Writer Sarah Broom is from New Orleans, but not the part of New Orleans where she spoke on Tuesday (Feb. 4), the famed, oak-lined streets of Uptown. She’s from a yellow house on Wilson Avenue in New Orleans East. Her experience in that house — and what it says about New Orleans, the United States, and our relationship to our environment — is the subject of her debut book “The Yellow House: A Memoir.” It won the 2019 National Book Award for nonfiction. Broom was interviewed in Woldenberg Art Center on Tulane University’s Uptown campus by Atlantic staff writer Van Newkirk, another potent investigator of place and environment.
Dozens of young people, from toddlers to teenagers, staged a protest against climate change on Friday morning at the corner of Napoleon and St. Charles avenues. They were part of a worldwide youth movement known as the “Global Climate Strike,” where students walk out of school in order to push politicians to take action to combat climate change and reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels. “We can persuade the grown-ups,” said 13-year-old Maya Verhaal. “Since they make the choices, we can persuade them to change this world.”
Audubon Louisiana, in partnership with the Energy Future New Orleans Coalition, is kicking off its campaign for a Resilient Renewable Portfolio Standard New Orleans with a community meeting tonight. The event for City Council Districts A and B will be held at the Broadmoor Arts and Wellness Center, 3900 Gen. Taylor St., 2nd floor, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The group plans to ask the New Orleans City Council to support a strong Renewable Portfolio Standard. “By committing to 100% renewable energy by 2040, New Orleans can become a leader in the clean energy economy while addressing the greatest challenges faced by residents,” the coalition states. Organizer Angie Torres will be guiding the meeting, and Monique Harden of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice is a guest speaker. Community members are also invited to speak.
Entergy and the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority are partnering to install solar panels on the streetcar barn on Willow Street, part of a larger effort to generate solar energy from the rooftops of publicly-owned buildings across New Orleans. For details about the project, see the news release from Entergy below. In another move to harness the power of the sun where empty commercial rooftops once stood, Entergy New Orleans and the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority have reached agreement to install solar panels on the roof of the agency’s Carrollton Streetcar Barn. The 300-kilowatt system will feed directly onto the Entergy New Orleans electric distribution grid for the benefit of all customers. The agreement is part of Entergy New Orleans’ 5-megawatt commercial-scale rooftop solar project, which was approved by the New Orleans City Council last year.
Southern live oaks make up the vast majority of the trees along St. Charles Avenue. The proportion of live oaks has continued to increase over the years, a tree survey has found. The St. Charles Avenue Association retained Bayou Tree Service, its official partner, to perform a tree survey in a continuation of surveys that have been conducted since 1992.
As the city and state released statements on the removal of hazardous waste from beneath the surface of a Gert Town street, WVUE Fox 8 News revealed documents indicating the Mayor’s Office and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality knew the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had detected 100 times the normal level of radium at the street surface. Residents of the area surrounding the site filed a class-action lawsuit in June claiming the city knew about the radioactive materials as far back as 2013 and did nothing. In a 2010 report, the EPA estimated that there are about 15 brownfields — former industrial sites with potential contamination — in Gert Town and 40 in Central City. Mayor’s Office statement on the hazardous waste removal:
The City announced Wednesday that the final four of six total containers with underground material from the work site in the Lowerline and Coolidge area have been removed for transport to Anders, Texas. In May 2018, the Cantrell administration learned about the presence of underground material producing radiation below the road surface at the intersection of Lowerline Street and Coolidge Court.
The city of New Orleans has released a statement on the removal of hazardous materials in Gert Town about two weeks week after about 1,000 Gert Town neighbors filed a class-action suit against the city, according to media reports. WWL-TV first reported on the hazardous waste early in June. Later in the month, neighbors filed a suit claiming the city knew about the materials and did nothing to notify the neighborhood. Crews in hazmat suits dug up the material without alerting residents to its dangers, the neighbors claim. The materials were below the road surface on Lowerline Street and Coolidge Place.
With existing electric vehicle charging infrastructure in place and working toward energy efficiency investments defined in their new Strategic Master Plan, the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) expanded its EV fleet with the help of the Clean Fuel Transition Fund for Public Fleets, managed by the Regional Planning Commission’s Clean Fuel Partnership program. This funding helped the Port offset the costs of two plug-in hybrid electric F-150s equipped with extended range technology, including a high voltage lithium battery pack and regenerative braking. The systems, developed by XL, enable an estimated 50% increase in miles per gallon and 33% decrease in emissions. Project partners celebrated this innovative clean transportation project at a ribbon cutting ceremony held Tuesday, June 18, at Port NOLA. “We are pleased to celebrate Port NOLA’s new plug-in hybrid electric trucks, which are helping the Port save fuel, reduce emissions and invest in efficiency,” said Port NOLA President and CEO Brandy D. Christian.
The Port of New Orleans and Regional Planning Commission today will introduce new plug-in hybrid electric trucks to its electric vehicle fleet. The new trucks are part of an overall effort to reduce emissions at the multi-billion-dollar multimodal gateway for international trade. The Port is celebrating their arrival today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its headquarters, 1350 Port of New Orleans Place, at 2 p.m.
The Port has been conducting a broader Clean Air Program. It launched the Clean Truck Replacement Incentive Program, or Clean TRIP, in 2016, offering incentives for voluntary replacement of drayage trucks that service cargo terminals and warehouses along the Mississippi River and the Inner Harbor. Clean TRIP enables truck and fleet owners to voluntarily invest in cleaner air through early truck replacement with cleaner models.
The city’s Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board tonight will conduct adult mosquito abatement by plane in the area surrounded by the Jefferson Parish line, Earhart Boulevard and the Mississippi River. The treatments will be conducted from 7:30 to 11 p.m., weather permitting. Routine surveillance has indicated an elevated number of the Southern House Mosquito in these areas, triggering the treatment. The city uses the insecticide naled, sold under the brand name Dibrom, for aerial applications to control adult mosquitoes, according to the board’s website. Naled is the one of the most commonly used insecticides for aerial sprays, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which also states that only a small amount of spray reaches the ground.
A crisis in the recycling industry is reflected in what we can and cannot put in our recycling bins starting with this week’s pickup, the city announced. Here’s what can go into the bin for curbside recycling pickup:
Plastics: Only #1 (soda/water bottles) and #2 (milk/juice/shampoo/detergent containers);
Paper: Newspapers, junk mail, phone books, catalogs, office paper; corrugated cardboard, boxboard (cereal boxes/soft drink boxes);
Metal: Small aluminum and steel cans. Plastics #3 through #7, wax board (juice boxes/milk cartons) and plastic bags will no longer be accepted by the city’s collection contractors. So the container that once held grated Parmesan or takeout probably can’t be recycled anymore. Check the number inside the triangle; Mardi Gras cups, for example, are generally #5 plastic.