Jan 152019

A lone waterbird stands at the edge of the lagoon at Audubon Park. The proposed millage reallocation would give the park funding for drainage and storm management. (Uptown Messenger file photo)

By Nicholas Reimann, nreimann@theadvocate.com

A community meeting Monday night on the proposed parks and recreation overhaul brought out numerous questions, comments and criticisms from the public, as city officials faced a skeptical crowd trying to defend a proposed reallocation of tax dollars.

Voters will decide May 4 whether to approve the city proposal to shift the current allocation of over $20 million in property taxes used to fund parks and recreation, which would notably provide City Park with city funding for the first time in its 169-year history.

Cynthia Scott speaks at a community forum Monday at St. Mary’s Dominican High School. City officials took questions from those in attendance regarding a millage reallocation plan.​ (Nicholas Reimann, Uptown Messenger)

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Dec 122018

The jaguar habitat at Audubon Zoo. (via Audubon Nature Institute)

New Orleans voters will decide in May whether to reallocate a portion of the tax money now dedicated to the Audubon Commission, giving the zoo and aquarium long-term but sharply reduced funding, the New Orleans Advocate reports.

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Apr 062018

The former “Zoo Cruise” between Audubon Zoo and the Aquarium, as described on an archived version of the Steamboat Natchez website.

With more development of green space in Audubon Park all but ruled out for the next decade, the focus of the new Master Plan will likely be on improving transportation in and around the park, including the possibilities of a new bike and pedestrian path from Magazine Street to the Mississippi River levee and the eventual return of the Zoo Cruise along the river to the Aquarium.

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Mar 222018

A “heatmap” created by the running app Strava shows the intensity of use by runners around Audubon Park. (via strava.com)

Representatives from groups that have fought to protect public access to open space in parks across the city united on Thursday night to call for a more unified system of governing the park system in New Orleans, saying the upcoming expiration of property taxes that support Audubon Park is the opportunity to begin such a large conversation.

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Mar 072018

Mark Ripple, center, gestures while speaking at the Riverview information table during the Audubon Park master plan meeting Tuesday evening. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

How to manage parking at Audubon Park — and how to safely route traffic through and around it, given the upcoming work on Magazine Street — were among the chief concerns expressed by a large turnout Tuesday night for the second public-input meeting hosted by Audubon officials as they create a new master plan.

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Feb 072018

A lone waterbird stands at the edge of the lagoon at Audubon Park. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

The more things change in the city of New Orleans, it seems, the more residents want Audubon Park to stay the same, based on comments Tuesday evening at the first public meeting about the park’s future.

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Jan 232018

Amanda Kaufman, a zookeeper with the Audubon Zoo “animal ambassador” program, introduces a Eurasion Eagle Owl named “Mr. Miyagi” to the members of the Audubon Commission on Tuesday afternoon. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

After recent outcry from nearby neighborhoods, Audubon Commission officials said Tuesday that they plan to revive and update the decade-old “master plan” for Audubon Park, and they will be seeking the public’s input on it in three sessions that start in less than two weeks. Continue reading »

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Sep 152017

Candidates for the District A seat on the New Orleans City Council — Joe Giarrusso III, Dan Ring, Tilman Hardy, Toyia Washington-Kendrick, Drew Ward and Aylin Maklansky — debate during a town hall hosted by Carrollton neighborhood groups on Thursday evening. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

City Council District A is home to a plethora of the city’s parks and greenspaces, and their management and sustainability remains an important issue as the city grows. All six District A candidates said they’d fight to keep greenspaces across the city, though they presented different preservation tactics.

Two candidates stressed the importance of zoning ordinances and the city’s Master Plan in protecting current greenspace, while others argued for legislation protecting trees and living plants. Some candidates said they’d look into unifying park management into one entity, if it proves efficient. Continue reading »

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Aug 052017

From left, Joe Bouie, Kenneth Cutno and Helena Moreno speak at a candidates’ forum at Temple Sinai on Saturday afternoon. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The members of the New Orleans City Council who are elected this fall should work to create a single, unified system governing all the city’s parks and recreation, according to three candidates for the open At-Large seat on the council, and then should find ways to redirect money to it without raising taxes. Continue reading »

Jun 012017

An image from the Audubon Commission’s request to the city for $5 million to help build its “Africa predators” exhibit. (via Audubon Commission)

The Audubon Commission appeared before city officials on Thursday morning to repeat a request it made last year — $5 million over the next three years to help enhance the area around its upcoming lion exhibit. Continue reading »

Oct 212016

The woman who drowned in Audubon Park had left her family behind in Massachusetts a year ago and suffered untreated mental illness, said the Orleans Parish Coroner. Meanwhile, the woman who was fatally shot last weekend on Jackson Avenue has yet to be identified, officials said. Continue reading »

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Oct 122016

The woman whose body was found face down in the lagoon at Audubon Park on Monday likely died of drowning, and an examination of her body found no evidence of foul play, the Orleans Parish coroner said Wednesday. Continue reading »

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Jul 292016
Shelter 13 near Magazine Street at Audubon Park is fenced in and unused. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Shelter 13 near Magazine Street at Audubon Park is fenced in and unused. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

As Audubon Park prepares for upgrades to some of its more popular picnic shelters, officials are asking the public what to do about one such closed structure on Magazine Street. Should the park renovate Shelter 13, tear it down for green space, or convert it into a security station? Continue reading »

Jun 302016
Lion cub statues play on the Audubon Zoo sign on Magazine Street, and live lions could be playing inside the zoo as well by 2019, officials say. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Lion cub statues play on the Audubon Zoo sign on Magazine Street, and live lions could be playing inside the zoo as well by 2019, officials say. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Right on the orange-and-black tail of the arrival of a new Malayan tiger, Audubon Zoo officials are planning a new exhibit that would bring lions back to New Orleans and are hoping the city can pitch in $5 million to help. Continue reading »