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St Tammany Parish Farmer's Markets

by Kim Higgins

When you purchase goods from St Tammany Parish Farmer's Markets in Abita Springs, Covington, Folsom and Mandeville, you are helping the local economy.I don't know about you, but I absolutely love visiting my local St Tammany Parish Farmer's Markets.  Supermarkets are great when you are in a pinch, but there is nothing like one of the farmer's market in our own St Tammany Parish community.  You get the freshest possible produce as well as grass-fed beef, freshly cut flowers and artisan cheeses while supporting our local economy.  We are lucky enough to have several different farmer's markets to choose from here in St Tammany Parish.

Abita Springs Farmer's Market (22049 Main St, Abita Springs) - Open from 12pm to 4pm every Sunday afternoon year round.  Pick up a freshly baked pie from The Peanut Factory (last week's special was key lime).  Email Stoney Point Farm to put in an order for one of their produce bundles that you can pick up at the farmer's market.  You will just need to make sure you get your order to them by 12pm on Saturday for Sunday pick up.  Find veggie plants to take back to your home to cultivate courtesy of Gravel Road Farm.  And, of course, there will be arts, crafts, baked goods and plenty of live music.

Covington Farmer's Market (Wed market: Covington Trailhead, 419 N New Hampshire, Sat market: Covington City Hall, 609 N Columbia St) - There are two locations to better serve you.  The Wednesday market is open from 10am to 2pm while the Saturday market is open from 8am to 12pm.  You will find plenty of fresh produce, prepared foods, plants, herbs, organic meat and eggs, baked goods and more.  Live music fills the air while you shop, with different performers featured each week.

Get to Know Covington Better

Folsom Village Market (Behind Town Hall, 13401 June St, Folsom) - Open 9am to 1pm on the second, fourth and fifth Saturdays of every month.  Pick up fresh seasonal produce, boiled peanuts, fresh made cracklins', gourmet nuts and much, much more.  Find unique gifts that are as special as the person they are intended for here, including handmade jewelry, clothing, soap and leather goods.

Mandeville Trailhead Community Market (675 Lafitte St, Mandeville) - Open every Saturday from 9am to 1pm come rain or shine.  Local artisans showcase their unique talents.  Some of these artists will even host workshops to show you how to create your own artwork.  Live entertainment always makes everyone happy.  There will be a special Easter at the Market event from 10am to 1pm on April 4th that will include special Easter activities for the kids, a petting zoo, candy, games and photo ops with the Easter Bunny himself.  This market is open year round.

Get to Know Mandeville Better

The weekends are really jumping around here.  That's when you can find several St Tammany Parish Farmer's Markets open for business.  Pick up fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and desserts to put on the dinner table for your family that same evening.  Support your local farmers, bakers and artisans by visiting a farmer's market near you this week.

FEATURED COVINGTON HOME FOR SALE

742 Ave Louis Quatroze, Covington, LA - Click here to find out more about this beautiful Covington home for sale

For more information on this and other St Tammany Parish homes for sale, please visit my Featured Listings page.

Kim Higgins, Focused on What Matters Most, St Tammany Parish Real Estate

Tennessee Williams Literary Festival

by Kim Higgins

If you can relate to Stella!, then you're probably a Tennessee Williams fan. And if you're  a fan, then you'll thoroughly enjoy taking the short drive to New Orleans for the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, held March 25th through 29th.

Tennessee Williams loved New Orleans, and New Orleans loves him too. Williams frequently worked in New Orleans to create his world-famous plays.

Thousands of people travel to New Orleans each year to attend the Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival.  It has been named one of the top literary festivals in the United States, and authors, playwrights, actors, and speakers come together to discuss the work of Williams.  The literary panels at this festival highlight the top names in literature study.  Both local and national performers also come to perform their favorite Tennessee Williams plays, sometimes with their own angles.

Special events and contests are planned during the festival, which include the poetry contest, one-act play contest, and fiction contest. One the most popular contests is the “Stella!” shouting match in the French Quarter. Contestants dress like Stanley Kowalski and re-enact their famous line to judges on the balcony of the Pontalba Apartments at Jackson Square. This is one fun event you won’t want to miss. And, in the interests of gender fairness, women contestants are permitted to shout “Stanley!”

In addition, there will be numerous other events, including a “Drummer and Smoke” music program, Scholars’ Conference, Literary Late Night Series and literary walking tours and food events.

