New Orleans, LA

Understanding the History of New Orleans City Park

Ashley Lideau

NEW ORLEANS, LA - New Orleans City Park has offered access to abundant natural and cultural resources to residents and tourists for more than 170 years. The New Orleans Botanical Garden, Couturie Forest and Arboretum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, and the largest grove of 800 years old live oaks have been a part of this park.

More than 16 million visits each year, this park is a well-known place to picnic, outdoor play, athletic pursuits, and fish on the bayou. The park offers walking trails, urban forest, open space, cultural amenities, and recreation services for the entire community.

Urban parks are important to the public welfare through health improvement, social cohesion, air quality and carbon offset, water management, and economical success. City Park is also committed to preserving natural habitats and biodiversity in the Park. More than 2,000 various plants call The Botanical Garden a home and eight distinct ecosystems live in the Couturie Forest. City Park was named as the best birding spot in New Orleans by Birder's World Magazine, with 280 bird species have been sighted in the Park, and about 819 species have been documented by citizen scientists.

The annual operating budget has been obtained from mostly self-raised actions. The COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected the Park. However, despite the challenges, the Park’s open spaces continue to be a relaxing place to the public.

The Roosevelt Administration invested $12 million in developing the park as part of the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Around 20,000 men and women were employed to build roadways, fountains, and even Tad Gormley Stadium. Much of the art found throughout the park originated in the WPA era.

For more information about the park and opening hours, visit their website.

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