Fun In The New Orleans Summertime: 7 Summer Activities for Kids

It’s almost back to school time here in the New Orleans area, but summer’s not officially over until the fall equinox on September 22, 2017. Luckily, the greater New Orleans region offers plenty of opportunities for summer fun for the whole family.

Whether you’ve got kids that are going back to school in a few weeks or little ones that need entertaining no matter what the season, we’ve got a few ideas for summer activities your kids will love.

The pool at Bella Ridge apartments in River Ridge is perfect for relaxing this summer.

The pool at Bella Ridge apartments in River Ridge is perfect for relaxing this summer.

1. Go for a swim!

Our apartment communities are famous for their resort-like pools and water features. At Bella Ridge, located near the Elmwood shopping center, you can reserve a cabana at our large resort-style swimming pool. Relax, unwind, and catch some rays at our tanning ledge while the kids splash around. Our poolside delivery menu is available 7 days a week.

Residents of the Lake Towers, Regency Club, and Spring Brook apartments in Baton Rouge have a fun-for-all-ages water park right in their back yard with Blue Bayou. There are water slides, roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and plenty of ways to splish and splash all summer long.

2. Read a book!

Whether you have a book collection at home or would rather opt to check one out from the public library, reading a book together is always a fun family activity. Enhance the kid’s summer reading list by finding stories that fit their interests. If the kids are old enough to read on their own, let everyone pick a book of their own and read silently together.

The companionship of having your family in the room can make even this quiet activity a cozy and relaxing one. It can also be fun to read a book aloud. Perhaps the family can take turns reading parts, or an adult can take the lead and handle the reading duties. However you choose to do it, reading not only enriches minds but can also be a lot of fun!

Going on a road trip this summer? There are several services, such as Audible Kids that have a great selection of quality literature for children. Download a few to your favorite device and either give your child some headphones, or play the book over your car’s speakers while they play quietly.

3. Play make believe.

A classic and time-tested family activity is building a blanket fort. All it takes is a few chairs, some blankets, and maybe a few pillows or cushions to create a magical world for your little ones! Once nestled inside, your kids can read a book, play with toys, or simply let their imaginations wander.

Your new blanket fort is a perfect place for an indoor picnic or tea party on rainy or extremely hot summer days. Lay a tablecloth on the floor and the family can enjoy a fun lunch or tea and snacks together. Your kids will get a big kick out of being able to eat their afternoon snack inside a blanket fort!

Fishing or relaxing near Lake Pontchartrain is a great summertime activity. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Barry Goble.)

Fishing or relaxing near Lake Pontchartrain is a great summertime activity. (Photo courtesy Flickr user Barry Goble.)

4. Take the family fishing.

One of the great things about Louisiana is all the natural waterways we have that are perfect for summer activities like fishing. Residents of our New Orleans area apartments can enjoy fishing on Lake Pontchartrain, while residents of Audubon Gates in Slidell don’t have to go far to take advantage of the St. Tammany Parish fishing pier.

Residents of our newest apartment community, Artesia in Covington, can take advantage of the nearby Tchefuncte River for all their fishing and boating desires.

5. Head to the park for a picnic.

The greater New Orleans area offers plenty of spots for summer picnics, playing Frisbee, or flying a kite.

The Lafreniere apartments in Metairie are located right at the main entrance of Lafreniere Park, and all other Metairie, Kenner, and River Ridge residents are located just a short drive from the beautiful City Park and Audubon Park in New Orleans.

Take the whole family to a New Orleans Baby Cakes minor league baseball game this summer! (Photo courtesy Flickr user Minda Haas Kuhlmann.)

Take the whole family to a New Orleans Baby Cakes minor league baseball game this summer! (Photo courtesy Flickr user Minda Haas Kuhlmann.)

6. Catch a baseball game.

A great way to spend a summer evening is to enjoy a baseball game with some delicious grilled food and friends. The New Orleans Baby Cakes minor league baseball team (formerly known as the Zephyrs) play all through the summer at the “Shrine on Airline” which is conveniently located on Airline Drive in Metairie, close to many 1st Lake Properties apartments. The Baby Cakes partner with many local organizations for fun promotional events throughout the summer, like Harry Potter Night, Elvis Night, and Wayne’s World Night.

7. Watch a movie.

As the season of blockbusters, the summer is always a great time to go to the movies. It’s air-conditioned, the popcorn is hot and buttery, and the movies are action-packed.

There are plenty of great options to go to the movies near our apartment communities in Metairie, Kenner, and River Ridge. The AMC Elmwood Palace has 20 theaters showing all the best summer blockbusters as well as the Clearview Palace for another great nearby option.

Where to relax after a summer day.

After you’ve spent the day full of fun activities, your entire family can relax and recharge in one of our 9,500+ apartment rentals in the greater New Orleans area.

Our pet-friendly apartment communities feature elaborate landscaping and ample storage space. Find your perfect home today!

New Orleans – A Top City for Millennials

Recently, Travel+Leisure magazine named New Orleans as one of the Top 15 Cities in the United States, but people aren’t just visiting our vibrant city, they’re moving here!

The French Quarter is home to New Orleans’ live music scene and it hosts a multitude of unique and entertaining events year-round.

From 2010 to 2015, the number of millennial residents in the greater New Orleans area increased by 8.5%. This data comes from another recent article from Time magazine, which highlights the twenty-five cities millennials are migrating to.

So, why New Orleans?

While millennials are still moving to powerhouses like New York City and Los Angeles, there’s been a major uptick in the 25-to-34 age populations of America’s smaller major cities.

Come for the live music. Stay for the live music!

Many local officials believe the ever-growing entrepreneurial offerings and affordable housing market entice younger crowds to come. The area’s festivals and social offerings, culinary selections, and proximity to regional attractions also appeal to the millennial audience.

New business confidence has ignited the tech scene, bringing in annual conferences like Collision and boosting New Orleans Entrepreneur Week attendance and programming tenfold.

You can’t beat a skyline sunset!

With a festival happening almost every week, Mardi Gras, professional sports, and a world-class restaurant scene, New Orleans has it all! A decision to move to the Big Easy just got easier!

Ready to take the leap and move to New Orleans?

Check out all of our apartments in the New Orleans area.

 

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.

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