Posted October 6, 2020 at 1:52 PM by Amanda Frentz
Photo by Chris Granger
See the bottom of this post for the latest information and statement from City Park.
Vandalism at City Park Antique Carousel and Storyland Exceeds $10,000
City Park Asks the Public for Help Finding Assailants
Criminals broke into City Park’s Storyland and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park twice this past week. The vandals engaged in a rampage of destruction breaking doors, windows, and pieces of the 100-year-old Carousel and also drawing racially charged and sexually profane messages and images on pieces of the carousel and pieces of Storyland. The antique band organ and a priceless carousel horse were damaged with what appears to be antique broken glass. Other carousel horses had their tails ripped from the body of the horse. Items are also missing from the carousel and the security system was deactivated.
The Park had a similar incident earlier in the week and subsequently the Park placed cameras in the Amusement Park. From the security images captured, City Park believes the perpetrators are young people. The names Alex and Justin A. were written on items. There are shoeprints on the carousel doors where they were kicked-in.
City Park believes the most recent crime to have been committed the early morning of Sunday, October 4th.
City Park is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact City Park immediately.
“This hurts my heart. The Carousel and Storyland are such traditional iconic parts of the Park. The Carousel is over 100 years old. To have them survive Katrina only to then be disrespected in this way is a true travesty. The people of New Orleans love City Park and we’re so grateful to them. It’s sad to see a few people destroy so much,” says Bob Becker, City Park CEO.
City Park is working hard to remain operational, safe, and clean during this COVID-19 time. Seeing record numbers of visitors and having a third of its staff laid off, this is a particularly difficult time for something like this to happen in City Park. “It feels like a punch to the stomach,” says Waymon Morris, Director of Recreational Services for City Park, whose team found the vandalism early Sunday morning as preparation began for Storyland to open Sunday.
“We are deeply saddened and are taking this personally. This is a gut punch in a time where we are having financial difficulties to remain operational during this pandemic. The carousel is one of the treasures not just of City Park but of New Orleans as a city. The vandalism is bad but the addition of racial slurs and inappropriate drawing in a child’s playground is disgusting. We are working hard and this hurts,” Rob DeViney, City Park COO.
Storyland received a revitalization in 2019 including new exhibits added. The Carousel is from 1906, and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.
See below for some photos. We did not include images of hate speech or vulgarity.
Statement from City Park: “We appreciate everyone who has helped with this case including the staff of City Park and NOPD. We further appreciate all the tips phoned-in, kind words, and donations sent from the community. We know this is a troubling time for so many, and many are having a difficult time coping. We’d like to take this opportunity to remind people while sometimes bad things happen, New Orleans City Park will always be there for you. We hope the people responsible for this crime can one day come to know and appreciate City Park like we know so many of you do.” -Rob DeViney, COO
Should you wish to make a donation, please visit this link.