Sunday, October 09, 2005

New Orleans' City Park destroyed by Katrina

New Orleans has many parks, but the two major ones are City Park and Audubon Park. City Park includes the New Orleans Museum of Art, with its relatively new Sydney and Walda Bestoff Sculpture Garden, and Audubon Park is home to the world-famous Audubon Zoo. I have always been an Audubon Park person; for years, I lived within walking distance of the park, and a long time ago, I actually lived in the park, on an "avenue" that is really a sidewalk. Recently, the golf course at Audubon Park was greatly expanded, which I found upsetting, even though I no longer live in New Orleans. But the park remained beautiful, with its giant oak trees, lagoons, and views of St. Charles Avenue.

City Park has always been a beautiful place, too, with its rose garden, Pavilion of the Two Sisters, antique carousel, Perisytle, Popp Fountain, and gondola rides. Most of that is gone now, ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. There are only eleven employees left on the site. The only good news is that NOMA has emerged intact, and only one sculpture in the sculpture garden was destroyed.

As most people have heard by now, the Audubon Zoo weathered the storm fairly well, losing only a few animals. Many of the animals have been shipped to other zoos, who are caring for them while New Orleans rebuilds, but some remain at Audubon. Several giant oaks around the zoo fell, and I assume that is true of all of Audubon Park.

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