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Mardi Gras 2023 in Lake Charles

Lake Charles Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras 2023 is coming Tuesday, February 21. But Mardi Gras season isn't just about the big day. Our Realtors® know you have to start preparing early. This is one of the best times of year to go to Lake Charles open houses or visit Lake Charles homes for sale because magic is already in the air.

After all, Lake Charles is home to the biggest celebrations outside of New Orleans.

With only about a month left to go, there are still plenty of amazing things to see and do. Lake Charles goes all out for Mardi Gras each and every year. We have our own traditions and even our own incredible parades. You can be a part of it all this year.

Let's take a closer look at spectacular Mardi Gras celebrations in Lake Charles:

  • Taste of Mardi Gras Party – 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Taste of Mardi Gras Party takes place on February 15 from 6 p.m. through 9 o'clock. Guests enter for just $30 and will enjoy food and fun at the spacious Lake Charles Civic Center. Door prizes will also be available, and there is a cash bar. It's a terrific way to kick off your season of celebration.

  • Mardi Gras Annual Lighted Boat Parade – 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    See the Lakefront Promenade like you've never seen it before. Mardi Gras Annual Lighted Boat Parade is a truly breathtaking sight. A totally free event, it kicks off at 6 p.m. on February 16. Dozens of lighted boats take to the water in an annual outpouring of local spirit unique to Lake Charles.

  • Mardi Gras Merchants' Parade – Ryan Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Welcome to the first land parade of the season. Mardi Gras Merchants' Parade is a chance to meet new friends and buy unique souvenirs. This glowing night parade is sponsored by businesses and nonprofits, with the major contributors decorating incredible floats. It happens on February 17 at seven o'clock.

  • Krewe of Barkus Parade – 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Krewe of Barkus Parade is one you just can't miss: A parade of costumed pets and whimsical owners. It starts from the Lake Charles Civic Center and begins the morning of February 18. At the day's end, the #1 best costume winner will be crowned "Mystical Dog" of the Krewe of Barkus.

  • World Famous Cajun Extravaganza and Gumbo Cook-Off – 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    The World Famous Cajun Extravaganza and Gumbo Cook-Off is back for another year. There's no charge at the door for this mouth-watering contest, which runs bright and early from 7 a.m. through to 2 p.m. on February 18.

  • Mardi Gras Children's Day & Children's Day Parade – 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Mardi Gras Children's Day & Children's Day Parade is the day to celebrate the youth with a family-friendly day of interactive arts and crafts for kids aged 3 to 11. It gets rolling at 11:00 on February 19, and the parade starts at 3:30.

  • Mardi Gras Royal Gala – 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    It's the big night before the big day. Mardi Gras Royal Gala arrives on Monday, February 20. During this lavish parade, each Krewe will show off their handcrafted floats and their costumed royalty. There will be live music and dancing befitting the second-largest Mardi Gras in all of Louisiana.

Contact us to find out more about real estate in Lake Charles.


Why You Should Move to Lake Charles in 2023

Lake Charles 2023

Whether you prefer nature-inspired activities, love to play a round of golf, or prefer to visit museums and other cultural interests, Lake Charles is a terrific spot to call home. While Lake Charles boasts a small-town atmosphere, it has many of the perks and amenities of larger cities. Here are a few reasons our Realtors® encourage you to make Lake Charles your home in 2023. 

  • You'll Enjoy Warm Weather Year Round
    If you dread the thought of frigid winter temperatures and having to shovel snow and ice, Lake Charles' climate is perfect for your temperature and climate preferences. You'll experience hot temperatures in the 80s and 90s during the summer months, while the winter months have an average high of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. As you explore Lake Charles homes for sale, you'll have a chance to experience this great weather firsthand! 
  • The City Has a Resilient History
    Though the Great Fire of 1910 destroyed seven blocks of downtown Lake Charles, the city persevered and rebuilt. This resiliency continues to inspire and impact the town's residents, creating a supportive community that embraces growth and tenacity. Some of the town's parks were even constructed almost entirely by volunteers who wanted to improve the lives of other Lake Charles residents. 
  • Options for Dining and Entertainment
    Lake Charles is referred to as Louisana's Playground, and with a name like that, you can expect there will be plenty of things to see and do in the area all year long. Lake Charles offers five public golf courses well-suited for both novice and experienced golfers. Or, take the family out for a friendly round of putt-putt. The Lake Charles Civic Ballet regularly holds plays, musical productions, and seasonal shows.

    After checking out some of the Lake Charles open houses, take a few minutes to visit Lake Charles' top attractions and eateries. Sample a plate of boudin, a tasty sausage-like combination of pork, rice, vegetables, and seasonings.

    Stop by the Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center to check out the current exhibits. There's also a children's museum, the DeQuincy Railroad Museum, and a Mardi Gras museum.

    Plus, Lake Charles is also no stranger to hosting fantastic annual events. The city also has three major casinos perfect for a staycation or celebratory night out. Lake Charles hosts an annual Mardi Gras celebration that attracts up to 150,000 people.

    The area also offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities! Visit The Creole Nature Trail for scenic outdoor activities, including boating, fishing, crab hunting, and bird watching. Thanks to the pleasant Lake Charles weather, you can utilize the Creole Nature Trail the entire year. For all the outdoor amenities the area offers, be sure to check out their parks and recreation department.

Lake Charles attracts new residents from all across the country. Ready to find your new home in the Lake Charles area in 2023? Contact us to get started!


5 Lake Charles Holiday Events

Lake Charles Holiday

From sparkling lights to sugary cookies, the holiday season is a time of fun and festivities. You might be looking forward to a big dinner with family or a quiet evening of wrapping gifts. If you're looking for a community-oriented way to get into the holiday spirit, Lake Charles has a lot to offer. Here are some of the top holiday events our Realtors® recommend checking out. 

  1. The Nutcracker: 4205 Ryan St., Lake Charles, LA 70605
    Attend the Lake Area Ballet Theater's performance of The Nutcracker, presented at Tritico Theater at McNeese State University. There will be two public performances this year, one on Friday, December 9th, and another on Saturday, December 10th. 

    The Nutcracker is one of the best-known classic ballets set to the music of Tchaikovsky. It tells the story of a girl named Clara whose nutcracker comes alive during the holidays. Appropriate for all ages, this ballet is sure to put you in a festive mood. 

  2. Elf The Musical: 1 Reid St., Lake Charles, LA 70601
    If you love Elf, the movie here is your chance to see it in a whole new way. Elf The Musical is being performed at the ACTS Theater with recurring performances every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from December 2nd - December 18th. 

    Elf tells the story of Buddy, an oversized elf who learns he is a human with human parents. He sets off from the North Pole to New York City, where he meets his real father and learns a lot about family and the magic of Christmas. This musical is sure to make you laugh and cry.

  3. Santa's Hot Chocolate Run: 800 Lakeshore Dr., Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Are you looking for a more active way to celebrate the holidays? Santa's Hot Chocolate Run is a 5-mile race open to runners and walkers of all abilities. There is also a 1-mile fun run for kids. The race begins at the Lake Charles Civic Center on Lakeshore Drive.

    There is a $35 advanced registration fee. Or, you can register on the day of the race for $40. All participants will get a free t-shirt and post-race hot chocolate.

  4. Snow Village and Christmas Card Workshop: 1001 Ryan St., Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Visit the Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center between December 2nd and 21st, and you'll discover a stunning little village at the Snow Village and Christmas Card Workshop. Admire more than 700 lighted houses, skate on a skating rink, and make some crafty cards.

    This event will take place Tuesdays - Saturdays from 10 am - 6 pm. Stop by once, or come back again and again. All ages are welcome, and there is no fee to attend.

  5. A Very Merry Holiday Symphony: 900 N. Lakeshore Dr., Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Take a break from looking at Lake Charles homes for sale, and enjoy a performance by the Lake Charles Symphony. This holiday-themed performance will feature all of the classics. As the performance ends, Santa will fly in to take family photos.

    A Very Merry Holiday Symphony is scheduled for 6:30 pm on December 10th, 2022. It will be held in the Buccaneer Room of the Lake Charles Civic Center.

Lake Charles is a lovely place to live around the holidays, thanks to community events like these. If you're thinking of moving to the area, don't hesitate to contact us. We'll help you find the best Lake Charles open houses and navigate the local real estate market with ease.


Downtown Lake Charles Block Party Information

Lake Charles Downtown Party

Calling all Lake Charles residents and those looking at Lake Charles homes for sale. A favorite annual event is just around the corner. That's right — the Lake Charles Downtown Block Party is coming up on October 29th. Hosted by the Lake Charles Downtown Business Association, this is a party you won't want to miss. Here are the key details to know for the October Downtown Block Party.

  • Time and Date
    As mentioned above, the block party will take place on Saturday, October 29th, this year. Live music and vendors will be there from 3:00-7:00 pm. While the actual Candy Crawl part of the party will be from 4:30-6:30 pm. You don't have to stay for the entire event, but the event organizers do promise a special surprise at the end. Stop by for an hour, or stick around all afternoon. The nice fall weather will make for a lovely experience.

  • Location
    The Downtown Block Party takes place along the 300 Block of Broad Street. Many of the businesses along the street will be open and participating. Others will have tables and activities set up.

  • Key Attractions
    There's no shortage of things to do at the Downtown Block Party. October's event will feature a Candy Crawl. Gather candy from various vendors and residents who are handing it out. This is like trick-or-treating but in a controlled space. Feel free to wear your costumes for extra fun, but it's not required. Candy Crawl maps will be available at Panorama Music House to see where you can stop to pick up candy. These maps will also be available on social media prior to the party so you can plan out your route before the event even begins.

    All that walking around for the Candy Crawl means you'll work up an appetite! Food trucks will be on-site, serving delicious food throughout the party. From pizza to tacos, you can enjoy all of the favorites. Take a seat and listen to live music performed by local Lake Charles bands as you eat.

  • Sponsors
    The Downtown Block Party is organized and hosted by the Lake Charles Downtown Business Association. Throughout the year, this organization hosts multiple block party events to bring the community together for a fun time in the downtown area.

Take a break from attending Lake Charles open houses, and attend the Downtown Block Party. It's a great way to meet other Lake Charles residents and support local businesses. Plus, you'll get a true feel for the area and the local events you can expect throughout the year!

If you are still looking for a place to call home in the area, contact us soon. Our Realtors® would be glad to guide you during your home search and help you find the Lake Charles home near all your favorite local events.


