Just north east of New Orleans and along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, leisurely Slidell was named after a Confederate ambassador and today has a population of about 30,000 people. It is essentially a suburb of New Orleans (population 360,000) and was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, suffering storm surges up to 16 feet in some areas of the city. The cost of living is 5% below the national average, and the median home price is approximately $165,000. Of the population, 38% is age 45 or better. Southern hospitality is right at home in Slidell.
Slidell has a cute, historic downtown, and there are some beautiful old homes here. Residents usually find plenty to do, from boating and fishing on the Lake to enjoying the local farmers’ market. Scenic bayous abound, and with New Orleans so close, fun shopping, strolling the French Quarter and dining in some unique restaurants are always tempting. The Gulf itself is just a 45 minute drive away and offers beautiful beaches, swimming, parasailing and a host of other activities.
Slidell also has its share of festivals and events. The Bayou Jam Concert, the Art League’s Artist of the Year Exhibit, the Fall Street Fair, the Arts Evening Festival and Christmas Under the Stars are just a few of many.
Numerous city parks keep the city looking green, and three golf courses, Oak Harbor, Pinewood and Royal, give duffers and low handicappers plenty of places to play. There are even swamp tours, although these are really geared to tourists, and two wildlife preserves.
The St. Tammany Parish has a branch library which offers an library loan program, public computers with Internet access, computer classes, tax assistance and even actual books.
The crime rate in Slidell meets the national average, even as the crime rate in neighboring New Orleans remains very high.
goSTAT Urban and Rural service provide on demand transportation services in the rural and urban areas of Tammany County, including Slidell. Reservations are required, but prices to ride are reasonable.
Slidell Memorial Hospital has 175 beds, is accredited by the Joint Commission and is a teaching hospital with a residency program approved by the American Medical Association. Ochsner Medical Center has 150 beds and is also accredited by the Joint Commission.
Slidell sits in a humid subtropical climate and has hot, muggy summers with temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Winters are generally mild and a bit cooler than the the south shore of New Orleans. Winter temperatures are in the 40s and 50s. The sun shines 225 days of the year on average. On the comfort index, a combination of humidity and temperature, Slidell comes in well below the national average. Hurricanes are obviously a threat.
With its southern charm, easygoing pace, historic homes, average crime rate and good hospital, Slidell makes for a good retirement spot. Just keep in mind the possibility of hurricanes.