New Orleans is known for its food, streetcars and tree lined avenues…
…but did you know that New Orleans is also the most deforested city in the Unites States? This matters for reasons beyond visual appeal. Our urban forest is critical to us living with water, New Orleans’ central challenge.
Trees slow down stormwater runoff and subsidence, lower our ambient temperatures, clean our soil, water and air, and improve neighborhood safety. We are dependent on our urban forest, and we need to replant it strategically and at a relevant scale – one neighborhood at a time, not one tree at at time. We need to build a large-scale canopy substantial enough to systematically protect our city, and ourselves. Such notions of scale, and systemic benefits, did not dictate the planning for tree planting in New Orleans until SOUL was launched in June 2016.
Our Community Reforestation program works closely with Mid-City, Broadmoor, and Algiers to strategically reforest their communities. Volunteer community planting events get trees in the ground while bringing together neighbors. Our goal is to cluster trees in our partner communities until they are adequately reforested and then expand into other neighborhoods, eventually covering the entire city. This way we can more quickly impact flooding, subsidence, pollution, rising temperatures, and community health.
We also map and track every tree we plant to ensure its success and measure its impact over time. We’ve planted 465 large, native trees (and counting) since we launched in June 2016. By the end of this planting season (October-March), we will have planted 600 trees, totaling 790 large, native trees since our inception. Explore our map:
Visit our Events page to see past planting events, including pictures.