Private Parties

Audubon Nature Institute offers award-winning catering and venues for your private event needs. Consider our many unique venues for business or pleasure at locations ranging from Audubon Zoo and Audubon Park to Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Audubon Woldenberg Park.

Family Gatherings and Picnics

Daytime buffet-style picnics are fantastic fun at our Corporate Picnic Pavilion at Audubon Zoo. Choose from a variety of picnic menus. Enhance your event with discounted Zoo admission for your guests, live music, inflatables and more. Perfect for employee parties, family reunions, and club gatherings.

Cocktail Reception or Dinner

Whether you are toasting a special occasion or marking a milestone, with a guest list of 50 or 500, we can assist you in planning a fun-filled cocktail reception or dinner.

Meeting Facilities

With a community center designed to host small meetings and an auditorium with theater-style seating, meetings are serious business at Audubon. Our best boardroom and our largest party rooms are available for meetings of all types. Whether you are a teacher, a club president, a CEO or a scout leader, we have a meeting room for you.

Holiday Parties

Location is everything when planning a holiday party! Consider the Pisces Room with its view of the Mississippi River, the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit which is a destination of its own, and our many other locations that combine nature's beauty with excellent service and style.

Contact us by email or (504) 212-5301 to start planning your event today!


Below are the Audubon Venues available for Private Parties.

Audubon Tea Room

Audubon Tea Room

Audubon Tea Room is the most presitigious of our venues, with gleaming wood floors, soaring ceilings, silk drapes and an impressive series of double doors leading to the lush Tea Room Garden. Beauty and elegance is always waiting to welcome you and your guests.

Louisiana Swamp Exhibit Cajun Ballroom

Louisiana Swamp Exhibit Cajun Ballroom

The Louisiana Swamp Exhibit at Audubon Zoo transports you down the bayou and introduces you to the creatures, and history, of a region. Invite your guests to a Cajun fais do-do, crawfish boil, or other Southern-themed party at the Cajun Ballroom.

Nims Community Center

Nims Community Center

Conveniently located just next door to the Zoo's front gate entrance, the Nims Community Center at Audubon Zoo provides the perfect place for your next meeting or retreat. The center offers seating for up to 40 as well as audio-visual capabilities.  Host your next retreat, board meeting or committee party at the Nims Community Center.

Woldenberg Park

Woldenberg Park

Woldenberg Riverfront Park at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas borders the Mississippi River as a beautiful green space in the heart of the historic French Quarter. Just steps from major hotels, the convention center and Jackson Square, the park is home to the annual French Quarter Fest and an ideal setting for festivals, concerts, corporate gatherings, or other large-scale events.

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas provides an exciting backdrop of exotic fish, mystical jellyfish and rare white alligators for parties of all kinds. Imagine a table for two in front of playful penguins or a full-service bar next to circling sharks. The Aquarium’s appealing riverfront location is just a short walk from the convention center, historic French Quarter, and major hotels.

Audubon Clubhouse

Audubon Golf Clubhouse

Audubon Clubhouse replicates a historic Acadian home complete with deep verandas showcasing sweeping views of southeast Louisiana's most prestigious golf course. The dining room, and a smaller, private room, are available for wedding receptions, dinners, reunions and more.

Pisces Room

Pisces Room

On the second floor of Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, the Pisces Room offers a coveted view of the Mississippi River and Woldenberg Riverfront Park through its wall of windows. A large, open area, the room can be configured for large or small meetings, retreats, breakfasts, luncheons or dinners.

Audubon Nature Institute's purpose of Celebrating the Wonders of Nature is woven into our vision of creating a family of museums and parks dedicated to nature. This vision is fulfilled by eight objectives that support our mission:

  • Provide a guest experience of outstanding quality
  • Exhibit the diversity of wildlife
  • Preserve native Louisiana habitats
  • Educate our diverse audience about the natural world
  • Enhance the care and survival of wildlife through research and conservation
  • Provide opportunities for recreation in natural settings
  • Operate a financially self-sufficient collection of museums and parks
  • Weave quality entertainment through the guest experience

Audubon Nature Institute’s family of museums and parks include:

  • Audubon Park and Riverview
  • Audubon Zoo
  • Woldenberg Riverfront Park
  • Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
  • Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center
  • Entergy IMAX® Theatre
  • Audubon Louisiana Nature Center
  • Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species
  • Audubon Wilderness Park
  • Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
  • Audubon Nature Institute Foundation

The Commission is, in effect, a board of trustees. Appointed to a six-year term by the Mayor with the consent of the City Council, the Commission is composed of 24 registered voters of the City of New Orleans. It retains all authority granted to it by Louisiana State Act No.191 of 1914. It has specific authority to approve and control design and development of its projects. All monies from bond or tax revenues, approved by the voters of New Orleans for the Audubon Commission, are administered by the Commission. Title to all improvements, furnishings and equipment at the facilities remains in the name of the City of New Orleans via the Audubon Commission.

