Palmer Park

A tour through the history of Palmer Park, located in the Carrollton neighborhood at the intersection of South Carrollton and Claiborne avenues. This tour exposes many connections to ongoing debates over the use of New Orleans’ public spaces.

Hamilton Square: The Original Palmer Park

In 1831, McCarty Plantation, located upriver from the central hub of New Orleans, was bought by several investors including the New Orleans Canal and Banking Company and Senator John Slidell. Two years later, the property was subdivided into squares…

Palmer Park: The Name

Hamilton Square was renamed Palmer Park as a “testimony to the honor of the late B. M. Palmer” through a city ordinance on July 1902. Benjamin Morgan Palmer was pastor of New Orleans First Presbyterian Church. Palmer’s 1860 Thanksgiving sermon is…

Political Rallies in Palmer Park

Political rallies were an important part of Palmer Park’s early history. Local political organizations held numerous rallies and speeches in the park in the first half of the 20th century. The 1919 contentious mayoral campaign was notable for its…

Recreation and Rowdyism in Early Palmer Park

In the early 20th century Carrollton residents resisted attempts to permit sports recreation in Palmer Park, despite the fact that it was a public space. An effort to convert the park into a baseball field for the PSAL youth baseball league was…

Segregation in Palmer Park

Though designated for public use, Palmer Park was segregated until the 1970s. The park’s namesake, Benjamin Palmer, was a staunch defender of slavery and leading segregationist, set a tone of antagonism towards the black community early on. The…

Change and Contention: Palmer Park During the 1970s

The 1970s was a period of contention over the future of Palmer Park as local residents opposed efforts by the city to incorporate the park and convert it to a playground. Residents, labeling themselves “Concerned Citizens of Carrollton,” ran an…

Palmer Park During the 1980s

The 1980s saw a notable decline in the park's prestige. Numerous residents wrote letters to the editor in the Times Picayune complaining about litter in the park; one letter was titled “Palmer Park Dump.” The most common complaints were about…