Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sierra Club New Orleans Group Holiday Potluck Dinner Sunday December 13th

You are invited to our Annual Holiday pot-luck dinner.

Bring yourself, a friend, a side dish, and good cheer. Sierra will provide a ham and soft drinks. If you desire other beverages, BYOB. Please bring your own plates, cups and utensils etc.

When: Sunday night, the 13th of December, 2009

Time: 6:00 pm - 8 pm

Where: Dominion Education building at Audubon Zoo. Facing the Zoo and Miss River enter the small gate -to the right (up river) side of the Main Zoo Entrance. (Look for the Sierra Club Banner).

Short program: After dinner, for those with an interest in National Parks, Toni and Rene' Maggio will show some photos of their visit to the Big Bend and Grand Teton National Parks to be presented in the Dominion Auditorium.

For more info call Barry Kohl, 861-8465; or Vance Levesque, 529-2089.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lafitte Corridor cleanup Sat. Nov 21

The first Lafitte Corridor cleanup is scheduled for Sat. Nov 21 from 9 to 1. Major Jerrod Spinney of the Criminal Sheriff's office has agreed to trim the area behind the Sojourner Truth Community Center, extending to the police filling station, in advance. They will also take care of the brush removal. We will be meeting at Sojourner Truth Community Center, 2200 Lafitte St, @ 9AM. All needed materials will be provided.

The Sierra Club and the Friends of the Lafitte Corridor are looking for volunteers to assist in activities such as cleaning off sidewalks, trash removal, etc. For more information e-mail Ethan Ellestad at or call 608-417-9052.

Thank you,
Ethan Ellestad
Graduate Assistant,
Friends of Lafitte Corridor

Vance Levesque
Chair New Orleans Group
Sierra Club

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monthly Program - Sunday October 11th - "Plans For the New Lafitte Greenway!"

SIERRA CLUB PROGRAM, Audubon Zoo, Dominion Auditorium. Enter gate to far right of main gate. Parking plentiful and safe. (504) 780-8889.

"Plans For the New Lafitte Greenway!" Larry Schmidt, Urban Planner, will tell us about the development of the Lafitte Greenway/Corridor, the exciting new walking, biking path in Mid City. Many opportunities for citizen participation in the project! The program is open to everyone. Sunday, October 11. Doors open 6:30 P.m. Program 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monthly Program - Sunday September 13th

SIERRA CLUB PROGRAM, Audubon Zoo, Dominion Auditorium. Enter gate to far right of main gate. Parking plentiful and safe.

Forest Bradley-Wright from the Alliance for Affordable Energy will speak about "Solar tax credits and local energy efficiency policy developments" Free and everyone welcome. Doors open 6:30 p.m. with refreshments. Program 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept.13. Call (504) 780-8889.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Annual Green Rebuilding Conference to be held in New Orleans November 8 & 9

The conference will held at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown New Orleans.

View Conference details in this PDF file (115 KB).

This PDF file (123 KB) contains details for anyone interested in presenting at the conference.

This PDF file (2.97 MB) is the "New Orleans Green Building Assessment" report.

Sierra Club to Mark Katrina Anniversary with Report: “New Orleans Green Building Assessment”

New Orleans – Approaching the 4th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on August 29, the Sierra Club will release a new report analyzing the green rebuilding efforts under way in New Orleans. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina has provided the city of New Orleans with a unique opportunity to develop a national model for rebuilding green.

This “New Orleans Green Building Assessment” examines the current and former green building efforts in New Orleans, noting partnerships and potential strategies for improvement throughout. This assessment documents and merges the disparate green building efforts into one central location and successfully fulfilled its stated goals. Moving forward, this document provides a foundation for the city to develop a “best practices” model for rebuilding green, focusing on the city’s existing and emerging partnerships.

Contact: Darryl Malek-Wiley, Sierra Club
504-861-4836 (O)
504-427-1885 (C)

Fall Birding at Petite Coquille Island - NOT a Sierra Club outing

NEW ORLEANS – Fort Pike State Historic Site invites you to birding activities Saturday September 5 and Sunday September 6 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the fort – on the most northeast point of Orleans Parish.

