New Orleans — A tiny public park on the edge of the new University Medical Center site in Mid-City will live on in that role after the state takes possession of the wedge of land.
Additionally, a 42-year-old World War I memorial will continue to reside there.
The City Council voted unanimously Thursday to allow the state to buy Pershing Place, which also goes by the name Billy Goat Park, for $97,767. An amended ordinance lowered the cost from $224,400.
The state said it needs to incorporate the land into the UMC’s foot print.
The ordinance, authored by interim District B Councilwoman Diana Bajoie, ensures that the land, bounded by Tulane Avenue, South Galvez, Banks and South Johnson streets, will remain a park and that a World War I “doughboy” statue will stay.
The state wanted to move the statue to another location, possibly in front of the neighboring VA hospital, but the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization and a group called the Monumental Task Committee, a nonprofit that cares for monuments around town, had been working to ensure the statue remained in the park.
The statue was unveiled May 1, 1970, by the Old Friends Barracks No. 640, to honor WWI veterans from the neighborhood. The MTC and MCNO each wanted to keep the soldier in his original spot as a way to honor its original intentions and because it is a high-profile intersection.
The state and civic organizations have agreed to move the statue to storage while work on the hospital progresses. The MTC will be allowed to clean the monument, and the state will then return it to the park after construction is completed.
The park once served as a gathering spot of sorts for the neighborhood that formerly surrounded it. Most of the homes were razed in the last several years to make way for the medical center.
The slice of land has been a park for more than 100 years.
A city ordinance passed in 1884 designated it a public park. Throughout the years, it was known as Tulane Park, Billy Goat Park or Nanny Goat Park. The latter two names came into being because of lore that claims someone kept goats in the park in the early 1900s.
The park was renamed Pershing Place on July 30, 1965.