Calendar Minutes

J. Kelly Duncan: President
Daniel O. Conwill IV: First Vice President
Linda G. Baum: Secretary
K. Barton Farris, MD: Treasurer

Judy Bajoie
Gayle Benson
Frances Fayard
Rashida Ferdinand
Ashley Francis
Deborah D. Harkins
Bruce R. Hoefer, Jr.
Wilmer Jacobs
Beth Lambert
Olivia Manning
Peter Moss
Field Ogden, MD
Pamela Ryan
Charles C. Teamer
Tom Watson
Carol B. Wise
D. Brent Wood

The Audubon Nature Institute Board oversees Audubon Nature Institute, the 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation currently managing day to day operations for all of the Commission’s facilities through a management contract between the Board and the Audubon Commission. All employees work for the Audubon Nature Institute, Inc. Elected by the 30,000 membership households of Audubon Nature Institute, at least 75% of the Institute’s 32 Board members live in Orleans Parish and at least 25% of them are minorities. Members are elected for no more than two consecutive four-year terms. Funds generated by the Institute’s operations and fund raising efforts are administered by the Institute. Certified audited statements of the Audubon Nature Institute are provided to the Audubon Commission on an annual basis.

Meet Our Board Calendar Minutes

Leslie P. Gottsegen, DDS: Chairman
Joseph A. Jaeger, Jr.: First Vice Chair
Christopher Bardell: Second Vice Chair
Katherine B. Werner: Recording Secretary
Ronald Markham: Corresponding Secretary
Vincent J. Palumbo: Treasurer
Lynes R. Sloss: Parliamentarian
Stephanie S. Feoli: Immediate Past Chair

Byron A. Adams, Jr.
Robert W. Brown
Jennifer D. Charpentier, MD
Cecile V. Colhoun
Paul Fine
John F. French
Jeffrey B. Goldring
Jennifer S. Heebe
André V. Hooper
Deirdre O. Hooper, MD
Stephen Kupperman
F. Theodore Le Clercq
Nolan A. Marshall, III
John Payne
J. Stephen Perry
Julie Quinn
Charles L. Rice, Jr.
Mark C. Romig
Virginia F. Rowan
Michael O. Smith
Allison B. Tiller
Thomas D. Westfeldt II

The Audubon Nature Institute Foundation is a 501(c)3 support organization whose mission is to manage and increase the Audubon Nature Institute endowment while it provides additional operating revenues for Audubon’s facilities. The Board consists of eight members, of which one is the Chairman of the Audubon Nature Institute Board. The other seven members are elected by the Board membership for a three-year term. Audubon Nature Institute Foundation William A. Goldring, Chairman Leslie Gottsegen, DDS, Vice Chairman Linda G. Baum Catherine H. Cary Stephanie S. Feoli Joseph A. Jaeger, Jr. Peter E. Moss II Charles C. Teamer, Sr., Ph.D.

L. Ronald Forman, President and Chief Executive Officer

A past president of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, Ron Forman began his tenure with Audubon Park and Zoological Garden in 1972 as City Hall liaison. Made Deputy Director in 1973 and Executive Director in 1977, the major transformation of Audubon Zoo from an "urban ghetto" to an "urban Eden" was underway.

Today, Ron Forman oversees a family of attractions and facilities that make up the dynamic Audubon Nature Institute, leading a staff of 600 people in the Audubon mission of conservation and education.

Forman serves locally on the New Orleans Business Council, is Chairman of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District and the Immediate Past Chairman of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau. A past member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Museums, he is also on the Advisory Committee of Chimp Haven.