Birding expert Gary Lester of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will set up a spotting scope at the fort’s new viewing stand and answer questions. Why do birds migrate? What birds frequent Petite Coquille marsh in the Fall? How do you identify birds on the fly?

Newcomers and birding veterans alike are welcome. If you have them, bring your binoculars. Color handouts provided. Participants will start a Fort Pike Bird List. They will be encouraged to return and see what birds other people have spotted.

Fort Pike was the first of 40 brick-and-mortar fortifications built by President James Monroe in the mid-1800s. These forts stood guard along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, protecting the country from foreign aggression.

Fort Pike State Historic Site, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, is located on U.S. 90 just south of the Rigolets Bridge. Fort Pike SHS is open every day from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., with special programs on the first and third weekends of the month. For more information and directions, visit

Contact: Sara-Ann Harris
Phone: 504-255-9171

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sierra Club Picnic. Audubon Zoo Education Center Sunday July 12, 2009 5pm-8pm

Sierra Club Picnic
Audubon Zoo Education Center

Sunday July 12, 2009

The Sierra Club's (New Orleans Group) annual picnic in Audubon Park will be held near the Dominion Auditorium, inside the Zoo perimeter, where we have our monthly meetings.

Park in the Audubon Zoo Parking lot and enter through gate upriver (to left of main entrance). There will be a Sierra Club banner near the gate.

Sierra will provide the grill, hamburgers, vegi-burgers and hotdogs plus some non-alcoholic drinks. If you require other beverages, please bring your own.

We are asking everyone to bring a covered dish with a favorite side or snacks. Also, bring your plates, cups and utensils to help the environment. Bring chairs etc.

If you have frisbees or other entertainment join in the fun. This will be an opportunity to socialize, and talk about the greening of New Orleans.

Guests are welcome. Call 504-861-8465 if you have any questions.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Coalition Settles Federal Suit to Cleanup Mercury Contamination

MONROE, LA (July 2, 2009) - On July 2nd, a coalition of local environmental groups, reached a court settlement with EnerVest Operating LLC of Houston Texas, a major operator of natural gas wells in the Monroe Gas Field.

EnerVest has agreed to remove all mercury meters and to clean up mercury-contaminated wetlands and other soils at gas production sites in Ouachita, Union and Morehouse Parishes.

Student attorneys from the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic filed a federal suit in May 2007 against EnerVest Operating LLC on behalf of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), the Sierra Club, the Gulf Restoration Network (GRN), and the Louisiana Audubon Council.

EnerVest controls more than 4,000 natural gas wells in the Monroe Field and is the largest producer. Close to 800 of its wells, on private property, were equipped with mercury meters, which hold about eight pounds of mercury each. Mercury is a hazardous waste under state and federal law.

After the environmental coalition sent a 90 day notice of intent to sue in December 2006, EnerVest, met with LDEQ and coalition representatives to discuss a Cooperative Agreement to cleanup their sites. A federal suit was filed in May 2007 alleging that mercury was leaking from EnerVest meters in the Monroe Gas field. EnerVest and LDEQ finalized a Cooperative Agreement in January 2008. The plaintiffs believed that this Agreement did not go far enough to protect the environment and continued with their suit.

As a result of the suit and court adopted settlement, EnerVest has removed over 400 active mercury meters and replaced them with dry-flow meters - which do not pollute. EnerVest has also agreed to a cleanup schedule of mercury contaminated sites, and cleanup standards for soils and wetland sites that are more protective than those in the LDEQ/EnerVest Cooperative Agreement.

"EnerVest is setting a good corporate example by settling this case and agreeing to clean up their mercury meter sites, said Barry Kohl, of the Audubon Council. Other natural gas producers in the Monroe Gas Field must come forward with cleanup plans to reverse the mercury pollution. If not, the coalition will continue to seek legal remedies. Leaky meters continue to contaminate private property and public resources.”

