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Stephanie Villani
REALTOR®, GRI, ABR, SRS
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Community Guides | 50 Posts
Home Tips | 6 Posts
August
2

Explore These Lakes Near New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans is famously identified with the Mississippi River, but that's not the only notable body of water found around the Big Easy. Our real estate agents love making convenient getaways to enjoy these incredible lakes near NOLA. 

  • Lake Pontchartrain
    Any discussion of lakes around New Orleans homes for sale has to begin with Lake Pontchartrain. Technically, the largest inland body of water in Louisiana is an estuary, which is a mix of freshwater from rivers and saltwater from the ocean. By any definition, Pontchartrain is a prime location for a multitude of activities, from fishing and boating to walking and sightseeing. Crossing the 23-mile Causeway Bridge is an hour-long scenic trip on its own. Visit the New Canal Lighthouse on Lakeshore Drive to learn more about the past, present, and future of Lake Pontchartrain. 

  • Lake Borgne 
    Coastal erosion has turned Lake Borgne into a lagoon of the Gulf of Mexico. Lake Borgne is also the mouth of the Rigolets, which is the strait that connects the Gulf to Lake Pontchartrain. While the larger body of water grabs more of the spotlight, anglers recognize Lake Borgne as a plentiful source of trout, redfish, and catfish. The lake's signature attraction is Fort Proctor, also known as Beauregard's Castle, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in the 1850s to protect local water routes, the fort is now completely surrounded by water and accessible only by a 20-minute kayak or canoe ride. 

  • Lac Des Allemands 
    Lac Des Allemands is named for the German settlers who came to the area in the early 18th century. In 1978, the lake gained national attention thanks to an article in the New York Times about its status as "Catfish Capital of the Universe." According to locals, "little red worms" at the bottom of the lake provide the nourishment that makes the catfish so special. Above ground, Lac Des Allemands is surrounded by cypress tree-lined bayous that are home to great blue herons, alligators, bald eagles, and other wildlife. Swamp boat tours are a popular way to explore the 12,000-acre lake.

  • Lake Martin
    Thanks to its location in Cypress Island Nature Preserve, Lake Martin is one of the best places to view the amazing range of plants and wildlife that are native to the state. In particular, Lake Martin is the site of one of the state's largest colonies of water birds, including great blue herons, snowy egrets, and white ibis. While they're best viewed from a distance, the lake also features a large alligator population. Whether you stroll along the boardwalk or venture out in a canoe or kayak, you're bound to have an incredible experience.

  • Lake Maurepas 
    It may be difficult to think of 15,000 acres as "small," but Lake Maurepas is often referred to as the "little sister" of Lake Pontchartrain. Visitors appreciate the unspoiled beauty around the lake, which makes it a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Stop in for lunch at nearby Middendorf's Restaurant and try their signature thin-fried Maurepas catfish as you relax on the outdoor deck overlooking the lake.

New Orleans open houses are a great way to find your forever home. Contact us at Latter & Blum for up-to-the-minute information on the latest listings.

May
2

Summer Events Coming to Jefferson Parish

 summer events

Summer is a season of celebration in Jefferson Parish, and our real estate agents want you to know all about it!

New Orleans homes for sale are some of the most desirable in Louisiana, and New Orleans open houses fill up many calendar dates. But no matter if you're interested in The Big Easy or one of its beautiful sister cities, Jefferson Parish always has plenty for you to see and do. The summer calendar is especially lively!

Let's look at some of the unforgettable events that are coming to the area this summer:

  • The International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo – See Website for Location Details, Grand Isle, LA
    The International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo bills itself as the oldest fishing tournament in the United States, with a history dating all the way back to 1928. Taking place on the last weekend of July, it lures in anglers from all over the nation. There's plenty of family fun to be had for spectators, with crab racing for the kids, arts and crafts, contests, and all kinds of mouth-watering food options.

  • Jean Lafitte Seafood Festival – 4953 City Park Street, Jean Lafitte, LA 70067
    Hosted at the Jean Lafitte Auditorium, the Jean Lafitte Seafood Festival celebrates an integral part of Louisiana's Cajun and Creole cooking. Taking place on June 10 and 11, it will feature Grammy Award-winning musical performances as well as kayak rentals, carnival rides, swamp tours, and an art walk. And, of course, there'll be plenty of downhome Louisiana cooking for everyone to enjoy! It's a terrific celebration just minutes away from Lafitte homes for sale.

  • Uncle Sam Jam – 3000 Downs Boulevard, Metairie, LA 70003
    Taking place on July 3 as a kick-off to local celebrations of the nation's birthday, Uncle Sam Jam is an annual tradition you won't want to miss. Taking place in beloved Lafreniere Park, the event is known for its outstanding live music. Always 100% free to residents and visitors of all ages, Uncle Sam Jam attracts leading local and national acts. Naturally, it's all topped off with an incredible fireworks show at 9 o'clock! It's just another wonderful reason to choose Metairie homes for sale.

