7 Places Near New Orleans for the Perfect Summer Picnic

The greater New Orleans area offers plenty of opportunities for summer fun. One of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors during summertime is a picnic. Whether you’re planning a family reunion potluck picnic or a romantic picnic date, there are numerous idyllic picnic spots near our apartments to enjoy an outdoor meal. Here are a few of our favorites.

Take in beautiful views of Lake Pontchartrain when you have a picnic at Fontainebleau State Park. (Photo via Barry Goble on Flickr)

Take in beautiful views of Lake Pontchartrain when you have a picnic at Fontainebleau State Park. (Photo via Barry Goble on Flickr)

Fontainebleau State Park

Residents of Grand Palms in Mandeville love having easy access to the natural beauty found at Fontainebleau State Park. The nature trails offer hiking opportunities, and the cabins and lodges are a great staycation getaway. Grab a spot under one of the Spanish moss covered ancient oak trees, or pick a picnic location overlooking Lake Pontchartrain.

Covington Trailhead

Having a picnic at the Covington Trailhead will feel like you’ve taken a trip back in time. Located near downtown Covington and close to Artesia, our newest luxury apartment community, the Covington Trailhead resembles an old-fashioned railroad station. The venue hosts numerous community events, including the Covington Farmers Market every Wednesday, the popular Rockin’ the Rails concert series during the spring and fall, and the Covington Art Market, which takes place on the first Saturday of every other month. There are rest rooms and water fountains onsite, and the grassy knoll here is an ideal picnic spot.

lafreniere park

Shady trees, a paved walkway, and water features are all part of Lafreniere Park in Metairie. (Photo courtesy ExperienceJefferson.com)

Lafreniere Park

Conveniently located close to many of our Metairie apartments, Lafreniere Park is an urban oasis. The apartment communities of Wildflower, Breckenridge, and White Water Creek are closest to the park, but with its location just off of Veterans Blvd, the park is easily accessible for all. Lafreniere Park offers 155 acres of outdoor fun, including plenty of beautiful picnic spots. You’ll also find a Frisbee golf course and a Spray Park, which is open on the weekends for children ages 10 and under.

New Orleans City Park

Just a short trip from Park Oaks, Breakers, and Surf Rider apartments, New Orleans City Park is one of the largest urban public parks in the country. With 1,300 acres to explore, there are plenty of quiet spots for picnicking as well as covered pavilions available to rent for larger picnic gatherings. One of our favorite spots in City Park is Couturie Forest, which features trails perfect for bird-watching.

Laketown in Kenner offers a scenic backdrop for a picnic. (Photo via Infrogmation on Wikimedia Commons)

Laketown in Kenner offers a scenic backdrop for a picnic. (Photo via Infrogmation on Wikimedia Commons)

Laketown

For residents of Sugar Mill East and Sugar Mill West apartments, Laketown is just steps away. Situated on beautiful Lake Pontchartrain in Kenner, Laketown is also the home of Treasure Chest Casino and the Coconut Beach Sand Volleyball Complex, which is the largest sand sports complex in the United States. Picnic shelters are available for rent, or you can simply find a spot along the lake shore. A lighted pier also offers the perfect location for freshwater fishing.

John Slidell Park

Just a short drive from Audubon Gates apartments is John Slidell Park. The walking trails in this park are dog-friendly, much like our apartment communities. Here you’ll find plenty of shade and benches for a nice picnic, as well as playgrounds for family fun.

La Salle Park

Many of our apartment communities in Elmwood are close to the scenic La Salle Park, including Sawmill Creek and Walnut Creek. The park is located right next to Zephyr Stadium and features a nature boardwalk, jogging path and even an outdoor environmental classroom, so there are lots of scenic spots perfect for a picnic.

Have a picnic at home!

Many of our New Orleans area apartments feature beautiful resort-style outdoor features onsite, so you won’t even need to leave home to have a relaxing picnic outdoors. Explore all of our available apartments to find your perfect fit!

It’s the Middle of Summer! Let’s Refresh on Pool Rules and Etiquette!

It’s official: Our pools are open for the 2017 season! Grab your bathing suits and swim trunks and get ready for some fun in the sun at your 1st Lake pool! Whether you live at Bella Ridge, Crossings, Lakes of Chateau Estates, Turtle Creek, or many of our other properties throughout Greater New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Southern Mississippi, you can enjoy the water in a tranquil environment.

Palmetto Creek’s spacious pool area has seating for sunbathers and snack eaters!

There’s nothing more peaceful than a sparkling pool – unless distracting noise, glass bottles, and other nuisances are happening around you. We’re so lucky to have respectful residents, but it never hurts to know what rules we’ve established to ensure your swimming experience is enjoyable. In addition to basic pool rules (not entering the pool after hours, for example), we think pool etiquette is equally important. Read up on how to be on your best behavior before your next swim session.

