Through The Years
The land that is now Audubon Park was once a large sugar plantation owned by Etienne de Bore, the first mayor of New Orleans. In 1871, the property was sold to the city for use as "Upper City Park" and a site for a new state capitol. In 1884, it became the site for the World's Industrial & Cotton Centennial Exposition. The Exposition's Horticultural Hall boasted an early "zoo"-- an exhibit of plants, monkeys, deer, songbirds and macaws.
In 1886, the park was renamed Audubon Park, in honor of the famous naturalist and artist who did many of his watercolors in Louisiana. Frederick Law Olmsted, the famed designer of New York's Central Park, was asked to develop a master plan. After obtaining funds from the legislature, John Charles Olmsted sketched a plan for the park in 1897, which the Park Commission accepted unanimously.
By 1900, about one-third of Olsted's original plan had been completed, mainly at the front of the park. By 1917, such accoutrements as the Gumbel Fountain, the Hyams Pool, the Newman Bandstand, and a flight cage had
With the onset of the Great Depression, donations for private building were scarce. A much-needed cash infusion was provided by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to build a new zoo. In combination with a $50,000 donation from Valentine Merz family, these funds allowed the zoo to move to its present site.
Money for maintenance of the zoo was inadequate, and by the 1950's the zoo had declined badly. Government officials advised the city to either 'clean up or close up.' Voters approved a special 1972 referendum which generated nearly $2 million to begin restoring the zoo. With farsighted leadership and overwhelming public support, the animal ghetto was transformed into an 'Urban Eden.' Beginning in the 1970's, new exhibits such as Asian Domain, African Savanna, Louisiana Swamp and Jaguar Jungle were added. 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.
Audubon's strong record of success over the years led to the evolution of Audubon Nature Institute, an umbrella organization that now operates a family of museums and parks dedicated to nature. With the boundless imagination of Audubon Nature Institute,
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Parks & Recreational Areas.
Location. 29° 55.403′ N, 90° 7.788′ W. Marker is in New Orleans, Louisiana, in Orleans Parish. Marker can be reached from Magazine Street. Located inside Audubon Zoo. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6500 Magazine Street, New Orleans LA 70118, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Audubon Zoo's Whooping Crane Legacy (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Boré Plantation - Audubon Park (about 700 feet away); Classic Designs (approx. 0.2 miles away); Audubon Park History (approx. 0.2 miles away); Trenasse Cutter (approx. ¼ mile away); Swamp People (approx. ¼ mile away); The Original Teddy Bear (approx. ¼ mile away); The Flood of 1927 (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Orleans.
More about this marker. Located in front of reptile display, inside Audubon Zoo.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 8, 2018. It was originally submitted on May 8, 2018, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 144 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 8, 2018.