  • Gretna Farmers Market – 739 Third Street, Gretna, LA 70053
    Gretna homes for sale benefit from the Gretna Farmers Market, one of the best places to find vegetables, fruits, and farm goods from the local area. In addition to all the delicious produce, the Market also delights with its Art Walk on the second Saturday of each month. The Market itself is open every Saturday, starting at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 12:30 p.m., no matter the weather.

  • The Dinner Detective – 2150 Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Kenner, LA 70062
    Lauded as "America's largest interactive mystery dinner show," The Dinner Detective takes place within the lavish surroundings of the DoubleTree by Hilton New Orleans Airport Hotel. With a wide range of showtimes, each taking place from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., guests will experience the comedy action firsthand as anyone in the room could be drawn into the plot at any moment!

There's a lot to look forward to during the summer months, especially in the Jefferson Parish area! Contact us to discover more about Jefferson Parish today. 

March
22

Seafood and Farmers Markets in Jefferson Parish

Seafood Markets

Some of the best farmers markets in the Greater New Orleans area are located in Jefferson Parish, a vast area that spans the banks of Lake Pontchartrain to the remote Gulf Coast Islands. 

Unsurprisingly, Jefferson Parish is a great place to find locally grown produce and freshly caught seafood. With spring in the air, our real estate agents are excited to highlight some of our favorite markets in Jefferson Parish. 

  • Gretna, Louisiana Farmers Market - 300 Huey P Long Ave, Gretna, LA 70053
    The Gretna Farmers Market is a year-round open-air market that is one of the best places around to find fresh produce and homemade goods near Gretna homes for sale. The Gretna Farmers Market takes place every Saturday from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, rain or shine, under the market pavilion between 3rd Street and 4th Street. Every other week September through December and March through May, the market happens in conjunction with the Gretna Art Walk. 

  • Farmers Arts Metairie Market - 2713 Metairie Rd, Metairie, LA 70001
    The Old Metairie Garden Club holds various events throughout the year, and the Farmers Arts Mataire Market is a perennial favorite. The market is held at Bayou Metairie Park, just minutes from many New Orleans homes for sale. Although it doesn't happen as often as some other markets in the area, it always brings an amazing array of vendors, including produce, live music, crafts, and kids' activities. Upcoming dates are always posted online so you can plan ahead before you visit Metairie homes for sale.

  • Westwego Shrimp Lot - 100 Westbank Expy, Westwego, LA 70094
    Jefferson Parish locals know that the Westwego Shrimp Lot is the best place around to get fresh-caught seafood. This iconic market has been a staple of the area since 1978 and features various vendor stalls that are all independently owned by fishermen and seafood companies. The Westwego Shrimp Lot spans 10 acres and offers everything from fish and shrimp to crab and oysters. It's also open year-round, rain or shine, and includes Market Wego, where you'll find the best Cajun food around. All within a short drive of Westwego homes for sale.

  • Lafreniere Park Farmers Art Market - 3000 Downs Blvd, Metairie, LA 70003
    You'll find all things local and delicious at the Lafreniere Park Farmer's Market. This reliable weekly outdoor market features dozens of vendors offering fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood, baked goods, eggs, pickles, preserves, and ready-to-eat specialties ranging from tamales to crawfish pies. The market takes place every Wednesday from 2 pm to 7 pm at Lafreniere Park, which is convenient to many upcoming New Orleans open houses. The 2022 season runs from January to November.

  • AJ & Sheron Fabre Market - 920 Jean Lafitte Blvd, Jean Lafitte, LA 70067
    Gulf Coast seafood is the star of the show in the community of Jean Lafitte, home to the Jules Nunez Seafood Pavilion and AJ & Sheron Fabre Market. With a picturesque location overlooking Bayou Barataria, this market was put on hold in 2020 but has returned in a big way. In addition to fresh-caught shrimp, fish, and other seafood, it's a great place to find local produce, arts and crafts, and other unique goods. The Seafood Pavilion also features booths for local restaurants, where you enjoy a great meal like softshell shrimp pasta, boiled crawfish, or seafood gumbo. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in the Greater New Orleans area. Our real estate agents are dedicated to helping you find your dream home in Louisiana. 

February
14

Jefferson Parish Restaurants on the Louisiana Oyster Trail

Oyster Trail

There are plenty of places near New Orleans homes for sale serving up delicious, fresh oysters. There's even a trail dedicated to this delicacy! When our real estate agents are in the mood for some great seafood, they follow the Louisiana Oyster Trail to these top restaurants in Jefferson Parish.

