Blog Archives

Posts from September 2020

New Orleans City Park Celebration in the Oaks 2020 Fundraiser Announcement

New Orleans City Park celebrates the 34th year of Celebration in the Oaks with the announcement of a change for the 2020 holiday season. The Celebration in the Oaks fundraiser will operate as a driving tour for the season.
The Park decision was made to offer a safe opportunity for the people of the region to celebrate this holiday season. Staff has been working tirelessly to adapt the fundraiser to make it safe and operate within COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. The Park intends to add to the event, if possible, as restrictions may loosen closer to the event dates.
The Park has become a vital outlet for many New Orleanians during the pandemic as a place of respite. Whether it’s a place to get fresh air, exercise, or a place to safely recreate as a family, City Park is here for the people of New Orleans.
“We know our guests need something to look forward to during this troubling time. We’re thrilled to be able to turn the New Orleans tradition of Celebration in the Oaks into an activity people of all ages can attend safely during the holiday season. We’ve been working hard to keep the Park moving forward and we know the people of the region are working hard during this time as well. We can’t wait to see the smiles from the kids ages one to one hundred,” says Bob Becker, City Park CEO.

Changes Made for Iconic Ghosts in the Oaks Event in City Park

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Friends of City Park is proud to announce its popular Ghosts in the Oaks fundraiser will happen with support from the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust. The initiative will be different from previous years but the revenue created by this fundraiser will continue to give much needed support to New Orleans City Park.

Friends of City Park is thrilled to bring the families of New Orleans, Ghosts in the Oaks: A Haunting at Home presented by Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust. Annually, Friends of City Park hosts the Ghosts in the Oaks event, a multi-night event filled with the non-scary elements of Halloween, but this year with the many COVID-19 related restrictions we have adapted the event and will bring the party to you at home. The Party Pack experience is complete with activities, games, sweet treats, party tip tutorials by local New Orleans personalities, and fun surprises at the party pack pick up. Each purchase includes activities for up to four people.

When and Where: Party packs go on sale Friday, September 18, 2020 on

General Price: $99 per Party Pack (party for 4 people) Friends of City Park Members receive $10 off
Add-ons at the time of purchase: Ghosts in the Oaks t-shirt and a professional photo taken during pick-up

Pick Up Dates: Saturday, October 24 and Sunday, October 25: Anytime between 1pm to 5pm
Pick Up Location: Reunion Shelter: 4 Frederichs Ave, New Orleans, LA

Dress in costume and bring the kids to pick up your party pack. Friends of City Park staff and volunteers will greet guests in costumes to fulfill their orders. In addition, participants will be encouraged to participate in the Creepy Costume Crawl around Big Lake. Following the Creepy Costume Crawl, families can enjoy their party pack from home with a video series to help them create the ultimate Halloween party. 

When to Party: You decide! Some families may be so excited they’ll want to tear open the party-packs in the car just after pick up and others may want to wait until Halloween – it’s up to you!

What’s in the Box: For up to 4 people: Halloween Candy, Halloween Sugar Cookie Baking Kit, Pumpkin Decorating Kit, Mask Decorating Kit, Balloon Art Kit, and more! Plus look for a Spotify playlist, Mummy Toilet Paper Game Instructions, and cocktail recipes for the adults.

This year’s event will be different than years before, but we are sure our party pack, put together with partners like Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust, Hahn Enterprises, Dickie Brennan & Co., NOLA Craft Culture, and Badass Balloon Company, will be sure to excite participants at home.

“With 90% of the Park’s operating income coming from self-generated funds, City Park has suffered considerably with the closing of attractions, weddings, and events due to the unprecedented global pandemic. Friends of City Park has supported the Park through fundraisers for over 40 years and our Ghosts in the Oaks fundraiser is a way that we can provide some relief this Fall,” says Stephanie Bell, Executive Director of Friends of City Park.

Friends of City Park is a regional, non-profit organization whose mission is to maintain and increase the value and importance of City Park as a place of natural beauty, culture, recreation and education for the public and is an invaluable support organization for City Park.

Outdoor Dinners in the Botanical Garden

Miss restaurant quality food? Want to have an amazing experience while outdoors in the fresh air? The New Orleans Botanical Garden has answered the call with two outdoor dinners scheduled in September. Guests enter through the Oscar J. Tolmas Center, greeted with a welcome cocktail, and directed to their table. At each dinner, guests will enjoy a three -course alfresco dining experience including wine and a specialty cocktail while in the magical Botanical Garden location.

