A Little History:
Audubon Park, like much of the New Orleans area, was formerly home to Native Americans. It later became a sugar plantation owned by Etienne de Boré, the first mayor of the city. Boré is credited with developing the process of granulating sugar, in 1795. It was the site of a Confederate camp, and later, a Union hospital, during the Civil War. The park was developed as the site for the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition of 1884, and in 1898, it became Audubon Park, named for the great naturalist John James Audubon. The park was designed by John Charles Olmsted.
Audubon Park extends over 340 acres, and is located between the Mississippi River and St. Charles Avenue, across from Tulane and Loyola Universities. It is lined with many oak trees, most of which survived Katrina, and they help provide a shaded, beautiful urban oasis. The lagoons, pathways, and green space create a peaceful atmosphere, making the park a favorite picnic area. Reservations can be made for picnic shelters, which are popular for parties, family reunions, and the like. A road inside the park is a much-used exercise path for jogging, bicycling, and walking. Geese and ducks are plentiful in the lagoons.
Golf and Tennis:
The park has 10 clay tennis courts which can be reserved by the general public. The public golf course was re-designed in 2001 and is a Denis Griffiths creation, with Tif Eagle greens around four lagoons on a par 62, 4,220-yard layout. The Clubhouse is open Tuesday through Saturday, serving breakfast from 8-11 am, lunch from 11-3, and from 3-5 pm, light snacks and beverages are available. There is also a buffet brunch on Sunday from 8:30-2:30.
Audubon Zoo is located in the park, next to the river, and is one of the premier zoos in the country. Famous for its white tigers and white alligators, the Zoo has natural habitats, gardens, a train, a swamp exhibit, and much more. This is definitely a place you don't want to miss.
The Park is part of the Audubon Institute, a group of parks and museums which include the Insectarium, the Aquarium, and the Species Survival Center. The Institute's stated purpose is "Celebrating the Wonders of Nature."
Contacting the Park:
To plan activities or get more information, visit Audubon Park's website or call (504) 581-4629 or 1-800-774-7394.