  • Acme Oyster House - 3000 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, LA 7002
    At Acme Oyster House, "Life's more fun with seafood," and they've been proving it since the first location opened in the French Quarter in 1910. Customers keep returning for Acme's signature chargrilled oysters, prepared with a delicate crust of Parmesan cheese. Another favorite is the Fried Peace Maker Po-Boy, with oysters, shrimp, and Tabasco-infused mayonnaise. Acme Oyster House is open daily from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. except for Friday and Saturday, when hours are extended to 11 p.m.

  • Deanie's Seafood - 1713 Lake Ave., Metairie, LA 70005
    Deanie's Seafood doesn't need to rely on a clever name to get its message across. What you get is just straight-up, fresh, well-prepared seafood. Located in historic Bucktown, right down the street from Metairie homes for sale, Deanie's has been pleasing customers and food writers since 1961. Can you conquer their legendary giant seafood platter, loaded with fresh shrimp, oysters, catfish, softshell crabs, and crawfish dressing balls? Stop by the adjacent market and take home seafood, prepared dishes, and salads. Restaurant hours are 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

  • Vincent's Italian Cuisine - 4411 Chastant St., Metairie, LA 70006
    Italy meets the bayou at Vincent's Italian Cuisine. In 1989, native New Orleanian Vincent Catalanotto opened his namesake restaurant. The menu of traditional Italian dishes with a focus on seafood was inspired by the food prepared by his Sicilian parents. People flocked to the "little Italian place on the side street" for sautéed Italian oysters, seafood-stuffed pork chops, and shrimp fettucine. Vincent's is open for lunch 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and dinner 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

  • Perino's Boiling Point - 3754 Westbank Expressway, Harvey, LA 70058
    When Sam Perino opened his first restaurant in 1972, it was a modest place serving only boiled seafood and oysters on the half shell. When business outgrew Sam's expectations, Perino's Boiling Point moved to a larger and newly remodeled spot, not far from Harvey homes for sale. The restaurant remains family-owned, with Sam's daughter Vicky running the operation, while the menu has also expanded to include fried seafood, salads, and sides. Hours are 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

  • Cafe 615 - 615 Kepler St., Gretna, LA 70053
    Despite its current name, Cafe 615 will always be thought of around Gretna homes for sale as "Home of Da Wabbit." The name is a throwback to the restaurant's original incarnation as a drive-in, featuring its iconic Bugs Bunny sign that still stands. The rabbit theme also appears in a number of specialty cocktails, including the signature drink, Jose's Wabbit Wita. As a full-service restaurant, Cafe 615 has replaced the drive-in menu with upscale dishes such as fried calamari, Mahi Mahi with crab meat, and shrimp etouffee. Cafe 615 is open weekdays from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., with extended hours until 10 p.m. on Friday.

Want to get the first notice about New Orleans open houses? Get the inside scoop from our helpful real estate agents when you contact us at Latter & Blum.

January
28

Mardi Gras Krewes and Parade Routes for 2022

Mardi Gras 2022

Everyone loves a parade, and Mardi Gras wouldn't be the same without the colorful and festive krewes celebrating every year. Our real estate agents share a preview of some of the highly-anticipated parades scheduled throughout the area.

French Quarter 

  • Krewe Bohème 
    True to their name, Krewe Bohème proudly embraces an unconventional spirit. Their parade is headed up by a green fairy that symbolizes absinthe, the anise-flavored liqueur so identified with traditional New Orleans cocktails, and their throws are created by artists in their membership. At 7 p.m. on Friday, February 11, Krewe Bohème starts off at Franklin Ave. near Dauphine St., ending up at the Joy Theater.

  • Krewdelusion
    Irreverent satire is the name of the game for Krewedelusion. Their stated mission is "to save the Universe, beginning at its center, New Orleans," and their parade theme is a closely guarded secret each year until showtime. Krewedelusion follows KdV at approximately 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 12, proceeding from the corner of Franklin Ave. and Royal St. to D.B.A. on Frenchman St.

  • Krewe of Cork
    It's no surprise that Krewe of Cork is devoted to all things wine. In addition to wine-related costumes and throws featuring a grape logo, their parades include golf cart-driving "wine police" whose motto is, "To serve and pour." Krewe of Cork will head out from Royal St. between St. Peter and Toulouse St. at 3 p.m. on Friday, February 18, finishing up on Conti between Royal and Bourbon St. 

  • Krewe of Barkus
    Krewe of Barkus includes a number of four-legged members, as man's best friend takes the spotlight. Founder Thomas Wood made his own Jo Jo McWood queen of the parade and captain for life, kicking off a tradition that continues today. Join the fun at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 20, as Krewe of Barkus walks from N. Rampart at St. Ann to Orleans St. 

Metairie

  • Krewe of Excalibur
    Head back to the swashbuckling times of King Arthur as you watch the antics of Krewe of Excalibur. Members in full knight attire follow animated floats and throw hand-decorated wooden shields out to the crowd. On Friday, February 18, the parade kicks off at 6:30 p.m. The procession follows the Metairie Westbound route, starting at Bonnabel Blvd. and Nero St. and finishing at Nero St.

