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Park(ing) Day NOLA Adds Whimsy to the Work Grind

If you work in the downtown area and noticed your regular parking spot was unavailable, it might have been because it was temporarily occupied by a "parklet" for the annual Park(ing) Day NOLA. The Downtown Development District's event solicited proposals from artists, architects and other creative teams to transform parking spaces around the downtown area for a day. Eight groups participated this year.

The completed installations were more like interactive art installations than "parklets," inviting curious passerbys to engage. Some installations were more engaging than others: Eskew Dumez Ripple's parklet was simply a bunch of white balloons tethered together and taped to the ground, while IDIYA's was a fully playable music cart with a piano and drums (when I walked by the atmosphere was like a mobile piano bar, with a crew playing showtunes) flanked by two oversize chess boards. Mathes Brierre Architects' installation was stationed in front of the Louisiana Children's Museum, and fittingly the colorful lattice canopy included swings and other things to play on. Tales of the Cocktail, of course, set up a parking spot-sized, bamboo-lined bar serving snowballs with Old New Orleans Rum (the bar structure was designed by Times Three Design). The installations did all seem to succeed in getting downtown pedestrians to slow down a second and enjoy the whimsy, which was probably the point.