Have you noticed the Hyams Fountain as you walked down Victory Drive or into the main entrance of Carousel Gardens? Like so many special pieces in the Park, this fountain has a story.
New Orleans philanthropist, Sara Lavinia Hyams, died in 1914, bequeathing her jewelry collection, valued at $30,000, to be sold and the profits used to construct a fountain in both Audubon Park and New Orleans City Park, for the children of the city. The fountains–which are actually more like wading pools–were duly constructed and provided a place for young children to splash and cool off in the summer heat. City Park’s fountain is just inside the gates of Carousel Gardens and is home to ‘Victoria the Unicorn’ at Celebration in the Oaks at New Orleans City Park (www.CelebrationInTheOaks.com).
Hyams also left a sizable collection of paintings to the New Orleans Museum of Art. A short walk down Victory Drive from the fountain brings you to the back of the museum. Follow the round building to the front doors and enjoy!
The fountain’s plaque reads, “Given to the little children of New Orleans,” with a second inscription reading, “By bequest Mrs. Chapman H. Hyams left her jewels to Audubon and City Parks, the proceeds of which were to build a testimonial of her love for her home city. This fountain was erected March 1921 in a faithful endeavor to realize her wishes. She loved the beautiful and gave that all might enjoy.”
Recently through a patron responding to a Facebook request for photos to add to our archives the Park acquired a copy of a photo from 1921/22 of what we were later able to deduce was the Hyams Fountain. (see photo of small child sitting on the back portion of the fountain.) This photo is now our oldest photo of the fountain. We were thrilled get the photo as well as be able to use clues in the photo to show that it was indeed The Hyams Fountain.