An Audubon Nature Institute volunteer shows a baby alligator to 2 small boys.Rise of a Role Model

Audubon Zoo’s Phoenix-like rise led to accreditation from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association in 1981. Industry peers were further impressed by the 1984 debut of the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit. Its unprecedented exhibit style not only displayed native animals in a stunningly realistic environment, it used cultural elements to capture the lifestyle of the Cajun people who have endeared Louisiana’s swamplands to the world.

Audubon’s incredible turnaround set a new benchmark for zoo exhibits…and New Orleans success stories. Most importantly, the Zoo’s rebirth firmly anchored Audubon among the nation’s top-rated zoological parks and inspired support for future developments that would benefit the city culturally—and economically.