  • Magical Krewe of Mad Hatters
    Making their Mardi Gras debut this year, Magical Krewe of Mad Hatters channels all the whimsy and imagination found in Alice in Wonderland. Watch for some well-known bands on their floats, as well as dazzling lighting effects and spectacular costumes. The festivities start at 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 19, as Magical Krewe of Mad Hatters proceeds along the Metairie Westbound route.

These are only some of the parades to look forward to this Mardi Gras season. We'll be covering more parades to plan ahead for in our next blog post.

Let the good times roll in your own New Orleans home. If you're ready to buy or sell a house, contact us at Latter & Blum to get started or stop by one of our New Orleans open houses

January
4

National Hot Tea Month: Tea Shops in NOLA

Tea Shops NOLA

Our real estate agents want to invite you to celebrate National Hot Tea Month this January!

Tea is one of the most diverse and storied beverages in human history. Although it is closely associated with the United Kingdom, the finest teas in the world have generally come from China and India.

You can enjoy a delightful cup of tea right in your own Louisiana neighborhood. Around New Orleans and throughout the state, there are dozens of excellent tea shops, coffee shops, and boutiques that can cater to any taste. You'll find some of them only minutes from New Orleans homes for sale.

Let's take a look at some of your options for a National Hot Tea Month treat:

  • Monkey Monkey Coffee and Tea – 4641 South Carrollton Avenue, New Orleans, LA 7011
    "Monkey steep, monkey brew" is the motto at Monkey Coffee and Tea, where you can find a hot or cold beverage to perk you up any time of the day. The tea selection includes such favorites as English breakfast, Earl Grey, peach loose-leaf, and chai. Green and herbal teas are also available.

  • Le Salon at Windsor Court Hotel – 300 Gravier Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
    Le Salon boasts a premium location on the lavish grounds of the Windsor Court Hotel. Tea room staff hold an authentic English afternoon tea service that features 26 fine loose-leaf variety brews. You'll also get to enjoy gourmet tea sandwiches, scones, and fresh-baked desserts.

  • Royal Blend Coffee & Tea – 204 Metairie Road, Metairie, LA 70005
    Open for dine-in and takeout orders, Royal Blend Coffee & Tea pairs its drinks with an assortment of pastries, hot breakfast, and lunch entrees. Whether you are looking for chai tea, hot tea, or traditional southern iced tea, you will find it and much more within a short drive of Metairie homes for sale.

  • Ding Tea NOLA – 1440 Lapalco Boulevard, Harvey, LA 70058
    Ding Tea NOLA bills itself as a Taiwanese boba tea house. If you've never tried milk tea boba, this will give you a whole new way to appreciate your favorite drink. In addition to various tea types and flavor additions, you'll choose from "popping bubbles" that add an extra flair. Stop by after checking out Harvey homes for sale.

  • The English Tearoom & Eatery – 734 East Rutland Street, Covington, LA 70433
    The English Tearoom & Eatery seeks to reproduce the traditional English tea experience. It is one of the only local teahouses so popular that reservations are recommended – it also serves as an event venue on Sundays. It showcases dozens of teas in 15 major varieties, including its own special "Abbey Road Blend." It's just minutes from Covington homes for sale.

  • The Roosevelt New Orleans – 130 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, LA 70112
    The Roosevelt New Orleans is a lavish Waldorf Astoria hotel. It has five dining locations, including the famous Rooftop Bar and some of the best room service in the city. For tea, try Teddy's Cafe, which you'll find conveniently located right in the hotel lobby.

Looking for a new home where you can be near your favorite cafes and shops? Contact us to discover more about New Orleans real estate today.

December
15

Louisiana Gumbo: Where to Try Gumbo This Winter

Louisiana Gumbo

There's no one way to make gumbo. Cooked with a dark roux, thickened with okra or filé, packed with sausage or shrimp, flavored with the Creole "holy trinity" of celery, bell pepper, and onion, there are endless possibilities. 

Despite its many variations—or perhaps because of them—gumbo is a dish that our real estate agents will never grow tired of. It's the official state dish of Louisiana, and if you want to savor some of the finest gumbo our state has to offer, we recommend these amazing stops. 

  • Luke - 333 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
    Since opening its doors in 2007, Luke has established itself as an amazing Creole-influenced Brasserie that draws inspiration from French and German cuisine as well as traditional Cajun fare. Their Seafood Gumbo à La Creole is deep and flavorful, with generous portions of andouille sausage and chicken. Luke is located in New Orleans' Central Business District, a stone's throw from these New Orleans homes for sale

  • Chef Ron's Gumbo Stop - 2309 N Causeway Blvd, Metairie, LA 70001
    Chef Ron's Gumbo Stop serves up gumbo by the pint (or by the quart, if you're feeling ambitious). Don't make the mistake of driving right past this place without stopping on your way to check out Metairie homes for sale. They make several types of gumbo, but their flagship specialty—known as "mumbo gumbo"—features filé, chicken, shrimp, crabmeat, crawfish, sausage, okra, and tomato. It's on a whole other level. 