Celebrate Local Artists at the Gallery Promenade

Lake Charles Gallery

The Lake Charles area is lucky to be home to many talented local artists. Their work is featured in a number of galleries and shops — and you can also check it out at the upcoming Gallery Promenade. This annual event is a favorite among locals and is the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with artists and galleries in the Lake Charles area. Take a break from looking at Lake Charles homes for sale, and admire art at this local event. Here are the key details to know before you attend:

  • Time and Date
    This year's Gallery Promenade is scheduled for Friday, September 30, 2022. It will officially last from 5 pm until 9 pm. However, in the past, some galleries and local restaurants have welcomed attendees a little later than this, after the festival is officially over.

    Fall is the perfect season for a gallery event like this one. The weather should be pleasantly cool so you can walk around all evening from gallery to gallery without getting too hot.

  • Location
    The Gallery Promenade takes place throughout Lake Charles. You can easily walk to some of the participating galleries right around the lake, but there are others a bit further out that you may prefer to drive to. Galleries in the area include Candice Alexander Art Studio, the magnificent Gallery by the Lake, and the Frame House Gallery.

  • Things to Do
    The key thing to do at Gallery Promenade is to visit the participating art galleries and admire the work on display. As you do so, you'll learn about many different local artists and their work. There will be some artwork for sale, so this may be a good opportunity to decorate your new home. You may also discover an artist whose work you want to buy later on. Some galleries will be serving refreshments throughout the evening.

    There will also be some street displays set up during the festival. This is a good way to discover up-and-coming artists who don't yet have their work in the larger galleries.

    Another great attraction at the festival will be the food trucks. They'll be set up and serving food throughout Lake Charles during the event. Stop by and support a local business by buying delicious tacos, a burger, or some ice cream while you admire local art.

Gallery Promenade is a lot of fun, especially for art lovers. It's one of many lovely Lake Charles events throughout the year. Ready to move to an area full of local events and a great art scene? If you're thinking of moving to the area, don't hesitate to contact us at your convenience. Our Realtors® will help you find Lake Charles open houses to attend as they guide you through the buying process.


Visit These Beaches Near Lake Charles

Lake Charles

Lake Charles homes for sale are some of the most sought-after in Louisiana, with those that have actual lake frontage in the greatest demand. While the competition is fierce, the satisfaction is well worth it. And as a part of the Lake Charles community, you don't have to live right on the water to enjoy it.

Between Lake Charles open houses, it's a good idea to explore the local area and get a sense of all that it has to offer. Our Realtors® are glad to help you make the most of it!

Let's take a stroll down some of the best beaches near Lake Charles:

  • The Beach and Marina at L'Auberge – 777 Avenue L'Auberge, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    The Beach and Marina at L'Auberge is the quintessential family-friendly beach here in Lake Charles. You can enjoy a meal at the tables or jump into a game of beach volleyball. There is no entry fee, and visitors of all ages are gladly welcome. Looking for a beach that's open on holidays? Check L'Auberge first. You can even rent a marina boat slip for a day out on the water; it's all overseen by the L'Auberge Casino Resort.

  • Golden Nugget Beach – 2550 Golden Nugget Boulevard, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Golden Nugget Beach is the beach affiliated with the world-famous Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino. Just steps from the casino's country club as well as top-rated steak and seafood restaurants, it's a sunny little slice of heaven. You may expect the beach itself to be an afterthought, but it won't disappoint. On the shores of the historic Calcasieu River, it offers swimming, sunning, and a variety of ways to get out on the water.

  • The Cajun Riviera – See Website for Location Details
    The Cajun Riviera is the unofficial nickname given to Holly Beach by Lake Charles locals. Thanks to its serenity and seclusion, it has become known as a premier couples' retreat. Because of the difficulty the area has faced with multiple major storms, the vacation rentals available at Holly Beach now take the form of large, private RVs that can be moved to safety by the renters in the event of harsh weather.

  • North Beach – North Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    North Beach is where you will find yourself if you follow Interstate 10. It has a claim to fame as the only white sand beach located inland anywhere between Texas and Florida. Visitors and Lake Charles residents are welcome seven days a week, all year round, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at night. This beach has been known to host a variety of musical performances and other community events.

  • Rutherford Beach at the Gulf of Mexico – See Website for Location Details
    Rutherford Beach at the Gulf of Mexico is a beach and campground in Louisiana's Creole Gulf. This is where the Mermentau River empties into the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to the beautiful beaches, you'll find picnic tables, picnic shelters, and a limited number of full RV hookups. The beach remains fully open to the public all year round, weather permitting.

Contact us to discover more about the Lake Charles area.


Outdoor Dining Spots Throughout Lake Charles

After a full day checking out Lake Charles homes for sale, it only makes sense to get out and have some fun. You are sure to find outdoor dining options for you, no matter what your favorite cuisine might be.

Our real estate agents are often asked about the best restaurants in Lake Charles. While the city has something for everyone, one topic comes up again and again, thanks to the area's natural beauty: Outdoor dining. Always popular in Lake Charles, it has really taken off in recent years.

Let's look at just a few of your many Lake Charles outdoor dining options:

  • 1910 Restaurant and Wine Bar – 949 Ryan Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    1910 Restaurant and Wine Bar is a classy and sophisticated spot nestled right in the midst of beautiful downtown Lake Charles. While enjoying all the views from the public square on Ryan Street, you'll savor American, Creole, Cajun, and French delicacies. The Sunday Brunch brings out the best of 1910! Outdoor seating is always available.

  • Pujo Street Cafe – 901 Ryan Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Pujo Street Cafe does a little bit of everything, with a chef-inspired menu that ranges from Creole and Cajun classics to steaks, seafood, pasta, and desserts. You'll feel like you're right in the beating heart of New Orleans from your own Lake Charles neighborhood. The covered patio is one of the best around, and it eagerly welcomes your canine friends so long as they remain leashed at all times.

  • Luna Bar and Grill – 719 Ryan Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Luna Bar and Grill combines delectable food with an eclectic atmosphere that attracts locals and visitors alike. Luna's patio is an important part of the Lake Charles live music scene. Visit in the evenings, and you may see an up-and-coming Lake Charles musical act or a well-known star. As for the food, it does dinner and lunch – and on Sundays there is a "Jazz Brunch" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Loggerheads Bar and Riverside Resort – 3748 Highway 3059, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Loggerheads Bar and Riverside Resort is at one of the city's best locations, right alongside the Calcasieu River. Guests must be 21+ to enter, thanks to the wide-ranging menu of wine, liquor, beer, and spirits. As you join in the fun, you'll note the casual atmosphere and some of the best outdoor seating to be found here in Lake Charles. There's enough space for dozens of visitors to enjoy a view of the water in peace.

  • Rikenjaks Brewing Company – 3716 Ryan Street, Lake Charles, LA 70605
    Rikenjaks Brewing Company has recently made its triumphant return to Lake Charles. Originally a major player in the growing Lake Charles dining scene in 1990, Rikenjaks went on hiatus for some time before reappearing in its current spot. Now, it offers daily specials, drinks, and live music. Tuesday is Team Trivia night, and every Friday and Saturday includes live music right on the patio.

Eager to discover Lake Charles for yourself? Contact us to find out more or stop by one of our Lake Charles open houses.


Disc Golf Courses Throughout Louisiana

 disc golf

Looking for something new to do this summer? Grab your friends and family and go play a round of disc golf! Disc golf is pretty similar to regular golf. The major difference is players throw a flying disc instead of using balls and clubs, and the objective is to land the disc in a basket instead of a hole.

Our real estate agents have been really getting into this fun summertime activity, so we're up to date on all the best disc golf courses around the great state of Louisiana. You'd be surprised at just how many great courses there are around:

  • Bob Rodgers Memorial Disc Golf - 107 Sutherland Rd, Lake Charles, LA 70611
    Located in Sam Houston Jones State Park, the Bob Rodgers Memorial Disc Golf Course contains 21 challenging wooded holes spread out over 4,353 feet. Fees are $1 per person and loaner discs are available at the park office. The park also contains plenty of camping and rental cabins if you're planning to make a whole weekend out of it.

  • Ward 3 Recreation Disc Golf Course - 3210 Power Center Pkwy, Lake Charles, LA 70607
    This 9-hole, 28-par disc golf course near Lake Charles is great for beginners. Ward 3 Recreation offers a mostly open course with a few obstacles that mostly consist of park amenities (playgrounds, picnic tables, etc.). Certain sections do have a few trees. The course is a lot of fun, and if you like the area, there are some great Lake Charles homes for sale just a few miles away. 

  • City Park Disc Golf Course - 65 Diagonal Dr, New Orleans, LA 70124
    This popular disc golf course is 18-holes and contains many obstacles including live oak trees, lagoons, and bridges. The City Park Disc Golf Course is actually the only course in New Orleans. Located in City Park, each hole is a par 3, making it great for players of all skill levels. 

  • LHC Disc Golf Park at Scotlandville 3100 Monte Sano Ave, Baton Rouge, LA 70807  
    You'll find a challenging and well-maintained 61-par course at LHC Disc Golf Park with 18 total holes (including two par 5's). It's actually the second-largest course in the state. The terrain is mostly flat, yet you will find your fair share of subtle rolling landscapes. The course is open from sunrise to sunset. 

  • Highland Road Park Disc Golf Course - 14024 Highland Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70810
    Highland Road Park Disc Golf Course has two basket locations per tee (purple baskets are the short course, gold baskets are the long course). You'll find beautiful hilly and woodsy terrain, as well as a scenic creek that runs right through the course. There is even a tiny pro shop onsite making this location perfect for disc golf fans near Baton Rouge homes for sale

Have fun ringing those disc golf baskets, as it's one of the many fun things to do around Louisiana. If you're in the market for a new home, contact us today.


Birding Spots Near Lake Charles

Lake Charles Birding

Louisiana is home to some of the most remarkable birds in the entire country. The Lake Charles area is no exception in this regard. There are more top-notch birding spots around our Lake Charles homes for sale than we can count. We've listed some of the best ones below. 

  • Peveto Woods Sanctuary - 182 Gulf View Rd, Cameron, LA 70631
    The Peveto Woods Sanctuary is in a prime location near our Cameron homes for sale, right in the middle of many birds' migratory flight paths across the Gulf of Mexico. As a result, it has become a haven for some of Louisiana's more uncommon passerine birds, including Western Tanagers, Red-faced Warblers, and Hooded Orioles.
    The sanctuary is run by the Baton Rouge Audubon Society and is carefully maintained to preserve the birds' habitat. Guests are welcome to walk the many on-site trails and take pictures of the birds and wildlife but are asked not to do anything that might disturb the sanctuary's creatures.

  • The Wetland Walkway - 3000 Holly Beach Hwy, Hackberry, LA 70645
    The Wetland Walkway is part of the Sabine National Wildlife Preserve, an area near our Hackberry homes for sale dedicated to keeping Louisiana's wetlands and their wildlife intact. With 1.5 miles of wheelchair-accessible paths and boardwalks and a two-story observation tower, this walkway makes it easy to get close to some of the state's more elusive birds.

