1st Lake Blog

Take a Trip to Rivertown in Kenner

Though it’s just a short drive from Metairie, River Ridge, and downtown New Orleans, Rivertown in Kenner feels like you’ve traveled much farther to a quaint and picturesque village along the Mississippi River. In 2014, Rivertown was selected as a “USA Main Street” community for its charming historic district. Even though the area is small, it packs in a whole lot of things to do. Ready to make the (quick) trip to Rivertown? Here’s what you’ll find: 

Kenner Planetarium & Megadome Cinema

The 50-foot high, domed screen at the Kenner Planetarium & Megadome Cinema makes for an incredible viewing experience. Events like laser light shows and presentations related to astronomy will have your head in the stars. And at a cost of just $5-6 per show, it’s an affordable, educational alternative to your usual action films or romantic comedies.

kenner planetarium

The Rivertown Planetarium. (Photo courtesy

LaSalle’s Landing

At the foot of the levee on Williams Boulevard, you’ll find LaSalle’s Landing, a historic spot that also offers stunning views of the Mississippi River. Flags from ten different countries along the levee represent all of the different nations who governed Louisiana at one time or another. At the top of the levee, you’ll find yourself in a prime spot for watching ships cruise by, as well as paths for biking and walking. Fun fact: LaSalle’s Landing was also where the first heavyweight boxing championship took place, way back in 1870. 

lasalles landing

Steps take you up to LaSalle’s Landing. (Photo courtesy

Castle Comedy Theatre

Work in a good laugh during your trip to Rivertown at Castle Comedy Theater, a small, intimate venue to enjoy up-and-coming acts or even take a comedy workshop. The space only seats about 80 people, so make sure to look into getting tickets in advance.

Rivertown Science Center

This science center is truly for people of all ages. Although there are special sections devoted to younger kids, older children and adults alike will enjoy features like a full-size NASA International Space Station prototype (fondly called “Kenner Space Station”) – it’s one of only two prototypes in existence today. The museum also features exhibits on minerals, insects, optical illusions, and waterways plus interactive components like a green screen to test your skills at forecasting the weather.

The Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Professional theatrical performances and musicals all happen at the Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts, a duo of theaters linked by a picturesque outdoor courtyard. Performances range from well-known stage productions like “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and “The Producers” to theater adaptations of films like “The Wizard of Oz” and “Shrek.”

Farmers Markets and Other Events

Rivertown often holds seasonal events like Oktoberfest and a holiday market and craft show in addition to an ongoing farmers’ market with produce, handicrafts, and more.

Rivertown Heritage Park

The 16-block historic district of Rivertown also includes the Rivertown Heritage Park, featuring a beautifully landscaped green space that often includes special events like movie screenings or live music. The park is only open to the general public on Saturday mornings from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., so be sure to go on a Saturday morning to enjoy sights like a pond, covered bridge, and replicated turn-of-the-century buildings like an ice house and traditional blacksmith shop.

A quaint replica building in Heritage Park. (Photo courtesy

A quaint replica building in Heritage Park. (Photo courtesy



See Who’s Moving to the Suburbs in NOLA

In a recent survey on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders featured on, results showed that 66 percent of millennials wanted to live in the suburbs, compared with just 10 percent of millennials who preferred urban living. In New Orleans, this same trend has emerged, with more people (millennials in particular) opting for suburbs like Elmwood, Kenner, River Ridge, and Metairie over downtown.

We’ve already explored how renting is an enticing option when compared with home buying, so renting in the suburbs presents a doubly beneficial scenario for young professionals and anyone looking for a new space to call home.

bella bedroom

Ready to cozy up to a spacious, brand-new apartment just outside the city?

Apartments in the suburbs – and 1st Lake Apartments in particular — often give renters more bang for their buck with larger square footage and better amenities than buildings in downtown New Orleans. Let’s take a look at two new apartment buildings, for example. First up is an apartment located in downtown New Orleans. A 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment at this particular complex clocks in at just 904 square feet, and rent is $2,240 per month plus extra for parking.

Compare that with our Bella Ridge property – it’s brand-new, too, just like select downtown New Orleans buildings, and features added bonuses like an on-site dog park you simply won’t find at buildings in the New Orleans Central Business District. A 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment at Bella Ridge offers nearly 100 additional square feet for a total of 996 square feet. It also features better amenities, a covered parking garage (not to mention free parking) and easy access to the shops, restaurants, and convenience of Elmwood. So it must be more expensive, right? Wrong. A one-bedroom at Bella Ridge starts at $1,295 per month. That’s nearly $1,000 less per month – plus more space and better amenities – than a comparable apartment downtown.