  • Poche's - 3015 Main Hwy # A, Breaux Bridge, LA 70517
    An old-fashioned restaurant and meat market, Poche's has been serving the community of Breaux Bridge since 1962. The establishment has been family-owned since day one, and their traditional Cajun recipes have been handed down through generations. Chicken and sausage gumbo is a seasonal menu item, but when it's available, it's known far and wide as some of the best around. 

  • Landry's Cajun Seafood & Steakhouse - 2318 US-90, New Iberia, LA 70560
    Not to be confused with the similarly-named seafood chain, Landry's Cajun Seafood & Steakhouse was founded in 1969 near New Iberia homes for sale, and like so many of the great Cajun food establishments, has been locally and family-owned ever since. They have two gumbos on the menu: seafood and chicken and sausage. Either one will make your day, and if you get there between 11 am and 2 pm, you can make it a soup-and-sandwich combo with a catfish or shrimp po'boy. 

  • T-Coon's - 1900 W Pinhook Rd, Lafayette, LA 70508
    T-Coon's was established in 1993 near Lafayette homes for sale. The restaurant's founder and cook David Billeaud, draws on six generations of Cajun and Creole cooking experience. Chicken and sausage gumbo is available only during the colder months at T-Coon's, but there are always delicious Louisiana specialties on the menu, like crawfish etouffee and catfish courtbouillon. 

  • Parrain's Seafood - 3225 Perkins Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    Baton Rouge has no shortage of great seafood restaurants, but Parrain's Seafood ranks near the top. The seafood specialists here source the freshest seafood imaginable from fishermen far and wide. That effort pays off in dishes like their seafood gumbo, rich, hearty, and packed with flavor. It makes a great appetizer for the iconic "Whole Shebang" seafood platter. Perrain's also has a welcoming rustic ambiance, with a great outdoor patio perfect for visiting after viewing Baton Rouge homes for sale

Contact us today to learn more about living life to the fullest in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Great food and unique culture are just part of what makes Louisiana a truly unique and special place to call home. 

July
19

Best Materials to Use For Your Patio

Patio Materials

A home with a patio provides opportunities for relaxation and various outdoor activities with family and friends. Whether you enjoy relaxing in the sun, tending to your garden, or grilling with the kids, a patio creates the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors.

If you're looking for New Orleans homes for sale, you know that the climate changes with the seasons. Our real estate agents can help you find a home with an existing patio or a sizable backyard where you can build your own. With hot summers, cool, windy winters, and year-round rainfall in New Orleans, choosing materials that provide long-term durability and easy maintenance is essential.

Concrete

In a changing climate, it's hard to find a patio material more versatile than concrete. Made from a mixture of cement, gravel, sand, and water, a concrete patio with proper maintenance can last 20-30 years. For minimal costs, you can build a concrete patio in a variety of shapes and finishes that complement the style of your home.

  • Poured or Stamped – A poured concrete patio is quick and easy to install as long as you have a flat surface. For $6 to $13 per square foot, you can create a patio in square, rectangular, oval, or curved shapes to complement the style of your home. Concrete can be colored as well as textured by using stamps that create a variety of patterns.

  • Pavers – Concrete pavers are manufactured stones that come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Unlike poured slabs, pavers are placed individually. They offer better drainage and less damage from cracks. Although pavers cost $13 to $20 per square foot, they can last 50-100 years with minimal maintenance.

Brick

Made from clay fired at high temperatures, bricks provide durability and classic appeal for formal and rustic homes and landscapes. Brick patios cost $14 to $20 per square foot, but salvaged bricks can be purchased as a cheaper, eco-friendly option. If full-sized bricks create structural concerns, thinner, lighter brick pavers can be laid in a variety of patterns. Brick patios can last up to 100 years with proper maintenance. Bricks are strong but porous, so cleaning with bleach and a scrub brush 3-4 times a year is recommended to prevent mildew and moss growth during rainy weather.

Flagstone

Flagstone is a beautiful material that's available in various stones and colors. Large, flat slabs of stone quarried from the ground are usually 1-3 inches thick. Irregular shapes and distinct colors enhance visual interest, and rough surfaces provide good traction when wet. Popular flagstones include Bluestone, Limestone, Sandstone, and Quartzite. When building a patio, flagstones should be at least 1 ½ inches thick and laid directly on soil or sand. Thinner slabs should be laid in concrete or wet mortar to prevent cracking. A flagstone patio will cost $14 to $28 per square foot, but it can last 100 years or more with proper care.

