New Orleans “flying horses,” created the heart of New Orleans’ longest standing amusement park: Hines Carousel Gardens in City Park.
The old wooden carousel dates to 1906, though some of the animals, carved and painted by Charles Looff and Charles Carmel, date to 1885. The 53 flying horses have real horse hair tails and are repainted by hand every two years.
The original wooden carousel, one of just 100 left in the United States, and the only in the Louisiana, was originally on a tract of land along City Park Avenue. The carousel was moved to its current location in 1928, creating the center of an amusement park that would eventually encompass a miniature train, which started operating in 1898, the Ladybug roller coaster and a Ferris wheel. The carousel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
The amusement park has outlasted Pontchartrain and Lincoln beaches and Six Flags/Jazz land though it did suffer a setback following Hurricane Katrina when the park flooded.
Another popular New Orleans’ attraction, Storyland, was opened up next to the carousel in 1956 by Harry Batt Sr. who operated the Carousel Gardens with his brothers. Storyland features more than 20 nursery rhyme scenes including Snow White and Captain Hook’s pirate ship that children can climb in, over and under.