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Published on Apr 27, 2010
National Planning Achievement Award for a Hard-Won Victory
New Orleans City Park — From Devastation to Recovery New Orleans, Louisiana
The 1,300-acre City Park, located in the heart of New Orleans, welcomed more than 11 million visitors annually because of its fine art and natural splendor. Hurricane Katrina left behind $43 million in damage — flooding the park with eight feet of water, destroying more than 2,000 trees, and damaging or destroying more than 120 buildings. The park had operating funds for only six months.
The park's recently adopted master plan, Vision for the 21st Century, became the organizing feature for recovery efforts. The recovery plan focused on cleaning up debris, reopening revenue generating facilities, pursuing an ambitious public and private fund-raising effort, and using the new master plan to organize the recovery. More than 25,000 volunteers invested over 125,000 hours in the recovery efforts. The City Park has repaired, renovated, or rebuilt the majority of its athletic and cultural facilities. More than 1,500 new trees have been planted. Two miles of bicycle paths have been built and roadways repaired and resurfaced. City Park officials also lobbied for an increase in public operating support. The park's recovery is one of the success stories of the City of New Orleans.