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Why Old Metairie is a Great Place to Live With Kids
When my husband and I moved back to New Orleans, we were overwhelmed with the variety of neighborhoods to choose from. Raised in Kenner, I thought I knew the pros and cons of each New Orleans neighborhood and suburb. But as Greater New Orleans evolved and our needs as parents changed, we found ourselves with a very specific “must-have” list.
After looking in many areas of New Orleans, we landed in Old Metairie and honestly have no regrets. We have fallen in love with our street, our neighbors, and all the perks that come along with living in this charming neighborhood.
Drawbacks to Old Metairie With Kids
As many people already know, the biggest drawback of Old Metairie is the sheer cost of living. Dollar for dollar, you’re going to pay way more for much less square footage compared to the rest of Jefferson Parish and most parts of Orleans Parish. Simply put, Old Metairie is probably the most expensive neighborhood in New Orleans in terms of price per square foot. You can pretty much guarantee that you won’t have a grand yard for the kids, and you might have to share parking with your neighbor or rely on street parking.
Secondly, the traffic situation can be less than ideal. If you’re headed down Metairie Road between the hours of 8:00-9:00am or 3:00-5:00pm, plan to spend about 15-20 minutes driving down the 1 mile stretch of curvy road thanks to school zones. If you happen to catch the infamous train, tack on another 5-10 minutes. And, yes, I’ve caught the same train twice. Like I said, the traffic and train are not ideal, but we personally believe the perks of Old Metairie far outweigh the drawbacks. In fact, some people find the sound of the train cathartic and would argue that it has been here longer than we have. Fair point!
5 Amazing Things About Living in Old Metairie
1. Walkability / Accessibility of Old Metairie
This was my favorite surprise about our neighborhood. From most parts of Old Metairie, you can walk 2-3 blocks or less to Metairie Road where you will find an abundance of coffee shops, banks, restaurants, locally owned grocery stores, retail shops, nail salons and fitness studios. If you need it, you will find it in Old Metairie and most likely it is owned by a New Orleans family. Not only that, but most streets have sidewalks that are easy to navigate. From our house, we have 2 grocery stores within less than a mile. If I am not in the mood to walk, or if the weather isn’t cooperating, it is still easy to get to Canseco’s or Langenstein’s in minutes. Moreover, regardless of where in New Orleans you need to be, Old Metairie is probably only 10-15 minutes away. Old Metairie has access to I-10 in two places (Bonnabel and City Park Avenue), and also offers easy access to Airline. Whether we are heading to a Saints game or the airport, we find Old Metairie to be highly accessible to the rest of the city. We truly enjoy the walkability and small community feel of Old Metairie while having very easy access to the city itself.
2. Fabulous Shopping and Fitness in Old Metairie
Metairie Road is known for its high end retail shops offering everything from women’s fashion to custom linens and jewelry. But before you head off to Lakeside Shopping Center or Target, make sure you look for the not-so-expensive businesses, too. One of my favorite
women’s boutiques is Bella Bella where you can find trendy women’s clothing and accessories accompanied by friendly service and amazing sales! Also, check out Little Miss Muffin, ZukaBaby, Bon Temps Boutique and Banbury Cross for kids clothing, stationery and gifts. A few other Old Metairie retail mentions include Bluberri Boutique, Phina (literally you can grab a gift for ANY occasion in here), Lucy Rose, MJ’s and Fleurty Girl. In my opinion, you could spend a solid day shopping in Old Metairie and not hit every one of the amazing boutiques and gift shops. In addition to that, Old Metairie is home to several locally owned fitness studios. Within the neighborhood of Old Metairie are both Pure Barre and Barre 3, Hour Blast (HIIT), Girl Crush (strength training / HIIT), Free to Be Yoga, Club Pilates and more. If you prefer to walk, run or bike ride outside … you have miles of gorgeous tree-lined streets, as well as easy access to Pontiff Playground with its one mile paved loop. We love that you can stay within Old Metairie and have everything you need at your fingertips. It truly is like a small town in the midst of a much bigger city.
3. Old Metairie is a Prime Location
I mentioned this above, but it is worth saying again. Nestled at the edge of Jefferson Parish, Old Metairie is a prime location for easy access to other parts of the city. From our door, we can be parked in the French Quarter in less than 20 minutes, drive to the airport in about 10 minutes and take a walk through Audubon Park in 15 minutes. Not only that, but both the new Children’s Hospital ER and East Jefferson Hospital are 10 minutes away for those not-so-exciting trips to the ER. Have family on the Northshore (also a terrific place to live)? Hop on Causeway Boulevard, and you can be in Mandeville in less than 30 minutes. The cost of real estate in Old Metairie is high, but the convenience is a big reason why; it is centrally located while offering the small town feel. The mature oak trees lining most streets and lush landscaping are truly idyllic and charming as well.
4. Old Metairie Has Parks and Schools Galore
The number of parks and schools within a one mile radius is incredible. Whether you’re looking for a full-time infant program, part-time moms day out or elementary school, Old Metairie has numerous options. You have your choice of religious versus non-demoninational, public or private, and even advanced studies or traditional school. In no particular order here is the list of daycares and schools in Old Metairie: The Little School (part-time preschool), Little Red Schoolhouse (full-time daycare and preschool), Metairie Ridge (full-time daycare and preschool), Munholland Methodist (part-time Kids Day Out program), St. Catherine of Sienna (co-ed parochial school beginning in PK-3), Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies (co-ed magnet school; part of JPPSS), Metairie Academy for Advanced Studies (co-ed magnet school; part of JPPSS), Metairie Park Country Day (co-ed private school offering both Early Childhood and PK-12 school) and St. Francis Xavier (co-ed parochial school beginning in PK-3). Regardless of whether your family is seeking a public or private school, part-time or full-time daycare, you can find it in Old Metairie. The only catch is that these schools are all exceedingly popular and therefore usually have waiting lists. Apply early! Metairie Academy and Haynes require a standardized test for admission, as both are part of Jefferson Parish’s Academy for Advanced Studies program. Some of our favorite places to play within Old Metairie are the Munholland Church playground (free to the public when not in use by the school) and Pontiff Playground (which also offers fabulous sports programs through JPRD).
5. Great Restaurants in Old Metairie
The most surprising fact about Old Metairie may be the food scene; you don’t have to drive that far to find delicious, unique and affordable food. In many cases, you can even walk to these Old Metairie restaurants from your home if you prefer. Some of the great restaurants
in Old Metairie include Rock-N-Sake (sushi), City Greens (healthy), Main Squeeze (acai bowls / smoothies / juices at a walk up counter), Brasa (South American), Zocalo (Mexican), Fat Boy’s (pizza), Mark Twain’s (pizza), Creole Creamery (ice cream), Poke Loa (poke bowls) and Bear’s Po-Boys (casual). Our favorite brunch spot is Blue Line Sandwich Co where you can find anything from homemade pancakes to a brussel sprouts salad, although Ruby Slipper and Royal Blend are breakfast favorites, too. For unique coffee, check out Moxie Coffee & Espresso. We can’t leave out Nor Joe’s Importing (Italian) with its fabulous muffalettas and prepared lasagnas (their meat sauce is divine – trust us). Old Metairie even has a speakeasy now, Blue Ruin which is a fun place to start or end date night. Finally, no neighborhood in New Orleans is satisfied without a few seafood joints; our favorites are The Galley and Nola Boils.