Venues in the city’s notable French Quarter where festival events will take place, include the Williams Research Center of the Historic New Orleans Collection, the Palm Court Jazz Café, the Hotel Monteleone, the Hermann-Grima and Gallier Houses, Le Petit Theatre and its adjacent restaurants, Arnaud’s and Muriel’s restaurants.

The Tennessee Williams Festival is also a wonderful time for literature enthusiasts to meet other enthusiasts, whether it be at one of the festival’s book club meet-ups, at a play, or through one of the contests. Festival fans can keep posted on the Speakers pages and Festival Updates.

To register for the festival or for more information call 504-581-1144 or 1-800-990-FEST. You can also visit the Tennessee Williams website or find information on Facebook and Twitter.

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Buying a Home in Madisonville

by Kim Higgins

Madisonville is located north of Lake Pontchartrain, approximately 40 miles from New Orleans.  Residents enjoy the feel of a close community, the warmth of neighbor unity and the excitement of living on the waterfront.

The town, originally named Coquille, was founded by Juan Baham around 1800.  Later it was incorporated into the United States in 1810 and the name changed in honor of President James Madison.  Madisonville’s strong sense of historic preservation is shared by descendants of the first pioneers and new residents alike.  Restoration of many original homes continues as well as new construction in keeping with the character of the town.

Buying a home in Madisonville, will ensure your family has access to the top schools in the St. Tammany Parish school district, a quality-built home that will retain its value, and access to all sorts of historic, recreational, and water related activities. If you want a home on the water in St. Tammany Parish, you must check out everything Madisonville, Louisiana has to offer. 

Preserving its personality as a river town today, Madisonville features marinas, recreational boating and aquatic activities for the whole family.  And that brings us to the 14th Annual Cruisin' on the River Car Show that will take place on Saturday, May 16th on the Tchefuncte Riverfront.  Overlooking the river are some of the area's finest restaurants, antique and specialty shops as well as a thriving business community.  Visitors come out each year in May for the fun and festivities. Sponsored by the Chamber, the show is an attraction for car enthusiasts of all ages.  Awards are given in many different categories and admission is free to the public.

The appeal, warmth and history make quaint Madisonville a wonderful destination for a day, a week, or a lifetime.

Tour the City of Mandeville with Kim Higgins, Realtor

Living in Mandeville

by Kim Higgins

Mandeville is a beautiful city and bountiful community offering its residents an exceptional quality of life. In addition to its wonderful location to New Orleans via the Causeway, the city is home to great shopping and upscale dining. Lake Pontchartrain and Trailhead are just a few of the remarkable outdoor activities enjoyed by the community. 

Mandeville embraces the quietness of its rich natural environment. As a lakefront and water-oriented community, residents enjoy a mild climate accompanied by beautiful live oaks, magnolias and soaring pines. Many warm, sunny days are spent by families, walking, jogging or swimming on the lakefront.  

Across from the lakefront you'll find breathtaking centuries-old, historic waterfront homes as well as well-known restaurants and bars with balconies facing Lake Pontchartrain. For local boaters and fisherman, the Pontchartrain Yacht Club is located at the end of Lakeshore Drive.  Across the street from the Club is what locals call the Mandeville Harbor which offers a boat launch, a marina, and covered pavilions for fishing and picnicking on the lake.

St. Tammany Parish renovated the railroad tracks that expanded from Slidell to Covington in what is now the Tammany Trace, a 31-mile walking and biking trail.  Each town and city in West St. Tammany Parish has a trailhead.  The Mandeville Trailhead is located in Old Mandeville, the area between Florida Street and Lakeshore Drive (from north to south).  The Trailhead features The Depot Museum at the Mandeville Trailhead Cultural Center, an interactive water-park, amphitheater, and a farmer’s market held every Saturday. 

Mandeville has been selected numerous times as one of the Relocate America Top 100 Places to Live.  The city offers top rated schools in the state of Louisiana with Blue Ribbon and Five Star Schools, and they were named by Money Magazine as One of the Top 100 School Systems in the Nation’s Major Metropolitan Areas. Mandeville was also selected as the best place in Louisiana to raise children in an annual survey by the national business magazine website, Bloomberg Business. Mandeville ranked number one in the state. 

We know you'll find Mandeville to be a wonderful place to live!

Tour the City of Mandeville with Kim Higgins, Realtor

The Best of Covington

by Kim Higgins

The City of Covington is one of Southern charm, with a variety of boutiques, specialty shops, art museums and restaurants.  The downtown historical district is where the community celebrates the history and culture through music, food and the arts. 

