Friday, December 7, 2007

Brad Pitt is OK in our book

Say what you will about narcissistic, vain and selfish celebrities, but don't you dare say that about Mr. Brad Pitt. No you can't say that about him because he is putting his money where his mouth is. He says that he loves New Orleans and he is proving it, he and his partner Angelina Jolie, have not only bought a home here, he has also initiated a project to help others obtain new homes after theirs were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Pitt has created the Make It Right (MIR) project to build "green affordable housing on a large scale to help victims of Hurricane Katrina." What a great thing to do for the people of New Orleans. We love the whole concept but we especially love the "green" part.

For more information on the Make It Right project go to their Web site:
The Make It Right (MIR) project site

Some of the positive press the story has received:
Times-Picayune story here
CNN story here
USA Today story here

As one commenter on the TP's site said, "Brad Pitt for Mayor!" We could do worse. Oh right, we already did.

Thanks Brad.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Lower Ninth Battles Back

The word "will" comes up constantly in the Lower Ninth Ward now; We Will Rebuild is spray-painted onto empty houses; "it will happen," one organizer told me. Will itself may achieve the ambitious objective of bringing this destroyed neighborhood back to life, and for many New Orleanians a ferocious determination seems the only alternative to being overwhelmed and becalmed.

Read the rest of this article from The Nation at:

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The risk of the New Orleans area flooding -- again

The New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper ran a story about the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers newly released report on flood risk in Southeastern Louisiana.

It is not a pretty picture. The news could be better.


Building Partnerships to Help Rebuild the Big Easy

On June 14, members of the Sierra Club and the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association gathered for a Friendship Dinner. Read more about it at the Sierra Club's Grassroots Scrapbook blog:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe's are driving destruction of the Gulf's best natural storm protection by selling cypress mulch all over the country.


As leaders of the Save Our Cypress Coalition, you all know clear-cutting cypress trees solely to decorate gardens and flower beds is crazy. It becomes even worse when you realize that these trees are the Gulf Coast's best natural storm and flood defenses, and they just might be where some of the last ivory-billed woodpeckers are surviving. It all sounds like the plot of a cartoon, doesn't it?

The GRN is releasing Corporate Low Down Depot Mart Clearcuts the Gulf Coast, a short video clip that tells the ridiculous (and unfortunately true) story of the cypress forests. Cypress swamps are being clear-cut and entire trees are being used solely to produce cypress garden mulch. Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe's are driving destruction of the Gulf's best natural storm protection by selling cypress mulch all over the country. It's time they stopped.

You can watch the video at

One of the most important actors in this tragic comedy is you. Once you've seen the cartoon, please help ensure a happy ending to the story by using our action system to send an email directly to the CEO's of all three companies. Then, if you show the clip to five friends, we'll send you a little token of thanks.

For our Forests and Our Future,

Aaron Viles

p.s. If the voice doing the intro sounds familiar, you're probably thinking of Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, and Smithers, among others. Harry Shearer, voice of many characters from The Simpsons, is a supporter of the GRN and lent his talents to this project. You can help us thank Harry by taking action today!

The Gulf Restoration Network is a diverse network of local, regional, and national groups and individuals dedicated to protecting and restoring the valuable resources of the Gulf of Mexico. The GRN has members in the five Gulf states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The GRN will not sell or share your information.

**Visit our new website at**

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New report on the Murphy Oil spill in St. Bernard Parish

Below is a link to a new report on the Murphy Oil spill that occurred in St. Bernard Parish after Hurricane Katrina.

Looking for Owners of Personalized Plates for Documentary

Dear Sierra Club Members,
Cleveland, OH filmmakers are looking for participants for a documentary about personalized (vanity) auto plates in the United States. We thought that members of your group may have some very interesting and thought provoking plates. Participation would mainly consist of an interview on film discussing your personalized plates. We will travel for the interview. If you would pass this message on to members in your group we would be grateful. If anyone is interested in perhaps being a part of this documentary please email us at with the following information.

The exact text/numbers on your plate (interpreted if it needs to be)
Your state
Any information about why you picked your plate. Feel free to elaborate.
Your email address

If we are interested in getting more information we will contact you by email.