    The stars of the show are the preserve's many wading birds and waterfowl, but you'll also find plenty of predatory birds like hawks, falcons, and turkey vultures. Remember to scan both the water and sky during your visit to see as many different species as possible. 

  • Willow Island - Willow Island, LA 70549
    Willow Island is a small island located in Saint James Parish in Louisiana. This is one of our real estate agents' favorite spots for observing sparrows, including hard-to-find varieties of sparrows. 

    There are also plenty of pelicans and coastal shorebirds like sanderlings and plovers to be spotted along the island's shores. Keep an eye out for a fantastic shot of these birds against a cresting wave! 

  • Pintail Wildlife Drive - 1428 LA-27, Bell City, LA 70630
    The Pintail Wildlife Drive is part of the Cameron Prairie Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest conservation areas in Louisiana. This paved 3-mile loop is perfect for bird-watching from the comfort of your car.

    On this trail, you'll pass a lively mixture of marsh and woodland scenes and observe many of Louisiana's common bird species in their native habitats. In the winter, you may even spot the Vermilion Flycatcher, a beautiful scarlet passerine that is sure to delight any avid birdwatching fan. 

  • Sabine Pass Lighthouse and Lighthouse Bayou - Cameron, LA 70631
    The Sabine Pass Lighthouse was constructed in 1856 to help Louisiana's sailors safely navigate the shallow waters of Lighthouse Bayou. The structure itself is no longer safe to access, but this location is still home to over 250 bird species at various times of the year. 

    Many brightly colored songbirds pass through the area during migration in the spring and fall. Stunning wading birds and waterfowl like the Rosette Spoonbill often gather around the banks of the bayou and its surrounding trees. Even the tiny threatened Black Rail can sometimes be spotted in the long grass around the area.

These diverse biomes are truly a birdwatcher's paradise. You can enjoy countless opportunities to observe gorgeous birds by moving closer to the action. Contact us today for more information on our listings or to attend one of our Lake Charles open houses


Increase Storage Space With These Tips

Storage Space Tips

Storage space makes a big difference in your home! Maybe you're staging a home and want to show off all the storage it can offer. Or maybe you'd like more storage so you can be more organized. In any case, there are plenty of options for adding more storage space to your home. Our real estate agents point out these areas where you can increase your storage space.

  • Add Upper Shelves to Closets
    Is the space at the top of your closets going unused? Add a shelf about 12 - 18 inches from the ceiling. You can use this shelf to hold baskets, which you can fill with smaller items like purses, belts, sunglasses, and umbrellas. This will free up more space in the lower levels of your closet and get all of these small, cluttery items out of your way.

  • Put Hooks on the Sides of Cabinets
    Are the ends of your kitchen and bathroom cabinets exposed? Take advantage of this extra space by screwing some hooks into the exposed ends. In the kitchen, you can use these hooks to hang measuring cups and spoons, your shopping bags, or even your extra hand towels. In the bathroom, such hooks can be a great place to park your bathrobe, towel, scrub brushes, and other bathing accessories.

  • Buy a Storage Bench for Your Entryway
    In many homes, the entryway is the place where clutter tends to stack up first. Consider buying a storage bench to add to your entryway. Look for a padded one so it can double as a seat. Most storage benches have lids on hinges, which you can fold up to access the interior of the bench. Inside, you can store your hats, gloves, and other winter apparel, especially during the warm season when you're not using it.

  • Put Storage Shelving Under Your Sinks
    The cabinets under sinks tend to get cluttered with old sponges, half-empty bottles of cleaner, and worn-out scrub brushes. If you put a small storage shelving unit inside this cabinet, you'll be better able to see and access all of the items stored there. This will make it easier to find what you need and call attention to worn-out items that need to be thrown away.

  • Mount Old Cabinets in Your Garage
    Are you remodeling your kitchen or bathroom? Instead of throwing away the old cabinets, have them installed on the wall of your garage. They don't have to look perfect to hold your sporting goods, gardening supplies, and tools. You can even add some hooks inside a few of the cabinets, making it easier to hang up tools and cleaning cloths.

  • Add a Magnetic Strip to Your Bathroom Cabinet
    You can find stock-on magnetic strips at many home goods stores. Buy one of these, and mount it inside your bathroom cabinet. It will be a convenient place to store bobby pins, hair clips, nail trimmers, and other hygiene tools that would otherwise end up scattered about and lost.

  • Purchase Under-Bed Storage Boxes
    Visit a home goods store, and look for some flat, under-bed storage boxes. You can use these to store off-season clothing, holiday decorations, spare bedding, and anything else that's getting in the way inside your closets.

With these ideas, you can create more storage space inside almost any home. If you're still looking for the perfect house to call your home, feel free to contact us. We'll guide you through the process of finding Lake Charles homes for sale and attending Lake Charles open houses


Interior Design Trends That Are Making a Comeback

Interior Design

Are you ready for a fresh take on interior design in 2022? As it turns out, what is old may be new again this year.

Our real estate agents have noticed a few older interior design trends coming back into the spotlight. Check out these retro interior design concepts that have caught homeowners' interest this year. 

  • Bold Colors and Patterns 
    Soft, neutral color palettes have enjoyed a long period of popularity in interior design. In 2022, though, they will finally start to fall out of favor. Bold, statement-making colors like mustard, terracotta, and chocolate are becoming increasingly popular. 

    This trend has also brought back stripes, polka dots, and other eye-catching patterns. Look for them on wallpaper, backsplashes, and upholstery, usually in combination with the bold colors discussed above.  

  • Cozy Details 
    After another year spent working, learning, and playing mostly from home, many people have embraced the idea of making their space into a cozy retreat away from the stressors of modern life.  

    Homey elements like live plants, mix-matched patterns, cushy throw pillows, and antique furniture are popular ways to give a space the comfortable, lived-in atmosphere that is so appealing to today's homeowners. These accents are also very affordable and easy to add to any room, making this one of the most accessible design trends on this list.  

  • Personalized, Functional Spaces 
    More and more people are embracing mindfulness and living in the moment, and the priorities of interior design have shifted in response to this trend. Instead of focusing solely on aesthetics in the home, homeowners are interested in creating old-fashioned functional spaces that allow them to enjoy their everyday activities in comfort and style. 

    Hobby areas like a sewing corner or video game den are common features in 2022's interior design. Some homeowners are experimenting with dedicated homework rooms that function like office spaces for children. Whatever it is that you do, look for ways to bring that activity into your design and make it a vital part of your home.  

  • 70s-Inspired Finishes 
    Many of 2022's design sensibilities harken back to those of the 1970s. This year, look for the return of popular 70s finishes such as wood-toned paneling and textured fabrics like corduroy and burlap. You'll also find eye-catching trim (think braid, tassels, and fringe) on fabric elements, such as upholstered furniture and blankets.  

  • Sustainable Materials 
    Sustainability is a major concern for modern homeowners, and many are decorating their homes accordingly. Rustic materials like reclaimed wood and natural fabrics are surging in popularity due to their eco-friendly nature. 

    Many people are also taking care to fill their homes with classic pieces that last a long time and won't look dated in a few years. The idea is to keep each item around for as long as possible, minimizing the impact of their design choices on the environment.  

  • Traditional Furniture 
    2022's furniture trends also take inspiration from the old over the new. Pieces with old-fashioned silhouettes like roll-arm sofas and wingback chairs are back in style, adding a touch of classic elegance to any room. Statement pieces like this require more thought to integrate into a room, but if you pull it off, you'll create a beautiful space that makes you feel like you've stepped back in time.  

Want to really switch things up in 2022? Why not move into a whole new home? Our Lake Charles homes for sale are the perfect canvas for all of your interior design dreams. Contact us today for help buying or selling homes anywhere in the Lake Charles area.  


Celebrate Crawfish Season at These Louisiana Spots


Are you ready for crawfish season and don't want to wait for the Lake Charles Crawfish Festival in April? Some of your favorite dining destinations around Lake Charles are ready to help you celebrate with a dish that is always best enjoyed in Louisiana. No matter how you enjoy your crawfish prepared, there's sure to be a local seafood spot ready to serve you. Our real estate agents have the delicious details on 5 great spots to chow down on some crawfish around Lake Charles.

  • Zydeco Crawfish – 5400 Gerstner Memorial Blvd., Lake Charles, LA 70607
    Consistently voted as the best crawfish drive-thru near Lake Charles homes for sale with both steamed, to-go crawfish and live crawfish to cook at home, Zydeco Crawfish is ready to help you celebrate the season. They're moving from their previous location into a brand new building, but you can still expect the same great service. Stop by anytime for a quick, convenient way to satisfy your crawfish craving.

  • Steamboat Bill's – 1004 N. Lakeshore Dr., Lake Charles, LA 70601
    With two locations in Lake Charles along with the Boiling Wagon that you might see at local events, Steamboat Bill's is a local favorite for all sorts of seafood, crawfish included. What started as the dream of a roadside merchant has grown into a popular local chain, where you can always find fresh seafood and good times. They also offer catering for events of all sizes if you're thinking of planning a party this crawfish season.

  • JT's Seafood – 2908 Lake St., Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Known for a menu that mixes authentic Southern barbecue with fresh seafood favorites, JT's Seafood is always ready to serve you during crawfish season. When you're shopping for fresh ingredients, JT's Seafood is the place to be. Fresh shipments of crawfish, crab, shrimp, and fish arrive regularly. Of course, you can also pick up prepared meals, complete with all the fixings and cooked to order.

  • The Crawfish Stop – 3437 Country Club Rd., Lake Charles, LA 70605
    Another excellent drive-thru destination for crawfish, The Crawfish Stop has two locations in Lake Charles for your convenience. This locally owned and operated business is drive-thru only, perfect for picking up some steamed crawfish on the way home from work. Every crawfish meal is served with potatoes, along with sweet corn and a delicious dipping sauce. Order your crawfish by the pound, and let The Crawfish Stop handle all of the cooking for you.

  • Beauxdines' Seafood & Specialty Meat Market – 3013 Ryan St., Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Whether you want to pick up some fresh crawfish to steam at home with your own recipe or grab your crawfish hot, fresh, and ready to eat, Beauxdines' Seafood & Specialty Meat Market has you covered. Visit the drive-thru to grab a quick meal, or head inside to shop from an extensive selection of high-quality ingredients. If you stop by on the weekend, you'll often have some live music to enjoy while you dine.

Ready to find your next home close to all of the amazing dining spots around Lake Charles? Our team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Lake Charles, LA area or stop by our Lake Charles open houses.


