Reforesting Pontchartrain Park

OVERVIEW

Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL) is teaming up with the Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association to plant 700 trees throughout the Pontchartrain Park community between October 2021-March 2022. 

PARTNERS

Mayor Latoya Cantrell
New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways
Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association
Bethany United Methodist Church
The Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans
Action Empowerment, Inc.
Councilwoman-at-Large Helena Moreno
District D Councilman Jared Brossett
Senator Joe Bouie, Jr.
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
District Attorney Jason Williams
OPSB District 2 President Ethan Ashley
State Rep. Matthew Willard
Southern University New Orleans

Would you like to serve as a partner on this project? Please contact Eugene Green if interested—see contact info below.

HISTORY OF SOUL

Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL) was founded in 2016 with the mission of driving a resilient and environmentally equitable New Orleans through reforesting the city. Since its launch it has planted 3,566 large, native, water-loving trees throughout Orleans Parksh. It also offers an annual community forestry educational series and a voluntourism program for visiting volunteers.

HISTORY OF PONTCHARTRAIN PARK TREE CANOPY

Pontchartrain Park was constructed post-WWII as a contemporary suburban community for middle class African American families. It is home to Southern University, the Joseph M. Bartholomew Municipal Golf Course, a stadium, park, and three churches.

These neighborhoods were constructed by razing the native Cypress-Tupelo forest, and then filling it with river sand. As with most of New Orleans, trees were not replanted as homes were built in Pontchartrain Park.

THE CASE FOR TREES

Pontchartrain Park is remarkable as it is the country’s first planned suburban community built for middle class Black residents, especially considering the obstacles of segregation and red lining. The neighborhood deserves a tree canopy as significant and rich as its own history. A well planned neighborhood-wide design of Cypress, Oaks and Magnolias would bestow the beauty, shade, stormwater management and cleaner air that this notable community deserves.

Like other low-lying neighborhoods built on filled-in swampland, Pontchartrain Park is prone to localized flooding. Located adjacent to an industrial area, it is susceptible to higher levels of air and noise pollution than other New Orleans communities.

TIMELINE

Dec 2020-Jan 2021 | Community Outreach
Feb-July 2021 | Fundraising (Donate Below)
July-Sept 2021 | Planting Plans and Neighborhood Mailings
Oct 2021-Mar 2022 | Plant 700 Trees

THE STRATEGY

Trees possess the incredible ability to absorb stormwater and mitigate flooding, lower air temperatures and energy bills, decrease air pollution, and improve the look and feel of a community. The Bald Cypress, for example, can drink approximately 880 gallons of water per day during a rainstorm. However, one Cypress planted here and there can only do so much. In order to make a meaningful impact, trees must be strategically planted as a system and at a meaningful scale. This means saturating contiguous blocks with native, water-loving trees so that the trees can act as infrastructure—keeping water out of the drainage system, filtering air pollutants, and decreasing temperatures.

Our goal is to plant one tree in front of every house in Pontchartrain Park by March 2022.

The outreach process involves hosting a public meeting where community members select the streets where they envision trees. Next, SOUL creates a planting plan reflecting the community’s vision, siting as many trees as possible on each street—creating a critical mass of trees that can make a tangible impact.

Every property designated for a tree receives notification via a door hanger and a snail mailed postcard to the property owner; both tenants and property owners may opt out of the planting if they wish.

This approach allows SOUL to plant entire communities at a time, allowing big change to happen quickly.

THE GOAL

SOUL seeks to plant 700 trees in Pontchartrain Park, with every home receiving the opportunity to receive a planted tree on their right-of-way, the space between sidewalk and street. The goal is for the trees to serve the Pontchartrain Park community in absorbing stormwater runoff, cleaning the air, and lowering air temperatures and energy bills, while creating beauty and shade.

PRESS

Soul to plant a tree in front of every home in Pontchartrain Park, WGNO
Reforesting Pontchartrain Park campaign to reduce stormwater runoff by planting 700 trees in historic subdivision, Gentilly Messenger
SOUL tree planting in Pontchartrain Park, Fox 8 News

COLLATERAL

CONTACTS

Join us in reforesting Pontchartrain Park–as a funder, volunteer, or homeowner receiving a tree!

SOUL | Susannah Burley, Executive Director
504 616 6888 • sburley@soulnola.org

Community Contact | Eugene Green, SOUL Board Member
504 287 3832 • eugenejgreenjr@yahoo.com