Find Peace and Playtime at Lafreniere Park

Metairie is a bustling place, no doubt – just a short drive from downtown New Orleans, the suburb is chock full of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, plus worthwhile residences like Crossroads apartments and Parktowne apartments (two of First Lake’s many Metairie and other Jefferson Parish properties).

However, Metairie holds a tranquil secret: Lafreniere Park. This ambling green space in the center of Metairie is home to multi-use lawns, fountains, picnic areas, hills, landscaped gardens, boating, fishing, paths, a running trails, a Frisbee golf course… the list goes on and on.

lafreniere park

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

First founded in the 1970s, the park allows “all people of the Parish to rest and refresh their spirit in its peaceful, natural surroundings.” We couldn’t agree more!

Things to Do at Lafreniere Park

Go For a Run on the Healthtrak

One of the most enticing aspects of the park is a landscaped, 2-mile jogging trail called the Healthtrak. Cardiovascular activity is a great way to let go of a hectic workday, and while many of our properties offer gyms and pools for exercise, sometimes pounding the pavement outdoors is truly the best method to relieve stress.

Whether you take the trail at an ambling pace or at a full-blown sprint, you’ll experience scenic flora and fauna, water elements, and more.

Explore Marsh Island

Within the park, you’ll find Marsh Island, a water-surrounded area in the park’s southwest corner that is home to endemic flora and fauna of Louisiana. It’s also a dedicated bird sanctuary.

Authentic marshland habitat is home to different vegetation and bird life than you’ll see in other parts of the park. Keep an eye out for different species of plants and animals.

Have a Picnic

A meal outdoors is a spring and summertime tradition. Whether you pick up snowballs from a nearby Metairie snowball stand or pack your own picnic lunch, bring a blanket to Lafreniere Park and enjoy your food on one of several multi-use lawns or a designated picnic area (both are available at the park).

Not sure what to pack? Real Simple comes to the rescue with their simple Picnic Packing Checklist.

Play Frisbee Golf

Perhaps you’re asking, “What the heck is Frisbee golf?” Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. This hybrid of Frisbee and golf (also known as disc golf) has seen popularity recently, and is part of the reason Lafreniere Park created a proper Frisbee golf course.

The 24-hole course not only lets you explore the parks twists and turns, but also lets you make a game out of it – bring your own Frisbees and throw them at select targets throughout the course. It’s free to play! If you prefer City Park to Lafreniere, they also have a free Frisbee golf course on site.

Cool Down in the Spray Park

Another enticing option at Lafreniere Park is the Spray Park for children ages 10 and under. With 4,000 square feet of water fun (featuring 13 water features), this large space is a great place for children to enjoy water safely.

Keep in mind that the spray park is only open on weekends and charges $5 per child for each session up to 90 minutes.

Host a Party at the Carousel

Spring and summer is often party season… but sometimes apartments (no matter how spacious!) can’t quite hold all your friends and family. Lafreniere Park presents a great alternative: you can rent out their Carousel, a spacious pavilion surrounded by a lagoon, for a private party.

Read their full rental agreement terms here, and contact the park for more information about hosting a private party.

Looking to settle down near this peaceful urban oasis? 1st Lake Properties offers plenty of nearby Metairie apartment communities you’re sure to love!

Where to Get Snowballs in Metairie, Harahan, Elmwood, and More

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There’s no season like snow season in Greater New Orleans. Snowballs are that perfect combination of finely shaved ice and decadent cane syrup that come together as a cooling treat in as many flavors as you could possibly imagine.

New Orleans proper certainly has its fair share of snowballs – Hansen’s for inventive flavors like ginger-cayenne and Plum Street for the cutest packaging – but the suburbs have a snowball game that is equally strong.

Check out our list for some of the best snowballs in the Lakeview, Metairie, Elmwood, and Harahan areas. They’re close to several 1st Lake Properties like Bella Ridge, Millstream, and more. Get one to go and enjoy it at the lake or at home on the balcony – each icy spoonful is a taste of summer!