Event One:
When: September 10, 2020 from 6pm to 9pm
"Dinner with Class in the Garden" featuring Chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen's Restaurant

Chef Brigtsen, a Cajun/Creole Cooking superstar chef, shares his talents and culinary instructions in this "Dinner with Class" event.
Guests will enjoy a three-course meal including wine while receiving culinary instructions on how to prepare Frank's dishes. Relax in the garden with no need to take notes, guests will leave with a packet with recipe details from the dinner.
Tickets are available for tables of 2 or 4 people. To reserve a table for 6 or 8 people please contact Melissa at

Location: New Orleans Botanical Garden: 5 Victory Avenue, New Orleans LA 70124

Tickets: $250/couple

Ticket link: click here

Hors d'Oeuvre: smoked salmon on rye with horseradish whipped cream and pickled sweet pepper
First Course: crab and corn soup
Second Course: shrimp etouffee with rice and corn macque choux
Third Course: banana bread pudding with pecan praline sauce and whipped cream
Wine will be served with dinner.
Vegetarian options are available upon request.

Event Two:
When: September 17 from 6pm to 9pm
"Dinner in Your Secret Garden" featuring Chef Patrick White of Karibu Kitchen

Dine in your choice of gardens in the New Orleans Botanical Garden. Dinner experiences are available in the Southern Shade Garden, Japanese Garden or, be the first to dine in our new "Chapel of the Rain" while listening to the steady flow of the "Visitation" fountain. No matter which location you choose for your secret garden dining adventure, diners will be treated to a unique dining experience. Enjoy a three course meal prepared by Executive Chef White in the beauty and serenity of the Botanical Garden.
Tickets are available for tables of 2 or 4 people. To reserve a table for 6 or 8 people please contact Melissa at

Location: New Orleans Botanical Garden: 5 Victory Avenue, New Orleans LA 70124

Tickets: $220/couple

Ticket link: click here

Hors d'Oeuvre - garden bruschetta
First Course - gulf shrimp salad with garden greens
Second Course - "Lomo AL Trapo"- beef tenderloin wrapped in a wine soaked cotton cloth and cooked directly in the coals, mashed plantains and drizzled  garden chimichurri
Third Course - Bete Noir - flourless chocolate cake
Wine will be served with dinner.
Vegetarian options are available upon request.

Volunteers Needed for The Friends of City Park Clean-Up Krewe

The Friends of City Park Clean-Up Krewe works to eliminate litter from New Orleans’ most popular family recreational locations in City Park and also inspires the next generation in public servants on the importance of keeping our Park clean. As stewards to City Park, the responsibility of sustaining our Park’s health belongs to each of us.

The Friends of City Park Clean-Up Krewe is dedicated to hosting on-going volunteer days in the Park, focused on reducing litter and continued beautification. Each Saturday, through October, volunteers meet and participate alongside other community leaders collecting debris from some of the Park’s most trafficked areas like Big Lake and City Putt.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Park has furloughed the majority of its staff and has been unable to open many of its revenue-generating attractions that contribute to the Park’s operations budget. The Park has seen record numbers of people using the Park and with fewer staff members we hope people who use the Park will consider volunteering some of their time to help us keep the Park looking its best. We truly appreciate everyone who helps the Park during this unprecedented time whether it’s through a monetary donation or with sweat equity. 

“Friends of City Park members are engaged and ready to serve the Park. It has been reenergizing throughout the last few months to hear from Members about how much City Park has meant to them during this time. Our Clean-up Krewes are a result of this positive engagement and a way for the community to give back,” says Stephanie Bell, Executive Director, Friends of City Park.

Sign up to Participate: click here

Volunteer Dates: Saturdays through October: September 5 – October 31

Shift Hours: 8am to 10am

Location: Areas around City Park: Based on which date volunteers sign up

Who Can Volunteer: Volunteers should be 15 years old unless accompanied by a parent. We’d love to host Mardi Gras krewes, high schoolers who need service hours, individuals who love the Park, families who want to spend time together outdoors while doing good - you name it, we want your help.

Safety: Groups will be no larger than 10 people and volunteers must sign up ahead of time. All supplies for volunteers will be clean and available upon check-in. Everyone will be required to wear masks while participating. Physical distancing will be required for those volunteering who don’t live together. Volunteers should wear closed toe shoes, wear sunscreen, and bring water to drink.