From the inception of City Park in 1854, locals and visitors have admired the beauty and serenity of New Orleans City Park’s natural environment. With 1,300 acres, the Park is teeming with life and is full of opportunities for exploration, discovery, and learning.
Though City Park has changed and developed over time, we work to maintain the value and health of the Park’s natural green space and wildlife habitat. Since Hurricane Katrina, City Park has completed several notable projects that promote native species and provide opportunity for the community to engage with the natural environment.
North of Harrison Avenue, you’ll find City Park’s 30-acre native forest, Couturie Forest. Since Hurricane Katrina, the Park has planted over 2900 trees in Couturie Forest. Today, the forest contains eight distinct ecosystems and supports a huge diversity of wildlife. Bring your binoculars to the forest during fall of spring migration and you’ll see hundreds of migrating birds!
As you walk the trails in Couturie Forest, Scout Island, or along any of our lagoons, you will almost certainly run into a few fisher-folk. City Park’s lagoon system is swimming with great catches, and we are continuously working to promote robust, lively fish populations. City Park has partnered with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to design, build, and deploy several types of “reefs” that will improve fish habitat in the lagoons.
We recycled over 60 Christmas trees from the past year’s Celebration in the Oaks event (2017) to build fish habitat reefs with local high school fishing clubs. The reefs will provide structure within the water column, attracting and increasing the population of small bait fish, which will then increase the population of larger, trophy fish.
Using a donation from Atmos Energy of scrap natural gas piping, City Park, LDWF, and volunteers from local hotel groups also built 24 “spider block” fishing reefs to add to the Park’s lagoons. Similar to the Christmas trees, these reefs will add structure to the water column, attracting and increasing the population of bait fish, which will then increase the population of large fish.
Willing to venture off the beaten track? Check out City Park’s Wisner Tract. Once an old golf course, the 90-acre Wisner Tract is now a mecca for nature enthusiasts, birds, butterflies, and more. Though some maintenance is required to keep this space clean, safe, and welcoming for visitors, City Park has partnered with local bird and insect specialists to identify valuable habitat patches throughout the Wisner Tract and declare these areas as “no mow zones.” We are amazed by the results! What may look like just a patch of grass may actually be productive host or nectar plants for the black swallowtail, pearl crescent, red admiral, or one of City Park’s other species of butterflies!