A gallon of gas and a dozen eggs cost about the same the year Sydney Besthoff III, then CEO of K&B, a beloved New Orleans drugstore chain, purchased a downtown office building to serve as corporate headquarters. With the building came a granite fountain by Isamu Noguchi, The Mississippi, 1961-62, that didn’t work. In researching what would be involved in the fountain’s repair, Besthoff, along with his wife Walda, developed a deep love for the mechanics of sculpture. They learned everything they could and began to collect.
Fast-forward forty-five years and you can see their passion for sculpture in the five acres of Louisiana landscape intermingling with fine art at the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Forty-one of the 64 sculptures are gifts from their collection. Many of the works and artists on display in the Garden come from the South or deal with Southern themes (like Katrina). All of it is free.
By design, there’s no “right” way to walk the Garden. This is New Orleans, after all, and there’s no one way to do anything. With multiple entrances, a visitor can meander paths and bridges in whatever direction they like knowing they’ll eventually loop around.