Cultural Districts of Lake Charles

Lake Charles Historic

Lake Charles is a truly one-of-a-kind place to call home. In 2007 the Cultural Districts program was formed with a goal to encourage economic growth and tourism to these historic areas. Let our real estate agents be your tour guide to these unique Cultural Districts in Lake Charles

Nellie Lutcher Cultural District

Named for the legendary R&B and jazz singer who was born in Lake Charles in 1912, the Nellie Lutcher Cultural District encapsulates a vibrant area. It's the newest Cultural District in the city, having been given its official designation by the state of Louisiana in 2016, and is walkable from many Lake Charles homes for sale

The Nellie Lutcher Cultural District spans Ryan Street and Enterprise Boulevard to the east and west and between 7th Street and Railroad Avenue to the north and south. Landmarks in this district include: 

  • ACTS Theatre - 1 Reid St, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Located in a building that once served as a silent movie house, the Artists Civic Theatre and Studio (ACTS) is a vital component of Lake Charles art and culture. ACTS was founded in 1969 and continues to produce stage productions every season. 

Charlestown Cultural District

Charles Sallier, one of the earliest settlers in Calcasieu Parrish, built his home on the shore of the lake that now bears his name in 1800. The settlement that grew around his homestead became known as "Charles Town" until the name was officially changed to Lake Charles in 1867. 

Those early settlements around the shoreline of Lake Charles are now included within the Charlestown Cultural District, which also encompasses the Downtown Ryan Street corridor and Lakeshore Drive from the I-10 bridge to Bord du Lac Drive. Some of this district's most significant landmarks include: 

  • 1911 Historic City Hall - 1001 Ryan St, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Once Lake Charles city hall, the 1911 Historic City Hall building was renovated and reopened in 2004 as an arts and culture center. 

  • Calcasieu Marine National Bank - 104 W Pujo St, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    With its three-story limestone edifice and neoclassical architecture, the building that houses the Calcasieu Marine National Bank was built in 1928 by the noted New Orleans architects of Favrot and Livaudais

Cottage Shops Cultural District

The unique Cottage Shops Cultural District was established in 2010. Compact and easily walkable, the Cottage Shops Cultural District is centered around Hodges Street between Alamo and 12th Streets and is home to some of Lake Charles' best locally-owned shops and eateries. Some of the special places found in this district include: 

  • Agave Tamale - 521 Alamo St, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Louisiana-style hot tamales are their own thing, and you'll get the best in town at Agave Tamale, a cozy takeout spot nestled in a historic building on Alamo Street. 

  • Crave - 2801 Ryan St #100, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Gourmet specialty food and gift baskets are the main attraction at Crave, a local favorite for delicacies ranging from wine and spirits to hot sauces, chocolates, olive oils, and balsamic. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Lake Charles. When it comes to finding your dream home in Louisiana, our real estate agents are here to help every step of the way. 


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. 


  • 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


6 Stops Along the SWLA Boudin Trail


Maybe we're biased, or we're just hungry....but the food in Louisiana can't be beaten. Louisiana food is truly one-of-a-kind and delicious. This certainly includes homemade boudin you can find at local spots. Even better, there's a whole trail dedicated to this fantastic food! When our real estate agents are craving one of the state's iconic foods, they head to the SWLA Boudin Trail and these wonderful shops and restaurants.

  1. Leonard's Food Quarters - 1708 Gerstner Memorial Dr., Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Leonard's Food Quarters is more than just a business to its namesake founder. After a 30-year career that began in a bowling alley kitchen, Leonard wanted to create a legacy for his children. Every item on the menu, from boudin to salad dressing, is infused with a touch of soul. Call ahead to have your order ready at the convenient pickup window. Leonard's is open weekdays from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.

  2. Hebert's Specialty Meats - 1140 Country Club Rd., Lake Charles, LA 70605
    Boudin does double duty at Hebert's Specialty Meats, which has been serving the community around Lake Charles homes for sale for more than 40 years. Buy boudin by the pound or get it as a stuffing in chicken and turkey. Don't forget to take home some of Hebert's flavorful house seasoning. Hours are 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday, and 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday.

  3. Honey B Ham and Deli - 506 E. Prien Lake Rd., Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Take the stress out of the holiday and special event planning when you leave the food to Honey B Ham and Deli. In addition to boudin dishes and balls that serve 20, Honey B has a full selection of BBQ, turkey, side dishes, pies, and, of course, ham. Need a quick lunch? Grab a sandwich, salad, gumbo, or etouffee. Hours are 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday.

  4. Sonnier's Boudin - 1217 Mill St., Lake Charles, LA 70601
    When you put the name of your product in your business, you're making a statement, and Sonnier's Boudin delivers. Sonnier's isn't content to serve only basic boudin, offering it in various combinations of smoked, spicy, pepper jack, and chicken. Be sure to try their sausages that come in pork, beef, deer, and chicken, with a variety of add-ins such as green onion and jalapeño. Hours are 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

  5. The Boiling Point - 1730 Beglis Pkwy., Sulphur, LA 70663
    Surf meets turf at The Boiling Point, a down-home Cajun seafood restaurant just down the street from Sulphur homes for sale. The Boiling Point has crawfish boudin to go alongside their regular and pepper jack varieties. Boudin also gives the classic burger a whole new dimension. Complement your meal with a side of coleslaw, which many customers declare to be the best in the state. The Boiling Point is open weekdays from 6 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

  6. Insane Sausages - 2255 Hwy. 109, Vinton, LA 70668
    Insane Sausages takes boudin south of the border with saucy versions such as pork enchilada and boudin quesadillas. Their sausages are equally creative, with flavors such as bourbon brown sugar chicken and pork and syrup. In October, Insane Sausages was one of the award-winning competitors at the Boudin Cook-Off in Lafayette. Stop in after a day of viewing Vinton homes for sale. Hours are 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday. 

Variety is truly the spice of life around Lake Charles. For more information about buying or selling a home in the area, contact us at Latter & Blum.


Holiday Light Displays Near Lake Charles

Holiday Lights Lake Charles

We don't expect snow here in Louisiana for the holidays, but that won't dampen our festive spirit one bit! In fact, you might notice that folks in Louisiana take their holiday lights and decorations to the next level. 

We have some of the best holiday light shows around Lake Charles and the surrounding areas, and our real estate agents are ready to celebrate. If you're looking for a display of holiday lights, you have a lot of great options in Southwest Louisiana. 

  • Lake Charles Civic Center - 900 N Lakeshore Dr, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Every year, the Lake Charles Civic Center hosts one of the most spectacular light shows in Louisiana. Located a stone's throw from many Lake Charles homes for sale, the Civic Center is nestled on 64 acres overlooking the lake and hosts the annual Light up the Lake Christmas Celebration. This year's event kicks off at 6:30 pm on December 4th, with a street parade through Downtown Lake Charles followed by a lighting ceremony on the Civic Center front lawn. After that, there's a boat parade and spectacular fireworks show over the lake.

  • Cruze's Christmas Light Show - 2193 W Armand St, Moss Bluff, LA 70611
    The annual display of lights at Cruze's Swings & Things in Moss Bluff, LA has become a beloved tradition in the local community. The folks at Cruze's string up around 15,000 lights every year, purely for the enjoyment of anyone who passes by. The light show usually starts around dusk every day and is accompanied by Christmas music played by 88.1 FM. You definitely need to swing by and check out Cruze's Christmas Light Show this year!

  • Prien Lake Park - 3700 W Prien Lake Rd, Lake Charles, LA 70605
    If you're driving around the Lake Charles area looking at all the amazing light displays, be sure to include Prien Lake Park on your route. This beautiful area on the eastern shore of Prien Lake will be decked out in holiday lights this season, just as it has in years past. The decorations typically last from the end of November through New Year's and include everything from Santa and his elves to a nativity scene and towering illuminated Christmas tree. 

  • Christmas on the Hill - 2151 Lynn Trahan Rd, Sulphur, LA 70663
    A family tradition in the community of Sulphur since 2006, the Christmas on the Hill light display just gets better every year. It's an incredible, ever-evolving display of string lights, giant candy canes, illuminated arches, video, and animation. The entire display is set to music, which you can listen to as you watch by tuning your car radio to 100.1 FM. The entire display takes weeks to create and can be seen on any night in December. 

  • Shell Beach Drive Christmas Lights - Shell Beach Dr, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    The lovely historic homes along Shell Beach Drive in Lake Charles are known for creating some of the most festive, eye-catching holiday light displays in town. It's a striking waterfront neighborhood in any season, but Shell Beach Drive really comes to life during the holidays. You can stroll down the street and experience the lights any time you want. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Louisiana. It's a great place to enjoy a warm, festive holiday season, and our real estate agents can't wait to help you find your dream home in Lake Charles and the surrounding areas!


Plan a Visit to Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge

Cameron Prairie

Cameron Prairie Wildlife Refuge has played a vital role in conserving Louisiana's biodiversity since it was first established in 1988. This beautiful location is fortunately open to the public, and it is one of the first places our real estate agents recommend when clients ask about green spaces and nature trails around Lake Charles. 

Cameron Prairie Wildlife Refuge was the first conservation area established under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. It is located approximately 25 miles away from Lake Charles. The refuge serves as the headquarters for Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex and is comprised of two units: the Gibbstown Unit and the East Cove Unit. 

  • The Gibbstown Unit features most of the area's walkable land and spans a combined 9,621 acres.  
  • The East Cove Unit encompasses 14,927 of brackish and salt marsh. It is only accessible by boat and includes very little land. This space is part of the Cameron Creole Watershed Project, a project whose goal is to restore an estimated 64,000 acres of marshland in Cameron Parish. 

Both units are carefully managed by a team of conservationists to preserve the habitats that the local plants and animals need to thrive. Visitors are asked to be respectful of these efforts and follow the rules while they are in this space. 


Some of the many activities you can partake in at the wildlife refuge include: 

  • Boating and Fishing  
  • Hiking  
  • Birdwatching, Wildlife Viewing, and Photography 
  • Hunting 
  • Driving Down the Pintail Wildlife Drive 
  • The Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex Visitor Center


One of the most compelling reasons to visit Cameron Prairie Wildlife Refuge is its diverse array of birds, mammals, reptiles, and other creatures. 

The refuge is primarily intended to protect the area's waterfowl, so it's no surprise that it has healthy populations of birds like Northern pintail, ring-necked ducks, and snow geese. 

Graceful wading birds like ibis and herons are also common sights. One of the most distinctive of these birds is the roseate spoonbill, a small wading bird with striking flamingo pink plumage. Visitors can even observe a wide range of raptors at the refuge, including merlins, kestrels, and peregrine falcons. 

