Press Release: Greenway Plaza and Iris of Memory Grand Opening


Sophie Vorhoff, Executive Director

[email protected]




December 7, 2020

Friends of Lafitte Greenway, NORD, Arts Council New Orleans Celebrate Opening of Greenway Plaza and Iris of Memory Installation

NEW ORLEANS, LA -- Friends of Lafitte Greenway (Friends), the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORD), and Arts Council New Orleans are celebrating the grand opening of a new pedestrian Plaza on the Lafitte Greenway, and the reveal of the Iris of Memory art installation by William Nemitoff. Responding to the key need for more outdoor public spaces in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, this rapid-build $100,000 project has transformed the driveway of the former Brake Tag Station where the Greenway meets the Bayou St. John into a vibrant and welcoming pedestrian plaza--a new space in the heart of Mid-City for picnics, farmers markets, art, music, plantings, and play. The space will be home to the Mid-City Crescent City Farmers Market, and a luminary art exhibit, Greenway Supernova, beginning next week.


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Join our Board - 2021

Help ensure that the Greenway is a safe, active, and vibrant public space.

To apply for a board member position: Please submit a letter-of-interest and resume or equivalent to the Nominating Committee at [email protected] by Wednesday, December 2, 2020.

Call for board members: 2021-2024 Term

Friends of Lafitte Greenway was formed in early 2006 by New Orleans community members who saw an opportunity to rethink their community’s landscape to enhance livability, environmental sustainability, open space equity, health, and revitalization. The organization built a network of diverse constituents who shared its vision of preserving the continuous open space in the former Lafitte rail corridor, and developing a Greenway that encourages active living, stimulates economic development, and links adjacent neighborhoods, cultural amenities, historic sites, and public spaces.

The Lafitte Greenway opened in November 2015 as a 2.6 mile pedestrian and bike path and linear park, connecting neighborhoods from Armstrong Park to City Park. The backbone of the New Orleans bike network, the Greenway is now used by 320,000 people annually.

Friends of Lafitte Greenway (Friends) is the City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission’s (NORD’s)’ official partner, working together to program, develop, and steward the Greenway. Friends is a community-driven organization, guided by a Board of Directors, members, volunteers, and staff. 


To build, program, and promote the Lafitte Greenway as a great public space. 


A healthy and vibrant public space that connects people to nature, their destinations, and each other.


Accountability ∙ Equity ∙ Sustainability ∙ Collaboration ∙ Joy

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Community Feedback: Lafitte Greenway Plaza

We got some great feedback from the Greenway communities on the upcoming Clarity Parks Project: Lafitte Greenway Plaza. This project is a $40,000 rapid-build project meant to transform the former parking lot of the old Brake Tag Station into a vibrant and welcoming pedestrian plaza; and set the foundation for future improvements to the site. Learn more about the project here.

Over 230 people weighed in on the design via paper survey, online survey, and our public meeting on August 11th. Here's what we heard from you:

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Friends of Lafitte Greenway and NORD begin work on Clarity Parks Project: Lafitte Greenway Plaza


August 3, 2020

Friends of Lafitte Greenway and NORD begin work on Clarity Parks Project: Lafitte Greenway Plaza

NEW ORLEANS, LA -- Friends of Lafitte Greenway and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORD) are creating a new pedestrian Plaza on the Lafitte Greenway in Mid-City this fall. Working in partnership with leading national place-making nonprofit, the Project for Public Spaces and Claritin® through the Clarity Parks Project, the group will begin the transformation of the driveway of the former Brake Tag Station where the Greenway meets the Bayou St. John into a vibrant and welcoming pedestrian plaza with public art, landscaping, stormwater management infrastructure, farmers markets, and more. This $40,000 rapid-build project has just entered the design phase, and is set to be complete this November, responding to the key need for more outdoor public spaces in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.

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#PhaseTwo on the Greenway

On Saturday, June 13, 2020 the City moved into #PhaseTwo: Safer at Home. Under Phase 2, medium risk operations like restaurants, bars, barber shops, and businesses will be able to open with 50% capacity.  Working from home is still encouraged, if possible. People who are sick, have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, or are vulnerable to infection, should continue to stay home. For more details, see NOLA Ready's reopening guidelines

While the Greenway has remained open throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, Phase Two includes some updated guidance for Greenway users.

