New Orleans City Park (Images of America)

~The People Behind the Names: Donors, Benefactors, and Patrons~

~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

City Park's first benefactor, the man who gave the property to the city, is memorialized only with a solitary tree – the McDonogh Oak which was not named for him until 70 years after his gift was given. Born in Baltimore of Scotch-Irish descent in 1779, McDonogh came to New Orleans as a young man and began building his fortune trading molasses, sugar, hides, pig iron, and indigo. He then became a planter and amassed great wealth in cotton and real estate – buying huge tracts of unimproved property. McDonogh was a founding member of the American Colonization Society which reportedly provided passage for 18,000 slaves to the Liberian Republic. In 1842 McDonogh oversaw the shipping of 80 slaves who had 'bought' their freedom after work credited to their accounts equaled their market value.

A staunch believer in the value of education, most of McDonogh's assets of approximately $3,000,000 were bequeathed for the building of schools. His will stipulated “That it be permitted annually to the children of the free schools to plant and water a few flowers around my grave”. He was buried in his native Baltimore but the children of New Orleans honored him for many years by bringing flowers to his memorial in Lafayette Square.

From McDonogh's gift of the land to the funding of $1,000,000 in 2005 along with countless donations from modest citizens, the park would not be the place it is today had not generous New Orleanians opened their hearts and their pocketbooks.

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