French.
I know Louisiana is hiring a lot of french teachers. But that's not what I want to do, and I don't have the skills to do so.

@katzgar I will certainly consider Disney or Pixar... But I still need to improve first!
But yes, the job market is really something we should think about, when we are looking for a city to live in.

Edit: I was typing and missed two posts!

@English2Francais thanks for this answer.
I searched a little and found some companies that are hiring 3D modelers in Fort Worth. I won't be able to work for 3 or 4 months once I am in the US, but at least I know I can find some jobs in this field there. Apparently paleontology is a thing in the DFW area too.

I didn't know the Alliance Française was in other cities. I thought it could be interesting but I guess it depends on where it is located and on the thing you expect to find there.
There is a consulate in Houston too. But French consulates in America are becoming more useless apparently, since they are doing a lot of things now only in the Washington DC and Los Angeles ones.
So you're right, I should not really care about this while moving.

Our choice isn't made yet. But I really think Texas is something we should keep in mind.
I spent some hours looking at potential homes... It's really not expensive compared to other places.
And there is no income tax... Which makes it even better.

We will visit the DFW area (probably more Arlington and Fort Worth this time) when I get there.
We are going to spend a week in NOLA in early December. We will see if it helps!

katzgar :

People commenting on the safety of New Orleans are just indulging in urban myth

Hardly an urban myth. Here's some stats and facts for ya. We don't post myths here. … siana.html


Crime Index (FBI stats) for New Orleans (US average is 283.6):
2010: 424.6
2011: 477.1
2012: 450.1
2013: 430.9
2014: 493.2

Crime has been recognized as an ongoing problem for New Orleans, although the issue is outside the view of most visitors to the city. As in other U.S. cities of comparable size, the incidence of homicide and other violent crimes is highly concentrated in certain impoverished neighborhoods, such as housing projects.[147]

In 2012, Travel+Leisure named New Orleans the #2 "America's Dirtiest City", down from a #1 "Dirtiest" status of the previous year. The magazine surveyed both national readership and local residents, from a list of prominent cities having the most visible illegal littering, dumping, and other environmental crime conditions.

Across New Orleans, homicides peaked in 1994 at 86 murders per 100,000 residents.[148] By 2009, despite a 17% decrease in violent crime in the city, the homicide rate remained among the highest[149] in the United States, at between 55 and 64 per 100,000 residents.[150] In 2010, New Orleans was 49.1 per 100,000, and in 2012, that number climbed to 53.2.[151][152] This is the highest rate among cities of 250,000 population or larger.[153] Offenders in New Orleans are almost exclusively black men, with 97% of the offenders being black and 95% being male.[154]

The violent crime rate was also a key issue in the city's 2010 mayoral race. In January 2007, several thousand New Orleans residents marched through city streets and gathered at City Hall for a rally demanding police and city leaders tackle the crime problem. Then-Mayor Ray Nagin said he was "totally and solely focused" on addressing the problem. Later, the city implemented checkpoints during late night hours in problem areas.[155] The murder rate climbed 14% higher in 2011 to 57.88 per 100,000[156] retaining its status as the 'Murder Capital of the United States' and rising to 21 in the world.

New Orleans is a growing center for hi tech and games.  The city is being revitalized as a growing center for entrepreneurs just as Detroit is.  Your stats are true but very narrow minded.  Reread post 4 this time for comprehension.

katzgar :

New Orleans is a growing center for hi tech and games.  The city is being revitalized as a growing center for entrepreneurs just as Detroit is.  Your stats are true but very narrow minded.  Reread post 4 this time for comprehension.

Thank you for your condescending reply and for implying that true stats are narrow-minded (your words) and that I need your enlightened remarks for simple comprehension. Not going to feed trolls here, so you won't get me xxxx. Topic closed.

In the meantime, every one have their own opinion. For some, New Orleans is very safe. Others will disagree, and this is my opinion.

You go to the website that plots the location of every crime you buy a house that is not in those parts of town it's that simple

Hi everyone,

There is no need for a debate on this topic. You are most welcomed to share information based on your personal experiences or from sources but let us keep in mind that the primary objective is to help the initial poster. A the end, he only will decide.

