Taylor and St. Roch Playgrounds, 1912

A Fly Swatting Contest? Odd as it sounds, this contest was conceived by Playgrounds Commission President Mrs. A.J. Stallings and involved 32 children, both white and African American, who, among them, exterminated 4,474,750 flies during a three week period in June and July. The first place winners received $10, and the second and third place winners got $5 -- pretty good cash for kids in 1912!

The caption for these photographs reads:

1. Winners of the Fly Swatting Contest; 2. Miss Elsie Wieblet, Sponsor at Taylor Flag Raising; 3. Getting Ready for Garden Work at St. Roch; 4. Garden Prize Winners.

There are no photographs of the African-American winners of the fly swatting contest in the Report, nor are there photos of African-American children in any of the early reports, although the Commission did operate a single segregated playground for their use, the Thomy Lafon Playground at Magnolia and Sixth, which opened on July 9, 1907.

[Report of the New Orleans Playgrounds Commission for Nineteen Hundred and Twelve]