1st Lake Blog

Soak Up the Sun: Pools Close on Tuesday, Sept. 8

With Labor Day Weekend just around the corner, we’re excited to usher in a new season, filled with cooler days and football games. Labor Day is also when we close our pools for the season. But there’s still a tiny bit of time to relax poolside – take a look at our perfect pool menu. Whip up a batch of crisp, pineapple basil tea and stuffed piquillo peppers with goat cheese perfect for snacking. Get the recipes below (and remember to only use plastic cups at the pool! No glass, please!).

1stlake properties pool

Remember, pools close on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Until then, enjoy!

Pineapple-Basil Tea

Tropical flavors are a delicious complement to a day at the pool. This easy recipe, courtesy of Southern Living, requires just a few ingredients for an inspired result – a unique take on typical Southern-style sweet tea.


  • 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • Water
  • 8 regular-size black tea bags
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil


In a saucepan, bring pineapple, sugar, and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Cool slightly and process using an immersion blender or in a regular blender. Strain the mixture.

Next, bring 3 cups of water to a boil and add tea bags. Boil for one minute, remove from heat, and cover and steep for about 10 minutes. Discard tea bags and stir tea into pineapple mixture. Stir in the fresh basil and 6 cups cold water. Serve over ice. 

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Goat Cheese

Smaller and sweeter than roasted red bell peppers, piquillos make for an elegant, bite-sized snack when stuffed with goat cheese, scallions, and a touch of mint thanks to the recipe from Martha Stewart. Even better? No baking required.


  • 16 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 jar piquillo peppers (about 15 peppers) drained with liquid reserved
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mint


Place goat cheese, scallions, red pepper flakes, mint, and reserved piquillo liquid into a bowl. Zest and then juice the lemons into the bowl (take care to strain the seeds). Mix until combined.

Next, using a small spoon or piping bag, fill the drained piquillo peppers with about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes for garnish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Commemorate Hurricane Katrina with Local Events

There isn’t much to say about Hurricane Katrina, the natural disaster that prompted failure of the federal levees and left much of New Orleans and the Gulf South submerged and in shambles. But we can reflect.

The City of New Orleans, through its Katrina 10 program, features several events happening in connection with the anniversary of the storm, which happened 10 years ago as of Aug. 29. Take a look at some of the Katrina-related events happening around New Orleans – whether you choose to remember is up to you. You can also visit Katrina 10 for a full list of events.

nola skyline

Photo via Flickr user Infrogmation New Orleans

Katrina 10 Media Center Events

When: Friday, Aug. 21, 2015 – Friday, Aug. 28, 2015 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, 500 Canal Street

What: This weeklong series of panel discussions focuses on stories of organizations, government officials, and individuals on subjects like civic engagement, criminal justice reform, and culture and tourism since Hurricane Katrina. Registration required. Learn more here.

Katrina Memorial Wreath-Laying Ceremony

When: Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015 at 8:29 a.m.

Where: Hurricane Katrina Memorial, 5056 Canal Street

What: A morning prayer service at the Katrina Memorial commemorating the unidentified and unclaimed bodies from the storm.

Citywide Day of Service

When: Saturday, Aug. 29 starting at 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Where: Various locations throughout the city of New Orleans

What: A day of service where thousands of volunteers will focus on service across seven parts of the city. All in all, volunteers will help support more than 100 different projects. Learn more here.

Ten Years Gone at New Orleans Museum of Art

When: Through Sept. 7

Where: New Orleans Museum of Art, 1 Collins Diboll Circle

What: A multimedia exhibit focused on themes of memory, loss, and revitalization. The exhibit features abstract visualizations rather than overt references to the storm. Learn more here.

The Katrina Decade: Images of an Altered City at The Historic New Orleans Collection

When: Aug. 22 through Jan. 9, 2016

Where: The Historic New Orleans Collection, 533 Royal Street

What: A collection of 77 photographs from local photographer David Spielman touching on themes of destruction and stunted recovery. 

Homage: New Orleans at the New Orleans Healing Center

When: Now through Aug. 30

Where: The New Orleans Healing Center, 2372 St. Claude Ave

What: A fine art photographic journal that will eventually become a coffee table book of the same name. Browse images capturing some of the most influential jazz, blues, soul, and roots musicians as you read accompanying text about these important members of the community. Learn more here.



