Danneel Park

The other day the baby and I went way up St. Charles to Danneel Park. We had passed by the park a few times before on our way to other locations but this time we made a special trip just to go to the park. Danneel Park is at the corner of St. Charles and Octavia Streets. There are three different “Jungle Jims” in the park as well as a fire engine and a slide that I had heard used to be part of a jump into a sand pit? Behind all the play sets along Octavia the park opens up into a grassy field for running and playing. For those geocachers in the audience there is a cache in the park as well. Some of the park is fenced in and some is not so you have to be careful since the street is very close. It seems once they start walking it only takes a second for them to reach the edge of the road.

It was great having a play set just for really little ones, the baby could climb up there all by himself all he needed was a spotter and that is of course one of a Parent’s many hats. We also spent a good bit of time “driving” the fire truck, see driving the fire engine While we were at the park four or five families came and went, it is definitely a park that gets used but even so it is clean and the equipment is in good repair.

On the way out of the park I stopped to read the wood sign and stone marker near the front fence. The sign stated the usual park rules and list of officials that sit in plush chairs in big offices and signed the papers to help keep this spot a park under NORD (New Orleans Recreation Department). The stone marker is carved with two names and a date, Hermann Danneel, his wife Maria Louisa Grace and 1906. This I could not let lie I needed the story so when I arrived home I did a little searching and this is what I found.

Hermann moved to NOLA from Mecklenburg, Germany in 1850 soon after he became a wealthy cotton merchant. The land on St. Charles became his in 1861 and on it he built a home for his family. Hermann and his wife Maria had four children 3 boys and 1 girl. One of the boys passed young, I could not find any further information about their daughter. This left two children Henry and Rudolph. They lived in the house on St. Charles and continued to grow the family business. When Henry died at age 36 Rudolph, a bachelor was devastated and began withdrawing from everyday life; his health also began to fail. With Rudolph’s death on February 4th 1906, the Danneel family came to an end.

Before their passing, Henry and Rudolph agreed to leave the land to the city of New Orleans for use as a park in memory of their Mother and Father. Shortly after Rudolph’s passing the city accepted the land and demolished the house and stable to create the beautiful park that we all enjoy today.

In my internet searches I also found an interesting New York Times article from 1911 about a duel held in Danneel Park, enjoy.

5 Comments so far

  1. jockomo on May 5th, 2008 @ 8:28 am

    We’re living about a block from there, and that’s one of our favorite spots to hang out. Thanks for the research.

    Another great (and uncrowded) play spot near there is the Latter Library grounds (a few blocks down on the opposite side of St. Charles). There are huge expanses of grass complete with "hills", shady spots for picnicing, even the terazzo remains of what appears to be an old gazebo which makes a great stage for impromptu performances.

  2. Rayna (rayna) on May 5th, 2008 @ 1:19 pm

    I’ve never really thought of using the library grounds for a play spot. Thanks!

  3. termite on May 6th, 2008 @ 10:43 pm

    i live right up the street from this park and i can tell you that threw the years the park has always been kept up. even when a child leaves something (trash) behind, it’s not uncommon for someone to pick it up. this lovely park is a real treasure in the city and i’m very proud to be a part of it.

    nice post rayna :)

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  4. jockomo on May 7th, 2008 @ 8:06 am

    That’s very true about the park being kept up. In fact, the neighbors have actually bought equipment for the park from time to time.

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