Louis Armstrong Park

sights / Other

Lonely Planet review

The entrance to this massive park has got to be one of the greatest gateways in the USA; a picturesque arch that ought rightfully be the final set piece in some period drama about Jazz Age New Orleans. We wonder how Satchmo would feel about the park dedicated in his name. Parts of it, particularly the walkways over little rivers and streams, are gorgeous, and the original Congo Sq is here. On the other hand the park is surrounded by imposing, unfriendly walls; parts of it remain undeveloped and rough looking, and overall this isn’t a good place to walk around at night. Too bad – a public space with a jazzy name on this particular spot really ought to be a cultural focal point for New Orleans. While you’re inside, check out the Louis Armstrong statue and the bust of Sidney Bechet. The Mahalia Jackson Theater has been done up with a $22 million renovation and now hosts opera and Broadway productions, but next door the more historic Municipal Auditorium remains in a state of rot. In the future, the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park will be based at the park’s Perseverance Hall, but this pro­cess has been ongoing for years with little evidence of resolution. Tune in to WWOZ Radio (www.wwoz.org) and other cultural media to learn about concerts and parades ­sponsored by the National Park Service.