The New Orleans Playgrounds Commission, the predecessor
of today's New Orleans Recreation Department, was established in 1911 to manage the three existing
public playgrounds (the Poydras, Cleveland, and St. Roch Playgrounds) previously administered by the
Civic Improvement and Playgrounds Association. The Civic Improvement and Playgrounds Association was
itself an outgrowth of the earlier Outdoor Art Association, a private organization formed to improve and
beautify the city, which had established the Poydras Playground in 1908 on ground provided by the city at
Poydras and South Rampart Streets.
In short order, the new Playgrounds Commission opened two additional playgrounds, the Milneburg and the
Taylor Playgrounds. Its name changed in 1923 to the Playground Community Service Commission, but its
work continued until the creation of NORD in 1946. During those 35 years, the Commission increased the
number of public playgrounds to 36, seven of which had swimming pools. Following the establishment of
NORD, the Commission lived on to administer funds from the legacy left to Playgrounds Commission by its
long-time president, Olive Stallings.
The photographs shown here were published in the 1912, 1917, 1920, and 1922 Annual Reports (or
Click on the images to see a larger version of each.
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