FRIENDS OF BRECHTEL PARK OFFICERS:
GIVE THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP!
The value of giving lasts the whole year. Give the gift of a membership to Friends of Brechtel Park!
Brechtel Park is a city park that offers a unique outdoor experience in the heart of the westbank. It has been a beloved part of the community for generations. Brechtel Park is home to diverse wildlife and hardbottom woodlands.
Citizens and volunteer groups are needed to help bring Brechtel Park back after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Please see the "Volunteer" section for information on volunteer projects for your schjool, garden club, scout troop, or organization.
The Friends of Brechtel Park is dedicated to this goal.
In order to become a member of Friends of Brechtel Park, and support it financially, please make a small donation of $25 per year, per person.
For more information or to join the Friends please mail your donation to:
Friends of Brechtel Park
401 Rue St. Peter #130
Metairie, LA 70005
Approximately 100 participants made the day a success.
Special thanks go to Barbara Hanson for organizing the Easter Egg hunt; to Paul Richard for conducting the eco-hike on the new trail; to all Friends of Brechtel Park for their support; to the Westbank Garden Clubs for donating eggs; to Rebecca Brechtel for bringing Peter Cottontail.
Eco-Hike with Paul Richard
The Honorable Jackie Clarkson
Dr. Rebecca Brechtel
I found lots of eggs!!!
2013 Arbor Day Celebration in Brechtel Park
The Department of Parks and Parkways and the Algiers Garden Clubs hosted the Arbor Day Celebration in Brechtel Park. Hon. Jackie Clarkson and Hon. Kristen Palmer presented proclamations.
The Garden Clubs participating were:
Barbara Hanson and Sylvia Broussard should be credited with organizing and carrying out the event. Ann McDonald, Director of Parks and Parkways gave her remarks at the end.
Left to Right:
Barbara Hanson, Dr. Berengher Brechtel , Marty Broussard
The Department of Parks and Parkways
The Algiers Garden Clubs
March 22, 2013
Friends of Brechtel Park
2012 Christmas Party
Dr. Berengher Brechtel
Gerald and Missy Duhon
THE WESTBANK TURNS OUT...
THE BARRY BRECHTEL MEMORIAL FUND
The Barry Brechtel Memorial Fund will continue to accept donations in his memory to be used to beautify the park, especially the lagoon area. It was dedicated to him on March 28, 2010 in his grandfather’s memorial park, the John P. Brechtel Jr. Memorial Park. The New Orleans Philharmonic held a free concert and the public was invited. Standard Mapping has named “Brechtel Point” on the wetland maps of Louisiana in his honor. He is being remembered in so many special ways and by special people. It is fitting to relate some of his wishes as all of this materializes, as stated by his friends and associates.
Lyle Johnson of the Weekly Citizen in Gonzales, LA wrote on October 29, 2009: “Every now and then in our life’s path we come across someone that is bigger than life. Their smile is for real, everybody around them seems just a little better off for being in their presence and your day takes a turn for the better. Barry Brechtel was one of those people.”
“People that fish in the Hopedale area don’t need to be told this for they experienced Barry on a very regular basis. You see, Brechtel was part owner of Breton Sound Marina and we anglers know very well, a marina owner is your best friend or your worst enemy. Brechtel was an angler’s friend. He was a highly regarded guide and was partners with CT Williams in BIGISH charters, BigFish TV and Louisiana Wildlife TV.
But he always made sure his customers had their boats in the water, had all the bait they needed and knew first hand where to go and how to catch them before he took off for the day.”
“Off the water Brechtel was no different. A loving husband to Pam and devoted father to Beren, Sophia, and Bennet, their three children, he was a member of the Christian Golfers Association and gave his time and resources to the Kids Kicking Cancer Fishing Rodeo, Little Sisters of the Poor, New Orleans Mission and Fishing for Hope.”
“Early in the morning on November 25th, 2008, ‘Captain Barry’ was involved in an automobile accident and passed away. For all that know him as bigger than life; his memory will certainly be bigger than his death.”
This is the goal of the Barry Brechtel Memorial Fund at Brechtel Park. Restocking the lagoon at the park is something he would have liked very much; providing fishing opportunities to urban children, especially those who would not be able to fish any other way, was something he always promoted.
