Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Mary Niall Mitchell

Second Advisor

Nikki Brown

Third Advisor

Andrea Moterman

Fourth Advisor

Michael Mizell-Nelson


Public space in New Orleans became increasingly segregated following the 1896 U. S. Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson. This trend applied to sites of recreation, as nearly all public parks in the city became segregated. African Americans turned, instead, to private parks. This work examines four private parks open to African Americans in order to understand the external forces that affected these spaces, leading to their success or closure, and their significance for black city residents. While scholars have argued public space in New Orleans was segregated during Jim Crow, little attention has been paid to African American parks as alternative spaces for black New Orleanians. Whites were able to control the location of the parks and the parks’ reliance on profit to survive resulted in short spans of existence for most. However, this thesis argues that these parks were crucial sites of identity and community formation and of resistance to segregation.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.