I’ve lived in the city most of my life and I didn’t happen upon Couturie Forest until a couple of years ago. It’s 60 acres of forest in New Orleans City Park. It’s not really hidden but it’s easy to pass by without realizing what a great place it is. The entrance is on Harrison Ave. between Marconi Dr. and Wisner Blvd. Park your car in the lot and you’re off!
You’ll cross a bridge to enter the forest, and you’ll sense a change right away. Welcome to an oasis filled with meandering mulch-lined trails, native trees, tropical palms, wildlife, and scenic water views.
You’ll find it hard to believe that you’re really in the middle of the city as you make your way down the path. You won’t hear city traffic or noise and you can walk knowing that you don’t have to look both ways for oncoming cars. Walkers and runners love the paths. This is the perfect place to let your children explore the wilderness, city style! Dogs are welcome too.
There’s always something new to see thanks to the ever-evolving landscape. Spring wildflowers are in bloom now. You may spot some hardwood fall foliage in the autumn months if you’re lucky.
There are plenty of places to take in the view of the lagoon or to just sit on a log and meditate or read. There’re a few picnic tables scattered about if you’d like to dine among the trees. On a recent visit, I met a couple vacationing from Phoenix. They were enjoying the view and feasting on New Orleans-style boiled seafood.
Be sure to visit the top of the city’s highest point of elevation: Laborde Mountain. Yep, that’s right, mountain. It rises 43 feet above sea level. It’ll take you all of 20 seconds to get to the top!
- Couturie Forest is open from 7am to 8pm (daylight savings time).
- The entrance is on Harrison Avenue between Marconi and Wisner and there’s free parking.
- Couturie Forest was named New Orleans’ top bird-watching destination.
- An almost 100% volunteer effort keep the forest in shape. It’s not uncommon on weekends to see students hauling away dead trees and spreading mulch for service projects.