NOLA Snow

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A fruity option from NOLA Snow on Harrison Avenue in Lakeview. (Photo courtesy Nolasnow.com)

With a convenient location on Harrison Avenue in Lakeview, NOLA Snow is a great place to grab a snowball then head to the lakefront. Kids go crazy for flavors like cotton candy and bubblegum, but mellower flavors like NOLA nectar and wedding cake please more grown-up palates. The ice is particularly soft and fluffy, but if you prefer something denser, any snowball flavor can be served as a milkshake or malt instead. Soft serves, floats, and stuffed snowballs are also available – definitely bring your sweet tooth.

Casey’s Snoballs

Says one Yelp reviewer, “The ice doesn’t clump, they don’t skimp on the syrup, and the flavor choices are vast and unique.” Could you ask for anything more in a snowball stand? Casey’s Snoballs in Metairie is located on Esplanade Avenue, so it’s another option for a to-go snowball you can enjoy at the lake. We’re partial to nutty flavors like almond cream and exotic choices like orchid vanilla, but you’ll find plenty of classics like nectar, lemon, and wild cherry.

Sal’s Sno-Ball Stand

Sal's snowballs

The flavors at Sal’s. (Photo courtesy Sal’s Sno-Balls on Facebook)

Tree stump seating sets this Old Metairie snowball stand apart. Enjoy your snowball on site, and you’ll get the feeling of camping when you were a kid – except instead of s’mores, it’s snowballs. Sal’s stays open late, so if you get a snowball craving at 10 p.m. (and really, who could blame you?) you can still get your fix. Fun flavor names like Robin (ice cream and nectar), Pink Squirrel (nectar, almond, and cream), and Joker (grape, blackberry, and raspberry) will delight youngsters and adults alike. Sugar-free options are available for those looking to save calories, but you’ll probably want those hard-to-resist toppings like condensed milk – again, who could blame you?

Ro-bear’s Snowballs and Soft Serve

This Harahan location serves up decadent snowballs like strawberry cheesecake with condensed milk – also known as heaven in a cup. Robear’s velvety smooth, melt-in-your-mouth ice is never crunchy: think freshly powdered snow and confectioner’s sugar. Flavors like Creole cream cheese and king cake are worth a try, as are the butterscotch, chocolate, and cantaloupe varieties. Actually, you should probably just try them all!

Ike’s Snowballs

Ike’s is located in Mid-City, but it’s just a quick drive from Metairie Road on City Park Avenue. We love Ike’s because of their doggie snowballs – while a chicken snowball doesn’t sound particularly appetizing to us, but we know our furry friends will love them. Don’t have a pet? Trust us, you’ll still want to go to Ike’s. First of all, it’s open year-round, and second, juicy flavors like watermelon, strawberry, and pineapple are sure to satisfy. Plenty of outdoor seating here, although another option is to order your snowball to-go and enjoy at City Park.

 

 

NOLA Goes to the Dogs: Dog Parks in New Orleans

As the city experiences beautiful weather, it’s easier than ever to get outside and go for a walk with your dog. Greater New Orleans is home to several awesome dog parks – including our own Bella Ridge property, which features an on-site place for dogs to roam safely. Check out some of the best dog parks in NOLA!

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NOLA City Bark in City Park is a popular spot for pups. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Infrogmation of New Orleans)

NOLA City Bark

Located in City Park, this dog park spans nearly 5 acres and is a pup’s dream. Lush green spaces, dog activities, and a communal water fountain (in the form of a bright, red fire hydrant) make City Bark a fun destination for dogs and owners alike. The property is located in City Park behind Popp Fountain, bounded by Zachary Taylor Drive, Diagonal Drive, and Magnolia Drive.

The Dog Levee

Uptown dogs love the Dog Levee, near the corner of Leake Avenue and Magazine Street. The levee features a paved walking path that leads to a swimming hole (be sure to bring a towel for cleanup!). Be wary if your dog is a flight risk – this park is an open space free of fencing.

Wisner Dog Park

Another dog park in Uptown New Orleans, Wisner Dog Park is located at 4876 Laurel St. Water fountains for dogs and people are available, but be aware there aren’t any public restrooms for the humans!

Bella Bark

Bella Bark is the on-site dog park at our Bella Ridge property in Elmwood. Fido might not appreciate the beautiful landscaping, but owners sure do! The convenience of having an on-site, safe space for your pup to play right outside your door is an added bonus of the many luxuries you’ll experience at Bella Ridge.