Bella Ridge is just one example of so many beautiful, lushly appointed properties throughout our 1st Lake communities, which span throughout the suburbs. River Ridge apartments, with their convenient access to both downtown New Orleans and Metairie, truly offer the best of both worlds – and at a better price with more space. It’s easy to see why moving to the suburbs is a popular option for young professionals and anyone else interested in saving money while gaining convenience, space, and amenities. Are you ready to make the move?



5 No-Money Apartment Makeover Ideas

The Internet makes it easy to shop from home, or you can take it old-school and turn on the television to watch QVC. But why not actually shop at home – as in, using the things you already own for a whole new look. Learn how to borrow from other rooms of the house below. You can give your apartment a fresh new look with some creative “shopping” – just make these five easy swaps from room to room.


Where it is now: The dining space or office

Where it should go: The bathroom

Why: Adding a chair to the bathroom instantly gives the space a chic, spa-like feel. You can also use it as added storage – place a stack of fluffy towels on it, or a tray topped with bath products and an orchid. Even if you never actually sit in it, the effect remains: your bathroom will feel more like a destination and a sanctuary than ever before.

chair bathroom

A chair in the bathroom makes an unexpected statement. (Photo via

Bar Cart

Where it is now: The dining space

Where it should go: The bedroom, the office space, the living room, the kitchen – anywhere!

Why: Bar carts are incredibly versatile and offer streamlined, portable storage. Fill one with books and nighttime accessories like lip-balm or hand cream for a unique bedside table, or try it in the living room filled with your favorite magazines. In the kitchen, stock it with pantry essentials or cookbooks. For your home office space, you can fill with necessary items like notepads, reference books (dictionaries or encyclopedias), mason jars filled with pens, and more.

bar cart nighstand

A bar cart is surprisingly at home in the bedroom when used as a nightstand. (Photo via


Where it is now: The bedroom

Where it should go: The living room

Why: Use a dresser for storage in the living room just as you would for clothes in the bedroom. It provides the look of a console when topped with a TV and decorative elements like potted plants, picture frames, and a candle.

dresser living room

Put a bedroom dresser in the living room for a console-like effect. (Photo:


Where it is now: The bedroom or office space

Where it should go: The kitchen

Why: We make sure our properties offer plenty of cabinet space, but some kitchen items are just too pretty to keep hidden! Place your attractive kitchen items like cookbooks, beautiful bowls, or vases on a bookshelf for major visual impact (and added storage).


A bookcase in the kitchen can hold tools, spices, recipe books, and more. (Photo via Pinterest)


Where it is now: The living room

Where it should go: The dining space

Why: Give your dining space the vibe of a high-end restaurant when you swap chairs on one side of the table for a loveseat. This works best with a settee-style loveseat that has a high back and sits higher up, but you can always test it out and see what works – experimenting is half the fun!


A loveseat in the dining room is an unexpected twist on seating. (Photo via


Get Pedaling! Biking in Elmwood and River Ridge

Biking in Elmwood, Harahan, and River Ridge is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, and get some exercise. Whether you pedal around Lafreniere Park or use online tools like Map My Ride or Trail Link, riding your bike is one of the best ways to explore Elmwood, River Ridge, and beyond.

The Mississippi River Trail winds along the levee, offering a scenic route for cyclists. (Photo via Trail Link user Britte Lowther)

The Mississippi River Trail winds along the levee, offering a scenic route for cyclists. (Photo via Trail Link user Britte Lowther)

One of the most popular areas to bike in this area is the the Mississippi River Trail, a 60-mile long series of paved trails along the levee of the Mighty Mississippi, sometimes also known as the levee bike path. The section that stretches between Audubon Park in New Orleans and the Bonnet Carré Spillway in St. Charles Parish is a favorite among local cyclists.

Take a look at some of the best reasons to incorporate biking into your fitness routine, as well as tips for cyclists and motorists to keep everyone safe as they share the roads.

Why Bike? Top 3 Fitness Reasons

  1. You’ll build strength and muscle tone. Of course riding your bike is good for your legs, but it’s also an activity that can strengthen your full body, including your core and arms. As you’re riding, notice how you use your abdominal muscles to help stabilize you and keep you balanced – they’re constantly contracting to keep you in motion, which can help lead to lean, tone abs. Even your feet will benefit from a bike ride! The pedaling motion helps strengthen muscles in the feet including the dorsiflexors and plantar flexors.
  1. It’s a stress buster. Any kind of exercise can aid in stress reduction, but bike riding in particular can help you feel relaxed. As you breathe in fresh air and admire the scenery of nature around you, you’ll be able to put your stress in perspective and save it for another day.
  1. You’ll see improvement in your coordination. Biking is one of those full-body activities where everything needs to be working together in order to keep riding. Arm-to-leg coordination, feet-to-hand coordination, eye coordination as you watch the road, and overall balance are all required to ride a bike – not to mention your brain as you work out which paths to take during your ride.