It’s Hot Out There! Protect Your Pets

When it’s hot out, you know to wear sunscreen, stay indoors during peak hours, and always drink plenty of water – but what about your pet? Pets can’t tell us exactly how they’re feeling, so it’s important to take precautionary measures during the extreme heat of summer. We’ve seen record-breaking heat in the past few weeks and want to remind all pet owners to take extra care to keep their pets safe and healthy in high temperatures. Here are a few easy ways to help your pets make it through summer safely:

dog water fountain

Keep your pet hydrated during the hot summer months! (Photo via Flickr user Paul Fisher)

Know the risks.

Pets can get heat exhaustion and heatstroke just like humans. Dogs in particular, who love to run around and play, are prone to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Unlike humans, dogs don’t have the ability to produce sweat the same way we do. (Dogs, for example, only produce sweat in areas not covered by their fur).

Know the symptoms.

Heat exhaustion symptoms (the early stages when a dog begins overheating) include ailments like vomiting, rapid panting, diarrhea, and a reddening of the skin inside the ears. Heatstroke is the most dangerous hot weather condition. Full heatstroke can cause organ failure, brain damage, seizures, blindness, and even death.

Consider your pet’s breed, age, and weight.

Simply put, certain breeds and conditions can make your pet more susceptible to heat sensitivity. Pets with short snouts like pugs, bulldogs, and Persians can’t breathe as easily in high temperatures (Persians also have thicker coats that can make the heat uncomfortable). Factors like obesity, old age, and heart disease can also put your pet at a higher risk of developing heat exhaustion.

Take preventative measures.

Don’t allow your pet to stand on hot surfaces, which can burn sensitive paws. Limit walks during peak daylight hours, and take advantage of grass and other landscaped areas rather than asphalt (just remember to bring a bag and pick up after your pet!). You can also trim your pets – we recommend using a groomer – to remove excess fur that can contribute to overheating. Above all, never, ever leave your pet in a parked car. Parked cars – even in the shade, and even for just a few minutes – can quickly turn into an oven-like environment with extreme temperatures that can irrevocably harm your pet’s health.

Know what to do, just in case.

At the first sign of heat exhaustion, work quickly to bring your pet inside to a cool area near a fan, offer them fresh water, and dampen their skin with lukewarm water – let the water air-dry to quickly lower your pet’s body temperature. Even if your pet seems OK, seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible to prevent further sickness.



Back to School! New Orleans Resources for Moving, Start Dates, and School Supplies

Back to school is sort of the “spring cleaning” of the summer – a chance to get organized, regroup, and start the fall on a fresh note. For students, we’ve collected a list of pertinent school supplies and start dates for area schools below. We also know that the beginning of the school year is often a time when college students move into new apartments, which is why we’re including top tips from our Moving Checklist. Check out the full list here! Is it your first apartment? We have all the resources you need with our First Apartment Essentials Checklist.

And remember – tax-free shopping happens this Friday and Saturday, so stock up on back-to-school items all over town during this statewide tax holiday.


Photo courtesy Tulane Public Relations on Flickr.

Top Moving Tips for One to Two Weeks Before Your Move

  • Focus on those nitty-gritty details to make your move seamless. Make sure to:
  • Stop or transfer all of your utility services like electric, cable, and water. Don’t forget to transfer your magazine subscriptions!
  • Change your address with creditors, banks, and the post office
  • Ask friends or family in advance to help on moving day
  • Back up all computers and electronics


New Orleans 2015 Back-to-School Start Dates and Supplies


John Q. Adams Middle
August 10

Airline Park Academy for Advanced Studies
Aug. 10

Alexander, A. C. Elementary
Aug. 10

Audubon, John James Elementary
Aug. 10
School supplies list online

Birney, Alice Elementary
Aug. 10
School supplies list online

Bissonet Plaza Elementary
Aug. 10

Bonnabel, Alfred Magnet Academy High School
Aug. 10
No supplies list available

Boudreaux, Geraldine Elementary
Aug. 10

Bridgedale Elementary
Aug. 10

Butler, Joshua Elementary
Aug. 10

Chateau Estates Elementary
Aug. 10

Cherbonnier-Rillieux Elementary
Aug. 10

Clancy-Maggiore Elementary School for the Arts
Aug. 10

Collins, Lionel Montessori School
Aug. 10

Cox, George A. Elementary
Aug. 10

Cox, Helen High
Aug. 10
No official list

Cuillier, Joseph A. Sr. Career Center
Aug. 10
No supplies list available

Dolhonde, Ella Elementary
Aug. 10

East Jefferson High
Aug. 10
No official list

Ehret, John High
Aug. 10
No official supplies list

Ellender, Allen School
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Ellis, J.C. Elementary
Aug. 10