What’s New:

  • Non-contact sports are now allowed. This includes: baseball, softball, tennis, and swimming. Contact sports like basketball, football, and soccer are not allowed.  
  • Large gatherings require a permit. Gatherings are limited to 100 people with one safety control officer provided per 50 people per State Fire Marshal guidelines, even in outdoor parks and spaces. Participants in gatherings must maintain six feet of distance between others and must wear masks. Learn more at
  • The Greenway facilities at Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center, including the tennis courts, playground and FitLot between N Miro and N Rocheblave remain closed until further notice. 
  • Lemann pool on the Greenway will remain closed this summer. For a list of open NORD pools click here.


Social Distancing & Safety on the Greenway: Phase Two Reopening

  • Don't leave home if you’re not feeling well, or if you’ve come into contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Keep a 6 ft distance from others - The Greenway Trail is 12 feet wide, so keep to the outer edges of the trail and pass one at a time.
  • Look for the least crowded path. If your schedule is flexible, try going to the Greenway when it’s less crowded, like early morning and mid-day.
  • Exercise caution on fitness parks and playgrounds. While these facilities are being routinely sanitized, you should take care when touching anything that other people have touched. Sanitize your hands before and after using equipment, avoid touching your face, and if you can, bring sanitizing wipes to wipe down surfaces before and after use.
  • Non-contact sports are allowed. Contact sports like soccer, football, and basketball that require close contact with others are not allowed.
  • Avoid water fountains. Instead, bring your own water bottle. 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you go outside. 
  • You don’t need to wear a mask while exercising outdoors, but if you’re going to an outdoor gathering or taking the Greenway to get somewhere that will require you to go indoors (like an essential job, a bike shop, the grocery store or your favorite reopened bar or restaurant), be sure to bring a mask, scarf, bandana, or other face covering with you to cover your nose and mouth.
  • Stay Up to Date! Be sure you're getting reliable information: check for updates about New Orleans' COVID-19 response.

Reopening Resources:

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The Clarity Parks Project: Lafitte Greenway Plaza

Announcement Date: June 17, 2020

Q&A Virtual Information Session (optional): Wednesday, June 24, 2020 | 12pm-1:15pm, Register Here

Submission Deadline: July 1, 2020

Announcement of Winner: July 10, 2020* (subject to change)

Deadline to Complete & Install: October 31, 2020

Eligibility: Landscape Design-Build firms or multidisciplinary teams (see Team Qualifications on pg. 7)

Maximum Total Budget: $39,700


Friends of Lafitte Greenway is calling on landscaping and landscape design-build firms or multidisciplinary teams to submit qualifications for the The Clarity Parks Project: Lafitte Greenway Plaza (The Plaza), a design-build project to create a visionary, active and flexible community gathering place on the Lafitte Greenway near Bayou St. John.

The project site historically served as the driveway from N. Jefferson Davis Parkway to the old Brake Tag Station motor vehicle inspection building. This March, the City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORD) completed a $1.5 million renovation to transform the old Brake Tag Station facility into a new flexible community pavilion on the Lafitte Greenway. This project seeks to complement and expand the transformation of the overall site from a historic driveway for cars into a welcoming pedestrian plaza for farmers markets, community events, passive use, and programming--expanding the Greenway’s role as a cultural asset. 

Located at the central node of New Orleans bike network, and the historic crossroads of Bayou St. John and the former Carondelet Canal, The Plaza project is fueled by years of community visioning and demand, including in the 2013 Greenway Master Plan and public input at community events since the Greenway opened in 2015. Design for the Plaza will be subject to community engagement and City approval. 

The project is made possible thanks to the financial support of the Clarity Parks Project, a collaboration of the Project for Public Spaces and Claritin® to help parks and public spaces fulfill their vital role in the community. This initiative has provided grants to improve public spaces in three communities across the U.S. that have been impacted by natural disasters, including the Greenway and parks in Austin, TX, and Tulsa OK. This project will be implemented in partnership with the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORD).

The Plaza will complement the transformation that has already begun on the site, including the below, and will help guide future investments:

The Brake Tag Pavilion - In March 2020, The City of New Orleans completed a $1.5 million renovation of the old Brake Tag Station to convert it into a community pavilion. The operator and uses of the building have not yet been determined, and are subject to public input. The Pavilion will likely include a restaurant or concessions, and flexible community programming space. 

Iris of Memory Art Installation - In 2019, Friends, NORD, and the Arts Council of New Orleans commissioned a $30,000 permanent art installation, Iris of Memory by Will Nemitoff. This iconic Iris sculpture will be installed this fall at the front of the site nearest Jeff. Davis Parkway. The sculpture will illuminate at night, and its leaves double as benches. 

