Two 25 foot marble pylons mark the Esplanade Avenue entrance to City Park. They were erected in memory of Park Commissioner Anthony Monteleone following his death in 1913. Known as the Monteleone Gate, the pylons include eight bronze lamps and 600-pound capstones.
Antonio Monteleone was the owner of a shoe factory in Sicily before immigrating to New Orleans in the 1880s. He soon opened a shoe factory whose employees produced 500 pairs of shoes a week by 1888. In 1886, he bought the Hotel Victor and changed the name to Hotel Monteleone. Now a historic landmark, the hotel is owned by descendants of Antonio.
While walking along Lelong Ave, stay to the right and listen for the chimes from the Singing Tree. The twin rows of Crepe Myrtle trees flanking the roadway were planted to replace similar rows of Magnolia trees lost to post-Katrina flooding. The Crepe Myrtles bloom during much of the summer. Keep an eye out for native birds, especially pelicans, in the Big Lake. Artificial, this lake is modeled after Lake Pontchartrain. It features rental paddle boats, canoes, and one authentic Venetian Gondola.
To the left, on the other side of Lelong Avenue beyond the row of trees, one sees a large, open area of grass; this is where the Allard Plantation once stood.