Night Herons of New Orleans

I’m not gonna pretend that a lot of people ask us about the night herons of New Orleans.  They don’t.  Though night herons are beautiful and majestic birds, they aren’t exactly what you’d call a tourist draw.  People come to New Orleans to go to Bourbon Street.  People don’t come to New Orleans to see yellow crowned night herons.  When they do see the night herons of New Orleans, though, they are pleasantly surprised and awed by the natural world amongst us in the city.

The yellow crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea) isn’t exactly common in New Orleans except in two places with which I’m intimately familiar.  You won’t find them in the French Quarter or on Frenchmen Street.  You sure as heck won’t find them on Bourbon Street.  You will, however, find them on Esplanade Avenue.

La Belle Esplanade, a boutique experience inn on Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans, LA, is in the 2200 block of out fair and wonderful street.  In the 2300 block, the trees are full of night heron nests.  These are the night herons most people encounter when they think of the night herons of New Orleans.  The trees that line the 2300 block of Esplanade Avenue are live oaks (Quercus virginiana).  They are majestic and wonderfully twisted trees in their upper branches.  That is where the night herons of New Orleans make their nests, one block away.  It is a short and pleasant stroll that offers no exertion, even for the most exacerbated asthmatic, from our front door to nature in the wild over the peaceable and pleasant traffic that traverses our fair city on this most pleasant of streets.

There are also night herons in City Park:

 

 

Most people don’t go to the parts of City Park where I go every morning with our dog, but the herons are in the lagoons around Morning Call Coffee Shop and in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden in the park, too.  If you keep your eyes open, you’ll see the night herons of New Orleans.  You’ll see a lot of other delightful surprises, too.  New Orleans is all about eye candy and more nourishing optical treats that will feed your soul.  If you are bored in New Orleans, you must have a hole in your imagination.  New Orleans is a city of small scale unexpected wonders around every corner.

If you don’t think I know a New Orleans night heron from my elbow, well, here’s the proof mon ami:

 

 

I know my night herons.  After all, they nest in a colony just a block from my boutique experience inn.  And, I see them regularly when I’m walking our dog in the morning before I go to pick up a fresh loaf of bread and some neighborhood pastries for our inn’s guests.  You never know what you’ll find in New Orleans.  I never know what will be for breakfast before I pick it up.  I can tell you one thing, though: You’ll never go hungry for good food or fresh experiences on Esplanade Avenue in particular and in New Orleans in general.  Laissez les bon temps rouler!

What was the podcast I interrupted to shoot that last documentary video?  Econ Talk hosted by the economist Russ Roberts. I used to listen to a lot of podcasts while I walked the dog but I’ve winnowed the selection down to a select few.  Econ Talk comes out every Monday and I look forward to it.  Check it out if you’re so inclined.  If you choose to listen too, it will give us something to talk about, though, truth be told, no one is ever at a loss for things to talk about in New Orleans.  The city is its own conversational reward.

À votre santé,

La Belle Esplanade

where every morning is a curated breakfast salon during which we discuss at least some of the world’s problems.

Monday, June 3, 2017:  New Orleans is… full of delicious serendipity.  Look to the trees—-

Night heron nests in New Orleans
The canopy of live oak branches in front of La Belle Esplanade, New Orleans, LA