Celebrate the Oldest NOLA Neighborhood at French Quarter Fest

French Quarter Festival is one of our favorite New Orleans spring festivals. Starting Thursday, April 9 and running through Sunday, April 12, French Quarter Fest features more than 1,700 local Louisiana musicians on 23 different stages. Food is another huge draw – traditional New Orleans favorites like cochon de lait po-boys and, of course, crawfish are tough to resist as you stroll through Jackson Square and along the riverfront at Woldenberg Park. While there’s simply no way to see and do everything at French Quarter Fest, we’ve collected a list of areas and activities to seek out while you’re there.

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Swing dancing lessons are part of French Quarter Festival. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Ipung_zan)

The Entertainment

You’ll find big acts like Allen Toussaint, Ellis Marsalis, and Rebirth Brass Band performing on the larger stages, such as the Abita Stage at the riverfront and the Jackson Square Stage in (where else?) Jackson Square. However, the smaller stages are nothing to scoff at! Head to the Cajun/Zydeco Showcase stage on Saturday or Sunday where you’ll experience traditional two-step dancing. In French Market, you’ll find swing-dancing lessons set to live hot jazz.

The Food

Come hungry to French Quarter Fest: iconic restaurants like Galatoire’s, Antoine’s, and Court of Two Sisters are just a few of the many food vendors. At French Quarter Fest, tips at all beverage stands are split amongst the musicians. Be sure to add a tip to the bucket to thank them for their incredible music!

Getting There

Many of our properties, especially those in Metairie, are just a short drive from downtown New Orleans. However, be aware that French Quarter Fest brings in a lot of traffic, so you’ll want to avoid parking in the French Quarter itself and seek parking garages in the Central Business District instead (there’s even a Park-n-Ride shuttle available.)

New in Town? Learn Our Top Tips for Moving to New Orleans

Moving to New Orleans? Here are the top tips you need to know

Moving can be an exhausting process when you’re simply relocating to a new neighborhood – so it’s no wonder that a move to a brand-new city can be intimidating and overwhelming! We hope our apartment moving checklist will be a helpful tool for preparing you for moving to New Orleans, but once you’re here, there’s plenty to learn.

New Orleans is a beautiful, vibrant city bursting with history and culture. There’s music around every corner and delicious food to satisfy any palate. People love New Orleans because of how unique it is, but that can make things hard for NOLA newbies! Check out our top tips for moving to New Orleans and living like a local. If you have any questions or are still searching for the perfect place in Greater New Orleans to call home, please contact us – we are here to help you find your perfect new apartment!

New Orleans biking

Bicycles are a popular mode of transportation in the French Quarter (pictured) and elsewhere in New Orleans. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Shawn Harquail)

Bikes are a great way to get around New Orleans.

Bikes are one of the most enjoyable ways to experience the city. In addition to exploring a wealth of trails around New Orleans and the surrounding areas, cyclists can also take leisurely rides through iconic areas of the city like the French Quarter and the Garden District. Several local shops like Bayou Bicycles and The Bike Shop can help you find a bicycle that’s right for your needs. Not quite ready to purchase a bike? Test drive… er, ride… a rental to give you a better idea of city biking. Bicycle rentals and tours are available all over the city.

New Orleans is a great place to build a career.

While the tourism industry is still booming, their are more and more job opportunities for young professionals in the greater New Orleans area every day. Did you know that New Orleans leads the country by 53% in number of startups-per-capita, and that we were voted a top city for woman-owned companies and young entrepreneurs? New Orleans was also recently ranked as one of the best cities for women in tech fields, outranking even Silicon Valley?

New Orleans is blazing trails in education.

New Orleans offers private schools and charter schools to meet the needs of students and families. Just last year, New Orleans closed the last five of its traditional public schools in favor of the charter school system. Governor Bobby Jindal hopes the charter school system will serve as a model for the rest of the country; the Washington Post called the endeavor “a grand experiment in urban education for the nation.” The charter school system and private schools give parents an unprecedented choice in where they send their children to receive an education. For more information on K-12 educational opportunities in NOLA, visit the New Orleans Public School System or Jefferson Parish Public School System.

No one uses North/South/East/West directions.

The city of New Orleans is wedged between multiple bodies of water, including the Mississippi River, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne. In an old city such as this one, standard directions are useless. Instead, we give directions in terms of proximity to bodies of water or landmarks. Think “downriver” or “towards the Lake” and you’ll be fine.

A place by lots of other names is still a sweet place to call home.

New Orleans is a city of many nicknames. You’ve probably heard it called The Big Easy, thanks to our laid back lifestyle. Maybe you’ve also heard it referred to as the Birthplace of Jazz, or the Crescent City? Our unique culture, a mixing pot with hundreds of years of history behind it, has also garnered us the nicknames America’s Most European City and the Northern Most Caribbean City. As for fitting in with the locals, the nickname you need to know is also the shortest – just call it NOLA. (Short for New Orleans LA of course.)

We say things a little differently around here.

Perhaps the toughest part – and the most fun part – is adopting New Orleans’ unique vernacular. The city has lots of hard-to-pronounce words that will make or break you: say it wrong, and people will know you’re an out-of-towner! We’ve collected a few of the toughest pronunciations to keep you sounding like a local as you navigate the city.

Tchoupitoulas

What it is: A street.
How you say it: Chop-a-tool-us. You can also use its abbreviation, Tchoup, pronounced “Chop.”

Calliope

What it is: A street.
How you say it: While people are split on this one, most people in New Orleans pronounce it Cali-yope. (Rhymes with “nope.”)

Lagniappe

What it is: A word that means “a little something extra.”
How you say it: Lan-yap.

Burgundy

What it is: A street.
How you say it: In New Orleans, people emphasize the second syllable for this word. Pronounce it Bur-GUN-dy and people will know you’re in the know.

New Orleans

What it is: The best city ever!
How you say it: Quite simply, it’s New Or-lunz. Not New Or-leanz.

Having a costume box or closet is a thing.

New Orleanians love any excuse to party, parade and celebrate. And any excuse for a party means any excuse for a costume. After living here awhile, you’ll inevitably start to accumulate a random assortment of boas, wigs, costumes and other wacky wearables. Need to get started? Check out Fifi Mahony’s in the French Quarter for custom wigs and makeup, or visit Uptown Costume & Dancewear on Magazine Street at Napoleon or Southern Costume Company in the CBD.

The best way to feel like a local is to celebrate like a local.

Now that you know we love any excuse for a costume or party, be sure to take advantage of all of the festivities on tap any given weekend. Go to every festival you can your first year. New Orleans offers well-known big events like Jazz Fest and French Quarter Festival, as well as plenty of festivals with local flair like Bayou Boogaloo, Greek Fest and Po-Boy Fest. Be sure to also venture to surrounding areas, as the Southeast Louisiana region offers something for everyone. Kenner offers an annual Italian Heritage Festival each spring, while Covington plays host to the Three Rivers Art Festival each fall.

Mardi Gras is not limited to Bourbon Street.

Once you move to New Orleans and experience your first Mardi Gras as a local, you’ll soon discover there’s more to Mardi Gras than Bourbon Street. First off, it’s weeks worth of parades, balls and festivities. Second, most locals prefer to experience the parades far, far away from Canal Street. Watch the parades from the Uptown route along St. Charles Avenue, and seek out smaller walking parades like the Krewe of Chewbaccus. Mardi Gras is also not limited to Orleans Parish: there are parades in Metairie, the Westbank and on the Northshore, all with their own flair.

Not all of NOLA is cash-less.

Be sure to keep a little cash and a few coins handy, as not all New Orleans businesses accept credit cards. One of our residents told us, “I was really surprised when I first moved here at all of the shops and parking meters that do not take credit cards. If you want some hot beignets without a $3 ATM fee, remember to keep some green on you!”

New Orleans really does have four seasons.

However, they may not be the four that you’re used to. While it DOES actually get cold here in winter, and it definitely gets hot here in summer, the four New Orleans seasons you really need to know are: carnival season, crawfish season, snowball season and football season.

New Orleans sticks with you.

Once you’ve visited and once you’ve lived here, you’ll never be the same. The city has a way of pulling people back. With a culture and vibrancy like no other place on earth, you’ll want to make it your home too. Contact us today and learn more about making New Orleans your new hometown.

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