 

Bella Ridge’s pool features in-water lounge areas, shaded gazebos, and tables for groups.

Pool Etiquette at 1st Lake Properties

  • Children under 12 must be accompanied and supervised by an adult. We love when kids have a blast at the pool, but we also don’t want there to be any accidents. Kids under 12 must have an adult with them in order to swim and play poolside.
  • No pets allowed. While we love our furry friends and are happy to accommodate dogs within our apartment homes and at dedicated dog parks, we do not allow animals at the pool. Service animals are an exception.
  • No glass bottles. Broken glass can lead to serious injury. You can use non-breakable containers, such as thermoses, paper, or plastic cups.
  • Keep things clean! Always clean up after yourselves and make sure you have all of your belongings before exiting the pool.
  • Keep your tunes turned down. Music is a fun addition while you’re relaxing poolside, but be mindful of others who might not appreciate loud music. Use headphones or keep the volume at a minimal level.
  • Be mindful of spray sunscreen. We always advocate wearing sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun, and spray formulas are a popular option because they’re easy to apply. However, you don’t need to spray everyone else around you! Try misting it into your hand or step away from others so that extra spray doesn’t blow onto them.
  • No diving into the pool, including cannonballs! Diving or jumping into the pool can cause quite a splash (literally) – you wouldn’t want to ruin a fellow resident’s favorite book or magazine.

Citrus Creek West’s canopied pool is ready for its summertime swimmers!

Remember, pools are open now through Sept. 30, 2017. Enjoy — and don’t forget your sunscreen!

Summer Cookout Recipes

Outdoor dining and summer just go hand in hand. Plus, since many of our 1st Lake Properties feature outdoor grilling and patio areas, it’s easy to host an al fresco event for friends and family. Get cooking with this easy summer cookout recipe menu: start with Vietnamese-inspired grilled wings, then pick from two sides and two desserts (or make ’em all!).

chicken-wings

Grilled chicken wings with plenty of sides and sweets. (Photo via Pexels)

Summer Cookout Recipes

The Main Event

Saigon Chicken Wings

These wings from Food & Wine pay homage to Vietnamese cuisine (ever-popular in New Orleans!)

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, tender white inner bulbs only, chopped
  • One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for basting
  • 12 whole chicken wings (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

Recipe

  • In a mortar, pound the garlic, shallots, lemongrass, ginger and sugar to a paste. Stir in the fish sauce, lemon juice and the 1 tablespoon of oil. Alternatively, puree the ingredients in a mini-processor. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Make 3 deep slashes in the meat part of each chicken wing. Add the wings to the bowl, stir to coat and marinate for 4 hours at room temperature, or preferably overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Light a grill. Thread the chicken wings on bamboo skewers, splaying each wing as widely as possible; reserve the marinade. Brush the wings with vegetable oil and grill over a medium-hot fire for 6 to 8 minutes per side, basting them once or twice with the reserved marinade, until crusty. Do not baste during the last 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken wings to a platter and sprinkle with the peanuts. Serve at once.

Savory Sides

Potato Salad with Celery and Herbs

Ingredients like fresh dill, parsley, and dijon mustard add a bit of elegance to this classic recipe from Country Living. Bonus points for being able to be served warm, cold, or at room temperature!

Ingredients

  • 3 lb. red new potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 4 stalk celery
  • ¼ c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ c. chopped fresh dill
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs

Recipe

  • Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Add 2 teaspoon salt, reduce heat, and simmer until the potatoes are just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool. Cut the potatoes in half or quarter if large.
  • Meanwhile, grate 2 teaspoon lemon zest into a large bowl, then squeeze in the juice (you should have about 3 tablespoons juice total). Whisk in the oil, mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  • Add the potatoes and celery to the bowl and gently toss to coat. Fold in the parsley and dill and top with the eggs, if desired.

Barbecue Ranch Pasta Salad

The Spicy Southern Kitchen blog serves up a smoky take on pasta salad that’s sure to be a hit with grownups and kids alike.

Ingredients

    • 1 pound pasta (such as cavatappi) cooked al dente
    • 1 cup Hidden Valley Honey BBQ Dressing
    • 1/3 cup sour cream
    • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 cup canned corn, drained
    • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
    • 1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 cup corn chips

 Recipe

  • Place cooked pasta in a large bowl.
  • Stir together Hidden Valley Honey BBQ Dressing and sour cream and pour over pasta. Toss to mix.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, except corn chips, and stir to combine.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve and sprinkle corn chips on top just before serving.

Sweet Finishes

Stone Fruit Pouches

Alton Brown’s recipe for stone fruit pouches is practically made for the grill.

