Charleston, New Orleans, San Antonio

Since I’ll be graduating in 1 1/2 years or so, I’m starting the search for a residency. I want to do a combined medicine/psychiatry program, and the current top three choices are in Charleston, New Orleans, and San Antonio. I was wondering if anyone could give me an idea of what it’s like to live in these cities.

The only one of the three that I’ve been to is New Orleans, which I love, but I’ve only been there as a tourist. I’m sure living there is quite different.


Dr. J

I’ve looked at this thread a couple of times, and still can’t figure out what the three cities have in common that you like.

If you know that, maybe someone else can suggest a fourth place with even more of it.

I have only traveled through it, but my biased vote is for Charleston. One of my friends is from Charleston, he says it’s beautiful. A lovely, old city. Also, it’s near the beach. Well, I think it’s near the beach.

But, then again, I’ve heard good things about San Antonio and New Orleans as well. (I’ve been to N.O. twice, thought it was nifty.)

I think you need to consult natives of these cities. Sooner or later, they’ll show up.

The only thing that they really have in common is that they have medicine/psychiatry residency programs that look appealing. There are only 25 such programs, so my choices are limited. My GF will probably be going along, and she would rather stay in the Southeast.

I will ultimately decide based more on the program than the city, and the way the match works there’s no way to know where I’ll end up. I was just hoping for the native’s perspective on these locales.

Dr. J

I personally like New Orleans, but I wouldn’t suggest that you move there if you ever plan on having kids. New Orleans is a great town, don’t get me wrong, but you have to remember that it’s in Louisiana. And for those of you that don’t live here, (I do) let me give you a couple of things to think about. Louisiana is dead last in every single education poll, but we are first in a couple of things, like crime, shootings(If LA isn’t first, it’s somewhere up there), robberies, etc. We also have one of the lowest literacy rates around. Now that I’ve completely bashed my home state, I’d just like to remind you, Dr. J, that you could actually move here and have a great life. You could just bypass the crappy educational programs LA has to offer by sending your kids (if you do decide to have any) to a private school, and move into a nice neighborhood to bypass the whole crime problem. You’ll never be bored in New Orleans, though(I promise). There’s a lot of cultural-type things to do. Did I mention Mardi Gras? That’s one of the best things. So, I just thought I’d offer my own two cents on the pros and cons of New Orleans. Let us know where you decide to move.

All three are the kind of cities where your shirts will stick to your back and you’ll spend a fortune on deodorant. Also, you’ll be surrounded by political right-wingers. No openings in Portland, Maine?

The food’s the best in New Orleans, Charleston IS an incredibly beautiful city, and I’ve never been to San Antonio, but I hear it’s the number-one place in the world for chili con carne.

That’s certainly true in Charleston.

It may or may not be true in San Antonio. I think San Antonio may lean more Democratic. I know that nearby Austin is a hipster haven (the Governor’s mansion notwithstanding), where there are plenty of liberals to be found.

New Orleans itself tends toward the liberal, though the state as a whole may be conservative.

I don’t have much to contribute here, except to say, before considering a move to San Antonio, lock yourself in a room with the word “Alamo” painted all over the walls (sort of like Jack Nicholson’s room in “The Shining”) for a few days, and see if you can stand it. If you can’t, then San Antonio is definitely not for you.

May be? :slight_smile: I can literally count on one hand the number of Gore bumper stickers I’ve seen in the last six months…and I’m driving through heavy traffic 1.5 hours a day, 5 days a week. An annoying sort of We-Love-Jesus attitude permeates the majority of LA. New Orleans is an oasis in this desert of stupidity. If you move there, try to stick to N.O. and its suburbs. And be prepared to sweat like you’ve never sweated before! (Of course, N.O. is a tad bit cooler than the rest of the state, with the wind coming from Lake Pontchartrain.)

Of the three, Charleston would definitely be my first choice for a place to live. Given what I recall of your other posts about where you’re from and what your family is like, you’d probably not find Charleston oppressively conservative, and it’s a wonderful old town with tons of history, decent food, and plenty to do nearby. You’re on the ocean, which appeals to a lot of people, though it’s really neither here nor there to a hillbilly like me. I’ve had a great time each time I’ve been there, and it definitely seems liveable.

New Orleans is up there with San Francisco on my list of places I love to visit but would hate to live in. Unless you’re independently wealthy, I think you’d find it tough going to live anywhere you’d be happy with on a resident’s income. I’ve felt much less safe in fairly heavily trafficked parts of NO than in nearly any part of Atlanta (and I lived on or within two blocks of Ponce de Leon for nearly ten years). More than just about any place I can think of, living in NO means dealing with constant influxes of tourists who’re hell-bent on behaving in ways that would never be countenanced anywhere else (Vegas is probably similar in that respect, but I have no experience of it).

San Antonio I’ve never been to. There are two things to consider, however: it’s in Texas, and it’s full of Texans. I have been to Austin, which I’d been told was much better than the rest of Texas. It was, but not by so much as to make you forget you’re in Texas. If you actually like Texas, then maybe it’d be OK, but it seems to me that it’d have to come behind Charleston among these three options.

Well, my parents live in Charleston (SC right? Not WV)

It is a very beautiful city, there is a good mix of The Old South and a vacation resort town. It is right on the water (parent live something like 20 minutes from the beaches). Its warm pretty much all year round, getting almost cold in the winter (probably 'round 40) and uncomfortably hot in august, but mostly nice. There also isn’t a lot of rain for some reason (but see below).