There are a variety of events that promote downtown Covington as a cultural center in the region. Whether you're a Covington resident or visitor, here are some events and activities you won't want to miss! 

The Covington Trailhead is the location of a 31-mile paved trail called the Tammany Trace, which joins the cities of Covington, Abita Springs, Lacombe, Mandeville, and Slidell. Located at 419 N. New Hampshire Street, the Trailhead is in walking distance of the downtown restaurants and shops. Resembling an old-style railroad station, the Trailhead includes an amphitheater, a grassy hill for audience seating, a covered marketplace, water fountains, restrooms, museum and visitor center, and a small movie theater. 

Explorations in Texture & Color with Anne Cicero will be held at the St. Tammany Art Association on March 4th and 5th, from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Create unique and exciting Acrylic surfaces, add attention and inspiration to your painting method with texture and color.  

St. Tammany is a non-profit supported by its community and members, and has been serving the Northshore for over 50 years.  For additional information and a list of  upcoming events, visit the St. Tammany Art Association website

Chef Soiree is about exceptional food and beverages, fun, music, and a magnificent fireworks display all in one evening. This special event with communities support, helps the Youth Service Bureau to provide critical services to our young people. The Chef Soiree will be held on Sunday, March 15th, from 5:00-9:00 p.m. at Bogue Falaya Park, 213 Park Drive. For questions or additional information, please call Youth Service Bureau, (985)-893-2570.

 

The Covington Farmers Market is a welcoming community of local producers that offer fresh produce, eggs, milk, cheeses, meats, jams and jellies, authentic foods, pies, pastries, candy and more. The market also offers a wide selection of live local, ornamental and culinary plants. The market is open each Wednesday from 10:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. at the Covington Trailhead, 419 N. New Hampshire, and Saturdays, from 8:00 a.m.-12 noon on the lawn of the Covington Police Station, 609 N. Columbia Street.  On Saturdays expect to find live music and complimentary samples from local chefs. Wednesdays includes great lunch options and more music.

 

Live music at the Covington Farmers Market is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the St. Tammany Parish Commission of Cultural Affairs. 

 

 

 

Tour the City of Covington with Kim Higgins, Realtor

 

Best Home Improvements On A Budget

by Kim Higgins

Best Home Improvements On A BudgetWhen it comes to home improvements it makes sense to determine what is cost worthy. And if you have a limited budget, it's more important to spend your money wisely.

These budget-friendly home improvement projects will help you enjoy your home more today and will be an excellent financial return in the future. 

A beautiful touch by adding molding. Decorative molding is a timeless touch that’s been around for centuries. A budget-friendly investment, molding is still one of the most impressive ways to give a room an elegant and finished look.

Install quality ceiling fans. Ceiling fans used to be known for a cheap solution to rising energy costs.  Today, ceiling fans have advanced into an important component of American homes as energy prices continue to increase. Ceiling fans come in a variety of styles and colors to compliment any room in your home.

Plant trees in your yard. Trees may be the last home improvement project you would consider, but trees gain value as years go by. The Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers reported that mature trees can have value of $1,000 to $10,000.  A recent study also indicates that trees growing in front of or near a house boosted its sale price by an average of $8,870.

Install a patio in your backyard area. Patios are a great way to increase your living space without actually adding on.  Think about adding a DIY deck and additional lighting. Plus you'll gain 30% to 60% of your investment. A $2,500 patio could return around $1,125 at resale. 

Take care of all the energy-efficient upgrades.  The value of energy-efficient homes is on the rise. A UCLA study determined the sale prices of 1.6 million California homes, and on average, sold for 9% higher, when homes had Energy Star products or LEED certification.  In fact, nine out of 10 home buyers would select an efficient home with lower utility bills over a less efficient home.

Add some extra storage. I don’t' think anyone has to sell you on the value of storage and built-in organizers.  No one can have too much storage.  But it can be a challenge to find your home's hidden storage areas. Areas for storage can include, underneath a stairway, opening drywall to create storage between your wall's studs, or installing platform storage in your garage ceiling.

Install additional outdoor lighting. Exterior lighting will make your home glisten in the evening, accent your home's features and increase your safety. One lighting fixture can cost between $100-$250 to install, but at the same time you could receive a 50% return on your investment.  Installing motion-detecting lights can even lower some homeowners’ insurance premiums. Check with your insurance agent.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans

by Kim Higgins

Mardi Gras in New OrleansMardi Gras, like Christmas, is a entire season - not just a one day celebration.  Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday," is the last day of the Carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Most visitors will plan to arrive by Saturday, February 14, in order to enjoy an extended weekend of festivities.

