NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, the City of New Orleans opened the Bywater portion of the new Crescent Park to the public. Crescent Park grants unparalleled views of the New Orleans skyline, Algiers, and the Mississippi River, creating an environment for locals and visitors alike to interact and enjoy new vantage points of New Orleans and recreational space along the riverfront. By reconnecting to the river, New Orleans joins the growing list of world-class cities that are exploring opportunities to restore and enhance the natural environment while simultaneously improving citizen’s quality of life and enjoyment of the outdoors.
The 1.4 mile park spans from Elysian Fields Avenue in the Marigny to Mazant Street in Bywater and includes 20-acres of indigenous landscaping, a network of paths suitable for walking, jogging, and biking; picnic areas, benches, a dog run, and the adaptive reuse of two former industrial wharves. The walking paths within the gardens are constructed with permeable asphalt paving, an environmentally-friendly material that allows for rainwater penetration, thus decreasing the amount of stormwater run-off.
“Crescent Park is now open to the public, providing unprecedented views of the New Orleans skyline, Algiers, and the Mississippi River,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “As one of my administration’s committed capital projects, Crescent Park will further anchor redevelopment and revitalization and serve as an important gathering place or residents and visitors alike. The Mississippi River is a cherished resource, and this park will offer the public even more access to its beauty. This park is another sign that we are building the city we always knew we could be. I know Crescent Park will be embraced not only by the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods, but by the entire city of New Orleans.”
Crescent Park was first envisioned in 2006 during a planning process led by the New Orleans Building Corporation (NOBC) in an effort to utilize portions of the Mississippi riverfront that were no longer used for maritime commerce. The result was a unique project to develop the riverfront adjacent to the historic Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods into a public park space. Despite their proximity, these neighborhoods have been historically cut off from riverfront access due to maritime activities, active railroad lines, and the Mississippi River floodwall. In 2008, the City awarded $30 million to the NOBC for this project, as part of the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Long-Term Community Recovery Program of the State of Louisiana and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Louisiana Office of Community Development Executive Director Pat Forbes said, “Full recovery requires investing not only in streets, schools, homes and businesses, but also in the amenities that make our communities special. Crescent Park will help reconnect New Orleans to the Mississippi River and provide a safe, vibrant place for recreation, civic gathering, and enjoying the natural habitat that surrounds us. Recovery from the storms encompasses all facets of life in the city, and this is a good investment in the continued rebirth of New Orleans.”
Construction of Crescent Park began in late 2010, implementing a linear design along the riverfront. The City coordinated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Port of New Orleans, New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, and Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans throughout construction. Crescent Park was designed through a collaborative effort led by Eskew+Dumez+Ripple and a team of architects including George Hargreaves and Michael Maltzan, constructed by Landis Construction of New Orleans, and managed by The Tobler Company on behalf of the City of New Orleans.
City Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, “Finally!!! I am grateful to this administration for not only getting Crescent Park open but also solving many of the problems which we have worked on for the past several years. I especially want to give a big shout out to the leaders of the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods for their tireless dedication. Without them, this would not have been possible.”
Councilmember-at-Large Stacy Head said, “When you ask residents what assets bring the most value to their quality of life, the availability of park and green space is always at the top of their list. I am just delighted that New Orleans can now add Crescent Park to our list of outstanding outdoor recreation spaces. This incredibly unique place will give New Orleanians and visitors to our city unparalleled access to our riverfront and all that it has to offer. I congratulate the Administration on this wonderful news.”
District C Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer said, “This is a great day for the residents of District “C” and the City of New Orleans. Crescent Park provides more public access to our riverfront and needed recreation space for our children and families. I applaud the Administration and the resident-led task force who came together to make sure the design of this park compliments the surrounding communities and is an asset to our neighborhoods.”
District D Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said, “For nearly 300 years, the Mississippi River has been at the core of our city’s economy, culture, and identity. Opening Crescent Park to provide public access to this incredible, prime riverfront property is a major accomplishment. There have been hurdles along the way, but today, it’s worth it. To see this industrial property reimagined into recreational green space along the Mississippi River is amazing!”
Promenade – Extending from one end of the park to the other is a pedestrian and bicycle Promenade. Site lighting fixtures along the Promenade are LED luminaires, which provide ecological and durable energy efficiency. The Promenade will not include striping for bicycles. Cyclists will be expected to use the Promenade in a similar fashion to Woldenberg Park (i.e. passive cycling).
Piety Wharf – Piety Wharf is a former industrial wharf space that has been repaired to provide sweeping views of the Mississippi River and New Orleans skyline. The area adjacent to Piety Wharf includes a garden and picnic area. This section of Crescent Park is connected to Chartres Street by the Piety Street Arch, a pedestrian footbridge that crosses over active railroad lines and the Mississippi River floodwall below. A public parking lot is located along Chartres Street at the foot of Piety Street.
