Parisite Skate Park

In 2010 a group of skaters got together and started a Do-It-Yourself skatepark at the intersection of Interstate 6-10 and Paris Avenue. The skaters approached Small Center for technical assistance in protecting the park and design assistance in continuing its build out.

Project Dates

January 2013–December 2014

Context

New Orleans is a city of over 350,000 people with no official skateparks and few places for kids to exercise outside of team sports leagues. Unstructured recreation areas such as skateparks allow youth to build self-confidence as they creatively interact with their environment as well as with one another. With that in mind, in 2010, a group of skaters got together and started a Do-It-Yourself skatepark at the intersection of Interstate 6-10 and Paris Avenue (hence the name ‘Paris Site’). Through time, strategic partnerships, and a series of state and local approvals the grassroots public park has become New Orleans first official skatepark.

Small Center Engagement

With growing popularity, this informal public space drew the attention of city officials who questioned the legal implications of operating such a recreational space. The skaters approached Small Center for technical assistance in protecting the park and design assistance in continuing its build out. Small Center’s work began by building capacity for their young organization. Annie Frederick of New York’s Hester Street Collaborative led a strategic planning and fundraising bootcamp. The skaters formed a Louisiana nonprofit corporation called Transitional Spaces to negotiate with City Hall. Through this process, Transitional Spaces became strong advocates for the park, and not only convinced the city to declare the site an official skatepark, but succeeded in getting a set of ramps placed on the site through a donation by Red Bull/Sphon.

In addition to support during this advocacy work, Small Center worked with Transitional Spaces to develop a vision for the park. This masterplan included specific designs for an entrance to the park, signage, planting, benches and handrails to make the skatepark a welcoming community park space. Planted areas address the need for stormwater catchment and filtration from the skatepark and the highway overpass. Small Center constructed the entryway and commissioned signage to physically reframe the park and provide official recognition of the space.

Partner Organization

Transitional Spaces is dedicated to designing and implementing quality public skate parks that focus on safe recreation and educational opportunities for youth. The organization began as a group of skaters who took advantage of a vacant under-utilized space beneath the I-610 overpass by building a DIY skatepark.

Outcome

The skatepark opened with a ribbon cutting (and a reuben cutting!) on February 28, 2015. Mayor Landrieu noted “By working together we have created a unique place that can inspire our young people and give them an opportunity to stay physically active and out of trouble.” The opening also featured remarks from Councilmember Jared Brossett, NORDC CEO Victor Richard, Aaron Spohn of Spohn Ranch Skateparks, Small Center Director Maggie Hansen, and Skylar Fein of Transitional Spaces.

Transitional Spaces has taken on the responsibilities for keeping the skatepark clean, posting clear rules for safety, and programming official skate events. Small Center has continued to serve an advisory role as Transitional Spaces advocates for the park, and looks for opportunities to realize their full masterplan. Transitional Spaces has successfully fundraised, designed, and constructed the next phase of their park. We look forward to seeing the continued evolution of this space.

 

Collaborators

Transitional Spaces

  • Perry Hohlstein
  • Andre Mills
  • Skylar Fien
  • Jackson Blalock
  • Ally Bruser
  • Julian Wellis
  • Ooti Billeaud
  • Joey O’Mahoney

Dana Brown and Associates

Team Members

Project Leads

  • Doug Harmon (Design Lead)
  • Matt Decotiis (Design Lead)
  • Emilie Taylor Welty (Design Lead, Project Manager)
  • John Coyle (Assistant Project Manager)

Students (Design)

  • Carly Epler
  • Tarah Jean
  • Colleen Loughlin
  • Tatyana Moraczewski
  • Matt Ngo
  • Caitlin Parker
  • Ian Rosenfield
  • Sanaa Shaikh
  • Alfia White
  • Grant Whittaker
  • Emily Youngblood

Students (Build)

  • Sara Conner
  • Lee Cooper
  • Ruben Contreras
  • Elizabeth Himmel
  • Stephanie Mears
  • Tatyana Moraczewski
  • Paul Morin
  • Matt Ngo
  • Ali Rex
  • Ashley Ricketson
  • Jonathan Sharp

Special Thanks

  • Anne Frederick of Hester Street Collaborative (Capacity Building)
  • Haley Delery (City of New Orleans)
  • Heidi Tullman (Sign Art)
  • Michael Wong (Photographer)
  • Walter Zehner

Support

  • Anonymous
  • Mayor’s Office, New Orleans
  • Johnson Controls, Inc.
  • New Orleans Recreation Development Commission
  • NORD Foundation
  • Surdna Foundation
  • Capital Projects, City of New Orleans

Press and Awards

SEED Award

Social Economic Environmental Design Network

New Orleans Parisite Skatepark gets City Planning Commission Approval

NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

This 7th Ward Skate Park Comes with a Water Management Plan

WWNO

Parisite Skate Park Plans Are Set to Roll in Gentilly

Curbed New Orleans

New Orleans Opens First Official Skatepark in Gentilly Neighborhood

WWLTV

$350,000 Skateboard Park, 'The Parisite,' Opens in Gentilly

NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Check It Out: New Orleans Opens Parisite Skate Park -- the First Public Skate Park in City's History

The New Orleans Advocate

Mayor Landrieu Opens New Orleans' First Public Skate Park

WWL

New Parisite Skateboard Park, a $350,000 Project, Opens Saturday in Gentilly

NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

First Public Skate Park Comes to Gentilly

WGNO

Parisite Skate Park Officially Opens in New Orleans

Gambit

Parisite Ushers in a New Era of NOLA Skate Culture

Antigravity Magazine

How Katrina Sparked a Black Skateboarding Renaissance in New Orleans

Vice