Audubon Park, New Orleans in Danger of Closure

Since this topic popped up in two separate and narrower threads, I thought I’d start a new thread in the hopes of broadening awareness.

Audubon Park, featured in the Strapped: Louisiana series, is in danger of being permanently closed by the Audubon Commission.
A Facebook group has been created to support saving the course:
Save the Golf Club at Audubon Park

A more detailed explanation of the particulars can be found here:
Crescent City Sports

Some local friends have also taken to emailing the CEO of the Audubon Institute, Ron Forman, directly at rforman@auduboninstitute.org

I hope that The Refuge proves to be a good resource for nationwide support of this local treasure.

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Such a fun course. Played it last year and walking off the course I was in such a pleasant mood. Wore my Audubon hat yesterday and today. I know Shane Bacon posted on twitter hoping to get a fundraising effort together. Hopefully some details on that soon.

Step 1: File for a FOIA and get the financials. Specifically get the food & bev operating. That’s key.

Here’s the hard truth: this land probably shouldn’t have a golf course on it. I’d bet the highest point of elevation on the entire course is no more than 5 feet above sea level. And this is New Orleans we are talking about here, so from a civic perspective keep that in mind.

Final point: Communal upkeep for this may work, but this is a different beast than most courses from an ecological standpoint.

Absolute final point: Let’s just buy it and make merch?

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(Terrified Laz is going to take his “Should there be public golf courses in San Francisco?” poking of the bear on Twitter and bring it here to discuss this golf course … )

I’m glad you brought up SF. This is New Orleans, of course, a city with it’s own issues. Let’s roll play, shall we?

@gremlingolfer and @greebs walk into see banker in San Jose.

Banker: “Guise!”
Guise: “Hey Mrs. Banker!”
Banker: “How can I help?”
Ggreebs: “You know we’re smart, passionate golfers. Gremlin’s fashion line isn’t quite where we expected it, so we’re going to need a loan to take over a course.”
Banker: “Great! How is the new generation taking to golf?”
Gremlin: “Not…not great, barb.”
Banker: “Really? That surprises me?”
Greebs: "Yeah…They like everything “right away” so they like playing in under 2 hours- so we may make this 6 holes! And they don’t like challenges so we are also including foot golf and clinics for begineers so we can lie to them and tell them “golf is for everyone.” You know, ‘grow the game.’
Banker: “So where is this course? San Jose? Palo Alto?”
Gremlin: “It’s in New Orleans.”
Banker: “Oh…What’s the median household income in the neighborhood?”
Greebs: “Not great. $40-something probably.”
Banker: “Take care, guise.”

Defeated, @greebs and @gremlingolfer road trip out to New Orleans, arriving at City Hall. (Note: On the way, of course they played many courses. @gremlingolfer shredded them to bits. @greebs was also there.)

City Hall Clerk: “Hello! Welcome to our fair city!”
Gremlin: “We are here to see the Mayor!”
City Hall: Is this about helping us rebuild from Katrina? Helping out with COVID-19 relief!
Greebs: NO! It’s about golf!
City Hall: (stern face) Gentlemen …
Gremlin: Failing meeting the Mayor, who can we talk to about saving Audubon Golf Course?
City Hall: I shall refer you to someone who can’t do anything about this.
Greebs: Off to the Audubon Society!

Audubon: How can we help?
Greebs: WHAT IF I TOLD YOU … that you could keep a public golf course open, with rates that literally anyone could afford, and either come out even or make a decent profit by charging market rates for food, drink and pro shop merchandise?
Audubon: Sir, this is a conservation society.
Gremlin: But that’s it! The course barely needs maintenance or watering! With the water table as high as it is, you need a mower, a few maintenance staff and one or two folks to work, on shifts, in the pro shop and snack shop.
Greebs: And make sure they DO charge folks to play! Unlike some of those Strapped Diner Boys.
Audubon: I really don’t know what you’re talking about. (turns to Gremlin) But you, sir, are making a good point.
Gremlin: Do you like free money? THINK ABOUT HOW MANY BIRDS YOU CAN SAVE.
Audubon: Sir, I like your style. And that includes that interesting choice of shirts. Plus, I believe you have a history with @Lazstradamus and he got what he deserved. Yes, yes, A THOUSAND TIMES YES!

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Google Earth says the greens are mostly at 10’.

What’s the ecological issue? I have a love/hate fascination with the Corps of Engineers, but leaning towards love right now just because LTG Todd Semonite is a beast. The course doesn’t appear to abut the river so I’m assuming your concern is drainage related?

You nailed the Median HHI. Interestingly, the Average AGI is $97,000. Well above the US average. Have to imagine between the proximity to the Garden District and Tulane there are some fairly well-off golfers visiting the track.

Look into Agawam Hunt Club in Providence RI. Went bankrupt in 2017, got 2/3 purchased by a wildlife preservation trust with the stipulation to keep it as a golf course and a few member families bought the other 1/3. There’s precedent.

I used to do this on the side. I’m acutally getting back into it loosely but things are moving rapidly. My neighbor’s friend just bought Saticoy and a different LA group just bought Strawberry Farms in Irvine, CA so lots happeneing here. Anyway, median HHI matters for munis a lot in urban areas (IMO) for reasons I’m not able to share here.

@greebs, can you do a revenue projection for canoe rentals?

Interestingly, Seminole has 5 or 6 below 5’. Just clicking around because it’s fresh in my mind.

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If you’re enjoying Seminole Golf Club, then I have bad news! Sometime in the next 80 years — and perhaps half that — it’ll be underwater! https://t.co/IEfR488Vvk

— Will Bardwell (@willbardwell) May 17, 2020

@NoLayovers, Florida is fucked, too.

Golf course are dangerous investments. Most are flat-out bad investments. Not saying you have to buy Audubon but from a cursory look, red flags everywhere.

Can anyone here speak to local politics in New Orleans? I’ve only heard tales.

Ohhh, I didn’t pick up on the bent of your original post being to underwrite an acquisition. Yeah there’s no way in hell I would ever want to buy a golf course in New Orleans.

I interpreted the intent of your Step 1 as an attempt to somehow prove Audubon is trying to kill the course because it’s an inconvenience to them when in reality it actually makes money.

I’m starting to wonder if this is just a ploy to offload the course onto the city so Audubon no longer has to deal with it.

This is semi-professional speculation (I spent the morning standing in a field with civil engineers refining a stormwater design), but I think golf courses function really well for flood control. Very little impervious area and plenty of room for overflow. Sweetens being a perfect example.

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Very rich corner of the city. During Katrina local homeowners used Audubon Park to helicopter in Mossad mercenaries to protect their estates.

It is probably the most expensive real estate in the area, high ground through centuries of hurricanes. Which is why I disbelieve Audubon Institute’s desire to convert it to “open space.”

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Didn’t know that happened to Agawam. (East Providence, btw, I think). Another private I never got to play growing up in Providence. Triggs 4 Life!

I steer clear of Nola politics and don’t really know the clubs financial situation. What I do know is that it’s been a great place to golf ever since I moved down here about a year and a half ago. Always in excellent shape and just a really cool awesome diverse population of golfers. It would be an absolute shame to see it go.

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Hoo boy, this paragraph from 2006 has it all.

Nature, we don’thave to be told, is capricious. The Audubon Park Golf Course, an elegantexecutive layout in the New Orleans Garden District, looks as if it got amanicure and a pedicure from Katrina. Meanwhile, the city-run Joseph M.Bartholomew course, on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain, took on up to 20feet of chemically contaminated saltwater and a top dressing of dead sharks andredfish. Why did Audubon survive and Bartholomew perish? Hydrologists will tellyou it’s because Audubon is on high ground near the Mississippi levee, whileBartholomew occupies the precarious low land behind the lakefront barrier.Refugees from the late, lamented Lower Ninth Ward will claim there’s more toit. The posh park course, a beloved track for in-line skaters, joggers andleashed dogs, is named for a 19th-century wildlife artist. The lakefront muni,a favorite of black golfers and home to the First Tee of New Orleans, is namedfor its designer, thought to be the first professionally trainedAfrican-American golf architect.

Agawam is on GolfNow day of if their sheet is empty. Played there a month or two back.