Louisiana Opening Its Parks and Museums
May 14 2020

Louisiana Set to Reopen its Parks, Museums, and Historical Sites

By: John Glover

Following a tedious few months, Louisiana's public spaces expect to be back in business this weekend. In a press release, Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser said, "18 state parks, all 18 historic sites, and all nine state museum buildings" will reopen this Friday and Saturday. The partial reopening will happen according to the state's Phase 1 guidelines.

Unfortunately for tourists (if there still are any), welcome centers are remaining closed. Any welcome center bathroom with "exterior doors" will be accessible around the clock. That rule excludes the French Quarter center, whose bathrooms have interior doors.

The lieutenant governor said, "The tourism and travel industry is faced with the task of recovering to the record-breaking success we saw prior to the crisis. Be safe, but also get out and enjoy all the wonderful things."

For New Orleanians, three state parks and one historic site hovering near the city's backyard are opening. The former includes St. Bernard, Fairview-Riverside, and Fontainebleau, located on Lake Pontchartrain's north shore. The historic site Fort Pike stands a few minutes east off I-10. Bayou Segnette Park, which Louisiana used to quarantine coronavirus patients, will remain closed pending cleaning.

All of the above will be open on Friday. The parks will take reservations for their "campsites, cabins, large-capacity lodges, meeting rooms, and group camps" starting on that date as well.

The facilities will follow the governor's Phase 1 capping of the number of visitors at 25 percent of maximum capacity. Employees are looking to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) for recommendations. They'll be wearing masks and washing their hands frequently.

State museums are coming back on Saturday. New Orleans houses five of these nine museums statewide, including the Cabildo, the Presbytère, the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, the 1850 House, and Madame John's Legacy.

The governor's Phase 1 guidelines and the CDC's public health guidelines for these locations also apply. The museums have equipment for additional hand sanitization stations. They have prepared "additional measures" for cleaning their buildings. Visiting hours will be from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with the last tickets being sold at 3:00 p.m.

The lieutenant governor urges people to go outside and enjoy themselves. The state government additionally says it will introduce the Louisiana Lagniappe Program, an initiative aimed at luring conventions and conferences to Louisiana. The government walks a thin line between fostering economic recovery and keeping people safe.

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