1st Lake Blog

Family-Friendly Holiday Events in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and the Northshore

Candy canes and silver lanes are aglow in South Louisiana. The spirit of the season is here, and New Orleans, the Northshore, and Baton Rouge have a host of spectacular events you can check out to celebrate the holidays in true Louisiana fashion.

Read on for a regional breakdown of some great family-friendly holiday events this year.

Metairie & Kenner

Metairie and Kenner certainly get merry and bright for the holidays, which is why we love having apartment communities in those areas. You’re just a quick drive away from extravagant lighting displays, Santa visits, and remarkable holiday performances.

Christmas in Lafreniere Park

Lafreniere Park’s annual light display keeps getting better and better. This year they’ll have a 60-foot lighted Sea Serpent in the park’s lagoon, a giant gingerbread man, and a sparkling magical castle. Saints fans can see a towering Lombardi Trophy, and kids can enjoy an illuminated spin on the Children’s Carousel. Entry is $5 per vehicle. Carousel rides are $1 per child.

Kenner Christmas Village 

Kenner Christmas Village is a great idea for a family outing this holiday season. The Christmas Village is filled with things to do and see the whole family will love. There’s ice skating, nightly performances, and Santa’s workshop. Parents can enjoy the spirit of the Biergarten and take care of some shopping, as well. On December 15th, let your kids have “Breakfast with Santa,” for Santa photo opportunities, a pancake &  sausage breakfast, arts and crafts, story time with Mrs. Claus, and more! Entry is free, but the Village’s special events are an additional charge.

Santa Photos at Lakeside Shopping Center & Esplanade Mall

Kenner’s Esplanade Mall will have Santa photo opportunities daily until December 24 at 6:00 p.m. Check out Santa’s photo hours on the Esplanade Mall’s event page. Lakeside Shopping Center also has Santa photo shoots from now through December 24.


The Northshore is just a short drive from New Orleans, across Lake Pontchartrain. The Northshore’s holiday calendar is always jam-packed with wonderful events for the whole family.

Merry Madisonville & Lighting of the Oaks

The 10th annual Merry Madisonville is a holiday festival that begins with a holiday parade, where Santa arrives by boat at Town Hall. Soon after is “Santa’s Workshop,” which features caroling, kids’ activities, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and arts and crafts. 

Finally, Madisonville Mayor Jean Pelloat will begin the “Lighting of the Oaks,” during which Madisonville’s majestic oaks will be illuminated with beautiful twinkling lights.

Slidell’s Bayou Christmas

The 5th annual Bayou Christmas is a free festival presented by the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana. It will take place December 19-22, 2018 in Slidell’s Heritage Park.

Over 80,000 lights decorate wonderful lighted displays and holiday music, setting the scene for free photo shoots in Santa’s Village.

Baton Rouge

Louisiana’s capital city will soon feature plenty of events and shows that will put you in the holiday spirit.

Holiday Lights at Baton Rouge General

Baton Rouge General Medical Center presents its first fantastic holiday lights display this year, transforming its lawn into a synchronized musical light show. It’s already running, and you’ll have the opportunity to see it through December 31! 

Festival of Lights

Go Downtown to Baton Rouge’s Town Square for an immersive holiday celebration. According to Visit Baton Rouge, the whole family can “frolic in the imported snow, ride a magical train at the Old Governor’s Mansion, see Santa and Movies at the Old State Capitol, and listen to Holiday Music Magic at the Art and Science Museum.” Sounds like a blast!

This year’s event will also feature a “Cajun Night Before Christmas” performance.

Get Cozy in Your New 1st Lake Apartment this Holiday Season!

Contact us today to learn more about our private gated apartment communities!

The Best Biking In New Orleans, Baton Rouge & The Northshore

Autumn in Louisiana is the perfect time of year for biking. But no matter what time of year it is, there are fantastic spots to bike near all of 1st Lake’s gated residential communities.

Read on for the best places to bike in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and the Northshore, and get ready to enjoy the beautiful natural environment of South Louisiana!

New Orleans

New Orleans is, for the most part, completely flat, making it ideal for cycling. There are lots of great places to go for a bike ride in the Crescent City.

Lafitte Greenway

The Lafitte Greenway is a 2.6-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail and green corridor connecting neighborhoods from Armstrong Park to City Park, extending from the intersection of N. Alexander and St. Louis streets in Mid-City to Basin Street and St. Louis Street in Tremé, blocks from the French Quarter.

According to the official website, “The Greenway includes a 12-foot asphalt path for cyclists and pedestrians, new recreation fields, basketball courts, outdoor fitness parks, green space, and landscaping improvements including approximately 500 shade trees, native plant meadows, and stormwater retention features. The path is fully lit with LED energy-efficient trail lighting and includes curb extensions, signalized high visibility crosswalks, a crushed stone walking path, and a bicycle and pedestrian roundabout.”

