NEW ORLEANS -- It was a rare moment of relaxation for Mayor Mitch Landrieu standing next to the river in the newly opened Crescent Park.
"It's spectacular," Landrieu said. "Most people don't see the city from this view. I mean it's the most spectacular view of the city, and if you think about the long term growth of the city of New Orleans, most cities in America are going back to their water."
It took nearly five years to complete the $31 million site, a 20-acre park stretching along a mile and a half of riverbank from the Marigny to the Bywater, pre-Katrina wharves now open space for recreation.
"You could come out here for example and watch the fireworks. You didn't used to be able to do that," the mayor said. "You can come out on Sunday after you've gotten beignets."
The Mandeville Shed is an old wharf turned event space, and there's a pedestrian and bike path, dog run, picnic areas that Demetrius Renfurm brought his visiting grandkids to see.
"It's not like you're in New Orleans. It's a whole different world over here," said Renfurm. "Up and down the river, the landscaping, the trees, everything is beautiful out here."
"On the way down here, it was really, really fun," said his grandson Mekhi Roker.
As the mayor smiled and looked at the pristine new park, he urged New Orleans residents to get involved and make sure it stays this way.
"They should use it in a way that's respectful, and be responsible to make sure that it is here for future generations," the mayor asked.