Audubon Park’s Enslavement History

Today, Audubon Park is a space dedicated to leisure in New Orleans. Every day, hundreds of New Orleans tourists and locals enjoy the public jogging path, lagoons, picnic shelters, golf course, playgrounds, and the Audubon Zoo. However, during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the land that is now Audubon Park was the Boré Plantation (lower Audubon Park) and the Foucher Plantation (upper Audubon Park). [1] The Boré and Foucher were “sister” plantations, meaning that the Borés and Fouchers were related by family ties. The Audubon Nature Institute highlights the plantation history of the park with plaques, markers, such as the “de Boré” oak tree, and artifacts like eighteenth-century sugar kettles placed throughout the park. 

From 1776 to 1794, the Boré Plantation produced mostly indigo. [2] After a failed indigo harvest in 1794, Étienne de Boré (1741-1820) ordered enslaved people to convert the fields into a sugarcane plantation in order to avoid financial ruin. [3]

Popular histories often credit Étienne de Boré, an enslaver and the first mayor of New Orleans, with establishing the sugar industry in Southern Louisiana. This historical narrative ignores the grueling and deadly work that the sugar industry required of enslaved people. This tour reframes Boré’s contributions to the sugar industry and centers the work of enslaved and free people of color who made the industry’s growth possible. 

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