If you're a new resident or visitor of New Orleans, you may need some explanation and guidance regarding Mardi Gras traditions. If you're going to hang out with local New Orleanians who grew up with Mardi Gras, here are a few helpful things to know.  

Mardi Gras is about music, parades, picnics, floats and excitement.  It's one big holiday in New Orleans!  

Remember to wear the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold during Mardi Gras. 

Mardi Gras "throws" are strings of beads, coins, and other trinkets passed out or thrown from the floats in the New Orleans Mardi Gras parades to spectators lining the streets. Bring a large bag to collect all the beads and trinkets that you will catch during the parades.

Carnival is the season of Mardi Gras. Carnival Season begins on January 6, "King's Day" each year and ends on Mardi Gras Day. The main parades start about two weeks before Mardi Gras.

Know the definition for krewe (pronounced as "crew"). Krewe is an organization that puts on a parade or ball for the Carnival season.

The New Orleans King Cake celebrates the Feast of Epiphany in honor of the night the Wise Men visited the Christ Child. A special cake in honor of the Three Kings began in Europe where a coin or a bean would be concealed inside of the cake for good fortune to the finder. New Orleans borrowed the tradition and the cakes are as simple or as decorative as you want, but they are designed with sugar in purple, green and gold, the official colors of Mardi Gras. You'll find a small, plastic King Cake baby baked inside. Whoever finds the baby usually buys the next cake.

Here are some of the parade highlights. For the complete parade schedules and routes, visit the Mardi Gras website.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12: The evening begins with The Knights of Babylon at 5:45 p.m., followed by the Knights of Chaos, and the all-female Krewe of Muses.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13: The Uptown parades start with the Krewe of Hermes at 6:00 p.m., followed by Krewe d'Etat and finally the Krewe of Morpheus.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14: Endymion rolls down Canal Street through Mid-City towards downtown starting at 4:15 p.m., the Krewe of NOMTOC offers family fun beginning at 10:45 a.m. In Metairie, the all-female Krewe of Isis rolls at 6:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 15: The Sunday before Mardi Gras offers a town favorite: Bacchus, which typically features a celebrity guest or two. Krewe of Okeanos rolls at 11:00 a.m., followed by the Krewe of Mid-City, then the Krewe of Thoth and finally the Krewe of Bacchus. In Metairie, the Krewe of Napoleon rolls at 5:30 p.m.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16: Lundi Gras (called the Monday before Mardi Gras) offers up two of the biggest krewes: the Krewe of Proteus and Krewe of Orpheus. Both parades roll through Uptown starting at 5:15 p.m.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17: On Mardi Gras Day, Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club (and their famous coconuts) begin rolling through Uptown at 8:00 a.m., followed by the Rex Organization.

Tax Deductions for Your Home

by Kim Higgins

Tax season is in full swing and you’re probably getting your paperwork in order, and considering the ways to minimize your tax liability.  There are various home-related expenses that you’ll want to be sure to deduct.

Here are some deductions not to overlook:

Mortgage Interest - The mortgage interest deduction is the homeowner’s best friend, being such a big money saver.  Homeowners can deduct the interest on their home loans, up to $1 million. 

Property Taxes - Check to see what you paid in property taxes in 2014 by looking at the annual statement you received from your lender.  If your taxes aren’t included in escrow payments made with your mortgage payments, look at your canceled checks.   Property taxes must be taken as an itemized expense. The tax you pay each year is deductible as long as you own your home.

Home Office - Homeowners who work from home can claim their office space as a deduction.  For example, if you use an extra room to run your business, you can take a home office deduction for that extra room.

Commonly, deductions for a home office are based on the percentage of your home dedicated to business use.  This means, if you use an entire room or part of a room for office use, you will need to calculate the percentage of your home dedicated to your business activities.For a full explanation of these tax deductions and additional deductions for your home office, refer to Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home.  Also, contact your tax professional to understand the ins and outs of claiming a home office.

Home Improvements - Homeowners take all sorts of home improvement deductions each year.  Whether you added on to your home, put on a new roof, or made other improvements to your home, your home projects can assist to lower your tax bill when you sell your home. Try using the Zillow Digs free tool to get an idea as to how much a remodeling project will cost you and whether it will be a good return on your investment.

Energy Efficient Upgrades - Thanks to the residential energy tax credit, homeowners who made energy-efficiency upgrades in 2014 can claim up to 10 percent of what was spent on these upgrades.

