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PHOTOS | Champ-de-Mars, once a vibrant public plaza, now displays Haiti’s long decline


PORT-AU-PRINCE — Champ-de-Mars, once a celebrated public space in Haiti that drew throngs of visitors – adults, teenagers and children alike – with its attractions and fun activities is now in a state. No longer are cycling, the movies, musical acts and other entertainment the norm. After years of crises, these have long become just memories. 

These days, the sight of waste, putrid water, monuments falling apart,  playground where children once played lies in ruin, and displaced residents seeking shelter are more likely to greet passersby. From the Rex movie theater at the plaza, the sound of gunshots reverberates loudest, a too-frequent signal of gang fights taking place in nearby Martissant and Village de Dieu.


Playground at Petion Square on November 17, 2022. Children once played every Sunday now filled with overgrown weeds and trash. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times
Playground at Petion Square on November 17, 2022. Children once played every Sunday now filled with overgrown weeds and trash. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

Steps to a slide at the Petion Square playground in Champs-de-Mars, taken on November 17, 2022. The steps where children put their feet have rusted over and decayed. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times
Steps to a slide at the Petion Square playground in Champs-de-Mars, taken on November 17, 2022. The steps where children put their feet have rusted over and decayed. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

The plastic slide at the Petion Square playground in Champs-de-Mars, taken on November 17, 2022. The plastic rots in the space, often overrun by used paper plates, cardboard and overgrown weeds fill the space. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times
The plastic slide at the Petion Square playground in Champs-de-Mars, taken on November 17, 2022. The plastic rots in the space, often overrun by used paper plates, cardboard and overgrown weeds fill the space. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

A water fountain in Champs-de-Mars on November 17, 2022. Once admired for its beautiful display, the fountain is now filled with plastic bottles and stagnant water that draw mosquitoes. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times.
A water fountain in Champs-de-Mars on November 17, 2022. Once admired for its beautiful display, the fountain is now filled with plastic bottles and stagnant water that draw mosquitoes. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times.

The historic Rex Theater in Champs-de-Mars could host 1,200 people at times since opening in 1935. Nowadays, graffiti, peeling paint, weeds and sludge have taken over the inside and outside of the building as it appears on November 17, 2022. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times
The historic Rex Theater in Champs-de-Mars could host 1,200 people at times since opening in 1935. Nowadays, graffiti, peeling paint, weeds and sludge have taken over the inside and outside of the building as it appears on November 17, 2022. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

The statue of General Alexandre Pétion on November 17, 2022 is in disrepair so acute that the inscription has faded. The place where people used to sit and talk is now where children who have no place to sleep camp out Champ-de-Mars, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times
The statue of General Alexandre Pétion on November 17, 2022 is in disrepair so acute that the inscription has faded. The place where people used to sit and talk is now where children who have no place to sleep camp out Champ-de-Mars, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

A group of young rappers called G-Sh*t poses for pictures at the statue of Jean Jacques Desalines in Champ-de-Mars, Port-au-Prince, Haiti on November 17, 2022. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times
A group of young rappers called G-Sh*t poses for pictures at the statue of Jean Jacques Desalines in Champ-de-Mars, Port-au-Prince, Haiti on November 17, 2022. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

The constitution square is full of dirty old clothes, the bricks are starting to loosen. Graffiti almost covers everything that was written in the monument. Champ de Mars, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times
The constitution square is full of dirty old clothes, the bricks are starting to loosen. Graffiti almost covers everything that was written in the monument. Champ de Mars, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

Food vendors wash pots and pans on November 17, 2022 at a square in front of the Pantheon, Haiti’s National Museum, in Champ de Mars. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times
Food vendors wash pots and pans on November 17, 2022 at a square in front of the Pantheon, Haiti’s National Museum, in Champ de Mars. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

A young man sleeps at the base of the statue of General Petion on November 17, 2022. Right above him, the graffiti writing says Haiti Toma, an expression of fondness for the land. Champ de Mars, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times
A young man sleeps at the base of the statue of General Petion on November 17, 2022. Right above him, the graffiti writing says Haiti Toma, an expression of fondness for the land. Champ de Mars, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

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