Joe W. Brown Memorial Park

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New Orleans, LA
United States
Joe W. Brown Memorial Park

Landscape Information

This 163-acre park in Eastern New Orleans was donated in 1959 by Dorothy Dorsett Brown in honor of her late husband, oilman Joe W. Brown. The parcel is home to the 86-acre Louisiana Nature Center (LNC), which opened in the eastern half of the park in 1980. With the goal of educating residents about the natural environment through nature walks, a planetarium, and an interpretive center,  the LNC merged with the Audubon Center in 1994 to become the Louisiana Audubon Nature Center.

A lagoon surrounded by native vegetation, including ash, elm, hackberry, cypress, and willow oaks, occupies a portion of the western half of the park. Several sports fields (for baseball, football, and track), tennis courts, and other facilities are arranged in a loose oval around the lagoon, with pavilions and clustered plantings spaced between them. Paved pathways wind around the fields and the lagoon, which is crossed by three bridges. The Farrar Canal separates the lagoon and recreational part of the park from the nature center to the east, which is set within a hardwood bottomland forest. The park was submerged in water for several weeks after Hurricane Katrina, its facilities destroyed and its ecosystems severely damaged. The Audubon Nature Center was renovated by the architecture firm Billes Partners, which also carried out renovations to the park, including a prominent new entrance on Read Boulevard, a pathway to a new community library, additional pavilions, gathering spaces, and fishing docks around the lagoon. A new turf football field opened in 2012, and in its post-Katrina recovery the park became a regional sports hub.