Estelle Elementary
Aug. 10

Fisher Middle-High
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Ford, Henry Middle
Aug. 10

Grand Isle School
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Green Park Elementary
Aug. 10

Greenlawn Terrace Elementary
Aug. 10

Gretna Middle
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Gretna No. 2 Academy for Advanced Studies
Aug. 10

Harahan Elementary
Aug. 10

Harris, Mildred S. Elementary
Aug. 10

Harris, T. H. Middle
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Hearst, Phoebe Elementary

Higgins, L.W. High
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

International School of Louisiana
Aug. 17 (Grades 1st – 8th)
No supplies list online

Janet, Congetta Trippe Elementary
Aug. 10

Jefferson Elementary
Aug. 10

Jefferson, Thomas High
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Johnson, Shirley T.-Gretna Park Elementary
Aug. 10

Keller, Harold Elementary
Aug. 10

Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy
Aug. 12 (1st – 8th)
No supplies list online

Kerner, Leo Elementary
Aug. 10

King, Grace High
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Lincoln Elementary School for the Arts
Aug. 10

Livaudais Middle
Aug. 10

Live Oak Elementary
Aug. 10

Marrero Academy for Advanced Studies
Aug. 10

Marrero, L.H. Middle
Aug. 10

Martyn, John H. Alternative School
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Matas, Rudolph Elementary
Aug. 10

McDonogh No. 26 Elementary
Aug. 10

Meisler, J.D. Middle
Aug. 10

Metairie Academy for Advanced Studies
Aug. 10

Pitre, Vic A. Elementary
Aug. 10

Pittman, Ella C. Elementary
Aug. 10

Riverdale High
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Riverdale Middle
Aug. 10
No supplies list online.

Riviere, Marie Elementary
Aug. 10

Roosevelt, Theodore Middle
Aug. 10
No school supplies list online

Ruppel, L.W. Academy for Advanced Studies
Aug. 10
No school supplies list online

Schneckenburger, Walter Elementary
Aug. 10

Solis, Paul J. Elementary
Aug. 10

St. Ville  Douglass Connections
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Strehle, Catherine Elementary
Aug. 10

Taylor, Patrick F. Science & Technology Academy
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Terrytown Elementary
Aug. 10

Thibodeaux, Myrtle C. Elementary
Aug. 10

Truman, Harry S. Middle
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Wall, Miller Elementary
Aug. 10

Washington Montessori School
Aug. 10

West Jefferson High
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Westbank Community School
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Woodland West Elementary
Aug. 10

Woodmere Elementary
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Woods, Granville T. Elementary
Aug. 10

Worley, Stella Middle
Aug. 10
No supplies list online

Young Audiences Charter School
Aug. 10
No supplies list online


Audubon Charter School

Aug. 19 (K-8th)

School supplies list online

Benjamin Franklin High School
Aug. 11

Bricolage Academy
Aug. 11 – 1st Grade
Aug. 18 – Kindergarten

Einstein Charter School
Aug. 18
Aug. 25 (Pre-K & K)
Supplies list will be handed out to students

Encore Academy
Aug. 12
No supplies list online

Alice M Harte Elementary
Aug. 5 – First Day of School
Aug. 12 – Kindergarten boys first day
Aug. 13– Kindergarten girls first day

Edward Haynes Elementary Charter
Aug. 13(1 – 6th), Aug. 14 (7-8)
Aug. 20 (Pre-K, K)

Edna Karr High School
Aug. 5

Langston Hughes Charter School
Aug. 10

Lake Forest Elementary Charter School
Aug. 10 (1st – 8th)
Aug. 17 (Pre-K & K)
No supplies list online

Lusher Charter School
Aug. 17

Sophie B. Wright Charter School
Aug. 17 – 9th – 12th grades
Aug. 18 – 7th & 8th grades

Benjamin Franklin Elementary Math & Science
Aug. 11
No supplies list online

Bethune Elementary
Aug. 11 (1st – 6th)
Aug. 17 (Pre-K, K)

McDonough 35 High School
Aug. 18
No supplies list available online

McDonough 35 Middle School
Aug. 18
No supplies list available online

McMain Secondary School
Aug. 11
No supplies list online.


