HandsOn New Orleans, the local arm of the HandsOn Network, was the driving force behind a massive cleanup in Joe W. Brown Memorial Park. The work was a collaborative effort between HandsOn New Orleans, Friends of Joe W. Brown Memorial Park & Louisiana Nature Center, and the New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways. HandsOn New Orleans chose Joe W. Brown Memorial Park as the location to celebrate its 5th Anniversary. Since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, HandsOn New Orleans has mobilized over 17,200 volunteers to provide over 542,000 hours of service to the community.
Volunteers included members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Xavier University, Loyola University, St. Augustine High School, VIET, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Family Advocacy and Neighborhood Services, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Community Legion, Transform-Her, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, the East New Orleans Neighborhood Advisory Commission, the Department of Parks and Parkways, Friends of Joe W. Brown Memorial Park & Louisiana Nature Center, and various neighborhood organizations.
HandsOn New Orleans provided breakfast and lunch to volunteers, while Metro Disposal donated a dumpster, Dominos donated pizza, Honey Baked Hams donated sandwiches, and Friends of Joe W. Brown Memorial Park & Louisiana Nature Center donated food and drinks.
It was a truly gratifying experience to witness so many organizations working together so cohesively. Volunteers trimmed trees along the lagoon, and in the process, revealed breathtaking scenery that was not visible before. Volunteers also trimmed trees and removed remnants of damaged fences near the tennis courts. These efforts filled both a dump truck and a construction size dumpster with debris. The remaining debris will be removed by the Department of Parks and Parkways on Monday.
Groups of volunteers, including Ann MacDonald, the Executive Director of the Department of Parks and Parkways, painted trash receptacles, pergolas and benches near the play area. Other volunteers painted the trim and benches in Shelter 1. A load of mulch provided by the Department of Parks and Parkways was placed around the young trees which were recently planted in the park. The mulch will protect the fragile roots and bark of the trees from mowers and trimmers.
The HandsOn Volunteer Day was the most recent of several volunteer days held in Joe W. Brown Memorial Park since Hurricane Katrina. The Student National Medication Association provided volunteers for a Cleanup Day in October 2010. In November 2010, Miller Coors provided several volunteers who helped plant over 2,500 irises which were donated by Parkway Partners. Both of these efforts were completed in partnerships with Friends of Joe W. Brown Memorial Park & Louisiana Nature Center, which also hosted Cleanup Days in August 2010, September 2010, November 2010, December 2010 and January 2011. Other special events hosted by the Friends organization were the Nature Walk Around the Park in August 2010; Friends, Family, Fun Fall Fest in October 2010; A Winter Wonderland East of the North Pole in December 2010, Back to Nature Heart Walk in February 2011, and Spring Time in the East in March 2011.
Future activities in the park will include an Easter Egg Hunt on April 9 and a summer camp.
Lisa Stafford is publisher of NOELA News, The Eastern New Orleans Newsletter. She may be reached via email at NOELAbiz@aol.com.
HandsOn New Orleans website banner from www.handsonneworleans.org. Photo of Lisa Strafford courtesy of Lisa Stafford.
Read more stories from The New Orleans Agenda »