Monday, May 08, 2006

Hermes scarf to benefit City Park

The Hermes company of Paris will reintroduce a New Orleans-themed silk scarf, sales of which will benefit City Park, according to this Knight-Ridder story. At $320, I don't think I'll be rushing out to pick up one for Mother's Day, but let me discourage you. The $320 scarf is available at Herm├Ęs boutiques and at

City Park was badly damaged in the flooding, and many trees were also damaged by the hurricane. The Times-Picayune summarized the impart of the storm and flood in an October story "Once majestic, City park now tattered and torn". There was extensive damage to the tree canopy that once covered much of the park, and to all of its attractions. Total damage to the park is estimated at $42 million dollars. Over 1,000 trees were toppled, and another 1,000 are not expected to survive due to the the flooding or other damage.

The park relies primarily on income from its attractions to maintain operations, receiving only $200,000 a year in government support, and has slashed its maintenance staff even as the park struggles to recover.

There are some bright spots. The park's web site reports the Tennis Courts, the Botanical Garden, Storyland, and Golf Driving Range are now open. The Botanical Garden has also opened a new retail nursery on the grounds of the garden which is open during garden hours. Additionally, the children's playground is open and walkers, joggers, and bicyclists are enjoying the park in great numbers.

Others are stepping forward to help the devastated park. Employees of Hampton Hotels are helping to renovate the City Park Carosel in time for the rides 100th anniversary. The park is looking for sponsors to donate $750 toward planting a live oak tree. Fifteen had been sponsored so far and were planted on Arbor day.

The park is one of the city's jewels and its continued healthy operation is as essential to any real recovery. The web site offers other opportunities to help that won't take such a bit out of your wallet, including volunteer opportunities.

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"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audie Lorde

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