Home Factors to Consider When House Hunting: New Orleans and Denver
When deciding on a place to live and work, there are many factors to keep in mind, and weighing the pros and cons of each place can be a great way to narrow down a field of choices. Two cities that are worth contrasting are New Orleans, Louisiana and Denver, Colorado. These are two very different locations with unique points of interest and value. Although the climate can be very different in these areas, both cities offer a wonderful array of cultural events, activities, and natural environments for the whole family to explore and enjoy.
Weather and Climate
New Orleans is one of the wettest cities in the U.S., with an average of 64 inches of rain and 59 sunny days each year. Whereas Denver is one of the sunniest, with an average of 250 days of sunshine but only 8 to 15 inches of rain each year. However, due to their high difference in latitude, it rarely snows in New Orleans, yet Denver gets an average of 64 inches of snow each year, more than double what the average city in the U.S. usually gets!
Denver has ten times as much parkland as New Orleans – an astounding 20,000 acres versus 2,000 acres. A large part of the difference comes from Denver’s mountain parks, which cover 14,000 acres of the area around the city, but Denver still has three times as many acres of city parks. Denver also has a profusion of hiking trails in and around the city and is a popular destination for outdoorsmen, hikers, and horse riding. Named the “Mile High City” due to its elevation of 5,280 feet, it’s quite a difference in elevation compared to New Orleans, with parts of that city actually sitting several feet below sea level.
While Denver’s natural beauty is difficult to challenge, Denver has no single festival that can rival the grandiosity of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras. The parades include over 65 elaborate floats, 60 different marching bands, and thousands of marchers tossing millions of necklaces, candies, and toy doubloons. The University of New Orleans estimates that this spring festival brings in over $840 million dollars in tourism and sales. Despite its lack of grand one-off events, Denver does have a festival nearly every weekend during the summer, many of them celebrating the many cultures that make up the city. New Orleans, like Denver, also has plenty of smaller festivals, focusing on music, food and culture.
New Orleans also has many fine river cruises and activities that take advantage of their proximity to the mighty Mississippi River. Visitors can enjoy the majestic beauty of a paddlewheel boat, or enjoy a day of fishing in the bayou. Denver, on the other hand, is nestled at the base of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and offers many opportunities to explore the soaring peaks and unique ecosystems of the mountains.
Both Denver and New Orleans are diverse, thriving cities, but both are known for their vibrant music scenes. When a person thinks of classic jazz, New Orleans is one of the first places that comes to mind, with a long history of great musicians including Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino and Harry Connick, Jr. Dixieland Jazz got its start on the streets of New Orleans, combining the foot-tapping sounds of swing with the trumpets and trombones of jazz’s two-beat rhythms. While not as world famous as New Orleans’s music scene, several big-name band members started their careers in Denver, including musicians of the Fray, OneRepublic and the Lumineers. Denver also hosts a wide array of small clubs featuring music from a variety of genres.
The two cities have dramatically different roots. Denver is about a third Hispanic, whereas only one in twenty New Orleanians trace their heritage to Hispanic roots. Denver also has thriving communities of German, Irish, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Mongolian Americans – including the largest Mongolian American population in the nation. New Orleans’s roots lie in French, Spanish, Caribbean and West African culture. Both cities owe much to their African American inhabitants – many of the first homesteaders in the Denver area were African American, and they are also a major part of New Orleans’s culture.
While Denver is known for its beer culture, with over a hundred breweries and taprooms, New Orleans has gained renown for its cocktails, with many classic cocktails invented in the Big Easy from Sazerac to the Hurricane. New Orleans’ aptly named Bourbon Street hosts over a dozen bars alone, with their quintessential Creole-style balconies overlooking the street below.
Major industries of Denver include aerospace and aviation, bioscience, broadcasting and telecommunications, tourism, energy (coal, oil, natural gas), financial services, and information technology. Industries that can be found in New Orleans include energy (oil and natural gas), tourism, the port, shipbuilding, and aerospace manufacturing. Both cities attract a significant number of tourists each year, drawn to each city’s unique history, festivals, and natural attractions.
New Orleans has a much higher unemployment rate than Denver, at 5.4% compared to Denver’s 2.4%. However, both cities have seen strong economic growth in recent years, and are considered good locations for new businesses.