Today, the City of New Orleans, Department of Parks & Parkways (P&P) and Department of Public Works (DPW) provided an update on the public-private partnership with Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL) that has led to planting nearly 5,000 trees across the city.

“Parks and Parkways is excited to continue our partnership with tree planting organizations across the city,” said Michael Karam, Director of Parks and Parkways. “SOUL and others continue to assist the City as it strives to improve the quality of life of all residents by expanding our green spaces and tree canopies and continuing to maintain and improve what we have. This collaboration between DPW, Parks and Parkways and SOUL is an exciting new direction for greenspace improvement and promotion.”

This partnership is emblematic of initiatives adopted by the City in recent years. The New Orleans Complete Streets Ordinance was adopted by City Council in 2011 to balance access, mobility, health and safety needs of all street users, including pedestrians and bicyclists. The City's Master Plan, "The Plan for the 21st Century," sets an ambitious goal of 50% citywide tree canopy coverage by the year 2030. P&P, SOUL and DPW are utilizing these initiatives to advocate for tree planting, canopy management and to inform an upcoming Comprehensive Reforestation Plan.

“About a year ago, DPW and P&P staff were discussing possible future intersection geometry improvements at the corner of Burgundy and Franklin. In what was a sprawling asphalt intersection, the improvements would increase sidewalk space for pedestrians, reduce crossing distances, and allow for new green space. P&P plugged into this concept with ideas for a tree planting, and then we supported this idea by planting the space in March,” said Susannah Burley, Executive Director, Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL).

New trees were planted by SOUL volunteers on Royal Street between Frenchmen and Kelerec streets, where DPW removed concrete in the right of way during road construction.

DPW has partnered with SOUL and P&P on planting 66 trees on South Galvez Street., 138 trees on Newton Street, five trees on Royal Street and five on Burgundy Street.

Most recently, the 10 trees planted in the Faubourg Marigny added new greenspace that compliments the work being completed through the Moving New Orleans Bikes French Quarter and Marigny projects. P&P and SOUL collaborated with adjacent property owners on tree selection, and SOUL provided the trees and volunteer labor. SOUL will take on the responsibility for the initial year of tree establishment, after which time P&P will assume tree management.

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Plans are in the works for future public-nonprofit Complete Streets collaborations, including Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.