There are also plenty of land animals to observe within the conservation area's bounds. Swamp rabbits and cottontail rabbits are both abundant, as are other relatively common indigenous species such as opossums and mink. Majestic white-tailed deer can sometimes be seen grazing in far-off fields. Although they are not native to the area, nutria were introduced to the refuge in the 1930s for unknown reasons and have thrived there.  

The refuge is also home to some more dangerous aquatic creatures. Both units are known to be excellent places to observe Louisiana's alligators in their natural habitat. They will generally keep to themselves when humans are around but don't get too close! The same goes for the snapping turtles that also inhabit the area. Some of them can be difficult to see, so be very careful when traveling through the marshy areas of the refuge. 

Cameron Prairie Wildlife Refuge is an immensely valuable ecological project that Lake Charles residents get to enjoy alongside the animals that live there. If you want to visit this site more often, why not move to a home in the area? Contact us for more information on our Lake Charles homes for sale or to arrange a viewing of any of the properties we are currently representing in this area. 


Why Lake Charles is Louisiana's Playground

Lake Charles

From relaxing on the water to enjoying the glitz and glamour of multiple casinos, there's never a shortage of things to do in Lake Charles. If you've been exploring Lake Charles homes for sale, you'll want to know a bit more about why this city is affectionately known as "Louisiana's Playground." Here are a few of the amazing amenities this area has to offer.

  • Outdoor Activities
    If you enjoy hunting, fishing, water sports, golfing, or other outdoor activities, you'll love living in Lake Charles. The area has several award-winning golf courses, gorgeous waterfront areas, and even a lazy river with a swim-up bar. There are also abundant opportunities to go shelling along the Gulf beaches and paddleboarding in the area's waterways. Lake Charles is home to the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, where you can see birds, alligators, and tons of other wildlife in its natural habitat. There are also three wildlife refuges in the area, making it the perfect place for nature enthusiasts. 
  • Vibrant Nightlife
    Lake Charles has not one but two world-class casino resorts located right next to each other. The L'Auberge Casino Resort and the Golden Nugget Lake Charles both have a huge array of upscale amenities, including golf courses, restaurants with award-winning chefs, spa facilities, live entertainment, and stunning pool areas. The Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel also has several delicious restaurants and an array of amenities. 
  • Rich History
    The city of Lake Charles has a long history, dating back to the early 1900s. It's full of old historic buildings and landmarks. One building of interest is the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse, which is listed as one of the top ten most haunted places in the United States. The area near the lake is also lined with 100-year-old oak trees and a 170-year-old tree known as the "Calcasieu Manor Tree," making it the perfect backdrop for leisurely walks. 
  • Appreciate the Arts
    There are many theaters and musical groups in the Lake Charles area as well as five different museums. Residents and visitors often enjoy listening to the Lake Charles Symphony, exploring art museums, or visiting the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, where you'll find the world's largest display of Mardi Gras costumes. Lake Charles is also home to more than 75 festivals, including the Louisiana Pirate Festival and the area's family-friendly Mardi Gras. 

If you want to live someplace where you'll never get bored, Lake Charles is the perfect location! There's truly something here for everyone. Our real estate agents can help you find your dream home. Contact us today to discuss your home buying goals and get started! 


Lake Charles Food Trucks to Visit

Lake Charles Food TrucksLake Charles sure doesn't have a shortage of tasty places to eat. In addition to loads of more traditional restaurants, the city also has some amazing food trucks. These are great places to grab a quick lunch or even enjoy a casual dinner with friends while walking through a park. Here are some top food trucks our real estate agents recommend ordering from this summer.

  • Cajun Girls Cookin': 5616 Common St., Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Serving Cajun and Creole cuisine, Cajun Girls Cookin' will make you feel like you've gone to New Orleans. They're often at their Common Street location, but sometimes they set up at Memorial Hospital or at various local events in the city.

    Some of the favorite menu items here are the fried pork chops, shrimp on a stick, and chicken on a stick. Finish your meal with a beignet stick for a sweet treat.

  • Danny's Place: 1707 Broad St., Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Danny's Place serves a variety of American and Cajun cuisine. They have different menu items every day of the week, so there's always something new to try.

    On Friday, they serve a classic fish fry with French fries. On Tuesdays, chicken wings with pork 'n beans are the go-to. Another favorite at Danny's Place is the Frito pie, which you can add to any dish. It's one of those classic southern side dishes that can't be beaten.

  • Ailene's Asian Grill: 2203 US-171, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    If you're looking at Lake Charles homes for sale and you find yourself in the mood for some Asian cuisine, this is the place to stop. Ailene's Asian Grill serves authentic Filipino food and other Asian dishes, and they've built quite a following over the past few months.

    One favorite at Ailene's Asian Grill is the fish balls, which are traditional street food in the Philipines. The Tonkatsu ramen is also incredible, as is the wonton soup. If you're craving something on the sweeter side, try the sesame chicken or the sweet and sour chicken.

  • Cowboy Cones: Lake Charles, LA 70609
    You won't get a whole meal at Cowboy Cones, but you will get one of the best snow cones you've ever had. This food truck rolls up to local Lake Charles parks, soccer fields, and neighborhood pools during the summer. If you come across them, you have to stop for a sweet treat.

    One of the coolest things about Cowboy Cones is their long list of flavors. Options like Bahama Mama, King Cake, Sour Apple, and Peach are favorites. There are also a few wild cards like Pickle, which is more enjoyable than you might think.

  • Taqueria Los Sanchez Food Truck: 5402 Common St., Lake Charles, LA 70607
    What could be better than a taco on a hot summer day? Taqueria Los Sanchez Food Truck is a great place to get them. The service is always friendly, and the truck is open for lunch and dinner.

    Tacos are the star of the show here, and you can order carne asada, chicken, al pastor, or carnitas pork. 

Eating at a food truck is such a lighthearted and delicious experience. We hope you get a chance to stop by one of these Lake Charles food trucks this summer. Should you be moving to the area and looking for a real estate agent, don't hesitate to contact us.


Boating Safety Tips for the Summer in Lake Charles

Boating Safety

One of the best things about living in Lake Charles is being able to head out on your boat whenever you like. You can kick back with your friends, sip your favorite beverage, and just watch the waves roll by. As you spend time out on your boat, though, it is really important to be safe. Our real estate agents have some boating safety tips to remember as you enjoy Lake Charles this summer.

  • Keep an emergency kit on hand.
    Make sure your boat is well-stocked with everything you might need in an emergency. Create a kit with a flashlight, duct tape, some rope, a fire extinguisher, and a first aid kit. Also include some flares and a whistle so you can signal for help if needed.

    When you have guests on your boat, show them where the emergency kit is. Keep it easily accessible at all times.

  • Wear a life jacket.
    Today's life jackets are more comfortable than ever, so there's no excuse not to wear one. Even if you're a strong swimmer, wearing a life jacket is essential since it will ensure you don't sink and drown if you happen to lose consciousness in the water.

    Try on life jackets before you buy them so you can be confident they fit. Consider keeping a few extras on-hand for passengers.

  • Drive safely.
    You might be on a lake rather than a road, but you still need to be alert and aware as you're navigating on the water. Don't drink alcohol and drive your boat. If a passenger has been drinking, do not allow them to drive.

    When you're out on the water, keep your speed under control, and slow down when approaching another boat. Especially if you're less experienced, taking your time will help keep you safe.

  • Respect the weather.
    So many boating accidents are weather-related. Always check the weather forecast before you head out on the water. If a storm is expected, reschedule your boating excursion. If you're already out on the water and you spot signs of an oncoming storm, turn back to shore sooner rather than later.

    Also, keep the weather in mind when you approach the dock. The windier it is, the more careful you will need to be. In high winds, it's often helpful to get within a few feet of the dock and then let the wind blow your boat the rest of the way.

  • Take a boating safety course.
    There are many different organizations that offer boater safety courses, but the U.S. Coast Guard is a top choice. You can take a class on basic boat operation or a class on emergency preparedness. There are even boating safety courses designed specifically for kids.

    If you took a boating safety course a few years ago, consider taking another course as a refresher.

  • Don't overload your boat.
    Check your boat's capacity, and make sure you do not overload it. You may be tempted to invite just one more person along or to bring just one more table on the boat. However, if this puts your boat over its maximum weight, you'll be at an increased risk for accidents and breakdowns.

Boating is a part of life when you live in Lake Charles, so it's important to boat safely. If you love being out on the water, consider looking for Lake Charles homes for sale near the lake. Contact us if you need a real estate agent to guide your shopping.


Pools and Splash Pads Near Lake Charles

 Lake Charles Pools

As temperatures rise, you and your kids may find yourself in need of a way to cool off. Pools and splash pads can be the perfect solution. Here are the top choices our real estate agents recommend around the Lake Charles area. 

  1. Prien Lake Park: 3700 West Prien Lake Rd., Lake Charles, LA 70605
    Prien Lake Park 
    is a 29-acre park overlooking Indian Bay. In addition to picnic pavilions and playgrounds, the park offers a SprayGround water park, which is great for kids. They can splash around in the spraying water, which tends to be safer for little kids than swimming in a pool.

    WiFi is available throughout Prien Lake Park, so if you need to send an email or check in with work during your visit, you can. There are also walking paths with distance markers, making it easy to squeeze a workout in between splashing sessions.

  2. Sulphur Parks & Recreation: 933 W. Parish Rd., Sulphur, LA 70663
    Sulphur Parks & Recreation 
    has a beautiful aquatic center that opened in 2005. Inside, there is an Olympic size pool with a zero-depth ramp entrance. The facility is open Monday - Friday from 5:00 am - 8:00 pm, Saturday from 8 am - 2 pm, and Sunday from 1 pm - 5 pm.

    Swimming lessons are also available in the aquatic center. There are classes for adults and for kids of all ages. 

  3. Lake Charles Ward Aquatic Center: 1100 2nd Ave., Lake Charles, LA 70601
    This aquatic center is a good place to stop for a swim when you're looking at Lake Charles homes for sale. The Lake Charles Ward Aquatic Center offers open swimming between 1 pm and 6 pm Monday - Saturday, and the fee is only $1 per person.

    Water aerobics classes are also available Monday - Friday at 6:30, again for a fee of only $1. Or, if you prefer, you can take a swimming lesson. There are options for adults and kids of all ages, and the specific schedule is listed on the website. 

  4. River Bluff Park: 747 Theriot Rd., Moss Bluff, LA 70611
    River Bluff Park
    is a lovely park with a lot of amenities for kids. There's a large splash area with lots of fun, colorful features that spray and dump water. The rubber footing helps prevent scrapes and other injuries.

    This park sits on the bank of a river, and there is a boat launch, exercise area, family restrooms, and a quarter-mile walking path you can enjoy during your visit. When your kids are done splashing, let them play on the playground, which has separate areas for 2 -5-year-olds and 5 - 12-year-olds.

