1st Lake Blog

Where To Satisfy Your Cravings for King Cake in New Orleans

King Cake in New Orleans is a beloved and special tradition – and one you can only enjoy during the Carnival season. So it’s important to make the most of your King Cake window and try as many delicious renditions as you can!

Ask any local and they’ll tell you that King Cake in New Orleans is only eaten from Twelfth Night (January 6) through Mardi Gras Day. And there are so many bakeries, restaurants and special spots that serve up their own spin on the confection.

Need a good starting point to find the best King Cake in New Orleans? Here’s some must-try options for you to enjoy!

Manny Randazzo's King Cake is a must-try King Cake in New Orleans during Carnival

Manny Randazzo’s King Cake

Almost everyone has heard of the Randazzo family and their secret family king cake recipe is the stuff of legend in New Orleans. As the most well-known keeper of the family’s sweet treat, Manny Randazzo’s King Cakes offers everything from traditional King Cakes to special flavors like apple, lemon, and strawberry.

A bite of Manny Randazzo’s king cake is an essential part of the Mardi Gras experience – if you’re lucky enough to snag one!

Photo by Caluda’s King Cake via Facebook


Caluda’s, another classic king cake spot, is a go-to bakery offering a variety of traditional and non-traditional flavors both during the carnival season and year-round. Their 30-step baking process makes for a delicious and decadent king cake.

Either pick one up locally or order one for shipping!

Photo by @laboulangerienola via Instagram

La Boulangerie

This French bakery on New Orleans’ charming Magazine Street is the perfect spot to pick up a delicious King Cake. Well-known and popular year-round for their croissants and pastries, they offer traditional cakes alongside cinnamon, strawberry, almond, and pretzel flavors during Carnival. 

You can even grab a personal mini King Cake to enjoy on the go!

Haydel's Bakery serves classic King Cakes in New Orleans that locals love.
Photo by @haydelsbakery via Instagram

Haydel’s Bakery

Haydel’s classic king cake is famous around town. Made of Danish dough, hand braided with cinnamon and sugar, and baked to perfection, these treats are sure to be one of your top favorites with just one bite. 

Plus, they have many special flavors to choose from like praline pecan, cream cheese, strawberry cream cheese, German chocolate, and brownie chocolate chip!

Photo by @gambinosbakery via Instagram

Gambino’s Bakery

Gambino’s has been a well-known New Orleans King Cake spot for decades. Many call them the King of King Cakes and with good reason. Their classic King Cake is just that – fluffy dough, topped with icing, and drizzled with sugar, exactly how a King Cake should taste. 

Photo by @graciousbakerynola via Instagram

Gracious Bakery

If you’re looking for an adventurous flavor to try for your King Cake indulge, Gracious Bakery is the perfect place to start. Their delicious confections showcase some mouthwatering flavors like chocolate, almond frangipane, and nectar cream – they even have a bananas foster-flavored King Cake that’s definitely worth a bite!

Tried All Those and Still Want More?

Our friends at wrote a very extensive blog on all the king cake finds this city offers. Check it out here!

How to Make a Holiday Charcuterie Board

A typical Charcuterie board usually consists of a variety of meats and cheeses and is a staple for holiday parties. This year, they have become more popular and people are making their boards with a variety of different items! 

We tried our hand at it with a couple of our own twists and tricks! See how we assembled two, modern charcuterie boards just in time for the holiday season, using items you will love! 

A Cheddar Together Board

    First up, we created a charcuterie board that pairs perfectly with a glass of wine! Our board included three main ingredients: cheese, grapes, and crackers. All of which were purchased from Rouses! This year, our holiday decor at Artesia Apartments featured a lot of snowflakes, and we decided to bring those elements to the board. 

    Learn how to make a fun, festive charcuterie board for your next get-together!

    We placed tinsel in the shape of a tree and alternated between grapes and cheese. Add some snowflakes on top and you have a cheesy winter wonderland scene. Not only did this one come out tasty, but it also added a festive flair to our countertop! 

    Dreamy Dessert Board

    For our second board, we decided to go down a sweeter path to make the dessert board of our dreams! We gathered all of our favorite holiday treats and found the perfect spot to share, at our new apartment community, Bella Ridge South

    If you want to make a stunning charcuterie board with a fun holiday twist, try serving a dessert themed charcuterie board!

    We suggest making yourself a delicious cup of hot chocolate or egg nog to enjoy this one. From staples like Little Debbie Treats, red and green gumdrops to peppermint marshmallows and even Oreo cookies, this board had everything! Adding popcorn and pretzels is a great way to add a splash of salty snacks into the mix. The final product is perfect to leave in the kitchen for midnight snacking or even to make as your table’s centerpiece!

    With oversized kitchens and huge floorplans, our apartment homes are a perfect place to come home to for the holidays!

    For more ideas on holiday decorating, check out our blog on how to create a Show-Stopping Table Setting

    DIY Holiday Gift Basket Ideas

    When it comes to gift-giving, it’s often said that it’s the thought that counts. However true this may be, you should strive to give the best gift possible.