"Currently there are 48 mercury-in-fish advisories statewide, including seven within the Monroe Gas Field," said Cynthia Sarthou, director of GRN. "The Ouachita River, Bayou DeSiard and Black Lake have “mercury-in-fish” advisories that caution pregnant women, women who are breast-feeding, and children younger than seven years of age to limit consumption of fish." Eating fish with high levels of mercury raises the risk of developmental and cognitive damage in babies and children and has been linked to increased risk of coronary heart disease in men.

"The cleanup of the Monroe Gas Field will be the first step in reducing the mercury contamination of soil and sediment which impacts our rivers and lakes, says Marylee Orr, Executive director, Louisiana Environmental
Action Network. Mercury contamination negatively impacts recreational and commercial fishing, as well as the local economy in the Ouachita River Basin. In 2002, a local man was poisoned by eating mercury-contaminated fish from Bayou Bartholomew."

"We are pleased that EnerVest has become the first gas company to start a cleanup of the mercury at its wells on private property. But there are many other companies responsible for abandoned meters and they owe it to the landowners and the public to clean up the mercury spills," said Delta Sierra Chairman, Haywood Martin. The LDEQ has estimated that there are over 20,000 mercury meters in use or abandoned across the state.

The original suit was filed in U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana, Monroe, LA.

Case NO: 3:2007-CV-00817; Judge Robert G. James.

Stipulated Judgment attached as electronic copy
Barry Kohl

Louisiana Audubon Council (504) 861-8465
Haywood Martin

Delta (Louisiana) Chapter of the Sierra Club, (337) 232-7953
Cynthia Sarthou

Gulf Restoration Network (504) 525-1528 x202
Marylee Orr

Louisiana Environmental Action Network (225) 588-5059
Adam Babich

Tulane Environmental Law Clinic (504) 862-8800

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yummy! Blueberry Picking, Poplarville, MS

When: Saturday, June 27
Event: Blueberry Picking, Poplarville, MS
Where to Meet: At Audubon Zoo Parking lot, (near main zoo entrance) to car
Meeting Time: 7:30 am

Sierra Contacts:
You must register for all Sierra trips in advance by contacting either:
Vance Levesque 504-529-2089; or
Barry Kohl at 504-861-8465,

Our Third Blueberry Season:

Dig up your favorite recipe for bluberry pie or cobbler. Join us as we
head over the Louisiana border into Mississippi to pick organically-grown
blueberries at a farm near Poplarville, MS. We will visit the Tara Blueberry
Farm, hear a brief talk about the farm's organic operation, and then set you
loose to pick to your heart’s content. The bushes are tall and there is
adequate shade early in the morning.

The weather is likely to be hot. Please bring sunscreen, plenty of water,
and a hat that will keep you well shaded. The farm does not recommend
wearing sandals while you are picking. Also, they provide buckets to pick with,
so you need not worry about bringing your own. The blueberry bushes are
quite high and offer shade when picking them. The area is wooded with
blueberry meadows in between - a rather pleasant area of rolling hills.

Finally, the farm only accepts cash or check, so don't plan on using the
plastic! It is $10 a gallon and it is best if you have the exact amount in
cash. You may want to bring a cooler to store your blueberries for the trip
home if it is a hot day.

For those coming separately, we'll meet at the farm around 9 am. We will
pick some blueberries and eat lunch (pack your own lunch and drinks) then
carpool back to New Orleans to arrive back to the parking lot at Audubon Zoo at
about 2pm.

The blueberries run $10 per gallon, so get out that blueberry pie recipe
and clear some space in your freezer. See website at:

For more information about the farm:
Phone: (601) 403-8272
Tara Blueberry Farm
257 Langnecker Rd,
Poplarville, MS 39470

Monday, June 1, 2009

Group Program Sunday June 14: Wild India

Wild India: The Birds, Mammals and People of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Joelle Finley, acclaimed biologist and popular birder and world traveler, will speak and show her fabulous photos of her amazing journey in India, from lowlands to the Himalayas.
Sunday, June 14, Refreshments and snacks at 6:30 PM. Program begins at 7 PM. The meeting will be at the Audubon Zoo Nims Center (not the Dominion Auditorium this time but in the same complex). Go through the gate behind the Audubon statue at the front of the zoo and turn left. Parking is safe and plentiful. For more info call Charles Pfeifer, program chair at 504-780-8889.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hike with Friends of Lafitte Corridor