  5. Adventure Cove Park: 3210 Power Center Pkwy., Lake Charles, LA 70615
    Adventure Cove Park is another great choice for kids. In fact, it is specifically designed to meet the meets of kids with varied abilities. The spray grounds are open all summer long and have plenty of fountains for kids to cool off in.

    Adventure Cove Park also has rubber footing for safe running and jumping. The paths are wide and wheelchair-accessible, and the play areas are created for various age groups' needs.

When you're feeling a bit warm this summer, head to one of these pools or splash parks, and let the water cool you off. Contact us if you're looking for a real estate agent to guide your house hunting process.


Top Fishing Spots Near Lake Charles

Fishing Spots Lake Charles

Ask ten local fishermen to name their favorite fishing spot, and you're bound to get ten different answers. But just about all Louisiana anglers agree on one thing: the Lake Charles area is a pretty great place to fish. 

We have many unique fishing opportunities here in Lake Charles, from the waters of our namesake lake to the meandering Calcasieu River and the mighty waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Join our real estate agents at some of our favorite Lake Charles fishing spots!

  1. Lake Charles - Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Part of a chain of lakes that also includes Prien Lake and Calcasieu Lake, Lake Charles itself is one of the easiest fishing spots to access near these Lake Charles homes for sale. Like its neighboring lakes, Lake Charles has brackish water—a mixture of salt and fresh waters—that supports unique fishing opportunities for speckled trout and redfish. Access is available at Millennium Park and North Beach, both of which are good places to launch a kayak or cast a line from shore. 

  2. Calcasieu River - 107 Sutherland Rd, Lake Charles, LA 70611
    The Calcasieu River cuts a winding path through the Louisiana landscape, offering some of its best freshwater fishing opportunities. Largemouth bass are the main target for most anglers, and 10-pound largemouths have been caught in the river. Spring offers some of the year's best bass fishing around beds of aquatic vegetation in the Calcasieu River. Catfish, crappie, and sunfish are also available. Sam Houston Jones State Park, located just outside the city of Lake Charles, is a great place to access the river and also offers campgrounds and cabins.

  3. Prien Lake - W Prien Lake Rd, Lake Charles, LA 70605
    Much like Lake Charles, the brackish waters of Prien Lake harbor a diverse assortment of fish, including speckled trout, black drum, redfish, and flounder. It's a popular place for kayak fishing, and many kayak anglers go after speckled trout by casting minnow and shrimp-imitating lures around drop-offs and shallow flats. Launch facilities for canoes and kayaks are available at Prien Lake Park, which overlooks the western shore of the lake. 

  4. Calcasieu Lake - 3955 Henry Pugh Rd, Lake Charles, LA 70605
    The largest lake in the Lake Charles Area, Calcasieu Lake, is often referred to simply as the "Big Lake" by locals. It is also the lake closest to the coast, with a direct connection to the Gulf of Mexico via the Calcasieu Ship Channel. It is also widely considered to be the best lake in the area for fishing. One of the most popular fishing spots on the lake is Calcasieu Point Landing, which offers a paved boat launch, fishing pier, and a fully stocked bait shop. Redfish, speckled trout, and flounder are often caught from the pier. Deep ledges and marshy bayous throughout the area offer opportunities to catch monster trout and redfish.

Be sure to pick up a Louisiana fishing license before you go. And if you're new to the area, consider booking a trip with a local fishing guide like Bayou Charters or Louisiana Fins Guide Service. There's nothing like an experienced local guide who can show you right where the fish are!

With summer well on its way, the fishing season on Lake Charles and the surrounding areas has just begun. Contact us today to learn more about outdoor adventures in Lake Charles, and be sure to ask our team about how we can help you find your dream home in Louisiana. 


Historic Sites Near Lake Charles

Lake Charles Historic Sites

Lake Charles is a place where history, art, architecture, and culture merge to tell a unique story that continues to evolve to this day. So much of the history of Lake Charles has been preserved to the present day, thanks to the work of local historical organizations and museums. You will also find a living history of the Lake Charles area in the form of historic homes, businesses, and public buildings, many of which are located downtown. Our real estate agents have the inside scoop on 6 historic sites near Lake Charles that you won't want to miss.

Historic Sites Near Lake Charles

  1. Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center – 1001 Ryan St., Lake Charles, LA 70601

    The Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center is the perfect place to start your historical journey near Lake Charles homes for sale. Part history museum, part art gallery, and part architectural marvel, this museum is one you definitely won't want to miss. It has exhibited works from some of history's greatest artists and also has countless unique artifacts.

  2. Charpentier Historic District – Downtown Lake Charles, Lake Charles, LA 70601

    Do you love to explore historic architecture? Then a trip to the Charpentier Historic District, located in downtown Lake Charles, is sure to pique your interest. This is the part of the city where you will find beautifully preserved historic homes, with designs that span a variety of architectural eras. The district covers about 40 blocks, ideal for a driving tour or historic strolls on weekend mornings.

  3. Imperial Calcasieu Museum – 204 W. Sallier St., Lake Charles, LA 70601

    Discover what life was like in St. Charles in eras gone by when you visit the Imperial Calcasieu Museum, where history and local artwork hand-in-hand to tell the story of Southwest Louisiana. This museum is packed with historic art from local artists and unique photography that highlights the development of the region over the years.

  4. Southwest Louisiana Genealogical & Historical Library – 411 Pujo St., Lake Charles, LA 70601

    Does your family have a long history in the Lake Charles area? Then a trip to the Southwest Louisiana Genealogical & Historical Library may shed more light on the history of your ancestors in the region. This is a great place to research your own genealogy and learn more about the families that have shaped local history.

  5. Brimstone Museum – 900 S Huntington St., Sulphur, LA 70663

    A brief drive west of St. Charles will take you to the Brimstone Museum complex, which is located close to Sulphur homes for sale. The Brimstone Museum tells the story of sulfur mining in the area and showcases the community's history. There are rotating exhibits on display throughout the year, including unique local art that you won't find anywhere else.

  6. Mardis Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu – 809 Kirby St. Ste 229, Lake Charles, LA 70601

    A fun, colorful museum filled with unique stories, the Mardis Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu is a must-see historic destination in Lake Charles. Home to the second-largest Mardi Gras celebration in Louisiana, Lake Charles has a long history with Carnival season. The Mardis Gras Museum houses one of the largest collections of costumes in Louisiana, along with a variety of fascinating exhibits on the history of Mardis Gras and the unique traditions that surround Carnival Season.

Ready to create the next chapter of your own story in Lake Charles? Our team is here to help you find the perfect home. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Lake Charles, LA area.


Staging Tips for Your Living Room

Houma Staging

Before putting your house on the market, you want to ensure it will make a great first impression when potential buyers come to take a look. Chances are the first room that will be seen is the living room. For this room, it is not enough to just clean and tidy up. You need to go the extra mile and stage it. Set the stage for a great first impression by following these living room staging tips. 

  1. Declutter
    Before you start cleaning, it's important to declutter. Start with one wall in the living room and take down some decor items. Or consider removing furniture from the room and storing it in a storage unit until you move. The goal is to present an airy, spacious, light-filled living room. 

  2. Fix it up
    Look around and make a list of items you'll need to repair. It may be holes on a wall where you have taken down a painting or other wall art, a cracked floor or wall tile, or a broken window pane. Fix what you can or hire a professional to help tackle larger issues. 

  3. Remove and Replace
    There be some items that are in bad shape and you are wondering how to handle them. For instance, perhaps your sofa is worn out with faded, sunk cushions. It is true that the buyer will move in with their own furniture so the state of yours shouldn't matter. However, keep in mind that what you are doing is staging your living room for the sole purpose of making a sale. For the sake of presenting it in the best light possible, consider renting a sofa and maybe other pieces to make a good impression. Look at it as an investment that will pay off when you get a buyer. If you plan to keep the sofa or other older items, consider repairing it or reviving it with new upholstery or a new coat of paint.

  4. Fresh Coat of Paint
    When everything has been decluttered and fixed, consider painting the living room walls and doors. Go for neutral, soft colors and leave it to the buyer to pick their own color. 

  5. Deep Clean
    Lastly, you can get down to cleaning. If you can, bring in the professionals to clean your sofa and carpet. Not only will this help prevent odors in your home, but you will also be a step ahead with getting ready to move once your house does sell. Do a thorough clean of every space including the walls, doors, and light fixtures which sometimes might get overlooked in your cleaning routine. Going the extra mile will pay off when buyers come over to view the space.

If you are looking for Houma homes for sale, leave it to Latter & Blum to find you your dream home. If you are looking to sell, our real estate agents can also guide you through making a sale including home staging tips. Contact us today.


5 Ways to Make Your Home a Standout This Spring

Lake Charles Sell Your Home

Spring has arrived, making it the perfect time to tackle your home to-do list. Whether you have plans to contact our real estate agents and put your home on the market or just want to get your home looking its best, a few chores will help your home stand out. Here are some tasks to ensure your home is appealing to visitors and potential buyers. 

  1. Declutter Your Home
    Most likely, spring cleaning is on your to-do list. Before you get started, spend some time purging your home of items that you no longer use, need, or that just don't fit your lifestyle. The fewer items in your home, the larger it will appear when you add it to the list of Lake Charles homes for sale. You'll also have fewer items to clean. If your plans do involve selling your home, take decluttering a step farther. You'll want to remove items that are overly personal, like framed photos, bulletin boards, custom knickknacks, awards, magazines, and most toys. There are a few options for handling these items. One solution is to box these items up and rent a storage unit to house them until you've sold your home. Another possibility is to store them in your attic, basement, or shed; just make sure the space appears neat and uncluttered if you opt for this method. 
  1. Wash or Paint Your Walls
    If your walls are in neutral hues and the paint is in good condition, you may be able to refresh them by washing them. You can wash your walls using warm water mixed with a quarter-teaspoon of white vinegar and a teaspoon of dish detergent. Use a microfiber cloth to gently scrub your walls with the solution. However, if your walls have a lot of dents and dings or you want to change the paint color, it's time for a fresh paint job. A new paint job will also help your home look clean and crisp with potential buyers. 
  1. Get Your Landscaping a Facelift
    Check that your home is ready to greet prospective buyers by enhancing its curb appeal. Mow your grass (and bag your clippings), pull any weeds, and remove any dead or dying vegetation. If your flower beds are bare, add some colorful flowers and shrubs to brighten them up. Get your home and driveway looking their best by pressure-washing them. 
  1. Complete Minor Repairs
    Typically, you don't want to embark on major renovations before putting your home on the market. However, it's a smart idea to take care of minor repairs so that your home appears well-maintained. Make sure that none of your faucets drip and that your lights, showers, and appliances are all functional. Replace any broken or worn-out hardware.
  1. Rearrange Your Furniture
    Rearrange your furniture so that your home is staged to maximize its appeal. A potential buyer should be able to see the utility of every space. No room or area should be left without a function. When moving furniture, leave a few inches between the furniture and the wall; this will help the room look larger and prevent the room from appearing cramped. 

