The 10 Worst Places To Live In Louisiana For 2021


We used scientific data to determine which places in the Bayou State are the real pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst places to live in Louisiana.

People who live in Louisiana are darn proud of it. There's a certain grit that comes with living in the Bayou State. A little bit of toughness and ruggedness mixed in with a lot of culture. More culture than most Americans have seen, actually.

But, just like every other state in the U.S., Louisiana comes with some baggage. There are some pretty rough spots there, and the purpose of this post is to identify exactly which places stand out as being the least desirable, at least according to science.

After analyzing all 60 cities with a population of 5,000 or more, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Louisiana:

What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we're picking on small town America, that's not the case.

We understand there's a lot of good in every place.

However, according to data (which doesn't measure things like beauty and 'friendly people'), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Louisiana? That would be Bogalusa.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2021.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more Louisiana reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Louisiana For 2021

Bogalusa, LA

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 11,673
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $87,800 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.2% (4th worst)
More on Bogalusa:  Data | Photos

Bogalusa began life as a lumber town. Businessmen from the north established the community in the early 20th century around a sawmill. Unfortunately, this economic base has eroded by the early 21st century. Now, a lack of jobs leaves the town as the number 1 worst place to live in Louisiana.

Almost a third of residents live below the poverty line. That state of affairs comes about because of an eye-popping 13.2% unemployment rate. The median income is disappointing as well, reaching just $31,976. Given this financial situation, it's not surprising that the area also has problems with housing, crime, and education.

Bastrop, LA

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 10,311
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $72,200 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (28th worst)
More on Bastrop:  Data | Photos

This community in northern Louisiana was founded by a scam artist. The Baron de Bastrop (not a real baron, as it turns out) had traveled to the region to avoid embezzlement charges. With this as the town's namesake, what could go wrong?

Plenty, as it turns out. Maybe Bastrop's financial woes put a curse on the area. With a median income of just $20,117 almost half of the town's residents scrape by on the wrong side of the poverty line.

As a result, Bastrop faces a crime rate more than 250% above the national average. Schools and housing are substandard as well.

Natchitoches, LA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 17,898
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $164,700 (42nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.3% (2nd worst)
More on Natchitoches:  Data | Photos

People love the architecture of Natchitoches. Built in a quaint European style and including the occasional brick street, the Natchitoches Historic District provides an excellent place to stroll during a lazy afternoon.

The economy does its best to make these walks possible. With an unemployment rate of 18.3%, a good chunk of the town's 17,898 residents have their afternoons free. Even the folks who find jobs can only expect a median income of $21,715. As a result, the poverty rate in town runs a freighening 43.9%.

Compounding these woes, the community faces a crime rate more than triple the national average.

Ville Platte, LA

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 7,159
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $73,100 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.9% (3rd worst)
More on Ville Platte:  Data | Photos

Ville Platte roughly means "flat city." That may make the town seem like a boring kind of place. Better to focus on the community's other title: "Smoked Meat Capital of the World." Now, we've got your attention, right? Well, how about this other distinction the town has earned: "Swamp Pop Capital of the World."

That seems like a fun place, a far cry from a flat city. Unfortunately, smoked meat and swamp music aren't enough to fuel a sustained economy. Instead, the town struggles with an unemployment rate of 16.9% and a poverty rate of 41.4%.

In addition, the area's crime rate more than doubles the U.S. norm and most of its schools score no better than a 5/10 on Great Schools.

Opelousas, LA

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 16,234
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $98,100 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.8% (18th worst)
More on Opelousas:  Data | Photos

Opelousas is known for its music. If you like zydeco, plan to take your vacation here. You can learn all about it at the town's Creole Heritage Folklife Center. You'll also enjoy some great Cajun cooking in "the spice capital of the world."

With all this going for it, how did Opelousas end up on this list? Well, besides the great music and the great food, the community doesn't have much of an economic base. Like most of the towns we talk about here, poverty poses a massive problem. In this case, the poverty rate hovers at 43.3%.

