Thursday, July 7, 2011
Hurricane Katrina devastated the extensive, mature tree canopy of New Orleans. An estimated 100,000 trees were lost in the city as a result of Katrina and Rita together, damaging or eliminating at least 70% of the city's tree canopy.
Thus, it was somewhat depressing to watch crews chop down numerous large, mature live oaks and other trees in the VA Footprint.
And now, workers continue to chop down trees in the LSU Footprint...even in areas that won't necessarily be built upon in the first phase of construction (and it's unclear whether a second phase will ever even come into being - the first phase is uncertain enough). The photo above shows a swath of downed trees that fell to the machinery yesterday.
Conversely, the photo at the top of the post shows extra measures being taken with the remaining live oaks in the VA Footprint. The tree guards were installed in recent weeks to prevent damage to the trees as construction gets underway. I must say that Clark/McCarthy, the partnership that oversees actual construction in the VA Footprint, now that the VA itself controls the site, has shown itself to be more conscientious in its efforts to head off and mollify concerns than just about any other contractor that I've encountered inside the footprint. It's not only the partnership's comments at VA neighborhood meetings, but also in some of its tangible efforts at follow through.
That's my impression from limited experience, but it's worth noting. It's proof that, while the terrible site selection likely won't be reversed, being smart about some of the details of how to proceed with a highly charged, controversial project can impact the level of inflamed public opposition.