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)
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.
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.
Shady trees, a paved walkway, and water features are all part of Lafreniere Park in Metairie. (Photo courtesy ExperienceJefferson.com)
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)
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!
Festival season is here! And we’ve got a full list of New Orleans festivals happening over the next few months in and around the city and its metro area. Take a peek!
Hogs for the Cause. (Photo via Facebook)
Spring 2017 New Orleans Festivals
Wednesdays at the Square — The Young Leadership Council (YLC) of New Orleans hosts this fun, free event every Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. in Lafayette Square in downtown New Orleans. It’s a great way to get yourself over that weekday hump, and proceeds from sales of food and beverages benefit YLC charities and causes. The weekly series runs through May 24.
Delgado Music Festival — Delgado Community College hosts this free event at its City Park Campus (615 City Park Avenue) on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1 from 10:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Expect performances from artists like Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Stephanie Jordan, and more.
Hogs for the Cause — Help support kids facing scary diagnoses at Hogs for the Cause, benefitting treatments and support for families with children with pediatric brain cancer. This fest is all about the barbecue, with amazing pork dishes (vegetarian, too) and plenty of live music at the UNO Lakefront Arena festival grounds March 31 and April 1. One-day general admission tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the gate; kids under 12 are free.
Kenner’s Italian Heritage Festival — Celebrate Italian culture even after St. Joseph’s Day with this fest happening March 31-April 2. Local crafts and live music set the tone to browse historic photos and a St. Joseph’s Day altar. The fest lasts from 6-10 p.m. on Friday, noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $5 (free for children under 12).
Freret Street Festival — Freret Street in Uptown New Orleans just keeps growing. This free fest celebrates the neighborhood with more than 200 vendors plus live music on three stages, activities for kids, pet adoptions, and more. Hit the fest on April 1 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Music Under the Oaks — On April 2 and April 9, the Loyola University School of Music (April 2) and the New Orleans Concert Band (April 9) offer free concerts at 5 p.m. at Newman Bandstand in Audubon Park. Food and drinks are available at this lovely event — bring your lawn chair for a comfy seat!
A Taste of Covington — Dine out on some of the North Shore’s best food and wine at this upscale event happening April 5-9. Tickets vary.
French Quarter Festival — All the French Quarter becomes a stage at this free event from April 6-9. Hundreds of bands play all throughout the French Quarter on stages small and large. Food from more than 60 restaurants keeps your appetite at bay so you can enjoy the music!
Spring for Art — This free downtown Covington fest on April 18 features music, live performances, and — of course — art. Businesses will stay open late so you can peruse and enjoy the festive atmosphere.
Lake PontchARTrain Craft Fair — Browse work from more than 30 vendors offering jewelry, crafts, artwork, pottery, and more from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 22.
Covington Antiques and Uniques Festival — On April 22 and 23, browse antiques and collectibles (everything from crafts to classic cars!) at this free fest, featuring a live auction, walking tours, music, food, and more.
Jazz Fest — On April 28-30 (and then again May 4-7), Jazz Fest brings in incredible acts like Stevie Wonder, Alabama Shakes, Wilco, Patti La-Belle, Kings of Leon, Maroon 5, Tom Petty, and more. The fest runs from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; tickets are $70 in advance and $80 at the gate.
Jazz Fest — See above!
Mother’s Day Celebration — Treat mom to a fun day at Audubon Zoo for a free concert (with price of regular zoo admission) from New Orleans legend Irma Thomas. Additional performances plus family activities round out your day from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 14.
Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo — Boogie on the bayou at this three-day festival featuring Jon Cleary, Luke Winslow King, and more local music acts. Plenty of food plus arts and crafts are all part of the fun from April 19-21. Even better? It’s free!
New Orleans Food and Wine Experience — Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend in good taste at this ultimate New Orleans culinary experience featuring grand tastings, a pastry show, a wine stroll, and so much more. Tickets vary; the Experience runs from May 25-28.
Greek Festival — Go Greek! Along Bayou St. John in New Orleans, scope out Hellenic dances, cooking demonstrations, Greek music, food, and much more May 26-28. Ticket information TBA.
Bayou Country Superfest — The Baton Rouge favorite moves to New Orleans this year with country artists like Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and more. Head to the Superdome May 26-28; tickets start at $99.
