Spreading Cheer through Charity at 1st Lake Properties

No matter what holiday you choose to celebrate this time of year, we believe that everyone can participate in the collective spirit of giving throughout the winter season. That’s why year after year at 1st Lake Properties, we partner with local charities to lend a helping hand to members of our community. This holiday season, we worked with the Apartment Association of Greater New Orleans to host a toy drive benefitting the Metropolitan Center for Women & Children and Angel’s Place, a charity for families with children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. We also participated in an ongoing, yearlong campaign to fundraise for the United Way. All the results are in, and we couldn’t be more pleased with how much 1st Lake Properties employees and residents were able to help our community!

Our recent toy drive and United Way fundraising efforts were a huge success!

Our recent toy drive and United Way fundraising efforts were a huge success!

A Tower of Toys for Kids in Need

Our ongoing toy drive aimed to make the holidays memorable and happy for all children, even those living at a shelter like the Metropolitan Center for Women & Children or suffering from life-altering diseases like cancer at Angel’s Place. The toy drive allowed us to fulfill many holiday wishes for sheltered families and hospitalized children in the Greater New Orleans area, and we give thanks to all those who participated in the drive.

“These gifts represent the generosity of our team members and residents at 1st Lake Properties,” says Stacey Shane Schott, our senior vice president. We are grateful to share our blessings with underprivileged members of our community in hopes we all can enjoy a more peaceful and bright holiday season.

Uniting Together for United Way

Throughout 2015, 1st Lake Properties held an ongoing drive benefitting United Way, the global organization with a Greater New Orleans branch that aims to end the cycle of poverty. We are proud to report that we raised $9,776 for United Way through payroll deductions, cash donations, a raffle, and Jean Day, where 1st Lake Employees were allowed to wear jeans to work for a $5 donation. Our local chapter of United Way will use these funds to build a stronger support system for people in need, from education and career opportunities to health services and beyond.

How to Help

If you feel compelled to assist any of these amazing local organizations, please visit their websites at www.mcwcgno.org, www.AngelsPlaceNOLA.org, and rebuildnola.unitedway.org. Monetary donations, volunteer opportunities, and donations of goods are all welcome. We’ve found throughout 2015 that the old saying is true: it truly is better to give than to receive!

 

 

Special Holiday Market at Citrus Creek Apartments

On Thursday, December 17 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., you’ll be shopping in a Winter Wonderland with our special edition of the monthly Citrus Creek Apartments farmers market. This outdoor market, located at our Citrus Creek property in the heart of River Ridge and Elmwood, features more than 20 local vendors serving up handmade products like organic soaps, homemade dog treats, local honey, and so much more.

Scenic Citrus Creek will host a special holiday farmers market.

Scenic Citrus Creek will host a special holiday market.

Citrus Creek Holiday Market

With something for the entire family, this special holiday market features all the standout components of our previous events – locally made crafts, specialty foods, and gift items, plus guided tours of the Citrus Creek property – in addition to a little holiday magic. Here’s what you can expect during this special holiday farmers market:

  • We’ll be showing a holiday movie in the theater room during the market
  • Two festive light poles will illuminate the market
  • Kids (and kids at heart) can write letters to Santa with provided supplies
  • We’ve partnered with an adjacent Christmas tree lot and are excited to offer special discounts on trees purchased during the market
  • A live band will provide festive holiday music

Our elves worked extra hard to provide one last facet of holiday fun: snow! We’ll have a small area of snow that measures about 3-4 feet. It’s not exactly a white winter, but it’s certainly a great photo opportunity.

Here’s a glimpse at the vendors and products you’ll find at the holiday market:

  • Fleur de Art
  • Handmade soaps
  • Local honey and produce
  • Pickles and pepper jelly
  • Handcrafted shaving products
  • Homemade tea cakes
  • Candles
  • Gelato
  • Pet food and treats
  • Landscape plants and materials
  • Chocolate-covered fruits
  • Reclaimed wood home decor
  • Succulents
  • Jewelry

To best prepare for the event, plan to bring cash. Although some vendors accept cards, we recommend having cash as well for easy, seamless transactions. And while festive attire certainly isn’t required, feel free to wear your favorite holiday sweater or reindeer antlers. We hope to see you there!

 

 

Business is Booming in Jefferson Parish

We’ve long known Louisiana is a great place to live, but in recent years, it’s proven to be a great place to work as well. In an annual report from Site Selection, Louisiana received the No. 4 ranking for top state business climates. The most exciting aspect of this good news is that just six years ago, Louisiana ranked 25th in the same poll. Louisiana has made a huge leap forward in business in just a few short years, and New Orleans and its beautiful suburbs are a crucial contributor to that success.

The New Orleans metro area was also named the “biggest brain magnet” by Forbes Magazine, and a number of young professionals are moving to the area. Renting has become a clear choice for these newcomers, and if you’re moving here to start a new job, we recommend checking out our moving resources and tips for your move to the New Orleans metro.

new orleans aerial

An aerial view of the New Orleans metro. (Photo via Flickr user Rande Archer)

Take a closer look at some other exciting business and economic news in Jefferson Parish (where many of our 1st Lake Properties are located) and see how it measures up to Orleans Parish.

Economic Insights for Jefferson Parish

Source: Greater New Orleans Inc.

