By Julianne G. Crane
Writer’s Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, RV Short Stops is highlighting places that can be safely experienced from the road or in an outdoor public space such as a park or college campus. If you know of cities with outstanding public art collections, or unique places, please let me know so I can feature them.
New Orleans is more than just Bourbon Street. There is so much to see and do in New Orleans, even during the pandemic, that it makes one’s head spin. New Orleans City Park is one of the country’s oldest and most beautiful urban parks in the United States. It covers 1,300 acres of gardens, walking paths, cultural venues, sculpture gardens and lagoons.
Although access is limited in City Park during the pandemic, the New Orleans Museum of Arts is now open for 50% capacity, Wed. to Sun., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The five-acre outdoor Besthoff Sculpture Garden features 90 sculptural works by international artists and is open Wed. to Sun., 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Click here for admission and guidelines.)
Another special attraction in City Park is the New Orleans Botanical Garden, which has developed since the 1930s. The garden holds 12 acres of colorful flowers, greenery and art. Within the Botanical Garden is the Helis Foundation Enrique Alferez Sculpture Garden, which celebrates the history, influence and work of Mexican-American New Orleans artist Enrique Alférez (1901-1999) in the 8,000-sq.-foot sculpture garden. (Click here for admission and times.)
The 150-year-old City Park has the largest grove of mature live oaks in the world – the oldest trees are estimated to be between 600-800 years old. New Orleans oak trees are deeply historic and breathtaking fixtures with some roots dating back to long before the city’s founding.
If you go:
New Orleans City Park:
5 Victory Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70124 (Directions)
For the latest information on City Park COVID-19 information, click here.
Hours: City Park is “open to the public daily from 30 minutes prior to official sunrise until 30 minutes after official sunset, at which time all persons must vacate City Park premises.”
Free parking lot near Botanic Garden
Located at: 53 Dreyfous Dr., New Orleans, LA 70119
According to the New Orleans Tourism Website, “[F]or those of you who are currently admiring New Orleans from afar, we encourage you to explore all the ways that you can bring New Orleans into your own homes, from streaming concerts to one-of-a-kind recipes that will transport you to all of the places you’ve missed the most. And when it comes time for you to return, whether that’s next weekend or six months from now, we’ll welcome you with the same excitement and warmth that we always have.”