The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Indoor Plants

Looking to add a little green in your life? We've got the ultimate guide to caring for indoor plants! Head to to learn about the best types of indoor plants, plus tips for caring for them. Foliage in your apartment can really make a space feel fresh and with the right indoor plants, you can literally purify the air in your home.

A little greenery can make a big impact and brighten up the room, but caring for houseplants can be tricky. After all, they are living, breathing beings, and each one is different.

These tips can help you approach the task responsibly so that you can enjoy beautiful indoor plants in your apartment for years to come.

Choose The Right Type of Indoor Plant

Different plants have different needs, and some plants are better for indoors than others. Some plants that tend to flourish in apartments include Cast Iron Plants, Chinese Evergreens, Philodendron varieties, Peace Lilies, Orchids, and Snake Plants.

Air Purifying Plants

Houseplants aren’t just pleasing to the eye; many also serve a beneficial function such as purifying air. NASA has even executed studies on common household air pollutants and found that certain household plants filter a stunning amount of toxins.

Ficus plants are at the top of the chart when examining air purifying qualities. Plants of this family include the Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica) and Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina).

Other beneficial plants that will thrive in New Orleans’ climate include the Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia), Caladium, Spider Plants (Chlorophytum), ivy, and ferns.

If your apartment gets little light, choose a plant with low light requirements such as an Umbrella Tree (Schefflera), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema), or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue – also known as Snake Plant – (Sansevieria trifasciata).

Beneficial Flowering Plants

For filtering and fragrance, choose a flowering plant to improve indoor air quality. Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum), for example, can filter toxic benzene. Persian Violets (Cyclamen), African Violets (Saintpaulia), and Paperwhite Narcissus (Narcissus Tazetta) perform similar functions, serving to sift dangerous chemicals from the air.

Chrysanthemum, too, are excellent purifiers. A study by NASA in the late 1980s indicated that a single chrysanthemum filtered more than 60 percent of toxic formaldehyde from a small room in just 24 hours.

Low Maintenance Houseplants

The best houseplants are pretty while are deceptively easy to keep alive. Philodendrons only require moderate light and water levels, so no need to frequently water or worry about light exposure. Not only do ponytail palms sound cute, but they look cute too, and only need watering once every one or two weeks.

The snake plant (also called mother-in-law’s tongue or its formal name Sansevieria trifasciata) is another great indoor plant that is virtually impossible to kill. With a little TLC every now and then, this houseplant can grow in almost any indoor condition.

Print this free indoor garden pocket guide to herbs and vegetables. It will come in handy when you're shopping at the garden center! Head to to learn about the best types of indoor plants, plus tips for caring for them.

Herbs and Vegetables for Indoor Gardens

Grow delicious herbs and vegetables year-round in your indoor garden. A freshly harvested tomato will add some extra zing to your salads, and a sprig of fresh mint is the perfect addition to any cocktail. Print out our handy pocket guide from 1st Lake Properties for easy reference. 

Poisonous Houseplants

As many great houseplants as there are to choose from, there are also some to avoid as to not put any pets or small children in danger. Many are only poisonous if ingested, but be on the lookout for these different species when shopping for houseplants.

10 Houseplants For Pet Owners To Avoid:

  • Anthurium
  • Calla Lily
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Elephant Ear
  • English Ivy
  • Oleander
  • Philodendron
  • Schefflera
  • Spathiphyllum

A great solution for pet owners is to grow wheatgrass at home: it’s safe for pets, cats love it, and it even helps to neutralize pet odors!

You might also want to try making a terrarium, to keep the plants away from prying paws.

Need more help deciding what type of plant to choose? Bookmark our handy infographic:

Looking to add a little green in your life? We've got the ultimate guide to caring for indoor plants! Head to to learn about the best types of indoor plants, plus tips for caring for them.

Picked Your Houseplant? Start Planting!

