New Orleans City Park (Images of America)

~Children & Friends: 1940-2004~

During this era Storyland was new, children camped on Scout Island, and teenagers told horror stories of 'Grunch Road' and 'Mona Lisa Drive' (the park's Lovers' Lane) with its apparitions and Hookman.

Serious social issues were tackled. A 1949 Supreme Court decision prohibited segregation of the golf course and other facilities – Archbishop Joseph Francis Rummel canceled the bi-annual Roman Catholic observance of Holy Hour because park commissioners insisted on racially segregated seating in the stadium. CPIA fought full integration until 1958 when a final court decision mandated that “Negroes are now permitted to use all park facilities” according to the general manager who added, “we have exhausted every means to to keep the park segregated” (Times-Picayune, 12-22-1958).

Mrs. Henry J. Read, recognizing that lack of local and state funding had resulted in the park's disrepair, recruited volunteers to organize a fund raiser. From this effort Friends of City Park was established in 1979. Mrs. Reed was its first president. “Friends” goal was to initiate programs and organize events to increase public awareness and support for the park.. Its 3,000 members have raised millions through donations and major fund raisers – Celebration in the Oaks, Lark in the Park, Ghosts in the Oaks, and Martini Madness. An oak tree has been named in appreciation of Peggy Read's contributions to City Park.

During the 1970s and early 80s the Saux Building operated as Parkway Tavern, a popular but by no means beautiful venue (monkeys were painted on the window transoms). In 1983 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. After Jack and Martha Sands renovated it in 1985, they opened Tavern on the Park restaurant. In December, 2003 Ralph Brennan opened Ralph’s on the Park.

In 1971, despite protests and a lawsuit challenging the construction of highways through parkland, work began on the I-610 which cut through the Couturie Forest. Excavation for the road resulted in a two acre mound 60 feet above sea-level. It is the highest earthen elevation in New Orleans (Audubon Park's Monkey Hill is 16 feet above sea-level).

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~The Bayou, Road, Oaks, and Native Americans: 1400-1769~
~Plantation to Peristyle: 1770-1907~
~Expansion and Modernization: 1908-1928~
~The New Deal: 1929-1939~
~Children & Friends: 1940-2004~
~Rebirth: 2005-2010~
~The People Behind the Names: Donors, Benefactors, and Patrons~
Photo Gallery

The images in this book appear courtesy of the New Orleans Public Library (NOPL), Louisiana Digital Library (LDL), the Library of Congress (LOC), The Historic New Orleans Collection (HNOC), Pictometry International (PI), and D.C. "Infrogmation" May (DCM). Unless otherwise noted, images are from the author's collection.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book is dedicated to Friends of City Park.

Contact Catherine Campanella