Drinking Fountain

Relationship: Im/migrant

This object does not belong to me, nor does it even exist anymore. It has been removed during a renovation, an upgrade to a better, safer playground. I moved to New Orleans with a baby and spent much of that first year hanging out in parks and playgrounds, where I met other babies and mothers. The only piece of equipment that my daughter could use was the swing set, and the baby swings at Danneel Park were the best! The swings faced St Charles Avenue, a quintessential view of New Orleans for a newly arrived northern transplant: oak trees, Spanish moss, historic mansions and the streetcar. One time, I was at the park with another mom, a native New Orleanian. She asked if I had ever wondered about the non-functional drinking fountain, which was an upright pipe and drinking attachment that stood next to a later model drinking fountain, rooted in a cement base solid drain bowl. I had pondered the two drinking fountains standing side by side, but assumed that the non-function fountain was the predecessor of the working one and the older generation had never been removed. She told me that it was a relic from the time of having separate drinking fountains and the Jim Crow past of the South, which up to that very moment had felt like distant history to me -- but suddenly bumped up to the present moment and what it meant to live in the South.

Place(s): New Orleans
Year: 2002

– Sara Echaniz

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant