Children of the WPA

Recreation: General

The Recreation Project was, according to a contemporary account, "probably the most popular of all the public activities carried on by the WPA." The program trained and then employed recreation leaders for public parks and playgrounds, community centers and the like. These leaders oversaw all sorts of recreational activities for both adults and children -- crafts, marionette shows, ethnic and folk dancing, quilt making, art classes, dances, storytelling, baseball and shuffleboard leagues, track meets, swimming, and various other sports and games.

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This photo shows McDonogh #31 school children and Holy Rosary students making jack-o-lanterns under the supervision of the WPA Recreational Unit, November, 1939.
In December, 1940, this young man shows off the chin-up form he learned from WPA playground supervisors.
Halloween, 1941, at a WPA Recreation Division pre-school at 611 Esplanade Avenue.
The crowd at Algiers Recreation Day in the Martin Behrman Memorial Center, August 1, 1936. John A. Zimmerman, WPA's State Director of Recreation, and Thomas A. Fox, Treasurer of the New Orleans Playground Commission, are in the middle of the group. Mr. Fox is wearing a light suit and holding a child in his arms; Mr. Zimmerman is on his right.
The caption supplied by the WPA for this photograph reads, "Little Josephine Michel, top, and Mildred Duffey may later climb the ladder of fame. When this picture was snapped at St. Roch Playground they were interested only in a thrilling shoot-the-chute ride." The date is July 31, 1936.
Girls aged 6 to 12 participating in a WPA supervised swimming program. The location is not identified, but the photo was taken on August 1, 1936.
Santa Claus visits the Recreation Center headquarters at 1420 Canal Street, December 20, 1938.
The WPA-sponsored American Legion baseball team at City Park, June 6, 1939.
The city's Harmonica Band in rehersal, lead by a WPA worker at the Annunciation Playground, May 18, 1938.
A group of young girls from public playgrounds about to take off for Camp Bena Lea near Covington, August 19, 1941.

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