During COVID-19, Audubon Golf Course Has Become Uptown’s Newest Playground

NEW ORLEANS – Since the COVID-19 shutdown, the golf course at Audubon Park has been taken over as a spot for biking, walking and other recreational activities. It’s almost as if park visitors suddenly discovered an 81-acre secret garden hidden inside the park’s popular 1.8-mile jogging path.

Recent sightings on the temporarily dormant golf course: a young couple playing soccer, a family flying a kite, another group having a picnic and a couple sharing a hammock slung between two oaks. The organic transformation of the space is likely to spark conversations about the best use of space at Audubon. There have been plenty of vocal fans and critics of the course since it underwent a $6 million renovation nearly 20 years ago.

Lauren Messina Conrad, the director of public relations at the Audubon Nature Institute, said park officials are “pleased that our community is able to use the park and golf course right now to safely enjoy the outdoors.” She scheduled an in-depth conversation for after the COVID-19 crisis but answered a few questions via email:

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How did the “takeover” occur? Did people just naturally start using the course or was there an official invite?

There was no official invite; this was an organic use of the space by park participants while the course is closed.

What are the chances of the course being available to the public [for other uses] after the crisis subsides?

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The golf course is a public course. Any changes to its use is a decision made by the Audubon Commission

How important is the revenue from golf to the park in general?

Revenue from the golf course helps maintain the park.

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Are there safety concerns or expenses associated with people strolling, biking on the course?

As long as people follow social distancing while strolling on the course and respecting the space and greens it does not pose a concern.

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