Though closely associated with its famous neighbor, Metairie largely developed as a 20th century alternative to the Old World ways of New Orleans. The upscale Old Metairie community boasts many 1920s-era homes and high-end boutiques, while much else in Metairie evolved along familiar American suburban patterns of family living and convenience.
Veterans Memorial Boulevard forms a long, broad route lined with restaurants and retailers of all description, including Lakeside Shopping Center, one of the region's largest malls. The dense and diverse collection of bars and restaurants in a part of town called Fat City serves as the nightlife center. The New Orleans Saints have a headquarters and training facility.
A long roster of Mardi Gras parades transforms the suburban streets each year, while Metairie recently added a youth-oriented, weekend-long festival called Family Gras to the carnival calendar.