Bette Gives New Orleans’ Donnelly Park A Make-Over

NYRP Founder Bette Midler Brings Beauty and Joy to Donnelly Park in New Orleans
posted on January 20, 2011 00:00

The Gentilly community of New Orleans received a long-awaited renovation of their local park, Donnelly Park, thanks to NYRP Founder Bette Midler and local organizations in the city of New Orleans. In 2005, Gentilly was one of the hardest hit areas in the city by Hurricane Katrina. Most of the city was flooded after the hurricane, which caused many residents to flee their severely damaged homes. Many of the trees and greenery in the park were either damaged or uprooted, which left the park bare for more than five years. Donnelly Park was in desperate need of reconstruction.

In early January, the park was reopened to its residents, where they got the chance to test out the park’s newly sculpted hills, walking paths and state-of the-art playground. Children in the community now have a safe place to play, and residents of all ages can retreat to this green and lush open space.

The development, design and construction of the park was managed by NYRP’s Senior Advisor, Amy Gavaris. Director of the Landscape Architecture Program at LSU, Elizabeth Mossop, her students and her partner Wes Michaels, pitched in by presenting developing concepts for the park’s design, after considering what local community members most desired for their brand new park. Reconstruction began in early September, when crews hauled mounds of sand for the new hills and planted 63 new trees to accompany the three grand oaks still standing in the park. Because of the park’s creation, Project Home Again, a non-profit housing development organization, has built dozens of beautiful new houses that now surround the park.

According to local residents, the park is a huge success – people are even driving in from other parts of the city to play on the hills. And on weekends, the park is filled with families.

Click here to view photos from local residents who documented the park’s construction and learn more about the reconstruction efforts going on in New Orleans.

For photos: Click Here

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