Situated directly opposite Loyola University and Tulane University in the Uptown residential district of New Orleans, the Audubon Park is a city park named to pay tribute of naturalist and artist John James Audubon who started residing in the city in 1821. The city park is bounded by St. Charles Avenue and Mississippi River on its two sides.
The Audubon Park boasts of picnic areas as well as sports fields by the Mississippi River. This area in the park is dubbed Riverview Park. The riverbank section of the park is informally called the ?Fly? which is actually the name of the butterfly-shaped, contemporary river viewing facility made during the 1960s but was taken down during the 1980s after being badly damaged by the raging river.
A golf course debuted within the Audubon Park in 1898. During the early years of the 20th century, a portion of the park was relegated to house the Audubon Zoo. The Audubon Zoo flourished under the supervision of the Works Progress Administration and the zoo continued to progress starting the 1970s. However, during the same decade a number of attractions built during the early and mid-years of the 20th century was shut down. These included the carousel, the swan boats which were once found on the lagoons, the gigantic Whitney Young swimming pool and the scale model railway. A new pool was created during the 1990s just beside the original spot of the first swimming pool.
Vehicular traffic was cut off in the circular road encircling the Audubon Park at the dawn of the 1980s which eventually transformed into a 1.7 mile route for fitness enthusiasts and can accommodate jogging, walking and biking.
In 2002, the Audubon Park golf course was redeveloped and transformed to a predominantly Par 3 course much to the dismay of the non-golf visitors who contested that the new course insulted the original landscape design of the Olmsted Brothers. A structure which gave way to accommodate the new golf course and the complementary golf clubhouse was the Heymann Memorial Conservatory which has been closed for many years, but still considered an important structure within the park. Another park milestone which happened in 2002 was the renaming of the ?Avenger Field? to ?David Beger-Avenger Field.? This is to commemorate David Mark Berger who was an athlete alumnus of Tulane University who was killed in the Olympic Games hostage tragedy in 1972.
Unfortunately, some of the ancient live oak trees, which are a few of the best attractions at Audubon Park, succumbed to the powerful winds of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Luckily, the flood that came with Hurricane Katrina did not reach the park grounds due to its elevation. As such, it was used as a temporary helicopter hangar and served as the headquarters of the National Guard personnel who conducted rescue operations during the storm.
Another attraction within Audubon Park is Ochsner Island found on the east portion. It boasts of a rookery which is regarded as one of the best birding sites in New Orleans. It serves as a magnet for several species of wading birds such as Night Herons, Green Herons, Blue Horns, Ibis, Snow Egrets and Great Egrets.