For many, today is as much a day of remembrance as it is still rebuilding. One of the ways that residents are marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is by volunteering and one such benevolent project sticks out in particular — the removal of Chinese Tallow Trees to make room for a new Audubon Nature Center. Part of the Audubon experience, so to speak, the Nature Center first opened in 1980. Its concept of Nature extended from the nearby swamps all the way up to the stars and both the Audubon Nature Institute and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana are actively looking to restore it to its former glory.
Some 300 volunteers have been aiding in the removal of the many Chinese Tallow Trees that have overtaken that expanse of Joe W. Brown memorial park. The invasive plant overgrows to the point of forcing out native species, thus plans are in place to replant the surrounding area with Oaks and Cypresses.
For those of you paying attention to the other portion of the removal project, the remaining structures at the Audubon Nature Center were torn down at the beginning of the year. This next, $8 million step for the center will see a state-of-the-art planetarium, board walks throughout its 86 acres, as well as an exhibit hall and classrooms. Those volunteering today will get a delicious meal from Central City's Cafe Reconcile as well as the city's undying gratitude for bringing a much-needed educational treasure back to life in New Orleans East.