Loose Materials

Once considered a choice only for small side yards, loose materials are now popular options for patios, especially in drought-prone areas. Many homeowners are replacing thirsty lawns with more water-wise alternatives that are inexpensive and easy to use. Options include:

  • Bark and rubber mulch

  • Crushed stone

  • Decomposed granite

  • Pea gravel

  • Sand

At an average cost of $6 to $10 per square foot, loose materials can last many years and easily be replaced, but borders or edging may be needed to keep materials in place.

Still looking for a home perfect for relaxing on the patio? If you're interested in New Orleans properties, contact us for a tour of available homes in desirable communities that fit your lifestyle and financial needs.

July
7

Kitchen Updates to Make Cooking Easier

Kitchen Updates

There are Baton Rouge homes for sale that can meet all of your needs. However, that doesn't mean you can't still do a bit of work to make your new house your own. If you're a home chef, for instance, you might like to make a few changes to making cooking easier. From minor additions to major renovations, here are a few kitchen updates to consider.

  1. An Induction Cooktop
    A regular electric or gas-powered range can work well for your basic needs, but an induction cooktop can make cooking so much easier and more precise. It lets you regulate temperature more accurately, for perfect browning, boiling, and steaming, every time. It's also more energy-efficient than your regular stovetop.

  2. A Warming Drawer
    If you're cooking multiple things at once, the dish you finish first will sit around getting cold while you work on the ones that take longer. A warming drawer lets you get dishes out of the way as soon as you finish them while keeping them warm and ready for serving. If you're a fan of the Great British Baking Show, you can also use your warming drawer as a proofing drawer to let bread doughs rise.

  3. A Produce Washing Station
    You can wash your fruits and vegetables in the sink, but that's the same place where you're putting your dirty dishes. If you happen to drop something, it will end up even dirtier than it was. Consider installing a second, smaller sink off to the side, just for washing produce. It will help keep your prep work separate from your cleanup and keep your food a lot cleaner and more sanitary.

  4. Lighting
    There are three types of light you want in the kitchen. Ambient light is like what you have in every other room - a simple overhead fixture to illuminate the room in general. Accent lighting adds more illumination to a specific area of the kitchen. If you have a kitchen island, you may want a light above it to turn on when the family is sitting around it to eat. Finally, task lighting is a direct light that shines on a particular workspace to help give you a better view of what you're doing. You may have a task light above the counter for when you chop vegetables or above the stovetop to help you see what's on the back burner. 

  5. Storage
    There's nothing more frustrating in the kitchen than having to take apart an entire cupboard to find the one pot or pan you're looking for. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple ways to make container storage more convenient. Install a few sturdy hooks a couple of feet above the stove, and hang your pots and pans from them for easy access. You can add extra shelving to the kitchen walls, too. Try putting in a single shelf, right at eye level, that goes all the way around the kitchen. Use it for herbs, spices, flour, sugar, and other non-perishable ingredients that you want at hand. It will make things easier to find and make cooking easier and quicker.

These are just a few of the ways you can update the kitchen in your new home. Whether you want to add a few finishing touches or a complete remodel, our real estate agents can help you find the best way to make your new kitchen your own. Contact us and let us help you find the perfect house for you.

June
14

Food Trends: Where to Order Bubble Tea in NOLA

Bubble Tea in NOLA

Call it bubble tea, milk tea, or boba. Whatever name you use, this cool beverage is amazing in the summer months. Plus, there are many lovely bubble tea shops in the NOLA area. Here are a few particular ones that our real estate agents recommend. 

  • Vivi Bubble Tea: 3000 Severn Ave. Unit A, Metairie LA, 70002
    If you're in the area looking at Metairie homes for salethen stop by this shop for a bubble tea break. Vivi Bubble Tea offers a lot of creative bubble tea beverages. The Flaming Brown Sugar boba is a great option if you're in the mood for something sweet. If you want something more traditional, try the Signature Fruit Tea. There are tables where you can sit and enjoy your tea, although many customers do take it to-go.

  • Dream House Macarons: 1331 Barataria Blvd., Marrero LA, 70072
    The name might be Dream House Macarons, but this shop's bubble tea is as delicious as their French baked goods. Their brown sugar milk tea is a popular choice, and it comes with plenty of tapioca balls. 

    For something really special, make sure you order some macarons with your boba. The ube caramel ones are delicious, but they offer a big selection of flavors to appeal to all tastes. Stopping here will be a wonderful treat if you're looking at Marrero homes for sale nearby.

  • Mopho: 514 City Park Ave., New Orleans LA, 70199
    If you get hungry while looking at New Orleans homes for sale, then stop by Mopho for some pho and bubble tea. They have an extensive food menu with options like smoky pork pho and beef pho.

    The bubble tea at Mopho comes in tall glasses with colorful straws, making the drinking experience even more fun. Many drinks also have creative names, such as Guns + Roses Boba Tea and Tropic Like It's Hot. 