Contact us at


Friday, May 4, 2007

Southeast Louisiana Wildlife Refuges: Environmental Challenges Post Katrina

The National Wildlife Refuge System is an important wildlife habitat and recreational resource in Southeast Louisiana. You may have read a recent Times-Picayune article on the current state of Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans East. Bayou Sauvage is not alone in suffering significant impacts. The eight refuges in our area face a number of environmental challenges including damage done to important habitat by Katrina itself and severe budgetary cutbacks by the Bush administration.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Holy Cross homes tour helps mark Earth Day

Even the orange school bus that transported people on the Holy Cross tour was powered by biodiesel fuel made from discarded vegetable oil that once fried local oysters and beignets.

Read more>>

Thursday, April 19, 2007

RECYCLING DAY was a huge success in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish

Thank you for your support - you made the recycling drop-off event held on Saturday, April 14 in Jefferson Parish and New Orleans a huge success! The results of the event are as follows:

JEFFERSON PARISH: 4,230 lbs (West Bank) + 17,660 lbs (East Bank, 310 cars) = 21,890 lbs
NEW ORLEANS: 4,230 lbs (West Bank) + 15,060 lbs (East Bank) = 19,290 lbs

A total of 41,180 lbs (20 tons) was collected! Due to the success of the event, we are planning additional drop-off events in the near future. The first event is tentatively scheduled for SATURDAY, JULY 28, 2007 (Get the flyer here) so keep collecting your recyclables and spread the word!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

A local "bridge to nowhere"?

The state of Louisiana is about to do a really dumb thing, and a small group of New Orleanians, with the help of academics from as far away as Colorado and Wisconsin, have an elegant alternative to suggest.

The state is getting ready to spend three hundred and fifty-eight million dollars on a gigantic automobile overpass along the northern edge of the Lower Ninth Ward, to connect downtown New Orleans with neighboring St. Bernard Parish. St. Bernard was home to sixty-seven thousand people before Katrina and to maybe a little more than a third of that now. Opponents call the overpass “the bridge to nowhere.”

For more information, email Darryl Malek-Wiley

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Rise and Disappearance of Southeast Louisiana

If you ever wanted to learn more about the geography and geology of Southeast Louisiana, The New Orleans Times-Picayune has created a beautifully clear and easy to understand interactive presentation to help you.

The link below takes you to the excellent primer on how Southeast Louisiana was created by the Mississippi River and also why and how it is eroding away.

This was created by TP Staff Artist Dan Swenson and is a supplement on to a printed version that the TP ran recently.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Noted Author, Travel Journalist, Environmentalist
In town recently to promote his book

Mike Tidwell is the consummate storyteller. Knowing nothing of the disappearing Louisiana coast, Mike came to Cajun Country to chronicle the lives of people living in coastal Louisiana. With the evidence all around him, he wrote Bayou Farewell, The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana’s Cajun Coast, a part travelogue, part environmental expose’ published in 2003. Speaking of that experience, Tidwell said,” It’s an open question whether New Orleans will exist in 15 years or 50 years, especially if a strong hurricane hits in a certain way.”

Tidwell’s 2006 book, The Ravaging Tide, Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Coming Death of America’s Coastal Cities” issues a call to arms about global warming and the impending lethal forces threatening every coastal city on the globe. With a predicted rise of up to three feet in sea level by 2100, the danger is clear.

As founder and director of the U.S. Climate Emergency Council, based in Takoma Park, Maryland, Tidwell lives an example of the fossil-fuel free live at his suburban Maryland home. His approach is surprisingly optimistic, as he offers trend-setting examples of how to reduce greenhouse gases. He argues for global political will, not just for the U.S. government, but individuals and local governments.

A former grantee of the National Endowment for the Arts, Tidwell has won four Lowell Thomas awards for his travel journalism. Among his three previous books is Amazon Stranger, which details efforts to save the Ecuadorian rain forest and In the Mountains of Heaven, travels to exotic lands. His articles can be found in the Washington Post, The National Geographic Traveler and the Reader’s Digest.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Green Light New Orleans

The Alliance for Affordable Energy, New Orleans Group of the Sierra Club, and the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association are partnering with the New Orleans nonprofit organization Green Light New Orleans to change out incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which use about 1/4 the energy. This will save homeowners 75% of their lighting costs on their utility bills and will reduce pollution by the same amount! Green Light New Orleans provided the bulbs for free! (Thank you Green Light New Orleans and its director Andi Hoffmann!)