Ready to put your home on the market? Contact us today to get started!


6 Ways to Improve Your Home Theater System

Home Theater System

With all of the streaming options these days, people are making trips to the movie theater less often. Instead, it's common to have a media room or home theater and enjoy the big screen experience with all the comforts of home. Home theaters are a nice feature that we sometimes see in Baton Rouge homes for sale. Here are six tips for improving your home theater system.

  1. Arrange for a dedicated space.
    Many homes have a family room or media room that might be set up with a big-screen TV and surround sound, but the best home theaters our real estate agents see are the ones that are located in a dedicated space for minimal distractions. This might be a finished basement or even a spare room, as long as all the other requirements are met. 
  2. Install comfortable seating.
    Trying to recreate the movie theater experience is a lofty goal, but with seating, you actually have the ability to go above and beyond what you'd get at the theater. Sofas and reclining seats can be much more comfortable than at a true theater. If you plan to have two or more rows of seating, be sure to choose something with low backs or even consider building risers for the back rows.
  3. Minimize distractions.
    Everything about your home theater should be designed around limiting distractions, from the location to the design of the actual room. For instance, your home theater will be best located away from all the foot traffic and noise of the home. A finished basement is excellent for this reason, plus it'll block some of the noise and sound from the outside. Insulated curtains will also help. Also, consider little touches like dark paint colors and avoiding shiny fixtures.
  4. Non-intrusive lighting.
    Lighting is very important in your home theater. Dimmer switches will allow you to set the lights at whatever level you want them. Recessed lighting and soffits are a couple of options that are ideal for a home theater since they won't shine directly in the viewers' faces.
  5. Invest in superior sound.
    Now consider the sound. It's not enough just to get a big-screen TV or projector. A big picture needs a big sound to go with it, and a soundbar just isn't going to cut it if you're going for the full experience. A high-quality surround sound system will do the best job of mimicking the immersive movie theater experience.
  6. Hide cords.
    Finally, remember to make the most of the "magic" of your home theater by hiding the cords that make it all possible. You can get pretty creative about how you hide cords. There are easy DIY kits you can use to hide your cords in the wall, for instance, so that a wall-mounted big-screen TV doesn't have a bunch of ugly cords dangling from it. Hiding cords will give your home theater a finished, professional look.

Of course, the best reason to install a home theater is so that you can enjoy it yourself, but if you're handy with DIY projects and have the time to invest in it, a well-planned home theater can generate interest with buyers who love the features but wouldn't want to put one in themselves. For more information about the draw of a well-executed home theater system or other home improvement projects, contact us today.


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! 


Pay Attention to These Things During a Final Walkthrough

Final Walkthrough TipsDuring your final walk-through, a million things will be racing through your mind, and you may find yourself distracted. But this is your last important task before you become a homeowner! Consider making a checklist before sealing the deal on the house you've chosen among Lake Charles homes for sale. You don't want to overlook anything.  

Here are some of the important points to keep in mind during your walk-through.

  1. Verify repairs.
    You've specified a number of repairs to be made before you buy your home, and they should all be listed on the inspection summary. The seller should furnish warranties and receipts for all work. This is important because if the repairs don't hold up, you'll have to consult the person or company that made the repairs. Also, make sure that debris from repairs has been removed. 

  2. Items included in the sale.
    The seller should be moved out, with nothing left in the home that hasn't been included in the sale. Check your list carefully to make sure that everything agreed upon in the sale is in the home. From window blinds to appliances, it should all be in place and in the condition that it was when you agreed to include it in the same.

  3. Try all the appliances.
    The appliances aren't much use to you if they do not work. It may not be possible to know if they work well, but at least you can turn them on to ensure they are operable. It's a good idea to turn the dishwasher on to ensure it goes a full cycle. A gas oven should heat up without evidence of a gas smell. Make sure that all appliances drain properly.

  4. Check the bathroom.
    Look for signs of mold or plumbing leaks. There should be no damp places or standing water. Flush the toilet; make sure it drains and fills up properly and does not leak at the base or run after it should have turned off. Turn on the faucets and the showerhead to ensure they have hot water and no leaks. Tubs and sinks should drain properly.

  5. Inspect the kitchen.
    Just as you checked the bathroom for mold. Leaks and damp spots, check the kitchen. If you have exhaust ventilation, check for signs of mold around it; also look under the sink, the dishwasher, and the refrigerator.

  6. Inspect windows and doors.
    The windows and doors should be in good condition, opening and closing properly. Window locks should work and be easy to lock. The window and door glass should be in good shape. Window screens should be in place and be in good repair.

  7. Test the HVAC system.
    During a walk-through, all you can do with the HVAC is turn it on or off to make sure the heating and the air conditioning come on. An HVAC system is expensive to replace, so ask for the history of the equipment -- how old, any significant repairs, and if it is due for replacement due to using the discontinued refrigerant Freon. You might want to pay for an inspection before the walk-through, so you know what shape the HVAC is really in. Other major areas to check out: the electrical system (turn on all switches and test your phone charger in all plugs) and outside the home.

Our real estate agents can help with more tips for your walk-through. Contact us today. 


Bird Watchers Guide to Lafayette

Lafayette Bird Watching

Louisiana is a paradise for those who love nature! One of the best outdoor activities to do in the area is bird watching. With so many trails and parks within a few miles of the city center, Lafayette provides bird watchers with plenty of opportunities to spot some of the most beautiful birds in the state. If you're interested in bird watching around Lafayette, our real estate agents are here to answer your questions.

Where can I go bird watching around Lafayette?

Just one visit to Lafayette is enough to inspire you to venture into our many wonderful green spaces. Many of these protected spaces are home to a variety of plants and animals, particularly birds. Start your bird watching adventure at these four sites:

  • Atchafalaya National Heritage Area — 2022 Atchafalaya River Hwy, Breaux Bridge, LA 70517
    Follow I-10 northeast out of Lafayette, and you'll hit the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area near the Atchafalaya River. The American Birding Association has a partnership with this area, and since there are over 400 species of bird in the Atchafalaya Basin, we recommend reading the ABA Birdfinding Guide series, which provides directions to the best birding areas in Lafayette and around the state.

  • Cypress Island Preserve — 1264 Prairie Hwy, St. Martinville, LA 70582
    Just east of Lafayette, Cypress Island Preserve sits on the shores of Lake Martin. Thousands of birds flock to this preserve in the winter. A 2.5-mile trail is easily accessible and offers exceptional viewing through the spring.

  • Acadiana Park Nature Station— 1205 East Alexander St., Lafayette, LA 70501
    Located right outside of the city, the Acadiana Park Nature Station is a wonderful place to discover the local wildlife. There is a six-mile trail system where you can stroll through the Gulf Coastal Tallgrass Prairie and the Mississippi River Floodplain. 

For a more extensive bird-watching trek, we suggest making a weekend of one of two Louisiana Birding Trails: The Vermilion Loop and The Atchafalaya Loop. The Atchafalaya Loop is a 100-mile trail running from Baton Rouge through Lafayette then down towards Iberia. The Vermilion Loop runs south from Lafayette through Abbeville, then nearly to the Vermilion Bay.

What kind of birds and waterfowl can be found around Lafayette?

Grab your camera and get ready to snap photos in all directions. There are dozens of native species that call the Lafayette area home, including:

  • Snowy Egrets
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Black-Crowned Night-Heron
  • Roseate Spoonbill
  • Anhinga
  • Wood Duck
  • Bald Eagles
  • Pileated Woodpeckers
  • Barred Owls
  • Brown Pelicans

What do I need to go bird watching around Lafayette?

Whether you're an avid bird watcher or have just taken up the activity while exploring new hobbies this year, you'll want to be prepared for your excursions. Here are a few recommend items that all bird watchers should have on them as to not run afowl of the best practices:

  • Binoculars for easy bird spotting
  • A field guide to help you identify the different species
  • A field journal where you can write your observations
  • A backpack that can fit everything you need yet still be lightweight and easy to carry
  • Comfortable clothing and shoes, preferably made from durable materials that protect you from heat and UV rays

Bird watching is a wonderful activity that you can do alone or with others. If you're also on the lookout for a new home, let us be your eyes. Contact us today to tour our best Lafayette homes for sale.


The Most Important Rooms to Stage When Listing Your Home

Staging Rooms

Room staging is one of the most important parts of the home selling process. With digital marketplaces playing such a large role in the real estate market these days, good pictures of properly staged rooms can make all the difference for your listing. Studies have actually shown that room staging can also lead to an increased offer value from prospective buyers. 

The process of properly staging a room is both an art and a science, and it's important to do it right. For many sellers, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, our real estate agents are experts at room staging and can provide tips. Below are some of the most important rooms to stage when listing your home for sale.

The Living Room

The living room is arguably the most important room to stage. Not only is it where many families spend most of their time, but it's also often one of the first rooms potential homebuyers see when viewing a home. Make sure to have the carpet professionally cleaned and remove personalized items like souvenirs and photographs. Add a few minimal decorations such as flowers or neutral artwork. If your living room is small, consider opening shades or blinds in order to maximize light exposure, as this will help the room appear larger. 

The Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home, so make it as attractive as possible to potential homebuyers. The key is to make your kitchen appear bright, sparkly, and clean. Consider having the room professionally cleaned before listing your home for sale. If you're looking to create a cozier look, consider adding an eat-in table with chairs or a kitchen rug. Be sure to remove all clutter except for a few decorative items (think flowers or a tea kettle). If you have the budget, consider updating your appliances as well.

The Master Bedroom

It's no surprise that the master bedroom is one of the most important rooms to stage when listing your home for sale. One of the keys to staging it is to keep things as neutral as possible. You want to allow prospective buyers to be able to envision themselves living in the space. Avoid any themes, as these can ultimately be distracting. Make sure to clean out closets and go out of your way to show off organization and storage. Also, be sure to keep most personal items out of sight. When it comes to the bed, decorative pillows and throw blankets can go a long way -- just be sure to use softer colors. Try to optimize the room's light exposure by keeping blinds and curtains open. Mirrors can also give off the appearance of depth.

The Bathroom

A well-organized bathroom can really help the staging process. Prospective buyers will be opening closets, so make sure to use stylish drawers, organizers, and hanging shelves to organize toiletries. Remove any personal items like toothbrushes or bath towels. Most importantly, make sure sinks, counters, floors, tubs, shower curtains, and mirrors are sparkling clean. Spring for a decorative, fluffy bath mat or a small rug for the middle of the room.

