St. Roch Playground, 1912
The Playgrounds Commission was particularly proud of the Children's Garden
inaugurated at the St. Roch Playground in 1912. The Report of that year includes a special report
the garden by Miss Mae Richardson, the Commission's "Agriculturist," describing the program:
There were about fifty children that gathered at the
Garden each afternoon from 4 to 6 o'clock, and with tools and wheelbarrows or hose in hand, proceed in
deep earnestness and with enthusiasm, to dig and endeavor to make their charges of the vegetable
kingdom grow and expand, and are as proud of the vegetables they raise as any florist in the land. . . .
Additional gardens were established at other playgrounds in the next few years and were particularly
popular during the years of World War I, when the entire country was encouraged to plant gardens to aid in
the war effort.
The Garden is 100 feet square and is subdivided into fifty-five beds of 20 by 4 feet each with a small path
around each bed. . . . [When the ground was first broken] the place presented a picture of a city dumping
ground, and in their digging it was a daily occurance for the little workers to unearth everything from cows'
teeth, old iron, old shoes, glass, tin cans, bricks and the like, and finally an emerald ring came to the
surface. . . . Gradually the transformation came about. The plots were staked off and numbered from 1 to
54. The children drew lots for them, and as each was assigned they went gaily and earnestly to work. . .
[Report of the New Orleans Playgrounds Commission for Nineteen Hundred and