May 18, 2023 | From City of New Orleans

City of New Orleans Celebrates Completion of Citywide Tree Planting Project

NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell today was joined by Director of Parks and Parkways Michael Karam, Director of Capital Projects Vincent Smith, Deputy Chief Resilience Officer Greg Nichols, District C Councilmember Freddie King and members of the Algiers Point Association, Algiers Economic Development Foundation and Algiers Neighborhood Presidents Council to celebrate the planting of 1,165 trees citywide. Today’s ribbon cutting was held at McDonogh Memorial Park in Algiers, the new home to three magnolias and one live oak.  

“For the first time in many years, Parks and Parkways is undertaking large-scale tree planting across the city,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “Trees aid us in so many ways, from stormwater management to ridding carbon emissions, as well as their overall impact on quality of life and the vitality of our community. After working to get trees planted along Tulane Avenue while I was a City Councilwoman, it makes me smile to see these trees today around our beautiful city. Parkways has set a goal to diversify our urban tree canopy, with the goal of planting 40,000 trees as we head into the next decade. This is all part of our focus on our climate strategy, making our city more resilient and sustainable.” 

This citywide tree planting project began in December 2022 and was financed through an investment of $975,000 in City Bond funding. The Department of Parks and Parkways designed the plantings and managed the installations.

“The Parks and Parkways team thanks Mayor Cantrell for her continued focus and support on tree planting and maintenance, given the many environmental benefits that come from a thriving and complete canopy,” said Karam. “This bond-funded program complements years of planting, organizing and permitting efforts by the City of New Orleans and our planting partners. These efforts have accelerated in the past few years through the use of bond funds, City Council support through the $250,000 award program, planning efforts of the Reforestation Plan and others. Additionally, the project will tie directly into improvements to our park system that will come through the Big Green Easy – the Citywide Parks and Recreation Masterplan which is currently under development. The Big Green Easy is New Orleans' opportunity to make generational investments in our public green spaces.”   

"Funding in the capital budget extends beyond bricks and mortar,” said Smith. “Quality of life solutions in the capital program also include the placement of green space, trees and other landscaping that support resilience, soften the built environment and make urban areas more appealing."

During the development phase, Parkways analyzed data from the Citywide Tree Inventory and the department's field data of recent tree losses, such as from Hurricane Ida, the unseasonable hot dry weather during 2021 and 2022 and vehicular damages to identify planting locations. To diversify the city’s tree canopy, a mixture of 26 different native and adapted species were chosen for this project, including various species of oak trees, crape myrtles and magnolias, as well as bald cypress, Mexican fan palm and swamp maple trees. 

"Trees and green spaces are some of our most important natural tools to combat extreme heat, flooding and soil erosion,” said Nichols. “These significant benefits are often missing in our historically disadvantaged and less affluent neighborhoods. The efforts we are undertaking now to expand our green areas across the city will make us a safer, healthier and more equitable community for our future generations."  

“On a day like today, we can all see why trees are important; to help extend our urban canopy,” said Councilmember King. “I want to thank Michael Karam and his team for going out into the heat, cold or any other weather situation to plant these trees and do what they do. Thanks also to the Mayor for her leadership and everyone who played a part in this project, including our Algiers community leaders. I look forward to continuing to work with this team to make projects like this and others happen across my district and the entire city.”  

Trees aid with stormwater management, urban heat island reduction and carbon sequestration, which is the process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These positive side effects help in combating issues related to climate change. They also benefit our local wildlife by providing habitats. Lastly, trees help boost the quality of life for residents by improving green spaces and public right of ways throughout all communities.  

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