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“Every great city needs a great park that needs great friends!”

Martini Madness Friday, September 16 Martini Madness has become one of the most popular adult fundraising events of City Park. In the words of, “We wish City Park had a Martini Madness every month, every weekend for that matter! It can’t get any better to drink, eat and dance to support a good cause…” The 8th Annual Martini Madness event takes place on Friday, September 16, 2011 from 7-10 p.m. in the gracious surroundings of the Pavilion of Two Sisters and the Botanical Garden. Tickets which include all food and drink and FREE parking are $50/general admission, $45/FOCP members. Here are the details of this festive fundraiser: The Drinks — Marvelous martinis are the stars of the show, ranging from the classic Moscow Mule to contemporary concoctions such as chocolate and bubblegum martinis. Purists need not worry as brands such as Buffalo Trace®, Hendrick’s®, Stoli®, and Rain® will all be represented.

Photos: Michael Maples

The Food — Enjoy exquisite eats from local staples and food innovators such as Ralph’s on the Park, Three Muses, La Thai and more. Guests will also get to enjoy the sweeter side of life with Pinkberry and Creole Creamery.

The Entertainment — If you long for the days of real rock and roll or swinging soul music, then this year’s musical entertainment was made for you. MOD Dance Party will bring their seemingly endless supply of vinyls to the Pavilion to play the classics that get your feet moving and your soul smiling. Also come ready to vogue and strike a pose as Big Easy Photobooth will provide props and takeaway photos to commemorate your night. The Benefit — Proceeds from the evening’s festivities will be going to the continued development of the Popp Fountain area. Haven’t seen the fountain lately? Visit our Facebook page for the latest pictures of the beautiful new Arbor Room opening in October, the new landscaping also supported by our friends at the Young Leadership Council and the newest renovations to the fountain itself. If you would like to volunteer during this event, the committee could use your assistance. Contact Suzette Herpich, 504-296-6698,, or Kathi Zimmerman, 504-453-8626, To purchase tickets and get more information, visit or call 504-483-9376.

Dessa Rutter Giffin, President Friends of City Park

President’s Message Hello Dear Friends! I would like to recognize some milestones! On August 13, 1891 the City Park Improvement Association (C.P.I.A.) was incorporated and has been the steward of New Orleans City Park for the past 120 years. This August, City Park Chief Executive Officer Bob Becker celebrated his 10th anniversary at the helm of City Park and his stewardship has indeed stood us in good stead the past 10 years! Friends’ Fest on Wednesday, July 27 was a tremendous success in spite of challenging weather. With more than 850 attendees of all ages, chairperson Ledora Yerks, the membership committee, volunteers and staff have every reason to be proud!! Members mingled with City Park mascot Parker, Clifford the Big Red Dog, courtesy of PBS affiliate WYES-TV, and the Saints’ Gumbo! A “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” presented by The Storyland Theatrical Players, “Glory Clowns”, face painting and amusement rides all added to the festivities. Martini Madness on Friday, September 16 is quickly approaching!! Chairpersons Ginger Logan, Courtney Sutton and their committee promise a fun-filled event. Honorary chairperson of the 8th annual event is Andrea LeGrand, a former Friends’ President and founder of the original Martini Madness!! Great restaurants and creative libations will round out the evening. 2011 Martini Madness 2 • Friends of City Park • Fall 2011

monies are dedicated to the completion of the landscape project of the Arbor Room at Popp Fountain. Friends’ fundraising activities contributed significantly to the Arbor Room at Popps Fountain. The new venue is generating tremendous interest. Membership Matters!! Unique, free “For Members Only” events are planned in October. Please be sure to check out the article in this issue! Free entry to the Fall Garden Show in the Botanical Garden on Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16 is another valuable Friends’ membership benefit! You asked for it!! Now for the first time ever and by popular request, Ghosts in the Oaks is spanning to 2 nights on Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22!! Plan to attend and double your fun and pleasure at the Friends’ annual, family friendly, non-scary, Halloween event. Children of all ages are welcome. Come dressed in your favorite costume and enjoy rides, candy, crafts and more. Sure to entertain all. The holidays are coming! Friends’ is now offering a limited edition package of the

three previous year’s Christmas ornament for $20. The 2011 ornament features the Three Little Pigs exhibit in Storyland and is available for $10. To preorder the 2011 ornament go to For further information, call the Friends’ office at 504-483-9376.

