By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – What would it take for you to leave your community and relocate?
My family has lived in Shreveport for decades: my parents and my grandparents on both sides lived here. I’ve raised my own children here. My daughter never gave five minutes thought to staying here; she found a place to live in Texas and was gone before the ink on her diploma was dry. There are no jobs or opportunities for young people.
My husband is originally from the Midwest and while he loves visiting home, he doesn’t want to deal with the winters there, and I’m kind of thankful for that because I really do love living in Louisiana. Yes, it’s a politically screwed up state, but isn’t everywhere?
I love Louisiana: it’s never dull. I love the weather, I love the food, and I really do love the people. The scenery and diversity is perfection.
I am nearing retirement (another story in itself, thank you Common Core) and when I stop and think about it, there’s nothing much to hold me in Shreveport any longer. Crime is escalating, jobs are non-existent, poverty is high, and if the casinos ever pull out we will be in really bad trouble.
My neighborhood is one of the older, better ones in town, not high end, no HOA, strictly middle class. But it’s a pretty quiet neighborhood. Last night, someone came down our street and heavily vandalized folks Halloween decorations. My neighbors woke up to pumpkins smashed all over their vehicles, decorations pulled up, damaged, stolen.
Things like this have become the norm. Shootings are daily occurrences. Downtown is hollowed and filled with homeless people who aggressively panhandle anyone who walks the sidewalks. A day or two ago a young lady went to WalMart at 3:00 in the afternoon and was attacked in the parking lot.
Why do we stay here? Is it like this everywhere? I don’t think so.
Since my book came out last October we have spent the past year traveling all over the state for speaking engagements and I’ve fallen in love with a little town in south Louisiana. In fact, I’ve visited at least four times now and will be five before the end of the year. The people are nice, the culture is fabulous, the opportunities many. I think I need to move.
All of this is to say, what would it take for you to leave your community and relocate? What would be the deal breakers for you? The food? The local culture? Cost of living? Crime? Weather? Health care services? There are a lot of things to think about.
But the older I get the more I realize our days are so damn limited and you never know how long you have. Why not live every single one of them to the best of your ability?