Public Lab Research note

Strava 'heat map' shows re-enclosure of a commons in City Park New Orleans

by eustatic | January 31, 2018 00:22 31 Jan 00:22 | #15648 | #15648

This Heat Map, attached, shows how much park-going has been displaced from City Park, in New Orleans.

The Park is municipal land, administered by an exclusive state-appointed board (NOCPIA), and the golf course is now managed by a real estate developer (BDF from Atlanta). Everyone thought that the pre-Katrina golf course would never be built, because the state and City Park board couldn't get the money from FEMA for the $24 M renovation. But, FEMA came through with $6 M, the State with $10M, and the Real Estate Developer with $8M, and they took the Park as an amenity for homes in nearby Gentilly. The NOCPIA is a public body, but they have the attitude of plantation owners. So we citizens paid $16 M for a golf course we can't use.

Basically, BDF took 250 acres of land, and cleared 5.5 acres of the Nature area, for their real estate development. They also cleared out all the people using the park. The Court, and the NOCPIA said that no one was using that area. But now we have the evidence to show that even bourgie people were using that area to a significant degree.

The Park was fined for breaking federal law and forced to restore part of Gum Swamp. But, we paid for that, too, since the NOCPIA is a state body.

Andru Okun wrote an excellent backgrounder here.

Previously on Public Lab

image description

The park in the middle of this pic. The top, between Robt E Lee and Filmore, is the golf course--very low activity. Much lower than the kayakers in bayou St John, or even regular sidewalk use. The Golf footprint must be the lowest--perhaps because this is an exercise app, and golfers ride around in vehicles.

The bottom part is the "Wisner Tract", the soccer fields on scout island, the youth farm, and other parts of the park accessible to the public--highest activity. It's actually not that quiet, though, because it's close to an interstate bypass.

The middle is the Natural area and a fallow course that many people, including me and my dad, would go to exercise and get some quiet after Katrina. It seems to have had at least as many people walking through as walk through the neighborhood.

Most of this area was converted and fenced off to make a golf course for a private developer in 2015.

Part of the justification was that "no one uses" the old fallow golf course. Well,we knew it then, but now, some years later we have the data to prove it.

The fallow golf course was a great place to go, and the only place for quiet. But the masters at NOCPIA kicked us out.

On the brighter side, we can argue that tilling the golf course, and getting rid of it, can restore wetlands and increase the use of the Park. So, it's nice to be vindicated, that the NOCPIA are liars, even if it hurts that we the New Orleanians were kicked out of the Park.



by Darin Acosta, fill of City Park wetlands by City Park Improvement Association for Bayou District Foundation


Activity along walking trails at Woodlands Conservancy, much higher than Golf Course


Activity at Joe Brown park and Nature Center (while the Nature Center has been locked away from the public!) showing more activity than the golf course.


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Use of Audubon Wilderness Park, very low, lower than Nature Center, also behind a gate.

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Use of Audubon Park has simliarly been limited by the Golf Course and Zoo.

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