Ingredients

  • Creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream for serving

Recipe

  • Heat coals of grill or fire pit. Cut 8 (18 by 18-inch) squares of aluminum foil. Lay down double thickness of foil and divide gingersnaps evenly among the 4 squares. Divide fruit evenly and place on top of gingersnaps. Dot with butter.
  • In small bowl mix sugar, salt, and lime zest. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over fruit, drizzle with juice and brandy and seal packets. Once coals are ash covered, lay packets over them and cover with lid of grill. If cooking in a fire pit carefully try to partially bury packets in hot coals.
  • Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and open carefully, as steam inside packet is very hot. Serve on plates as is or spoon into shallow bowls and top with creme fraiche or ice cream.

Berry “Pizza”

This recipe from Woman’s Day features the jewels of summertime: bright, juicy berries. We like that it can be served cool or at room temperature, making it easy for outdoor dining.

Ingredients

  • Flour, for the parchment
  • 1 (16-oz.) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 2 tbsp. Strawberry jam
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 c. blueberries
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 c. refrigerated whipped topping (Cool Whip works well)

Recipe

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and dust a piece of parchment paper lightly with flour. Shape the cookie dough into a circle, then roll out smoothly on the parchment into a 12″ circle or three 1⁄4″-thick circles. Place the parchment and dough onto a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the cookie (still on parchment) to a wire rack and let cool for at least 15 minutes.
  • As the cookie dough bakes, whisk together the jam and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the berries and toss to coat. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the whipped topping and beat to combine.
  • Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the cooled cookie, leaving a 1⁄2″ border. Top with the berry mixture.

Things To Do in New Orleans This Summer

A city known for letting the good times roll, New Orleans also knows how to take it easy — especially during the summer. Time seems to slow down in the balmy, summer months. With a little more sunlight and a lot more free time, summer offers lots of ways for you to enjoy the Crescent City. We’ve got a few ideas below!

Lounge by one of our many 1st Lake Properties pools.

Find What Floats Your Boat

With proximity to Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou St. John, City Park’s Big Lake, and the Mississippi River, Greater New Orleans just beckons for you to don your best nautical gear and hit the water. Whether you learn to sail on Lake Pontchartrain, rent a kayak for a tranquil afternoon along Bayou St. John, canoe in City Park (or maybe take a gondola ride), or traverse the Mississippi on the New Orleans Ferry or Steamboat Natchez, you’ll enjoy picturesque views and sea breezes.

See What’s SUP

Standup paddle boarding is a great workout, and it also offers some fantastic views when you rent through NOLA Paddleboards right on Bayou St. John. Paddle sessions are $35 (reservations required) and includes a short, complimentary lesson to help get you started.

Pack a Picnic Lunch

Summertime and picnics just go hand in hand. And in Greater New Orleans, there are tons of awesome spots for a picnic. Try City Park, Lafreniere Park, or Kenner City Park, as well as quiet spots along Bayou St. John or Lakeshore Drive on Lake Pontchartrain. Need ideas on what foods to pack? Take a look at our recipe archives here. These easy, no-bake recipes are also great contenders since they can be served at room temperature.

Take a Staycation

Sometimes, a quick road trip is all you need to feel like you “got away.” We have a detailed list of nearby places that will have you back to sleep in your own bed! Take a look and get planning here.

Fest

It’s just not summertime without some hot New Orleans festivals. Check out ESSENCE Fest over 4th of July weekend; San Fermin en Nueva Orleans (Running of the Bulls) happening July 7-9; Bastille Day Fete on July 14; Satchmo Summerfest Aug. 3-6; White Linen Night on Aug. 5; and Dirty Linen Night and Red Dress Run on August 13.

Rest

As the song goes, it’s “summertime, and the livin’ is easy.” Take time out to relax and unwind.  Sit by the pool. Read a great book. Add those extra little touches to your apartment to make it feel like home.

Top Workplace, Again!

For the third year in a row, 1st Lake Properties received recognition as one of the top midsize places to work in New Orleans!

Since the inception of Nola.com’s “Top Workplaces,” 1st Lake consistently ranked in the top three workplaces. With a 1st place victory in 2015 and a 2nd place victory each year following, our  team members continually prove their momentum and passion.

In addition to this achievement, 1st Lake also received the 2017 award for “the employer who encourages their team members to innovate new ideas.” Each quarter, team members submit company suggestions. Then at our company-wide quarterly meetings, we announce the top submissions, which become part of our business practices.

They say it takes a village to raise a family, and at 1st Lake we believe it takes a family to raise a company. Our 1st Lake family continues to grow, and we want you to be a part of what we’re doing.

If you want to join our team, visit our careers page!

Our 1st Lake team at the 2017 TopWorkplace Awards.

 

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