Posted by: noadventure | February 2, 2009

What is New Orleans’ highest peak?

Deep in the Mississippi River Delta, New Orleans lies below sea level in a bowl between the greatest river in North America and the largest saltwater estuary in the world(Lake Pontch – doye). So just what is the highest point in the city? If we just want to get altitude – One Shell Square on Poydras is the tallest building, but I’m talking land.

What is the highest PEAK in the Big Sleazy?

Let’s inventory the hills and mountains in our metro area – shall we?

There’s the levee, of course.


Now in this picture from roughly two-hundred fucking years ago, you can see the people on top of the levee looking way down at the river bank in the distance. Original man-made levees in New Orleans were built on top of the natural levees that the river made while pushing all the silt and dirt from the whole country down south and out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Besides the levee, there are little hills here and there on golf courses and parks, but none of them are really high enough to write home about.

Monkey Hill in Audubon Zoo has long been fabled as the tallest point in New Orleans. This famous hill “got its start in 1933 with New Deal funds. The story goes that the Works Progress Administration brought in sand to create the 15-foot mountain to give the children of flat New Orleans the experience of a hill.”

Lucky children.

Monkey Hill in Audubon Zoo circa 40 or 50 years ago when it really sucked.

In the early 2000s, Monkey Hill had a makeover. Now sitting atop the old hill is a neat new five-level, 20-foot-tall treehouse that gives a scenic view of the zoo. There is also a series of ramps wrapping around a pecan tree, a rope bridge, bronze lion sculptures and wading pools. Talk about a luxurious mountain!

View from the top of Monkey Hill now. Holy smokes!

I even rode a majestic lion.

By the way, on the way to Monkey Hill, I snapped some photos of these guys:

And yes, this is a baby anteater chillaxing on his pops(or moms).

WAIT A SECOND! We are still discussing hills and mountains in New Orleans!
The next peak up for review is…

Laborde’s Lookout
Lookout Mountain
The Mountain
Le Montagne de Garde

Deep in the Couterie forest in City Park lies a 53 foot-tall MOUNTAIN with several trails on it running up to the top. Here’s how to get there. Go to Scout Island. Take the Pig Trail(Piste de Cochon) to the left.

Go uphill.

Admire the craftsmanship of the crow’s nest deck at the very top.

Check out the dizzying view.

This “Pig Trail” may prove to be a new trail running spot for me. Anywho, We have a certifiable high point in the city.

THE MOUNTAIN in City Park is the highest peak in New Orleans. I highly recommend you attempt to summit this winter while the trail is clean and the air is brisk. May your expedition be a success.

My reference – good old Blake Pontchartrain.


  1. who thought it was a good idea to build a city UNDER sea level? not too bright! then our country spends billions rebuilding

  2. jamaikamon, if you stopped believing everything the news tells you and did some fact searching for yourself, you’d know that very little of the city is actually below sea level. And most of the parts that are? They are the bayous…

  3. The reason the city is below sea level is because of the levees. The sediment that builds ground can’t get in to the city, so the ground will keep sinking until whenever the levees are destroyed, which won’t happen ever, possibly. Also, nice work on the story, noadventure.

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