The New Orleans Botanical Garden is a botanical garden located in City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana. The Botanical Gardens in New Orleans City Park was unveiled in 1936 as a part of the massive restructuring and development project of City Park that took place in the 1930s. Although development plans for the new City Park were originally chosen in 1930, it wasn't until the mid-thirties that funding came in the form of government grants for the national WPA movement, a twelve million dollar project that once employed nearly 20,000 workers in New Orleans City Park. Initially constructed to be a rose garden, the Botanical Garden boasted four outdoor garden rooms, an elegant reflecting pool, and the massive Conservatory of the Two Sisters dedicated to housing some of the garden's more delicate plant life.
Design and construction was overseen by three innovators: architect Richard Koch, landscaper William Wierdorn, and sculptor Enrique Alférez. Together, the three artists designed the Gardens in the style of the widely popular “art-deco” era of the 1930s, constructing the clearly defined and elaborate grounds that would come to be New Orleans' first public classical garden. Using a combination of natural landscape, historic architecture, and surreal artwork, the garden was intended to be a place where families from all around New Orleans could enjoy the natural beauty of City Park.
With the end of the economic stagnation of the 1930s and the "war boom" of the 1940s, the WPA program ended and federal funding dried up, leaving the Botanical Garden to largely fend for itself. The period from the 1940s to the early 1980s saw a decline in the quality and cleanliness of the garden. Upkeep was lagging, vandalism was common, and attendance was down; the park had lost the allure that had made it one of the most popular public places in New Orleans.