Big History in Our Big Park

City Park

By Kimberly Jochum, Amanda Knight, and University of New Orleans History Department

citypark-fountain-mossontreeThis tour unveils the park’s history. Only a fraction of City Park’s 1300 acres will be accessed, yet you will walk through the cultural center of the park, visit the famous dueling grounds, stand beneath a tree whose branches touch the ground, and learn about many interesting events in the park’s history.

Locations for Tour

1. Origins of New Orleans City Park

Before the French colonized Louisiana, Native Americans lived on the land that is now City Park. Bayou St. John was part of a trade route commonly used by the Chapitoulas and the Houmas Tribes. After the French began to settle along the Gulf Coast…

2. General Beauregard Statue

The General Beauregard equestrian statue stands at the main entrance to City Park. Designed by Alexander Doyle, better known for creating the city’s Robert E. Lee monument, the statue depicts Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant …

3. Monteleone Gate

Two 25 foot marble pylons mark the Esplande Avenue entrance to City Park. They were erected in memory of Park Commissioner Anthony Monteleone following his death in 1913. Known as the Monteleone Gate, the pylons include eight bronze lamps and 600…

4. New Orleans Museum of Art

Opened as the Isaac Delgado Art Museum in 1911, it was renamed the New Orleans Museum of Art in 1971. In the early 1900’s, wealthy sugar broker Isaac Delgado wrote to the City Park Board about his intention to build an art museum. “I have…

5. Dueling Oak

Many myths are associated with the “Dueling Oaks.” An 1892 Times-Democrat article noted that “Blood has been shed under the old cathedral aisles of nature. Between 1834 and 1844 scarcely a day passed without duels being fought at the…

6. Allard Grave

1777 marked the birth of Louis Allard, son and heir of the affluent Creole family of Francoise Lorreins and Jean Allard. One narrative of Louis Allard’s life said he was “destined to be an active citizen of the bayou for the next seventy…

7. Timken Center

Built in 1912, the Casino was conceived as a combined refreshment stand and administrative center. The upper floor of the Casino once housed the park’s administrative offices, and it was used for City Park Improvement Association meetings. Late…

8. Popp’s Bandstand

John F. Popp was a park visitor with a penchant for classic style architecture and music. He was determined to construct a bandstand for the park that was harmonious with the other newly constructed buildings. On July 4, 1917, Popp’s…

9. Segregation in City Park

Until 1958, all park amenities, including the playground, were restricted to white residents. African American children and families were banned from entering the park. In a 1995 interview, the late author Tom Dent discusses his childhood experience…

10. Peristyle

The Peristyle was created as a platform for dancing while listening to music performances at the nearby band stand. It was originally called the paristyleum and cost $15,330 when erected in 1907. The dancing platform was designed to match the style…

11. Langles Bridge

The Langles Bridge is located near the south side of the Timken Center, formerly known as the Casino building. This original stone bridge is dedicated to Miss Angele M. Langles; her estate appropriated $650 for City Park. Angele and her mother…

12. Famous Oaks

City Park is known for having one of the largest collections of mature live oaks in the world. The oldest is rumored to be up to 800 years old, although most sources claim the oak’s age is closer to 500 years. Live Oaks are evergreen, but their…

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: