The history of the land bordered by St. Charles Avenue, Exposition Boulevard, Walnut Street and the Mississippi River - now known as Audubon Park - is as rich as any New Orleans tale. Originally comprised of abutting tracts of plantation land owned by the Boré and Foucher families, this famous site has served many purposes through the years. Today it is enjoyed by thousands of people daily as an urban oasis in uptown New Orleans.Here Etienne Boré raised the first
commercial crop of sugarcane in Louisiana, opening the door of opportunity for succeeding generations of growers. The original plantation structures, however, were destroyed during the Civil War when Federal troops occupied the site and cleared the grounds to build Camp Lewis and Sedgewick Hospital. While the plantation buildings no longer exist, traces of the Boré and Foucher estates remain in the magnificent surviving Live Oak trees throughout Audubon Park. In 1871, the land was acquired by the New Orleans Park Commission and became known as "Upper City Park." A lesser priority for the city, it was reported to be a wilderness visited by few. It was not until 1884, when the site was chosen for the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, that the Park received much-needed attention. Upper City Park was officially renamed Audubon Park in 1886
in honor of naturalist, John James Audubon. Four years later, the Commission renewed its commitment to improve the land by forming the Audubon Park Improvement Association, a membership group whose annual dues led to the first positive developments of the Park.In 1898, in the wake of these improvements, the Commission hired John Charles Olmsted, son of renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, to design plans for Audubon Park. Although Olmsted's plans were only partially completed, the characteristic flowing, verdant landscape he proposed is evident throughout the Park today. From the meandering lagoon to the serene gazebos, Olmsted's prominent design. features still invoke a sense of peaceful seclusion amidst the urban landscape. Today Audubon Park is home to many historic structures and welcomes countless visitors. Among the Park's amenities are a 1.8 mile jogging path, playgrounds, riding stables, tennis courts, and a golf course. More than a century since its creation, Audubon Park continues to be a place where visitors from near and far can enjoy the restorative presence of nature within one of New Orleans' most historic landscapes.