Bicycling is a healthy activity any time of year in Louisiana. (Photo via Flickr user Ethan Lofton)

How to Bike Safely

Biking is a fun and healthy activity, but it’s important to take safety precautions whether you’re a cyclist or a motorist sharing the road with bike riders. Here are a few best practices from the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development:

For Cyclists:

First things first, remember that bikes on the roadway are vehicles, meaning they have all the same rights and responsibilities as a car, truck, motorcycle, or any other vehicle on the road.

  • Follow the rules of the road. Cyclists are required to stop at stop signs, follow traffic signals at traffic lights, and be mindful of any other rules of the road.
  • Ride in the direction of traffic. And stay as far to the right as you can!
  • Shine bright. If you’re riding at night, you are required to use bike lights and reflectors (white for front, red for the back).
  • Give yourself a hand. Use hand signals when you are stopping and when you turn.
  • Respect vehicles and pedestrians. Remember, you don’t always have the right of way! If you’re exiting a driveway, for example, you’re required to yield to pedestrians and any oncoming traffic.

For Motorists:

First things first: you have your lanes, and bicyclists have theirs. Be mindful of any bike lanes!

  • Pass safely. If you need to pass a bicyclist, give as much leeway as you safely can. You’re required to provide at least 3 feet of passing space.
  • Remember to share. If you’re in a shared lane, it’s your responsibility to make room for any bicyclists.
  • Easy open. Remember to check for bicyclists before opening your car door!
  • Be respectful. Avoid harassing bicyclists by yelling or honking your horn.
Bella Ridge Apartments in River Ridge, LA offer spacious storage, perfect for cycling enthusiasts.

Bella Ridge Apartments in River Ridge, LA offer spacious storage, perfect for cycling enthusiasts.

Where Local Biking Enthusiasts Choose To Live

Our newest property, Bella Ridge Apartments in River Ridge is located just minutes away from the Mississippi River Trail, and these spacious luxury apartments offer plenty of closet and storage space for storing your bicycle and cycling gear. This apartment community also features a 24 hour fitness center on-site as well as “Bella Bark,” a gated dog park just for your four-legged friends!

Caffeine Fix: Where to Get Coffee in Metairie and Kenner

Iced, hot, morning, night – there’s no wrong type or time of day when it comes to coffee. While you can always head to Starbucks or local favorites CC’s and PJ’s for a caffeine fix, we’re taking a look at a few other coffee shops and cafes near our properties. Sip a la carte or pair your drink with a pastry or even a full-blown breakfast meal at select cafes. Below, the perfect ways to perk up:

French Press Coffeehouse. (Photo via French Press Coffeehouse on Facebook)

French Press Coffeehouse. (Photo via French Press Coffeehouse on Facebook)

Caffe! Caffe! With locations on Clearview Parkway and N. Hullen Street in Metairie, this local shop has received awards for the past 5 years honoring its standout brews.

Royal Blend Coffee & Tea Much like Old Metairie itself, Royal Blend is a charming and picturesque spot to order a drink. Sip inside its café interior, or take your drink to go and browse the surrounding shops in this small shopping center just off Metairie Road.

French Press Coffeehouse With locations in Metairie and Kenner, this coffee shop has all the convenience of a Starbucks, but better because it’s locally owned and operated. You’ll find comparable drinks to a Starbucks menu (think frappe-style frozen blends, flavored lattes, and more) made lovingly and at a more reasonable price. They also offer loyalty perks like a punch card and coupons for your birthday. Comfy, booth-style seats are an unexpected change from typical cafe seating.

Lakeview Brew – Local art adorns the walls, and both indoor and patio seating let you choose where you want to enjoy your cappuccino, iced coffee, or whatever you consider to be your signature brew. Despite the coffee-centric name, this spot on Canal Boulevard in Lakeview also offers a large food selection. Try the breakfast “brew-rito” with a strong, hot latte to start the day.

Puccino’s Coffee With several locations in Metairie and Harahan, this local chain prides itself on Italian-style coffee. The simple Iced Puccino is a solid choice: just slightly sweetened, the mix of espresso and milk over ice is tasty any time of day. The Skinny Wedding Cake Latte is another favorite, topped with low-fat whipped cream and slivered almonds.

Morning Call Coffee Stand – It’s open 24 hours a day, so you can get your caffeine fix at any time. Another draw? Beignets. Head to locations in City Park and on Severn Avenue in Metairie.