Some of the qualified energy-efficiency improvements include:

  • Exterior windows, skylights or doors.
  • Insulation that improves home efficiency.
  • Storm doors and storm windows

The Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit is valid until 2016 and has no dollar limit for most properties. Homeowners can claim 30% of the alternative energy equipment costs, as listed below:

  • Fuel cell property
  • Geothermal heat pump property
  • Small wind energy property
  • Solar electric property
  • Solar water heating property

Always save your receipts for ALL purchases, or it’s not a deduction!

DisclaimerThe information contained on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.

NOW is the time to buy the home you've dreamed about!

by Kim Higgins

 

Don’t Wait! Move Up To The House You Always Wanted | Keeping Current Matters

The housing market has really stabilized and many homeowners are seriously thinking about up-sizing to the home they have always dreamed about. In most areas of St. Tammany Parish, prices are still below those of a just few years ago and the market remains stable for the most part. Most importantly, the current mortgage interest rates are still near 4% which is the biggest and most influential factor when budgeting for a new home.

However, sellers should consider that waiting to make a move while the mortgage rates are projected to begin increasing this Spring probably doesn’t make sense. As interest rates increase, the price of the home you will be able to afford to buy will decrease. Take a look at the chart  blow that illustrates this point:

Buyers Purchasing Power | Keeping Current Matters

 

 

In the mid-19th century, the only way for visitors to reach Mandeville, Louisiana from New Orleans was to take a steamboat across  Lake Pontchartrain – which they did, quite often.  Mandeville is the “first city” that is reached once you cross the lake and is considered the oldest inhabited city in St. Tammany Parish.  It began as a weekend destination for New Orleanians and eventually turned into a diversified small business and bedroom community.  Once the over 24-mile bridge over Lake Pontchartrain (The Causeway) was built, Mandeville began to establish itself as an independent and thriving city.

Today, Mandeville consists of a tightly-filled, 7 square mile city with dozens of retail locations, restaurants, new home subdivisions, and well-established and historical communities and homes.  Mandeville has been name numerous times byRelocate America as one of the Top 100 Places to Live.  Mandeville offers top rated schools in the state of Louisiana with Blue Ribbon and Five Star Schools, and they were named by Money Magazine as One of the Top 100 School Systems in the Nation’s Major Metropolitan Areas.  Mandeville has an extensive medical community with state-of-the-art, upscale health facilities with many smaller specialty clinics from which to choose.

Mandeville has many natural amenities, including a bird sanctuary and offers recreational and historical sites and events as well.  After crossing the bridge from New Orleans to Mandeville, the first thing that visitors will notice is the gorgeous live oaks that line the winding, scenic lakefront on Lakeshore Drive.  The lakefront is a family-friendly amenity with a bike and jogging/walking path as well as a children’s playground complete with a mini-waterpark.  Many warm, sunny days are spent by residents with their kids and pets walking, swimming, or playing music on the lakefront.  There is even a gazebo on the lakefront that is used for local festivals and music events.

Even though it is just 7 square miles of property, Mandeville, Louisiana is the home to two historic attractions – The Dew Drop Dance & Social Hall, which is considered the birthplace of jazz on the Northshore where Louis Armstrong performed and The Seven Sisters, the oldest living live oak in the United States.  As far as lifestyle, health and education, shopping, dining, entertainment, and historic and natural amenities, Mandeville, Louisiana is an ideal place to relocate or move to buy your home!

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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 262

Contact Information

Photo of Kim Higgins Real Estate
Kim Higgins
Realty Executives SELA
1502 W. Causeway Approach, Suite D
Mandeville LA 70471
Direct: (985) 705-1910
Office: (985) 778-0657

The information contained in this web site is provided by the listing agent or broker for the sole purpose of consumers' personal use and to assist consumers in identifying properties for potential purchase. This information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. You should independently verify the information regarding property that interests you. Neither the listing agents/brokers, Kim Higgins, nor Realty Executives SELA, shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints or other mistakes. This information is subject to change without notice. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal without notice. You should know that, given the volume of listings, delays in removing or posting listings, in correcting misinformation, or in supplementing information on this web site are inevitable. If you have an interest in certain properties, then please confirm their availability and facts as soon as possible. Neither the listing agents/brokers, Kim Higgins, nor Realty Executives SELA, make any express or implied warranties for any of the information provided herein to a potential purchaser of a listed property or any consumers.

Kim Higgins, ABR, CRS, ePRO
Licensed in Louisiana, USA

Realty Executives

Each office is independently owned and operated.