Blog Archives

Posts from January 2021

Floats in the Oaks

Click for Tickets

As New Orleanians, we know parades may be canceled, but Mardi Gras isn’t.

Rob DeViney, Captain of the Krewe of Argus and Chief Operating Officer of New Orleans City Park, and City Park staff first began discussing the possibility of a drive-through Mardi Gras themed fundraiser soon after Mayor Cantrell’s call for alternative ideas to the traditional Mardi Gras parades canceled this year due to the pandemic.

‘Floats in the Oaks’ is a once in a lifetime opportunity for visitors to view iconic floats from various Mardi Gras krewes all in one place and it will give our region the opportunity to experience a part of Mardi Gras during this historic year. Families can safely participate in a parade-type event, by viewing stationery floats from their cars, while also supporting City Park. We hope participants will wear Mardi Gras costumes and decorate their cars. Additional elements of this experience are still developing.

‘Floats in the Oaks’ offers both daytime and nighttime ticket opportunities, as well as add-on experiences. Guests can order a Park Parade Pack to enjoy Mardi Gras snacks while experiencing the driving tour or the Grandstand Experience in Carousel Gardens, where guests can be the “Grand Marshal'' as they travel through the iconic oaks aboard the City Park Train, capture a special moment with a photo op on a real Mardi Gras float, roast a hot dog over an open fire pit, and enjoy Carnival favorites such as king cake and cotton candy. Masks and social distancing between families will be required and COVID safety protocols will be in place.

Krewes already involved in supporting City Park (in no particular order): Rex, Zulu, Bacchus, Hermes, Thoth, King Arthur, Argus, Alla, Morpheus, Iris, Pygmalion, Mid City, Tucks, Femme Fatale, Babylon, Druids, Carrollton. Kern Studios, Rizzuto and Company, Ducote Designs, and PFJ Floats will assist with transportation of parade units.

Need Help from the Public: The Park is actively seeking additional krewes and parade entertainment groups to participate in this City Park fundraiser to have as many elements of a parade present while continuing to abide by safety protocols. Krewe and parade entertainment group captains/leaders should email FloatsInTheOaks@nocp.org by the end of the day Tuesday, January 26, 2021, if interested in participating or learning more about the event.

Quote from City Park: “We are thrilled to hear so many people are interested in such a fundraiser to support City Park. It made us even more excited to eventually announce this event knowing the public supported it. City Park is looking forward to bringing a little bit of Mardi Gras to the people of the area, all while doing so safely. City Park will use the funds raised to maintain and operate the 1,300 acres,” says Rob DeViney, COO, “so everyone in our community can continue to enjoy the Park”.

The COVID-19 pandemic has financially impacted City Park significantly with the closure of revenue generating facilities, which makeup 90% of the Park’s operating budget, such as weddings, catered events, and the amusement park. Floats in the Oaks will provide revenue to offset these financial losses.The Park has been a place of respite for our community and the City Park staff will continue to creatively alter its operations to ensure the Park remains a clean and beautiful resource. City Park has, whenever possible, worked with local businesses to build this event.

Quote from Rex: “The Rex Organization salutes City Park’s leadership and board for having the vision to bring this wonderful idea to life so that New Orleanians and visitors alike can safely enjoy some Carnival spirit in this unique year,” said Rex Official James J. Reiss, III.  Reiss continued, “The Rex Organization is proud to honor its special connection to City Park as personified by Beau Bassich, a Marine Corp veteran in World War II who was the longtime volunteer leader of City Park and who served as Rex, the King of Carnival, in 1989.”

When:
Thursday, February 4th through Sunday, February 14th
Weekdays 5pm - 10pm and Weekends 1pm - 10pm

Pricing:
Tickets for ‘Floats in the Oaks’ and Add-On experiences are limited and all tickets must be purchased in advance and online only.
-Saturday - Sunday: 1 pm to 5 pm - $10 per car
-Monday - Sunday: 5pm to 10 pm - $20 per car
-Grandstand Experience Add-On - $15 per person (3 years and under do not need a ticket)
-Park Parade Pack - $12 (pack made for 2 people)

Event address: 2 Freidrichs Avenue, New Orleans LA 70124

Tickets on sale now: neworleanscitypark.com/floats-in-the-oaks

The ‘Floats in the Oaks’ route is 1.3 miles long spanning Palm Drive and Roosevelt Mall. During the duration of the event, Roosevelt Mall will be closed to the public. Cars will enter off Wisner on to the Festival Grounds track to line up to enter the event. During the active time of the event, the Festival Grounds will be closed. Vehicle height cannot exceed 11 feet. No limos, mini-buses, bikes, or pedestrians are allowed on the route. Guests participating in the drive through event must be inside vehicles in seatbelts.

NEW CEO ||  City Park names New CEO, Cara Lambright

City Park Names Cara Lambright New CEO

Lambright to Assume New Role Starting in February, Long-time CEO Dr. Robert W. Becker to Retire

Following an extensive national search, the New Orleans City Park Board of Directors announced today that Cara Lambright will become the next Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the 167-year-old park starting this February. Lambright comes to City Park from Memorial Park Conservancy in Houston. She will fill the role following the retirement of Dr. Robert W. Becker, who has served as the Park’s CEO for 20 years. Lambright’s arrival completes a national search for a new CEO by the nationally recognized firm of Ralph Andersen & Associates, who developed a succession plan and screened potential candidates for the Board’s consideration.

