Planting more than 700 trees in Pontchartrain Park to help with flooding

Amanda Shaw Hurricane Ida Benefit Concert

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, a local group is exploring a way to lessen future flooding.

Gretchen Bradford’s lived in the historic Pontchartrain Park neighborhood all her life, but over the years storms have taken down a lot of their neighborhood trees.

“Growing up in Pontchartrain Park I can remember the beautiful landscape we had with all the trees,” Bradford said.

But with the help of “SOUL” which stands for Sustaining Our Urban Landscape— for neighbors like Gretchen they’ll be getting new trees planted in front of their homes.

“The goal is to plant 750 trees in front of each residence,” she said.

These new trees will help with water management to prevent flooding from storm waters. In addition these trees will beautify the neighborhood, help with air pollution, energy bills and rising air temperatures because trees cool things off.

“The trees help to absorb the water that sits so it helps us reduce flooding. The more trees, the more beneficial it becomes,” she said.

“Soul” secured grant funding to pay for the trees. In addition watering will be free of charge for residents for a year as well.

And for Gretchen who’s excited to see the growth in her neighborhood, she knows exactly what tree she wants planted in her front yard.

“Looking for a Magnolia or a Crepe Myrtle,” she enthusiastically said.

“Soul” will host seven tree plantings in Pontchartrain Park and the first one will be this Saturday, October 16th. Tulane University students will volunteer their time to help plant the trees.

“SOUL” will be planting the 700 trees throughout the Pontchartrain park community between October 2021 through March 2022.

Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL) was founded in 2016. Since its launch it has planted 3,566 large, native, water-loving trees.

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