Comiskey Park reopened last week — not the home of the Chicago White Sox, but the Mid-City neighborhood playspot that was destroyed after Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods. The park received national attention in 2007, in the early days of "Hollywood South," when a production company, DNA Creative Media, announced plans to revive the Hurricane Katrina-damaged park and document the effort in a reality TV/documentary. Plans soon foundered, and the square-block lot — one block off a gritty stretch of Tulane Avenue — was left in worse shape than before.
At the opening ceremony, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, "They [the production company] left a lot of things behind. Cost everybody a bucketful of money."
The funds to renovate Comiskey (just under $850,000, according to figures provided by the Landrieu Administration) were cobbled together from state and federal sources for infrastructure repair and new grass. The new park also has a baseball diamond, basketball courts, a rec center, swings, a play area and green space. Among those attending the ceremony were members of the Comiskey family, including young Mathilde Marsh of Ocean Springs, Miss., a great-granddaughter of legendary Assessor James E. Comiskey, the park's namesake.
Marsh and other children climbed on a play structure for the assembled press while one of the playground's volunteer counselors encouraged Landrieu to "take a slide." A minute later, the mayor took a ceremonial trip down the slide and posed for pictures with children. — Kevin Allman