Early-Bird Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving


Ideally, Thanksgiving is about spending time with loved ones and reflecting on all we’re grateful for. In reality, it’s often a time of major stress: did we bake enough dinner rolls? Does this side dish go well with turkey? Why is the gravy so lumpy?

While there’s not much to do for last-minute disasters besides take a long, deep breath, you can prepare yourself and your space in advance to ensure a successful holiday.


Check your spices for expiration dates — fresh flavors make all the difference in holiday cooking! (Photo courtesy Chris Martino on Flickr)


Take Stock of Your Kitchen

Simple tasks like checking expiration dates on your spices or counting how many usable plates you have can save you from last-minute mad dashes to the store on the big day. Make an ongoing list that outlines what you need, then plan on a shopping trip where you can purchase everything all at once.

Remember to check in on other dining necessities: ample utensils, wine glasses, dish-washing liquid, and paper towels can all be the difference between a seamless evening and a stressful one.

Consider an Easygoing Menu

Try to plan a menu that doesn’t rely on being served hot or cold. Dishes like wild rice salad, pecan or pumpkin pies, and even the turkey itself can be served at room temperature, hot, or cold, so no matter where you need to store them, you’ll ensure they taste delicious.

But What About the Bird?

A huge turkey is often the star of a Thanksgiving menu — but it doesn’t have to be! You can forego the fowl in its whole form and try dishes like a satisfying turkey pot-pie, roasted turkey breasts, or turkey osso bucco. If you insist on a full turkey, here are a few space-saving tips:

  • Use it as an opportunity to clean the fridge and get rid of any odds and ends you simply won’t use
  • Defrost a frozen turkey in a refrigerator over the course of several days once your fridge is clean
  • Or, defrost and brine your turkey at the same time using a cooler on your balcony or patio

Gear Up for Guests

Even if your out-of-town visitors have plans to stay elsewhere, you may want to consider preparing a guest room – just in case. Purchase a few travel-size toiletries so guests don’t have to use yours. Place items like toothpaste, a razor, a new bar of soap, and shampoo on top of a clean, colorful towel so guests will know it’s theirs to use.

Put fresh sheets on the guest bed, and stack a couple of extra blankets nearby. Stocking up on toilet paper is a necessity; fresh flowers, magazines, and water bottles all placed in the room are bonus points for hosts looking to make a special impression. If you don’t have a guest room, create an alternate space for guests to sleep with an airbed or even a feather mattress topper placed on the floor.

Yesterday’s Halloween is Today’s Thanksgiving

Scope out remaining Halloween sales to find decorative items and candy to have on hand for the Thanksgiving holiday. Often, candies have fall themes that are deeply discounted after Halloween – arrange them in a crystal bowl, and your guests can help themselves to bite-size treats leading up to the meal.

Post-Halloween sales are also a good time to purchase several pumpkins. These hearty gourds should last well through Thanksgiving and are a beautiful addition on the table, mantel, or on the front door.

We hope these tips will help you enjoy a peaceful, fun holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our current and future residents at 1st Lake Properties! We are thankful for you!

Business is Booming in Jefferson Parish

We’ve long known Louisiana is a great place to live, but in recent years, it’s proven to be a great place to work as well. In an annual report from Site Selection, Louisiana received the No. 4 ranking for top state business climates. The most exciting aspect of this good news is that just six years ago, Louisiana ranked 25th in the same poll. Louisiana has made a huge leap forward in business in just a few short years, and New Orleans and its beautiful suburbs are a crucial contributor to that success.

The New Orleans metro area was also named the “biggest brain magnet” by Forbes Magazine, and a number of young professionals are moving to the area. Renting has become a clear choice for these newcomers, and if you’re moving here to start a new job, we recommend checking out our moving resources and tips for your move to the New Orleans metro.

new orleans aerial

An aerial view of the New Orleans metro. (Photo via Flickr user Rande Archer)

Take a closer look at some other exciting business and economic news in Jefferson Parish (where many of our 1st Lake Properties are located) and see how it measures up to Orleans Parish.

