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A Photographic Walk Through New Orleans City Park
New Orleans' City Park is an underappreciated gem!
Millions of people visit New Orleans every year but few of them make it out to City Park- a place I'm lucky to live a few blocks from.
Founded in 1854, City Park is 50% bigger than New York City's Central Park and has the most live oaks in the country- some over 600 years old. Plus two museums, a botanical garden, children's amusement park, playground, tennis courts, golf course and so much more.
My morning walk generally starts with a stroll through the Esplanade Street entrance, which happens to be the end of the streetcar line that starts in the French Quarter.
If you're a visitor, that means that for a mere $1.25 (okay, $2,50 round trip) you can have a relaxing mini-vacation and enjoy the luxuriant green oasis that locals adore!
(photos taken by and property of the author)
Straight ahead: New Orleans Museum of Modern Art
Founded in 1911 by the Delgado family, the museum has grown from only 11 items on display to over 40,000 in their collection.
The building is impressive, and sits at the end of a long drive, greeting you as you arrive, usually festooned with banners announcing their latest temporary exhibit.
If you’d like to visit, it’s $10, closed on Mondays, open into the evening on Fridays. For a special treat, Ralph Brennan of the famed family of restaurateurs runs the cafe inside.
Park Flora & FaunaClick thumbnail to view full-size
To Big Lake or not to Big Lake?
The boys are ready to go...
Most mornings Bruiser the Dachshund and Nipper the Schnoodle keep me company, and they’re raring to go!
Big Lake is to the right of the museum, with a new walking and biking track that runs the 3/4 mile around the lake. At the far side you can see the boat launch, where you can rent kayaks, paddle boats, bikes and even a gondola to navigate not just the big lake but the dozens of lagoons throughout the park.
A view from the gondola
An authentic Venetian gondola awaits, ready for hire! But I don't think they'd appreciate the dogs jumping around in it, so we have yet to give it a go.
WPA gives City Park a Makeover
The Works Project Administration gave the park its signature look
The park has a distinctly art-deco style, thanks to Enrique Alferez who’d been commissioned through the WPA to provide scuptures and artistic touches throughout its grounds. The bridges are even etched with the WPA symbol and have that distinctively angular 1930s style.
All Nipper cares about is whether he can get at the ducks from here, though.
WPA art throughout the parkClick thumbnail to view full-size
Besthoff Sculpture Garden
Behind the museum is one of the most acclaimed sculpture collections in the country- and it’s free and open to the public!
But not to dogs, alas.
Get one for yourself!
A note about the dogs.
"A tether divided against itself cannot stand..."
Have you seen the “Get along shirt” meme? In case you haven’t, it’s kids whose parents have put argumentative siblings into a huge tee-shirt, and said kids are generally none too thrilled to be stuck with one another.
The dogs’ tether is like that. If I had to manage two leashes with two small but very energetic dogs running in different directions, it just wouldn’t happen. Having one leash that accommodates two dogs is a lifesaver and I was amazed at how quickly they discovered they have to work together. There’s actually enough room for each dog to manuver, yet they can’t get tangled up.
And it works…well, almost always, though sometimes they have very different ideas about which way to head. Available in different sizes based on your dogs breeds, I can’t recommend them enough!
We've only scratched the surface!
1,300 Acres Provide a Lot of Options!
I’ve focused just on what we walk every day- but there’s so much more!
- The Botanical Gardens cover 13+ acres of ground with native plants as well as a formal rose garden nearly 100 years old
- Carousel Gardens has rides for children and features an antique carousel with hard carved wooden horses
- Morning Call, where you can get coffee (frozen or hot) and delicious beignets
- City Putt- a brand new miniature golf course
- City Park Golf Courses, which are open to the public
- City Bark- a dog park that’s a great place for your pets to run if you’re travelling with them
- Tad Gormley Stadium, which seats 26,000. The 1992 Olympic Track and Field trials were held there, and there are often local sports events going on.
If you wanted to spend a whole day there, you’d have no problem filling it up, but if you’d just like a break from the craziness of downtown, you can’t do better than City Park!