Palmer Park gets a new name: Marsalis Harmony Park

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Uptown Messenger file photo

Palmer Park has been the longtime home of a popular art market.

The City Council voted Thursday (July 1) to change the name of Palmer Park to Marsalis Harmony Park.

The new name for the park, located where the Carrollton and Claiborne avenues meet, was chosen with input from community members, who eventually settled on “Marsalis Unity Park” at a meeting of multiple neighborhood associations early last month. “Marsalis Harmony Park” was the second most popular name discussed.

Palmer Park was named after the Rev. Benjamin Palmer, a prominent Confederate and vocal defender of slavery. The park’s new name honors the late renowned jazz musician and educator Ellis Marsalis, whose family still lives in the neighborhood.

The neighbors decided to honor Marsalis’ contributions to the city while also promoting unity, and harmony, as a positive gesture in a time of division.

District A Councilman Joe Giarrusso participated in the discussion at the neighborhood association meeting and sought the approval of the Marsalis family before bringing the new name to the City Council for a vote.

“I am thankful to the Carrollton residents who ran surveys, talked to neighbors, and attended public meetings about this change. And, I’m thankful for the Marsalis family for working with my office and suggesting ‘Harmony’ as a unifying idea. Honored to have had this opportunity,” Giarrusso said on Twitter after the vote.

Daniel Schwalm is a journalism student at Loyola University and a reporting intern at Uptown Messenger. He can be reached at

4 thoughts on “Palmer Park gets a new name: Marsalis Harmony Park

    • Thanks for the question, Ron. There is no effective date in the ordinance. It appears to be effective immediately, although of course Public Works will need to change the sign and emergency services need to be notified. We will find out and add it to the story.

  1. Hi, My maternal great-grandfather’s name Thomas M. Thompson was on the original Palmer Park bronze plaque on the lower right side of the archway. A couple of years ago, I had several phone conversations with Councilman Giarrusso’s female associate (I’m sorry that I don’t recall her name) regarding what was at that time a “proposed” change to the park’s name. I requested that if the name change was indeed to be made, she would notify me so that I might obtain the original plaque with my great-grandfather’s name on it. She notified me within a couple of weeks that Palmer Park’s name would not be changed and that she would notify me if that changed. I live out of state and just learned (belatedly) that the name HAD been changed!
    Needless to say, I’m pretty upset about this! Can you tell me if the original plaque was removed or did they just remove the names? I would think a new plaque would have been done. I’m afraid if that is the case that the original plaque was trashed! This is something that I hoped to avoid and the person in Mr. Giarrusso’s office assured me this would not happen.
    I’d greatly appreciate any news of the original plaque that you can supply.
    Thank you!

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