Key Facts

  • Jefferson Parish boasts acclaimed restaurants, a thriving arts scene, frequent festivals, large shopping destinations, and ample sports and outdoor activities
  • The New Orleans Zephyrs AAA baseball team plays in Jefferson Parish, and the New Orleans Saints training facility is in the parish as well
  • Jefferson Parish is home to the state’s only TCP golf course
  • Wildlife and natural assets like Jean Lafitte National Park and Grand Isle are located within the parish

Large Corporations Based in Jefferson Parish

  • Ochsner Health System
  • East Jefferson General Hospital
  • Walmart Stores East
  • United Parcel Service, Inc.

Economic Insights for Orleans Parish

Source: Greater New Orleans Inc.

Key Facts

  • Orleans Parish incorporates New Orleans, a city known internationally for its history, culture, restaurants, music, and more
  • Large sports teams like the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans host their games within Orleans Parish
  • Several universities are located within the parish

Large Corporations Based in Orleans Parish

  • LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans
  • Tulane University
  • Touro Infirmary
  • Caesars Entertainment Corporation
  • USDA National Finance Center

Together, these two parishes have contributed tremendously to Louisiana’s success as an economic force in the United States. We’re proud to call Louisiana home, and even prouder to have a strong presence in Jefferson and Orleans parishes.

Soak Up the Sun: Pools Close on Tuesday, Sept. 8

With Labor Day Weekend just around the corner, we’re excited to usher in a new season, filled with cooler days and football games. Labor Day is also when we close our pools for the season. But there’s still a tiny bit of time to relax poolside – take a look at our perfect pool menu. Whip up a batch of crisp, pineapple basil tea and stuffed piquillo peppers with goat cheese perfect for snacking. Get the recipes below (and remember to only use plastic cups at the pool! No glass, please!).

1stlake properties pool

Remember, pools close on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Until then, enjoy!

Pineapple-Basil Tea

Tropical flavors are a delicious complement to a day at the pool. This easy recipe, courtesy of Southern Living, requires just a few ingredients for an inspired result – a unique take on typical Southern-style sweet tea.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • Water
  • 8 regular-size black tea bags
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Recipe:

In a saucepan, bring pineapple, sugar, and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Cool slightly and process using an immersion blender or in a regular blender. Strain the mixture.

Next, bring 3 cups of water to a boil and add tea bags. Boil for one minute, remove from heat, and cover and steep for about 10 minutes. Discard tea bags and stir tea into pineapple mixture. Stir in the fresh basil and 6 cups cold water. Serve over ice. 

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Goat Cheese

Smaller and sweeter than roasted red bell peppers, piquillos make for an elegant, bite-sized snack when stuffed with goat cheese, scallions, and a touch of mint thanks to the recipe from Martha Stewart. Even better? No baking required.

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 jar piquillo peppers (about 15 peppers) drained with liquid reserved
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mint

Recipe:

Place goat cheese, scallions, red pepper flakes, mint, and reserved piquillo liquid into a bowl. Zest and then juice the lemons into the bowl (take care to strain the seeds). Mix until combined.

Next, using a small spoon or piping bag, fill the drained piquillo peppers with about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes for garnish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

We’re Wearing Jeans to Benefit ARNO Animal Shelter

Friday the 13th might be considered unlucky, but we’re changing all that with latest Jeans Day. Not only will our employees luck out with permission to wear jeans to work, but Animal Rescue New Orleans will also benefit – in order to be eligible to wear jeans, employees must bring a donation of $5 or more for ARNO.

barkus parade

This sweet ARNO shelter dog is all dressed up for the Barkus Parade. (Photo courtesy ARNO on Facebook)

You already know our commitment to animals – our new Bella Ridge property has a dedicated dog park, and many of our properties are pet-friendly – but you may not be aware of our ongoing relationship with ARNO. Our recent December pet drive benefited this no-kill shelter, and we saw great results! 1st Lake residents raised $228 cash, $260 in checks, and more than $300 in gift cards, plus plenty of donated items like food and supplies. Thank you for your help!

Our Feb. 13 Jeans Day is limited to employees, but we always encourage our residents to contribute to the community by helping ARNO!

Here are a few ways you can participate:

Adopt or Foster an Animal

ARNO has many cats and dogs who are eligible for adoption. Darla, Alfalfa, and Spanky are a trio of pups looking for a new home, for example, while Amy is a sweet adult cat ready to cuddle. Contact ARNO for more information, and review their materials for adopting and fostering.

Volunteer

Taking care of so many animals is hard work for the ARNO staff. They rely on volunteers to help, and you can be part of that! Assist with animal care, dog walking, kennel and cage cleaning, laundry, or even fun tasks like playing with kittens. Volunteering at ARNO also counts toward school service hours.

Donate

ARNO accepts monetary donations, gift cards to places like Wal-Mart and Petco, and specific goods like sponges and trash bags. ARNO’s canine residents need Purina One Dog Chow and Puppy Chow, canned dog food, and four-foot-long leashes. If you’d like to donate on behalf of their feline residents, bring Purina One Cat Chow, Purina One Kitten Chow, or large-size litter pans.

We can’t wait to wear our jeans on Feb. 13 to support this amazing animal shelter!

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