St. Charles Avenue

Historic St. Charles Avenue is a major attraction in the city due to the majestic oaks and beautiful homes that line the street. Tulane and Loyola University campuses are also located along St. Charles, as well as the famous Columns Hotel. 

Biking down St. Charles is a great way to spend an afternoon. Plus, there are plenty of great restaurants and parks along the way, for those that would rather take their time and relax.

Lakeshore Drive

Lakeshore Drive is a popular place for biking because it provides a path with a view of beautiful Lake Pontchartrain. There are also plenty of places to eat or relax along the way.

Baton Rouge

If you live at one of our Baton Rouge properties, you’ll also have a chance to bike along the Mississippi River, as well as many other beautiful landscapes in the city.

Mississippi River Levee

Along the Mississippi River levee is a 4-mile bike path that extends from just north of the I-10 Mississippi River Bridge down past Skip Bertman Drive at LSU to Farr Park. The path accommodates walkers, joggers and bikers. Water fountains and benches can be found along the way.

Downtown Greenway

Baton Rouge’s Downtown Greenway is a bicycling corridor that stretches through the inner city. It’s the perfect place to bike. Make sure you take advantage of the many parks, businesses and cultural attractions along the way.


The Northshore is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of New Orleans and slow things down. There is more open and unused space on the Northshore compared to New Orleans, and this lends itself to biking perfectly.

Mandeville Trailhead Along The Tammany Trace 

The Tammany Trace is a hiking and biking trail that makes its way through every city on the Northshore, spanning from Covington, through Abita Springs, Mandeville and Lacombe, and ending in Slidell. Incredibly, this biking trail is over 30 miles long.

The Mandeville Trailhead is a public waypoint along the trace, where you will find restrooms, pavilions, an amphitheater, and other well-maintained public facilities to use before you begin your journey. The Mandeville Trailhead also hosts a farmers market on Saturday mornings.

There is a trailhead located in every city that the trace runs through, and each of them holds unique events and activities. To learn more about the trace and its trailheads, check out the official Tammany Trace website.

Find A Home At 1st Lake and Start Exploring Your City!

1st Lake has properties located near all of the biking spots listed above!  Contact us today to learn more about our private gated apartment communities.

1st Lake’s Guide to Great Farmers Markets

Farmers markets have been part of the Louisiana way of life for centuries. All across the state, these markets feature a wide array of seasonal produce, flowers, local delicacies, and arts & crafts.

Autumn is a great time of year to check out the farmers markets in your area. The weather is lovely, and there is a strong sense of community surrounding these weekly or monthly gatherings.

Read on for some of our farmers market recommendations.

New Orleans

There are dozens of farmers markets in the New Orleans area, and each one features a variety of items including produce and local arts & crafts. The French Market Farmers Market and the Crescent City Farmers Market have regular hours and are well known throughout the city. 

French Market Farmers Market

This is a historic market that features full-service eateries serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and a variety of fresh produce and seafood. 

Two weekly fresh food farmers markets can be found here: The Wednesday Crescent City Farmers Market and the Artisan Saturday Market.

The Crescent City Farmers Market offers items from local farmers, fishers, and food producers, as well as cooking demonstrations and occasional live music performances.

The Artisan Saturday Market offers handmade arts & crafts including clothing, candles, and many other locally made and carefully selected items. 

Marketplace at Armstrong Park (Thursdays, 3 – 7 p.m.)

This marketplace boasts “produce, crafts, and culture.” Its mission is to help revitalize the local community by increasing access to “fresh, local, and affordable food, and enhance economic viability” for its vendors.

Metry Market at the Park (Wednesdays, 3:30 – 7:30 p.m.)

Metry Market at the Park offers family fun in Metairie’s Lafreniere Park, and offers a weekly community event for all ages. Its mission is to “provide a source of fresh fruit, vegetables and local goods to residents, highlight more of what Metairie, LA can offer to their residents and encourage residents to get in the habit of buying local goods.”

This market also features artisans from all across Louisiana selling handmade jewelry, crafts, and more. 

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge is also a great place to find locally sourced produce and other goods, and there are two major markets you should definitely check out.

Main Street Market

Main Street Market is located in downtown Baton Rouge, and features locally owned restaurants and shops inside of a marketplace setting. It is open Monday through Saturday and serves breakfast and lunch, as well as coffee. 

On Saturdays, Main Street combines with the Red Stick Farmers Market to create a community market that offers cooking demonstrations, as well as other standard farmers market fare.

Red Stick Farmers Market (Thursdays & Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)

Red Stick Farmers Market has been in operation for nearly a decade, and only offers produce that is locally grown. Depending on the time of year, Red Stick operates in up to 7 locations across Baton Rouge, and has over 50 farmers that regularly participate. 