Preorder your 2011 Friends of City Park ornament online!

1 Palm Drive New Orleans, LA 70124 504-483-9376 2011 Friends of City Park Board of Directors OFFICERS P re s i d e n t Dessa Rutter Giffin P re s i d e n t - e l e c t Mary Johnson Tr e a s u r e r Peggy McCranie C o - Tr e a s u r e r Jackie Palumbo R e c o rd i n g S e c re t a r y Kathi Zimmerman

Finally, please mark your calendars for the 30th Lark in the Park on Friday, March 2, 2012. We are planning quite a party. Stay tuned as the details unfold! This will be a busy Fall for the Friends. Enjoy your park! Such a jewel! Sincerely,

I m m e d i a t e Pa s t P r e s i d e n t Debbie Perrone

Board Members Lisette Bayle Joey Marcotte Brown Karen DeBlieux Jeanie Favret Leila Sutherlin Gamard

Dessa Rutter Giffin President Friends of City Park

Barbara Hammett Suzette Herpich Nina Killeen Janet Larue Lana Lovick

Happy 120th Birthday!

Lucille McDonnell Ron O’Rorke Mary Hassinger Schmidt Ginger Logan Smith

Editor Lisette Bayle E x e c u t i v e D i re c t o r Rodney Thoulion Special Events / Marketing C o o rd i n a t o r Susan Hudlow Accountant Michelle Barkemeyer

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Executive Director Beau Bassich and Chief Executive Officer Bob Becker display a beautiful cake commemorating City Park Improvement Association’s 120th birthday.

Picture from the Past

Remember the clock? 1953-1982 In 1952, City Park director Ellis Laborde and park board member Allen Generes attended the National Park and Recreation Convention in Montreal. While in Canada, the pair saw and admired the floral clock in nearby Westmount Park. Upon returning to the Crescent City, Generes decided to donate a similar clock to the park. The Mayor of Montreal graciously provided the plans and the park staff built the clock at a cost of $2,000. Located on Lelong Avenue – near the park entrance leading to what’s now the New Orleans Museum of Art – the clock was a popular City Park attraction. The oversized hands proved irresistible for climbing children. This fact, along with time and acts of vandalism, took a toll on the clock’s mechanical parts. The broken clock was dismantled in 1982.

Garden Seeking Gregarious Guides Educational tours through the Botanical Garden are very popular, and more and more schools want their classes to visit. As the interest has increased, so has the need for volunteers. If you love working with kids in grades K-4, the garden staff would love to train you to lead them through the garden. School tours take place from September through mid November, Tuesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. The program repeats in the spring, March through May. To find out more about how you can get involved, contact Susan Capley 504-483-9473 or

Plants Can Be Educational Plants can be an educational tool for any grade level or discipline. The New Orleans Botanical Garden is offering a workshop for teachers to show them how to teach about plants in engaging, relevant ways and increase their ability to teach outside the classroom. The hands-on workshop takes place on Saturday, October 8, from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. The $50 cost includes a guided tour of the Garden, a GLE-correlated, multi-disciplinary activity binder and input from experts. For more information, check the website To register for this workshop, e-mail or call 504-483-9473. Sign up today to learn how interesting plants can be!

Botanical Garden Presents Fall Fun Plant sales and scarecrow trails, crafty hands and lively bands. You can enjoy this and much more at the New Orleans Botanical Garden’s Fall Festival October 15 and 16. Featuring arts and crafts, education programs, children’s activities, food and drink and lots of live music, this event offers something for everyone.