Staging your home can have a huge impact. For more inspiration on beautifully staged homes, check out these Lake Charles homes for sale or contact us today.


Spend the Day on the Creole Nature Trail

Creole Nature Trail

Do you love exploring nature, and enjoying long, sunny days discovering the great outdoors? Then the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road has more than 180 miles of natural beauty waiting for you! This slice of wilderness along the coast of Louisiana is an amazing place to hike, hunt, fish, observe wildlife, spot rare birds, and discover the unique ecosystems that make our state such a fascinating place to call home for nature lovers. Get to know one of the great natural treasures of Louisiana, with a little help from our real estate agents.

  • Louisiana's Very Own All-American Road
    The Creole Nature Trail is classified as an All-American Road and is one of fewer than 50 natural areas with that classification in the whole country. Easily reached from Lake Charles homes for sale, the Creole Nature Trail covers more than 180 miles of coastal and inland areas, from the shores of the gulf to the lush wetlands and beyond. 

  • Explore Louisiana's Outback and Experience the "Last Great Wilderness"
    With so much wildlife and rugged, undeveloped natural terrain, the Creole Nature Trail has earned the nickname of Louisiana's Outback, as well as a reputation as a "Last Great Wilderness" in America. This is an area where local wildlife is free to live in nature, and visitors are free to observe them. The natural beauty along the trail is unrivaled, with spectacular views around every corner.

  • Travel the Trail by Bike, Boat, Car, or Hike
    The Creole Nature Trail covers so much ground that there are many different ways to explore the area. You can reach many entry points and attractions by car then set out to explore in whatever way you enjoy. The extensive waterways along the trail make many areas easy to explore by boat, and there are tons of smaller trails available for hiking. Major roadways along the trail also make many areas accessible by bike, and off-road trails provide a fun, scenic challenge for mountain bikers.

  • Attractions on the Creole Nature Trail
    No matter how you love to explore nature, you'll find an attraction to suit your style along the Creole Nature Trail. Refuges and wildlife sanctuaries in the area include the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, and Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge. The Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point is the perfect place to start your journey, with family-friendly attractions, more information on the trail, and interactive exhibits on Creole culture.

  • Fishing, Crabbing, and Hunting in Louisiana's Outback
    The Creole Nature Trail is a popular place for anyone who loves fishing, hunting, and crabbing. There are boat launches located all along the many waterways that weave through the trail, along with plenty of prime spots for laying crab traps. Hunters love the wide variety of ducks that visit the area, and the many designated hunting locations spread throughout the area.

  • Enjoy a Truly Unique Day at the Beach Along the Gulf
    If you love combing the beach for rare, spectacular shells, then you'll love visiting the more than 26 miles of Gulf beaches on the Creole Nature Trail. You'll have opportunities to find shells and enjoy sights that simply aren't available at busier beaches.

Ready to start exploring the Creole Nature Trail? Then now is the perfect time to find your next home close to nature. Contact us to buy and sell homes in the Lake Charles, LA area.


5 Things to Consider When Picking a Neighborhood

New Neighborhood

There are whimsical stories of people randomly choosing vacation spots by throwing a dart at a map. While that might make for some interesting trips, this method is not recommended for finding a top neighborhood with Lake Charles homes for sale

Picking a new neighborhood for your family requires a bit more planning than just throwing a dart at a map!

So how do you go about deciding on a neighborhood to settle in? Our real estate agents share five features to consider when planning a move to a new neighborhood.

  1. Commuting Time
    If you're one of the 4.7 million people who work from home at least part of the time, commuting time may not be relevant. But if you travel to the workplace, you'll want a reasonable commute. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average daily commute time is just under one hour. Take a trial run from your potential neighborhood to your workplace, preferably during rush hour. The availability of public transportation options can help mitigate commuting issues.

  2. Cost of Living
    Whether you are moving across the country, state, or just a neighborhood over the cost of living can change. Even if it's only a little bit higher, your family will feel this change in your wallet. Do your research and see what your essentials cost in the neighborhood you are planning on moving to. Better yet, if you can, do your grocery shopping around the neighborhood so you can scope out prices firsthand. 

  3. Urban or Suburban
    Your general lifestyle helps determine which type of environment you're likely to prefer. Urban areas offer a density of shops, services, and entertainment options, while they may be lacking in terms of quiet and privacy. On the other hand, suburban areas may require some effort to visit grocery stores, doctors' offices, and other amenities, but the trade-off is more space and a greater degree of tranquility. Whether you choose an urban or a suburban area, keep in mind what amenities are important to your family and make sure your new neighborhood offers them. 

  4. Crime and Safety
    Chances are this is one of the first things you thought to research when looking at potential neighborhoods. After all, everyone wants to feel safe in their neighborhood. Websites such as U.S. News & World Report, AreaVibes, and BestPlaces provide safety ratings for most cities and neighborhoods. In some cases, you can drill down to the zip code level. Visit the local police station or contact neighborhood watch groups for firsthand information.

  5. Housing Market
    The number one consideration in finding a home is locating that sweet spot where desirability meets affordability. But a home is more than just a place to live. As the biggest-ticket item most people will ever purchase, a house is also an investment. Take a look at the change in a neighborhood's housing values over the last few years. Have they appreciated at a higher rate than homes in comparable neighborhoods? The length of time on the market is another sign of a robust or stagnant market. 

As the largest independently-owned residential real estate company in Louisiana, Latter & Blum offers an elite level of knowledge and experience. Whether you're buying or selling a home around Lake Charles, contact us for cheerful and dedicated assistance with your needs. 


How to Transplant During the Summer Months

Transplant During the Summer

Summer is never the ideal time to transplant garden plants, but there are situations when we don't have much choice. If you're getting ready to sell your home and want to spruce up your landscape, or if you've just moved in and are in a rush to get things planted, our real estate agents are happy to offer some advice for transplanting plants in summer. 

  1. Understand the Challenges 
    The hardest part about transplanting any landscape plant is keeping its roots cool and moist. This is especially challenging in summer, not only because weather conditions are often hot and dry, but because plants are actively growing at this time of year. Plants are easier to transplant when they are dormant, and the roots aren't sucking up as much water to feed their leaves. 

  2. Pick Your Battles 
    Some plants are better able to withstand the rigors of summer transplanting than others. As a general rule, the smaller, the better. Trees have extensive root systems, and it's almost impossible not to cut them when digging, which leads to transplant shock. You have a better chance with smaller shrubs and ornamental plants.

  3. Don't Leave the Roots Exposed 
    Letting a plant's roots be exposed to the elements can be a death sentence in the harsh summer heat. If you're digging a plant up, take as much soil with it as possible. If any roots are exposed, keep them covered and moist. 

  4. Pick the Right Time 
    Transplant only when you know you will be able to provide constant care for the following two weeks and choose a day that is relatively cool and overcast if possible. It's also best to wait to transplant in the evening so the conditions won't be too harsh. 

  5. Prepare Before you Dig 
    Make sure the hole you're going to be transplanting your plant into is ready before you dig the plant out of its old home. The hole should be at least twice the size of the root ball. Water the plant thoroughly the day before, and then again immediately before transplanting to ensure that the roots remain moist. 

  6. Water as you Transplant 
    Water the hole immediately before placing the transplant in it, applying enough water that the soil becomes fully saturated. Place the transplant in the hole, fill it in halfway with soil, and then water again. Allow the water to settle into the soil around the roots before you finish filling in the hole. 

  7. Pack the Soil Gently 
    After you've filled the soil in around the transplant, use your hands to firm it in gently, but don't stomp it down with your foot. The idea is to get all the air pockets out of the soil, but not hurt the roots. Water the whole plant one last time, leaves and all. 

  8. Continue Care 
    If possible, shield the plant from direct sunlight for a few days. Check on the plant daily for at least a week. The plant will need to be watered every day, possibly twice if it looks like it needs it. The best times to water are in the morning and evening. 

Landscaping in summer can be challenging, but you can still keep your plants healthy if you transplant with care. Whether you're buying a new home, or are getting ready to list your Lake Charles home for sale, we're here to help. 

Contact us today. 


9 Signs You've Found the Home of Your Dreams

Dream Home

If you've been visiting some of the Lake Charles homes for sale, you know just how many great options there are on the market right now. Buying a home is a big commitment, so how do you know when you've found the perfect one? 

Sometimes, your heart will skip a beat, and you'll feel a little flutter. Our REALTORS® love it when this happens! Other times, the decision will be a bit more challenging. You may be torn between several homes, or you might just feel unsure. In this case, you'll be looking for a sign that the home you're considering is the right one for you. 

Don't worry! We've created the following list of the top nine signs that you've found your dream home. 

  1. You Feel Overjoyed
    The number one sign that you've found your dream home is when you feel a pure sense of joy. Remember those flutters we mentioned? This is it! If you leave the house feeling excited and euphoric, this is an excellent sign. 
  2. It Meets All of Your "Must Haves"
    It's rare to find a home that checks off every box on your list of "must-have" features. If you find one that does (or comes really close), then you may want to jump on it.
  3. The Location is Perfect
    As they say, the most important things about real estate are location, location, and location. If a home has come on the market in the exact area you were hoping for, it just might be your dream home.
  4. You Don't Want to Look at Any More Homes
    When you've found the perfect home, you'll often lose your desire to keep looking. In this case, it's probably a good idea to listen to your gut and put in an offer.
  5. Small Flaws Don't Bother You
    Sometimes, your perfect home isn't actually perfect. If you're in love with a house and willing to overlook small flaws, this is an excellent sign. As long as the upgrades or repairs won't take too much time or money, go ahead and listen to your intuition.
  6. You're Already Thinking About Decorating
    Are you already picking out paint colors and decor in your mind? Picturing yourself living in the home is an excellent sign that it's the one for you. 
  7. You Can't Wait to Share the News
    Did you leave the house and immediately want to call your family and friends? Go ahead and share the news, because you've just found your dream home!
  8. You Can See Yourself Living There for the Foreseeable Future
    A home you can see yourself living in for the long-term is always an excellent option. Is there room to grow and accommodate life changes like marriage or children? If you think you could comfortably stay in the home for at least five years, it's worth considering. 
  9. It Already Feels Like Your Home
    When you've found the right home, those initial feelings of excitement can turn into feelings of possessiveness. When you've found your dream home, you'll start to think of it as yours well before you sign the closing paperwork and receive your keys. 

If you haven't found your dream home yet, don't give up! Instead, contact us. We'll show you some of the best houses on the market and keep working until you're sure you've found the right one. Reach out to us today!

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