Like flowers in a garden after a cold winter season, The Secret Gardens Tour is back in full bloom! Established to raise funds and awareness for brain injury needs and recovery, the tour will be held Friday, March 20, and Saturday, March 21, 2009, after taking a hiatus due to Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of the city and so many of its lush landscapes. 

The Secret Gardens Tour reveals to the public many of the most spectacular private gardens in Uptown New Orleans. Word of mouth has established the tour as one of the best outdoor garden events in the city, boasting nearly 1,500 participants annually from New Orleans and beyond. During the tours, volunteer docents direct visitors through the gardens while renowned landscaping experts are on hand to answer questions and offer insider details. Aside from the tours, visitors come to enjoy musical performances; walk the labyrinth; and peruse Secret Treasures, an outdoor boutique offering garden accessories, gifts and art by local artists and merchants. Additional attractions that have been added to this year’s festivities include a garden auction, private guided walking tours and boxed lunches.

The first Secret Gardens Tour began with a group of New Orleans families who had been personally touched by the challenges and triumphs experienced throughout brain injury recovery. There was little known about brain injury and few resources available to help those navigating the route to brain injury recovery. These families sought a way to provide a garden variety of information –– everything from local traditional health care systems to alternative health care providers –– while informing the public about causes of brain injuries and brain injury prevention.

Thus, the seeds were sown for the first Secret Gardens Tour in March 2004, followed by another successful tour in March 2005 and then a break due to Hurricane Katrina.

It is our pleasure to present to you the magnificent gardens of The 2009 Secret Gardens Tour, and we encourage you to join us as we celebrate springtime in New Orleans and recovery of all kinds.

Private Guided Tours
Friday, March 20, 2009
9 a.m, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

• The Secret Gardens Tour is pleased to offer for the first time a limited number of private tours guided by landscape and design professionals whose gardens are showcased on the 2009 tour. The tour groups will consist of approximately 10 people plus the guide and will start at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

• Ticket-holders for the exclusive private tours will be granted complimentary admission to the self-guided tour the following day.

• The private tours are expected to take about 90 minutes but could last as long as two hours depending upon each group’s interest in each garden and the length of time spent asking questions, lingering in the gardens and walking to each garden.

• Tour-goers will meet at 6000 St. Charles Ave. for their designated tour group time. Tickets for the private tour are limited and will be sold in advance for $60 each. Tickets must be purchased by Thursday, March 12, 2009, at 5 p.m.

• Tickets can be purchased online at, and tour times can be scheduled by contacting Marianne Mumford at or 734-8380.

Self-Guided Tours
Saturday, March 21, 2009
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Tickets for the self-guided tour are $20 each if purchased online at or by e-mailing Anne Urquhart at by Wednesday, March 18, 2009, at 5 p.m. After that time, tickets may be purchased at the event for $25 each. Children younger than 5 can attend for free.

• If the tour is canceled due to rain, please consider your ticket a donation. Refunds will be given only on demand.

• Funds raised from the tour will be used for educational and charitable purposes to benefit victims of brain injury. We welcome any additional donations or sponsorship. The Secret Gardens Tour is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The Secret Gardens Tour

Louellen and Darryl Berger

The Secret Gardens Tour

Julie Breitmeyer

The Secret Gardens Tour

Ella and Walter "Chip" Flower

The Secret Gardens Tour

Susan and Douglas Johnson

The Secret Gardens Tour

Elly and Merritt Lane

The Secret Gardens Tour

Virginia and John Rowan

The Secret Gardens Tour

Meredith and Ken Saer

The Secret Gardens Tour

Jeannette and Doug Slakey

The Secret Gardens Tour

Claire and Harry Stahel

The Secret Gardens Tour

Pam Wakeman

The Secret Gardens Tour

Jill and Marc Winston


The Numbers
• In the United States, 5.3 million people are living with a traumatic brain injury disability and more than 5 million more Americans have acquired a brain injury through stroke or other causes.
• In Louisiana, 90 out of every 100,000 residents have some form of a brain injury.
• 1,000 out of every 100,000 metro New Orleans area residents acquire brain injuries.
• Of the 1.4 million people who sustain a traumatic brain injury every year in the United States:
     • 50,000 die
     • 235,000 are hospitalized
     • 1.1 million are treated and released from an
       emergency department

• Approximately 475,000 traumatic brain injuries occur yearly among infants and children from birth to age 14.

• Age groups with the highest risk of traumatic brain injury are infants and children from birth to age 4 and teenagers from ages 15 to 19.

• Males are 1.5 times more likely to sustain a traumatic brain injury than females.

The Causes
Traumatic Brain Injury
• Falls 28 percent
• Traffic accidents 20 percent
• Collisions with objects 19 percent
• Assaults 11 percent
• Unknown 9 percent
• Other 7 percent
• Nonmotorized cycles 3 percent

Acquired Brain Injury
• Oxygen deprivation (obstructed airway, near-drowning,
   birth injury)
• Vascular disruption (heart attack, stroke)
• Brain tumor
• Electrocution (lightning strike, electric shock)
• Degenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s)
• Autoimmune diseases (Multiple sclerosis)
• Infectious diseases (meningitis, insect-carried diseases)
• Metabolic disorders
• Eating disorders
• Hypo- or hyperglycemia
• Seizures
• Hepatic encephalitis and uremic encephalitis
• Poisoning

The Following 20 Sports/Recreational Activities Contributed to the Highest Number of Head Injuries Treated in U.S. Emergency Rooms in 2007:
• Cycling
• Football
• Baseball/softball
• Basketball
• Powered recreational vehicles: ATVs, go-karts, etc.
• Skateboards/scooters (powered)
• Soccer
• Skateboards/scooters
• Winter sports: Skiing, sledding, etc.
• Water sports: Diving, surfing, etc.
• Horseback riding
• Health club: Exercise, weight-lifting
• Golf
• Trampolines
• Hockey
• Gymnastics, dance, cheerleading
• Ice-skating
• Fishing
• Rugby/lacrosse
• Wrestling

Top 5 Head Injury Categories Among
Children 14 or Younger
• Cycling
• Football
• Baseball/softball
• Skateboards/scooters (powered)
• Basketball

Traumatic Brain Injury in the Military
Blasts are a leading cause of brain injury among active duty military personnel in war zones.  Veterans’ advocates believe that between 10 percent and 20 percent of veterans of the Iraq war have some degree of traumatic brain injury. Thirty percent of soldiers admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Ten percent of combat troops — and 20 percent of front-line infantry units — suffered concussions during their tours. The injuries frequently go undiagnosed; multiple concussions can lead to permanent brain damage. F

Funds raised from The Secret Gardens Tour will go to local brain injury education and recovery programs.