FOCP members get free admission. Non-member adults pay $8, children ages 5-12 pay $3, and children under 5 are free. Join us for a fantastic Fall celebration.

October 15 - 21, 2011

Start Stuffing Your Scarecrows The New Orleans Botanical Garden is looking for a few good scarecrows. Families, businesses, civic organizations, schools and individuals are encouraged to create one-of-a-kind scarecrows which will be showcased at the Fall Garden Festival. The scarecrows will be on display in the Garden from October 15-21. For information on how to participate, call Mary Ellen at 504-738-3980, the Botanical Garden at 504-483-9386 or check the website

Learn the Basics in Beekeeping Are you interested in making your own honey, candle wax, or just providing honeybees to pollinate your fruits and flowers? The Botanical Garden kicks off its Fall education series with "The Basics in Beekeeping" presented by Russell Harris from the LSU AgCenter. While exploring the fascinating subject of honeybees, Harris will explain what is needed to start your own hive. The workshop takes place on Saturday, September 24 at 10 a.m. at the Garden Study Center in the Botanical Garden. The cost is $10. To find out more about this educational opportunity and others offered in the series visit the website

What’s Your Favorite Place in the Park? Whether it’s for quiet meditation, a family picnic, artistic inspiration or some other reason, everyone seems to have a favorite go-to spot in the park. We want to know what your favorite place is. Email a brief note describing where you like to go and why to or regular mail to Lisette Bayle, 317 Henry Landry, Metairie, LA 70003. Include a photo if you have one. We’ll run as many entries as we can in subsequent newsletters.

Fall 2011 • Friends of City Park • 3

2011 New Orleans City Park Improvement Association OFFICERS P re s i d e n t

Robert E.S. Lupo

Bob Becker, CEO

Vi c e P r e s i d e n t

Wi l l i a m H o ff m a n Vi c e P r e s i d e n t

Susan Hess Vi c e P r e s i d e n t

Edmund Schrenk S e c re t a r y

Laura Claverie Tr e a s u r e r

Karen DeBlieux

Board of Commissioners Steven Bingler Susan Brennan Jane S. Brooks Johanna Brown Edgar Chase Jacquelyn Clarkson Laura M. Claverie Karen DeBlieux S. Stewart Farnet Thomas G. Fierke Dessa R. Giffin Susan Guidry Ben Hales Susan O. Hess Wi l l i a m D . H o f f m a n Larry Katz Errol Laborde Ti m L a F r a n c a Andrea LeGrand Robert Edward Smith Lupo Paul J. Masinter Marjorie McKeithen Joseph Pappalardo David B. Payton Steven Pettus Mark C. Romig Julie Sardie Gerard L Schoen, III Edmund Schrenk Jacqueline Shreves Ronnie Stone R i t a Ve s i c h Michael J. Marsiglia Past President/Ex Officio

David Edwards Representing Botanical Garden Foundation Chief Executive Officer

R o b e r t W. B e c k e r , P h . D . E x e c u t i v e D i re c t o r

Beau L. Bassich Chief Operating Officer

R o b e r t D e Vi n e y Chief Development Officer

John Hopper Chief Administrative Officer

George Parker C o n t ro l l e r

Kevin Cox 4 • Friends of City Park • Fall 2011

Letter from the CEO As we head into fall, the Park is winding up many summer activities. Tennis camp is completed. Zulu held its annual picnic event. We hosted the AAU Junior Olympics which brought over 12,000 athletes to the Park for a week. The Park served as the track and field and field hockey venue while other events were held throughout the city. Friends had a highly successful event at the amusement park and Storyland, and the Garden continued its popular Thursday night concert series.