If you're interested in a great hike in the city, this looks like one to take.
Wendy King

May 11, 2009

Bart Everson, President, Friends of Lafitte Corridor
Office: 504-520-5164
Cell: 812-391-0818

Fifth Annual Hike of the Lafitte Corridor

WHO: Friends of Lafitte Corridor is a local grassroots group advocating for the creation of a greenway along three miles of (mostly) decommissioned rail line in the heart of New Orleans

WHAT: a three-mile hike down the Lafitte Corridor

WHEN: Saturday June 6th, 10:00 AM (National Trails Day)

WHERE: The hike begins at the front gate of Armstrong Park and continues along the Lafitte Corridor (between Lafitte and Saint Louis Streets). We expect to be crossing Carrollton Avenue around noon, stopping for lunch at Massey’s Professional Outfitters and will finish at Canal Blvd around 1:30 PM.

WHY: Our annual hike is designed to raise awareness of the greenway project and demonstrate the widespread support it enjoys in the New Orleans community. This year we will be joined by Rebecca Leonard and Kurt Culbertson from Design Workshop, the firm recently awarded the greenway contract by the City of New Orleans.

A flyer with map is available here:

Monday, May 4, 2009

May 17th Program: Coastal Louisiana Restoration: From Plan to Action

Amanda Moore, Coastal Louisiana Organizer for the National Wildlife Federation, will review coastal LA restoration goals including increasing community resiliency, expediting big, bold, restoration projects, and generating funding and political will to move projects forward. She is also the coordinator of the MRGO Must Go coalition and will review the latest developments with the MRGO closure and restoration, campaign goals, and upcoming campaign events.

Meeting is on Sunday, May 17. Refreshments at 6:30 PM. Program starts at 7 PM. All Orleans Sierra Club meetings are held in the Audubon Zoos Dominion Auditorium. Parking is free, plentiful, and safe. Call Charles Pfeifer, program chair at 504-780-8889 with any questions.

To find our meeting location go to:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ivor van Heerden, who pointed fingers in Hurricane Katrina levee failures, fired by LSU

Ivor van Heerden, the outspoken coastal scientist who led the state's independent Team Louisiana investigation into Hurricane Katrina levee failures, has been notified by Louisiana State University that he will be terminated as a research professor in May 2010.

Read more in a Times-Picayune article by Mark Schleifstein on

Bob Marshall the excellent outdoors editor for the Times-Picayune also weighs in:

Jean Lafitte NHP and preserve expanded... finally!

After many years and many false starts, The Barataria Unit of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park (NHP) and preserve has been expanded. The bill expanding the park was recently signed into law by President Obama., the Web site of the New Orleans Times Picayune gives all the details in the following article:

See a photo of the park's expansion here:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Creating a Bicycle Friendly New Orleans

Creating a Bicycle Friendly New Orleans
Join the Dan Jatres of the Regional Planning Commission and the Nicole McCall of the Metro Bicycle Coalition as they discuss the New Orleans bicycling environment. New Orleans has long had a very large bicycling population, but like many American cities, transportation planning has been focused almost exclusively on motor vehicles for over 60 years. Hurricane Katrina provided New Orleanians with the opportunity to change the city and create more walkable and bikeable neighborhoods. Now, with changes coming to transportation priorities and funding at the federal level, New Orleans has the opportunity to become a national leader in alternative transportation options which will help create livable communities that attract families, promote sustainability and promote economic growth.

Meeting is on Sunday, April 19. Refreshments at 6:30 PM. Program starts at 7 PM. All Orleans Sierra Club meetings are held in the Audubon Zoos Dominion Auditorium. Parking is free, plentiful, and safe. Call Charles Pfeifer, program chair at 504-780-8889 with any questions.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Who you lookin' at?

You had better be lookin' at us. Well more specifically, we want you to look at our new Facebook group dedicated to the New Orleans Group of the Sierra Club. Find it at:

Of course we also want you to join our FB group. Membership is open to anyone even if you aren't also a Sierra Club member. Of course you do have to be a Facebook user to join. If you are not already a FB member, what are you waiting for?