Downriver “Kickabout” and Dog Run – Located between the Piety Wharf and the downriver entrance at the Mazant Street Ramp, the Downriver “Kickabout” section of Crescent Park offers open recreation space, a picnic area, and a fenced dog run. At this stage of the park, the banks of the river include a natural river batture ecosystem. The Mazant Street Ramp connects to a public parking lot.
Mandeville Crossing – This Spring, the City will begin construction on the Mandeville Crossing pedestrian bridge which will connect Elysian Fields Avenue to the Mandeville Shed. The Mandeville Crossing pedestrian bridge will feature stairs and elevators that connect to an elevated walkway crossing over the Mississippi River floodwall and active railroad lines below. Construction is anticipated to be complete in late 2014.
Mandeville Shed and Ellipse – The Mandeville Shed is a former industrial wharf space that has been repaired and converted into an open-air community and event space and includes restroom facilities. At the edge of the Mandeville Shed is the Mandeville Ellipse, a raised grass lawn. The Mandeville Shed and Ellipse will remain closed to the public until the Mandeville Crossing pedestrian bridge is completed.
Upon completion of the Mandeville Crossing, Crescent Park will have three entrances: the Mandeville Crossing (area between the floodwall and North Peters Street from Elysian Fields Avenue to Marigny Street), Piety Street Arch, and the Mazant Street Ramp.
A map of Crescent Park is attached.
Crescent Park is landscaped with native plantings, most of which are grown regionally. Landis Construction and subcontractor Rotolo Consultants will continue to maintain Crescent Park’s landscaping for the next two years. This Spring, seasonal plantings will be installed. The contractor is still in the process of addressing issues related to the soil pH concentration levels. Remediation and landscaping will be completed this Summer. This work will have minimal impact on the general public as work will be performed in sections and not significantly restrict public access.
Deputy Mayor of Facilities, Infrastructure, and Community Development Cedric Grant said, “This project has been highly anticipated for years and because of its unique location along the Mississippi River, between two active maritime wharfs, and behind a floodwall and active railroad lines, it has required a considerable amount of coordination and work. We are committed to making sure the project is complete and safe for the public to occupy. Park space is central to the City’s place-based development strategy and we look forward to Crescent Park being fully open to the public later this year.”
NOBC has entered into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the French Market Corporation to operate, maintain, and provide security at Crescent Park. The City is working closely with the French Market Corporation to transition operation duties. Events will not be held at the Mandeville Shed until after construction of Mandeville Crossing pedestrian bridge is completed in late 2014.
Jon Smith, Executive of the French Market Corporation said, “Historically one of the most integral aspects of New Orleans has been its relationship to the Mississippi River and Crescent Park will offer residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy even more of our storied riverfront. The French Market Corporation is excited to be responsible for the maintenance and operation of Crescent Park and we look forward to creating synergies between it and the French Market just a few blocks away.”
Crescent Park Rules
1. Park Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The park is open until 7:00 p.m. during daylight saving time.
2. No skateboards, motorized vehicles, segways, motorcycles, scooters, glass containers or bottles, littering, heavy equipment or vehicles are permitted in the park.
3. No overnight activity.
4. Parking is only permitted in designated areas.
5. All pets must be leashed at all times while on the park grounds except in dog run area. All pets must be curbed.
6. No cooking of any kind.
7. No swimming.
8. No entry into river, batture or areas beyond fences and guardrails.
Crescent Park Dog Run Rules
1. Dogs must be spayed or neutered.
2. Dogs must be healthy, vaccinated, and collard with current rabies & ID tags. Choke or prong collars are not allowed in the off-leash area. Bordetella shots are strongly recommended.
3. Puppies under 6 months are prohibited.
4. Limit of three dogs from a household per visit.
5. Children under 8 years are prohibited from entering fenced dog run area.
6. Children under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult and should not run, chase dogs, or pet other people’s dogs unless permission is granted by the owner. Children are not allowed to bring toys into the run.
7. When entering the dog run, remove your dog’s leash once inside the gated area. Dogs must be on a leash and under control of their owners/handlers at all times when outside of the fenced dog run area.
8. Dog run gates must be closed immediately after entering or exiting the run.
9. Owners/handlers must discourage their dogs from running to meet other dogs at the gate.
10. Dogs showing aggression toward people or other animals must be leashed and immediately removed from the run by owners/handlers.
11. Owners/handlers must remain inside of fenced area, with leash in hand, and within view and voice control of their dogs at all times.
12. Owners/handlers must immediately clean up after their dog(s) and properly dispose of waste. Plastic bags and garbage cans are available on the premises.
13. Owners/handlers must stop their dogs from digging and immediately fill any holes dug.
14. No dog treats, rawhide chews or human food within the fenced area. No glass containers are allowed.
15. No toys except balls or frisbees.
16. No bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards, strollers, or scooters allowed in the run. No jogging allowed in the run.
17. No smoking, alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs or firearms allowed in the run.
Owner waives liability to the City of New Orleans and the French Market Corporation for injury or damage caused by pet. Owners are solely liable for injuries or damages caused by their dog(s).