    Adding a personal touch to your gifts is a way to show someone they’re special. That’s why DIY gift baskets are so cool – they’re a way to give a great gift with a personal touch.

    In this post, we’ll share some ideas for DIY holiday gift baskets. With a gift basket, you can give your loved ones an assortment of goodies that show you’ve been thinking about them.

    Read on for some great gift basket ideas!

    Wine & Coffee

    Both wine and coffee are great themes for a holiday gift basket. Chances are, you know someone who is a wine or coffee enthusiast, or both. There are lots of coffee or wine-themed gifts you can turn into a basket that will provide them with everything they need to enjoy their favorite beverage.

    For coffee, include mugs, to-go cups and lids, coffee beans of your choice, mini-creamers, and sugar. And if you want to go the extra mile, you can even include a coffee bean grinder.

    For wine, include wine glasses, a corkscrew, wine aerator, and a bottle of delicious red or white. For a more in-depth tutorial on wine baskets, check out The Wine Cellar Group’s detailed guide.


    Do you know anyone with a green thumb? If so, they’ll be delighted by a gardening gift basket.

    Use your gardening basket as a way to replace old or worn tools and provide inspiration for new things to grow.

    Include gardening gloves, a garden trowel, seed packets, gardening books, air plants, a garden cultivator, and gardening pots. Check out Gardening Know How for more.

    Grilling & BBQ

    The grilling gear basket is great for anyone who spends their holidays entertaining guests and flipping burgers out in the backyard.

    Include a basting brush, a high-quality dry rub or sauce, skewers, an assortment of grilling-related condiments, and top it all off with a cutting board. Country Living provides a few more ideas for the grilling pro in your life.


    You probably also know someone who loves to bake. Because those who bake love to share the fruits of their labor, a “baking essentials” basket might end up being a gift to yourself as well!

    Include baking utensils, a whisk, spoon, spatula, measuring cups and spoons, tongs, and a strainer. Dish towels, oven mitts, and some kind of cake mix or dough are also great additions.

    Start Making Your Holiday Gift Baskets in Your New 1st Lake Apartment!

    Contact us today for information on our private residential communities.

    DIY Hot Chocolate Bar

    As the weather gets colder and the holiday season approaches, there’s nothing quite as comforting as a steaming mug of hot chocolate. This seasonal classic is even better personalized with toppings, mix-ins, and your favorite holiday mugs. Creating a DIY Holiday Hot Chocolate Bar ensures all these extras are in one place, making it the perfect setup to easily grab a cup or have friends and family over to join in the cozy festivities.

    DIY Hot Chocolate Bar

    Selecting the Perfect Spot:
    Find the ideal location for your hot chocolate bar, whether it’s the heart of your kitchen on the island, a cozy corner on your countertop, or a stylish bar cart.

    Crafting a Theme:
    Infuse personality into your hot chocolate bar by selecting a theme that resonates with the season. Think candy cane stripes, delicate snowflakes, cozy plaid – the possibilities are endless. To keep things seamlessly coordinated, snag your supplies in your chosen theme!

    Gathering the Essentials:
    Curate a checklist of must-have items to ensure your hot chocolate bar is both functional and fabulous. From charming mugs, elegant spoons, and festive napkins to handy containers and eye-catching decorative elements like tablecloths and signs, each detail contributes to the overall enchantment.

    Picking Your Hot Chocolate Flavor:
    Begin your hot chocolate journey by choosing a flavor that sets the tone. Opt for classic hot chocolate powder, or venture into alternatives such as velvety white chocolate, rich dark chocolate, or spirited peppermint and caramel options. For a mess-free and effortlessly delicious experience, consider indulging in convenient hot chocolate sticks.

    Toppings & Mix-ins Extravaganza:
    Now, the fun begins! Let your creativity run wild as you assemble an array of toppings that turn a simple cup of cocoa into a masterpiece.

    • Dry Toppings:
      Transform your hot chocolate with classic choices like marshmallows, crushed peppermint, and cinnamon powder. Alternatively, explore unique toppings like toffee bits, coconut shavings, coarse sea salt, candied ginger, or even a dollop of peanut butter!
    • Refrigerated Toppings:
      Elevate your hot chocolate experience with chilled delights. Choose from an array of flavored whipped creams to add an extra layer of indulgence. As for the base, whether it’s regular milk or a dairy-free alternative, the result is a cup of hot chocolate that’s irresistibly creamy and utterly satisfying.

    Now that you have everything you need to create your hot chocolate bar, it’s time to set up! Add your cocoa powder and toppings to separate containers with a lid to ensure they stay fresh, and keep your refrigerated items cold until it’s time to add them to your delicious cup of hot chocolate. Once you have everything organized, lay it out in the spot you chose for your hot chocolate bar and finish by decorating with your festive essentials!

    There you have it! A deliciously fun and festive hot chocolate bar to enjoy all throughout the holiday season!

    Find Your New Home this Holiday Season!

    Looking for a new home this holiday season?! We’ve got you covered! Browse our list of apartment homes here and find the perfect one to call your cozy haven!

    Holiday Activities in Metairie, Kenner, and River Ridge

    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.

    Holiday Activities in Greater New Orleans

    ✨ Music and Theater Events

    Jefferson Performing Arts Society Presents: “The Nutcracker”

    Experience classic characters like the Mouse King and the Sugar Plum Fairy this holiday season as part of the fantastical journey with The Nutcracker. Get your tickets online for Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. or Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.

    Rivertown Theaters Presents: “A Christmas Story” The Musical

    This nostalgic and heartwarming musical features memorable characters, catchy songs, and spectacular choreography, bringing you the charm of the classic film. Tickets to the show, running from Dec. 1-17 at the Rivertown Theater in Kenner, can be found here.

    Trans-Siberian Orchestra

    Rock out with Trans-Siberian Orchestra as they embark on their 2023 Winter Tour: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. On Dec. 13 at 7:00 p.m., they will be making their way to the Smoothie King Center, just in time to get you in the holiday spirit! Tickets start at just under $50 and can be purchased here.

    The National World War II Museum’s “Louisiana Christmas Day”

    From the raucous Cajun bayous to the splendors of caroling in historic Jackson Square, the vintage-chic Victory Belles take you on a holiday musical tour with classic tunes like “Have A Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Christmastime in New Orleans.” Celebrate the holidays Louisiana-style by purchasing tickets here to one of the shows happening throughout the holiday season

    🎄 Outdoor Events

    Holiday Champagne Stroll presented by Gulf Coast Bank & Trust

    Start the holiday season on Magazine Street, Dec. 2 from 6:00 p.m. to 9 p.m., with an evening of festive after-hours shopping. Enjoy champagne, explore the shops, and discover ideal gifts with special offerings from participating businesses.

    Tea with Santa

    Kenner Parks & Recreation invites guests to Christmas Tea with Santa, which will include food and activities. The event will take place at the Kenner City Park Pavilion on Dec. 9, with the first seating at 10:00 a.m. and the second seating at 12:30 p.m. Click here to register.


    The Grinch is back in Kenner! Join Kenner Parks & Recreation at Heritage Hall on Dec. 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for yummy food and fun activities before spending time in the Christmas Village. To pre-register for the event, please click here.

    Santa Paws & Pints

    Celebrate the holidays with your furry friend! On Dec. 2 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Port Orleans Brewing Company will be hosting a fundraiser to benefit ARNO. There will be photo opportunities with Santa, local vendors to shop from, a raffle with various prizes, and pints for purchase. All proceeds go toward vet bills for ARNO’s special needs cases.

    Holiday Market with the Grinch

    Join Port Orleans Brewing Company on Dec. 9 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. for a holiday market featuring the Grinch. Local vendors will be selling crafts and gifts, the Grinch will be taking photos, and there will be a bounce house for children.

    Kenner Christmas Village

    On Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 1-23, you can enjoy snow, crafts, food vendors, entertainment, and a special appearance from Santa at Heritage Park in Rivertown. 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 $10 per vehicle in advance and $15 at the gate, so plan to carpool and save some money! Christmas in the Park runs every Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 10:00 p.m. throughout the holiday season.

    Lights at the Lake

    Pontchartrain Conservancy is hosting its 10th annual holiday celebration at the New Canal Lighthouse on Lake Pontchartrain on Dec. 9 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Enjoy the West End Boat Parade, activities for the children, local food trucks, hot chocolate, and more. Admission is $10 for ages 6+ and tickets can be purchased online or at the event.


    🎁 Indoor Events

    Polar Express Cake Class and Pajama Party

    Join Sweetooth Bakery and Cafe Caribe for a holiday decorating class that is perfect for both children and adults! The cost is $35 per person and includes a cake to decorate, decorating tools, hot chocolate, cookies, and more. Tickets can be purchased here for the event on Dec. 22 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Don’t forget to wear your favorite PJs!

    NOLA ChristmasFest

    Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this indoor, family-friendly holiday fest brings an enchanting winter wonderland right here to New Orleans. It features attractions like ice skating lessons, a holiday display, dining, and carnival rides to name a few. Hosted at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, this fest runs from Dec. 21-30 with tickets for purchase online.


    🦌 Northshore Events

    Merry Madisonville

    Ring in the holiday season with the 15th annual Merry Madisonville Parade and Celebration. The event takes place at Madisonville’s ballpark and playground on Dec. 3 from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., with the parade at 2 p.m. and pictures with Santa at 4:00 p.m. There will also be food trucks, hot chocolate, activities, and more!

    Twinkle on the Tchefuncte

    Twinkle on the Tchefuncte, taking place Dec. 16 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Madisonville Riverfront, is a lighted boat parade and holiday decorating contest, as well as a toy and food drive. Bring your chairs to set up for the parade and stroll along the riverfront for eats and treats, face painting, carolers, and more. If you’re interested in entering the boat parade, click here for more information.


    From wintery wonderlands to nostalgic theater productions, there is an event for everybody to enjoy this holiday season! What’s more, you can find a new home to ring in the holiday season even further by checking out our list of communities here!