Columns » Blake Pontchartrain: New Orleans Trivia

Blakeview: City Park’s Storyland

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This week marks the 60th anniversary of a spot that has delighted children for generations. City Park's Storyland was dedicated on Dec. 30, 1956 and cost about $50,000, most of which was donated by Pontchartrain Beach owner Harry Batt Sr. One of Batt's grandchildren, 4-year-old Barbara (cousin to actor Bryan Batt and former City Councilman Jay Batt), cut the ribbon to open the park. In the next day's Times-Picayune, City Park Manager Ellis Laborde put opening day attendance at about 13,000 people. Based on a similar attraction in Oakland, California, Storyland's 13 original installations depicted Mother Goose and nursery rhymes and stories such as There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, The Three Little Pigs, Little Miss Muffet, Pinocchio and Humpty Dumpty. Some displays included live animals, including three small pigs, several geese and Mary's little lamb. In 1983, the Friends of City Park launched a campaign to update and restore the attraction, with renovation work done by Blaine Kern Artists.

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