Fall promises to be equally as busy with many road races and events such as Ghosts in the Oaks and perhaps a few more movie shoots. The Park ended its fiscal year on June 30th and from a financial point of view the Park had a good year, thanks to tight budget controls and unusually dry weather at critical times. This helped make up for the bad weather we experienced in FY 09-10 which negatively impacted the Park financially. As I have reported before, the State removed us from the General Fund budget two years ago, leaving us fundamentally with only the funds generated from the tax on slot machines at the Fairgrounds. Thus for the new fiscal year, FY 11-12, we must raise 84% of our operating revenue from the activities in the Park. This is a very difficult funding formula and we hope that as the State’s financial picture improves we will be returned to the State’s regular operating budget. Let us hope for good weather! August also marked the 120th anniversary of the incorporation of the City Park Improvement

Association and its long history as the stewards of City Park. Through the years, hundreds of citizens have served the Park without any remuneration and little recognition through good times and bad. We should all thank them for their unselfish service to this Park and the community. As we all know we are in the heart of hurricane season. Just as the Park prepares for any eventuality, I hope you and your family have made appropriate plans. Like all of you we hope for an uneventful season. Finally, watch out for the children as school reconvenes!

Robert W. Becker Ph.D. Chief Executive Officer City Park

Founder of Friends of City Park Recognized A portrait of Margaret “Peggy” R. Read, founder of the Friends of City Park, was recently unveiled. In 1979, Peggy Read organized Friends of City Park, the volunteer support group of the park. She served as Friends’ president from 1979 – 1981. Mrs. Read provided the guiding force that helped bring about the resurgence of City Park during the 1980s. Mrs. Read’s leadership also extended to the City Park Board of Commissioners where she served as president from 1989-1990. Mrs. Read holds the distinction of being the only Friends of City Park president to also serve as president of the City Park Improvement Association. Mrs. Read’s portrait will hang in the Friends’ office in the City Park Administration Building.

At the presentation of the portrait of the Friends’ Founder: left to right: Bob Becker, CEO of City Park; Gen Trimble, past president of the Botanical Garden Foundation; Marky Read Pontius, daughter of the founder; and Paul Soniat, Director of the City Park Botanical Garden.

Friends’ Fest Was Fabulous! Executive Director and Lisa Laraway, Director of Recreational Services, the New Orleans Saints, WYES, Pepsi, Curtis Mezzic, City Park’s official mascot Parker, the Storyland Theatrical Players, Charmed Boutique & Parties and Porta-Puppet Players. We would also like to thank board members Mary Johnson, Dessa Giffin, Kathi Zimmerman and Peggy McCranie, membership committee members Andrea LeGrand, Amy Bauer, Cheryl Cabes, and volunteers Lynne Ross, Julie LaCour, Tania Hahn, Michael Maples and Caroline Hudlow. We are also grateful to the W Girls who volunteered with us throughout the evening to help bring our face painting to life. A special thanks goes to Friends’ Fest Chairman Ledora Yerks. Ledora has been volunteering with Friends of City Park for almost two years as a member of the Membership Committee. She has been a dedicated event volunteer and, as this year’s Friends’ Fest chair, helped bring an extra aspect of magic and whimsy to our annual member appreciation event.

Photo credit: Mike Maples

Friends of City Park would like to thank all of our members who were able to join us for our 2nd Annual Friends’ Fest, held on July 27th, 2011. The event, held in the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and Storyland, brought out more than 800 Friends members of all ages who were treated to complimentary water and popcorn, rides throughout the Amusement Park and a special ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ performance in Storyland. Party goers also enjoyed snowballs from NOLA Snow, entertainment and balloon creations from Glory Clowns and special appearances from Gumbo of the New Orleans Saints, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Parker, City Park’s official mascot. Friends of City Park would like to extend our appreciation to Bob Becker, City Park

