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THE VIEW FROM DENNY PARK
News and Views from the Superintendent
No. 68 October 3, 2005
Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
Kenneth R. Bounds, Superintendent
A periodic electronic newsletter about Parks and Recreation news, programs, projects and events from Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds
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NEW ORLEANS CITY PARK NEEDS YOUR HELP!

CONSERVATORY - BEFORE
Before
Photo Courtesy of New Orleans City Park Improvement Association

CONSERVATORY - AFTER
Before
Photo Courtesy of Pictometry International

I received a request for help from John Hopper, director of development for New Orleans City Park, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding.

Mr. Hopper writes:

Can you imagine New York City without Central Park? Neither can we nor can the residents of Greater New Orleans envision a rebuilt city without part of its soul, City Park, playing a central role. For that reason, New Orleans City Park will rebuild. It will not be easy nor will it happen overnight. For those of us entrusted to restore the Park, we are humbled each and every day by the tremendous outpouring of love and support from throughout the country. We thank you for your support of the Park and look forward to returning a crown jewel of the city in the upcoming months.

More than 150 years old, one mile wide and three miles long comprising a total of 1,300 acres, New Orleans City Park is one of the 10 largest urban parks in the United States. It suffered extensive damage during from Hurricane Katrina.

An overview of the Park’s condition follows along with suggestions on how you can support their recovery efforts.

THE CURRENT SITUATION:

  • 90 percent of the Park was under anywhere from one to 10 feet of water.
  • The water that entered the Park was salt water from the Gulf of Mexico. It has killed most all the grass including that on three golf courses and most of the tender vegetation (The Botanical Garden) with which it came in contact.
  • The Park’s Administration Building was under four feet of water: archives were lost, computers ruined and records soaked.
  • The Park has 14,000 trees. Hundreds upon hundreds of trees were toppled.
  • Sections of the Maintenance Building collapsed and virtually every vehicle and piece of equipment the Park owned were destroyed including tractors, bucket trucks, end-loaders, bush hogs and golf carts.
  • Before the hurricane, City Park had 260 employees – a combination of full-time, part-time and seasonal. Given their inability to meet payroll, all but 11 employees have been furloughed. Many employees who no longer have a job also lost their houses and all their belongings.

HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP

More than anything the park needs your financial support. Money received now will help keep key staff who will be responsible for beginning the rebuilding of a “new and improved” City Park. There are sections of the park that were either not under water or that can be more quickly returned to active and passive green space in the immediate future. In order to do that they will need riding lawn mowers, tractors, weed eaters, baseball diamonds, soccer goals, chain saws and staff to operate them. The Botanical Garden will need to remove thousands of dead plants, restore the quality of the soil and begin planting anew.

Then following options are available when making a donation or providing support:

  1. Checks may be mailed to:
    New Orleans City Park
    c/o State Library of Louisiana
    701 N. 4th Street
    Baton Rouge, LA 70802-5232

    Questions? Call 225-342-4933

  2. Donate via a secure site on their web site: www.neworleanscitypark.com

  3. Donate Equipment: For a full list of equipment needs, please contact John Hopper. His contact information appears below.

  4. Fundraisers:
    • Hold a special fundraiser for the park.
    • Donate a percentage of the profits from an existing fundraiser to the park.
    • Donate the proceeds of your silent or live auction to the park.

  5. Direct Mail:
    Include a special “ask” in an upcoming direct mail piece for New Orleans City Park.

  6. Apprise Mr. Hopper of grant making foundations with which you have a relationship that may be interested in receiving a proposal.

If you have any questions, please e-mail John Hopper at johnhopperkatrina@yahoo.com. His cell phone is (504) 259-1509. Donations may be restricted for use in any specific park function. Additional information, including the park’s Master Plan – City Park 2018, can be obtained on their Web site: www.neworleanscitypark.com.

Your support is greatly appreciated.

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