NEW ORLEANS (press release) – On Friday, Jan. 15, local nonprofit organization Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL) will launch its Reforesting Pontchartrain Park campaign, an exciting new initiative to plant 700 native trees in historic Pontchartrain Park—one in front of every home. Trees planted during this project will mitigate stormwater runoff, cool and clean the air, and create shade and beauty. The organization is working closely with the Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association to coordinate these efforts and with the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans on educational outreach.
SOUL is proud to announce this new project on a day both honoring the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., and celebrating Louisiana State Arbor Day. In accordance with the City’s Modified Phase One response to COVID-19, the campaign launch will take place online. Additional details can be accessed at soulnola.org/pontchartrainpark.
SOUL board member, Eugene Green, is stewarding fundraising efforts that will make this project possible. “I grew up in Pontchartrain Park and attend church in this neighborhood. This community is historically significant as the country’s first planned suburban community built for Black residents. It deserves a tree canopy that is as notable as its history, and one that protects it from climate change and the storms and flooding that are part of life here.” To successfully reforest the neighborhood, SOUL’s goal is to fundraise $175,000.
By planting 700 trees on contiguous blocks, the project will mitigate between 140,000 and 616,000 gallons of water per day when the trees have matured. “A mature Bald Cypress tree drinks 880 gallons of stormwater per day,” says Susannah Burley, SOUL’s Executive Director. “But one tree can’t change this neighborhood’s hydrology; 700 strategically planted, water-loving trees can. When trees are planted so they can behave as a system, they can completely alter how this historic community responds to a heavy rain event.”
Donations can be made online at soulnola.org/pontchartrainpark, and those interested in sponsoring the project may contact SOUL’s executive director, Susannah Burley, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (504)616-6888.
Supporters and partners include Mayor Latoya Cantrell, The Department of Parks and Parkways, Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association, Bethany United Methodist Church, The Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans, Councilmember Helena Moreno, Councilman Jared Brossett, District Attorney-Elect Jason Williams, School Board Member Ethan Ashley, and State Representative Matthew Willard.