Economic Insights for Jefferson Parish

Source: Greater New Orleans Inc.

Key Facts

  • Jefferson Parish boasts acclaimed restaurants, a thriving arts scene, frequent festivals, large shopping destinations, and ample sports and outdoor activities
  • The New Orleans Zephyrs AAA baseball team plays in Jefferson Parish, and the New Orleans Saints training facility is in the parish as well
  • Jefferson Parish is home to the state’s only TCP golf course
  • Wildlife and natural assets like Jean Lafitte National Park and Grand Isle are located within the parish

Large Corporations Based in Jefferson Parish

  • Ochsner Health System
  • East Jefferson General Hospital
  • Walmart Stores East
  • United Parcel Service, Inc.

Economic Insights for Orleans Parish

Source: Greater New Orleans Inc.

Key Facts

  • Orleans Parish incorporates New Orleans, a city known internationally for its history, culture, restaurants, music, and more
  • Large sports teams like the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans host their games within Orleans Parish
  • Several universities are located within the parish

Large Corporations Based in Orleans Parish

  • LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans
  • Tulane University
  • Touro Infirmary
  • Caesars Entertainment Corporation
  • USDA National Finance Center

Together, these two parishes have contributed tremendously to Louisiana’s success as an economic force in the United States. We’re proud to call Louisiana home, and even prouder to have a strong presence in Jefferson and Orleans parishes.

Gabriel Townhome

Lease a stunning townhome in Kenner’s coveted Gabriel Subdivision!

This custom home resides within a gated community just minutes from downtown New Orleans and the Metairie CBD. Centrally located near shopping centers and entertainment venues, Gabriel Subdivision is the ideal place to live.

Our Kenner townhome spreads over 2,400 sq. ft. with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a downstairs master, a double car garage, granite counter tops, a cozy fireplace, a beautiful sunroom, a tranquil courtyard and more.

Luxury 3 BR, 2.5 BA home in the prestigious Gabriel Subdivision in Kenner! Monthly rent: $2,895 Deposit: $2,895 on approved credit; prices subject to change. For questions and inquiries, call Pelican Bay Apartments at 1-866-742-1968 or email PelicanB@1st-lake.com.


This home at 84 Palmetto, Kenner, LA, 70065, is a luxurious hideaway that will exceed your highest expectations in home living.

This home features amenities like: Gas Stove | Fireplace | Outside Entrance | Granite Coutnertops | Kitchen Island | Ample Cabinet Space | Pantry | Double Sink | Double Oven | 3 BR, 2.5 BA |Downstairs Master | Stand up Shower and Jacuzzi Tub | Large Walk-in Closet | Sun Room | Courtyard | Expansive Dining and Living Combo | Double Car Garage | Extra Driveway | Washer/ Dryer Hookups |End Townhome

Tour by appointment: Leasing office located at 2150 42nd St., Kenner, LA, 70065

Where to Find Oysters in River Ridge, Harahan, Metairie, and Kenner

There’s an old saying that oysters are best during the months that end with “r.” And while it’s true oysters tend to be larger in the winter months when the weather is colder, these days, it really is just a saying – you can find fresh oysters any time of year in the greater New Orleans area (the “r” saying harks back to the days before suitable refrigeration and food storage). There are so many fantastic options for oysters in River Ridge, Harahan, Jefferson, Metairie, and Kenner. Who’s hungry?


Raw, charbroiled, fried — the ways to prepare oyster and the places to find them outside New Orleans are practically endless. (Photo via Flickr Creative Commons)

The Best Oysters Just Outside New Orleans

Acme Oyster House — 3000 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie

A delicious local chain bursting with Cajun-Creole classics. Order the fried oysters and the Oyster Rockefeller soup, with a hint of Herbsaint.

Drago’s Seafood — 3232 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie

This family-run restaurant is famous for its charbroiled oysters. They also have an extensive, separate gluten-free menu perfect for folks with food allergies.