Red Stick offers a fantastic variety of “fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, seafood, artisan breads, homemade pies, honey, milk and cheese, native plants, herbs, and specialty food items.” 


For those of you staying in one of our Northshore communities, don’t worry! Both Mandeville and Covington have great farmers markets that aren’t far from your apartment.

Covington Farmers Market (Wednesday & Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)

The Covington Farmers Market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday morning, and is a community gathering featuring fresh produce, prepared food and music. All produce offered at the market is grown locally, and what’s available will depend on the season.

You’ll also find “jam, jelly, bread, pastries, pies, and candy” as well as a “broad selection of live native, ornamental and culinary plants.”

Mandeville Trailhead Farmer’s Market (Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)

Since 2002, the Mandeville Trailhead Farmers Market has brought the local community together to buy local goods and enjoy local entertainment and educational activities. 

The market features over 50 vendors offering “food of all types, wood-crafted items, artwork, pottery, children’s toys and clothing, soaps & lotions, and more.” 

Let Us Help You Find a Home and a Great Community!

Contact us today to learn more about our private gated apartment communities!

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

There’s no season like snowball season in New Orleans! Snowballs are a delicious combination of finely shaved ice and decadent cane syrup that come together as the perfect treat. And they’re available in more flavors than you can imagine. Get one to-go and enjoy it at the lake, or have one at home on your balcony. No matter how you enjoy them, each icy spoonful of a snowball is a taste of summer!

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. 

Casey’s Snowballs

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 West 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

Tree stump seating sets this Old Metairie snowball stand apart. 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 stay trim, but it’s hard to resist toppings like condensed milk – again, who could blame you?

Robear’s Snowballs and Soft Serve

This Harahan location serves up decadent snowballs like strawberry cheesecake with condensed milk. 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, and it’s just a quick drive from Metairie Road on City Park Avenue. We love Ike’s because of their doggie snowballs. A chicken snowball doesn’t sound particularly appetizing to us, but we know your four-legged friends will love them.

Don’t have a pet? Trust us, you’ll still want to go to Ike’s. It’s open year-round, and it offers juicy flavors like watermelon, strawberry, and pineapple that are sure to satisfy. You’ll find plenty of outdoor seating here, although another option is to order your snowball to-go and enjoy it at City Park!

Costanza’s Snowballs

Last, but not least, on our list is Costanza’s in Metairie, located at 5211 W Napoleon Avenue. Stuffed snowballs and decadent toppings (condensed milk is a favorite here as well) are the way to go at this location. 


With a convenient location on Harrison Avenue in Lakeview, NOLA Snow is a great place to grab a snowball before heading to the lakefront. Kids love their cotton candy and bubblegum flavors, and mellower flavors like 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 serve ice cream, floats, and stuffed snowballs are also available – definitely bring your sweet tooth.


Romantic Ways to Spend Valentine’s Day at Home

Happy Valentine’s Day! We know it might be difficult to plan a romantic date after celebrating Mardi Gras all weekend, so we’ve rounded up a few at-home date options you can use for inspiration this February 14th. 

Your 1st Lake home is the perfect setting for a relaxing and intimate Valentine’s Day date. In fact, you can shower your loved one with mini-dates all day long without having to leave the house. Starting with…

Breakfast in Bed

Start off your day of love with breakfast in your cozy 1st Lake bedroom.

They’ll love waking up to a tray of homemade pancakes, scrambled eggs, and fresh fruit. Cooking your loved one’s breakfast is a meaningful and thoughtful beginning to a warm and affectionate day! 

Candle-lit Day Spa Indulgence

Line your 1st Lake bathroom’s spacious soaking tub with flickering battery-powered faux candles, then fill it with an essential oil-scented bubble bath.

We like lavender for its calming and relaxing capabilities. A moody, candle-lit bubble bath will make your loved one feel royally loved. 

May I Have This Dance?

To get the evening started, clear your 1st Lake living room and turn it into a dance floor for two.

It might seem silly, but there’s something tender about dancing to the songs that have shaped your time together. It’s a great reminder of all of the memories you’ve made with your loved one. 

Dinner Under the Night Sky

Many of our 1st Lake communities have beautiful gazebos and outdoor spaces you can use to host a twilight dinner. Our newest development in Covington, Artesia, has a spacious poolside grilling area that’s perfect for cooking an open-air Valentine’s Day dinner.

After you’re done with dinner, share a toast to the lovely day you shared in the home you made together!

Feeling Inspired?

Your 1st Lake home is a great place to make memories without having to go far or spend a lot of money (maybe a little on some chocolates). The best part? No reservations. How are you going to spend Valentine’s Day this year? Share the love with us on our Facebook page!