  • Follow Tea: 3334 Severn Ave., Ste 8, Metairie LA, 70002
    Follow Tea
    offers a high-end bubble tea experience. They make all of their teas with fresh ingredients. Many of the teas come topped with cheese or soy foam, adding an extra level of flavor.

    One favorite at Follow Tea is the Cherry Cheese Tea. If you prefer brewed tea, then try the Jasmine Green Tea or the Oolong Tea. You can add golden boba, crystal bubbles, or coconut to any tea upon request. Their dining area is beautifully decorated and a nice place to sip your beverages. 

  • Smoothie Bubble Tea: 2653 Barataria Blvd Marrero, LA 70072
    For when you can't decide between a smoothie or bubble tea, get a combination of the two at Smoothie Bubble Tea. Flavor options include mango, coconut, peach, and more. Plus, besides the expansive list of flavors, customers can also get food items like Vietnamese poboys and tasty waffles. 

Bubble tea is such a wonderful beverage to enjoy in the summer, especially in a warm climate like New Orleans. It might even make you fall in love with this city even more. If that happens, contact us, and we'll put you in touch with a local real estate agent. 

February
3

Using a VA Loan this Year? 2021 Changes to Know About

VA Loan Louisiana

If you're thinking about buying one of the beautiful Baton Rouge homes for sale, a VA loan is a great option! These loans come with excellent benefits. They offer flexible credit underwriting and low-interest rates. In addition, buyers using a VA loan won't have to come up with a down payment or carry mortgage insurance (PMI).

A portion of these loans is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA). However, the loans are issued by mortgage lenders and banks. Our real estate agents regularly meet with lenders to learn more about any updates to loan programs and how they could impact their clients. 

There have been some changes to VA loans that go into effect in 2021. Here's what you need to know. 

Benefits for National Guard Members

The biggest change affects National Guard members. Previously, VA loans were not available to members who did not have at least 90 days of active service.

Beginning in 2021, all Guard and Reserve members who have at least 90 days of service are eligible for a VA home loan, even if the service wasn't active. However, there is one caveat. At least 30 of the days of the service must be consecutive. 

Increased Loan Limits

As of 2020, service members with "full entitlement" are not subject to a VA loan limit. You'll have full entitlement if you've never used a VA loan benefit, have paid off a VA loan and then sold the property, or had a foreclosure or short sale and repaid the VA in full.

However, if you have "remaining entitlement," you are subject to a limit. This can occur for several different reasons. The most common is that you have an active VA loan, they're still paying back.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that the upper limit for their loans was increasing in 2021. VA loans follow these guidelines, so all VA loans closing after January 1st, 2021 also have increased loan limits. The new limit for a single-family home located in the lower 48 states is $548,250. This is an increase of 7.4% compared to 2020. 

In Alaska or Hawaii, the upper limit is now $822,375. If you're buying a home in a high-cost county, you might also have some extra wiggle room. These areas will have their own limits, which are set on a local basis. This limit may be anywhere from $548,250 and $822,375. 

Explore Baton Rouge Homes Today! 

Whether you're planning on using a VA loan or another type of financing, now is a great time to buy a new home. There are many beautiful options on the market, and we would love to help you find the perfect one. Contact us today to get started! 

January
20

Not a Green Thumb? These Indoor Plants Are For You!

Indoor Plant Tips

Whether you've just purchased one of the beautiful Baton Rouge homes for sale or you've lived in your current home for years, decorating with houseplants can go a long way towards making your space feel homey. Even if you don't have a green thumb, you can still keep beautiful plants in your home! 

The key is selecting plants that are hardy and easy to care for. Here are a few of the best starter plants. 

  1. Pathos 
    If you're looking for a virtually indestructible plant, the Pathos is it! While this plant will do best in front of a large window, it can also do just fine in lower-light environments. The Pathos will quickly grow long vines that reach outward, so it does well in a hanging pot. 
  2. Snake Plant
    The Snake Plant, also known as Mother-In-Law's Tongue, is another highly tolerant houseplant. This is a true low-light plant that doesn't require much water. Not only are these plants beautiful, but they're also known to purify the air, removing potentially dangerous toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.  
  3. Monstera
    If you want a plant that promises to make a real impression, you can't go wrong with a Monstera Deliciosa, also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant. It can grow anywhere from 6.5 to almost 10 feet tall and produces leaves that can be up to 3 feet long. These hardy plants do best in medium to bright indirect light and only need to be watered when the soil is dry. 
  4. Cacti 
    A cactus is easy to care for by design. They're great at holding water, which means you rarely have to do anything with it. If you happen to notice the soil is dry, give it a drink. Other than that, there really isn't anything else to do. There are many different cacti varieties, which makes it easy to create interesting displays or place different kinds around your home. 
  5. Spider Plant 
    A beautiful and interesting hanging plant, the Spider plant is super easy to care for. All you need to do is keep it out of direct sunlight, water it when the soil is partially dry, and occasionally cut off any parts that turn brown or yellow. If you're lucky, your plant will reward you with babies, also called spiderettes, that hang from the mother plant. 
  6. ZZ Plant
    A very low-maintenance plant that does great in low-light conditions, the ZZ plant has become extremely popular in recent years. Traditional ZZ plants have green, wax-like leaves, while the new Raven ZZ darkens to a stunning black color when it matures. These plants don't like humidity and only need to be watered when the soil is completely dry, making the ZZ a perfect set-it-and-forget-it plant.
  7. Succulents
    Are you too busy to deal with plants? If so, a succulent is perfect for you! These plants are generally happiest when left alone, and some would even say they thrive on neglect. The easiest way to kill a succulent is to over-water it, so you're best off giving it a little drink once a month and then forgetting you have it. There are endless varieties of succulents to choose from. Just be careful — collecting these beautiful plants can become a bit addictive. 

