Special Collections Receives Parkway Partners Records
In response to massive budget cuts to the City of New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways, in 1982 Flo Schornstein, the department’s director, created Parkway Partners as a volunteer support group. The 501(c)(3) organization was dedicated to improving the quality of life in New Orleans through the preservation, maintenance, and beautification of neutral grounds, green spaces, playgrounds, parks, community gardens, and the urban forest. As a public/private partnership with the City’s Department of Parks and Parkways, it became a national model for similar public/private partnerships throughout the country.
Parkway Partners began work with an “adopt a neutral ground” program. Its projects eventually grew to include a “2nd Saturday” workshop on gardening; “Tree Troopers,” a program to educate New Orleanians on trees and the city’s urban forest; seed libraries that offered free seeds to community gardens, urban farms, and local gardeners; support to over a hundred community gardens, urban farms, and orchards; and “Save Our Trees,” a tree care service that sought to protect New Orleans’ urban canopy. In 2012, Parkway Partners announced a project to plant 10,000 trees around the city.
In late 2019, Parkway Partners ceased operations with two final urban canopy projects: providing trees for planting along two historic New Orleans locations, the Broad Street corridor and Armstrong Park. Its lasting legacy is laying a foundation for vibrant and environmentally responsible New Orleans economic development, creating a raised awareness of green education, and providing a model for similar public/private partnerships that are now flourishing across the country.
“Tulane University Special Collections (TUSC) is honored to have been chosen by Parkway Partners to preserve its legacy,” said Leon Miller, Curator. “Documenting Louisiana's environment is a special mission of TUSC. Parkway Partners' records not only preserve the history of a pioneering environmental organization but will also inform future urban greenspace projects and support research in a range of areas, including city planning, public/private partnerships, and citizen-driven environmental initiatives.”