City Park is one of the oldest urban parks in the country

For over 170 years, New Orleans City Park has provided access to abundant natural and cultural resources to residents of the region and tourists from around the world.  The Park is home to the New Orleans Botanical Garden, Couturie Forest and Arboretum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, and the largest grove of mature live oaks in the world, some of which are nearly 800 years old.

The Park’s 1,300 acres make it one of the largest urban parks in the United States, and a popular place to fish on the bayou, picnic, experience safe outdoor play, or engage in athletic pursuits—as evidence by more than 16 million visits each year.  With the majority of its visitors, 67%, residing in Orleans and Jefferson parishes, the Park provides walking trails, an urban forest, open space, cultural amenities, and recreation services to the entire community where high poverty rates, significant achievement gaps, poor environmental health, and youth disconnections affect physical and mental health.

Urban parks are substantial to the general well-being of society through direct and indirect health improvement, social cohesion, air quality and carbon offset, water management, and economical success.  In addition to offering an array of recreation and cultural amenities, City Park is committed to preserving natural habitats and biodiversity in the Park. The Botanical Garden is home to more than 2,000 varieties of plants, the thirty-acre Couturie Forest has eight distinct ecosystems, Birder's World Magazine named City Park the best birding spot in New Orleans as 280 bird species have been sighted in the Park, and 819 species have been documented through the volunteer efforts of citizen scientists.1

City Park’s annual operating budget has been largely derived from self-generated activities. The COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly affected revenue-generating facilities due to restriction closures, highlighted the vital importance of philanthropic support and the continued effort in diversifying revenue streams.   However, through these challenges, the Park’s open spaces continue to be a respite to the public and as stewards of this incredible resource, we are dedicated to the continued preservation and beautification of City Park.

The story of City Park was shaped by two major events: the Great Depression and Hurricane Katrina, and now COVID-19. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Roosevelt Administration invested $12 million in developing the park as part of the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.), which employed 20,000 men and women to build roadways, fountains and even Tad Gormley Stadium. Much of the art found throughout the park originated in the W.P.A. era.

The failure of the federal levee system following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 left 95 percent of City Park sitting in floodwaters for weeks, inflicting $43 million in damages to the park alone. The public responded with an overwhelming outpouring of support that has funded significant progress in not only repairing, but also improving City Park.

New Orleans City Park Mission Statement
Preserve and improve City Park spaces for recreational, educational, cultural and beautification purposes.

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The land where City Park sits was once part of the Allard Plantation. J. McDonough acquired the plantation from Allard in 1845 and the land was given to New Orleans in 1850.