CT Williams wrote: “I know if Barry had to write his own eulogy it would be as simple as his fishing report. He’d probably say:
“Great day each and every one of them, just limited out early! His simple words and predictable lines made him easy to understand and everybody got it. Calls that flooded my phone, the marina’s phones, and the Brechtel homes are proof that everybody got it. The radio broadcasts, television news reports, newspaper articles, and online forums tell you everybody got it!”
“He made it look easy. But as an insider, I will tell you he worked. From the day I met him at WWL he worked, at the stock brokerages, at the marina, on television and at BigFish Charters, he worked.”
“He had a predictable way; family and friends were held to a high standard, tough love until the going got tough and then he would help you find a solution. Outside of that circle, he would be willing to lend a hand if there was something he could do. But it was those who he knew couldn’t get out of life’s dark corner he would often bring whatever light he could shine. I’m not just talking about the charters BigFish gave to charities; there were plenty of those each year. I’m talking about money for a kid’s education, a place he bought for someone to live after being displaced near the marina.”
“The stories of his love for fishing start with Grandfather Roy in Alabama and at Southern Miss where he grew up and end here. The list of his friends is long and the accounts of his character are endless.”
“Summarizing might be a lot easier from a poet named Linda Ellis who shared a work she entitled “the dash”. It is a poem of a eulogy like this, and in one verse she sums up so much.
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash…
Would you be proud of the things they
Say about how you spend your dash?
Barry’s dash was short on time but very long on life and love. He appreciated what life offered and took nothing for granted.”
“At the end of many of his television shows Barry would close with another one of those sayings he had. As the credits would start to roll he would thank viewers for watching and say:
“Keep doin’ it BIGFISH style!”
BIGFISH style means more than the catching of a good keeper; it’s about the preparation, the journey, and the experience; it’s about making the most out of every opportunity life gives you, and never losing sight of what you believe or who you love.”
Aside from Barry’s dream of fishing and providing that opportunity for others in the last few years of his life, some, like his Aunt Jackie Clarkson say he was a ‘Renaissance Man’. Barry was a successful financial broker for twenty years for Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney. He first attended Jesuit High School where in one given year he studied Latin, French, and English at the same time, and managed to letter in four sports during his time as a Blue Jay. He was a very loyal supporter of the school until the end of his life. He managed to be very active in his CYO group, SANYO. Several trips to a mission in Mexico caused him (as he said it) “to think about things differently”. He majored in English and media communications at Loyola University, wrote for 20-30 conservation, hunting, and fishing magazines and online sources, and lobbied constantly for the preservation of our wetlands and shoreline in Louisiana. He could walk with kings, or fish the bayous, and make good friends all in between, never meeting a stranger.
Barry would want all of us to work for the good of the environment, save the earth, protect the animals and their natural habitats, and to provide opportunities for kids and families to have experiences at Brechtel Park to make them better citizens. He fished and played golf at the park as a youngster and never forgot the peace that comes with a sunset on the pond! God’s speed our friend…we’re going to work hard on your lagoon.
Survived by: Wife Pam Bitterwolf, children Beren, Sophia, Bennet, parents Becky and Berengher Brechtel, sister and brother-in-law Royceann and Chad Fugler and Cate. He had great Bitterwolf in-laws and sisters and brothers-in-law, scores of Clarkson, Brechtel, Battistella and Underwood cousins, aunts and uncles on the Brechtel and Underwood sides, and he loved them all…His grandparents were: Mr. and Mrs. John P. Brechtel Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. Roy Underwood, deceased.
Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra brings neighbors back to Brechtel Park
Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2010, 5:00 AM By Melinda Morris, The Times-Picayune
KERRY MALONEY / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE
A member of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra entertains the crowd Sunday at Brechtel Park in Algiers for a dedication ceremony in memory of Barry Brechtel.
It had been years since I visited Brechtel Park off of Lennox Boulevard in Algiers.
Despite the fact that the park is about a five-minute drive from my house, the last time I as there was a few years before Hurricane Katrina, probably for a Cub Scout outing for my son or maybe a birthday party.
On March 28, I finally returned, for a free Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra concert. About a thousand other people came, too.
