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The latest park to open in New Orleans offers a sweeping view of downtown and an up-close view of the Mississippi River, all while paying homage to the warehouse district and the working class that utilized the river to make the city prosper.
The 1.4-mile Crescent Park reaches from Elysian Fields in the Marigny neighborhood downriver from the French Quarter to the Bywater neighborhood’s Mazant Street. Keeping in line with the design of the city itself, which nests inside a crescent of the Mississippi, the park features a crescent bridge over the railroad tracks, allowing residents and visitors to access the park and receive a magnificent view along the river. Because the river bends in its path to the Gulf of Mexico, Crescent Park’s location southeast of downtown provides particularly good views of the city center.
On the riverside there are 20 landscaped acres featuring native plants and an asphalt path for walking, jogging and biking. The park also has picnic areas and a fenced dog run.
The idea for Crescent Park came about after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. The New Orleans Building Corporation was searching for ways to utilize the riverfront’s deserted warehouses and offer a public park space for members of the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods. Before the park was built, reaching the river’s edge and viewing the river across the Mississippi floodwall and active railroad lines was impossible. Later this year, reaching the river will be easy when the Mandeville Crossing pedestrian bridge opens, offering stairs and elevators that connect to an elevated walkway.
To access Crescent Park, visitors should park on Chartres Street at the foot of Piety Street and then take the Piety Street Arch pedestrian bridge to the riverside. Another option is to park at the Mazant Street lot, which connects to the river’s edge by a ramp. Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.