Images of the Month Gallery
July 2002
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 Yearbooks) of the Playgrounds Commission.

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