Fighting Poverty with Passion
“Life’s most urgent and persistent question is: what are you doing for others?”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1957
Over 120 volunteers spent MLK Day with us, planting and painting at Parisite Skate Park, the first official public skatepark in the City of New Orleans. We are very thankful for all the volunteers from Tulane University, Xavier University, Loyola University New Orleans, Dillard University, Tulane Americorps VISTA, Groundwork New Orleans, CACTUS and Transitional Spaces who made this service day possible and a huge success!
Volunteers painted the columns under the interstate and planted native plants along the street and in rain gardens designed to collect storm water runoff from the interstate to prevent flooding. Tulane Americorps VISTAs were put in charge of smaller groups of volunteers to break down this large project into manageable parts.
Parisite Skatepark was started by a group of skaters in 2010 that built their own ramps over by the railroad tracks to create a haven for skaters in this underutilized city land. Unfortunately the city tore down this first attempt at a skatepark and in 2012 they formed a non-profit called Transitional Spaces to work with the city to make the underutilized space under the interstate an official skatepark. All of the original ramps were built by the skaters and volunteers, a new section of the park was donated by Red Bull, and the entry was designed and built by Tulane School of Architecture students and volunteers.
As the first official public skatepark in New Orleans, this space is really important for kids all over the city. TCC and our students worked with community partner Transitional Spaces to design a safe and inclusive park for all ages, including parents, boys, and girls. The entryway is designed with a handicap accessible viewing platform and skateable benches so parents can sit and watch their children. Another important feature is the series of rain gardens designed to catch the stormwater runoff from the interstate and help prevent flooding. On MLK Day, 2,500 square feet of native plants including pondcypress, magnolia, sweetspire, grasses, palmettos, and more were planted and 27 huge interstate columns were painted a gradient from orange to yellow. Parisite Skatepark now looks bright and beautiful!