Thank you in advance,

I find this an interesting thread. As Quentin observed, most people one might hear speaking French in NOLA are tourists - who are often drawn there by the idea that people might still speak their language. They rarely do; the only places French is really spoken is in very rural places in Louisiana and more so by the old people. And the Creole dialect will be rather foreign to a French person. It’s a bit like Germans expecting to find German speakers on the streets of Cincinnati. Some Americans have a certain pride of their European background and thus might elect to take some French, German or Italian in High School but a working knowledge of any language other than English tends to disappear within a generation or two. The exception seems to be Spanish which remains because there are much bigger, more recent groups of Spanish speakers concentrated in areas that support a whole subculture.

Safety in most large American cities is a concern. One should not exaggerate the situation but one needs to be aware of it. Most crime, but not all, will be concentrated in the poorer neighborhoods. Thus one is usually best off living in the best neighborhood they can afford as far as safety goes. But many Americans like myself that grew up in tough neighborhoods learn to have a sense of their surroundings. They understand the dangers and precautions. Most Europeans did not grow up this way. I’ve often heard stories from Europeans and how they got robbed in America; like taking a stroll in Central Park in the middle of the night, alone, wearing gold jewelry and a nice camera around their neck, looking at a map. This is like a red flag in front of a bull to potential criminals. It says, look at me, I’m not from here and have no clue what I am doing but I have valuables…

Many crimes can be avoided, but only if people have the experience to spot a dangerous situation developing. One can warn foreigners to stay out of certain neighborhoods, especially at night but this falls way short of instilling the experience and sense of avoiding trouble needed for big city life. Some people might learn this later in life but not everyone seems to manage.

This is not to say that NOLA is too dangerous to consider. But to live there one needs to learn these skills. And sorry but knowing a martial art or carrying a gun might afford some help to a degree but one’s best weapon is avoidance through awareness of their surroundings.  I spent 6 months in NOLA in the early 80’s so it has changed a lot. I’ve visited a handful of times since but not really lived there. I really don’t have an overview of what has developed since Katrina. It doesn’t look like the city is going to be abandoned although the dangers of further catastrophes will only increase with climate change. On the other hand, I can imagine that they are many new opportunities arising from the aftermath.

Dallas and Ft Worth offer a lot of opportunities although both seem rather boring in light of their size. Many people are rather conservative and Texan pride seems to evolve around rather redneck mentalities. Ft Worth has some nice neighborhood rather close to the center, so one doesn’t have to go too far out suburbs to find them. A decade or two ago some of these areas were more dangerous. Then they basically tore down huge nearby areas that were not so nice - rather than try to gentrify them. I have a brother in Ft Worth and have easily bicycled a couple of miles from his house to the downtown and surrounding areas without seeing any areas that one would call overly dangerous although there are some seedy bars still around.

I don’t know Orlando but have not heard much about it to think it is especially nice. Disney World is a place to visit, not to live. I can’t imagine many benefits of having large amusement parks in the area other than that one’s kids might get a summer job there when old enough. But the traffic and annoyance of having such tourists around sounds questionable. One should ask what other cultural life exists in the area. Someone’s memories of the area, having seen it as a kid, are not to be trusted. They cannot judge it from the time and stand point of your present situation. I’ve seen lots of cool places, even as an adult, that were great to visit but not the place to resettle to.

Good post and great advice, but for a few stereotypes about Texas and Europeans. You'll meet 1 redneck for 100 Spanish-speaking people in Texas (I worked there). There are very dangerous places in Europe and many Europeans are accustomed to being aware of their surroundings. Try taking a stroll in most places in Marseille (outside of the gated communities and the few peripheral rich neighborhoods of the east side), I lived there for 2 years. Do not venture at any time in the entire north part of town.
For the anecdote, French have the same stereotypes of the American tourist with his shorts, Hawaiian shirt, baseball cap and camera around his neck looking at a map being an easy target.