Meanwhile, the crime rate runs more than 300% above the national average. Local schools and housing also fall below expectations.

Donaldsonville, LA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 8,237
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $113,000 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.2% (8th worst)
More on Donaldsonville:  Data | Photos

Here's another town on this list with a rich history and not much of a present. Located along the Mississippi River, Donaldsonville became the site of what became known as Fort Butler, a haven for runaway slaves during the Civil War. The community commemorates this history at educational attractions, like the Fort Butler Historic Site and the River Road African American Museum.

So that's a sample of the rich past. Now to the stagnant present. The current population of 8,237 residents face a lot of daily struggles, including a 12.2% unemployment rate and a $25,551 median income. Those conditions lead to a 38.5% poverty rate. And, as usually happens, the economic issues contribute to problems related to housing and schools.

Jeanerette, LA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,385
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $84,600 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 24.9% (worst)
More on Jeanerette:  Data | Photos

Located near the coast in southern Louisiana, Jeanerette sits along the main travel route between Lafayette and New Orleans. This placement has done little to boost the local economy. Instead, the area's unemployment rate almost reaches 25%, while the median income comes in at $34,643.

As a result of these financial conditions, about 1 in 4 residents live below the poverty line. At the same time, housing and education suffer. None of the area's schools scores better than a 6/10 on Great Schools.

Still, Jeanerette has its charms. It provides a great jumping-off point for the region's unique natural beauty, as epitomized by the nearby Attakapas Island Wildlife Management Area.

St. Gabriel, LA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,282
Rank Last Year: 20 (Up 12)
Median Home Value: $172,100 (48th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (53rd worst)
More on St. Gabriel:  Data | Photos

St. Gabriel contains a namesake church, St. Gabriel Roman Catholic Church. This is considered one of the oldest such churches in the Louisiana Purchase Territory. The parish was founded in the 1760s by Acadians migrating to Louisiana from Canada.

Bucking the overall trend of this list, St. Gabriel isn't bogged down by a horrible economy. In fact, this southern suburb of Baton Rouge, built along the Mississippi River, offers plenty of jobs for its 7,282 residents.

So what's the problem? Well, cash coming in from the nearby city has swelled real estate prices. The median home value of $172,100 takes many locals out of the market. The town also has issues with education and a lack of amenities.

Eunice, LA

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 10,140
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $114,200 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.4% (9th worst)
More on Eunice:  Data | Photos

Eunice is home to the Cajun Music Hall of Fame. That sounds like enough for any town. However, day-to-day life for the community's 10,140 inhabitants is far from a song. The blues, maybe...but not a jaunty Cajun number.

Located in the southern part of the state, about 45 minutes northwest of Lafayette, good-paying jobs are scarce in town. The unemployment rate runs 11.4%, leaving nearly 30% of the community below the poverty line.

As you've probably guessed, this leads to other social problems. The crime rate comes in at more than 140% above the national average. Housing and education are also sources of disappointment.

St. Martinville, LA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,945
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $125,600 (23rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.3% (10th worst)
More on St. Martinville:  Data | Photos

One of the oldest communities in Louisiana, St. Martinville has a rich cultural history. Considered a centerpiece of Cajun culture, the town also features several examples of historic architecture and appears in multiple famous works of fiction, from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Evangeline" to the movie Christmas on the Bayou.

Sounds like living in postcard, right? Not quite. The daily grind in St. Martinville is, well...pretty grinding.

The unemployment rate hangs at 11.3% and the median income only reaches $25,520. As a result, the town, built along the Bayou Teche waterway in the southern part of the state, suffers a poverty rate of 28.2%.

How we determined the worst places to live in Louisiana for 2021

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We don't think it's a stretch to assume that people like the following things:

  • Good education
  • Lots of jobs
  • Low crime
  • Low poverty
  • Nice homes
  • High incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • Short work commutes
  • Health insurance

The data comes from the Census's most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight -- if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered -- leaving 60 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 60 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one "Worst Place To Live Score".

