Gross Mismanagement of Events and Park Resources Raise Questions of Stewardship and Concerns for Public Safety at New Orleans City Park

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A car heads directly toward pedestrians and their pets on the walking path at the Big Lake in New Orleans City Park during an event at which hundreds of cars illegally parked under trees and in walking zones.

I haven’t been doing my job. I’m sorry. I didn’t ask for this job. But it seems I have no choice. You see, years ago this site was a place where I spent a disproportionate amount of my time blogging about the lack of stewardship of one of the most precious and beautiful parks in the world, New Orleans City Park. You can re-read the stories here, here, here, here, here, here-ok, ok, I know, you get the picture. But evidently the board and administrators of the park still don’t. And I’m at my wit’s end.

Today, we headed to the Festival Grounds, a section of the park where a golf course was converted into a site for events. A site that, quite laudably, was developed using Sustainable Sites guidelines. Since its completion, however, the lack of oversight by park administration of events there leaves me speechless. Well almost. I frankly don’t know where to begin, there are so many violations of common sense, stewardship, public safety, and the park’s own rules.

A popular fundraising event took place today, NOLA On Tap (“The Largest Free Beer Fest in the Region!”). It supports a good cause, the Louisiana SPCA, an organization that built a very green building and that cares deeply about not only animals, but for Louisiana. However, the organizers of today’s event were lax in managing parking and public safety, and the park was lax (once again, if there’s one thing they’re consistent at, it’s mismanaging the impact and operations of big events), in enforcing the rules for parking and protecting the trees and soil. But this event was the worst I’ve seen. Cars and trucks were not only parking under trees, but driving (speeding in some cases) on the pedestrian path around the Big Lake, between strollers, walkers and bicyclists to get to and from the illegal parking. I struggle to find the words to describe how appalling and dangerous this was (and we were there during daylight, as evening fell, the danger surely increased).

I don’t know how to express how sad, how threatening, and how wrong this latest incident is in the plethora of mismanagement and harm done to the park over the past decade by the misplaced priorities of the park’s board and administration. For now, here are the pictures of today’s transgressions. If you can find the words to explain this or to put the ongoing mismanagement into perspective, I invite your input. I can only say that I remain deeply frustrated.

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4 responses

  1. I think the people who run the park only work Monday thru Thursday. Sometimes Friday, but only if they get overtime. Just a thought.

    1. They called a security company just a couple of days ago to get about two people to guard an area they didn’t want cars to park in. Obviously, not enough! It takes a lot of manpower to keep people from parking wherever they can find a spot – cuz that is what people do…

  2. What about the people who PARKED on the grass and who drove their cars down the PEDESTRIAN paths. Have they no clue? I wouldn’t drive down a pedestrian path in my car….I KNOW better not to. Are they desperate for a parking space? Was there no place to park all the cars? Why is a venue booked in this park if there are not enough parking spaces? Do we always need police and uniformed security to do the right thing? Are their SIGNS in the park saying NO CARS in this AREA? SIGNS are so EASY to POST. Certainly the PARK authority in charge must have some stanchions with chains to put up in areas that cars are not allowed.

  3. Gross mismanagement has obviously been an issue at City Park for quite some time. That’s evident when you see the CEO on TV defending his COO for the numerous acts of bad judgment, including sexual harassment of a female employee and utilizing City Park vendors for personal use. It’s rumored that the person in charge of the event this past weekend, Julie LaCour has also been the center of an investigation by the Inspector General’s office a few years ago, as well as several other Event incidents that she seems to drop the ball on. So here are two State employees that should have been terminated for their actions, yet are still working in high ranking positions at City Park – mismanagement at it’s best. Just not sure why the Board of Commissioners is not stepping in and stopping the madness!

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