The selected firm will work with the project partners, Friends of Lafitte Greenway, New Orleans Recreation Development Commission and Project for Public Spaces to design, support community engagement, and implement the project by October 31, 2020.

This is a rapid-build project with a limited budget, and great opportunity to guide the upcoming use and transformation of this central site on the Lafitte Greenway.


Learn More & Apply

Apply by July 1, 2020.


Q&A Information Session: 

Learn more about the project goals and RFQ requirements, and connect with potential teammates at a virtual Q&A Information session. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 | 12:00 pm-1:15 pm

via Zoom

Register Here 


Standing Up for Racial Equity

To the Lafitte Greenway community:

These past months, we have seen the long-standing racial inequities in our country and our community laid bare: in the deadly racial disparities in COVID-19’s impact for Black New Orleanians, in the horrific killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many more Black Americans before them.

As stewards of a public space, we must engage with this reality: Institutional and structural racism plays out in our public spaces, and it is in our public spaces that people bravely stand up in protest to demand institutional change.

We stand with you in anguish, outrage, and solidarity. At the Greenway, we strive to intentionally build community across racial and ethnic differences, to create a space where Black people and all people of color feel safe and welcome. Yet we recognize, to create a truly equitable space, we have a lot of work to do at every level. Thank you to the leaders who have already stepped up to lead this change and who have challenged us to do better. 

We recommit ourselves to listening, and working to advance our core value of equity on the Greenway, in New Orleans, in America. 


-The Friends of Lafitte Greenway Team


Pictured Above: Mural on Lemann Pool by Young Artist Movement, lead artist Keith Duncan, Welcome Table New Orleans, and hundreds of community volunteers (Credit: YAM)

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Temporary Bike/Pedestrian Detours to Begin on Lafitte Greenway between N. Rendon and N. White Streets: June-August

This June through August, temporary bike/pedestrian detours will go into effect on the Lafitte Greenway in the N. Broad to N. Jefferson Davis portion of the trail. The detours are designed to enable safe and continuous trail use while Department of Public Works’ (DPW) contractors, Command Construction, tie new, upsized drainage lines into the St. Louis Canal as part of the City’s Hagan-Lafitte Drainage Upgrades and Green Infrastructure Project.

Friends of Lafitte Greenway has been working closely with the DPW and Command Construction teams to minimize impacts of this important green- and grey-infrastructure drainage project on Lafitte Greenway trail use. To that end, the temporary detours are made of asphalt with gentle curves to ensure safety and ease for Greenway users on foot, bike, and in wheelchairs. Pictured below is an example of 1 of these 4 temporary detours:

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NORD's Virtual Fitness Classes

Get Fit the Greenway; wherever you are! While regular park and rec center programming is suspended due to COVID-19, NORD is offering FREE virtual fitness classes Monday through Friday. The all-levels, all-ages classes include  Yoga, Hip Hop Cardio, Senior Dance Fitness, Body Sculpting and more! Check out the full e-class schedule above and click here to check out more info on the fitness series.

Whether it's in the comfort of your own home, porch, backyard, or even favorite green space, you can enjoy the classes live on Zoom at the scheduled times, or on your own schedule by checking out episodes posted on the NORD YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe for more videos that they post frequently! 

To participate, simply go to or download the ZOOM Cloud Meeting app on your mobile device. Next, enter FitNOLA meeting ID: 334-196-3309 and enter password: BeFitNOLA. Click "JOIN" and enjoy.

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Basin St Green Infrastructure Improvements!

We're excited to announce that the City of New Orleans is investing in green infrastructure improvements along Basin St in the coming weeks. Starting Monday, May 19th the parking lane on Basin Street between North Villere Street and North Claiborne Avenue will be replaced with permeable parking. The project will be underway for about 10 weeks. 

Permeable pavement helps absorb precipitation and surface runoff, storing it in the underground reservoir while slowly allowing water to infiltrate into the soil below or discharge into the drainage system; reducing street flooding and subsidence. You can find examples of permeable pavement on the sidewalks that connect to the Greenway trail (pictured above). These improvements are critical for New Orleans’ resilience against flooding, and will help us all live with water. Learn more about the benefits of Green Infrastructure here

Many thanks to the City of New Orleans, Department of Public Work’s Road Work Nola and Mayor Cantrell for investing in the improvements we need for a more resilient future. If you have any questions about the project, contact RoadworkNOLA at 504.658.7623 or email [email protected] 

 For more information, read the City’s announcement here.

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