There are a handful of beautiful parks which I count as fundamental to my enjoyment of being in New Orleans. Each one a character all it’s own. Here are a few of my favorites.
Audubon Park is a long, rectangular spit of green that straddles Magazine St. On the northeast side it has a bird island sanctuary and to the southwest a zoo and Japanese tea garden. One of my favorite walks is around the bird island at sunset. When all the feathered and furred inhabitants are finding their places to rest for the night. Flocks and gaggles move in and around each other, fussing and nestling for their spots. By twilight the squawks and whistles settle to a murmur, leaving space for sounds of city to come rolling in.
City Park is known for its great oaks. With thick branches that sprawl long and low from heavy trunks. Trees that have felt generations of war and peace beneath their canopy. And, what I’m told, a favorite place for duels. Back when people arranged such things for specific times of day. One massive oak in particular has been adorned throughout with a wide variety of wind chimes. Small and melodic pieces sing high in the leaves while a couple sets, taller than me, gently roll bass notes in slow waves. Under the shade of this tree I have found a great place for meditation and t’ai chi practice. City Park is the largest park, and home to the New Orleans Museum of Art, a beautiful sculpture garden, a small forest, multiple bandstands, and walking paths enjoyed by many.
Louis Armstrong Park is in the heart of the city, just across N Rampart Street from The French Quarter. Where the previously mentioned parks are green, with sanctuary for birds and animals, this is a music park for the enjoyment of the soul and heartbeat of New Orleans. Located in the Treme neighborhood which itself is the birthplace of some talented and famous musicians. Over 30 acres devoted to the arts of music, theater, and film. Conveniently, just a short walk NE of the park is the Backstreet Culture Museum. Another must-visit for a taste of what makes New Orleans, New Orleans.
Lafreniere Park, just outside of New Orleans where I took this picture, is another wonderful place for bird watching. In the center is a lake made and formed by humans. The design for enjoying the birds as they go about their business includes a bridged walkway across the lake and islands.
Lastly, I must also mention the small neighborhood squares of green where, on every weekend but the hottest and wettest, you are guaranteed to find an art market, musical gathering, or spontaneous food event. Everywhere I go there is some kind of celebration in sound and color.