This is part of a larger initiative to create 10 sites to serve as models of clean energy for our city. Nine homes and the NENA Center in the Holy Cross Neighborhood and Lower 9th Ward, which recently received 1.5 kW solar electric systems donated by Sharp Solar International to the Alliance for Affordable Energy, will be featured in quarterly "Clean Energy Homes Tours". We will hold our first "Clean Energy Homes Tour" on Earthday, April 22nd. Interested folks can attend for free to learn how to make their homes more energy efficient and how to go solar.

More on Green Light New Orleans - Lowering New Orleans' energy usage one light bulb at a time -

Green Light New Orleans - helping out with free CFL light bulbs
Global warming is the most significant environmental challenge of the day, and New Orleans is one of the most at risk cities. Wasteful energy consumption is perhaps the largest contributor to Global Warming. One of the easiest effective steps to reduce energy consumption is to change the lighting in your home from old style incandescent bulbs to modern compact fluorescent lighting. If every household in the United States replaced one light bulb with a compact fluorescent light (CFL), it would prevent enough pollution to equal removing one million cars from the road. In addition to the environmental benefits, a CFL uses 75% less energy than an incandescent bulb, thereby saving money on a home’s energy bills. Each CFL will save the user more than $40 over the life of the bulb.

Green Light New Orleans is a proactive environmental organization committed to switching the entire city of New Orleans from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lights, one house at a time. We provide low- and middle-income families and individuals with enough free CFLs to change out all of their incandescents bulbs, and we actually go to peoples homes and install them.

The city of New Orleans faces a strong increase in energy cost, an unstable power system plagued by frequent blackouts and serious consequences of global warming through stronger and more frequent hurricanes. Our goal is to switch the entire city from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), one house at a time.

Green Light New Orleans helps people to lower their energy bills AND gives you an opportunity to actively fight global warming.

Micah Walker Parkin
Program Director
Alliance for Affordable Energy
(504) 258-1247 (mobile)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Recycling e-action

Help the Sierra Club Bring Back the Blue Bins!

17 months after Katrina, the city is facing massive challenges: Rebuilding, crime, little affordable housing, expanded landfills, and not enough classes for school-children. Despite these problems, the city is signing fat contracts for automated twice-weekly garbage pickup and a Disney-fied French Quarter. Meanwhile, the city has done nothing to reinstate curb-side recycling, despite the energy savings, and reduced need for landfill space that recycling provides.

Please visit this website to send a message to the Mayor and City Council leaders Oliver Thomas and Arnie Fielkow and demand action:

Web campaign tool provided by the Gulf Restoration Network.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Mardi Gras Celebrations Overshadowed By Toxic Trailers

"Even the Sierra Club has an article on their website - their's is titled "Mardi Gras Celebrations Overshadowed By Toxic Trailers." Apparently the Sierra Club tested some of the FEMA campers and the test results showed levels of formaldehyde above the EPA limit."

From "The Invisible Flood Blog." (This Blog is the story of one family's adventurous journey hrough the aftermath of the Invisible Flood of 06. The name - Invisible Flood of 06 - is meant to draw attention to the lack of national news coverage to what was in fact a devastating flooding event of historic proportions which impacted large sections of NYS and several other states. The blog is meant to bring the light of day to the nonsense, bureaucracy, and BS that flood victims encounter as they wade through the land of FEMA, NFIP Flood Insurance, State Grants, and other aspects of life after a flood. Journey with us through the ripples left by the Invisible
Flood of 06... )

OUT OF BALANCE: ExxonMobil’s Impact on Climate Change

"Out of Balance: ExxonMobil’s Impact on Climate Change" shows the influence that the largest company in the world has on governments, the media and citizens and what can be done about global warming. While the Earth’s climate is pushed further out of balance by increasing use of fossil fuels, ExxonMobil continues to assert undue influence around the world— making record profits while ignoring climate science for which there has been overwhelming consensus for over ten years.

A useful next movie if you’ve seen Vice President Al Gore’s film, “Out of Balance” does not just critique ExxonMobil, it also offers challenging, large-scale ideas for the global social changes that must take place if there’s any chance of having a livable planet for future generations.

At a recent New Orleans Group program, The Sierra Club, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and film-maker Tom Jackson discussed the movie, recent news attention that ExxonMobil has received for announcing their acknowledgment of human caused climate change, and how we can work effectively to confront an issue that challenges the Gulf Coast as no other region. Tom is touring the country with his film in a biodiesel vehicle to facilitate dialogue and action on this critical issue.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

All new New Orleans Sierra Club blog

Here we go again. The newest blog from Sierra Clubbers in Louisiana. Specifically New Orleans.