Saturday, July 5, 2008

Audubon Park is a marvelous place

John James Audubon would be proud. The New Orleans park named for him is a sanctuary for birds and hosts one of the best zoos in the country.

At night, from the front porch of my apartment at the end of Tchoupitoulas, I can hear the calls of monkeys and tropical birds. By day, I observe giraffes nibbling on tree branches and slowly traversing their run. Decades ago, the zoo had a much smaller population of wildlife and was not so well kept. But it is now fully supported by New Orleanians who enjoy both the animals and frequent music and social events held there.

I often strap on my roller blades to zip around the circular drive surrounding the golf course built on an old cotton plantation. I pass dog walkers, power walkers, cyclists and other skaters out for their morning exercise before the the weather heats up. Crepe myrtle is blooming this time of year, giving the park a pink canopy. The majestic oaks are draped with Spanish moss lending the flavor of the Old South.

I always pass one gentleman sitting on a bench, playing his violin under the oaks. There's no tip jar. He's just found a peaceful place to play.

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