Excited to visit New Orleans? You bet! We’ve been careful to keep our spending in check, so we could afford a little splurge. We looked at hotels in the Garden District and the French Quarter. Our search fizzled out. Luck was with us when we detoured off the beaten path and found the Audubon Garden Cottage.
The Cottage is enchanting. We walked into a lovely garden and entered through French doors. The cottage is a rectangular open space divided into bed area on one end and sitting, dining areas, kitchenette and bathroom at the other end. Each area was nicely defined by its furnishings, and, while small, the cottage had everything we needed for an extended stay. Robert and Donald, who reside in the main house across the garden, were gracious hosts.
In the morning, we sat up in the cozy bed looking out to the garden while we read our email, using wifi. We browsed through the many books and studied the interesting art and objects. (My favorite was an old map detailing the plantations bordering the Mississippi River in LA.) A full assortment of breads, cereals, cheeses, and juices were in the kitchen for our breakfast, and we dined on real china at the table by the window. We sat in the garden and read during the afternoon, occasionally catching glimpses of Monk (also known as Quaker) parakeets in the trees. The cottage was private and quiet.
One morning we strolled on St. Charles Avenue just to view the remarkable homes. Each was well landscaped and painted to show off its architectural features. Shortly, we arrived at Audubon Park, a treasure of New Orleans. The third largest urban park in the US, it was the site of the World’s Fair in the late 19th Century. The park has a zoo, public golf course and tennis courts, in addition to many acres of open spaces with tree-lined paths. We wanted to see its lagoon, a likely place for bird watching to try out our new binoculars, Nikon Monarch 5.
The wide variety of birds at the lagoon amazed us. So many birds came close to us that we could see them easily without the binoculars, but using the binoculars gave us a view that was detailed and displayed brilliant coloring. Many of the birds were new to us. We snapped photos, and, on our return to the cottage, we pulled out the Sibley Guide to identify each of the new birds. Here are a few portraits of those we observed.
We think our best memories of this New Orleans trip will be the two Audubons: the Cottage and the Park.