Average Base Cost: $15,000
Average base cost for a wedding at Cajun Ballroom at the Louisiana Swamp (part of the Audubon Nature Institute) is calculated by figuring a 115–person guest list on a Saturday night using a food/beverage cost of $80/pp and use of the zoo train. Entertainment, decorations, additional rentals, valet, DJ, and photography are not included. Average price includes gratuity and state sales tax. Price is rounded up to the nearest thousand.
*Prices subject to change
How it breaks down:
Facility Rental Fee:
Friday – Saturday: $2,500
- 3-hour catered event
- Main exhibit area
- Audubon roaming security
- Facility management
- Event coordination
- Existing dining room furniture
- Outdoor picnic tables
- Linen on inside tables
- Glass and silver service ware
- White Alligator Exhibit Extension: $500
- Additional hours: $650 per hour
- 50 passenger train for guest transport from the zoo parking lot (3-hour event): $250
Food/Beverage: Audubon Catering, the food and beverage outfit at the Audubon Nature Institute, was Louisiana’s first certified “green” caterer through the Green Restaurant Association. Chef Alan Ehrich, who has been selected as one of the top four chefs in Louisiana, is Audobon’s executive chef.
- Food and beverage minimum: $40 per person or $3,000 overall, whichever is greater
Friday – Saturday:
- Food and beverage minimum: $50 per person or $5,000 overall, whichever is greater
Space Type: Inside/Outside. Keep in mind that the outside deck only has an overhang, so if there is rain your Plan B would be inside.
- 115 seated inside
- 100 seated outside
- 500 for a reception
- (+300 if White Alligator Exhibit is added)
Bridal Suite: No
Parking: There’s limited parking behind the Swamp Exhibit, but plenty of complimentary parking available in the Zoo parking lot.
Food Service Type: Your choice
How Will Grandma Get There? Guests arriving at the zoo, which is located in the Uptown area of New Orleans (a 15-20 minute cab ride from the French Quarter), can be escorted to the Cajun Ballroom at the Audubon Zoo via a “zoo train” from the parking lot for a fee of $250. Without it, the walk would be a bit long for elderly people so this really is a must.
Party On! All events must end by 12 a.m.
Labor Day – February
- Evening events may begin as early as 7 p.m.
March 1st – Labor Day
- Evening events may begin as early as 7:30 p.m.
Important Note: Outside vendors are allowed (aside from catering)
Audubon Nature Institute, a 501(c)3 not for profit that operates a family of ten museums and parks dedicated to nature, houses four different venues that are often used for weddings.
For a more unconventional and relaxed event, the Cajun Ballroom–nestled at the heart of the Louisiana swamp exhibit–offers a rootsy but elegant dance hall. The Cajun Ballroom is an actual re-creation of a Louisiana Swamp, complete with real alligators, black bears, cougars, and otters (all secured in a gated area, of course) that are located around a very large wooden deck, where most people have their ceremony. Wooden picnic tables are scattered throughout, and I was told (secretly) that they can be moved and more formal tables and chairs can occupy that space if you prefer. From the deck you enter the actual “ballroom,” which looks exactly like my old summer camp dining room. It has wooden walls, floors, and ceiling fans, with framed pictures of musicians lining the walls. The relatively new venue, which can comfortably hold a large group of people, has a large built-in stage for the band inside, along with an additional long corridor that can easily be used for food stations. Invite your guests to a Cajun fais do-do, crawfish boil, or other Southern-themed party at the Cajun Ballroom. This venue is ideal for rehearsal dinners, weddings and receptions, and offers free parking.
Woman Getting Married Says:
If you want a really unique and “different” wedding reception venue, the Cajun Ballroom is it. The outside area is great because you are literally surrounded by amazing wildlife (though I would make sure any drunk friends stayed away from the bears’ holding area). The inside is comfortably rustic and the perfect size for a large yet intimate feel, and would even be cool if you decorated it to feel more modern and formal. The only downside is that it’s not as close to the quarter as I would like, but because it’s not “too” far you can get away with not having to arrange a bus from your guests’ hotel to the venue. If you are a wildlife lover, and have guests that can appreciate how special this setup is, then this venue is a great option.