Now that you’ve determined the right types of plants for your apartment lifestyle, it’s time to plant them and get them set up in your home.

Pick The Right Type of Pot

Obviously, you’ll want to choose a beautiful pot that matches the rest of your apartment’s décor. But choosing the right type of pot is about more than just how it looks.

All pots should have at least one hole on the bottom. You’ll need to pair your pot with a tray underneath to catch any water. Line the tray with about an inch of aquarium gravel – this will help disperse the water and help it evaporate. You never want a plant to sit in water, because the plant’s roots will rot if they sit in water for too long.

If you are placing your plant on a wooden or painted surface, be sure to use a trivet underneath the tray to avoid condensation that can damage wood and paint.


All photosynthetic organisms need light to live and grow, but some need more than others. Depending on the direction your window faces, you’ll be able to get more or less sunlight.

This light can be measured in what are called foot-candles, with each foot-candle representing the light on a square foot of surface 12 inches from a single candle. A plant requiring “Low” light needs around 50 foot-candles, but “High” light plants require around 200 foot-candles of light to flourish.

When living in an apartment, you’ll want to find plants that grow well in indirect or filtered light conditions if your window faces north or south. Once you’ve picked a plant, make sure you know its sunlight needs to place it accordingly.  If possible, place your plant near a window.

If the sunlight coming through your window is very intense, you may need to position your plant about 12 inches away from the window. You can determine if the window is too hot or too cold by putting your hand there – if you place your hand on the window in the summer, and your hand gets hot quickly, it’s probably too hot for the plant. If the window gets very cold in the winter, move your plant further indoors to keep it warmer.

Rotate your plants periodically so that all of the parts of the plant get some sunlight.

Watering Your Plants

Regular watering is important for plants, but you never want to over-water.

For most plants, you’ll want to water them until you see water emerge from the bottom of the pot. (This is why you should always use pots that have at least one hole in the bottom!)

Make sure that your plant has good drainage, as well, so the roots don’t rot. Make sure to include something underneath the pot to catch any drips and condensation.

Spritzing the leaves with water can be just as important as watering the roots, depending on the type of plant you have.

Large plants in larger pots need to be watered less regularly than small plants in small pots, which dry out more quickly.

Often, tropical plants do well inside, so in the winter, when the weather can be drier, you’ll want to treat your tropical indoor plants to the shower steam in the bathroom every so often.

Too busy to water your plants often? Look for plants that don’t need to be watered regularly, like succulents and cacti.

Have trouble remembering to water your plants regularly? Set a recurring reminder for yourself on your smartphone’s calendar, ensuring that you water your houseplants regularly.

Clean Your Plants

Cleaning your plants might sound silly, but indoors, dust get can get everywhere, and to keep your plants healthy, you’ll want to make sure to keep them clean.

Wipe down their leaves, prune them as needed, and make sure they are dust free. They will look more beautiful and live longer that way.

Keep an eye out for pests, like spider mites, whitefly, scale and mealy bugs.

Pest Control Tips

To keep pesky insects from snacking on, or living in, household plants, try an organic solution before rushing out to buy harmful chemicals.

One way to keep the buggies away is to pack used coffee grounds around the base of a plant, as insects are deterred by the bitter but nutrient-rich waste.

If you’re not a java fan, mix Cayenne pepper and water in a spray bottle and spritz the leaves and stems of houseplants to keep pests away.

Where To Buy Indoor Plants in New Orleans

Of course you can go to the national home improvement chains to pick up plants, but a city like New Orleans also offers plenty of locally-owned options to shop for houseplants of all shapes and sizes. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Perino’s Garden Center

Perino’s Garden Center in Metairie offers a variety of houseplants, not to mention furniture and seasonal decorations.

  • 3100 Veterans
  • Metairie, LA 70002
  • (504)  834-7888

The Plant Gallery

The Plant Gallery, located on Airline Highway, features plenty of indoor plants and home decor.

  • 9401 Airline Highway
  • New Orleans, Louisiana 70118
  • (504) 488-8887

Laughing Buddha Nursery

Laughing Buddha Nursery in Metairie offers a holistic approach to gardening, with organic gardening gear including composted soil they make in-house.

  • 4516 Clearview Pkwy
  • Metairie, LA 70006
  • (504) 887-4336

Have additional tips to share?

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