Monday, May 16, 2011

Replanting the past past glory

Posted By on Mon, May 16, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Barren flowerbeds line sidewalks leading to the African American Museum before volunteers arrive to plant a heritage garden using plants that would have been common in the 1820s.
  • Barren flowerbeds line sidewalks leading to the African American Museum before volunteers arrive to plant a heritage garden using plants that would have been common in the 1820s.

A corps of volunteers from Capital One Bank will help Louisiana State University AgCenter workers remove shrubs and foliage Tuesday in the yard of the New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture and History (1418 Gov. Nicholls St., 566-1136; noaam.org) and replant a heritage garden with plants that would have graced the grounds when the Meilleur-Goldthwaite House (where the museum is located) was constructed in the late 1820s.

The LSU AgCenter and Tulane School of Architecture Preservation Program designed a landscaping plan for the yard based on trees and plants common in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans in the early 19th century. The volunteers will sow heirloom plants in the beds surrounding the museum during the workday, which lasts from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Meilleur-Goldthwaite House originally was built as a residence in 1828-29. The museum will use the heritage garden to foster its goal of teaching people about the history and culture of African-Americans in New Orleans in order to protect and preserve that heritage. Installing heirloom plants is part of a larger renovation of the Creole villa, which has retained many of its original decorative details.

Capital One volunteers are helping restore the garden as part of the bank’s annual One Week initiative in which more than 658 company employees are expected to spend more than 3,000 total hours volunteering with 33 nonprofits across the state between now and Saturday. Projects include working with food banks in the New Orleans, Acadiana, central Louisiana, Baton Rouge and Covington areas; assisting Friends of City Park with clerical and horticultural duties; repairing homes in Gentilly with the St. Bernard Project; and volunteering with other projects in Houma, Oakdale, Kinder, Baton Rouge and Monroe.

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