Audubon Park sits on the site of a former sugar plantation—the only plantation in the city that wasn’t subsequently developed for homes or businesses. It’s about 25 minutes via streetcar from downtown, but feels a world apart, with its spreading live oaks hung with Spanish moss and its lagoons that serve as sanctuary—appropriate given the park’s name—to egrets (great, cattle, snowy), herons (green, blue, night), ibises, and the black-bellied whistling ducks. A loop around the paved walkway/bikeway, which boasts a public golf course at its center, runs 1.75 miles; alternatively, trek to Magazine Street for a visit to the Audubon Zoo, then catch a bus downtown along the city’s best shopping thoroughfare.

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Stroll Around Audubon Park

After you’ve had enough of the French Quarter and eaten too many oysters and beignets, jump on the cable car and head over to Audubon Park. It is beautiful any time of year, it great for people watching, and a great place to get away from the busier parts of NOLA. Pack a snack, stroll around the park, and find a bench at one of the many ponds to relax and take in the beautiful Southern scenery.

Get Intoxicated by Nature in Audubon Park

” ... I returned to New Orleans, and as soon as I smelled the air, I knew I was home. It was rich, almost sweet, like the scent of jasmine and roses around our old courtyard. I walked the streets, savoring that long lost perfume.” ― Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire. Whenever I return home from a visit to New Orleans, words fail me when trying to describe its intoxicating effect on my soul. New Orleans has so much more to offer visitors besides getting drunk on Bourbon Street. This is a lush, beautiful place that casts a spell on you with its vibrant history, culture, music and food that can’t be found anywhere else. It is, as Anne Rice wrote, like the scent of jasmine, a powerful “perfume” that lingers in your senses long after you’ve left. To fully experience this heavenly beauty, visit the Garden District and Audubon Park and take in the abundant Spanish moss hanging from ageless towering trees, and aromatic tropical flowers growing with wild abandon. Walk or bike the trail around the park and stop at Bird Island to look for egrets and herons. Rest in the shade and breathe in the earthy, exotic perfume. Ahh, that’s the New Orleans I love!

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