Allard Grave

Stop 5 of 12 in the City Park tour

1777 marked the birth of Louis Allard, son and heir of the affluent Creole family of Francoise Lorreins and Jean Allard. One narrative of Louis Allard's life said he was "destined to be an active citizen of the bayou for the next seventy years." Most sources, however, claimed Allard was "cultured but impractical," a "hermit" who was "a man of letters," a "dreamer," and a "poet-farmer."

Louis Allard was raised on a plantation that was home to cattle and sheep as well as crops of sugarcane, indigo, cotton, corn, and rice, but the role of plantation owner did not come naturally to him. Allard was a poet and a politician. He was educated in France, which was typical for Louisiana men of French descent with some social standing during this era. Early in January 1798, Louis Allard returned home to the plantation, having completed his European schooling.

The most enduring account of the grave is that Allard's declining days were spent writing poetry under his favorite tree, one of the Dueling Oaks. Before his death, Allard beseeched the land's new owner, John McDonogh, for permission to be buried under his beloved tree. Allard had spent much time under this oak from boyhood and into adulthood. McDonogh agreed, and on May 18, 1847, Allard was laid to rest in a crypt under what is now the only remaining Dueling Oak.

Some accounts claim that the City Park Improvement Association (CPIA) discovered the grave was empty around the turn of the twentieth century; nevertheless, City Park continued maintenance of the crypt. In 1984, the Times Picayune published an article claiming that "when the park was developed and the grave was opened, there was no coffin, although some time later a casket lock and handles were found. To this day it is still a mystery. What happened to Allard's body? That romance and mystery surrounding the oaks is just one of the reasons why the Friends of City Park devote so much time to this community green space."

In September 2011, the CPIA removed the grave after sonar imaging of the grave site determined the crypt to be empty.

You will walk over the Dreyfous Bridge on the way to your next stop.

The Dreyfous Bridge, an auto bridge which adjoins the casino area with the Dueling Oak and Sculpture Garden, has undergone many changes throughout the years. The accompanying photos illustrate its various alterations. The original wood and stone bridge was built in 1913; in 1923, Mr. and Mrs. Felix Dreyfous contributed a new bridge to replace the old wooden span.