Cassidy Park re-opens: Had been closed to public since March

Published 10:02 am Monday, September 5, 2016

Fittingly, there was not a cloud in the sky Friday as city employees and elected officials gathered to officially re-open Cassidy Park.

The park was closed after March 11 floods hobbled the popular attraction and Friday, after months away, many were happy to have Cassidy Park open again.

Among the happy crowd was at least one pet, Junior, a 17-year-old poodle. Lynn Walley, Junior’s owner, explained that she used to take the dog to the park frequently, and he loves the place. She said he was thrilled to be back.

“When mama said ‘park,’ he was ready,” Walley said. “He hasn’t been in the park for such a long time, he was ready to come back.”

Besides the regular day-to-day users, the park is also wholly ready to host the annual Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival. The event is a major festival that requires months of planning and organization, but state Rep. Malinda White, the founder of the festival, said she never lost faith that the park would not be able to host the festival.

“I never doubted it,” she said. “I knew it would be ready. You quoted me in March saying it would be in the park and I have never doubted it.”

Indeed, aside from the playground equipment and the museums, the park offers the same attractions as it did on March 10. The museums have moved to offices on Avenue F, but the playground equipment will likely require FEMA funds, as it is estimated to cost over $100,000.

But Friday morning, nobody was missing whatever might have been lacking.

Landon Tims, the city’s parks and recreation director said, again, the park is the crown jewel of Bogalusa, and he thanked the city for rallying to bring the park back. After that, Rev. Bill Moon of ESM United Methodist Church gave a blessing and parks employee Josh Crosby cut a large red ribbon as the Bogalusa High School band and the Paper Dolls dance team led the way into the park.