Spending a bright summer day playing in City Park is a favorite pastime for New Orleans families, and many bring some bread to feed the ducks. But the geese and turtles are not the only creatures that live in park lagoons -in some areas, you can also find alligators.
'We're in Southeast Louisiana, and we certainly have alligators in our waterways,' said City Park Development Director John Hopper. 'We have eleven miles of lagoons, and we've always had alligators.'
'I've seen them in here six, seven feet long, alligators, I mean real big gators,' said City Park fisherman Glenn Forcha. 'And the bad thing about the gators is I notice a lot of people walk their dogs, and let them go swimming in the bayous, and they are going to end up eating some dogs, people's dogs.'
Glenn Forcha showed off today's catch, and talked about fishing as close as three feet from alligators.
'I've caught big bass underneath the alligators. I throw it under, by the alligator, and I've caught big bass right under the alligators.'
An Eyewitness News crew spotted three alligators in one section of the bayou alone in just a few minutes. City Park officials say one thing they really don't want you to do is try to feed them.
'Any wild animals in the park, nobody should be feeding them,' said Hopper.
'Just don't feed them, because feeding them is going to make them aggressive, make them attack somebody,' said City Park fisherman Bill Williams.
Fisherman Bill Williams noted that many people are surprised to learn that alligators can be found living in the middle of the city.
'This one in particular, we see him regularly,' said Williams, pointing to a gator. 'He's afraid. He's afraid, he's not going to come.'
'When we get a call for a large alligator, over five feet, we call Louisiana Wildlifer and Fisheries, and they come out and remove the alligator,' Hopper said.
Park officials say in the areas south of Interstate-610, that are popular with families, alligators are not tolerated at all.
'You have your kid out here playing, whatever, and alligators, it doesn't sound right. So if there is an alligator, we call a trapper, have them removed.'
And if you see them, just keep your distance.
'They don't want to mess with us, and we don't want to mess with them. We've never had any incidents of anyone being injured,' concluded Hopper.