The City of New Orleans’s Department of Parks and Parkways will install over 240 trees during the month of December. The department is currently overseeing the reforestation of New Orleans, which has lost nearly 20 percent of its trees after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Issac.
The Department of Parks and Parkways is partnering with Sustaining Our Urban Landscape, NOLA Tree Project, Groundwork New Orleans and Global Green to plant 240 of these trees. After this project, the city of New Orleans plans to install over 260 more trees throughout the city in 2017.
“This citywide tree planting initiative works toward fulfillment of our green infrastructure goals in the city’s Master Plan,” Ann Macdonald, the director of Parks and Parkways, said in a prepared statement.
Beyond trees being used for the beautification of the city, Connie Uddo, the Executive Director of the NOLA Tree Project, say trees are vital to the wellbeing of the city.
“We lost over 100,000 trees in Hurricane Katrina, and surveys show that New Orleans is number one in the entire nation for tree decline,” Uddo said.
Uddo said that trees play an important role in providing shade and water absorption. Without trees, the city is much hotter, and will have to use more artificial pumps to displace water.
“New Orleans has a below sea level problems. We pump too much water out. Trees play a major factor in the absorption of water, especially large trees, which act like straws for storm water,” she said. “We have to make a water a friend win our city and not an enemy.”
Uddo commented that while New Orleans is undergoing many developments, developers are not planting enough trees.
Many areas, like the Treme and St. Roch neighborhoods, traditionally don’t have green space lining sidewalks, or very large front yards. As a result, the neighborhoods tend to have more flooding issues, and a lingering heat issue, according to Uddo.
In November, the New Orleans Tree Project gave away over 1,100 trees to support New Orleans’ reforestation efforts during the Department of Parks and Parkways annual Tree Giveaway.