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written Wednesday, 6/7/2006
My new apartment
The housing hunt has concluded more quickly than I anticipated!
Last summer’s ill-fated apartment search temporarily destroyed whatever romantic notions I had about living in New Orleans. After Katrina, Orleans Parish took a while longer to reopen than most outlying cities in Jefferson Parish. I was completely content to be living in my Kenner apartment at the time, which was a mere five minutes from my job at Bonnabel anyway.
In the last eight months though, the job transfer robbed me of my short commute. Kenner is still generally safe, but I feel no inclination to go out and explore generic suburbia. I’ve not once visited the shopping mall across the street. Traffic congestion was already a problem in Kenner and neighboring Metairie, and it’s only gotten worse since Katrina.
My recent hiring by Lusher, and a desire to live closer to most of my TGNO friends prompted me to seek housing in New Orleans once again. Based on location and atmosphere, I set my sights on the Uptown district. Typical of New Orleans, Uptown features “good” neighborhoods interspersed with “bad” ones. With a year’s time out here, though, I’d like to think that my ability to identify a high-risk area has improved a bit.
Perusing the classifieds on craigslist confirmed that housing has indeed gotten more expensive, and a lot sparser. Last year, one could find a decent one-bedroom for about $600/month. Now, rents for comparable apartments have risen by $100-$200 or more. Furthermore, there are far fewer “For Rent” signs and classified ad postings. I guess this is to be expected. While Uptown survived Katrina relatively well compared to some parts of New Orleans, flooding did occur. There are still plenty of houses that haven’t been renovated yet in Uptown.
Within a couple days of searching, I found the first apartment that truly excited me. I’d normally prefer to do a little more comparison shopping, but given the low availability of housing, I also decided that I needed to trust my gut and act quickly if I found a good place.
This apartment is in a “double shotgun house.” The kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom are lined up in succession from front to back. Features include hardwood floors, central A/C, and a washer/dryer room in the back of the building. For about an hour I chatted with the landlord, who lives in the house next door. I got a very strong vibe that we’d get along well, and I would enjoy living here. The neighborhood seems peaceful and quiet. After viewing one more apartment that afternoon, I returned to sign the lease. I’ll move in at the end of June.
The location of the apartment, at Soniat St. and S. Saratoga St., is ideal for numerous reasons:
I can’t wait to live in my new apartment. Naturally I ponder the possibility that a misfortune similar to last summer’s awaits me. I’ll try to live cautiously rather than live in fear, and meanwhile maintain my optimism that many good things await me in the coming year.