The curve in this rust-colored rainbow bridge entrance to New Orleans’ Crescent Park Trail nearly matches the bend in the mighty Mississippi River located only 100 feet away. You can watch large ocean-going ships as they make the sharp turn that gives the “Crescent City” its nickname.
During the hot and humid summer months, daybreak is the best time to take a walk, jog or bicycle along the river. You can spend an hour or more getting some exercise before the sun gets high enough to push the temperature to its uncomfortable summer high. New Orleans has three connected parks that get you on the river’s edge. Woldenberg Park starts near the foot of Canal Street and connects with the tourist-filled Moonwalk near Jackson Square. And after a short detour of a few blocks you reach Crescent Park. It’s New Orleans’ newest park to connect residents and visitors with the river.
crescent park offers plenty of space for a workout
If it’s hard for you to be consistent about a morning walk or ride, being on the river at sunrise can be the motivation you need to get going. You can walk one mile of riverfront from the foot of Canal Street to the back end of the French Quarter. Crescent Park adds another 1.4 miles a little farther downriver. This newer park feels more like a neighborhood park. You see the regulars out for a walk, some with the family pet on a leash. And you see the joggers, the runners, and the bicyclists.
Unlike the Moonwalk at Jackson Square, Crescent Park has fewer tourists and more residents from the neighborhood. This greenspace is nestled between the Public Belt Railroad tracks and the river. You can access the Park at three entrances. The first is only a couple of blocks from Esplanade Avenue. A rust-colored steel rainbow bridge at Piety Street is the second entrance at the midpoint of the park. The final entrace is at the park’s southern end at Bartholomew Street. Both the Piety and Bartholomew entrances have parking.
gardens add color to the Crescent park trail
Colorful flowers fill the well-landscaped gardens in the park. Crews are out early pulling weeds, adding mulch and picking up litter. Shade trees line much of the park trail. The Park also has benches, a few picnic tables and a fenced dog run.
Roller skaters and yoga classes frequent a large paved area at the park’s northern end. The Mandeville Shed has a massive roof, left over from one of the port’s old riverfront wharves. The shed provides shade and it’s open on all sides which allows breezes to flow in from the river.
park monuments on the riverfront
getting to crescent park
If you are staying in a downtown hotel, you can begin your walk or jog at the foot of Canal Street by the Aquarium of the Americas. Then follow the walkway past Jackson Square. At the end, take the crosswalk over the railroad tracks and follow the parking lot to your right. You will merge with N. Peters Street at Esplanade. Continue a short distance and you will see the steps and elevator that take you above the railroad tracks to Crescent Park. If you are driving, there are parking lots at the Crescent Park entrances on Chartres at Piety and Bartholomew Streets.