Known as the Happiest State in America (Science, 2009), North Louisiana residents enjoy a quality of life that provides a great work-life balance. Short commutes, warm temperatures, smog-free communities and real connections with neighbors, North Louisiana offers something for everyone. Whether its world class entertainment options and venues, sophisticated cultural events, sporting and recreational choices or premiere shopping and dining experiences, North Louisiana is known for its friendly, easy way of life. Check out NLEP’s workforce marketing program, NEON , for more information about relocating to our region. If you and/or your spouse are considering a move to North Louisiana, NEON provides information on employment opportunities as well as detailed quality of life information.
North Louisiana’s rich musical heritage gave birth to the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, La. and musical legends, such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. That tradition continues as other breakout artists from North Louisiana, such as Tim McGraw and Andy Griggs, appear on the national stage. You can experience North Louisiana’s diverse musical scene in large or small venues. World renowned musical acts play the CenturyLink Center (Bossier, La.), the Monroe Civic Center , the Ike Hamilton (West Monroe, La.), The Strand (Shreveport, La.), Shreveport-Bossier riverboat casinos, down-home outdoor venues like Rabb’s in Ruston, La. and festivals through North Louisiana. If your musical tastes lean more toward the classical, the region is home to the Shreveport Opera , the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra and the Monroe Symphony Orchestra .
The Visual & Performing Arts flourish in North Louisiana. The area hosts professional dance companies such as the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet , the Twin City Ballet (Monroe, La.), and the Louisiana Delta Ballet (Monroe, La). Additionally, national broadway productions, comedy shows and international acts play at the CenturyLink Center (Bossier), The Strand Theater (Shreveport), the Monroe Civic Center, and the Dixie Theater (Ruston). Community theaters like the Strauss Theater Center (Monroe, La), the Shreveport Little Theater and the Rose Theater (Bastrop, La.) along with college supported performing arts programs provide aspiring actors with opportunities to perform while enriching the cultural life of the region. A wide variety of museums and galleries showcase artists of national and international renown and preserve our history. There are also many organizations in the area dedicated to providing cultural and artistic opportunities, such as Cultural Crossroads' The Farm in Minden and ArtBreak in Shreveport, the South’s biggest student art festival. Several regional arts councils fund, support and promote arts and cultural events throughout North Louisiana.
Northeast Louisiana Arts Council
Shreveport Regional Arts Council
Fueled by momentum from the burgeoning film industry in North Louisiana, the Robinson Film Center is the brainchild of inspired locals. Robinson Film Center opened as the first film center of the South in historic downtown Shreveport in 2008. It has quickly evolved into a cultural meeting ground for the community and the Hollywood set through its art-house theatre movie offerings, modern bistro and bar and extremely adaptable event spaces. Across the street, Artspace features art exhibitions, poetry readings, concerts, and other artistic expressions. The artistic director of Artspace is himself one of the area’s greatest cultural assets: William Joyce, one of the founders of Moonbot Studios and creator of the popular children’s animated show, Rolie Polie Olie. Offering entertainment options for kids of all ages, the Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center (pictured left) is a 92,000 square-foot science and entertainment center in Shreveport-Bossier. Sci-Port features over 290 science, math and space exhibits, an IMAX Dome Theatre and the SPACE DOME Planetarium.
Festivals are for a cultural mainstay for North Louisiana. They celebrate our way of life, bring communities together and generate millions in tourist dollars. Nowhere is the festival season bigger business than in the City of Natchitoches. This beautiful historic town on the Cane River Lake hosts hundreds of thousands visitors annually during its Christmas Festival of Lights . This holiday festival began 85 years ago and is considered the nation’s second oldest festival. “The City of Lights” was featured in the motion picture Steel Magnolias and countless issues of Southern Living. Mardi Gras season represents Louisiana’s unique brand of joie de vivre. The parades, pageantry, beads and food celebrate our zest for life. North Louisiana does Mardi Gras differently than our South Louisiana cousins. Mardi Gras in northern Louisiana is a more family-friendly affair, where beads are freely given instead of earned.
Louisiana is world known for its distinctive food and culinary traditions. North Louisiana’s brand of southern styled cooking is embodied in the “soul food” of the region, such as smothered pork chops, chicken and dumplings, hot water cornbread, fried chicken, collard greens, and black eyed peas. Crawfish, a world famous Louisiana dish, actually originated in South Louisiana but is enjoyed throughout the state. Fast forward to the next generation of southern chefs, and you’ll find young culinary masters reinventing Louisiana staples to create a cuisine that can best be described as modern Southern food. Chef Cory Bahr of Bistro 121 in Ruston, La. was recently crowned Louisiana Seafood King at the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience with his North Delta Bouillabaisse and goes on to represent Louisiana cuisine nationally. If you looking for an international dining experience, world class restaurants pepper the North Louisiana restaurant scene. Our region supports a diverse menu of culinary experiences, from sushi to steak; Italian to Indian and crawfish to cutting edge.
All kinds of outdoor recreation and sporting events abound in North Louisiana. Whether you enjoy hunting or fishing, water skiing or boating or watching horse racing at Louisiana Downs, or football match-ups during the Independence Bowl or golfing at world-class golf courses, North Louisiana epitomizes a Sportman’s Paradise. The various aspects of North Louisiana culture and living create an atmosphere that attracts and retains residents. Learn more about the unique culture and lifestyle of North Louisiana at NEON .