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What's the memorial near the Dueling Oak in City Park all about? 

Blake Pontchartrain: N.O. Know It All

Hey Blake,

I visited the Dueling Oak in City Park after I read your column about it (June 3) and found a granite memorial nearby. What is this about?

Jared Jones

Dear Jared,

  City Park is home to several plaques and memorials honoring the contributions of those who have supported the park's growth and development. The 30-inch granite memorial you recently came across, located to the side of the remaining Dueling Oak on Dreyfous Avenue and Dueling Oaks Drive, commemorates the contributions of Marcel Montreuil, who died in 1950 at the age of 65. For more than 20 years, Montreuil served City Park in various roles, including park superintendent, general manager and secretary of the board of commissioners. When the Men's Camellia Club dedicated the memorial in 1952, the group placed it in the center of a 1.5-acre camellia garden with nearly 150 pink and white camellia shrubs. Some of the remaining shrubs were relocated throughout the park when the Sydney and Walda Bestoff Sculpture Garden was built at that site.

  Montreuil, a well-known horticulturalist, helped organize the Men's Camellia Club, had hundreds of trees planted and established gardens throughout the park. During his administration, the Works Progress Administration provided grants that helped the park expand from a few hundred acres to more than 1,500 acres and enabled construction of new lagoons, golf courses, tennis courts and City Park Stadium (later renamed Tad Gormley Stadium). In addition, many roads were paved, including present-day Wisner Boulevard and Roosevelt Mall.

  Montreuil was a member of the Public Belt Railroad Commission, vice-chairman of the Housing Authority, a member of the board of the Maison Hospitaliere, the New Orleans Opera House Association, the Boy Scouts of America, Hotel Dieu and the Pere Marquette Building. He also belonged to several Carnival organizations.

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