Don't forget to drop us a line when you do join our group. You are also welcome to post away on this group. Our only request is that you keep things focused on either the environment or the New Orleans Group or both.

Welcome to century 21.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hot topic on tap: City Park wants to replace green space with golf courses

City Park attempting to replace its newly found green spaces with golf courses.

That's right, City Park is attempting to cover its newly found green spaces with new golf courses. Read about it right here at our new City Park page.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Take a free trip to South Africa at our March Program


A free trip to South Africa! Take the trip vicariously with John Sevenair, world traveler. Come see his fabulous photos and interesting narrative of "Creatures of South Africa." During the summer '08, he explored that country on a birding trip; there were also spectacular mammals, reptiles, insects, and fish. John is a professor of chemistry at Xavier University and an avid birder and photographer.
Sunday, March 8. Door open 6:30 with refreshments and socializing; program 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Audubon Zoo, Dominion Auditorium. Enter gate to far right of main gate. Parking plentiful and safe. Bring friends to this free program. Open to all.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Program Sunday, February 8th Tulane geographer Richard Campanella, author of "Bienville's Dilemma" and "Geographies of New Orleans,"

Program February 8th

Sierra Club Program
Sunday, Feb. 8, 7pm
Dominion Auditorium, Audubon Zoo

Tulane geographer Richard Campanella, author of "Bienville's Dilemma"
and "Geographies of New Orleans," will present:

"Early European Accounts of the Louisiana Environment,1519-1699"

This graphical presentation relates the observations and impressions of French and Spanish explorers as they first laid eyes on the Louisiana environment, and highlights the various transformations occasioned upon that environment in subsequent years.

Meeting is on Sunday, February 8 at 7 PM at the Audubon Zoo auditorium. Refreshments and socializing at 6:30. Parking is free and secure in the Audubon Zoo Parking lot.

Refreshments at 6:30PM.
Program starts at 7 PM.

Location: The Dominion Auditorium at Audubon Zoo, off Magazine Street.
Plenty of well-lit parking.
Guests are welcome. Call 504-861-8465 if you have any questions.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Upcoming NO Group events


Sierra Club’s Stop the Coal Rush field organizer, Jordan Macha helped organize a great event last week at an Uptown hair salon to help women find out about levels of mercury in their bodies. As folks may know, coal-fired power plants are the largest source of industrial mercury emissions into the environment, turning our fish toxic, and threatening public health. As Louisiana wrestles with new coal power plant proposals, the Sierra Club is keeping our eye on public health and making sure you are too!

Check out the great coverage in the Times-Picayune:

Special thanks to NOLA Sierra Conservation Chair, Dr. Barry Kohl, Gulf Restoration Network, and Paris Parker Salon.


Friday April 3rd – Saturday April 4th – Tulane Environmental Law Conference – New Orleans.

Sunday, April 5th – the New Orleans Earth Day Festival presented by our friends at the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, and featuring music on the Coastal Lines of Defense stage (brought to you by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Gulf Restoration Network and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation). Music, food, beer, speaker’s tent, kid’s tent, and energy savings workshops. 10 am until dark. Lineup Just Announced: Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Anders Osborn w/Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Kirk Joseph & friends, Country Fried.

Friday May 8th – Saturday, May 9th – Gulf Gathering 2009 – Camp Beckwith, Weeks Bay, AL Gulf Gathering: A Gulf-wide conference for coastal advocates and organizers concerned about the Gulf of Mexico. To receive agenda updates and further information, contact Briana Kerstein, (504) 525-1528 ext. 208

Tuesday, May 26th (note date change) - Environmental Voter Lobby Day in Baton Rouge. We need as many members as possible to join with our coalition of environmental groups to show our Legislators in Baton Rouge that voters care about the environment. The day will feature briefings from environmental and legislative leaders, lunch, and a training on how to lobby by the Sierra Club’s lobbyist extraordinaire, Darrell Hunt. Aaron Viles is the contact person at 504-525-7534 ext 207.

Tuesday, April 21st
- John Muir’s birthday