Floor crews put finishing touches in a large hallway at the Louisiana Children's Museum in New Orleans on Friday, August 16, 2019.

Some of my fondest memories as a child come from Sunday mornings when my parents asked, “Who wants to go to the Children’s Museum?” Immediately, there would be loud screams of approval from me and my three younger sisters.

There were so many great exhibits. Everyone had a favorite, and for most of us it was the big three: WWL-TV Studio, the grocery store, and the bubbles. I’m sure we were learning things, but it always felt like we were just playing. It was one of the few reasons I remember going to the Warehouse District as a kid, which, since the World’s Fair ended, was a place with not much happening. The Louisiana Children’s Museum founders and leadership had a bold vision, invested in a large building (starting with a single floor), and forever changed the lives of New Orleans children.

We will embark on a new era for The Louisiana Children’s Museum and for the families of Louisiana on Saturday, when the ribbon is cut and the museum opens its doors on 8.5 acres in New Orleans City Park.

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I would argue this new, 56,000 square foot building is the most significant building built in the city in my lifetime — and there have been several notable buildings built since 1983. Some are to engage tourists, some are to honor the Greatest Generation, and one is about fish. But the Louisiana Children’s Museum is all about the children of our state.

The beautiful, playful, intentional design of the campus — combined with world-class indoor and outdoor exhibit experiences — make a statement to all who will visit: The state of Louisiana values its children.

The new LCM provides a safe and inspiring place to play, explore, read, and learn. Parents get access to first-rate air conditioning and first-rate parenting resources provided by educators on staff and experts who have offices on-site. The museum is poised to give a new generation of children learning experiences that will help improve literacy, health, and well-being in a beautiful, LEED-certified facility, on a site that embraces and enhances its waterfront setting. In a state which consistently ranks pitifully low in childhood well-being metrics, let this be a harbinger of a turning tide where Louisiana’s children come first.

Congratulations to Julia Bland, museum CEO; Allison Stouse, project manager; the board of directors and campaign committee for your uncompromising commitment to the children of Louisiana.

Jeffrey R. Doussan Jr.

real estate executive