Finally, we ranked every city on the "Worst Place To Live Score" with the lowest score being the worst city in Louisiana -- Bogalusa. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Louisiana. You can download the data here.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

Wrapping Up The Worst In Louisiana

If you're looking at areas in Louisiana with the worst economic situations, where there's higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Bogalusa ranks as the worst city to live in Louisiana for 2021.

If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Louisiana:

  1. Mandeville (Pop. 12,448)
  2. Patterson (Pop. 5,953)
  3. Harahan (Pop. 9,304)

For more Louisiana reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Louisiana?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Bogalusa 11,673 13.2% $87,800
2 Bastrop 10,311 7.3% $72,200
3 Natchitoches 17,898 18.3% $164,700
4 Ville Platte 7,159 16.9% $73,100
5 Opelousas 16,234 8.8% $98,100
6 Donaldsonville 8,237 12.2% $113,000
7 Jeanerette 5,385 24.9% $84,600
8 St. Gabriel 7,282 3.6% $172,100
9 Eunice 10,140 11.4% $114,200
10 St. Martinville 5,945 11.3% $125,600

How Is The Area In ?

42 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Louisiana For 2021

  1. Silly, senseless report. Quality of life and happiness can’t be measured using such data. Why go for the worst anyway? We have enough negative thinking already. How about looking for some positive aspects?

    1. Good point!! I am not 100% sold on the information collected, the method used for collecting it and I am left confused because being a lifelong resident of Louisiana myself, my hometown is on this list & the town I know to be Marksville does not even match the population #s this study is showing…??¿¿?¿¿

  2. You must have NEVER been to Ponchatoula, La.
    I am a Real Estate Agent in Tangipahoa area.
    Clients ask for Ponchatoula for the Schools. Vacant houses NO. In fact it is hard to find a vacant house to rent let alone purchase. Ponchatoula has lots of antique Dealers with quaint shops. It is also the strawberry Capital of Louisiana with the Strawberry festival in May. We count ourselves blessed to live close to this jewel of a city.

  3. Born and lived my entire life in Rayne and won’t have it any other way. Our citizens love our town and get praise from visitors who stop by our office on a constant basis. Why don’t you come by our town and visit — get out from behind that computer with your so-called stats. You probably want to visit on a weekend since our unemployment rate is so low, we will probably be working during the week days. Also, could you have taken our main street instead of a parking lot — cheap shot. have a beautiful boulevard and traditional downtown area…take your pick.

  4. You have never been to Louisiana.. Franklin.. please give me a break.. I loved the living in Franklin and miss it terribly.. don’t know where you obtained you data info but it sure isn’t reliable

    1. I also used to live in Franklin and I loved it! I now live in Baton Rouge and the crime rate is much higher here then in Franklin

  5. I’m from Ponchatoula, La. and I have to say this sounds about right. I moved almost 3 years ago and haven’t looked back.

  6. I live in Hammond apartment and I love da Hammond toula natalbany tickfaw etc area I love how ponchatoula has a good strawberry festival and has a gator in middle of town no udda city I heard of besides toula has live animal in middle of town

  7. And where would Opelousas rank? Because anyone who’s been to Opelousas, KNOWS this town is absolute sh*t! High crime,high drug usage,and just plain old nasty,trashy ppl! =/

  8. Like most that have commented. I have lived here all my life and would live no where else. Not sure where you got your information from but you need to research it again! Oh and btw I make more money then you will ever make. Add that to your survey.

  9. This is absolutely the worst journalistic piece of garbage I have ever read. I wonder if the author even took the time to visit each of these places or if they ever took a statistics course in their life or understand demographics. I study demographics and sell commercial real estate for a living and I am sure that Walmart and all of the bustling retailers choosing to locate in these areas are little more educated than the folks writing this article. I’m sure they at least visit the area before making major decisions such as writing an article (to post on social media.) These are all beautiful towns, especially Ponchatoula! (which has the best education and highest rated public schools by the way) The “facts” in this article are ALL wrong. The “author” of this article is a loser.

