Home Away from Home: Louisiana’s College Towns

Every college town has its own special personality and you’ll be making a lot of friends—and memories—there. Once you get settled in your new home away from home, make it a point to do some exploring. Check out the coffee shops, bookstores, shopping, restaurants, nightclubs and tourist destinations. And find ways to get involved in your new community through volunteer work as well. 


New Orleans

80 miles east of Baton Rouge

Home to: Dillard University, Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, University of New Orleans, Xavier University of Louisiana, Southern University at New Orleans, University of Holy Cross, LSU Health Sciences Center, Delgado Community College

Population: 390,000

Highlights: French Quarter, City Park, Mardi Gras, Jazzfest, Celebration in the Oaks, Café du Monde, Superdome, White Linen Night, New Orleans Film Festival, National WWII Museum.


Monroe

100 miles east of Shreveport

Home to: University of Louisiana - Monroe 

Population: 46,000

Highlights:  Biedenharn Museum & Gardens, Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Pecanland Mall, Twin City Ballet, Masur Museum of Art.


Natchitoches

75 miles southeast of Shreveport

Home to: Northwestern State University 

Population:  17,000

Highlights: The Riverbank, Winter Wonderland, Natchitoches Christmas Festival, Fort St. Jean Baptiste, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. 


Shreveport

100 miles west of Monroe

Home to: LSU Shreveport, Centenary College of Louisiana, Southern University Shreveport, Remington College, LSU Health Shreveport, Bossier Parish Community College

Population: 187,000

Highlights: Festival Plaza, Red River Revel Arts Festival, Shreveport Aquarium, State Fair of Louisiana, Red River National Wildlife Refuge. 


Ruston

30 miles west of Monroe,
60 miles east of Shreveport

Home to: Louisiana Tech University/Grambling State University (just 6 miles away)

Population: 22,000

Highlights: Historic Downtown District, Lincoln Parish Park, Dixie Center for the Arts, Ponchatoulas Restaurant, Lake D’Arbonne, Louisiana Military Museum


Hammond

45 miles east of Baton Rouge,
45 miles northwest of New Orleans

Home to: Southeastern Louisiana University

Population: 21,000

Highlights: Gumbo Ya Ya, Strawberry Jubilee, Hot August Night, Louisiana Renaissance Festival, Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival, Global Wildlife Center, Middendorf’s Restaurant, local breweries.


Baton Rouge

80 miles west of New Orleans,
40 miles east of Lafayette

Home to: Louisiana State University, Southern University, Baton Rouge Community College

Population: 225,000

Highlights: Louisiana Art & Science Museum, Rural Life Museum, Raising Cane’s River Center (concerts, Broadway shows, special events), USS Kidd, Manship Theatre, State Capitol, Live After Five concerts, upscale shopping at Perkins Rowe and Towne Center, numerous fine dining restaurants and casual eateries.


Lafayette

40 miles west of Baton Rouge,
135 miles west of New Orleans

Home to: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Population: 125,000

Highlights:  Festival International de Louisiane, Festivals Acadiens, Cajun Mardi Gras, Blue Dog Café, Vermilionville, Cajun and Creole restaurants, Avery Island, swamp tours.

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