Grandjean Bridge: New Orleans City Park

1938-wpa-bridge-colorized

The Grandjean Bridge, named for George Grandjean, park commissioner and designer of the original lagoons, is one of nine bridges built by the WPA in New Orleans City Park.  Constructed in 1938, the bridge is located behind the New Orleans Museum of Art and serves as entrance to the sculpture garden.

It is the only concrete rigid frame bridge among those constructed in the park.  The rigid frame design originated in Europe and began to see use in the US in the 1920s (Mead & Hunt, 2016, Management Plan for Bridges in City Park, New Orleans).  Engineer Richard Koch with George Rice designed 8 of the 9 bridges constructed by the WPA.  Research could not document their involvement with the Grandjean bridge, however.  The concrete rigid frame design was the “last major development in concrete reinforced bridges” and is built by “substructure and superstructure joined in a monolithic, cast-in-place unit” (Mead & Hunt, 2016).

Characteristic defining features of the Grandjean bridge included

…integrated curved wing walls…crowned parapets/railings…beveled pier caps…aesthetic treatment seen in bold font in Art Deco style letters in the concrete endposts…

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This entry was posted in Art Deco architecture, Bridges, Louisiana, New Deal Administration, New Orleans, Works Progress Administration and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Grandjean Bridge: New Orleans City Park

  1. Beth says:

    Does a “cast in place unit” mean the concrete was poured in pieces on site? An interesting bridge and I appreciate the way they marked it as a WPA work when so many don’t have any marker.

    • Suzassippi says:

      As I understand it, yes, cast-in-place means the concrete was poured on-site into the forms, and the reinforcement steel was in place when concrete was poured. Perhaps concrete experts can weigh in and confirm that, but when I looked it up, that seems to be the general consensus. My guess is that the larger projects (as in many in cities like New Orleans) which employed many more workers and many professionals were more likely to mark projects. I have been able to verify some projects that are unmarked, thanks to documents in the federal archives and local history archives, far too many will never be able to be verified. The historic photographs of many worksites that survive in the form of scrapbooks that were preserved have aided in the documentation.

  2. Sheryl says:

    What an interesting design! I hadn’t realized that the WPA built things like concrete bridges.

    • Suzassippi says:

      They built a number of bridges (like huge number) throughout the US and territories, and many were concrete, and also constructed from rock, and steel girders. I do not think there is much the New Deal Administration cannot be credited with (WPA, PWA, NYA, and all of the other agencies that were part of that 12 year commitment).

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