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