The Joseph M. Bartholomew Sr. Municipal Golf Course in New Orleans, designed in 1956 by Joseph M. Bartholomew, is believed to be the first public golf course designed and built by an African-American in the United States. But for more than six years, following its flooding in the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005, the course has sat vacant, another sad reminder of how things used to be.
Now, in another marker of the resilient city’s recovery, the course is reopening this Friday, the Associated Press reports.
The city has spent $9 million on restoration and will open the public golf course Friday in concert with the annual Bayou Classic college football game that pits Southern University against Grambling State. A second phase of renovations will refurbish the clubhouse, pro shop and other facilities; it is slated to be completed in 2012 at a cost of $4 million.
But for now, golfers can enjoy a piece of rich African-American history.
Bartholomew (1881-1971) created the Pontchartrain Golf Course after he had designed other golf courses in the region that he was barred from playing on because of segregation. The Pontchartrain Golf Course became the only course in New Orleans open to black people during that time. According to its website, the course was "renamed to honor the first African-American inducted in the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame."
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(Photo: Courtesy NOLA.com)