Charles Seafood — 8311 Jefferson Highway, Harahan

Try the oyster platter with your choice of side. We’ll be choosing the jambalaya grits.

Jaeger’s Seafood and Beer Garden — 901 S. Clearview Parkway, New Orleans

Order the salted raw oysters or try their signature style, Oysters Jaeger. With interesting sides like stuffed Creole eggplant and stuffed mirliton, this restaurant lets you pick and choose a memorable meal.

Mr. Ed’s Oyster Bar and Fish House — 3117 21st St., Metairie

The fried oysters are somewhat of a specialty here, although you can order ‘em charbroiled and raw as well.

Deanie’s Seafood — 1713 Lake Ave, Metairie

Crowd-pleasing seafood in Bucktown – and it’s just around the corner from R&O’s if you get a po-boy craving.

The Blue Crab Restaurant & Oyster Bar — 7900 Lakeshore Drive, New Orleans

Another Bucktown favorite with a beautiful waterfront location. Try the oysters on the half shell (though we also recommend the fried crab claw appetizer).

Harbor Seafood & Oyster Bar — 3203 Williams Blvd., Kenner

Head straight to the raw oyster bar at this low-key spot on Williams Boulevard… but if you’re feeling brave, you can order the swamp platter, too, with alligator, frog, and turtle.

Dockside Seafood & Oyster Bar — 1820 Dickory Ave. Suite A, Harahan

Big, succulent charbroiled oysters are one of many excellent options at this Harahan site, offering generous portions of fresh Gulf seafood.

History and Famous Graves at Metairie Cemetery

Whether you head to the Metairie Cemetery for a good scare, a little bit of history, or simply a calm, quiet place to reflect, there’s so much to learn at this beautifully landscaped space along Old Metairie Road on Metairie Ridge. The cemetery dates from 1872, and it has housed wealthy and famous “residents” in the decades since. The cemetery features elaborate tombs; some are clustered together in a section known as “Millionaire’s Row.” More humble graves where less-affluent families have laid their loved ones to rest make up the remainder of the cemetery.

Peaceful, pretty Metairie Cemetery. (Photo via Flickr user Loco Steve)

Peaceful, pretty Metairie Cemetery. (Photo via Flickr user Loco Steve)

The History

The Metairie Cemetery features a lot of interesting history for Civil War buffs. In fact, two of the cemetery’s largest burial sites were built specifically for veterans of the Civil War. You’ll see a huge column featuring a statue of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson as well as tombs for prominent Civil War figures like Jefferson Davis and Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard.

The Architecture

The graves feature a mix of styles that show the cemetery’s age. You’ll see Italianate and Classical Revival styles as well as Gothic Revival. Statues, elaborate tombs, and simple graves all stand side by side in this beautifully landscaped graveyard, featuring meticulously clipped lawns and walkways that allude to the cemetery’s former life as a horseracing track in the early 1800s.


You’ll see interesting architecture throughout the cemetery. (Photo via Flickr user Michael Homan)

Famous “Residents”

Here are just a few examples of the graves you’ll see in Metairie Cemetery:

  • William Claiborne – d. Nov. 23, 1817; U.S. congressman, senator, and Louisiana governor
  • Alvin Copeland — d. March 23, 2008; created Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits
  • Eve Curie — d. Oct. 22, 2007; the daughter of famous scientist Marie Curie
  • Jefferson Davis — d. Dec. 6, 1889; the president of the Confederate States of America (note: Davis’ remains were later transferred to Richmond, Virginia, but the tombstone remains)
  • Andrew Higgins — d. Aug. 1, 1952; inventor and shipbuilder who created the PT boats used during World War II
  • Louis Prima — d. Aug. 24, 1978; acclaimed jazz musician

For a full list, visit the Find a Grave website.

How to Get There

The cemetery is located at the junction of I-10 and Metairie Road and is technically in New Orleans city limits. From most of our New Orleans-area 1st Lake Properties, you’ll simply take I-10 East to exist 231A for City Park Ave/Metairie Road. Cars are allowed inside the cemetery, which closes at 5 p.m.


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