Fall 2011 • Friends of City Park • 5

October is Member Month Friends of City Park is kicking off its first ever Member Month in October 2011 with a series of events open exclusively to Friends of City Park members of all ages. Whether you are a fitness buff who has always wanted to experience a boot camp class in the Botanical Garden or a City Park tree enthusiast who would love to learn more about the largest collection of mature lives oaks in the world, this Member Month is sure to offer something for everyone. And, every event is completely free and open exclusively to members! When is the Member Month? The month kicks off October 1, with events for the following three weeks. See below for the full calendar of events. How do I register? It’s easy! Just go to our website; Select the event you would like to attend, how many Friends of City Park Members will be attending, enter in your information, then click ‘Register Now!’ You can sign up for as many classes or tours as you like. The number of participants that can register under one membership are outlined under each membership category (example: Family membership can register 2 adults and up to 6 children= total of 8 participants, Individual Plus= 2 participants, etc.). You can also call 504-483-9376. What if I am not a member but would like to participate? All events are open to new members! Sign up for a membership prior to the event either by phone or online and register for the events you are interested in the same day! If you have questions on how to register or the events, please call 504-483-9376 or email

Member Month Events Couturie Forest & Arboretum Tour October 1, 10 a.m. Enjoy this first-ever in depth tour of Couturie Forest and Arboretum led by Chief Development Officer John Hopper. Learn every aspect of the forest’s development, from how it became the highest point in New Orleans to what species of trees are being planted and why. The tour will begin at 10 a.m. at the entrance to the forest on Harrison Avenue.Tour size is limited to 30 people. Fitness Series: Yoga, Part 1 October 4, 6 p.m. Bring a yoga mat and water to enjoy the first-ever yoga class in the Botanical Garden. Recharge and rejuvenate in the peaceful garden setting with master instructors from the LIFE Yoga + Boutique. The class is for yoga enthusiasts of all levels, and class size is limited to 40 people. Fitness Series: Yoga, Part 2 October 6, 6 p.m. Enjoy a yoga class beside the soothing Popp Fountain in City Park with instructors from LIFE Yoga + Boutique. Bring a yoga mat and water to enjoy this class for all skill levels. Class size is limited to 40 people. Conductor for a Day: an inside look at the Train and Historic Carousel October 8, 9:30 a.m. For the first time in Friends of City Park history, enjoy a behind the scenes look at two of the most famous attractions in the Amusement Park: the train and the carousel. Participants will enjoy an in depth look at the history of each ride presented by City Park Director of Recreational Services Lisa Laraway, and children will get to experience the operation and VIP turns on each ride! The tour will come to a close at 11 a.m. 6 • Friends of City Park • Fall 2011

when the Amusement Park opens to the public — just in time for little ones to continue their day in the park. Tour size will be limited to 20 people. Mature Live Oak Tour October 8, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Did you know that City Park has the largest collection of mature live oaks in the world? Have you walked through the trees and wondered how old they were or what their names were? If so, this is the tour for you. Join Botanical Garden Education Director Susan Capley for the first-ever in depth tour of the oldest of the park’s live oak trees while also getting an extensive history of City Park. The tour will begin at the Dueling Oak (located in front of the Sculpture Garden) and cross over the Bayou Metairie lagoon, down City Park Avenue and end in the New Orleans Botanical Garden. Fitness Series: Boot Camp, Part 1 - October 11, 6 p.m. Get physical in the first-ever boot camp class to be held in the New Orleans Botanical Garden. Members will enjoy an extensive workout for all skill levels by local instructor Nolan Ferraro of Salire Fitness Group. Get in shape while taking in the beautiful scenery of City Park. Class size is limited to 40 people. Please bring towel, water and weights if you have them to challenge yourself even further. For more information contact the instructor at, email:, phone: 504-821-4896 Fitness Series: Zumba, Part 1 - October 13, 6 p.m. Love to dance and get in shape? Then Zumba is the class for you! This all-levels fitness class will be taught by Zumba-certified instructor Miriam Rosa of Inner City Dance, LLC. Experience the first ever Zumba class held in Storyland- a whimsical area where you can’t help but shake your shoulders. Class size will be limited to 50 people. Please bring water to keep you hydrated. Fins for Friends October 15, 9-10:30 a.m. Is your minnow ready to learn the ins and outs of fishing in City Park? Join Friends at the Marconi Drive Fishing Pier as we take an in-depth look at the fish of City Park’s lagoons, what species reside in our Louisiana waters, and the way to caste to get the best catch. You will even get to learn the significance of fish ear bones and exactly what species you happen to hook. Led by Cheryl Fisher and Danica Williams of the LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, this is a great activity for any budding fisherman or wildlife enthusiast to become a resident expert on the creatures of City Park waters. Please bring bait/fishing gear — if you do not have fishing gear, it will be provided. Please also bring a folding/lawn chair. Class size will be limited to 30 people. Fitness Series: Boot Camp, Part 2 - October 18, 6 p.m. See Fitness Series: Boot Camp, Part 1. Fitness Series: Zumba, Part 2 - October 20, 6 p.m.