People came for the wonderful pops concert: a Duke Ellington medley, the "My Fair Lady Suite, '' danceable Latin tunes and more. They kicked back in folding chairs and on blankets, enjoying picnics and wine they had brought from home.
They also came to show off their dogs, everything from a big friendly Akita on down to a tiny Chihuahua; to scamper up and down the two big hills (surely two of the highest spots in New Orleans) with kites and kids; and to admire ducks and swans swimming in the lagoon newly dedicated to the late Barry Brechtel.
"Parks and Parkways really stepped up nicely, '' said Barry's father and Friends of Brechtel Park President Berengher Brechtel.
Indeed they did -- the grass was neatly trimmed -- although you did still need to keep an eye out for fire ants -- and the park looked better than I ever remember seeing it.
Berengher Brechtel's wife, Becky, a Friends of Brechtel Park board member, said several garden clubs, Tall Timbers, Park Timbers, Aurora and English Turn, planted flowers.
"It's the first time we've seen that kind of community interest, '' said Becky Brechtel, who coordinates volunteers for the park.
And children enjoyed a new playground close enough to the concert area that parents could keep an eye on them and still enjoy the music.
Although it's a delightful spot and so accessible, Becky Brechtel said many people don't even know the park exists.
The park held an event in December for children to make bird feeders,”and what was an eye opener for me was that a lot of mothers came and were flabberasted it was right here in our community.
"People just don't know that it's back there."
Berengher Brechtel's sister, City Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson, planned and organized the event, complete with a portable, covered stage with a $25,000 grant from Harrah's. "It's the best thing I've ever done. It's something I've always wanted to do, '' she said.
She's hoping to have the LPO return in 2011 around July 4 for a patriotic concert, and have everyone wear red, white and blue.
Becky Brechtel said,”There's a lot of interest in having music in the park, maybe bimonthly during spring and the fall."
The Navy and Marine bands are willing to play for free, but a stage would need to be provided, Clarkson said.
Improvements to the park, such as refurbished bathrooms and picnic tables and benches, are due to $4 million in city money. Hurricane repairs focused on the more heavily damaged east bank parks first, and now it's Brechtel's turn, Clarkson said. Although damage at Brechtel was less than Joe Brown Park in eastern New Orleans, for example, there was considerable wind damage to the trees at Brechtel.
Next up for Brechtel are improvements to Scout Island, where bathrooms, picnic areas and primitive campsites need refurbishing. "We need to deal with the trees, '' she said.
The lagoon also needs attention to bring it in compliance with ecological studies, and will then be stocked with fish.
The Brechtels said they want the 131-acre park to have the kind of pull City Park has in New Orleans. Brechtel Park is centrally located, near the Jefferson Parish border and minutes from Plaquemines Parish.
"I want Plaquemines to be there. I want Jefferson to be there, '' Berengher Brechtel said. "It's a metropolitan thing."
Friends of Brechtel Park is always looking for new members, donations and volunteers. Individual memberships are $25. Visit www.friendsofbrechtelpark.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shelters at Brechtel may be rented through the Department of Parks and Parkways. Call 504.658.3200. The park is a great site for family reunions, Berengher Brechtel said, recalling a Brechtel family reunion at the park years ago.
Clarkson is glad the LPO concert brought the park back onto people's radar.
"We have to bring back parks to rebuild a city.''
WOODEN SCULPTURE REPAIRS IN BRECHTEL
PARK BY WORLD-KNOWN SCULPTOR
IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT SENATOR DAVID HEITMEIER PERSONALLY FUNDED
THE COST OF THE REPAIRS IN FULL
Other citizens who greatly assisted in this project were:
Ron Bridges, FOBP Board Member, who provided needed supplies and ran errands for Peter Toth for 3 weeks;
Commander and Mrs. Christopher Barcomb and Jeramy who provided a room in their home and some meals for 3 weeks along with welding, tools, use of a trailer for storage, etc.;
The Friends of Brechtel Park Board were constantly at the Park with lunches, dinners, running errands, coordinating with Parkways, making phone calls, etc.
American Indian undergoing repairs
Published: Thursday, September 09, 2010, 6:00 AM By The Times-Picayune
There's a trail that runs through all 50 states and even reaches into Canada and Europe called "The Trail of the Whispering Giants."