“With this announcement, City Park is starting 2021 with a clear and progressive plan for the Park’s future that will continue to build on our previous successes in recent years,” said Jay Batt, President, City Park (CPIA). “Ms. Lambright has a clear understanding of City Park’s unique history and her vision for our programming, conservation and progressive initiatives align with those of the Board perfectly. Her long history of planning and program development, along with her dedication to civic engagement will be a welcome addition to the Park’s leadership team.”

Ms. Lambright adds, “Signature parks like City Park are the heartbeat of our cities and grounding forces in communities.  The recent pandemic highlighted this as park usage both locally and nationally soared to levels never seen before. I’m honored to have the opportunity to advocate for, and continue to improve, New Orleans’ most beloved greenspace and to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Becker. It is, quite simply, the privilege of a lifetime.”
Lambright is a graduate of the London School of Economics and specializes in operations, capital planning, program development, and fundraising. As Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Memorial Park Conservancy, she dramatically overhauled, and oversaw the day-to-day operations and maintenance, programming, finance and development for one of the nation's largest urban parks. During her tenure, Memorial Park Conservancy produced a nationally recognized master plan, negotiated a 30-year operating agreement with the City of Houston, quadrupled the park's annual operating budget and raised over $200 million for capital improvements. Prior to that, she served as President of AndrisinAbbey, a non-profit consulting firm that provided services to nonprofits, from management consulting to capital campaigns to public engagement. Lambright is an ardent believer in civic engagement and has served on the advisory board of the Houston Arts Alliance. She is past President of the Board of Art League Houston, and is a member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Trail Ride Committee. Lambright is certified in Urban Park Executive Leadership though CUNY and the Central Park Institute and is proud to be a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum, and a tribal citizen of the Chickasaw Indian Nation.
Lambright enjoys numerous connections to New Orleans and south Louisiana, spending childhood summers in New Iberia with her grandmother and ultimately confirming her passion for New Orleans by becoming a local homeowner in the French Quarter before moving to her current home Uptown.  Her daughter, Catherine, is also a resident, majoring in economics at Loyola University.
With Lambright’s appointment, long-time City Park CEO Dr. Robert “Bob” W. Becker will move into retirement as CEO Emeritus, after serving the Park for two decades.

“Dr. Becker informed our board of his intention to retire in 2019, but he graciously agreed to stay on the job through the initial stages of the pandemic and the elongated national selection process,” said Jay Batt. “That process concludes with the recommendation of Cara as his successor. Bob has given his heart and soul to City Park and will be dearly missed by all of us who understand his contribution over the years.”

Dr. Robert W. Becker’s tenure began in 2001. He is credited with dramatically improving the Park’s financial condition, securing its first public financing to address operating expenses from both the city and the state, and successfully leading the effort to develop a new vision for the Park’s future. Under his leadership, the City Park Improvement Association (CPIA) adopted City Park 2018, a comprehensive master plan for the Park that detailed the land use strategy and the projects and programs needed for implementation. By the end of 2018, more than $200 million in capital improvements were invested in the Park’s 1,300 acres.

We hope you join us in warmly welcoming Cara to the City Park team and we wish the best to Bob in his retirement!

Hear from Bob Becker

We Love Our Volunteers

We ❤️ our volunteers! Volunteers from the Jefferson Parish Youth Council (JPYC) helped City Park staff to take down Celebration in the Oaks Christmas trees, lights, and ornaments from the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park last Saturday.  One of City Park's annual volunteer projects is to completely strip these leftover trees from Celebration in the Oaks and reuse them in a conservation project.  This year, City Park is partnering with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (LDWF) to install these trees in Bayou St. John to create fish habitats and to help prevent soil erosion along the shoreline.

To volunteer in City Park, please visit this link.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation Fund New City Park Project

New Orleans City Park and Friends of City Park are proud to announce the development of its first community engagement digital mobile application to help facilitate safe outdoor recreation made possible by a $15,000 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation. City Park is excited to begin development of this new project giving the Park an opportunity to engage more with those who are focused on health and wellness through Park recreation.

The Park will partner with Outerspacial, a platform developed to gather data and funnel it into the hands of Park users, to develop the mobile app that will provide maps of Park trails and routes and to post information relevant to visitor needs. Trails will be created for all fitness levels. Routes will be sorted by distance and duration set for walking and running. The Park will also partner with Youth Run NOLA for the project development.
In the future, Park visitors will be able to use the mobile app to check-in, report issues, create fitness challenges, rate trails, and share real-time details with their friends while out on the trail. We hope to partner with other local community groups and individuals who run, walk, plog, or exercise in City Park to add their routes and/or healthy routines to the application for other users to then have the opportunity to view. If an organization or program is interested in being a partner to share information, they should contact Liz Lowe, GIS Specialist, at llowe@nocp.org. The application will be available for guests within six months.
"With the help of this grant, City Park can allocate resources toward recreation as we adjust to a new normal of Covid-19 life. The Park’s short-term goal is to open the line of communication between City Park and the community strictly about recreation through the app. The Park’s long-term goal is to use the information gathered to organize a scalable wellness program in the future and improve our trial systems throughout the Park,” says Liz Lowe, GIS Specialist for New Orleans City Park.
A huge thank you to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation for providing the resources to support this project.