I'd say Dallas/Ft Worth is probably the best location to start between the 3 proposed locations. Still, New Orleans, outside of the tourist areas, is the least safe city of the 3. Yes, there are a few nice areas, most of them happened to be outside of the city limit by the way, but the city as a whole really went down the drain and still holds the title of "Murder Capital of the United States" (not an opinion). New Orleans is not what you'll see in the documentaries on french TV (like most documentaries you'd say).

As for the "french" language used there in the bayous, it's a mix of a few old french words, creole and bad english. Cajun isn't easy to understand for english or french speakers. But beside the justified warnings about New Orleans, Louisiana has some great places to visit and enjoy. Laissez le bon temps rouler...

Of course not all Texans are rednecks but there are plenty of them especially in western Texas and rural communities. I grew up in the States but have lived most of the last 32 years in Europe. But I visit the States including relatives in Ft Worth, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Houston with some regularity so I have plenty of recent experiences in Texas.

There is more petty theft in southern Europe than in most of middle and northern Europe. And certainly there are bad neighborhoods in some of the biggest French cities. But these are clearly the exception. And people are not carrying guns and shooting people for the shirt off their back in even the worse places. So yeah, my statement is a broad generalization but I think it is still valid. Few European have the experience of violent crime and the mentality of precaution that is common to most American city dwellers.

My point is to address the question of where one should live. I would never say, “oh NOLA is so dangerous that one should not live there”. But one does have to face the reality that it is no small, quiet community but rather a city with a pattern of crime. And it is undoubtedly harder for foreigners to judge the risks. And yes, unsuspecting tourists wandering around in places they probably shouldn’t be is a worldwide phenomenon and make for easy targets.

this map shows you the safe areas in the city...

there are some french language jobs in NOLA... … -jobs.html

Dear Quentin:

I love this subject posted by our Admin: "Are you happy in the U.S.A.?" to which I answered a friend during a house party: "I am happy as long as I have my family with me and I have a good income and the city is affordable."

People can be anywhere and I assure you they are a lot of happy people around the world: happy where they are.  The happiness quotient can be broken into:
1. Having a gainful employment and a good salary. Being in a city that is big and offers a lot of work and employment opportunities is a plus.
2. Cost of living.  You could have a good salary in NYC or San Francisco but them the cost of living is also high.  Wage tax is high and if you own a home: property tax is high. That is a downer.
3. Cultural mix. America is a social quilt of all peoples coming from around the world.
4. Traffic. You could be in a city with crippling traffic that if you live to be 90 years: you spent some 26 years behind the wheel!
5. Rich History. We live in a beautiful city rich in American history. It is the birthplace of America and the Constitution was signed here by the brave men who stood against the King and declared: "Give us liberty or give us death!"  Philadelphia that is.
6. Property and personal safety.  Crime? Bad people are everywhere. In fact some really gruesome crime happens in the uburbs and not in the cities.  Of course cities are chaotic: the cars, the traffic, the neon lights, police sirens: but then for us who were born and grew up in the cities: this is normal.  You want peace and quiet: live in the mountains until some hillbillies knock at your doors and the police is so far away!

My sister live in a place where I wake up on mornings so quiet sometimes with a group of deers on the lawn at dusk in a very remote place in Maryland. She likes it there!  I like the cities where I could just quickly get out the door and take a walk and grab some coffee and a bunch of fresh flowers on the way back: alal of this as I walk along the streets!

Where to live Quentin: is all about us.  Ask yourself and your wife: what do you really want. America is such a big country and you cannot believe where some people live. Some people live like squirels in a box. Some people live in homes that would shame the Queen of England. But the reality is we are people and a lot of us love in homes all depending to our budgets and what we could afford.

So explore:  I never wanted to live in Louisiana when I came to this country: been there so many times!  I've live in San Francisco, Miami, Washington, D.C., New York City and ultimately settled and raise our family in a small suburb in Philadelphia.  We love it here. It's so rich in American history and the traffic is not as maddening as some U.S. cities. And the cost of living is very affordable.

But we have our own reasons for it. And I suppose you and your wife have your reasons when you finally choose one place that both of you would love.

The one reason we are happy in the U.S., is this is a country that despite of our color and we looked different, we have never encountered or felt any animosity from other people.  It is a great country and our children grew up with a lot more appreciation of life and attended some of the best schools in the country and became professionals!

Wishing you the best life has to offer. Frugality and thriftiness can get your really anchored.

I agree with the person who said that your profession should dictate where you move.  Find a job first! It might be a good idea for both of you to apply for and get a job and then move, rather than the other way around. It would make life more difficult to move first and hope that you can find a job there.
I have a friend who lives in Orlando and he is ready to sell his house and leave because he said the crime rate in Florida has increased a great deal in the last 15 years.
Disney World is very expensive, and once you've been there once or twice, that's usually enough. I would never base a career decision on being close to amusement parks.
If you plan to have children some day, I think it would be more important to find areas where there are excellent school systems and safe neighborhoods for your future children. Go where you are offered a job, not where you think you'll have fun.  You can go to those places on vacation. :)

congratulations on your wedding. And also, welcome to America. Land of contradictions. Where the ruling elites - cynically- impose their twisted visions upon us sheep. But I digress.

1)  New Orleans. I lived in Louisiana for twelve years. I visited New Orleans, and I enjoyed the culture, the music, and a decent pint of Guinness. There is some great architecture in New Orleans, great history, and I remember really enjoying a visit to a shop that sold old, really old, photographs.
It is also a crime and murder capital, where one night, late, walking back from the French Quarter, I quietly watched in mirrors and shopfronts as some five or six young black men quietly followed me back to my car. Their compadre walked along beside us, chatting WAY too friendly with my son. As the streets grew more deserted, our young 'friend' glanced over his shoulder, still talking the big buddy. I watched, pretending to be tipsy. As if on a signal, the gap closed. And closed. At the second before the mugging, I spun around, with a bulge in my pocket. The combination of the outline of my Glock 23, with a round in the chamber, and probably my ice cold expression, caused a new world record for the team quarter mile sprint. Sadly, with no officials present, you will not find it in the Guinness book of records.
Louisiana, I caution you, has some terrible humid weather, and voracious mosquitoes by the trillion. It tends to be expensive, and the oil industry has destroyed the southern half. After the novelty has died down, you will discover the shadow side. I moved to east Texas, and I live along trees, coyotes, the odd bobcat and the sound of wind, murmuring through the pines. Trees, it is said, filter out stupidity. I need lots of trees, so don't mind me.  I speak French also, but I can tell you few speak it in New Orleans casually.  You would have to seek out French speakers in the various cultural organisations. I doubt if your bilingual qualifications will help you secure employment. Blame it on Napoleon.
2)  Dallas, Fort Worth.    I have been there for work, and, yes, it's a metropolis, and you will find all sorts of employment and opportunities there. That, and Houston, are the two last places I would ever want to sling my hammock. If you believe men should dwell behind concrete and tinted glass, drive daily through a scene straight out of 'Mad Max' and voluptuously engage in the pursuit of desire and illusion, then you will be very happy in Dallas/Fort Worth.  If you are competitive, truly gregarious, and enjoy sharing a small space with sweating, heaving bodies, all in an insane rush, you will be over the moon there.
3)  Orlando    Of the three choices you mention, I think I would prefer Orlando.  The beaches, if you are careful, are attractive. There is color, and Nature is close. The real estate market crashed some years back, and has not yet fully recovered. It's still affordable, I believe.

So where should you live? Ah, that is the joy of your new adventure. Just remember the words of Jean Paul Sartre, eh?  "Eh bien continuons".   I wish you both every happiness.

Although I will be moving soon myself and am currently living in Austin, TX, I would say unless you are professionals or techies with serious career concerns, maybe Florida or the East coast is a better place for you. Because it's more about leisure in Florida in my opinion, those kinds of job opportunities might be more fitting, .... like the hospitality and tourism industry. If you want a serious career the other two places would be best.

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