New trees being planted along Bayou St. John, Lafitte Greenway

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 8:24 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans coalition Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL) began planting trees en route to realize its vision to restore the city’s urban forest on Friday (Jan. 20).

This comes a day after the New Orleans City Council adopted a motion to go with the reforestation plan.

While the plans were being announced in front of news cameras, an organized cypress tree planting effort was taking place just a few feet away along Bayou St. John.

New Orleans lost over 200,000 trees during Hurricane Katrina. Since then, various groups have been trying to recover the local tree canopy.

SOUL’s mission is to beautify New Orleans by planting trees to prevent flooding, reduce pollution, and provide community health.

The non-profit is coordinating the effort to protect the city’s existing trees, as well as ramping up a massive multi-year replanting effort in vulnerable neighborhoods.

Andy Kopplin, President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, said urban trees are key to equitably addressing the impacts of climate change in New Orleans.

“The Greater New Orleans Foundation is proud to be part of developing this Comprehensive Reforestation Plan,” Kopplin said. “We look forward to working with the City of New Orleans, SOUL, and many others to bring back the urban forest of New Orleans.”

City Councilman Eugene Green said the project will be a game changer for the city.

“This reforestation plan is the beginning of a plan where we need to plant a million trees in our city,” Green said. “We’re going to start off with tens of thousands but there’s no stopping this. It’s going to make a tremendous difference.”

The project was funded by J.P. Morgan Chase, with funds contributed by the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

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