Master Plan Development

Kayak Flume & Launch

Kayak Launch

Inspired by the historic context and use of the 17th street canal, the gap bridge represents the relationship of the waterways to the Bucktown Community. The intent is to provide the premier access to the lake, the blueways and living shoreline for self-propelled watercraft, without creating conflicts with motorized watercraft or impacting the quality of greenspace with vehicular circulation.

The concept is the pre-Hurricane Katrina and historic relationship of the 17th street canal to the lakefront and its use as a protected mooring and access channel for the Bucktown Fleet. This is expressed by creating a canal that allows loading and unloading of personal craft into a protected basin with float access to the lakefront. It is given predominance, both as a functional and visible element in the park, by being centrally located and developed between two major gathering areas as well as along the main Harbor Loop pedestrian/bike path. The western edge provides access to the main parking and drop off areas and the P4 Pavilion, a major node along the lakefront trail cycles for paddlers, peddlers, pedestrians, and programming. The eastern edge provides access to a protected cove and the head of the living shoreline blueway. Between these ends, the canal allows watercraft to float across the 400’ distance to the launch rather than impacting the green space with vehicular circulation across the green. Ped/Bike bridges resemble the old “Gap Bridge” and pedestrian bridges from the historic Bucktown past and allow for the Harbor Loop path to provide uninterrupted circulation throughout the park.

Harbor Beacon Point

Harbor Beacon Point

Bucktown History Wall

Bucktown History Wall

Living Shoreline

Bucktown Living Shoreline

The Living Shoreline is inspired by the natural lake shore that once existed on Lake Pontchartrain’s south shore. The intent is to provide a manageable vertical transition between the upper land mass and the water’s edge in certain areas, along the western edge of the park specifically in the areas near the boat launch and second phase of the living shoreline.

The concept is a natural lakeshore edge, shoal or strand. Since the cofferdam creates the land mass 6’ above the water level, this manmade edge prevents the desired access to the water along the entire edge of the park. Access to the lake’s edge for recreational use is the primary design element of this area. The regrading and redistributing of the concrete rubble will provide an accessible grade and, along with the living shoreline project, create a more natural and protected lake shore, reminiscent of the lake’s original natural systems. This is not a beach, but an area just above the level of the water. It is a silty, shell shoal with native plantings and areas for watercraft to land and people to gather and access the water. The Paddler’s Cove is a protected water basin at the head of the blueway through the living shoreline project. The windward strand gives direct access to the open water for sailing craft and paddling. The Sunset Stage provides a small entertainment venue at the lake’s edge and focuses on the western views to gather and watch the sunset.

Shrimp Boat Hill Playground

Shrimp Boat Hill Playground
Playground from afar

Shrimp Boat Hill is inspired by Lake Pontchartrain’s natural assets and bountiful yield, as well as the maritime industry. The intent is to create an engaging play area that explores the natural assets and systems and subtly educates about the importance of this industry to the culture of the community of Bucktown and the Greater New Orleans Area.

The concept is life on Lake Pontchartrain, expressed by two play areas that are divided vertically, representing life above and below the water. Shrimp Boat Hill provides a central feature of a shrimp boat with outriggers and nets cast below the water, representing the working seafood fishing fleet that is central to Bucktown community’s history. The nets provide multiple climbing opportunities to make the vertical transition up from the lower level to the stern of the boat, reminiscent of a shrimp or crab caught in the fisherman’s net. Multiple slides and climbers, both through the walls and above the surface, allow the vertical transition down. Up, down, and through circulation circuits center the active play atop the hill and the boat. The area two fathoms down represent life below the water and is generally a more passive play space. A sandy bottom with passive play structures, as well as kid-friendly interpretive signage will present what it’s like below the surface from the perspective of a fish or a crab. The vernacular of the forms and spaces is nautical and industrial – modified and stacked shipping containers for restrooms and play spaces, ropes and nets, decks and wooden piles.