    1. I sell commercial real estate as well and could not agree more. This article should never have been written and should be retracted. Why would this even be written?

  10. This is not even a complete list….if your gonna list the bestworst places in Louisiana to live you should include every city not just pick and choose the ones you want to include

  11. Dude, do your research! Lake Providence has been named more than once as the poorest place in America! AMERICA! And it isn’t on this list anywhere! But it is a great place to live with a beautiful community so I can see why it didn’t make you list.

  12. Marksville is much further than “half a mile down a country road” from Alexandria. I stopped reading at that obvious and easy to fact check error.

    1. Thanks for clearing up that major blunder Winston. The one that says Marksville is about “half a mile down a country ’round’*.”…..S of Alexandria. What is that?? A typo, a country”round” or did the author of this “study” mean to type “country road”? Well, either way….the author is sadly MISTAKEN, IN ERROR WHEN HE USES THIS MISINFORMATION TO DESCRIBE MARKSVILLE

  13. Some of us love living in the boonies. If you see someone coming they are coming to visit. As for crime we have a couple of BBBIIIGGGG dogs. Don’t won’t no part of town……

  14. As someone who respects logic and statistics, I can understand the mechanics involved in the selection. However, as a lifelong Louisiana resident, I absolutely take issue with Rayne, Pontchatoula, Hammond, and Franklin being on the list. They are all wonderful cities with great locals and special festivals. The only reason that the crime rate is higher in Pontchatoula and Hammond is because Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and much of the criminal element was relocated. It’s funny that a last year a list of the 10 happiest cities in the entire US was published and the 6 of them were in
    Louisiana.

  15. I was raised in Rayne and left 22 yrs ago and thinking about moving bk I went visit 3weeks ago and I was disappointed by how parts of the city looked too many abandoned houses and too many junked up yards, I think city officials should address that,However people are still the same ,smiling faces,hospitality, friendly,caring and helpful.. which is what I remember about Rayne and is much more then I can say about the city I have been in for the past 22yrs….Omw bk to Rayne

  16. Let’s not get bent out of shape people. The purpose of this article is to make us realize that laughter is the best medicine.

  17. My husband, Bryan KEITH Newton….is from Delhi…lived in Tallulah. (SP)…I love both places….We lived in Shreveport for 2 years…because of his Job….we met in Beaufort SC…and of course…that is where we came back to….I also think the article is wrong….there r jobs…if u really want to work.

  18. You claim you used scientific data. Can you list your sources? I see absolutely no sources listed here so I’m doubtful of this data.

  19. My dad, uncles, aunts, cousins lived in Rayne all their lives and love it. I never had any problems in Rayne. I don’t believe this article is accurate. Rayne, La is a lovely city with great festivals and entertainment. Great food and people live and work here. Thank you….

  20. I personally think that this study is a complete pile of crap i live in Franklin la i am a city councilman that has nothing to do with i am about to say ,we report our crimes mostly trivial crap but that how we get stats and funding ,our town is safe we do not have shootings ,robberies and those people who judge that need to know what they are talking about we have a very safe town everbody has their troubled ones and we are lucky enough that our police know who they are ,and that isall i got to say end of story we have people move here and feel safe i will stop now because i can not fix stupid just saying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. It doesnt matter where you live in Louisiana….if your a woman , because you WONT be able to earn a living anywhere! No careers for women, its a mans world down here! Find an oil well sugar daddy or move to another state!

  22. That’s definitely a lie, I graduated from Ponchatoula High School. I think received a pretty good education. I also learned how to fabricate(weld, build) anything at that school. Why isn’t New Orleans or Baton Rouge on here? Don’t you idiots have something better to do besides sit behind a computer and criticize places you never even visited?

    1. I went to school in Ponchatoula. It’s terrible, aside from DC Reeves for 3rd and 4th grade. I became homeschooled in 8th grade and was much better off.

