208 Labarre Dr. in Old Metairie

When people dream of owning a home of their own, they’ll often say: “I just want a precious little house with a white picket fence.” Well, guess what! You’ve found your dream.

This listing at 208 Labarre Dr. is smack in the middle of the prestigious little community of Old Metairie and it has the three things real estate agents say matter most in a house: location, location, location.

“This house has the cute Old Metairie feeling about it,” said listing agent Sandy Ward, with RE/MAX Real Estate Partners, Inc. “It’s 84 years old and has its original wood floors and high ceilings which make it so inviting.”

There are a lot of surprises in this pretty pink house. Of course, it has the requisite living and dining rooms – both filled with sunlight from their expanse of windows. And it has a spacious sun-filled kitchen complete with all the appliances you’ll need.

The master suite has a bath renovated in 2007 with dual sinks, a separate shower and a jetted tub and the second bath has also been updated.

But, as is sometimes the case with an original home in a prestigious neighborhood: It’s too small for modern living.

So an entire wing has been installed across the back. There’s a nice bonus room – also with its own bank of windows letting in plenty of light – which could be used as a den since it opens conveniently onto an exterior deck. And there’s a loft, which is now being used as a quiet office space with all the privacy you’d ever need, but could also be a bedroom or a play room. The wing blends in beautifully with the original structure since it also has wooden floors and high ceilings.

There is also a separate storage shed or work room in its fenced yard. The yard is shady and filled with fruit trees, which Ward can actually name upon request. The home has central air and heat, a new roof and 17 new windows all installed in 2006.

Old Metairie, part of the vast suburban expanse of Metairie, is the first real suburb of New Orleans, a small part of Jefferson Parish. Its commercial district, Metairie Road, filled with small shops, coffee houses and a specialty grocery, bisects the area, yet most of Old Metairie is primarily residential. In addition to Metairie Country Club, Old Metairie is home to the New Orleans Country Club as well as two Roman Catholic parishes, St. Francis Xavier and St. Catherine of Siena.

Metairie (which means “small farm” in French) was a rural agricultural community throughout the 19th century. Bayou Road, which led into the city, was joined by the dreary little gravel road named City Park Avenue (it wasn’t even paved until the 1920s), and it was only after the Civil War that this extension of Bayou Road’s name was changed to Metairie Road. During the Civil War, a portion of Metairie that was used as a racetrack was even converted into an army training camp for a short time. This is now the site of Metairie Cemetery, the burial ground of many prominent New Orleanians.

When the natural swamps between Metairie Ridge and Lake Pontchartrain were drained in the 1940s, Metairie’s population grew quickly as a result of the cheaper land, lower taxes and larger lots than in Orleans Parish.

In more recent history, there were fewer deaths and less damage in Old Metairie during Hurricane Katrina, largely because the Metairie side of the 17th Street Canal did not breach. Since its development, Old Metairie has always offered an upper class suburban lifestyle and Labarre Drive perfectly epitomizes that.

“This house really has everything,” said Ward. “It’s convenient to shopping, schools and churches – plus, it’s a precious house as well.”

Angela Carll may be reached at angcarll@gmail.com or 504-947-6575