The New Orleans City Council voted April 28 to restore the name Congo Square to the area just inside the perimeter of Armstrong Park. Though everyone knows it as Congo Square, it was officially named Beauregard Square in the 19th century. Much of the area has been closed since last summer, after former Mayor Ray Nagin had dedicated a new "Roots of Music" sculpture garden in late April 2010 — the last week he was in office. One month later, the area was closed for repairs after crews found the concrete had been poured shoddily. It remains closed today, nearly a year later.
Oddly, Nagin used the Congo Square renaming occasion this week to hop on his Twitter account. "Since we are not allowed to visit Armstrong Park-Congo Square I will take you on a virtual tour," he tweeted, before sending out a series of photos showing the original dedication, with beautiful sculptures of Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong and others in place rather than the rubble that stands there today. "Some tried to say the park was F-up," was his caption on one of the photos. "Hope u enjoyed virtual tour of Armstrong Park-Congo Square," Nagin concluded. "Maybe 1 day soon, sidewalks & Louie's toe will be fixed & we can visit again."
Landrieu fired back in a statement the next day. "Armstrong Park is just another example of a deal the previous administration improperly executed. It was ill-conceived and was fraught with problems from the outset," he wrote.
In his State of the City speech the day after, Landrieu drew applause when he said he intended to have the park reopened by year's end. But Nagin managed to have the last word. Shortly after Landrieu's speech ended, the former mayor tweeted, "Must b nice to have inherited so much construction, new medical district, streetcar extensions, lowest unemployment, etc." — Allman