Louis Armstrong Airport is truly undergoing a renaissance. In addition to a new, upcoming terminal and new restaurants on-site (planned vendors for the terminal expansion include Pizza Domenica, Mondo, Mopho, and Emeril’s Table), “MSY” is also adding new international flights to its roster. Keep reading to plan your dream international vacation — we’ve got the scoop on where to go and what to pack so you always feel at home.
British Airways offers direct flights from New Orleans to London. (Photo via Facebook)
Where to Go
London — British Airways announced its exciting new nonstop from New Orleans to London last year… and now flights are finally available starting March 27. The global culture and ancient history of this premiere city is just a direct flight away; there’s truly no reason not to take advantage of this amazing new offering from Louis Armstrong Airport!
Panama — Some call Panama the gateway to the Americas, but it’s also a destination in and of itself. Whether you choose to stay in Panama or use the direct flight on Copa Airlines to venture into other nearby Central and South American countries like Costa Rica or Colombia, your flight will be quick and easy — it’s only 3 1/2 hours long!
Frankfurt — Frankfurt is one of the largest, busiest airports in the world that offers easy access to other countries in Europe and Asia. You may choose the direct flight to Frankfurt as your connection to nearly anywhere else in the world, or you might decide to stay and explore Germany. Frankfurt is a truly European-style destination with historic landmarks, botanical gardens, museums, performing arts venues, and so much more; it’s also just a train ride away from Germany’s capital, Berlin.
Cancun — Your beach getaway just got a lot more exotic with direct flights available seasonally to Cancun. Revel in the surf and the sun on a flight that clocks in at under 2 hours!
Punta Cana — This gem of the Dominican Republic is another must-do beach destination available seasonally. You’ll be treated to incredible resorts, beautiful ocean views, and the laid-back style of the Caribbean.
Toronto — Spend your vacay on the shores of Lake Ontario with a flight to Toronto. This cosmopolitan city is a prominent location for films, music, and the performing arts. Get a view of it all from the city’s famous CN Tower.
What to Pack for an Overseas Flight
Of course, you’ll want to prepare for weather and desired activities (are you envisioning a fancy night out? A heart-pumping hike? Pack accordingly!) wherever you’re headed, but there are a few things you can bring with you to stay relaxed and feel at home on a long flight. You’ll arrive feeling refreshed, not frazzled.
- Noise-canceling headphones — Crying baby? What crying baby?
- USB battery pack — A backup battery means you can Netflix binge without worrying about draining your phone!
- Lightweight scarf, jacket, or blanket — Planes get chilly, after all.
- Travel pillow — Pick one up at the airport if you forget to bring your own. The last thing you want when you land is a sore neck!
- Address of where you’re staying — This sounds obvious, but have the address written down or committed to memory. Customs agents may ask when you land, and you’ll certainly want to direct your cab driver to the correct place.
- Care pack — Pack a quart-size, clear plastic zip bag with items like moisturizer, eye drops, Tylenol, Alka-Seltzer, chapstick, and Emergen-C. Sometimes, long flights are just plain uncomfortable, but these items can help!
Happy Mardi Gras! If you’re headed to the parades, take a peek below to see what’s rolling in Metairie, plus more information about each parade.
The Corps de Napoleon parade. (Photo via Corps de Napoleon)
Metairie Mardi Gras Parade Schedule
Friday, Feb. 24
Krewe of Centurions, 7 p.m. — The Krewe of Centurions parade begins at Woodlawn Avenue and Eldorado Street and ends at Veterans and Martin Behrman Avenue.
Krewe of Excalibur, follows — This parade was rescheduled due to rain. The krewe will roll immediately following Centurions, although more details are TBD. Check their Facebook page for updates!
Saturday, Feb. 25
Krewe of Isis, 6:30 p.m. — The largest and oldest all-female krewe in Jefferson Parish, Isis starts at Woodlawn Avenue and Eldorado Street and concludes at Veterans and Martin Behrman Avenue.
Sunday, Feb. 26
Corps de Napoleon, 5 p.m. — The Corps de Napoleon parade begins at Woodlawn Avenue and Eldorado Street and ends at Veterans and Martin Behrman Avenue.
Krewe of Athena, follows — Like the Krewe of Excalibur, this parade was rescheduled due to rain. They’ll roll directly after Krewe of Napoleon; check their Facebook page for updates!
