POSTED Tue. Feb 25, 2014

A peek into the Crescent Park.

A peek into the Crescent Park.
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN
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It took eight years, including two cycles around the sun that everyone classified as delays. There was tainted soil, management arguments, and of course, vandalism. But yesterday, finally, the Bywater portion of Crescent Park, a public space that is meant to link the CBD’s Riverwalk to the Quarter’s Moonwalk all the way to Poland St, finally opened.

Note: the Bywater portion has opened. 1.4 miles of park that is itself unfinished, and has yet to be connected to the Mandeville Shed, a former industrial space at Elysian and N Peters that will serve as a concert and events venue.

Still, I suppose a little park is better than no park at all. I took Gizmo (my dog) to the Crescent to see what has previously been hidden by police gates and security guards. Here’s what we saw. Park rules can be found here, and hours are 8am-6pm (til 7pm during daylight savings).

1 The entrance at Piety St

Gizmo stands at top of the Piety St bridge – nicknamed ‘Stargate SG-1’ by some local wags – at Piety and Chartres that marks the entrance to the park. Yes, that location is right across from Pizza Delicious, so not only should you come to the park – you should come to the park and have some of the best pizza in the city beforehand. On another note, while it will be a hassle for traffic, the city may want to consider popping stop sign in on Chartres and Piety given the family focus of the park.

2 Picnics and promenade

After you descend into the park, you see this cute picnic area. I’m not sure if the park will utilize fake grass; clearly, the local stuff is dead in most of these pictures. Even still, I prefer real sod to Astroturf. I’d note that black path in the bottom left is made from some kind of springy material that feels lovely on the feet.

3 The wharf and the walkway

The park promenade runs alongside the river. To the left is Piety Wharf, a former industrial space that overlooks both the river and the charred remains of the original Piety wharf, long since destroyed by fire.

4 A closer view of the new Piety Wharf

5 The charred remains of the original Piety Wharf

There’s a nice video of the 2009 fire that claimed the wharf and created this waterfront ashscape here.

6 The views onto the water really are fabulous

7 Looking back on the park from the wharf

The promenade may not look as nice from this angle – standing on Piety St wharf – but it’s unclear if that ‘beach’ will be cleaned up. I kind of hope not. I know that may seem weird, but I think the driftwood and debris adds a rough edge that fits the post-industrial aesthetic of the park.

8 'The fog comes on little cat feet'

…to quote Carl Sandburg. I’m sure the park will be lovely in the summer, but it’s pretty romantic when it comes cloaked in a pea-soup mist.

9 A map of the park

10 Street signs are designated with these stone markers

Although the entrances are at Piety and Mazant Streets, you can see where other streets intersect the park thanks to these markers.

11 It's not officially a part of the city without banners, right?

From a distance, I thought the City of New Orleans had gone really clever and drawn a Greek ‘Pi’ letter to match ‘Piety St.’ Then I got closer and realized it was the Mississippi. That makes a lot more sense.

12 Much of the area remains off limits

There’s still plenty of work to be done, even on this portion of the park.

13 Dog run!

By the Mazant St entrance, there’s a small dog run where your pup can run off leash. Gizmo is clearly enjoying herself, but I do wish the run was a little larger, and that there were more than two benches.

14 Finish soon, City of New Orleans

The park essentially ends (for now) at the dog run – there’s an entrance with parking spaces at Mazant St, and the city says the waterfront here is made up of a natural wetland ecosystem. I included this shot so you can see the local bike racks, sourced, I believe, from the trapezoid chapter of my 10th grade Geometry textbook.

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