Skateboarding’s ever-growing popularity has led many urban planners to incorporate skateparks into the fabric of communities to much success. However not every city has embraced skateboarding, with some lawmakers brazenly overlooking the need for skate facilities and ignoring the community that the activity fosters. That’s exactly what happened in New Orleans in 2012, when the City signed off on the demolition of Peach Orchard Skatepark—which was designed and built by local skateboarders—leaving New Orleans as the largest American city without its own skatepark.
Undefeated, the crew responsible for Peach Orchard began building a new skatepark just two weeks after the annihilation of their former spot, fondly naming it Parisite as an homage to its location under the Paris Avenue exit ramp on I-60. The site quickly became a community hub that went far beyond skating; hosting concerts, cookouts and a weekly meet-up to help maintain and clean the once-derelict area under the interstate. However, without support from the local officials, Parisite’s future remained in limbo despite its presence as a safe haven in a vacant area. Determined not to let history repeat itself, the Parisite crew took the fight to City Hall, organizing conversations with government officials and attending town meetings to plead their case. Three years later, Parisite has officially opened as New Orleans’ first public skatepark protected by legal ordinance.
With all the skatepark’s construction up to code and rules in place, Parisite is now raising money through Kickstarter to expand the park, maintaining its DIY values by calling on the community to lend a hand—and a dollar or two. Donations supplement the support Parisite has received through city grants, Tulane University and the Tony Hawk Foundation (to name a few), as well as endorsements from New Orleans City Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission. The campaign goes beyond the monetary however; it’s also a way for Parisite to illustrate the widespread support of making the park a permanent fixture in the community.
Help expand New Orleans’ first public skatepark by donating to the Parisite Kickstarter today. Rewards include T-shirts, snapbacks and limited edition skate decks.
Images courtesy of Parisite DIY