Monday, Feb. 27 (Lundi Gras)
No parades today, but consider attending the 24th Annual Lundi Gras Festival at Spanish Plaza in downtown New Orleans. This free event includes live music and fireworks as revelers welcome the King of Rex.
Tuesday, Feb. 28 (Mardi Gras)
Krewe of Argus, 10 a.m. — This family-friendly parade is a Mardi Gras day favorite. Try to catch a stuffed blue dog thrown from the George Rodrigue float! The parade starts at Woodlawn Avenue and Eldorado Street and ends at Veterans and Martin Behrman Avenue.
Krewe of Elks Jefferson, follows — More than 90 vehicles comprise this truck parade, which begins at Veterans and Houma Boulevard and ends at Veterans and Martin Behrman Avenue.
Krewe of Jefferson, follows — Another truck parade, Krewe of Jefferson begins at Veterans and Houma Boulevard and ends at Veterans and Martin Behrman Avenue.
Jefferson Parish must be on the nice list, because there are so many fun activities for us to enjoy this holiday season! Whether you live in Metairie, River Ridge, Kenner, or elsewhere in the Greater New Orleans region, we’ve got you covered with a veritable winter wonderland of holiday happenings.
Our present to you: all the holiday fun you can handle in Greater New Orleans!
Holiday Activities in Greater New Orleans
Music and Theater Events
Jefferson Performing Arts Society Presents: The Ultimate Christmas Show
This holiday variety show and Christmas pageant runs Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. from Dec. 2-11. If you’d like to catch it during the week, enjoy a special Thursday performance on Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25; call (504) 885-2000 for more information.
Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts’ “Steel Poinsettias”
A comical riff on “Steel Magnolias,” this play has a Christmas-themed twist and just as much Southern sass. Catch it Dec. 2-3; Dec. 9-10; and Dec. 16-17 at various evening and matinee times. Tickets are $30; call (504) 461-9475 for more information.
The National World War II Museum’s “A Vintage Christmas”
Singing vintage tunes “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” in perfect harmony, the vintage-chic Victory Belles conjure up an era gone by during their show, happening throughout the holiday season. You can even catch a show on Christmas Day! Buy tickets in advance to reserve your spot.
Jefferson Performing Arts Society Presents: “The Nutcracker”
An absolute holiday classic. Last year, JPAS’s performance of “The Nutcracker” was named the best ballet presentation of 2015 at the Big Easy Classical Arts award — you won’t want to miss it! Get your tickets online (from $40) for Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. or Dec. 18 at 2 p.m.
Kenner Christmas Village
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through the holiday season, find caroling, holiday characters, crafts, food vendors, and entertainment at Kenner Christmas Village, 405 Williams Blvd. Admire beautiful Christmas lights and animated scenery, and don’t even worry about bringing your wallet — admission is free! (Of course, food and drink are additional costs.)
Christmas in the Park
Lafreniere Park hosts this dazzling event throughout its lush grounds. Explore LED light displays plus amusements like the Children’s Carousel ride. Admission is $5 per vehicle, so plan to carpool and save some cash! Christmas in the Park runs every Sunday through Thursday from dusk until 9:45 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday until 11:45 p.m. throughout the holiday season.
Lights at the Lake
Save Our Lake hosts this annual event at the New Canal Lighthouse on Lake Pontchartrain. It’s free to attend, but you can also purchase $5 raffle tickets for your chance to win a variety of prizes, including a staycation, restaurant gift cards, City Park memberships, and more. Call (504) 836-2205 for details on event times.
For the Kids
Deanie’s Seafood Holiday Kid’s Sing-a-Long
The French Quarter location of Deanie’s Seafood will host a kid’s event on Dec. 10, 11, 17, and 18 at 9 a.m. This family-friendly event includes complimentary photos with Santa, a full breakfast buffet, face painting, arts and crafts, a commemorative crawfish, and more. Tickets are $42 per person, and children under 2 years are free.
Teddy Bear Tea at The National WWII Museum
On Dec. 3, 10, and 17, treat the kids to tasty food, sweet treats, and live music. They can bring their favorite teddy bear as a “plus one,” but all young guests will leave with a new teddy bear to commemorate the event. Holiday songs, a photo station, and Santa are all part of the fun.