Read more about Ron Forman

Audubon Nature Institute Senior Staff:

  • Ron Forman—President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Bill Kurtz—Senior Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff
  • Larry Rivarde—Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Zoo and Park
  • Laurie Conkerton—Executive Vice President for Development
  • Richard Buchsbaum—Vice President of Food & Beverage and Special Events
  • Clyde Butler—Senior Vice President of Construction
  • Joel Hamilton—Vice President and General Curator
  • Steve Dorand -Senior Vice President of Design & Exhibitry
  • Chimene Grant—Vice President of Marketing
  • John Hewitt—Senior Vice President/Director of Animal Husbandry 
  • Debra McGuire—Vice President/Gift Shops
  • Toni Mobley—Vice President of Human Resources
  • David NiebuhrVice President of Education
  • Rich Toth - Acting Managing Director, Downtown Facilities

Audubon Nature Institute is committed to transparency. As a successful example of the public/private partnership model, Audubon values its role as a steward of the public trust. A fiscally responsible 501(c)3 non-profit, Audubon Nature Institute is an enduring and ethical community partner which effectively manages its collection of attractions and facilities on behalf of the City of New Orleans.

Magic, wonder, connection—Audubon Nature Institute attractions inspire these feelings. Connection to nature; a sense of wonder at the incredible world around us; the magic of the continuing circle of life—each visit to an Audubon attraction is filled with all this.

Audubon's guests have grown to expect the sense of wonder that comes with the discovery of new and exciting features. These capital projects are important for a number of reasons. New features throughout Audubon Nature Institute generate visitation, which in turn generates revenue to keep Audubon at the leading edge of conservation, education and quality family attractions. New projects implement the latest in enrichment and technology, incorporating newest and best practices in management for Audubon's cherished collection of animals, many of which are critical to breeding programs to stem the tide of extinction. These projects also fuel the economy of our region, providing jobs and economic impact.

Recently Completed Projects:


Capital Projects In Progress:


Capital Projects Planned for the Future:

  • Cool Zoo III
  • Cooper Plaza lighting
  • Asian Elephants III including new tiger habitat, lorikeets and primates
  • Jaguar Jungle II with nocturnal house
  • Louisiana Swamp Cafe improvements
  • African Savannah
  • Great Maya Reef
  • Penguin Parade
  • Wetlands Gallery



  • 2008: Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium is the first major attraction to open in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, adding more fun and foot traffic to Canal Street.
  • 2006: Audubon Aquarium reopens the following spring with the joyous return of its penguins, signaling recovery is indeed underway.
  • 2005: Hurricane Katrina is a heart-stopping milestone. In November, tears flow as Audubon Zoo welcomes weary residents back to their Zoo in an emotional homecoming.
  • 2003: Audubon invites educators and community groups to take advantage of the Jeri and Robert Nims Community Center, a community meeting room and resource center at Audubon Zoo.
  • 2001: Guests are welcomed into the heart of Audubon Zoo with a dynamic new front gate, including a palm-line promenade and a large, colorful flock of flamingos.
  • 2001: The challenging Audubon Golf Course changes the face of golfing in New Orleans when it is renovated and opened to the public in Audubon Park.
  • 2000 : An Audubon Park tradition is renewed with the construction of Audubon Tea Room, replacing an iconic building destroyed by fire in the 1970s.
  • 1998: A stunning example of innovation in immersive exhibitry, Jaguar Jungle opens at Audubon Zoo with spider monkeys, anteaters and jaguars within a setting filled with authentic reproductions of ancient Central American structures.
  • 1996: Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species brings new focus to the Survival Center. The Research Center logs 26 scientific firsts and earns Audubon Nature Institute worldwide accolades in conservation.
  • 1995: Entergy IMAX® Theatre opens on the New Orleans Riverfront.
  • 1994: Audubon assumes operation of Louisiana Nature Center.
  • 1993: Audubon opens a secluded 1200-acre breeding center for endangered species, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center.
  • 1990: Audubon Aquarium of the Americas opens and introduces family tourism to downtown New Orleans.
  • 1986: Voters approve a $25 million bond issue to build Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, located in a brand new space that took the dilapidated New Orleans riverfront and, for the first time, opened it up and renovated it so everyone could enjoy it.
  • 1960s1970s: Audubon Zoo suffers severe disrepair. The public demands closure unless changes happen. Friends of the Zoo forms, and Audubon Zoo is on its way to world-class. As a private, not-for-profit, Audubon Zoo generates operating funds from revenue earned, managing the Zoo (and future attractions and facilities) on behalf of the City of New Orleans. Cities nationwide take notice as the Zoo opens natural habitat exhibits where animals thrive and attendance soars.