  23. I think this guy is spot on. Not a single one of you claiming to be from one of these cities can spell. It really is a shame. Maybe some of you should get out of your small little towns and realize you do live in a dump.

    1. I can spell. I can also read and understand Nietzsche too. 😀
      I’m not overidealizing Hammond, but I hear and read so much disdain for my little college town, and I just don’t think it’s that bad. It’s not my favorite place in the world, but some of this is blown out of proportion… or maybe just based on personal taste.

  24. Born and raised in Marksville. But cannot place where THAT picture is in Marksville. So apparently, you meant another city possibly? Marksville is 30 MILES south of Alexandria on Hwy 1 that is paved like any other highway. Pretty sure you can use Google Maps for more accuracy. It has really boomed since the casino was added. Check your facts dude!

  25. Well i happen to be from marksville la n was born n raised here n i have also lived in bastrop la… im living bk in marksville la now n ppl can say what they want bout both place im 29 yrs old n i have no complaints other then they don’t know shit bout any of these towns unless they have actually live there themselves

  26. Born and raised in Louisiana and there really is only 2 bad things in Louisiana #1 Politics- are absolutely horrible #2 Mosquitoes- walk outside in the spring right before sun up or dwn and you will be breakfast and dinner. We love seafood sports fishing hunting partying and working. Culture like no other!. Every city\state has its ups and dwns but for the most part Its a wonderful state to start a family. O btw i’m from Plaqumines Parish raised in a small village called Grand Bayou have to take a boat to get to my house.

  27. I don’t think Hammond is that bad. The schools are bad unless you send your kids to private school, but I live in the main part of Hammond and have not noticed this high rate of crime I always read about online. Sure, I see lots of drug charges, a fair amount of robberies, but serious crimes like murder are uncommon. I like that it’s an hour away from both of Louisiana’s best cities without being too close, where I do worry more about the crime (especially in New Orleans). You’re not far from Louisiana’s other cultural amenities either. For me, it’s small without being too small, like places like Springfield, where you’re in the sticks and public schools get away with having teachers carry out Christian prayers.
    Hammond’s not ideal, but what place is?

  28. “I am born and raised and Baton Rouge, Louisiana PROUD!” As a Louisianian, who is well traveled and visited many other states during my college years. One attribute and quality that this great state has that stands out, beyond any other “resilience!” Most natives here, really love one another, oh we really love too cook, and essentially “there’s no place like home!” Since the aftermath of the flood in August, 2016 even being personally affected tremendously there was a coming together as communities, cities and our overall state in the rebuilding and recovery process. No media nor inaccurate research can defame or dishonor the validate facts, Louisiana is a great state and the loving people can never be duplicated! Thanks for showcasing our GREAT State!

  29. There are some places in Louisiana that I don’t care for, but all together, it is not a piece of trash. Here, I am treated with kindness and love, while I go to other places and the big rich city snotty people look down on us. But Louisiana is a great state, I’m treated like a normal person even though I might not have my own Gucci belt collection. My family treats me with love, my friends care for me, and strangers that I don’t know are nice to me on the street. So if you wanna talk trash about my home, you might as well go stick your hand in a burner. The people here are sweet, they offer you essentials, and they treat you as if you are a member of their family. So go ahead and talk trash, hell has a front row seat available.

  30. I love Louisiana . I have lived in St. Martin Parish for over 30 years. Before that Acadia Parish which includes Rayne. St. Martin Parish has an upper and lower St. Martin Parish , I’m in upper which includes Cecilia, Breaux Bridge , and the small town of Henderson that shares the same zip code with Breaux Bridge . I love it . It is only a few miles from Lafayette , very few, but it does not resemble Lafayette at all thank goodness. All of the great city planning (I say that with much sarcasm ) makes traffic a hair puller. But it does house my alma mater UL , of which I can proudly say is an excellent University. When I was growing up my parents and others always referred to Shreveport as the armpit of Louisiana . Some or more than some still do .

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