Audubon Park History

The Audubon family began in Audubon Park—once home to Native Americans, and later, to New Orleans' first mayor, Etienne de Boré. He founded the nation's first commercial sugar plantation here and developed its first granulated sugar through a process invented by Norbert Rillieux, a local free man of color. The land would not fall into public hands until 1850, when a philanthropist willed it to the city. During the Civil War, the location alternately hosted a Confederate camp and a Union hospital. In 1866, it was the activation site for the 9th Calvary, the "Buffalo Soldiers" whose defense of our country's western frontier made an indelible mark on America's African-American heritage.

Site improvements made for The World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition of 1884 (Louisiana's first world's fair) laid the foundation for an urban park. The city had acquired the land for this purpose in 1871 and in 1886, city planners changed the park's name from Upper City Park to Audubon Park. This was in tribute to artist/naturalist John James Audubon who painted many of his famed "Birds of America" in Louisiana.

A governing board was appointed by the city in 1894 to find the best way to develop the land and by the turn of the century, the development had been entrusted to landscape architect John Charles Olmsted. Olmsted's family firm had risen to prominence for its design of New York's Central Park, and New Orleanians soon watched their own scenic retreat materialize from Louisiana swamplands.

The Audubon Commission was established by State Act in 1914 to maintain and develop Audubon Park. A flight cage was added to the park in 1916, and its popularity launched the community's call for a full-scale zoo. Today Audubon Park includes the site of Audubon Zoo and many amenities including riding stables, tennis courts, a golf course and clubhouse, jogging trails, lagoons, baseball fields, soccer fields and more than 300 acres of green space for people to enjoy.

Audubon Park does not receive dedicated city funding for operations and is sustained by proceeds generated by Audubon Zoo and other facilities managed by Audubon Nature Institute. To fulfill its responsibility for the improvement and long-term conservation of Audubon Park, Audubon Nature Institute is launching a focused fundraising initiative, Olmsted Renewed. The campaign supports the care and preservation of existing trees; the planting of new trees and other natural landscaping; and the maintenance of existing structures throughout the Park.

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Audubon Park Map

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Audubon Park Driving & Parking

Audubon Park is located in historic Uptown New Orleans on Magazine Street between Walnut and Calhoun Streets.

Audubon Park
6500 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA
(504) 861-2537

Parking: Audubon Park has its own parking lot free to the public.

Directions from the Westbank
Take the Crescent City Connection Bridge towards downtown New Orleans on the East Bank of the Mississippi River. Exit at Camp Street and stay in the right lane. Turn right onto Magazine Street. Drive on Magazine Street for approximately 7 miles. Cross through the stop light at the intersection of Nashville and Magazine and drive about 6 blocks. Audubon Park is located on the right-hand side at 6500 Magazine Street.

Directions from New Orleans East, Slidell, Mississippi Gulf Coast
From I-10 West, look for the Westbank/Claiborne Ave. sign and exit at South Claiborne Avenue/US 90 West (Exit 234 C), heading south. Drive down Claiborne Avenue approximately 6 miles and turn left onto Broadway Avenue. There is a green sign for the Zoo in the median right before Broadway. Drive down Broadway approximately 1.5 miles, crossing St. Charles Avenue, and turn left at the three-way stop sign at Leake Avenue. As the road curves to the left, it turns into Magazine Street. Audubon Park is on the left-hand side located at 6500 Magazine Street.

Directions from Metairie, Kenner, Baton Rouge
From I-10 East, exit at South Carrollton Ave. (Exit 232). There is a sign at that exit for Audubon Zoo. As you enter the exit from the interstate, stay in the left-hand lane as you will have to turn left for the final exit. The off ramp only allows you to go to the right and that is the way you want to go. You will drive several miles on S. Carrollton Avenue until you come to the end of the street at Leake Avenue. You can’t go straight because the levee is right in front of you. Turn left onto Leake Avenue and drive until you come to the 3-way stop at Broadway Avenue. After stopping at the stop sign, go straight. As the road curves to the left, it turns into Magazine Street. Audubon Park is on the left-hand side located at 6500 Magazine Street.

Directions from Jefferson Highway, Huey P. Long Bridge, Harvey, Elmwood
After crossing the Huey P. Long Bridge to the East Bank, turn right (east) onto Jefferson Highway. Follow Jefferson Highway approximately 8 miles until it becomes South Claiborne Avenue. Continue on South Claiborne until you reach the traffic light at Nashville Avenue. Turn right at the stop light onto Magazine Street. Drive about 6 blocks on Magazine Street. Audubon Park is located on the right-hand side at 6500 Magazine Street.m - 9pm.

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Audubon Park Hours of Operation

Audubon Park is open daily from 5am - 10pm.

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