Ghosts in the Oaks is Twice as Much Fun This Year

Photo ©2010, George H. Long

Experience Magic in the Moonlight The New Orleans Botanical Garden Foundation invites you to experience “Magic in the Moonlight” on Friday, October 14 at 6:30 p.m. Under the beautifully lit oaks on the Botanical Garden grounds, Chef Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery and Chef Aaron Burgau of Patois will prepare a scrumptious dinner as Julio and Cesar play romantic Latin music. Last year’s sell-out event was lauded as one of the most beautiful

dinners ever. So you’ll want to make sure you are a part of this year’s magic. Sponsorship levels begin at $250 with proceeds dedicated to creating a new entrance to the Botanical Garden and Storyland located directly north of the Great Lawn in the old Little Casino Building. For additional information, call 504-483-9386 or visit the website at

Ghosts in the Oaks is Friends of City Park’s family-friendly Halloween activity. This non-scary event offers fun for the whole family including unlimited rides in Carousel Gardens, trick-or-treating in Storyland, arts and crafts, face-painting, music and much, much more! Due to popular demand, Ghosts in the Oaks is pleased to offer a SECOND night of non-scary Halloween fun! Ghosts on the Oaks will be held on Friday, October 21, 2011 and Saturday, October 22, 2011. Early admission begins at 6 p.m., gates open at 7 p.m.. Early admission is offered for $20/person. Come early (6 p.m.) and ride the rides with no waiting! General admission begins at 7 p.m. Cost of general admission is $15/person, $12/person for FOCP members. Children 3 and under admitted free of charge. Tickets will be sold for either Friday, October 21 or Saturday, October 22 and will be honored for only for the night purchased. The Ghosts chairmen Jeanne Coco, Jeanie Favret and Lana Lovick are hard at work making sure this phantasmic event will be fantastic! Remember that proceeds from Ghosts in the Oaks go to support capital improvements in Carousel Gardens Amusement Park and Storyland In the event of inclement weather, information will be posted at 3 p.m. the day of the event on the Friends of City Park website at, on Facebook at Friend of City Park and Twitter at @CityParkFriends.

Save the Date! Lark in the Park 2012

Mark your calendar for Lark in the Park 2012 which takes place on March 2, 2012. This marks the 30th anniversary of this festive fundraiser. Proceeds will go towards creating the new entrance to Storyland and the Botanical Garden as seen in this rendering

Tulane’s Grow Dat Urban Farm is really starting to take shape. Architecture students have been involved in all phases of construction. They placed rebarcaissons and poured concrete. We can’t wait for the first crop of vegetables. When the farm is up and running it’s going to be a home run for Tulane and City Park and a Grand Slam for the residents of our community!

Photo credit: Mike Maples

Tulane’s Grow Dat Urban Farm

Fall 2011 • Friends of City Park • 7

“Every great city needs a great park that needs great friends!”

1 Palm Drive New Orleans, LA 70124 504-483-9376

Return Service Requested

Mark Your Calendar September 16, 2011

Martini Madness October 15-16, 2011

Fall Garden Festival October 21-22, 2011

Ghosts in the Oaks March 2, 2012

Lark in the Park


Fall 2011  

Martini Madness, Ghosts in the Oaks

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