Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, along with the Louisiana Offi ce of Tourism, announced the addition of two Louisiana communities designated as a Louisiana Certified Retirement Community – the city of Kaplan and Tangipahoa Parish.

“I want to congratulate officials with the city of Kaplan and Tangipahoa Parish for their tireless work in making their communities friendly and attractive to retirees,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “With nearly 76 million baby boomers nearing retirement in the coming years, many states are working to draw them to their areas, and we thought we should take advantage to not only grow tourism but help spur economic development.”

Since its beginning in 2018, the Louisiana Certified Retirement Community program has designated ten communities statewide. Kaplan and Tangipahoa Parish join the eight other communities named as certifi ed retirement communities in the program’s inaugural year including Lafayette Parish; Lake Charles; Natchitoches; Ruston and Lincoln Parish; Toledo Bend and Sabine Parish; Shreveport-Bossier City; Houma and Terrebonne Parish; and Thibodaux.

“We feel very compassionate about our community; through this program it will market Kaplan, bringing Economic Development,” said Kaplan Councilwoman Melissa Guidry. “We humbly thank Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser for his belief in our vision for our community.”

“Whether you are ready to retire or just starting a family, we invite you to Move Here to Tangipahoa Parish,” said Tangipahoa Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Carla Tate. “Our parish has many wonderful opportunities for retirees to enjoy. We know retirees are active and vibrant and we welcome them with open arms to experience and be a part our great parish.”

The Encore Louisiana Commission is tasked with reviewing applications each year with the purpose of finding Louisiana locations focused on bringing retirees enjoyment in their “encore” of life.

Criteria used to become a certified retirement community includes: climate; demographics; tax structure at the state and local levels; local housing availability; public safety and crime index; employment and volunteer opportunities; healthcare and medical services; public transportation; recreational areas; and festival and fairs, just to name a few.

Each of these communities have demonstrated qualities that make them premier locations for retirees. Part of being certified as a retirement area includes state-level marketing effort inclusion, networking opportunities and possible grant funding to support the program and help it grow. More communities will be chosen in the coming years as the program expands in order to attract a larger number of retirees.

The Encore Louisiana Commission was mandated by the Legislature in 1999 as the Louisiana Retirement Development Commission to market and promote Louisiana as a retirement community state. In 2009, the Legislature renamed the commission as the Encore Louisiana Commission with the goal of setting guidelines and requirements in developing criteria for a destination to become a Louisiana Certified Retirement Community. For more information visit www.louisianatravel.com/retire.

Originally published in the Abbeville Meridional on February 26, 2019