Hurricane Katrina took down a modest tent structure used by City Park for parties near Popp Fountain, a classical WPA era attraction designed by the Olmsted Brothers in the 1920s and completed in 1943. FEMA allowed approximately $800,000 for the tent replacement and this was used with money raised by the Friends of City Park to create a new entertainment venue for hosting weddings and receptions. The problem: how to afford all the amenities and support spaces required for large gatherings so that the Park could generate revenues for rebuilding?
The solution was to employ an engineered, single-slope tent that could withstand hurricane force winds as the main reception hall and building permanent ancillary structures around it. Elements including a kitchen, bridal suite, outdoor bar, storage and restroom facilities were composed as an ensemble of identical forms linked by aluminum trellises. Sited on axis with the fountain, the Arbor Room fronts a landscaped lawn for outdoor events and concerts and has hosted hundreds of events in its five year existence.