Are you still looking for the perfect place to call home? Our real estate agents are here to help! Contact us today to discuss your goals and schedule an appointment. 

November
11

How to Start an Indoor Herb Garden

Indoor Herb Garden

In our warm region, we're lucky to grow certain types of herbs all year long in a protected place outdoors. However, there is always the risk of a cold snap, when temperatures plunge below freezing. That's why learning the ins and outs of indoor herb gardening is well worth your time -- not to mention, having herbs growing indoors provides an attractive accent to your home when it's listed among Baton Rouge homes for sale.

Further, growing plants indoors can help clean the air, which is oh-so-important when your home is shut up tight during the cold season. It's also lovely to have culinary herbs within snipping distance for cooking. 

Here's what you'll need to get started.

What You'll Need

The greatest challenge for growing indoor plants is giving them the 6-8 hours of sunlight they need. If you have a big window, that may be enough light for a healthy garden. Otherwise, you may need to supplement it with a grow light. 

You'll obviously need containers, so think about how many herbs you want to grow and what your indoor garden will look like. Kits are available that make it easy to grow three or so seeds or seedlings. If space is limited, you might acquire a multi-tiered plant stand that will hold pots. 

Pots can be plastic or clay, but some pros lean toward today's higher quality plastics. They last longer, without worries about chipping and breaking, and they hold in water quite well, so there's less worry about drying out. Always look for recyclable plastic. Further, plastic is lighter and easier to move around. Containers should have a hole in the bottom to allow water to drain. 

If you don't opt for a kit, you will need potting soil, plants, or seeds (buying seedlings will get you going faster unless you love growing plants from seeds), fertilizer, a watering can, and some mat or drip tray to keep water off the floor.

What to Grow?

If you're an indoor gardening novice, you might want to start with herbs that are easy to grow. The following are some culinary herbs that you're probably used to using in recipes.

Mint: Grown outdoors, mint will take over, but indoors, it's likely to be a little better contained. Grow mint from seed, cuttings, or store-bought container plants. It's used in cooking, to make cocktails and other drinks, to freshen breath, and for an upset stomach.

Basil: One of the easiest herbs to grow, basil is used in Italian cooking, particularly pesto. Start it from seed with ease. It's also pleasingly aromatic.

Chives: Chives are quite easy to grow; plus, they can be frozen for later use. They're often added to soups and dips and are a well-known addition to sour cream when served with potatoes. 

Parsley: Sow parsley directly from seed in the container you are going to grow it in. Grow it in the brightest light possible. Add parsley to soups and salads. It's rich in antioxidants and vitamins.

Rosemary: Rosemary will start as a fragrant herb you can snip but will turn into a woody plant. The key to growing rosemary is sandy soil in the container. And refrain from overwatering.

Take time off from your indoor projects and let our real estate agents help you get your home ready to list. Contact us today. 

Latter & Blum
430 Notre Dame St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
(866) 794-1022
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 12/04/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 12/04/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of Houston Association of Realtors (last updated Sun 12/04/2022 12:32:26 AM EST) or Fort Polk MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:30:06 PM EST) or Greater Southern MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:35:12 PM EST) or Greater Baton Rouge MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:30:40 PM EST) or GSREIN MLS (last updated Sun 12/04/2022 1:09:58 AM EST) or Bayou MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:20:45 PM EST) or Pearl River MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:24:17 PM EST) or GCLAR MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:12:09 PM EST) or MGCMLS (last updated Mon 10/04/2021 9:31:53 AM EST) or Realtor Association of Acadiana (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:22:29 PM EST) or Southwest Mississippi MLS (last updated Sat 12/03/2022 11:15:23 PM EST) or MLS United (last updated Sun 12/04/2022 1:36:09 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Latter & Blum may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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Agency License Information: Latter & Blum is licensed in Louisiana by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission. Latter & Blum is also licensed in Texas and Mississippi.


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