Last week, I was New Orleans for the NRPA Conference, along with about 7000 park and recreation professionals, students and educators and that doesn’t include all the vendors in the exhibit hall. One of my goals while there was to find a park for this week’s blog. I just didn’t know how easy that task was going to be. I walked past the park and stopped to take my first picture before arriving at the front door of my hotel. The view from my room overlooked the park, so I got to watch it early morning and late evenings as well.
What made me stop and take my first picture was a sculpture outside the park entrance. It was a tree with a house up in the branches. I had found the Mississippi River Heritage Park. A park honoring the people and remembering the events that occurred on August 29, 2005 - Hurricane Katrina. This park is 1.36 acres and is directly across the street from the convention center. Surrounded by wrought iron fencing with six gates and entrances, the park serves the historic warehouse district and provides a beautiful respite for convention center visitors. It is the site of corporate and convention events, concerts, filming as well and serving as a wedding venue.
I made it a habit to walk through or around this park every day at different times of the day to see what happens there. I saw a lady throwing a ball with her dog, conference attendees enjoying the sunshine and filming video for a work project. I saw people just being quiet and enjoying some outside time. On one of my visits, I saw two Public Safety Rangers and stopped to chat with them. The signs at the entrance gates clearly state the park gates are locked at night - and they were when I checked so I wanted to know who was responsible for the task of opening and closing the park. They told me the task is shared jointly between the Public Safety Rangers and the security staff at the convention center.
Although NRPA did not hold an event at this park, I can see where it would be a great location to have an outside social if you were meeting at the convention center. Something that appealed to me about this park were amenities like benches and flower gardens outside of the locked gates so even after hours, you could enjoy the area.
For more information on the Mississippi River Heritage Park visithttps://www.nola.gov/parks-and-parkways/parks-squares/mississippi-river-heritage-park/