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.

french quarter fest 2014

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.

March 2015 Apartment Specials at 1st Lake

If the warmer weather hasn’t put a spring in your step, these incredible deals on apartments just might offer the extra pep you need. March into spring with our March Featured Properties, including up to $1,800 in savings at our newest property, Bella Ridge, and up to $50 per month in rent savings at Regency Club. Arbor Gate, Brewster Commons, and Lakes of Chateau Estates South are all part of the mix, too – check out the deals below, and call for more information!

brewster commons pool

Relax by the pool at Brewster Commons, one of our March featured properties.

March Apartment Specials

Bella Ridge – Get up to $1,800 in rent savings for your March move in (more than a month’s free rent on select floor plans!). This gorgeous new property features granite countertops, oval tubs plus a shower, wood-style flooring, kitchen islands, and an attached parking garage.

 Van Mark Apartments – Spacious one-bedrooms are the draw at this beautiful property in Ridgeland. Custom cabinetry, fireplaces, and separate home office suites are additional bonuses. Call now for more information on enticing March offers!

Regency Club – Enjoy up to $50 per month rent reductions and ask how to get 1/2 month free! This offer only applies to a few select units, so don’t miss out: call today.

Lakes of Chateau Estates North – Premium finishes such as crown molding, plantation-style blinds, recessed lighting, and double sinks offer a luxury living experience. Ask about how you can save on move-in costs at this beautiful property, which also has garage space available for monthly rental.

Lakes of Chateau Estates South – This property is full of amenities for outdoor enthusiasts, including walking paths, tennis courts, and a sun-filled swimming pool. Limited floor plans are available now – call today for more information.

Hickory Creek Central – This luxury property in River Ridge features split-level stairs, sunrooms, and patios in select units plus all the comforts of home like a washer/dryer and fireplace. Call now to find out more!

Arbor Gate – A full week of free rent plus $100 to put toward decorating are part of this month’s specials – not to mention a $99 deposit special, reduced rates, and reduced initial moving fees with select lease terms.

Brewster Commons – Select floor plans and this thoughtfully conceived community are at an all-time low. We’re offering half off your deposit plus waived administrative fees on select units.

Grand Palms – Reduced rates and moving specials are part of March’s specials, not to mention a $99 deposit special and waived move-in fees. With two pools, beautiful courtyards, and a playground, this property has lovely amenities for everyone.

Clearwater Creek – This River Ridge community is all about the amenities. Beautiful landscaping with fountains and creeks plus a pool provide a tranquil space for outdoor enthusiasts. Call today to find out how to make Clearwater Creek your home.

Crossroads – These renovated apartment feature washers and dryers in every single unit in addition to sunrooms that let in gorgeous natural light all year long. A tranquil setting of bubbling creeks and winding paths plus a secure access gate provide ultimate peace of mind. Call for more information.

Smile! Three Easy Home Photography Styling Tips

Did our Instagram blog post spark your desire for a picture-perfect home? Spring is a great time of year to freshen up your space through cleaning and redecorating, and you’ll probably want to photograph the results to share on social media (tag us on Facebook and Twitter!). We came across a great article on how to make your home more photogenic and wanted to share these easy home photography styling tips with you.

nightstand decor

This nightstand vignette uses books and pops of color to look great on camera. Of course, we love the dog, too! (Photo courtesy Pinterest)

Add fresh flowers.

Fresh flowers – especially during spring, when they’re particularly abundant – are a great detail in a photograph of a room. While full bouquets and arrangements are gorgeous, they aren’t necessary. A simple bloom in a glass jar makes a photo of your nightstand, for example, fresh and visually interesting. Fresh fruit has a similar impact in a kitchen shot – citrus fruits like lemons and limes offer vibrant color while pineapples show off an interesting, architectural shape.

Use a flash of red.

It’s a good thing marsala is the Pantone Color of the Year, because a bit of red instantly attracts the eye and brightens up a photo. Red is psychologically one of the most eye-catching colors – even if it isn’t your favorite color, use it sparingly to add major pop to a photo.

Take advantage of books and magazines.

Stacking books and magazines can add height and depth to photographs. We recommend stacking your books neatly on a coffee table then placing a jar of flowers (red ones!) to incorporate several elements of photography styling into one beautiful shot.

 

 

Make Spring Soup with This Easy Gazpacho Recipe

Since March is National Frozen Food Month and we recently wrote about how to freeze soups and stews, we wanted to share one of our favorite spring recipes perfect for freezing! This five-ingredient easy gazpacho recipe from the James Beard Foundation is cool and refreshing with the delicate flavors of spring peas. We like serving it with a dollop of Greek yogurt or crème fraiche, a drizzle of high-quality olive oil, and a couple grinds of fresh black pepper for an elegant and tasty effect.

The best part? You won’t have to sit over a hot stove after you’ve frozen the soup. Simply let it thaw to your desired consistency – it’s supposed to be served chilled, after all.

pea soup

This five-ingredient pea gazpacho provides a light, refreshing taste of spring. (Photo courtesy Tastespotting.com)

Sweet Pea Gazpacho

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sugar snap peas, shucked, with both peas and shell reserved
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Recipe

Combine the pea shells, fennel, onion, and garlic in a large pot. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain liquid into a clean pot and discard the solids.

Bring the strained liquid to a simmer. Add the peas, and simmer until they are just cooked through and bright green (about 3 to 5 minutes). Strain the peas, reserving the liquid.

Puree the peas in a blender, adding reserved liquid as needed to achieve the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to an ice bath to cool. Serve chilled.

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