Palmer Park: A Digital and Micro-history

Sunday, January 4, 2015
2nd Floor Promenade (New York Hilton)
Kevin McQueeney, University of New Orleans
This presentation will focus on Palmer Park, a small park located in the Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans. Traditionally scholars have studied the design and creation of parks to examine the cultural values that were encompassed in the space. However, recent work has focused on the social history of parks. Blackmoor and Rosenzweig’s The Park and the People: A History of Central Park (1998) looked not only at the park designers, but also the laborers involved in the creation, the residents displaced when the property for the space was acquired by the city, and the users of the park over time, in order to gain a better understanding of New York City as a whole.

            This work takes a similar approach, offering a micro-history of the park. This approach allows an examination of issues that impacted the park: the annexation of Carrollton by New Orleans; the struggle for Carrollton to maintain its own identity and autonomy, seen in the push to prevent the takeover of the park by the New Orleans Recreation Department; issues of race, seen in the efforts to keep the park a “white space” through the 1970s; the impact of changes in the surrounding neighborhoods, major historical events, and larger forces in the city; the park as a gathering space for various community events and organizations; and the continued struggle over how the space should be used.

            This project is currently being converted into a mobile-enhanced tour through New Orleans Historical, an Omeka based digital history project and app; an example of one of the story sites for the tour can be found at the following website: This work will also be featured at an upcoming event in the park, with an exhibit, presentation on the park’s history, and guided tour. The poster at AHA will highlight images from the research as well as the process of creating the mobile-enhanced tour and exhibition.

See more of: Poster Session #2
See more of: AHA Sessions