Cost of living is quite low. My parents house, which cost them about 100k, would probably be about 200-300 where I am in pittsburgh. Gas used to always be 30 cents per gallon or so cheaper than pgh too, but thats evened out with the rising prices now.

The downtown area is great, all kinds of good restaraunts and some bars with great live music. Also downtown is “The Market” which is an outdoors craft fair type of thing where small buisness set up shop to sell, for example, handmade baskets, or dolls, or handpainted shells, that kind of thing. Mostly for tourists, but its still pretty cool. Oh, and just endless amounts of art galleries and antique shops.

Bad stuff includes:
Religious right wingers - I just LOVE visiting the folks, and reading the editorials in the paper about teaching evolution, and posting the 10 commandments. Makes my day.

Social right wingers - This is the state that had all the hoo-ha about flying the confederate flag, after all. Charleston is actually more cosmopolitan and liberal than the rest of the state, so it doesn’t get too bad, but still.

Hurricanes - Floyd pretty much devastated the town a few years back. Then last year the whole coast was evacuated (a very messy evacuation).

Shitty as hell school systems - Dunno if your looking to raise some youngens, or how Texas and Louisana compare, but SC consistently places 45-50 in the nation in just about every metric. Current big debate is over a lottery to fund the school system. Last big debate was over allowing gambling to fund the school system. It never ends, and the schools never get better.

Expansion - A lot of people are moving to charleston, and the place is really building up. I was down there last weekend, and saw 2 or 3 planned communities that weren’t there before. I’m not sure how the city plans on expanding their infrastructure to handle all the new development. This is actually both good and bad, because it also means that a lot more young people are moving in.

Anyway, overall I’d like living in charleston for a few years, pretty and cheap always does it for me. But its not the place I’d want to raise kids.

I lived in San Antonio for nine years. It’s a little town that thinks it is a big city.

SA is really far from anywhere else. It’s not really on the way to anywhere. Nobody will just drop in on their way to DC or California or wherever.

The best thing about SA? Taco Cabana, a little fast food tex mex place. I just moved to Chicago about six months ago, and I love it but I do miss the breakfast tacos.

If you’re after apalling poverty, the most corrupt police force in America and the worst education standards ditto, then go straight to New Orleans.
San Antonio is pretty nice from my limited experience - no idea about Charsleston though.

San Antonio’s estimated population (7/99) - 1,147,213
San Antonio’s rank in population of US cities - 8th

I would love to find out how big a city must be before you would consider it a “big city”.

your numbers are, of course, correct. The thing is, there is nothing else besides SA. i.e. no suburbs. Everybody lives in the city limits. Everytime a developer builds outside the city limit the city annexes.

The telling figure for me is where does San Antonio rank as a television market - actual TV viewers? 40th.

How much do you want to party and what kind of food do you want to eat? N.O. is the party place, and the food is to die for. That said, I wouldn’t live there on a bet. The crime is high, it’s a rather depressed area, and you never know where and when you’re safe. San Antonio’s the same, but it’s Latinos instead of African-Americans who are the oppressed group: the Tex-Mex food alone makes it worth living there. But, it ain’t the kind of party city that N.O. is. Charleston’s nice, the crime’s lower (though it is in SC and African-Americans aren’t in good shape), the seafood’s great, but the party life doesn’t go past about 2AM in my experience. Then again, it’s one of two municipalities in SC where you can buy beer on Sunday at the grocery store. If you’re not in Myrtle Beach or Chas., you’re heading to Applebees.

I’m bumping my own thread up from the great beyond.

The residency search continues in full force, and these three programs are still up at the top of the list, probably in the order given in the subject. (Maybe NO>Charleston, I don’t know. I would like to live in NO, but Charity Hospital scares me.)

Any more thoughts?

Dr. J

All three cities are in Hurricane Alley. All three are 19th century Metro Areas (San Antonio was the only “other” major Texas city besides Galveston).

I like SA because it is laid back, has one of the best zoos in the state, good hospitals and is close to Austin.
It’s the beginning of the Hill Country, which I love.
It was the home of the late Henry B. Gonzalez, the man who started integration moving in Texas 10 years before such movements came to the Deep South.
Back when half the state was fundamental Christian dry San Antonio was a wet oasis. But that was back in the '60’s.

I agree that the poverty is horrendous, and the schools are horrible. Private schols are the only way to go if you live in N.O. or its suburbs. Once you get north of Lake Pontchartrain (I live about 10 miles from that damn lake and I always feel like I’m spelling it wrong) the schools improve. At least a little. I don’t know how true that comment about the N.O.P.D. is though. I have quite a few friends that work in that department. Wait a minute. Nevermind, after considering what I know about my friends, it may very well be the most corrupt police force in America.
Charity Hospital is a scary place. I used to work with Acadian Ambulance. We had a very important rule in that hospital: never, ever take your hand off the stretcher. People will steal it in a second. I’ll never figure out how you can inconspicuously steal a stretcher, but it’s happened before.
Honestly, I love New Orleans. It is definitely not a family oriented place, but I’m not worried about raising a family.
The partying, rich culture and heritage, mentality, and climate all suit me perfectly.

I live in Columbia (SC) and am in Charleston quite frequently. I’d agree with just about everything Hunsecker said about it above.

This is true, but Charleston also has more of an old-money, old-name social scene than a city like, say, Columbia. (Boy, this is hard to explain.)

IMHO, this is the case for most of June-September, although being on the water helps.

Bingo. I agree completely. Right now there’s a ton of construction downtown as the city attempts to deal with drainage, etc., without significantly disturbing the historic buildings.